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The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism$
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Alan Tansman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520245051

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520245051.001.0001

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Coda: Reading Fascist Aesthetics

Coda: Reading Fascist Aesthetics

(p.276) (p.277) Coda: Reading Fascist Aesthetics
The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism

Alan Tansman

University of California Press

This book has explored some of the voices that contributed, through a kind of synergy with their historical context, to creating a formal environment that helped bind Japanese subjects to the state and its demands. It has paid particular attention to the timbre of those voices, understanding that their power to convey and promote acts of binding relied as much on the form of their expression as on the content. Aesthetic fascist language worked as a balm to soothe the agitations, and smooth out the complexities, of the fracturing forces of modernity. Often it was a rhythmic language of surfaces lulling readers into unreflective assent to the urgings of beautifully rendered aesthetic moments—moments that promised the comfort of giving oneself over, in quiet avowal or passionate self-sacrifice, to tradition and the state. Writers of the fascist aesthetic were acutely attuned to the sensuous power of language, and they channeled that power in precarious directions. Yet the fact that there were writers writing against the fascist aesthetic reminds us that reading beyond the mesmerizing surface of prose can undo its power.

Keywords:   fascist aesthetics, Japanese fascism, modernity, aesthetic fascist language

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