Violent Memory: Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

10.22492.ijl.10.2.02

 

Author: Netty Mattar, International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia
Email: [email protected]
Published: December 15, 2021
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.10.2.02

Citation: Mattar, N. (2021). Violent Memory: Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. IAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.10.2.02


Abstract

Modern information technologies have radically transfigured human experience. The extensive use of mnemonic devices, for instance, has redefined the subject by externalizing aspects of inner consciousness. These transformations involve the incorporeal but deeply felt, violent dislocations of human experience, traumas that are grounded in reality but which challenge symbolic resources because they are difficult to articulate. I am interested in how the unseen wounding of mnemonic intervention is registered in the “impossible” language of speculative fiction (SF). SF is both rooted in the “real” and “estranged” from reality, and thus able to give form to impossible injuries. This paper argues that Haruki Murakami uses the mode of SF in his novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, to explore how mnemonic substitutes interfere with the complex process of remembering World War II in Japan. I will demonstrate how, through SF, Murakami is able to give form to an unseen crisis of memory in postwar Japan, a crisis marked by the unspeakable shock of war and by the trauma that results from the intrusion of artificial memories upon one’s consciousness of history.

Keywords

commemoration, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami, speculative fiction, trauma