Vol 37 (2017): Special issue: Generations and Memory: Continuity and Change

The Transmission of Wartime Memories: Films, Stories, and Dreams in Rural Villages of Shanxi, China

Yumi Ishii
University of Tokyo
Published March 31, 2017


Why do the Chinese born in the post-Sino-Japanese War generation emotionally remember the war between Japan and China as if they had experienced it? In this paper, I, as a Japanese author, will discuss the construction of ‘emotional memory’ among Chinese people based on fieldwork in rural villages of Shanxi Province, which had been the forefront of the war. Focusing on dreams of war, the narratives of the war generation, propaganda movies, and collective farming of the1960s as key factors in the farmers’ emotional memory, this paper attempts to understand how these factors influenced each other and then penetrated into individual memories, as well as the resulting collective memories. Finally, I indicate how changes to a researcher’s identity can be an important topic of oral history research.