In “The Long Defeat,” Akiko Hashimoto explores how Japan’s World War II loss has been remembered. More sociologist than historian, she does this by looking beyond political speeches and newspaper editorials and examines how memories manifest in the media, in classrooms and in the home.
Hashimoto has gathered testimonies from studies, memoirs and documentaries, and presents subjects in their own words. While some from that generation have chosen silence, others speak to their children and grandchildren about the event in the hope of preventing another war. Stories of divisions and rapprochement across the generations are heartbreaking — all the more for being private. We rarely see scenes such as these.