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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #106: July 24, 2003

The Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: The Journal of Japanese Studies: Winter 2002, Vol. 28, No. 1


"Now We Show It All!"
Normalization and the Management of Violence in Japan's Armed Forces

Based on a diverse set of sources, the authors argue that since the end of the cold war the SDF has begun to use a complex set of strategies to actively address its problematic status in contemporary Japanese society and to manage its connection to organized violence in new ways. These strategies range from details of language and uniforms to aspects of body comportment; the control, regulation, and aesthetization of information about the SDF for public consumption; policies related to recruitment; the creation of an organizational history; activities that project intimacy and similarity with civil society by consciously adopting roles that do not pertain to the use of organized violence; attempts at linking the SDF to international efforts of good will; and the cultivation of multiple ties to the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Gender of Nationalism: Competing Masculinities in Meiji Japan
This essay examines gender symbolism in competing representations of nationalism in Meiji Japan. Through an analysis of contesting images of masculinity, it reveals how questions of national identity were articulated in the idiom of gender. In response to the perceived threat of the feminization of culture represented by the intensification of consumption, fashion, and artifice, a vigorous masculinity asserted itself that rejected Western materialism and instead extolled notions of primitivism, national spirit, and imperialism. These two opposing representations of masculinity, a "masculinized" and "feminized" masculinity, each constituted differing responses to the problem of modernity.

Nakano Shigeharu's "Goshaku no sake"
"Goshaku no sake" (Five cups of sake, 1947) was the first postwar literary work by Nakano Shigeharu, a communist writer whose critical stance toward the imperial institution was well known. The work attracted attention because it was expected to tell the reader how Nakano would grapple with the question of the symbolic emperor in the postwar democratic system. The dominant autobiographical reading tended to reduce the text's message to a simple matter of left-and-right politics. This essay tries to offer a different reading by focusing on the subtle and complex layering of political and emotional responses underlying the narrator's attitude. This new reading throws into relief the narrator's broadly moral concerns transcending partisan politics, which in turn enriches our view of the Japanese postwar experience and the narrator-author's position in it.

Images of Repose and Violence in Three Japanese Writers
Images of repose and violence suffused the writings of Kawabata Yasunari, Shiga Naoya, and Yasuda Yojūrō in the 1920s and 1930s. In a time of political and cultural crisis, they shared a yearning for "fascistic" moments of aesthetic wholeness tinged with violence. Such images were born not from explicitly political or tendentious motivations, but largely from aesthetic concerns. In this way they partook of a language of politics, for though fascism most conspicuously appears in the political realm, its promise of salvation is made aesthetically, not only in mass cultural products but also in the most rarified of literary texts.

Volume 28, Number 1 (Winter 2002)
©2002 Society for Japanese Studies

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