Organized Panel Session
From the 2000s onwards, new variations of the "problematic self" can be found in texts of Heisei literature. These designs continue traditions of modernism (kindai) and the post-war years, while also making references to pop culture and postmodern elements of the 1980s. These literary psychograms reflect on the immediate present. In their well-received psychological macroanalyses, famous researchers such as Saitô Tamaki and Genda Yûji have presented diagnoses of recent Japanese mental states; this cultural discourse addressed the problems of a deficient youth, represented by the “hikikomori”. However, the government also recognized national challenges regarding mental health. In 2003, the MEXT under Kawai Hayao set up the Guiding and Counseling Research Center, aiming to introduce “zest for living” to a mentally precarious youth.
Literary representations of the Japanese psyche include Ogiyo Iora's debut work "Kôen", which constructs a student moratorium, as well as Shiraishi Kazufumi's negative image of humanity, which he portrays in his "philosophical" writing - for example in “Kono yo no zenbu wo teki ni mawashite” (Me against the world). "Suishi" (2009) by the old master Ôe attempts to find a cure for the depressive writer-ego. Trauma, escapism, loneliness, identity destruction and a lack of resilience after 2000 are explored in numerous works. Articulations of an existential crisis at the beginning of the 21st century are a prominent topic with Japanese authors, which can possibly be linked to "3.11". The panel aims to grasp the gist of these texts, none of which present hopeful perspectives for the human species.