The breadth of functions performed by the ghosts of the Christian century within modern Japanese fiction is a testament to the power of this historical period as a mirror of global modernity. In the 1920s, they provided a powerful analogy for the fear and desire towards the West experienced by modern Japan. In the postwar period, they returned in more horrific forms to foreground Nihonjinron exceptionalist discourse. In the 2000s, they became intertwined with the gender and cultural subversion of subcultures such as shōjo manga and Lolita fashion. At the same time, modern representations of the Christian century also showed a remarkable degree of consistency in their “mimetic incorporation,” their use of intertextuality, and their sustained focus on questions of subjectivity and power, proving that discourses and representations can be instruments of oppression, but also create spaces for agency and resistance.
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