Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, And Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History

Paperback | October 1, 2002

byEmiko Ohnuki-Tierney

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Why did almost one thousand highly educated "student soldiers" volunteer to serve in Japan's tokkotai (kamikaze) operations near the end of World War II, even though Japan was losing the war? In this fascinating study of the role of symbolism and aesthetics in totalitarian ideology, Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney shows how the state manipulated the time-honored Japanese symbol of the cherry blossom to convince people that it was their honor to "die like beautiful falling cherry petals" for the emperor.

Drawing on diaries never before published in English, Ohnuki-Tierney describes these young men's agonies and even defiance against the imperial ideology. Passionately devoted to cosmopolitan intellectual traditions, the pilots saw the cherry blossom not in militaristic terms, but as a symbol of the painful beauty and unresolved ambiguities of their tragically brief lives. Using Japan as an example, the author breaks new ground in the understanding of symbolic communication, nationalism, and totalitarian ideologies and their execution.

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Why did almost one thousand highly educated "student soldiers" volunteer to serve in Japan's tokkotai (kamikaze) operations near the end of World War II, even though Japan was losing the war? In this fascinating study of the role of symbolism and aesthetics in totalitarian ideology, Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney shows how the state manipulated ...

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Why did almost one thousand highly educated "student soldiers" volunteer to serve in Japan's tokkotai (kamikaze) operations near the end of World War II, even though Japan was losing the war? In this fascinating study of the role of symbolism and aesthetics in totalitarian ideology, Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney shows how the state manipulated ...

Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney is the William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of a number of books in English and Japanese, most recently Rice as Self: Japanese Identities through Time; The Monkey as Mirror: Symbolic Transformations in Japanese History and Ri...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:428 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:October 1, 2002Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226620913

ISBN - 13:9780226620916

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Chronology: Important Events and Publications
Note on Names, Dates, and Titles of Works
Introduction
Part 1: The Symbolism of Cherry Blossoms in Pre-Meiji Japan
1. The Field of Meaning, Images, and Aesthetics
Part 2: The Road to Pro Rege et Patria Mori: Naturalization of Imperial Nationalism
2. The Emperor's Two Bodies: Sovereignty, Theocracy, and Militarization
3. The Militarization of Cherry Blossoms: Cherry Blossoms as the Souls of Fallen Soldiers
4. The Militarization of the Masses
Part 3: The Making of the Tokkotai Pilots
5. The Tokkotai Operation
6. Five Tokkotai Pilots
Part 4: Nationalisms, Patriotisms, and the Role of Aesthetics in Meconnaissance
7. State Nationalism and Naturalization Processes
8. Patriotism: Global Intellectual Currents as Its Source
9. The Crooked Timber of the Cherry
Summary
Appendix: List of Readings by Four Pilots
Notes
References
Index