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Discourses of the Heian Era and National Identity Formation in Contemporary Japan
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. (Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4041-6150
2015 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the relationship between history and national identity, specifically how “golden ages” in a nation’s past are used for nationalist ends. Using discourse analysis, it examines how two types of popular historical venues, museums and textbooks, present Japan’s Heian period (794-1185) and explores what this reveals about Japanese national identity formation. The Heian era has a mixed legacy, making it an interesting case study of nationalist uses of history. The study concludes that there seem to be two major discourses of the Heian era in contemporary Japan: a literary discourse celebrating the epoch’s aesthetics and a historical discourse that is less enthusiastic. The first is far more prevalent, but it depicts certain facets of the Heian period, like differing gender norms, that apparently challenge the nationalist narrative of public history venues. The second discourse endeavors to rehabilitate the Heian era as another “respectable” piece of the master Japanese historical narrative. The presence of a strong literary discourse of the Heian that runs gainst some Japanese elites’ aims renders the Heian period an unappealing choice as a “golden age”, despite its achievements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund, Sweden: Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University , 2015. Vol. 43, 32 p.
Series
Working papers in contemporary Asian studies, ISSN 1652-4128 ; 43
Keyword [en]
national identity, Heian period, contemporary Japan, public history, discourse analysis, nationalism
National Category
History Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Humanities, History Education; Social Sciences, Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-47322Libris ID: 17849866ISBN: 978-91-980900-3-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-47322DiVA: diva2:872306
Available from: 2015-11-18 Created: 2015-11-18 Last updated: 2015-11-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf