Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Timothy Hacsi

Second Advisor

Pamela Lee Novick

Third Advisor

Heidi Gengenbach


Since 1945, three narratives have dominated Japan’s postwar memory landscape: the heroic narrative, the victim narrative, and the perpetrator narrative. There are few places in Japanese public discourse demonstrating an engagement with the gray areas between the narratives. What makes a hero? What kinds of visions do victims cast? How evil are perpetrators? While often absent in public discourse, these questions are frequently explored in Japanese popular media, including anime. When the 50th anniversary of the end of the Asia-Pacific War occurred in 1995, Japan’s public figures attempted to lay its memory to rest. In the same year, on April 7th, an anime aired on Japanese television that dove into the depths of war memory. This thesis analyzes the anime Mobile Suit Gundam Wing as a probe into postwar memories about the Asia-Pacific War and what those memories reveal about Japanese attitudes towards their history and identity in the late twentieth century.

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