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Disrupting the discourse of war: Nakai Hideo’s youthful template for a free and democratic post-war Japan

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 16:28 authored by Barbara HartleyBarbara Hartley

This article examines notions of democracy in the writing of post-war literary identity, Nakai Hideo (1922–1993). Although Nakai is known as a fantasy novelist, tanka poet/editor and essayist, the focus text here is Kanata yori (From afar), a diary produced during the final stages of the war. Entries were largely written while the future literary identity worked as a mobilised student in the Ichigaya offices of the Imperial Army General Staff Headquarters. Audaciously, given the writer’s war-time role, the work was scathingly critical of the military policies of the time. While written in wartime, the diary was not published until 1971. This situates the work squarely in the politico-literary space of the post-war era. Furthermore, the diarist undoubtedly longs for a future without the militarist authorities. Brief reference is also made to a 1969 fantasy text, 'Kokuchō-tan' (Odyssey of the Black Swan), which features a young twenty-something protagonist whom Nakai identified as his own young post-war self. Both works present as fertile territory for an investigation of youth and democracy in post-war Japan.

History

Publication title

Japanese Studies

Volume

42

Pagination

295–308

ISSN

1037-1397

Department/School

School of Humanities

Publisher

Routledge

Place of publication

Australia

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Literature; Understanding Asia’s past; Other culture and society not elsewhere classified

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