Either 'Shining White or Blackest Black': Grey Morality ofthe Colonized Subject in Postwar Japanese Cinema and ContemporaryManga

by Elena M Aponte

Institution: Bowling Green State University
Year: 2017
Keywords: Asian Studies; Asian Literature; Ethnic Studies; Film Studies; History; International Relations; Military History; Motion Pictures; World History; Postwar Japan; Occupied Japan; Postcolonial; Homi Bhabha; Frantz Fanon; Hiroshi Yoshioka; Japanese History; Japanese Cinema; Akira Kurosawa; Drunken Angel; Atomic Bomb; Bubble Economy; Yasuhiro Nightow; Trigun
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2154976
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1491495352122861


The cultural and political relationship between Japanand the United States is often praised for its equity,collaboration, and mutual respect. To many, the alliance betweenJapan and the United States serves as a testament for overcoming aviolent and antagonistic past. However, the impact of the UnitedStates occupation and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki israrely discussed in light of this alliance. The economic revival,while important to Japans reentry into the global market,inevitably obscured continuing paternalistic interactions betweenJapan and the United States. Using postcolonial theory from Homi K.Bhahba, Frantz Fanon, and Hiroshi Yoshioka as a foundation, thisstudy examines the ways Japan was colonized during and after theseven-year occupation by the United States.The following is a closeassessment of two texts and their political significance at twospecific points in history. Akira Kurosawa's1948 noir film DrunkenAngel (Yoidore Tenshi) shaped the identity of postwar Japan;Yasuhiro Nightows Trigun manga series navigates cultural amnesiaand American exceptionalism during the 1990s after the BubbleEconomy fell into recession in 1995. These texts are worthy ofsimultaneous assessment because of the ways they incorporateAmerican archetypes, iconography, and themes into their work whilestill adhering to Japanese cultural concerns. Kurosawa and Nightowrender worlds that reflect collaborative effort between the twocultures but in reality reveal social inequalities, thus creating aspace for resistance. The "grey moralities" exhibited in DrunkenAngel and Trigun through their characters, narratives, and thecultural circumstances in which they were created, offers a spacefor the colonized Japanese subject to push back against systems ofoppression using popular culture that comes to be appreciated byboth the colonizer and the colonized.Advisors/Committee Members: Begum, Khani (Advisor).