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Empress Nagako and the family state

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the different ways in which the empress played a role in the crafting of the national myth and the effect that her own deployment had in facilitating the identification of conscript soldiers and their families with the imperial household and the nation. The Shōwa empress, Nagako, was heir to rituals that had been established in the Meiji era. The imperial family reinforced the incorporation of all Japanese into one large family when they bestowed charitable contributions on their subjects to mark changes in the imperial family. When the Japanese people of the early Shōwa era imagined their nation, they imagined it as a family state headed by a couple. Perhaps some Japanese died confidently for the emperor, but Ienaga Saburō and John Dower tell us that many died for their mothers.

Keywords: Empress Nagako; family state; imperial family; Japanese women; Meiji era



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