Kobayashi Masaomi

写真a

Title

Associate Professor

Researcher Number(JSPS Kakenhi)

30404552

Current Affiliation Organization 【 display / non-display

  • Duty   University of the Ryukyus   Faculty of Education   Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Training Program   Associate Professor  

External Career 【 display / non-display

  • 2005.04
     
     

    University of the Ryukyus, Faculty of Education, English Education, Associate Professor  

Affiliated academic organizations 【 display / non-display

  • 1998.04
    -
    Now
     

    The American Literature Society of Japan 

  • 2005.10
    -
    Now
     

    Foreign Language and Literature Society of Okinawa 

  • 2014.04
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    Now
     

    English Literary Society of Japan 

Research Interests 【 display / non-display

  • 米文学,批評理論

Research Areas 【 display / non-display

  • Humanities & Social Sciences / European literature

Research Theme 【 display / non-display

  • Office Fiction Studies

  • Posthuman Studies

Published Papers 【 display / non-display

  • The Will to Matter: Captain Ahab, the Cyborg

    Masaomi Kobayashi

    Studies in English Literature ( 日本英文学会 )  61   21 - 35   2020.03 [ Peer Review Accepted ]

    Type of publication: Research paper (scientific journal)

     View Summary

    The present study aims to cast fresh light on the cyborg-fiction aspects of Herman Melville’s 1851 classic, Moby-Dick. In so doing, it presents the novel as archetypal of cyborg fiction featuring those with artificial limbs. A specific focus is placed on the will-to-matter embodied by Captain Ahab. His prosthetic leg made of a whalebone has more often than not been viewed as an external manifestation of his monomaniacal nature. While his hostile challenge to the white whale as an inscrutable object demonstrates how emotionally-driven he has become since his last voyage, it is an idiosyncratic challenge to the longstanding domination of spirit over matter. When it comes to this complex figure with an acute consciousness of the inorganic part of his organic body, overemphasizing the power of spirit leads to deemphasizing the will to matter. Ahab’s human battle with the great white whale is closely associated with his posthuman/transhuman desire for self-enhancement. This paradoxical desire finds expression in his cyborg manifesto in which he envisions himself as a complete man—an augmented being with an enlarged brain but no heart. Ahab’s body—both disabled and imagined—is thus suggestive of how deeply humanity is interwoven with technology. His will-to-matter that exemplifies humanity-as-technology manifests itself finally in the Pequod. If Ahab is a cyborg, this whaleship is also a cyborg as an amplified projection of himself. Among the most central subjects in cyborg fiction is the transcendence of the limits of corporeality, and Ahab meets his fate when he attempts to immortalize himself by becoming something other than himself, something of an Ahab. This other-directedness is where the cyborg diverges from other posthuman/transhuman entities. The cyborg is not an autonomous being, and neither is Ahab. Moby-Dick is ultimately about his fatal journey to live immortally as the other.

  • Bartlebys: Gothicizing Office Fiction

    Masaomi Kobayashi

    Palgrave Communications ( Palgrave Macmillan )  4   1 - 6   2018.11 [ Peer Review Accepted ]

    Type of publication: Research paper (scientific journal)

     View Summary

    Gothic fiction is in essence about the power of place, particularly of house. If this obsessive focus on the house is found in other genres of fiction, Gothic fiction can certainly expand its realm of representation; namely, the extensive capacity of this genre can be illustrated by unveiling the Gothic nature of the seemingly non-Gothic. Herein lies why special attention is given to the office as an idiosyncratic kind of house in office fiction: fiction featuring such characters as clerks, civil servants, and company employees. In Gothicizing office fiction, Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street” draws parallels with Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.” These classics of nongenre fiction have hardly been considered the classics of office fiction. The primary emphasis of this study is on the international kinship between Melville’s Bartleby and Kafka’s Samsa: Bartleby’s occupation of the law office turns the place into a house, and Samsa’s transformation into the monstrous vermin turns his apartment into an office. These dual settings render each protagonist uncanny and ghostly. The discovery of parallels between the protagonists who embody work-life integration stems from incorporating not only elements typical of the Gothic, such as supernatural happenings and closed-room settings, but also other elements, especially work-life balance. This focus on work-life issues allows an exploration of another classic office-fiction story about an Asian Bartleby. Thus, cultivating an environment in which Bartleby’s transnational cousins are rediscovered as Bartlebys lends itself to extending the scope of the Gothic. After all, Gothic fiction is an expanding universe in which the walls come tumbling down between office and house, between work and life, and even between the Gothic and the non-Gothic. The findings of this study highlight how every sphere of life, including work life, is potentially Gothicized.

  • Do the Electric Things Have Their Lives, Too? Philip K. Dick on Post-Humanity

    Masaomi Kobayashi

    American Research Journal of English and Literature ( American Research Journals )  5 ( 1 ) 1 - 11   2019.08 [ Peer Review Accepted ]

    Type of publication: Research paper (scientific journal)

     View Summary

    What does it mean to be human? In his best-known novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick addresses this fundamental question through drawing parallels between natural and artificial beings. While conceiving humanity in relation to technology as an integral part of the posthuman condition embodied in human-machine relations, the novel sets in perspective the post-human condition under which post-modern technology actualizes viable machine-machine relations. Special attention is thus paid to the android characters, possibly including the bounty hunter protagonist, mass-produced by high-tech corporations as post-modern Prometheuses. With in mind the novel’s film adaptations that underscore its post-human aspects such as corporate personhood, this study affords insights into the author’s science fiction not only by providing an exploration of humanity, but also by expanding the universe of discourse of post-humanity

  • Bartlebys Diversified: Miss Lonelyhearts and Office Fiction

    Masaomi Kobayashi

    The Journal of the American Literature Society of Japan ( 日本アメリカ文学会 )  14   39 - 55   2016.03

    Type of publication: Research paper (scientific journal)

  • What Is the Man of the Crowd? His Prefiguration

    Masaomi Kobayashi

    九州英文学研究 ( 日本英文学会 )  ( 35 ) 1 - 9   2018.01 [ Peer Review Accepted ]

    Type of publication: Research paper (scientific journal)

     View Summary

    The present study provides an exploration of Poe’s 1840 story, “The Man of the Crowd,” not by relying on the long-held view of the title character as the flâneur—the voyeuristic idler/stroller originally from mid-1830s Paris—but by answering an as-yet unasked question, “What—not who—is the man of the crowd?” This London-set semi-detective story is primarily characterized by its realistic reference to the street crowd as those with different jobs, and its most detailed description of clerks serves as a text within the text. Poe’s special interest in those office workers is thus addressed in close relation to Melville’s New York story, “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street.” Drawing specific parallels between their protagonists reveals the man of the crowd as a literary cousin of Bartleby. The man’s looks, behavior, and sense of locality furnish the key to the question of what he is or what he used to be. Of equal import is that the narrator as an obsessive reader of the crowd overlaps with the dead letter clerk who detects the identity of the sender from an undeliverable letter. Given both the narrator’s attention like an epistolary detective’s and his subject’s action like an ex-dead letter clerk’s, “The Man of the Crowd” can be conceived as an earlier story relevant to the creation of Bartleby—Bartleby not at the law office but at the Dead Letter Office. Through this extension made backward, not forward (which is the usual direction in diversifying Bartleby), Poe’s main characters, including C. Auguste Dupin, are rediscovered as transatlantic and prototypic figures of Bartleby. Overall, an attempt is made to throw fresh light upon office fiction featuring office-worker characters as Bartlebys.

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Books 【 display / non-display

Academic Awards 【 display / non-display

  • Professor of the Year

    2014   University of the Ryukyus  

Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research 【 display / non-display

  • Ahabs, or Aspects of the Posthuman

    Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research(C)

    Project Year: 2020.04  -   

    Investigator(s): Masaomi Kobayashi 

    Direct: 1,300,000 (YEN)  Overheads: 390,000 (YEN)  Total: 1,690,000 (YEN)

     View Summary

    This research project aims at: ・Discovering a variety of posthuman characteristics of Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick. ・Exploring a variety of American fiction and films featuring posthuman characters as Ahabs. ・Offering a variety of possibilities for future studies in posthuman discourse.

  • Bartlebys, or Aspects of Office Fiction

    Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research(C)

    Project Year: 2016  -  2020.03 

    Investigator(s): Masaomi Kobayashi 

    Direct: 1,600,000 (YEN)  Overheads: 480,000 (YEN)  Total: 2,080,000 (YEN)

SDGs 【 display / non-display

  • 仕事小説研究