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Beautiful Boy Soldiers: Kaoru Shintani’s Area 88 and the Negotiation of Japanese Postwar Masculinity

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Title: Beautiful Boy Soldiers: Kaoru Shintani’s Area 88 and the Negotiation of Japanese Postwar Masculinity
Author: Chinwongs, Luc
Abstract: This paper will examine the war manga Area 88 and its recent anime adaption. Area 88 depicts a fictional middle-eastern civil war in which a Japanese protagonist finds himself fighting as an unwilling mercenary. Area 88 is set in the cold war era, which, by necessity, must grapple with Japan’s political reality. As history professor Hiromi Mizuno explains, “…considering the strong connection that scholars and activists have found between masculinity and war, on the one hand, and femininity and peace, on the other, how postwar Japan’s masculinity has been negotiated with constitutional pacifism is an interesting and under-examined question” (105). The question arises: how can a Japanese protagonist engage in war while simultaneously advocating non-violence, or as Mizuno writes, “the dilemma of reclaiming masculinity and claiming pacifism at the same time?” (110). This negotiation of two seemingly contradictory goals both visually and textually is at the heart of Area 88’s narrative.
Date: 2014
Subject: Master of Arts / English, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, 2014.
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/10365/23229

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