Persistently Postwar – Media and the Politics of Memory in Japan
From melodramas to experimental documentaries to anime, mass media in Japan constitute a key site in which the nation’s social memory is articulated, disseminated and contested. Through a series of stimulating case studies, this volume examines the political and cultural representations of Japan’s past, showing how they have reinforced personal and collective narratives while also formulating new cultural meanings, both on a local scale and in the context of transnational media production and consumption. Drawing upon diverse disciplinary insights and methodologies, these studies collectively offer a nuanced account in which mass media function as much more than a simple ideological tool.
To highlight if, and how, The Emperor in August differs from other war films, this chapter outlines some twenty‐first century developments in this genre, aiming to work out how the collective memory of the war in Japan continues to be forged and how the resulting narratives affect each other. It provides some background on war memory in Japan during the summer of 2015, in order to underscore the political atmosphere at that time. The fact that the Emperor was not tried as a war criminal by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, Douglas MacArthur, splits Japan neatly along the lines of “progressives” and “conservatives”. The Emperor in August allows its audiences to look at the story behind the ever present voice. The chapter discusses The Emperor in August , particularly referencing the role of Emperor Hirohito, as his potential involvement in the war has sparked so much controversy in the postwar period.
Japan is often blamed for not coming to terms with its own wartime past and for focusing solely on its role as a victim of the war. Germany, however, is often seen as the model that Japan has to emulate, having penitently accepted responsibility. Thus, in order to work out how these popular myths are being perpetuated, the media prove to be a good source of information, since they help to uphold memory and myth at the same time. In this paper, it will be examined how the “memory” of the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima is being upheld in Japan and Germany 蜢 and what kinds of “myths” are being created in the process. In focusing on two TV dramas, it shall be worked out to what extent Japan and Germany are represented as “victims” and to what extent, if at all, the issue of war responsibility features in these dramas.
Work and masculinity are inextricably linked in post-war Japan. Although the employment system has changed in the last 20 years it appears that social attitudes of what men should do and be are changing at a slower pace. Men and women of varied ages continue to stress that men should be responsible breadwinners, husbands and fathers. Male freeters, many of whom are attempting to pursue and create alternative lifestyles, are often unable and unwilling to fill this normative role. This paper explores how male freeters negotiate dominant discourses of work, masculinity and maturity in their attempts to create alternative lifestyles whilst simultaneously expecting to fail. Furthermore, it argues for a deeper analysis of women’s effects on the construction of masculinities in Japan.
Word and Image in Japanese Cinema examines the complex relationship between the temporal order of linguistic narrative and the spatiality of visual spectacle, a dynamic that has played an important role in much of Japanese film. The tension between the controlling order of words and the liberating fragmentation of images has been an important force that has shaped modern culture in Japan and that has also determined the evolution of its cinema. In exploring the rift between word and image, the essays in this volume clarify the cultural imperatives that Japanese cinema reflects, as well as the ways in which the dialectic of word and image has informed the understanding and critical reception of Japanese cinema in the West.
Upon its U.S. release in the mid 1990s Ghost in the Shell , directed by Mamoru Oshii, quickly became one of the most popular Japanese animated films, or anime, in the country. Despite these accolades, Oshii is known as a contrarian within anime, a self-proclaimed 'stray dog', avoiding the limelight in favour of his own personal cinematic vision. He cannot be pigeon-holed, working in both live-action film and animation, directing everything from absurdist comedy to thrillers to meditations on the nature of reality. Stray Dog of Anime is the first book to take an in-depth look at Oshii's major films, form his early days working on Urusei Yatsura to Avalon , his most recent feature. Ruh details Oshii's evolution as a director, paying special attention to his personal style and symbolism, resulting in a unique guide that will appeal to anime fans and cinestes of all kinds.
What accounts for the massive global popularity of action films and adventure literature? How do men and women respond to iconic screen stars such as Jackie Chan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve McQueen, and Charlton Heston? Action genres have been Hollywood's most profitable global exports for most of its history, their male heroes the subject of much fascination and derision. Bestselling literary thrillers, from The Hunt for Red October to Into Thin Air, have also contributed markedly to popular understandings of male activity. Action Figures takes stock of action narratives' many appeals and recognizes how contemporary crises of gender identity manifest themselves in popular commercial texts.
Following World War II, Japan's postwar constitution forbade the country to wage war or create an army. However, with the emergence of the cold war in the 1950s, Japan was urged to establish the Self-Defense Forces as a way to bolster Western defenses against the tide of Asian communism. Although the SDF's role is supposedly limited to self-defense, Japan's armed forces are equipped with advanced weapons technology and the world's third-largest military budget. Sabine Frühstück draws on interviews, historical research, and analysis to describe the unusual case of a non-war-making military. As the first scholar permitted to participate in basic SDF training, she offers a firsthand look at an army trained for combat that nevertheless serves nontraditional military needs.
This history of Japanese mass culture during the decades preceding Pearl Harbor argues that the new gestures, relationship, and humor of ero-guro-nansensu (erotic grotesque nonsense) expressed a self-consciously modern ethos that challenged state ideology and expansionism. Miriam Silverberg uses sources such as movie magazines, ethnographies of the homeless, and the most famous photographs from this era to capture the spirit, textures, and language of a time when the media reached all classes, connecting the rural social order to urban mores. Employing the concept of montage as a metaphor that informed the organization of Japanese mass culture during the 1920s and 1930s, Silverberg challenges the erasure of Japanese colonialism and its legacies. She evokes vivid images from daily life during the 1920s and 1930s, including details about food, housing, fashion, modes of popular entertainment, and attitudes toward sexuality. Her innovative study demonstrates how new public spaces, new relationships within the family, and an ironic sensibility expressed the attitude of Japanese consumers who identified with the modern as providing a cosmopolitan break from tradition at the same time that they mobilized for war.
Now in its fourth edition, An Introduction to Japanese Society remains essential reading for students of Japanese society. Internationally renowned scholar Yoshio Sugimoto uses both English and Japanese sources to update and expand upon his original narrative in this sophisticated yet highly readable text. This book explores the breadth and diversity of Japanese society, with chapters covering class, geographical and generational variation, work, education, gender, minorities, popular culture and the establishment. Updates include an exploration of the ‘Cool Japan’ phenomenon and the explosion of Japanese culture overseas. This edition also features the latest research into Japanese society, updated statistical data, and coverage of recent events including the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the change in government. Written in a clear and engaging style, An Introduction to Japanese Society provides an insight into all aspects of a diverse and ever-evolving contemporary Japan.
Our narratives of postwar Japan have long been cast in terms almost synonymous with the story of rapid economic growth. Scott O'Bryan reinterprets this seemingly familiar history through an innovative exploration, not of the anatomy of growth itself, but of the history of growth as a set of discourses by which Japanese "growth performance" as "economic miracle" came to be articulated. The premise of his work is simple: To our understandings of the material changes that took place in Japan during the second half of the twentieth century we must also add perspectives that account for growth as a new idea around the world, one that emerged alongside rapid economic expansion in postwar Japan and underwrote the modes by which it was imagined, forecast, pursued, and regulated. In an accessible, lively style, O'Bryan traces the history of growth as an object of social scientific knowledge and as a new analytical paradigm that came to govern the terms by which Japanese understood their national purposes and imagined a newly materialist vision of social and individual prosperity. Several intersecting obsessions worked together after the war to create an agenda of social reform through rapid macroeconomic increase. Epistemological developments within social science provided the conceptual instruments by which technocrats gave birth to a shared lexicon of growth. Meanwhile, reformers combined prewar Marxist critiques with new modes of macroeconomic understanding to mobilize long-standing fears of overpopulation and "backwardness" and argue for a growthist vision of national reformation. O'Bryan also presents surprising accounts of the key role played by the ideal of full employment in national conceptions of recovery and of a new valorization of consumption in the postwar world that was taking shape. Both of these, he argues, formed critical components in a constellation of ideas that even in the context of relative poverty and uncertainty coalesced into a powerful vision of a materially prosperous future. Even as Japan became the premier icon of the growthist ideal, neither the faith in rapid growth as a prescription for national reform nor the ascendancy of social scientific epistemologies that provided its technical support was unique to Japanese experience. The Growth Idea thus helps to historicize a concept of never-ending growth that continues to undergird our most basic beliefs about the success of nations and the operations of the global economy. It is a particularly timely contribution given current imperatives to reconceive ideas of purpose and prosperity in an age of resource depletion and global warming.
Japan's Contested War Memories is an important and significant book that explores the struggles within contemporary Japanese society to come to terms with Second World War history. Focusing particularly on 1972 onwards, the period starts with the normalization of relations with China and the return of Okinawa to Japan in 1972, and ends with the sixtieth anniversary commemorations. Analyzing the variety of ways in which the Japanese people narrate, contest and interpret the past, the book is also a major critique of the way the subject has been treated in much of the English-language. Philip Seaton concludes that war history in Japan today is more divisive and widely argued over than in any of the other major Second World War combatant nations. Providing a sharp contrast to the many orthodox statements about Japanese 'ignorance', amnesia' and 'denial' about the war, this is an engaging and illuminating study that will appeal to scholars and students of Japanese history, politics, cultural studies, society and memory theory.
The author aims to understand the nature of connection between the real life and the memory of the recent past (that of the war) of the children of 1945-49, and to understand the relationship between the children's actual experiences and the current adult discourse on childhood. The author attempts to point out that, in addition to the acknowledged trauma of this time: first, indoctrination and the cruel reality of war, and later, the shock of defeat and the disastrous living conditions of the immediate post-war period, paradoxically, the children of the years 1945-49 were also victims of the measures taken to liberate them. The author illustrates two ways in which the means of actually carrying out these measures were traumatic for the children involved. The author's hypothesis is that these traumas were of major consequence in how the collective perception and memory of the war were constructed thereafter in Japan. Keywords: childhood; Japan; post-war period; trauma; war
Japanese society in the 1990s and 2000s produced a range of complicated material about sexualized schoolgirls, and few topics have caught the imagination of western observers so powerfully. While young Japanese girls had previously been portrayed as demure and obedient, in training to become the obedient wife and prudent mother, in recent years less than demure young women have become central to urban mythology and the content of culture. The cultic fascination with the figure of a deviant school girl, which has some of its earliest roots in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, likewise re-emerged and proliferated in fascinating and timely ways in the 1990s and 2000s.
How do memories of national trauma remain relevant to culture and society long after the event? Why do the memories of difficult experiences endure, and even intensify, despite people's impulse to avoid remembering a dreadful past and to move on? This book explores these questions by examining Japan's culture of defeat up to the present day. It surveys the stakes of war memory in Japan after its defeat in World War II and shows how and why defeat has become an indelible part of national collective life, especially in recent decades. Drawing on ethnographic observations and personal interviews as well as testimonials and other popular memory data since the 1980s, it probes into the heart of the divisive war memories that lie at the root of current disputes over revising Japan's pacifist constitution, remilitarization, and the escalating frictions in East Asia that have come to be known collectively as Japan's "history problem." This book examines this divisive national project, drawing on the sociological insights of cultural trauma theory and collective memory theory. Contrary to the Western stereotype that describes Japan as suffering from "collective amnesia," Japan's war memories are deeply encoded in the everyday culture and much more varied than the caricatured image suggests. The book identifies three conflicting trauma narratives in Japan's war memories-narratives of victims, perpetrators, and fallen heroes-that are motivated by the desire to heal the wounds, redress the wrongs, and restore a positive moral and national identity.
Self-esteem refers to an individual's positive and possibly negative attitude toward the self, which consists mostly of positive self-evaluation, as well as positive affection toward the self. This chapter challenges the existing universalistic view of self-esteem and the self-criticism view of self-esteem among Japanese citizens. Cross-cultural differences in self-evaluations and self-esteem, especially between Japan and North America, fit very well with the self-criticism hypothesis at the country level. However, if one takes a closer look at the individual level data and analyzes them as such, the attractiveness of the self-criticism hypothesis fades away. At the individual level, available evidence indicates that high self-esteem is associated with expectations of higher academic achievement and higher performance that are more persistent both in Japan and North America. People with high self-esteem among Japanese and North Americans also show more confidence in their social skills and initiate contacts more easily than their couterparts with low self-esteem. Furthermore, high self-esteem is strongly associated with higher expressed psychological well-being, again as in North America.
Why is it that in Japan the question of war responsibility seems to have become more acute as time passes? following the end of the cold war globally and of Liberal Democratic Party hegemony in the Diet domestically, a particularly sharp debate ensued in the media, Diet, courts, and in the national community in general. As the 1995 commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the war approached, a national consensus in favor of apology, admission of the aggressive and colonial character of the war, and compensation to the victims, gradually took shape. In reaction, a counterforce, repudiating apology and reconciliation and insisting on the absolute purity of the national cause, also emerged. The treatment of the wartime "comfort women" issue became central This paper considers considers the evolution of the Liberal View of History Study Group and the Society for the Making of New School Textbooks in History What does it mean that these groups represent themselves as "liberal" and what support do they enjoy? The paper concludes that the movement these organizations represent may be intellectually incoherent, but it possesses a considerable emotional force as the voice of a repressed nationalism, and as such deserves close attention.
1. Introduction 2. That old flag magic 3. Theorizing the flagbody 4. The totem myth 5. Death touchers and border crossers 6. Totem memory and succession 7. Refreshing the borders 8. Dismemberment and reconstruction 9. Fresh blood, Public meat 10. One size fits all 11. Epilogue Appendix 1. The flag in life: Representational politics of the Stars and Stripes David W. Ingle and Carolyn Marvin Appendix 2. Representative coding categories.
This lecture is mainly about the enduring significance of culture as an anthropological concept and the significance of its endurance among the peoples anthropologists study. It argues against the easy functionalist dismissal of the peoples' claims of cultural distinction (the so-called invention of tradition) and for the continued relevance of such distinction (the inventiveness of tradition). It also argues that the anthropological codgers such as Boas, Linton, et al., far from being guilty of all the bad things people are now saying about them, had ideas about culture that are still pertinent to the understanding of its contemporary forms and processes. But then, they had one advantage over most of us today: they had no paralysing fear of structure.
In the first full-length English-language study of the monarchy in postwar Japan, Kenneth J. Ruoff examines not only its reform during the Occupation (1945-52), but also its evolution in the decades since the Japanese regained the power to shape their monarchy and polity. In order to understand the monarchy's function in contemporary Japan, the author analyzes the role of individual emperors in shaping the institution; interpretations of the emperor's new constitutional position as symbol; the emperor's intersection with politics; the issue of the emperor's and the nation's responsibility for the war; nationalistic movements in support of cultural symbols of the monarchy; and the remaking of the once-sacrosanct throne into a "monarchy of the masses" that is embedded in the postwar culture of democracy.
Japan and the United States became close political allies so quickly after the end of World War II, that it seemed as though the two countries had easily forgotten the war they had fought. Here Yoshikuni Igarashi offers a provocative look at how Japanese postwar society struggled to understand its war loss and the resulting national trauma, even as forces within the society sought to suppress these memories. Igarashi argues that Japan's nationhood survived the war's destruction in part through a popular culture that expressed memories of loss and devastation more readily than political discourse ever could. He shows how the desire to represent the past motivated Japan's cultural productions in the first twenty-five years of the postwar period. Japanese war experiences were often described through narrative devices that downplayed the war's disruptive effects on Japan's history. Rather than treat these narratives as obstacles to historical inquiry, Igarashi reads them along with counter-narratives that attempted to register the original impact of the war. He traces the tensions between remembering and forgetting by focusing on the body as the central site for Japan's production of the past. This approach leads to fascinating discussions of such diverse topics as the use of the atomic bomb, hygiene policies under the U.S. occupation, the monstrous body of Godzilla, the first Western professional wrestling matches in Japan, the transformation of Tokyo and the athletic body for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the writer Yukio Mishima's dramatic suicide, while providing a fresh critical perspective on the war legacy of Japan.
Rashomon opens at the edge of a destroyed city and the story that unfolds is a study in the subjective experience of reality that revolves around an unsolved set of mysteries: Was the woman raped? Who killed the husband? As its director, Akira Kurosawa noted, the action takes place in the forest where the human heart goes astray; the trope of becoming morally lost in the wilderness is one that he used frequently. What happens when the ‘Rashomon technique’ is transferred to an urban setting as in the television series Boomtown, set in modern Los Angeles?