This week we are joined by Dr Rumi Sakamoto, Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of Auckland, to discuss remembering the kamikaze and the role of affect in war memory. Rumi shares with us how the image of the kamikaze has gone from one of shunned fanaticism to self-sacrificing heroism in popular culture through Japan’s post-war history. Looking at their representation in the Yūshūkan Museum of War at Yasukuni Shrine, Rumi also unpacks how affect can draw out a desired emotional response from visitors regardless of their preconceptions of kamikaze and how emotion can lend authenticity to historically problematic narratives.
Recommended documentary: Wings of Defeat
Image and audio credits
[L] Shinichi Ishimaru (1922-1945) at the Kanoya Air Base – 日本海軍報道班員
[R] Chinese tourists at Yasukuni Shrine – 靖国神社の中国人旅行者 by Toshihiro Gamo
Copyright © 2021 Oliver Moxham, ℗ 2021 Oliver Moxham. May be freely distributed in a classroom setting.