Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale > 59 | 2023 > Memories of Extinction and Human Subjectivity

Memories of Extinction and Human Subjectivity

Challenging the Human-Nonhuman Divide Through Technology in Kawakami Hiromi’s Ōkina torini sarawarenaiyō

Giulia Baquè    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



This paper seeks to analyse the role of technology and memory in Kawakami Hiromi’s novel Ōkina torini sarawarenaiyō. Set thousands of years in the future, in a world that has been subjected to several catastrophes, the novel highlights the interconnections between humanity and technology in order to defamiliarize ideas of human centrality and exceptionalism. Kawakami’s characters are forced to face the cyclical possibility of human extinction, which turns into a recurring threat rather than an abstract and discrete event. In this narrative time chronically affected by crises, the definition of what it means to be human is constantly challenged and renegotiated, allowing for the development of non-anthropocentric forms of existence. This paper will demonstrate how, in a world in which the human species is chronically experiencing the threat of extinction, technologies – such as AI entities, clones and factories – allow the renegotiation of ideas of human centrality and singularity, effectively suggesting possibilities for survival outside of a humanist and anthropocentric framework.

Aug. 29, 2023
June 3, 2023
Feb. 1, 2023

Keywords: MemoriesKawakami HiromiDystopian novelTechnologyPosthuman existences

Copyright: © 2023 Giulia Baquè. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.