publication . Article . 2011

Romanticising Shinsengumi in Contemporary Japan

Rosa Lee;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Jan 2011 Journal: New Voices (issn: 1833-5233, eissn: 2204-194X, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Shinsengumi, a group of young men recruited by the Bakufu to protect Kyoto from radical Imperial House loyalists in the tumultuous Bakumatsu period, is romanticised and idolised in Japan despite its limited place in history. This article attempts to comprehend this phenomenon by locating the closest crystallisation of popularly imagined Shinsengumi in Moeyo ken, a popular historical fiction by Shiba Ryōtarō. Antonio Gramsci explains readers are attracted to popular literature because it reflects their ‘philosophies of the age’, which may be discovered by examining popular heroes with their subsequent replications. This article will identify why Shinsengumi is ap...
free text keywords: Shinsengumi; Shiba Ryōtarō; literature; autonomy; Japanese hero; contemporary, Japanese language and literature, PL501-889
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