MAMA YUME : ママ夢 : Mother Dreams



Green, Emily

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This thesis is an attempt to explore myth, memory, ghosts, and dreams through both traditional Japanese forms and contemporary free verse. Ancient Japanese believed that the dream space was a shared world, one where two lovers could meet without scrutiny. So Ono no Komachi went to her beloved “traveling the path of dreams.” This thesis longs perhaps for loves of a different kind. Through dream I return to a homeland I am separated from physically, and one that I am also separated from by time. The Japan of my childhood grows fainter and so I cling to my mother’s recollections of Japan. Once, when my mother and I were discussing how we had lived in the U.S. for over twenty years, my mother sighed. “It’s been like a dream,” she told me. As if when she awoke she would be in Japan, and nothing would have changed from the year we left it in. All her favorite izakayas would still be open, her favorite singers still popular. I had wondered then what that meant for me, for the whole life I’ve lived here. I wonder now if I am a part of the dream my mother is having, and what will happen to me when she wakes. For now, this collection is our shared dreaming. This book is an amalgamation of the memories, dreams, and ghosts of myself, my mother, my grandmother, and all my matrilineal ancestors.


This thesis has been embargoed for 10 years. It will not be available until April 2031 at the earliest.


Dreamscape, Haibun, Haiku, Matrilineal, Japan, Longing