Reversing the gaze: The construction of “adulthood” in the wartime diaries of Japanese children and youth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Historians of education and youth have shown how adults intervened directly into the process by which Japanese children learned life writing, including the tzuzurikata undō that had become ubiquitous by the period of total war. Critical analysis of adult views will continue to be methodologically necessary, but young people’s views of adulthood are also crucial for the deconstruction of concepts such as “childhood” and “adulthood.” This chapter will examine how young people wrote, in their personal diaries, about the social leaders, state officials, and family members who exercised power over them. The transition to adolescence brought great changes to juvenile subjectivity, namely: the awareness of larger, abstract social structures dominated by grownups, the identification of adults as eventual peers, and the transformation of the family from a source of security to an object of affection.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChild's Play
EditorsSabine Frühstück, Anne Walthall
PublisherUniversity of California Press
ISBN (Print)9780520296275
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • childhood
  • youth
  • WWII
  • Japan
  • diaries
  • life writing
  • tsuzurikata
  • war

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