Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Eric C. Han
Postwar Japan has often been described as “pacifist.” This is because Japan has not engaged in a single major conflict since the end of WWII and because of the kind of peace thinking developed by its war-weary populations. While it was considered natural for humans to desire peace, this momentum was generated from the memory of Japanese people as both perpetrators and victims of war over the course of the country’s modernization. The Japanese intellectuals not only cherished the peaceful condition in the wake of WWII as a generous gift from the Allied powers but also dedicated themselves into rebuilding Japan in a manner of utmost peacefulness. “Peace (heiwa)” was thus one of the most important themes of Japanese history after WWII because it reflected the popular will of the Japanese people and because its discourse was the driving force of political, social, and intellectual movements in postwar Japan. This thesis argues that the majority of Japanese people perceived “peace” as the national rationale or the identity of postwar Japan. This pacifist rationale in Japan, however, was contested and shaped by different, specific historical circumstances.
Li, Xiuyu, "Peace Discourse in Postwar Japan: Emergence, Continuity, and Transformation" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1973.
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