Mediating memory: Shōjo and war memory in classical narrative Japanese cinema

Jennifer Coates

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Considering the impact of the trope of the shōjo, or girl trope in post-war Japanese cinema, this paper argues for the repeated motif as a key factor in the creation of a particular affective economy around the memorialization of war in Japan. I trace the development of the shōjo motif from the post-defeat era through the anti-nuclear films and activist movements of the early 1950s to show how the affect generated by the repeated trope drew real-life events into a persuasive cycle of repetition. The tone of this repeated trope thereby came to dominate the practice of public memorialization of war in Japan. Today’s post-pacifist Japan is informed by these past moments in the memorializing process, which impact on contemporary anti-war and anti-nuclear protests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-125
Number of pages21
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • War
  • memory
  • media
  • Japan
  • shōjo
  • affect

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