Public vs Private Memories-Perspectives

Masugi Ono is a man stuck in the middle of two worlds as he has witnessed the changes in society during the war and after the war. He reflects a lot of his identity from his memory of the war and how other people remembers the war as Japan as a society is moving on from the past. The tension between your own private memories and the public/collective memories is a quite difficult as shown in Masugi Ono and Miyake conversation about the company president’s suicide. Miyake: “Sometimes I think there are many who should be giving their lives in apology who are too cowardly to face up to their responsibilities… There are plenty of men already back in positions they held during the war. Some of them are no better than war criminals.” Masugi: “I see your point. But those who fought and worked loyally for our country during the war cannot be called war criminals. I fear that’s an expression used too freely these days (56).” Both of them view the president’s reason for death so differently. Miyake thinks it is an honor and others who were involved in the war in some way should also follow in the president’s footstep. Masugi thought at the time, people did what they can to support their country and expressed their loyalty.

Although both perspectives are fine, Miyake’s view represents the majority of the public memories and feelings. The public views the actions of the past as wrong, which conflicts with Masugi’s view and the ideals of the people in that moment that acted with the idea of good intent of loyalty to their country. Public memories and ideals can be so influential that it affects one’s own views and makes them reevaluate their identity. As seen on page 123 as Masugi accepted that his actions during the war were wrong and harmful to the nation and for the people. Public memories or even history rejects reasoning or context of the past so that eventually everyone one side of the story. Just how the Armenian genocide didn’t happen or the Raping of Nanjing or the genocide of the Native Americans, etc…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *