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War, soldier and nation IN 1950s Japan

Wilson, S.ORCID: 0000-0002-8341-3120 (2008) War, soldier and nation IN 1950s Japan. The International Journal of Asian Studies, 5 (2). pp. 187-218.

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The 1950s in Japan are usually considered to be marked by pacifism or a “victim consciousness” related to World War II, together with a rejection of war and of the military. Yet attention to the popular press and other sources designed to reflect and appeal to a mass audience, rather than magazines carrying debates among intellectuals, shows that throughout the 1950s the recent war was a much more dynamic issue than typically has been recognized, and that former soldiers were far from universally reviled. Connections with the war, in turn, remained an integral part of the evolving sense of nation in Japan. This article examines the vitality of the war as a major and direct theme in political, social and cultural discourse in the 1950s, focusing on soldiers' involvement in politics, issues relating to Class B and C war criminals, films about the war, and the emergence of a new cultural hero in the form of Kaji, the soldier who is the central figure in the novel and film The Human Condition.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © 2008 Cambridge University Press
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