Habitual Silence: Absenting (Trans)National Memories in Postwar Japan
Durand, Katherine Harris
Although silence is certainly not what comes to mind first when considering the vast archive of critical research on postwar Pacific Rim relations, this thesis argues that it should be. By widening interpretations of collective memory and revisiting questions of the authenticity and completeness of historical records, I bring to the forefront perspectives of those who were silenced in the aftermath of the Asia-Pacific War. Such instances of silence—both imposed and self-inflicted—are examined in the following interrogations of: 1) the Tokyo Trial; 2) state control of (trans)national bodies through the aestheticization of war death; and 3) Japan’s fractured national identity as a result of the roles played both actively and passively by (trans)national subjects. Silence as historical amnesia, erasure, denial, revisionism, and/or shame touches the stories of all people affected throughout this era of conflicting imperialisms. In the wake of the 20th century’s violence, this paper points out which memory spaces have been forced to habituate these types of silence in the process of the un-making of the Japanese Empire, and intends to reclaim responsibility for an unethically attained postwar prosperity.
International relations; collective memory; historical revisionism; postwar prosperity; Tokyo Trial; war responsibility; Yasukuni; Asian studies; Peace studies
Law, Jane Marie
M.A., Asian Studies
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis