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Disintegration Of The Soviet Union As Seen In Japanese Political Cartoons

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Chapter Summary

Japanese political cartoons have, their initial popularity in the late nineteenth century, played a significant role in shaping debate on domestic politics and foreign relations. This chapter focuses on the cartoons that appeared in the December 1991 issues of the Asahi Shinbun during the last and most critical month of the existence of the Soviet empire. The Asahi Shinbun featured eighteen cartoons related to events in the Soviet Union during the course of December 1991 at an average rate of one every other day. The chapter examines how the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 was interpreted in Japan, focusing on images of understanding published in the form of political cartoons. Cartoons that included easily-identifiable political actors were common. The goal of these political cartoons was to inform, using pre-existing stereotypes and symbols, rather than form new images, or create new symbols.

Keywords: Asahi Shinbun; Japanese political cartoons; Soviet Union



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