Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype

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Lexington Books, 2000 - History - 396 pages
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Shortly before releasing deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway in March 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult published a vicious 95-page antisemitic tract that declared war on its Jewish archenemy. The gassing of the Tokyo subway was the culmination of a century of Japanese theorizing about Jews, an important part of which has been antisemitic. In recent years, books blaming Jews for everything from the designs on Japanese currency to the 1995 Kobe earthquake have appeared, and some have sold millions of copies. What explains this virtual obsession with Jews in Japan--a country that has no Jews? In this highly original cultural and intellectual history, David G. Goodman and Masanori Miyazawa show that present-day Japanese attitudes toward Jews are the result of a process of accretion that began nearly 200 years ago. Skillfully tracing the historical development of Japanese images of Jews against the background of the development of modern Japanese culture, they describe how these images reflect the great themes of modern Japanese intellectual life. Spanning fields ranging from politics to poetry, the authors demonstrate how Japanese attitudes toward Jews have had real political and cultural consequences, culminating in the 1995 subway gassing and resonating into the twenty-first century.
 

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Contents

WHAT THE JAPANESE THINK OF JEWS AND WHY ANYONE SHOULD CARE
1
MOMOTARO AS ANTISEMITE The Cultural Roots Of Japanese Images Of Jews
16
GODS CHOSEN PEOPLE Jews In Japanese Christian Theology
37
THE PROTOCOLS OF ULTRANATIONALISM The Rise Of Antisemitism Between The Wars
76
JEWS AS THE ENEMY The Function Of Antisemitism In Wartime Japan
106
IDENTIFICATION AND DENIAL The Uses Of The Jews In The Postwar Period
135
THE SOCIALISM OF FOOLS Leftwing AntiZionism And Antisemitism
183
A SIGNAL FAILURE Recrudescent Antisemitism And Japans spiritual Condition
220
JAPANS JEWISH PROBLEM Implications In A Multicultural World
252
CULMINATION AND CONTINUITY Developments 19952000
261
NOTES
291
BIBLIOGRAPHY
343
INDEX
383
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
397
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About the author (2000)

David G. Goodman is Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Masanori Miyazawa is Professor of History at Doshisha Women's College in Kyoto.

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