Storiesand numerous writings are grouped based on many factors such as typeof writing, purpose of writing, targeted audiences and other factors.An example, of such groupings is the Robinsonade genre. TheRobinsonade genre also known as the DesertIsland Fiction isa German term which is used to refer to adventure stories which areassociated in some way to Robinson Crusoe. In essence, a Robinsonadeis actually a story of survival especially based on a desert landafter a shipwreck which is modelled or based on the Defoe RobinsonCrusoe. The most significant characteristic of this genre is actuallythe motif of exile in conditions which are reminiscent of those on anuncivilized and remote land hence the use of the English term “desertisland fiction” (Diedrich 2013). The Robinsonade, has since the19thcentury been branched into three major subgenres namely theyDystopian or Utopian Political novel, the desert island fiction“adventure story” and the didactic story which is aimed at boththe children and adults. There are various arguments as to why the“NankaiKibun” oughtto be included in the Robinsonade genre. Basing on information fromthe text itself and other readings as well, it can genuinely beasserted that NankaiKibun shouldactually be included in the Robinsonade (Diedrich, 2013). Therefore,the aim of this paper is to review and discuss the numerous argumentsin which the “NankaiKibun”writings should be included in the Robinsonade genre.
Itcan be correctly argued that NankaiKibun oughtto be included in the Robinsonade Genre because just like inRobinsonade, Magotaro had been snatched in torment for a period of 7good years as a castaway and only returned home in 1971 after thelong journey (Diedrich 2013). In addition to that, it is also throughthe fascinating life journey of Nankai Kibun that the historyregarding the shipwrecked survivors and victims of the sea tormentcan be ascertained (Goodman, 2013). These are therefore quite similarto the events which occurred on the seafarers from the life of theRobinson Crusoe which emerged from the passion of discovery (Diedrich2013). There are numerous interesting points of perceptions and ideaswhich are similar in both the Robinson Crusoe and the Nankai Kibun.This is therefore clear evidence that Nankai Kibun ought to beincluded in Robinsonade.
Becauseof strict prohibition against Christianity, the government at thetime carried out thorough investigations regarding the experiences ofthe survivors in the shipwrecks who had returned to Japan. Indeed,the information that had been brought to Japan by the survivorsduring most of the closed door times became valuable to the reportswhich were made by prominent scholars. The survivors were thereforeprohibited from speaking freely regarding their experiences abroad.The experiences of such survivors attracted the great attention ofthe local progressive intellectuals and scholars who had earlier owncirculated such accounts in manuscripts like the Magotaro account.
Itcan be argued genuinely that Nankai Kibun could be included in theRobinson Genre because Magotaro was finally able to overcome thechallenges he faced after returning to Karatomari, his hometowndespite the fact that he had been detained seven years ago at the ageof 21 years (Goodman, 2013). It also qualifies to be included in theRobinsonade because it is a story in which one character who hadlimited resources was capable of surviving on a far desert land(Diedrich 2013). Indeed, Nankai Kibun has characteristics which arecapable of employing a “common set of motifs” in a very similarmanner. Nankai Kibun can be included in the Robinsonade because themain character in the published work, Magotaro, was able to discoverthe plans which God had for him and therefore learnt to comprehendhow his own personal experiences was able to fit into a story whichwas even larger (Diedrich 2013). In addition to that, havingcomprehended himself, the character (Magotaro) was able to r tell hislife stories through the use of the basic structure he which a commonprinciple of scriptural paradigms and spiritual autobiography wereused (Goodman, 2013).
Justlike in a majority of the Robinsonade episodes, the Nankai Kibun alsohas the experience of the shipwreck which tends to be based on a setof meanings which are quite common (Goodman, 2013). As a result, itought to be included in the Robinsonade since there is also theisolation of characters which also have similar implications in thegenre (Diedrich 2013). Indeed, Nankai Kibun makes a good connectionwith uncorrupted and pure language which existed in the paradise andit points to evidence that the major character in the test was ableto overcome or defeat worldly corruption through emerging outsuccessfully (Goodman, 2013).
Theexperiences that Magotaro underwent are not only generally recountedin a literary manner but they are also recounted in a documentaryperspective or style. The “NankaiKibun” or“An Account of a Journey to the South Seas” is the most vitalbecause it comprises of an interview that was conducted on Magotaroduring his old age.
Asif that is not enough, Nankai Kibun ought to be included in theRobinsonade because apart from being written by the male author, thetext is also a story of a male shipwrecked (Diedrich 2013). The textis also a genre which is highly gendered in masculine terms becauseit articulates the story of a “male hero’s” fight in order tosurvive in a way which at first seems to be hostile but which caneventually be mastered (Wood, 2009).
Magotaro,also known as the “Magoshichi” is a Japanese adventurer was oneof the people who were on the wrecked ship comprising of twenty onecrew members that was blown off course. Despite having been robbed oftheir belongings by the more than 100 natives on a big island,Magotaro lived to tell the story. The problems that Magotarounderwent therefore make this text to be categorized as being a“Robinsonade Genre”.
Justlike in the Robinsonade genre, the Nankai Kibun fits in this genrebecause it is also a novel regarding a castaway who is known to spendyears living in a desert located far away from their homeland for aperiod of 7 years under foreign masters. Just like in the Robinsonadein which a white protagonist gets the shipwrecked on the desert landand eventually brings some form of civilization on the untamed andsavage land, the same happens in the Nankai Kibun because Magotaroalso returns home after a long journeying. But however, his rivetingjourney finally brought the records of “the colour ocean”(Diedrich 2013). It was due to the Japanese and Dutch culture thatMagotaro was also able to copy some of the positive aspects that weretransferred to his homeland (Goodman, 2013). Just line in theRobinsonade, Nankai Kibun’s author also established up a particularset of conventions which were aimed at satisfying the expectations ofthe reader. The conventions were indeed established in a vital stageduring the evolution of the 18thCentury novel as being both a clearly identifiable and respectedliterary genre (Diedrich 2013). Nankai Kibun also needs to beincluded in the Robinsonade because it also has some journeyingportions which tend to be not only aimless but also governed throughchance while the spiritual and development and protagonist psychologyusually happened in a situation which was fairly static in the story(Home, 2011).
Inconclusion, it can be genuinely ascertained that due to the abovecharacteristics, the Nankai Kibun ought to be included in theRobinsonade. The characteristics or qualities that the text containsare a reminiscent of the qualities which are found in the Robinsonadeand thus there is no doubt as to whether it should be included. TheNankai Kibun ought to be included in the Robinsonade because it isalso an adventure fiction in which a hero becomes stranded alone andtherefore has to try all means possible in order to survive.
Diedrich,J. (2013). TheMotif of Robinsonade in ‘Lord of the Flies’. NewYork: GRIN Verlag.
Goodman,G. (2013). Japanand the Dutch 1600-1853. NewYork: Routledge.
Home,J. (2011). Historyand the Construction of the Child in Early British ChildrenLiterature. NewYork: Ashgate.
Wood,M. (2009). LiterarySubjects Adrift…NewYork: ProQuest.