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Introduction to special issue on youth and democracy in post-war Japanese culture

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 16:27 authored by Aoyama, T, Barbara HartleyBarbara Hartley
his special issue examines representations and constructions of youth and democracy in literature, film, manga and other media aimed at, or featuring, children and young adults in the post-war period. How did the introduction of the new Constitution, freedom, equality, and democracy affect youth culture? How did writers, directors, artists, editors and readers or viewers deal with the defeat and the subsequent socio-economic and political changes? What kinds of media and activities were developed to disseminate the literature of the new era? Was there unambiguous discontinuity at the end of the war? Or is continuity evident in some aspects of the production, distribution, and reception of culture for young people? In other words, to what extent were the new policies – lauded by the post-war Constitution but often imposed in blunt-instrument fashion by Occupation authorities – resisted or at least modified for local hearts and minds by young and old alike? As Kenko Kawasaki and Laura Clark note in their contribution, furthermore, through disdain for popular culture – precisely the culture that appealed to the young – even ‘progressive intellectuals’ in the post-war era ‘failed to recognise’ those ‘elements of pre-war modernisation’ that were distinctly ‘separate from the post-war influence of the United States’ (Kawasaki and Clark, this issue). Each article in its own way scrutinises these critical issues of continuity and discontinuity, in addition to convention and innovation, while also considering the socio-cultural and political con-texts operating in the specific genres and texts presented.


Publication title

Japanese Studies








School of Humanities



Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

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

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