100 Million divided: Age and gender in Japanese accounts of bombing in WWII

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Abstract

During WWII, Japanese propaganda declared that the ‘one hundred million’ citizens of the empire would unite under the state and ultimately repel foreign attacks. Rather than demonstrating strength in unity, however, the bombing war showed how just how divided Japanese society was. This has become a central tenet in British re-appraisals of the period now called ‘The Blitz.’ Nevertheless, we still refer to ‘Japan’s experience’ of WWII as if the Japanese people all endured these events in more or less the same way; ironically, this parrots wartime propaganda’s calls for the unity. Similar to Britain, in Japan there was no ‘people’s war,’ nor was there a coherent ‘people.’ In many cases, the state actually reinforced these divisions, or redefined them, in a manner useful for waging ‘total war.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-116
Number of pages15
JournalJapan Society. Proceedings
Volume150
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Blitz
  • childhood
  • generation
  • gender
  • WWII
  • firebombing
  • Japan

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