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Victim as Hero: Ideologies of Peace and National Identity in Postwar Japan Paperback – July 5, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"James Orr provides the first systematic, historical inquiry into the emergence of the concept of victimhood in postwar Japan. He describes vividly how the notion of victimhood has been institutionalized through the use of elite political rhetoric, school texts, novels, films, and reparations battles, and he offers a compelling explanation for the peculiar, distorted form that moral argumentation surrounding war responsibility has taken. This is a politically and intellectually courageous study that arrives at balanced, dispassionate, illuminating, and persuasive conclusions."-Gary D. Allinson, University of Virginia; "With courage and sensitivity, Orr goes right to the heart of postwar nationalism to show how defeat in the war encouraged pacifist attitudes among ordinary Japanese people that, in turn, provided a cultural logic for a new national identity constructed around a collectivized sense of victimhood. After reading The Victim as Hero, historians of Japan will have to reconsider prevailing assumptions about the forms and functions of Japanese nationalism. This book should be required reading for scholars of nationalism, modern Japanese culture, society and politics, and for anyone who wishes to understand the challenges and possibilities of democracy in contemporary Japan."-Kevin M. Doak, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

About the Author

Orr teaches in the Department of East Asian Studies at Bucknell University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (July 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824824350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824824358
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Boring is about the only way to describe this book. This is a definite pass. Would not recommend this book to anyone. Basically the book is about how the Japanese national identity evolved from being aggressors into being viewed as victims of the Second World War. With the occupation and retaining of the Emperor the U.S. helped shape this idea to have an ally for the future in the pacific. The Japanese people and Emperor are viewed as victims of the military leaders that led the country into war and victims of the atomic bombings. All in all it was just dry. The only interesting part was the chapter on Japanese movies dealing with the atomic bombings.
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