NYU Students! May 3rd, in the Great Room at 19 University Place, Professor Yoshikuni Igarashi will presenting “Television is the Message: Japan’s Early Encounters with the New Medium”.
(Zoom ID: 994 3513 5092)
This talk will focus on the role that television played in Japan’s transformation to a mass consumer society. Igarashi will gauge its underestimated socioeconomic effects on Japanese society by revisiting the early years of its introduction, when it was still a newsworthy event. The dramatic transformation that Japan experienced under the high-growth economy (1955-1972) was not only political, social, economic, and cultural but also intensely visual. Television was instrumental to how individuals came to see themselves and their nation during this period. Through television, individuals became deeply embedded in a newly emerging national space: their everyday lives viewed as part of an unfolding national drama. This new media provided viewers an expansive vision even as it taught them to internalize its conforming gaze.
About the speaker : Yoshikuni Igarashi’s research focuses on Japanese cultural history during the interwar and post-World War II periods. His first book, Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970 (Princeton UP, 2000), reads the absent presence of war memories in post-WWII Japan. By examining the tension between the repression and the expression of the trauma of the war, it contemplates the impact of the war and defeat on postwar Japanese society. Igarashi’s second book, Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan’s Lost Soldiers (Columbia UP, 2016) discusses the former soldiers who belatedly returned to postwar Japan after the end of the Asia Pacific War. It pays particular attention to Japanese POWs detained in Siberian labor camps and soldiers who survived in the jungles of the South Pacific for more than a quarter century. Igarashi’s third monograph, Japan circa 1972: Masculinity in the Age of Mass Consumption and Metavisuality (Columbia UP, 2021) focuses on the radical economic, social, and cultural transformation of Japanese society in the late 1960s and early 1970s, stemming from the development of mass consumer society, and analyzes Japanese society’s anxiety-ridden and often violent responses to that transformation.