The Journal of Japanese Studies
“Goshaku no sake” (Five cups of sake, 1947) was the first postwar literary work by Nakano Shigeharu, a communist writer whose critical stance toward the imperial institution was well known. The work attracted attention because it was expected to tell the reader how Nakano would grapple with the question of the symbolic emperor in the postwar democratic system. The dominant autobiographical reading tended to reduce the text’s message to a simple matter of left-and-right politics. This essay tries to offer a different reading by focusing on the subtle and complex layering of political and emotional responses underlying the narrator’s attitude. This new reading throws into relief the narrator’s broadly moral concerns transcending partisan politics, which in turn enriches our view of the Japanese postwar experience and the narrator-author’s position in it.
Volume 28, Number 1 (Winter