The aim of this study is to explore the icons Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders used in Haruki Murakami’s novel Kafka on the Shore in the context of postcolonialism and reveal the influence of the cultural imperialism of the West. In addition, in this study it is attempted to explore Murakami’s portrayal of the western elements and his depiction of cats as metaphors of voiceless ethnic minorities in Japan. To prevent the domination and hegemony of the West, Japan has been forced to adopt Western modernity causing self-colonialism of the country and act like hegemonic West towards the other Eastern countries becoming an imperialist power after a while. Haruki Murakami subverts the cultural stereotypes that misrepresent, the Other objectively, as argued in Orientalist tradition. In addition, his unique style might be resulted from his double consciousness of culture and his own “hybridity” while his writing reveals contemporary Japanese culture. Moreover his writing reveals contemporary Japanese culture, emphasizing the abundance of Americanized commodities in Japan. Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders characters in the novel symbolize the modernist and capitalist mindset in the Post war period. The civilized and elite image of Johnnie Walker is deconstructed to illustrate how the western concepts of modernism and civilization could be destructive. The respected elderly image of Colonel Sanders is also reversed by his selling call-girls which makes human a comodity. Slaughter of the cats by the character Johnnie Walker reminds the subaltern subjects or ethnic minorities who do not possess language to express their pain. In the novel, the modern and civilized symbols of the West are violated while revealing Japan’s exposition to American popular culture.


Postcolonialism, Ethnic Minorities, Self-Colonialism, Modernism, Subaltern

Author : Aytemis DEPCİ - Hüseyin Can ERKİN
Number of pages: 419-429
Full text:
The Journal of Academic Social Science Studies
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