VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 1 POSTED ON: 8/8/2011
> Publications Kamikaze, Cherry Blossom, and Nationalism Human self-sacrifice, such as that of Allied soldiers in Iraq and Palestinian suicide not refer to his Logic of Species, which is Review > Plate 6, taken from the book under review. bombers, obtains a new dimension in Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney’s theme of patriotic suicide as still cursed today by Chinese intellec- Japan an aesthetic ideal. Her study of the role of symbolism and aesthetics in totalitarian ideology tuals as a racist basis for Japanese impe- shows how the state manipulated the symbol of the cherry blossom, a Japanese ideal of rialism (Bian Chongdao 1989:8). Nei- evanescent beauty. To persuade people that it was their honour to ‘die like beautiful falling ther does she refer to the role of the cherry petals’ for the emperor, soldiers were promised that their souls would be honoured extreme right, which, in the 1980s and in eternity in the, now, politically controversial Yasukuni Shrine. 1990s, converted former tokkotai bases on the southern island of Kyuushu By Margaret Sleeboom The author explores how state seen as the general will of Rousseau (Chiran and Bansei) into popular nationalism is developed and how it and Kant, they were disarmed and did tourist spots. Furthermore, the Yasuku- Umezawa Kazuyo, tokkotai pilot, with branches D rawing on diaries, unpublished in English, Ohnuki-Tierney provides a lucid discussion of the views and succeeds and/or fails to be accepted by ‘ordinary’ individuals, who, rather often, embrace as ‘natural’ basic not suspect the wicked hand of manip- ulation’ (p.17). The soldiers also bor- rowed Christianity from Europe to pro- ni Shrine is presented as the resting- place of the souls of the tokkotai, sepa- rate from the neighbouring souls of of cherry blossoms on his uniform. Courtesy of his brother, Dr Umezawa Shmzm. motives of the kamikaze pilots (tokkotai, changes in culture and society initiated vide them with a model of sacrifice for class-A war criminals, still celebrat- described, who believe their war to be or ‘special attack corps’). She presents by political, military, and intellectual others and the notion of life after death. ed by the far right. Moreover, no men- justified for reasons (rooted in reli- them as idealist romantics who sacri- leaders. The student pilots all had their The only model of sacrifice in Japan tion is made of the post-war role of ‘vic- gious, philosophical, and utopian ide- ficed their confused lives for the country own ideas and ideals. Among them drew on the Confucian notion of loyal- tim consciousness’ of pacifist national ologies) at variance with those of the they held dear. Ohnuki-Tierney describes were members of Japan’s Romantic ty to one’s parents and lord (p.18–19). identity in Japan (Orr 2001). state, are not likely to receive any their patriotism convincingly as a prod- Movement and of Cogito, a platform State manipulation of the young intel- sympathy. < uct of a complex interpenetration that became closely tied with ultra- lectual tokkotai imposed Western con- Ulterior motives between global intellectual tides, politi- nationalism, Marxists, utopian human- cepts of the nation and modernity on The tokkotai diaries have been much - Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko, Kamikaze, Cherry cal and military threats from the West, itarians, and Christians. Distinguish- Japanese culture: thus, Western discussed in Japan of the 1990s, but Blossoms, and Nationalisms. The Milita- and their own Japanese intellectual tra- ing between the patriotism of pro patria philosophies and ideologies explain only sporadically in English (cf. Sasaki rization of Aesthetics in Japanese History, ditions, which were themselves also the mori, which was espoused by individ- and carry the main responsibility for 1997). Though it aims to alter the cur- Chicago and London: The University of products of interactions between the ual pilots, and state nationalism, which their behaviour. rent image of kamikaze, it does so by Chicago Press (2002), pp. xvii + 411, ISBN local and the global (p. 240). was fostered from above, promoting pro The sharp distinctions between state focusing on the intellectual elite who 0-226-62091-3 The book is divided into four parts. rege et patria mori (to die for emperor and country, nationalism and patriot- represent only one-sixth of all Okinawa Part one focuses on the meaning and and country) (p.7), Ohnuki-Tierney ism, and official kill and romantic self- tokkotai (Sasaki 1997:15). Furthermore, References symbolism of the cherry blossom, part argues that, though each of the five dis- sacrifice, make Japanese patriotic tokko- Ohnuki-Tierney ascribes the truly - Bian Chongdao and Suzuki Tadashi two on the militarization of the masses cussed pilots reproduced the latter ide- tai victims of the West. Indeed the amazing number of lengthy diaries left (eds.), Riben jindai shi da zhexuejia, since the nineteenth century up to ology in action, none of them repro- Western state, Western concepts of by tokkotai pilots to the importance of Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe World War Two, and part three on the duced it in toto in thought. nationalism, Western ideologies and ‘writing’ as a mode of communication (1989). way in which young men ‘volunteered’ philosophies during, and Western cen- in Japanese culture (p.189), not to their - Orr, James J., The Victim as Hero. Ideolo- to ‘defend their country against Ameri- Japanese cherry blossom and sorship and prejudices after, the Pacif- academic background. More seriously, gies of Peace and National Identity in Post- can invasion’. Part four examines how the West ic War, seem to have rather too much to the behaviour of the romantic pilots war Japan, Honolulu: University of Hawaii the state managed to change the con- One aim of the book is to examine answer for. It seems the book lacks data remains mysterious due to a lack of Press (2001). ceptions of emperor and cherry blos- the power of aesthetics for political on tokkotai attitudes toward Asia, on the contextual analysis. The meaning of - Sasaki, Mako, ‘Who Became Kamikaze som, the latter being a Japanese master purposes, using the state’s manipula- views of non-intellectual tokkotai about ‘voluntary’ recruitment, the influence Pilots, And How Did They Feel Towards trope of imperial nationalism at the tion of cherry blossom symbolism as a ‘sacrificing’ their lives, on the condi- of state and self-censorship, social pres- Their Suicide Mission?’, The Concord beginning of the Meiji period. Ohnuki- case. According to Ohnuki-Tierney tions under which the diaries were writ- sure, state propaganda, and education Review, Concord (Mass.), vol.7/1 (1996), Tierney locates the power of (national) notions of the state and various ideolo- ten, and on the intellectuals responsi- are insufficiently linked to the reading pp.175-209. symbols and rituals in méconnaissance, gies, which motivated tokkotai to fly for ble for state policies. Thus, in of the diaries. Finally, I doubt whether a term borrowed from Jacques Lacan, their country, were both imported from describing the minds of the student- Ohnuki-Tierney has done the image of Dr Margaret Sleeboom is a research fellow referring to the communication absence the West. Thus, the pilots were tricked pilots, Ohnuki-Tierney argues that the the kamikaze any favours. Whereas we and Director of the Socio-Genetic Margin- occurring when people do not share a by the state into sacrificing their lives: Japanese philosopher Tanabe Hajime may sympathize with soldiers follow- alization in Asia Programme (SMAP) at the meaning but derive different meanings ‘When the “general will”, transformed (a devout Christian) was influential, ing state orders to fight a war they International Institute for Asian Studies. from the same symbols and rituals. by the Nazi and Japanese states, was and most extensively read. But she does believe to be unjust, the soldiers here email@example.com
"Kamikaze_ Cherry Blossom_ and Nationalism"