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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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Oedipus in Chains

Oedipus in Chains

Eternal Return and the Memory of the Epic Past

Chapter:
(p.235) Conclusion Oedipus in Chains
Source:
Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan
Author(s):

Jason G. Karlin

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838263.003.0006

This book has examined how the Meiji Restoration had nurtured the sentiment that the revolution was incomplete. It has argued that the calls to action founded on the notion of the “incomplete Restoration” in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were (re)productive of the myth of the Meiji Restoration. It has shown how the Meiji leadership embraced a linear conception of time that relegated the past to barbarism in order to overcome “backwardness” and confirm its status as a civilized nation. It has rejected the notion that the eternal return of history is a crisis of temporality and claimed that modern Japanese national identity was formed as a symptom of loss. This concluding chapter suggests that the ideology of economic growth and progress that had once commanded Japanese society in the postwar period seems to have no more evocative power today, especially for many young people.

Keywords:   eternal return, Meiji Restoration, time, barbarism, backwardness, history, temporality, Japanese national identity, economic growth

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