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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Images of the Nation: Gender, Race, and Culture in Women’s

With regard to concepts of nation and nationalism in wartime societies,
it is important to look at the discursive ways in which the categories
of gender, culture and race are addressed to make nationalist claims
acceptable and desirable for men and women. One of these discursive
ways is the production and strategic employment of imagery that often
transports a narrative of its own. Accordingly, one way of enhancing
the use and range of material in historical sources is to shift the
attention from the sole focus on texts to the use and effects of images
in the production of meaning.

In her comparative research on nationalist agendas, Andrea Germer
focuses on the imagery employed in the political women’s
magazines that had the highest circulation in wartime Germany and Japan
and examines how they served the nation-state in its endeavour to
mobilize the whole range of “human material” for
“total war”. The magazines Nippon Fujin (The
Japanese Woman) and N.S.
(NS Women’s Outlook) were both
organs of their respective states’ streamlined
women’s organizations: N.S.
was published from 1932 through 1945 as the
ideological publication of the Nazi women’s organization N.S.
Frauenschaft (NS Women’s Organization), and Nippon Fujin, run
from 1942 through 1945, served the same function for the official and
supposedly all-encompassing Dai Nippon Fujinkai (Greater Japan
Women’s Organization).

    Based on the analysis of these
distinctly state-oriented cultural and political magazines, Germer
examines similarities and differences in the nationalist use of the
categories gender, culture and race by both countries. She also traces
changes in the depiction of these categories in the course of the war
with the following questions in mind: How are women and men represented
and what are the models of identification offered? What role does
racist ideology and imagery play in both magazines, how is it
intertwined with gender and culture as other signifiers of difference
and hierarchy, and how is this visually enacted? How are visual
cultural signifiers used to support nationalist claims and what are the
German-Japanese cross-cultural references? Considering the
configuration of textual and visual material as well as the
authors/makers of the magazines, Germer argues that the German and
Japanese war propaganda, in different ways, did not only resort to
general stereotypes of woman as mother and of man as soldier, but also
used emancipatory role models to mobilize both genders for the war






[アンドレア・ゲルマー] Staat und Nation: Zum Verhältnis von Feminismus und Nationalstaat in Japan, 1918-1945. ワーキングペーパー ・ 報告書. Tokyo: Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien. 31 p.