Soviet Union s Japan Nihonjinron in the era of late socialism.pdf (670.91 kB)
Soviet union’s Japan: Nihonjinron in the era of late socialism
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-22, 21:15 authored by Alexander BukhAlexander Bukh
This article focuses on the Soviet strand of nihonjinron, or the theory of Japaneseness, which gained popularity in USSR in the 1970s–1980s. Its purpose is twofold. The first is to contribute to the literature on Soviet perceptions of Japan by critically examining the overwhelmingly popular essentialist discourse on Japan’s culture and national character. The second goal is to contribute to the literature on nihonjinron which so far has focused mostly on Japan and the Anglophone countries. By critically analyzing the role of this construct in the Soviet discursive space during the period of late socialism, I argue that it was fundamentally different from the one it performed in Japan or the West in terms of its relationship to the hegemonic discourse. In the case of the Soviet Union, this article argues, the narrative on Japan’s unique culture existed simultaneously both inside the hegemonic discourse and outside of it, creating a deterritorialized space. Along with other, similar spaces, nihonjinron exposed the incongruities of the Soviet system and made its collapse completely natural to the Soviet people.