Self-intro: M.G. Sheftall – Frog in a Well Japan
My dissertation at Waseda is a continuation of work on this theme, after anthropologist Anthony F. C. Wallace’s classic “Revitalization Movement” concept, aiming to model veteran-centric collective memory formation in traditionally exclusivist sociopolities that have experienced catastrophic military defeat and subsequent foreign occupation. My methodology owes much to the substantial literature in this field dealing with the experience of the post-Civil War American South, especially the work of C. Vann Woodward, Rollin Osterweis, Gaines Foster and Charles Reagan Wilson. Partly in acknowledgment of this methodological debt, but more importantly because I just love the way it reads, the title of the dissertation will be Gone With The Divine Wind: the Kamikaze in Japanese ‘Lost Cause’ Mythology, 1945-Present.
Additional (but very much related) research interests for me are: military influence in the formation of Japanese national identity from Meiji to the present (I’m a big Yoshida Yutaka fan, btw); Yasukuni issues (2006 has been a great year for these!); popular Japanese attitudes towards — and interpretations of — modern history, particularly regarding the Asia-Pacific War; the relationship of culturally-patterned masculinity and formalized violence; depiction of the Asia-Pacific War in popular culture/media; (as per the above paragraph, the numerous and endlessly fascinating) parallels between the cultural, ideological, pedagogical and psychological mechanisms of dealing with the aftermath of defeat in postwar Japan and post-Civil War American South (my ancestors on both sides of the family were Confederates, so there is an element of personal interest on my part in exploring this aspect of the respective collective experiences of both my ancestral and adoptive cultures), et al.