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Something Dreadful Happened in the Past: Generational Memory of War and Peace in Japan
- Akiko Hashimoto (Visiting Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Portland State University, and Faculty Fellow of Yale University’s Center for Cultural Sociology)
Japanese children are raised in an environment encoded with generational memory that encourages them to develop negative moral sentiments about the Asia-Pacific War. The “encouragement” comes in subtle and unsubtle ways, as young children develop gut instincts that “something dreadful happened in the past,” even if they don’t fully understand what or why. A growing number of cultural institutions and communities play a pivotal role in producing this generational memory as the wartime generation passes on. Drawing on the emotions of cultural trauma to forge a pacifist moral consciousness is a common technique of transmitting memory at such sites. Hashimoto’s talk will explore the broader cultural premise of the pacifist nation underlying the plural narratives of dark history that continue to cast a shadow on postwar Japan. The talk is based on Hashimoto’s The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory and Identity in Japan which has recently been published in Japanese translation.
Visiting Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Portland State University, and Faculty Fellow of Yale University’s Center for Cultural Sociology
Akiko Hashimoto (橋本明子) grew up in Tokyo, London, and Hamburg. She received her B.Sc. from the London School of Economics and M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale University. After working at the United Nations University in Tokyo, she taught Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh for 25 years. She is now Visiting Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Portland State University, and Faculty Fellow of Yale University’s Center for Cultural Sociology.
She is author and editor of volumes on cultural sociology and comparative sociology, focused on social constructions of reality in varied cultural settings. Her special interests are cultural trauma, war memory, national identity, culture and power, popular culture and media, family and aging. Her latest volume is The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory and Identity in Japan (Oxford University Press, 2015) won the 2016 Scholarly Achievement Award of the North Central Sociological Association. The book is now available in Japanese (Nihon no Nagai Sengo, Misuzu Shobō Publishers, 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。みすず書房 2017) and will appear also in Chinese (Beijing Imaginist, 2018). She is also author of The Gift of Generations: Japanese and American Perspectives on Aging and the Social Contract (Cambridge University Press, 1996).