Heroes, Victims, and Perpetrators in the Popular Media
Chapter 3 describes how Japan remembers the war and the war dead at the annual commemorations on August 15. It shows how political performances and popular media discourses divide rather than unite the nation over the questions of war guilt and national sacrifice. The chapter surveys the political performances on August 15 from 1985 to 2013, as well as the media discourse surrounding them in newspaper editorials, television, and film. It shows that many of Japan’s memory makers responded positively to the international pressures to deepen perpetrator memories and attempted to redress past wrongs in the 1990s, but they faced a severe backlash in the 2000s. Thus the impact of the global politics of regret on Japan has been mixed.
Keywords: culture of defeat, popular media, media discourse, cultural media, commemoration, political performance, Yasukuni Shrine, letters to the editor, national belonging, global politics of regret
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