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Introduction Memory, Trauma, Narrative

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores how Japanese writers of fiction working during the Allied Occupation (1945-1952) contributed to the postwar discourses of racial, national, and linguistic identity, as influenced by the historical circumstances of war, defeat, privation, and occupation by a foreign power. The presence of the Occupation forces acted as a mirror in which previously occluded elements of Japanese racial and cultural identity became visible, and were then incorporated into the efforts of writers to use narrative in reorienting themselves to the drastically changed social and political environment. Particularly in times of extraordinary cultural upheaval, narrative is key to the reconstruction of some kind of identity that will allow a person to live through the traumatic rupture and into a viable present. The chapter integrates discussion of information and texts from the three usually disparate fields": social/political history, cultural theory, and literature and literary analysis.

Keywords: allied occupation; cultural identity; fiction; foreign power; Japanese writers; Occupation forces; racial identity



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