Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan's Lost Soldiers

Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan's Lost Soldiers

by Yoshikuni Igarashi

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Soon after the end of World War II, a majority of the nearly 7 million Japanese civilians and serviceman who had been posted overseas returned home. Heeding the call to rebuild, these veterans helped remake Japan and enjoyed popularized accounts of their service. For those who took longer to be repatriated, such as the POWs detained in labor camps in Siberia and the fighters who spent years hiding in the jungles of islands in the South Pacific, returning home was more difficult. Their nation had moved on without them and resented the reminder of a humiliating, traumatizing defeat.

Homecomings tells the story of these late-returning Japanese soldiers and their struggle to adapt to a newly peaceful and prosperous society. Some were more successful than others, but they all charted a common cultural terrain, one profoundly shaped by media representations of the earlier returnees. Japan had come to redefine its nationhood through these popular images. Yoshikuni Igarashi explores what Japanese society accepted and rejected, complicating the definition of a postwar consensus and prolonging the experience of war for both Japanese soldiers and the nation. He throws the postwar narrative of Japan's recovery into question, exposing the deeper, subtler damage done to a country that only belatedly faced the implications of its loss.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231541350
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Series: Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Yoshikuni Igarashi is professor of history at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945–1970 (2000).

Table of Contents

Note on Personal Names and Names of War
1. Life After the War: Former Servicemen in Postwar Japanese Film
2. The Story of a Man Who Was Not Allowed to Come Home: Gomikawa Junpei and The Human Condition (Ningen no joken)
3. Longing for Home: Japanese POWs in Soviet Captivity and Their Repatriation
4. "No Denunciation": Ishihara Yoshiro's Soviet Internment Experiences
5. Lost and Found in the South Pacific: Postwar Japan's Mania Over Yokoi Shoichi's Return
6. Rescued from the Past: Onoda Hiro'o's Endless War
7. The Homecoming of the "Last Japanese Soldier": Nakamura Teruo/Shiniyuwu/Li Guanghui's Postwar

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