History Made Flesh: Visual and Narrative Representations of the Uncanny as Memory and Identity

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: History Made Flesh: Visual and Narrative Representations of the Uncanny as Memory and Identity
Stream: Literature
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Kaori Yoshida, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan (organizer, presenter)
Pau Pitarch Fernandez, Waseda University, Japan (presenter)
Alejandro Morales Rama, Sophia University, Japan (presenter, chair)
José Rodolfo Ernult Avilés, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan (presenter)


The act of remembering and the recording and reproduction of history in modern Japan is not without controversy. Since the Meiji era, there has been a process of erasing, misremembering and reconstruction of the past. From the efforts to overrun pre-modern beliefs and political systems, to the (un)conscious act of forgetting and re-forming of pre- and post-war Japan in the political arena as well as the individual consciousness, all point at an attempt to create an official version of history and memory, especially about atrocious or violent events.

This panel is concerned with the question of how identities, whether national or individual, are formed through the embodiment of memories or representations. It discusses on ways in which the integration of fragmented and contradictory memories, particularly charged with traumatic or subjugated past, configure uncanny or abject national-building narratives and identities. All the four papers attempt to investigate how history and memory are made present, by analyzing Japanese visual and literary representations. These papers discuss on the subject matter with the shared notion, which challenges the simplistic vision of a single historic truth that can be reproduced in a univocal and transparent narrative (telling simply what happened). Focusing on who remembers, how he or she remembers, what shape those memories take, and how those memories are experienced or interpreted, we demonstrate a process of embodiment of history and memory that implies a transformation for both what is remembered, and who remembers it.