Is the ‘Post-’ in Postwar the ‘Post-’ in Postmodern?: Rethinking Japan’s Modernity in Works of Murakami Haruki

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Chiaki Takagi (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: In modern Japanese history, the postwar experience has often been depicted as a story of war victims’ endeavors to rebuild the nation from the ashes. “Sengo” (postwar) is considered a new history as if the nuclear bomb had completely eliminated the preceding period from the chronological table. “Sengo” is an ambiguous period with no clear end date (if it has ended). It is actually a signifier that produces a convenient legitimacy for Japan to claim a new history and ignore the painful memories of the people who fought the war for the nation. By the late 1960s, people’s hard work was rewarded with the proud middle class identity, the high standard of living (with television sets, refrigerators and washing machines), and an illusion of freedom based on democracy. In reality, however, postwar Japan is a highly controlled society in which those who were once committed to die for the emperor were transformed into “salary men” who would die for the nation’s economy.

Additional Information

Virginia Review of Asian Studies (VRAS) 12 (2010): 39-65.
Language: English
Date: 2010
Cultural studies, Japan, Modernity, Post-World War II, Imperialism, Post-colonial, Murakami Haruki

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