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The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Japan

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In The Long Defeat, Akiko Hashimoto explores the stakes of war memory in Japan after its catastrophic defeat in World War II, showing how and why defeat has become an indelible part of national collective life, especially in recent decades. Divisive war memories lie at the root of the contentious politics surrounding Japan's pacifist constitution and remilitarization, and In The Long Defeat, Akiko Hashimoto explores the stakes of war memory in Japan after its catastrophic defeat in World War II, showing how and why defeat has become an indelible part of national collective life, especially in recent decades. Divisive war memories lie at the root of the contentious politics surrounding Japan's pacifist constitution and remilitarization, and fuel the escalating frictions in East Asia known collectively as Japan's "history problem." Drawing on ethnography, interviews, and a wealth of popular memory data, this book identifies three preoccupations - national belonging, healing, and justice - in Japan's discourses of defeat. Hashimoto uncovers the key war memory narratives that are shaping Japan's choices - nationalism, pacifism, or reconciliation - for addressing the rising international tensions and finally overcoming its dark history.


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In The Long Defeat, Akiko Hashimoto explores the stakes of war memory in Japan after its catastrophic defeat in World War II, showing how and why defeat has become an indelible part of national collective life, especially in recent decades. Divisive war memories lie at the root of the contentious politics surrounding Japan's pacifist constitution and remilitarization, and In The Long Defeat, Akiko Hashimoto explores the stakes of war memory in Japan after its catastrophic defeat in World War II, showing how and why defeat has become an indelible part of national collective life, especially in recent decades. Divisive war memories lie at the root of the contentious politics surrounding Japan's pacifist constitution and remilitarization, and fuel the escalating frictions in East Asia known collectively as Japan's "history problem." Drawing on ethnography, interviews, and a wealth of popular memory data, this book identifies three preoccupations - national belonging, healing, and justice - in Japan's discourses of defeat. Hashimoto uncovers the key war memory narratives that are shaping Japan's choices - nationalism, pacifism, or reconciliation - for addressing the rising international tensions and finally overcoming its dark history.

30 review for The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Japan

  1. 5 out of 5

    Harry

    I found this book extremely helpful in understanding what is happening in East Asia today. The author writes beautifully, and compared to her analysis of war memory in Japan other books on this subject seem very shallow. This is the book to read if you want to understand how ordinary Japanese people think about World War II.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melina Aguilar

    For me an introduction to the issue of cultural trauma and memory in Japan. Provides a nicely documented overview of perspectives of memory of way and way it has affected society today. The book is quiet short and engaging, at some points I wished there was more background information and further explanations of concepts and examples.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Douglas Rowland

    Original and fascinating, this is a book on Japan's Pacific War like no other. Original and fascinating, this is a book on Japan's Pacific War like no other.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Istvan Zoltan

    The book was a very good overview of Japanese attempts both of politicians and civilians to understand their role in the second world war, and since then. Hashimoto covers the main political debates between pacifists, nationalists, reconciliationists. The distinctions are someties oversimplified, but there are plenty of details and careful references so anyone can strike out and make up their own mind. Hashimoto offers very useful survey of textbooks, mainstream media products that are actually po The book was a very good overview of Japanese attempts both of politicians and civilians to understand their role in the second world war, and since then. Hashimoto covers the main political debates between pacifists, nationalists, reconciliationists. The distinctions are someties oversimplified, but there are plenty of details and careful references so anyone can strike out and make up their own mind. Hashimoto offers very useful survey of textbooks, mainstream media products that are actually popular with Japanese people living today, and of the take of the largest newspapers and TV channels on historical issues. These chapters are eminently useful and most newspaper writers would do well to read them: they show that while there are nationalists and war-crime deniers in Japan, the major part of the population is against aggression, war, and is aware of the crimes committedd by Imperial Japan, its army, its leaders, and many of its citizens. The last 30 pages of the book are in many respects the most interesting since Hashimoto reflects there on the post 2000 events up to 2014. It is too bad that she doesn't deal on more pages with the effects of Chinese and South-Korean nationalism, and the hatred against Japan stoked by Chinese and Korean (both North and South). These factors are becoming more and more important as China and both Koreas grow stronger, and make many of the earlier fears of Japanese into actual threats to Japan. Of course these factors also complicate the picture of how Japan should relate to its own role and validate that it should simply move on. Chinese and Korean citizens sadly know almost next to nothing about the current Japanese sentiments about war, and are kept in the dark by their governments (nor do they make enough efforts to look for information on their own).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cupcake FR

    This author represented the complexity I felt as a French Japanese individual. The arguments my parents would have over this subject is extremely sensitive. It was beautifully written and translated the deep suffering and hurt Japanese people still feel today. A war should be not told by the winners. It should be told by all perspectives, intern, extern and omniscient. People should be given an objective, bare and raw honesty of the war. Both sides are always, always equally to blame for the cru This author represented the complexity I felt as a French Japanese individual. The arguments my parents would have over this subject is extremely sensitive. It was beautifully written and translated the deep suffering and hurt Japanese people still feel today. A war should be not told by the winners. It should be told by all perspectives, intern, extern and omniscient. People should be given an objective, bare and raw honesty of the war. Both sides are always, always equally to blame for the cruelty that erupts. The consequences of a subjective view is hypocrisy, historical tensions in between governments and social unrest. The Japanese people still have to apologise for prostituting thousands of Asian women during the war. The United States still has to apologise for the 2 nuclear bombs they dropped and have to remove USA military camps in Japanese territory. Without an apology, people will always feel resentment, revenge. It’s dangerous for the balance of communities.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Salvatore

    Nothing revelatory in here, about Japan's psyche post-WWII and its constitutional and sociological pacifism (currently under threat by conservatives taking the reins). Some of the facts she provides help solidify what you already know, but this book doesn't go farther than that. Nothing revelatory in here, about Japan's psyche post-WWII and its constitutional and sociological pacifism (currently under threat by conservatives taking the reins). Some of the facts she provides help solidify what you already know, but this book doesn't go farther than that.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Garrett

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jared Poelman

  9. 5 out of 5

    Neveen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meriluoto Tiltu

  11. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Bard

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ellyce

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mauricio Santoro

  15. 5 out of 5

    Suphapat Sangphokaew

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Kyhn

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Arcari

  19. 4 out of 5

    ne

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  21. 4 out of 5

    Berrylibrary

  22. 5 out of 5

    IreneTzemo

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vivian Blaxell

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Grip

  26. 5 out of 5

    Braden

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chin Joo

  28. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Foster

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Watzig

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