The Victim As Hero: Ideologies of Peace and National Identity in Postwar Japan

University of Hawaii Press, 2001 - 271 ページ
This is the first systematic, historical inquiry into the emergence of victim consciousness (higaisha ishiki) as an essential component of Japanese pacifist national identity after World War II. In his meticulously crafted narrative and analysis, the author reveals how postwar Japanese elites and American occupying authorities collaborated to structure the parameters of remembrance of the war, including the notion that the emperor and his people had been betrayed and duped by militarists. He goes on to explain the Japanese reliance on victim consciousness through a discussion of the ban-the-bomb movement of the mid-1950s, which raised the prominence of Hiroshima as an archetype of war victimhood and brought about the selective focus on Japanese war victimhood; the political strategies of three self-defined war victim groups (A-bomb victims, repatriates, and dispossessed landlords) to gain state compensation and hence valorization of their war victim experiences; shifting textbook narratives that reflected contemporary attitudes and structured future generations' understanding of the war; and three classic antiwar novels and films that contributed to the shaping of a sentimental humanism that continues to leave a strong imprint on the collective Japanese conscience.


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Victims Victimizers and Mythology
Leaders and Victims Personal War Responsibility During the Occupation
Hiroshima and Yuiitsu no hihakukoku Atomic Victimhood in the Antinuclear Peace Movement
Educating a PeaceLoving People Narratives of War in Postwar Textbooks
Sentimental Humanism The Victim in Novels and Film
Compensating Victims The Politics of Victimhood
Beyond the Postwar

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39 ページ - Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives.
18 ページ - There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest...
188 ページ - The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.
181 ページ - We demand the outlawing of atomic weapons as instruments of intimidation and mass murder of peoples. We demand strict international control to enforce this measure. "We believe that any government which first uses atomic weapons against any other country whatsoever will be committing a crime against humanity and should be dealt with as a war criminal. "We call on all men and women of good will throughout the world to sign this appeal.
181 ページ - We demand the absolute banning of the atomic weapon, an arm of terror and of mass extermination of populations.
75 ページ - Students, teachers, educational officials, and public will be informed of the objectives and policies of the occupation, of the theory and practices of representative government, and of the part played by militaristic leaders, their active collaborators, and those who by passive acquiescence committed the nation to war with the inevitable result of defeat, distress, and the present deplorable state of the Japanese people.
19 ページ - ... shackles of militarism, of feudalism, of regimentation of body and soul, have been removed. Thought control and the abuse of education are no more. All now enjoy religious freedom and the right of speech without undue restraint. Free assembly is guaranteed. The removal of this national enslavement means freedom for the people, but at the same time it imposes upon them the individual duty to think and to act each on his own initiative.
19 ページ - It permeated and controlled not only all branches of government but all branches of life — physical, mental and spiritual. It was interwoven not only into all government process but into all phases of daily routine. It was not only the essence but the actual warp and woof of Japanese existence. Control was exercised by a feudalistic overlordship of a mere fraction of the population, while the remaining seventy million, with a few enlightened exceptions, were abject slaves to tradition, legend,...
130 ページ - School Volunteer Unit." On their way to the steel factory, and on their way home again, they marched together, singing in chorus as they went: A rifle in your hand, a hammer in mine — But the road into battle is one, and no more. To die for our country's a mission divine For the boys and the girls of the volunteer corps!
226 ページ - ... puffing out its cheeks . . . taking deep breaths . . . [and] moving its eyelids," but which on closer inspection could be seen to harbor no other life than worms whose movements had created these illusions. Yasuko's diary reveals her to have been consistently aware of horror and suffering ("Hiroshima is a burnt-out city, a city of ashes, a city of death, a city of destruction, with heaps of corpses a mute protest against the inhumanity of war...