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Title: Representing nation in postwar Japan : Cold War, consumption and the mass media, 1952-1972
Author: Smith, Martyn David
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 6488
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis argues that the development of ideas of nation in the 1950s and 1960s strongly tied questions of Japanese national identity to the changing international environment and to the everyday lives of the people. A growing commercially driven mass media helped broaden representations of nation beyond the overtly political and ideological concepts of the immediate postwar period. During the 1950s, the promotion of consumption became tied to the goal of national economic development. This conflicted with calls for rationalisation and thrift and at the same time brought out the contradictions of Japanese economic development under US hegemony. During the 1950s and 1960s, popular magazines, radio and television were put to use promoting consumption through advertising. The same goal was evident in the burgeoning mass circulation magazines, which grew with and in response to consumer society. Articles in these magazines addressed issues of national identity not simply through the advertising of consumer goods, and magazines aimed at young people such as Shukan Heibon and Heibon Punch and graphic magazines such as the Yomiuri Graph and Mainichi Graph as well as magazines aimed at housewives all created ideals of what Japan represented and what it meant to be Japanese. Through discussion of political and social issues, ideas of nation were flagged in ways which tied those representations to consumption. These ideas of nation reflected the ambiguity and contradictions of the country's relationship with the United States and the changing nature of the Cold War. By examining the ways in which important political issues were presented in these magazines, this thesis argues that ideas of nation became deeply connected to consumer society and popular culture, making a separation between political and cultural ideas of nation much more difficult.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral