The Shaping of Japan’s Collective Memory in Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police

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Abstract

Historically, the collective memory of Japanese society was shaped through narratives created by the authorities. The mechanism of power in the formation of collective memory can be seen through the process of censorship as a tool used to erase certain public perceptions during the Meiji period to the beginning of the Showa Period. The preservation of power in the hands of Japan’s elites created control of the people in terms of what they should know, remember, and act according to the narration that fitted the agenda of these elites. This paper examines the process of the shaping of collective memory in Japan prior to the three periods from Meiji to early Showa. This study uses a novel by Yoko Ogawa titled The Memory Policeas a sites of memory to examine the shaping of collective memory in Japanese society. This paper is a qualitative research and uses Foucault’s theory of power and Michels’ theory of elites, as well as Nora’s notion of sites of memory as theoritical framework. The research found that all of these aspects of power mechanism in a form of censorship in those three periods of Japan’s past andthe role of elites that used their influence to eradicate informations contributed to the shaping of collective memory. Moreover, The Memory Police as a novel came as a sites of memory that belongs to the society that tried to resist and contest the official narration of Japan’s collective memory.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume3
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2023

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