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EXPLORING THE TRANSGENERATIONAL FOOTPRINTS OF OUR WARS Unresolved Trauma Seen in the Japanese Identity after the Second World War Kaoru Nishimura Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "EXPLORING THE TRANSGENERATIONAL FOOTPRINTS OF OUR WARS Unresolved Trauma Seen in the Japanese Identity after the Second World War Kaoru Nishimura Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 EXPLORING THE TRANSGENERATIONAL FOOTPRINTS OF OUR WARS Unresolved Trauma Seen in the Japanese Identity after the Second World War Kaoru Nishimura Institute for Advanced Studies of Clinical Psychology International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan IAGP Rome, August 28, 2009

2 1. The National Identity of the Modern Japan Military alliance with Germany and Italy against the Allies The emperor as a symbolic existence The new government after 1868 National identity was “created” and nationalism was strengthened Bushido, the ethical code of the samurai warriors, was distorted.

3 Hopper’s (ba) I: massification “…in massified societies, the regulation of aggression can be seen in various forms of nationalism which are associated with the purification of language, race, ethnicity, custom and even aesthetic values.” (p. 76)

4 “Aggressive feelings and aggression become more essential to the maintenance of massification.” (p. 77) After the war… The Japanese have been afraid that their identity might cease to exist if they lost the imperial family. Hopper’s (ba) I: massification

5 Confusion of the national identity The confusion of the national identity in the face of the defeat was inevitable; the fact of defeat evoked a strong sense of shame Young people were betrayed by the nation; tried to detach themselves from the nation

6 A strong sense of shame made them avoid massified type of groups. Emptiness after the war pushed the people to raise aggregation.

7 Hopper’s (ba) I: aggregation “In social systems characterized by aggregation, people tend to be ‘isolates.’ They wish to avoid the recognition of agency and responsibility and, therefore, then to communicate in euphemism and bureaucratise, which eliminates the affect associated with words.” (2003, p.72)

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9 2. Repetition of trauma after the war and trial to restore: unconscious process in the society and pop culture

10 Space Battleship Yamato (1974) “Star Blazers”

11 IJN Battleship Yamato ( )

12 de Mendelssohn’s concept of “Heroic Solution” A humiliated person sometimes takes “the pattern of reaction formation: an initial affect of shame, of an abasement of the self, which is then denied and counteracted by pride, an aggrandizement of the self for defensive purposes.” (p. 393)

13 But the “‘heroic solution’ to the problem of shame, daring to be proud of what was once considered shameful, has its positive functions, since it attempts to restore those ego functions that have been damaged by shameful experience.” (p. 399) de Mendelssohn’s concept of “Heroic Solution”

14 Yamato Museum (2005-) 1/10 sized (26.3m) model of Yamato in Yamato Museum

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17 Background of Space Battleship Yamato Oil Shock that brought about due to the Fourth Middle-East War in 1973 The anxiety, despair, and fear of annihilation erupted in the face of the worst economic crisis after the war. For a child, this is an indirect transmission of the fear of the war

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19 Godzilla (1954)

20 Barefoot Gen ( )

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22 3. My personal experiences: implicit transmission of trauma in family My father; born in 1934 (3 yrs prior to 2 nd Sino- Japanese War) divorce of his parents in 1940 his father’s death in 1941 his grandmother’s death by disease in 1944 live with his mother and a ‘new’ father in 1945

23 My parents’ belief about my grandfather’s death A shameful event in a family was buried in the tragedy of the war

24 I (Kaoru) born in 1965, 30 yrs after the war parents’ business the group atmosphere of the franchise

25 The massified organization made the families of its members break into pieces my parents’ view of ‘hardships’ my hatred toward the world my religious cult experience Hard work conveyed the meaninglessness of this life; repeating trauma of the war

26 4. Unresolved trauma seen in the contemporary days many religious cults in 1990’s, AUM Shinrikyo massified group Tokyo Subway Sarin Gas Attack in 1995

27 interviews by Haruki Murakami with victims (Underground, 1997) and ex- believers (In the place that was promised: Underground Two, 1998) The ex-believers tended to be pessimistic, having contempt to secular success and hunger for a clear perspective of the world.

28 AUM Shinrikyo and pop culture works an ex-believer in my generation was strongly influenced by Space Battleship Yamato and the idea of the End Times

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30 Murakami and AUM Murakami found the AUM Shinrikyo cult members lost their own way of thinking, abandoning themselves to the dogma. Murakami as a personification of aggregation

31 Murakami and AUM coincidence of the militarizing in AUM Shinrikyo with the change of Murakami’s novels “The Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” was felt by him to be actualized in terms of subway gas attack “Wind-up Bird Chronicle” and violence

32 Something the Japanese dissociated from their superficial identity was contained under the ground, and was expressed in terms of aggregation and novels by Murakami and massification by AUM. aggregated despite of globalization, while massified in another group

33 5. Conclusions Instead of shutting oneself up and gazing at one’s past, if you assume that each other’s history is accessible and understandable, it will open up dialogues and emotional exchanges.

34 Thanks a lot


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