Japan's Midwar Generation: Anthropologists and Nation in the Twentieth Century


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




This project investigates Japan’s midwar generation (senchūha), which dominated public life from the 1930s to the 1970s. Like (West) Germany’s so-called 1945 generation, the senchūha matured under empire, went to war in the early 1940s, transformed Japan into a peaceful, prosperous democratic, nation-state after defeat, and lost influence in the student movement of 1968. Unlike the '45ers, however, the senchūha have never been examined collectively. Through social scientists, particularly the prominent ethnologist, cultural anthropologist, and archaeologist Izumi Seiichi (1915-1970), this study captures the public voice of the midwar cohort and suggests a common genealogy of postwar reckoning and rebuilding in the former Axis powers. It also explores the history of anthropology as a site and method for developing the new field of global history.