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Divided Lenses: Screen Memories of War in East Asia

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University of Hawai'i Press, page(s): 336

February 2016

Divided Lenses: Screen Memories of War in East Asia is the first attempt to explore how the tumultuous years between 1931 and 1953 have been recreated and renegotiated in cinema. This period saw traumatic conflicts such as the Sino-Japanese War, the Pacific War, and the Korean War, and pivotal events such as the Rape of Nanjing, Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all of which left a lasting imprint on East Asia and the world. By bringing together a variety of specialists in the cinemas of East Asia and offering divergent yet complementary perspectives, the book explores how the legacies of war have been reimagined through the lens of film.

This turbulent era opened with the Mukden Incident of 1931, which signaled a new page in Japanese militaristic aggression in East Asia, and culminated with the Korean War (1950–1953), a protracted conflict that broke out in the wake of Japan's post–World War II withdrawal from Korea. Divided Lenses explores how the intervening decades have continued to shape politics and popular culture throughout East Asia and the world. Essays in part I examine historical trends at work in various "national" cinemas, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the United States. Those in part 2 focus on specific themes such as comfort women in Chinese film, the Nanjing Massacre, or nationalism, and how they have been depicted or renegotiated in contemporary films. Of particular interest are contributions drawing from other forms of screen culture, such as television and video games.

This book is an outcome of the conference, Divided Lenses: Film and War Memory in Asia, that the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center hosted in December 2008, part of the Divided Memories and Reconciliation research project.

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