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The awakening of a journalist’s historical consciousness: Sasa Yukie’s Pacific Island journeys of 2005–2006

Nishino, Ryota (2017) The awakening of a journalist’s historical consciousness: Sasa Yukie’s Pacific Island journeys of 2005–2006. Japanese Studies, TBC . TBC-TBC. ISSN 1037-1397

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Between 2005 and 2006 a female journalist Sasa Yukie (b. 1974) joined veterans and families of deceased soldiers to commemorate Japanese soldiers who died in the Pacific Islands during the Pacific War. Sasa’s travelogue, Onna hitori gyokusai no shima o yuku (2007), integrates her travel experience, impressions of her fellow travellers, historical accounts, and reflections on battlefields and commemoration sites. This article charts the two-stage process of Sasa’s wakening historical consciousness in her travelogue. The first phase involves her growing empathy with her fellow pilgrims. Sasa follows a well-established literary trope of hōganbiiki that turns soldiers into tragic yet honourable heroes. The second phase involves Sasa’s transformation into a passionate advocate for greater recognition of and respect for deceased soldiers, veterans, and bereaved families. Her travel experience and gradual awakening sharpen Sasa’s nationalistic persuasion. However, she reduces the memories of war, pilgrims and islanders into metaphors of hōganbiiki, which discourages questions about the responsibilities and suffering of those involved and implicated in the war. The significance of her journeys is observable in the subsequent journalistic niche she has carved out for herself and the activism to which she has committed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Travel writing, Japanese history, commemoration, the Pacific War, Pacific Islands, Sasa Yukie
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
D History General and Old World > DU Oceania (South Seas)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Ryota Nishino
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 23:48
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2017 23:48

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