Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Faculty of Law (School of Law), Waseda University

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Generation X: Mythologyzing the Baby Boom Workforce in Japan

I propose to examine how popular media depicts Baby Boomers’ contributions to Japan’s postwar prosperity. This interdisciplinary project combines media studies with history by acknowledging mass media, especially television, as a bona fide form of public history that warrants rigorous historiographical critique. It uses the NHK documentary series Project X (2000-5) as a starting point for studying the way popular media is shaping common imaginings of postwar history. I offer that historians must problematizes this emotive, self-congratulatory dramatization of the past – what I call a “Project X mythology” – as a part of a wider historical revisionism that gained popularity around the turn of the twenty-first century. What opportunities and dangers do such an apotheosis of the past present? What are the consequences of making history so alluring and accessible? These are the conceptual inquiries I will pursue alongside my media studies collaborators at the Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies at the University of Tokyo.