Re-Masculinizing the Nation: Gender, Disaster, and the Politics of National Resilience in Post-3.11 Japan

Citation:

Koikari, Mire. 2019. "Re-Masculinizing the Nation: Gender, Disaster, and the Politics of National Resilience in Post-3.11 Japan." Japan Forum, 31 (2): 143-64.

Author: Mire Koikari

Abstract:

Following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquakes, Japan has entered into a new phase of cultural production where discourses on risks, dangers, and calamities mobilize varieties of individuals and institutions for the purpose of maintaining the nation's safety and security. In this phase, masculinity plays a salient role, leading to a series of discourses and practices that have to do with manhood and nationhood. Drawing on insights from Masculinity Studies, Disaster Studies, and Cultural Studies, this article examines the workings of masculinity in post-disaster Japanese culture by analyzing ‘national resilience’, a leading national initiative that demands a sweeping transformation of the nation. Calling for the revitalization of the nation, national resilience also insists on the need to re-strengthen men and manhood, providing a gendered vision of national security in post-disaster Japan. Unlike other, more politicized sites of controversies on nation and nationhood, i.e. constitutional revision, Yasukuni Shrine, and comfort women, national resilience is a yet-to-be marked domain of contestation where the public concern with safety frequently overrides and obscures its political intentions and implications. Yet, national resilience constitutes a potent site of politics, where discourses about men, the military, nation, and empire are repeatedly mobilized to promote the revitalization of Japan.

Keywords: masculinity, safety and security, Great East Japan Earthquake, disaster resilience

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Security Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2019

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