Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History
Why did almost one thousand highly educated "student soldiers" volunteer to serve in Japan's tokkotai (kamikaze) operations near the end of World War II, even though Japan was losing the war? In this fascinating study of the role of symbolism and aesthetics in totalitarian ideology, Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney shows how the state manipulated the time-honored Japanese symbol of the cherry blossom to convince people that it was their honor to "die like beautiful falling cherry petals" for the emperor.
Drawing on diaries never before published in English, Ohnuki-Tierney describes these young men's agonies and even defiance against the imperial ideology. Passionately devoted to cosmopolitan intellectual traditions, the pilots saw the cherry blossom not in militaristic terms, but as a symbol of the painful beauty and unresolved ambiguities of their tragically brief lives. Using Japan as an example, the author breaks new ground in the understanding of symbolic communication, nationalism, and totalitarian ideologies and their execution.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Shrike58 - LibraryThing
This is another book for the scholar, as Ohnuki-Tierney presumes that you have a good handle on anthropology, modern literary analysis, general Japanese history, and the history of World War II in the ... Read full review
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Page 9 - The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political, and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness.
Page 9 - Whatever else ideologies may be — projections of unacknowledged fears, disguises for ulterior motives, phatic expressions of group solidarity — they are, most distinctively, maps of problematic social reality and matrices for the creation of collective conscience.
Non-representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect
N. J. Thrift
No preview available - 2008
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