Senso no ibutsu to sono ido ga motarashita mono (War relics and the consequences of their movements)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The war dead are often treated differently from others who died in normal circumstances, and objects which had some association with the war dead are given different meaning. The objects which were left by the war dead are often called relics. Human remains, such as bones and ashes, are included in that category. This paper deals with three relics which were left in Australia after the Japanese midget submarine attack in Sydney Harbour in 1942, and traces their movements during and after the Pacific War between Australia and Japan. The objects were the ashes of the crew, a military sword which was thought to have been brought by a crew member, and a thousand stitches body belt worn by him. How the movements of those objects were interpreted historically and culturally in each country will be examined. The movements of the relics highlight the differences and similarities in the meanings and interpretations each country had attached to the objects. The significance of Japanese thousand stitches belts will be discussed in relation to war and gender as well. The transfer of relics from one group (nation) to the other was regarded as gift-giving and created relationships between them. Through examining the acts of "gift giving" which are supposed to trigger reciprocity, the paper argues that acts of giving and receiving were interpreted differently in each group and generated multiple meanings. At the same time, due to this multiplicity, the relationship between the groups continued even though the personnel and organizations, and their characteristics, had shifted over time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-49
    JournalThe Jinburn Gakuho (Journal of Humanities)
    Volume102
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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