Skip to main content

Motochika Kusaka - ePortfolio

I have recently completed my Ph.D at the University of Warwick, prefer to be called JA.


About My Research

Department: English and Comparative Literary Studies

Supervisor: Professor Neil Lazarus / Dr. Rashmi Varma 

Research topic/interests: Ethnicity, Nationhood, and Hunger in Nigerian Civil War literature
My thesis examines the representation of community-consciousness in Nigerian novels set in or written around the time of the Nigerian Civil War. In this war the problems with post-independence Nigeria, especially ethnic rivalry, were vividly materialised. The fact that a number of young generation writers have recently chosen to set their works of fiction against the backdrop of the war testifies to the persistence of the problems of national unity and ethnic affiliation. It also makes us aware of the importance of reconsidering Nigerian writers' historical understanding of the war today at a moment of transition, when Nigeria is seeing an alternation of generations and there are fewer and fewer people alive in the country with any first-hand experience of this war. This thesis deals with five writers whose works date variously from the time of the war itself to the present – Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Ben Okri, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Although the communities "imagined" in the works by these five writers are very different, they all register the problem of "belonging" and foreground the problem of representation: who, in their ethnically diverse country, does their writing represent? In this thesis the topic of hunger provides a lens onto questions concerning community, political power relationships, and identity. The civil war is notorious for having caused man-made famine on an unprecedented scale. There is almost always a hunger scene in the novels examined in this thesis. This thesis proposes that the writers under review present ideas of belonging to reconceptualise and overcome the controversial relationship between national unity and ethnic affiliation. These writers concern themselves with the troubles caused by ethnic fragmentation, and we can see both problems and possibilities in their identification with what they claim to be their communities.



ASSEC funding for the research trip to the U.S. in 2008

Warwick International Office Japan Postgraduate Award in 2005


Brief CV

2005-2010: Ph.D in Nigerian literature at the University of Warwick

2002-2005: Ph.D course candidate at the University of Tokyo

1999-2002: MA in African literature (on Nadine Gordimer) at the University of Tokyo

1995-1999: BA in English literature (on Kazuo Ishiguro) at the University of Tokyo


March 2001: Advanced teaching certificate (English) for secondary school, at the University of Tokyo

March 1999: First-class teaching certificate (English) for secondary school, at the University of Tokyo



"Narrative Writes Back: Space Creation by Narratives in André Brink's A Dry White Season." Komaba Journal of Area Studies. vol. 7. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 2003.



3rd July, 2010: "Reconsidering 'Transnationality': A Study of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun," in the panel "Transatlantic Movements and Memories" at "What Postcolonial Theory Doesn't Say" conference, University of York

20th May, 2009: "Writing History with His Right Hand: Retrieval of History in Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God,"at the "Perceptions of the Past" conference, University of Nottingham

28th December, 2008: "Hunger, War, and Communal Bonds in Ken Saro-Wiwa's Sozaboy," in the panel "Food and Hunger as Literary Expression" at the 124th MLA annual conference in San Francisco

26th September, 2008: "Being Simultaneously Local and Cosmopolitan: Ben Okri's Understanding of History in The Famished Road" at the "After Empire" conference, at the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, University of Leeds


Also made presentations at the Postgraduate Annual Symposiums (May 2006 and 2007) at Warwick.


Other Academic Experience

May 2007: Organiser of the Postgraduate Annual Deparmental Symposium 2007 at Warwick.

April – September 2005: Organiser of the reading group "Reading Raymond Williams' Culture and Society" at Tokyo University.


Teaching Experience

4th March 2009: Visited three local schools in the Midlands on the "Teach First" programme. Encouraged Year 9-11 pupils to think about going to university and setting their daily goal to achieve that by talking about university life.

March-June 2009: Student tutoring in English at the Westwood School on the Warwick University Volunteers scheme.

April 2003 – September 2005: TA of English 1 at the University of Tokyo.

September 2004 – March 2005: TA of an English language module at the University of Tokyo.

April 2004 – September 2004: TA of a Romantic poetry reading module at the University of Tokyo.


Interpreting Work

25th to 28th September, 2007, at the University of Warwick: I worked with Professor Geetha Balakrishnan at Physics department. She invited a Japanese engineer from Canon to set up a crystal-making machine in her laboratory.

6th to 10th February, 2007, at Leamington Spa: I worked with Professor Richard Beacham, Director of the Visualisation Lab at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at Kings College, London. He and his team worked with a visiting Japanese Noh dancer, Akira Matsui, as part of an AHRC funded research project.

11th to 24th June, 2006, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre: I worked as an interpreter and facilitator of the RSC and Ninagawa Company. Ninagagawa Company was invited to Stratford-upon-Avon to perform Titus Andronicus in collaboration with the RSC, which was one of the programmes of the RSC Complete Works.



Warwick Oxfam team member since 2007.



Contact Me

My Email Address