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Imagining an Affective Community in Asia

Imagining an Affective Community in Asia

Japan’s Wartime Broadcasting and Voices of Inclusion

(p.207) 9 Imagining an Affective Community in Asia
The Affect of Difference
Ji Hee Jung
University of Hawai'i Press

This essay explores the role of radio broadcasting at the height of Japanese imperial expansion during the last phase of the Asia Pacific War. In an era when the growing demands of the war effort forced the empire to make inclusionary gestures to its colonial subjects and the various ethnic groups in newly occupied territories, how did the technology and cultural practice of radio succeed or fail to evoke a sense of community? Wartime Japanese broadcasters knew that the awareness of simultaneous co-listeners did not automatically turn listeners into a community, which required the establishment of strong emotional ties. An analysis of radio scripts, broadcasting policy, NHK’s publications, listeners’ letters, memoirs, and newspaper articles reveals the various strategies adopted to evoke affective ties through radio: an intimate style of address, a passionate tone of announcement, and around-the-empire reports of events that invited reactions to wartime broadcasts from the multi-ethnic audiences.

Keywords:   radio broadcasting, Japanese Empire, differential inclusion of Asians, politics of emotion, Asia Pacific War, Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere, sense of community

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