In The Long Defeat, Akiko Hashimoto explores the stakes of war memory in Japan after its catastrophic defeat in World War II, showing how and why defeat has become an indelible part of national collective life, especially in recent decades. Divisive war memories lie at the root of the contentious politics surrounding Japan's pacifist constitution and remilitarization, and fuel the escalating frictions in East Asia known collectively as Japan's "history problem." Drawing on ethnography, interviews, and a wealth of popular memory data, this book identifies three preoccupations - national belonging, healing, and justice - in Japan's discourses of defeat. Hashimoto uncovers the key war memory narratives that are shaping Japan's choices - nationalism, pacifism, or reconciliation - for addressing the rising international tensions and finally overcoming its dark history.
Dr. Akiko Hashimoto is an Emerita Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory, and Identity is her most recent publication.