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

Hashimoto, Akiko


Book written by 1995 Abe Fellow Akiko Hashimoto based on her project “Collective Memories of World War II in Japan, Germany and the US.”

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.

The Japanese translation of The Long Defeat (日本の長い戦後: 敗戦の記憶・トラウマはどう語り継がれているか) is available from Misuzu Shobo.