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Remembering World War II and Narrating the Nation: Study of Tezuka Osamu's War Manga

Feuillassier, Rémi (2010) Remembering World War II and Narrating the Nation: Study of Tezuka Osamu's War Manga. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Today manga (Japanese comics) pervades Japanese society and reaches a readership that spans from children to adults. Among manga, the works of Tezuka Osamu occupies a special place in the heart of the Japanese masses because Tezuka is considered as the "God of Comics." Although Tezuka passed away in 1989, his manga are still widely read inside and outside of Japan. Thus Tezuka's manga could potentially influence people's perception of Japan.In this thesis, I conduct a discourse analysis of Tezuka's manga on World War II. Based on Homi Bhabha's definition of nation as a set of narratives, I explore the means used by Tezuka to challenge the official narrative of World War II. My goal is to demonstrate that the State's narration of a nation is volatile.I argue that Tezuka's World War II manga both challenges and strengthens the official narrative of the wartime Japanese nation. Tezuka challenges the official narrative by giving voice to those who were absent of this narrative, mainly children and war orphans, and depicting the brutality of Japanese officers against civilians.Tezuka also challenges the mainstream narrative by presenting the U.S. occupation of Japan as a neo-colonization period during which American soldiers abused their power. This denunciation of Japanese suffering stands at the core of Tezuka's constant call for international peace.Yet this focus on the Japanese suffering also leads to an almost disappearance of the Imperial army's non-Japanese victims. In other words, Tezuka strengthens the official victimhood narrative because he merely addresses the issue of Japanese war crimes. This ambiguity of Tezuka's narrative exemplifies Bhabha's idea of individual's agency in the definition of a nation.By examining the representation of World War II in popular culture medium such as manga, this thesis also provides an in-depth understanding of Tezuka's works as well as an insight about the ongoing debate surrounding Japan's wartime responsibility.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Feuillassier, Ré
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJordan, Brendajordanb@pitt.eduJORDANB
Committee MemberHashimoto, Akikoahash@pitt.eduAHASH
Committee MemberHart, Dennisdmhart@pitt.eduDMHART
Date: 1 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 5 April 2010
Approval Date: 1 June 2010
Submission Date: 14 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: American occupation; comfort women; cultural studies; East Asia; manga; memory; nationalism; pacifism; popular culture; postcolonialism; Vietnam War; war crimes
Other ID:, etd-04142010-164843
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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