Coda: Reading Fascist Aesthetics

Alan Tansman

in The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780520245051
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943490 | DOI:
Coda: Reading Fascist Aesthetics

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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

Chapter.  1896 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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