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Shiina Rinzo: imaging hope and despair in occupation Japan

Williams, M. (2003) Shiina Rinzo: imaging hope and despair in occupation Japan. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 66 (3). pp. 442-455. ISSN 1474-0699

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Abstract

With defeat in the Pacific War in 1945, the very notion of ‘community’ (as described by Benedict Anderson) in Japan was under threat, the future of the nation dependent, as never before, on the response of the international community. Viewed in a different light, however, the slate was clean—the possibilities, indeed the need, for revised terms of reference for this ‘imagined community’ now of paramount importance.

The ensuing attempts to define the parameters of the emerging national identity were far-reaching and multi-faceted, seeking as they did to encompass the memories of loss and devastation through the realm of everyday culture as well as through political discourse. The focus of this paper will be on the contribution to this radical reassessment of the relationship between the nation and the individual made by the group of authors collectively known as the Sengoha (après guerre literary coterie). More specifically, I shall be examining the novellas, Shin'ya no shuen (The midnight banquet, 1947) and Eien naru josho (The eternal preface, 1948), two early texts by the author, Shiina Rinzo, arguably the most representative Sengoha writer, for evidence of the extent to which this literature helped to shape and modify the ‘imagined community’ of Japan.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2003
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Modern Languages and Cultures (Leeds) > East Asian Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Assistant
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2014 07:50
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0041977X03000314
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0041977X03000314
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1273

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