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Beyond Imperial AestheticsTheories of Art and Politics in East Asia$
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Mayumo Inoue and Steve Choe

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455874

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455874.001.0001

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Male Sexuality in the Colony

Male Sexuality in the Colony

On Toyokawa Zen’ichi’s Searchlight

(p.97) 4 Male Sexuality in the Colony
Beyond Imperial Aesthetics

Ikuo Shinjo

, Daryl Maude
Hong Kong University Press

This essay examines the ways in which a crisscrossing of homosexual desires in a novella written in US-occupied Okinawa in the 1950s ruptures the structure of military colonialism and eventually renders that colonial structure inoperative through its illumination of a circuit of certain promiscuous forces. Toyokawa Zenichi's novella "Searchlight" was originally published in the ninth volume of radical students' literary journal Ryukyu University Literature (1956), which was censored, banned, and eventually withdrawn from circulation by the US military apparatus in Okinawa. The novella's disclosure of transference of homoerotic desires across plural bodies and subjectivities offers a fundamental critique of political norms that subtend the US military occupation in Okinawa, including the racialized and gendered hierarchy of the bodies and the equally hierarchical division of the sexual subject and object. The novella's critique of such institutionalized norms through its exploration of mimicry opens up a new circuit of politics that is still missing in Homi Bhabha's theorization of the same practice in postcolonial politics and aesthetics. That is, going far beyond the politics of "subversion" in the early Bhabha and Butler, for instance, the novella discovers a mode of radical mimicry that contaminates and eventually calls into question the very subjectivitiy of the colonizer and the colonized.

Keywords:   Colonialism, Sexuality, Queer theory, Okinawa, Toyokawa Zen'ichi, Race

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