Repercussions of the Dark Valley – Reenacting and Reinterpreting an Era via Fantasy Manga
AuthorGreene, Barbara Ruth
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Dark Valley Period and its resultant Asia Pacific War remains an open question in Japan; this era is consistently revisited in both public debates over textbooks and state apology as well as in popular culture and literature. The discussion of the Dark Valley Period and the conflicts it generated also exists within manga, a widely consumed media, and has shifted genres multiple times in the decades following the Japanese surrender. Some genres, such as early senki-mono, portrayed the war as a heroic, although ultimately futile, action undertaken by self-sacrificing youth. Semiautobiographical works, such as those created by the late manga artist Mizuki Shigeru, countered this narrative by showing the war as brutal, senseless, and useless. Often, the popularity or decline of a genre skewed closely to the general attitude concerning the wartime period. Due to its wide-scale consumption by youth, manga has the potential to both represent and forward shifts in public perception. Additionally, historical revisionists and anti-Article 9 proponents have shifted their discourse into manga in order to appeal to and influence a younger audience. This strategy is further strengthened by previous genre works, such as the Space Battleship Yamato series, which reframed the Dark Valley Period and the Asia Pacific War in a positive light indirectly through their narrative. This dissertation posits that the discussion has recently shifted into shōnen/seinen fantasy manga and that this discussion reflects a level of sympathy with revisionist historians that would normally cause a public backlash against the series in question if this sympathy was not masked by genre.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies