The Aftermath of Another Earthquake in Modern Japanese History: On the Cultural Path from Taisho Democracy to Showa Fascism

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Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 20133:00PM - 5:00PM208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
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In the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, we are compelled to revisit and reflect on another “post-quake” moment in modern Japan: namely, the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. In that case, the Earthquake’s aftermath became nothing more than the pre-war period of the Asia-Pacific War. In this presentation Prof. Nakano proposes to intervene in our knowledge about that “post-quake” moment by especially examining the “sentiments” (shinjō) of the people (minshū) who lived during the era that advanced from earthquake to war. Many well-known songs – especially those which are the very first to come to mind as “children’s songs” in Japan — emerged in concentrated fashion during the period. How is it that people who, after the earthquake loved to sing songs that overflowed with gentleness, soon came to undertake the heavy responsibilities of the war that soon ensued?

Professor Toshio Nakano is Professor of Sociology at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. He began his professional career with research on European social theorists, mainly Max Weber. His interests then shifted to the history of social thought in modern Japan, especially concerning colonialism and nationalism in the wartime and postwar periods. During the 2000s he organized an international joint research project which aimed at studying the historical and cultural characteristics of postwar time and space in Japan and East Asia from the point of view of postcolonial studies and cultural studies. The results of this project have been published in two volumes of essays in Japanese: Continuing Colonialism: Gender, Ethnicity/Nation, Race, Class (Tokyo: Seikyūsha, 2005), and The Occupation of Okinawa and Revival of Japan (Tokyo: Seikyūsha, 2006). His monographs in Japanese include: Hakushū and Popular Sentiment: Road to Total War (Tokyo: NHK Shuppankai, 2012); Ōtsuka Hisao and Maruyama Masao: Mobilization, Subject, War Responsibility (Tokyo: Seidosha, 2001); Modern Legal-System and Criticism (Tokyo: Kōbundō, 1993); Max Weber and Modernity (Tokyo: San’ichi Shobō, 1983).


Aga Baranowska


Takashi Fujitani
Professor of History and Dr. David Chu Professor and Director in Asia Pacific Studies, University of Toronto

Toshio Nakano
Professor of Sociology & Dean, Graduate School of Area and Culture Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

Main Sponsor

Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies


Asian Institute

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