Scholarship on Repatriation in Japan
New National Holidays: The Overlaying of a Democratic “Temporal Order” on an Imperial One
New Constitution: Subject to Citizen
New Civil Code: Rights of the Democratized Subject
New Reforms: The Logic of Inclusion and Limits of Reform
This paper examines the relationship between the Cold War and returnees to Japan based on Kikansha hikkei 帰還者必携 (Handbook for returnees), a publication prepared by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture on June 1, 1949. This analysis focuses on the contents of Kikansha hikkei in order to clarify the meaning of democracy and re-nationalization in postwar Japan and show that the metahistory of returnees―viewed in previous research in terms of war history, the sufferings of people in colonized areas, and pre- and post-war continuities and discontinuities―originated in the new “Cultural Cold War.” Japan’s post-war reorganization sought the democratization of militaristic elements, and for this reason critical research on preand post-war continuities and discontinuities has centered on postwar reforms and/or imperial (colonial) history within the critique of decolonization. In this context, the basic perspective of the Japanese government toward returnees at the time seems to have been that overseas returnees living in direct contact with the old “pre-war” systems―empire and colonialism―should be renationalized as citizens of the “new Japan.” In this process, however, the Japanese authorities did not mean merely to reorganize subjects of the former empire into citizens of post-war Japan; returnees were also required to become the principle modernizing agents in realizing liberal democracy―another kind of warrior in the Cold War.
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