Sounding: Roy Miki's Tokyo


  • Dougal McNeill Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui / Victoria University of Wellington


This paper tracks Roy Miki’s explorations of Tokyo across his poetic career. Reading Tokyo as a “sound city,” the paper considers the ways in which Miki deploys a kind of sonic ekphrasis, representing Tokyo by way of its noises, voices, expressions and sounds in order both to explore the city’s multifarious, energetic realities and to subvert and counter the homogenising narratives of Tokyo’s “Otherness” produced by Orientalist discourse. Miki’s soundings in Tokyo, I argue, initiate his wider project as a poet. It is in Tokyo that he is first called to negotiate his particular place as a racialized subject, and it is through his soundings of Tokyo that his own exploratory, innovative poetic project is developed.