Bodies and StructuresMain MenuWhat We're DoingOverview essayHow to Use This SiteAn orientationModulesList of modulesTag MapConceptual indexComplete Grid VisualizationGrid Visualization of Bodies and StructuresGeotagged MapGeographic IndexWhat We LearnedContributors share what they learned through the Bodies and Structures process.ReferencesReferences tag for all modules and essayContributorsContributor BiosAcknowledgementsAcknowledgementsContact usContact information pageLicensing and ImagesThe original content of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND International 4.0 License.Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277
Igarashi, Bodies of Memory
12018-07-23T15:52:00-04:00Noriko Aso514ac5ef2ec49b80911e6fc9da1c0fee237ebfb925Bodies of Memoryplain2019-01-01T02:07:26-05:0036.20482, 138.25292Japan.Noriko AsoNoriko Aso514ac5ef2ec49b80911e6fc9da1c0fee237ebfb9Yoshikuni Igarashi, Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).
See also Yoshikuni Igarashi, Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan's Lost Soldiers (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016).
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1media/Sep 42.jpg2018-04-23T13:40:26-04:00The Shape of Postwar Memories23image_header2019-01-07T13:54:12-05:0035.6856, 139.77341Tokyo.1945.Noriko Aso
This module explores Mitsukoshi's multiple forms of spatiality in order to highlight the porousness of its architectural shell. That is, instead of thinking of the store as just an attractive container, we can see it as a distinctive threshold for the circulation of people, things, and ideas. As Mitsukoshi emerged as a cultural as well as physical landmark, it in turn came to shape the very contexts and networks that fueled its success.
The module suggests that one of the key networks intertwined with the store was Japan's growing empire in Asia. However, the goal of this foray into the wartime journals is not to end discussion by concluding that the store was "really" a militant imperialist. Rather, we see oscillation in and across issues between promoting war and peace, modernity and the past, production and consumption, and other linked binaries. This would suggest that neither pole could satisfactorily ground the retailer's identity and mission. Rather than presuming mutual conceptual construction at play, tracking this particular case indicates that the ongoing oppositions resulted in the journal's exhaustion and retreat.
Postwar memory has excised Mitsukoshi's collaboration with colonial expansion and the wartime state, burying shame but also turning a "Westernized" identity into an alibi. John Dower, Yoshikuni Igarashi, and others have provided sharp analyses of the decisions made in how to end the war; how to conduct the American Occupation and how to accept it; and how to define the seeming universalism of capitalism and democracy. The collective weight of such positions has profoundly shaped mainstream memories of what a Westernized institution like a department store must (surely) have meant. And what it could (should) not have meant: that "Westernization" and "modernization" were at the heart of that calamitous world war that engulfed the Asia-Pacific.