Article

The ‘Generation of the Burnt-out Ruins’

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Abstract

This paper will present a historical overview of the yakeato generation. After investigating the occurrences of yakeato themes in contemporary Japanese literature a working definition of the yakeato generation is suggested and the paper will answer the question of whether the yakeato generation is still relevant in contemporary Japanese society. This historically pivotal Japanese generation will be analysed with general references to the criticism and literature of Oda Makoto, Nosaka Akiyuki, Ōe Kenzaburō and Ishihara Shintarō.

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Chapter
In its depiction of Korean conscripts fleeing the Japanese imperial army, Pacchigi! Love and Peace (Izutsu Kazuyuki, 2007) entered the ‘memory wars’, the ideologically crowded contest over the historical meaning of the war and the imperial project. The film was released within weeks of I Go to Die For You [Ore wa, kimi no tame ni koso shini ni iku] (Shinjō Taku, 2007) and was hyped as contesting the latter film’s representation of the war. I Go to Die For You, scripted by the then governor of Tokyo, Ishihara Shintarō, also depicted a Korean soldier, a kamikaze pilot based on Tak Kyung Hyun, who is commemorated across a number of media including the war memoirs that Ishihara adapted for the film, kamikaze memorial museums, television documentaries, and a prior film adaptation of the Torihama memoirs, Firefly (Hotaru) (Furuhata Yasuo, 2001). The means by which an economy of memory condenses around figures such as Tak, metonymically making them stand for the entire imperial project, is intimately connected to the melodramatic mode that these films operate in. The fantasy of historical reconciliation presented by Firefly cannot however displace the sense of guilty co-implication conveyed in the testimony of those burdened with the flashbacks in these films.
Chapter
This chapter sets out the time frame and key concerns of the book by comparing two very different remediations of the North Korean song Imjin River in film, Ōshima Nagisa’s 1968 film Three Resurrected Drunkards [Kaette kita yopparai], and the 2004 hit Pacchigi! (Izutsu Kazuyuki). The former film stars Kyoto-based band the Folk Crusaders, and features their controversial Japanese language cover of Imjin River, while the latter film retells the story of the ‘discovery’ of the song in 1960s Kyoto, and is scored by Katō Kazuhiko, a former member of the Folk Crusaders. The era of political ferment in the late 1960s and 1970s is returned to repeatedly in memory films such as Pacchigi. Both films act out a ‘becoming Korean’, exploring the desire to say ‘We are all Korean’, as well as the limits of that gesture. The questions of authorship and authenticity, of who has the right to represent Korean-ness, are thrown into sharp relief by the accusation, levelled at the Folk Crusaders in 1968 by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, affiliated with the DPRK, that the Japanese translation and remediation of the song Imjin River was an act of cultural appropriation. Three Resurrected Drunkards is evidence of both Ōshima’s compulsion to remediate the ‘Korean issue’ as well as his wariness of over-identifying with the issue, of structures of overt identification in film more generally. Pacchigi, while abandoning this oblique approach to representation in favour of melodramatic excess, nevertheless further explores the desire to mimic Koreanness and the limits of such Koreaphile gestures.
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of British Columbia, 2000. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 394-414). Photocopy.
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