敗戦後論後: Kato Norihiro's `Theories on the Post-Defeat' in Context

On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, Katō Norihiro (1948 - ) published a controversial essay titled Haisengoron (Theories on the Post-Defeat), regarded by some as the precursor to the historical revisionist movements of the late 1990s. In this decade, recession, controversy surrounding Japan's contribution to the first Gulf War and the fiftieth anniversary of Japan's surrender prompted renewed debate between liberals and conservatives centred on the peace constitution and comfort women. For Japan, the struggle to balance its own trauma as the defeated nation with its obligations to atone for its aggression has coloured this debate. By reframing Japanese trauma as a product of the defeat, rather than the war itself, Katō concludes that Japan suffers from a split-personality disorder and prescribes a seemingly simple remedy: collectively mourning its own war dead. This paper evaluates Katō's approach to addressing wartime issues, positioning himself as a third alternative to the liberal and conservative positions he criticises. I will discuss Katō's rhetorical style and the social, political and economic context in which it was written as key contributors to Haisengoron's controversial reception among scholars and in the media.

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