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The Attractive EmpireTransnational Film Culture in Imperial Japan$
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Michael Baskett

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831639

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831639.001.0001

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The Emperor’s Celluloid Army Marches On

The Emperor’s Celluloid Army Marches On

(p.132) Chapter Five The Emperor’s Celluloid Army Marches On
The Attractive Empire

Michael Baskett

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the connections between pre- and post-imperial Japanese film culture with regard to a longing for empire. Japan's surrender to the Allies in 1945 marked an end to the physical reality of Japanese empire, but Japanese filmmakers continued to struggle with the loss of empire in the years after World War II, and especially wrestled with the question of how the newly decolonized Japanese nation fit in Asia. This chapter considers how Japanese filmmakers and their audiences often turned to the past in an attempt to reclaim their empire onscreen time and again. It looks at the emergence of a film genre known as the “postwar antiwar film.” The combination of guilt and nostalgia in these films created a formula that was very similar to that of the films produced before the war. The chapter analyzes two films produced after 1945 and set in the final days of empire that replicate verbatim the structure of the imperial era “goodwill” films.

Keywords:   nostalgia, Japanese film culture, Japan, Japanese empire, Japanese film, Asia, postwar antiwar film, guilt, goodwill film, World War II

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