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Discourses of the Heian Era and National Identity Formation in Contemporary Japan

Hennessey, John L. (2015) In Working papers in contemporary Asian studies
Abstract
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,... (More)
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. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Identity Nationality Japan Heian era
in
Working papers in contemporary Asian studies
issue
43
pages
32 pages
publisher
Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University
ISSN
1652-4128
ISBN
978-91-980900-3-1
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
87a6474d-a0b6-4aa5-b679-607d024923ac (old id 5050809)
date added to LUP
2015-02-17 12:43:33
date last changed
2016-06-29 09:01:49
@misc{87a6474d-a0b6-4aa5-b679-607d024923ac,
  abstract     = {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<br/><br>
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<br/><br>
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<br/><br>
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.},
  author       = {Hennessey, John L.},
  isbn         = {978-91-980900-3-1},
  issn         = {1652-4128},
  keyword      = {Identity Nationality Japan Heian era},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {43},
  pages        = {32},
  publisher    = {Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University},
  series       = {Working papers in contemporary Asian studies},
  title        = {Discourses of the Heian Era and National Identity Formation in Contemporary Japan},
  year         = {2015},
}