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Cold War (Un)consciousness and the Imagination of Division as Manifested in the Japanese SF Genre: With a Focus on Sakyo Komatsu’s Nihon Apache-zoku

Jiyoung Kim 1

1숙명여자대학교 인문학 연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the intersection of Science fiction(SF) imagination and Cold War (un)consciousness in the 1950s and 1960s, focusing on Sakyo Komatsu’s Nihon Apache-zoku(1964), which is said to be Japan’s first fullfledged SF novel. Komatsu Sakyo’s Nihon Apache-zoku depicts the civil war and division of Japan. It is a work inspired by the “Apache tribe(Apachezoku)” that appeared in Osaka in the late 1950s and built a SF imagination. The “Apache-zoku” were a group of Zainichi Koreans who made a living by infiltrating the abandoned Osaka Artillery Arsenal and selling buried scrap iron. In the late 1950s, Zainichi Koreans could make a living selling scrap iron because of the special demand from the Korean War. In this novel, Komatsu satirizes Japanese society by portraying another “postwar Japan” imagined as an alternative future for “the ruins,” and the description of Apache-zoku involves a number of Cold War rhetorics. However, unlike the paranoid anxiety that dominated the U.S. and South Korea during the Cold War, the work maintains a humorous tone throughout. This indicates that Japan was in a safe zone where a sense of distance from raw violence caused by the Cold War was secured.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.