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Gender and Nation in Meiji JapanModernity, Loss, and the Doing of History$
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Jason G. Karlin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838263

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838263.001.0001

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Nationalism, Everyday Life, and the Myth of Eternal Return

Nationalism, Everyday Life, and the Myth of Eternal Return

(p.7) Introduction Nationalism, Everyday Life, and the Myth of Eternal Return
Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan

Jason G. Karlin

University of Hawai'i Press

This book explores the ways in which modern forms of nostalgia become articulated in the language of gender and nation by focusing on Meiji Japan. Beginning with the critique of the Westernized Japanese “gentleman” or shinshi, it examines the cultural dimensions of popular nationalism in modern Japan by analyzing the diverse and popular forms of opposition to the state and relating them to what John Breuilly calls “governmental nationalism.” It also considers how antistate movements defined Japanese national identity and challenges narratives of Japanese history that emphasize the march of progress and the rationalization of everyday life as “disciplining” the nation, along with interpretations that equate the Meiji state with the rise of militarism. In addressing the phenomenon of rapid social change in relation to the construction of gender identity and the invention of national culture in modern Japan, the book uncovers the invention of a shared cultural identity by invoking the myth of an eternal return to timeless notions of gender and nation.

Keywords:   nostalgia, gender, Meiji Japan, popular nationalism, governmental nationalism, Japanese national identity, everyday life, social change, gender identity, eternal return

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