On February 11th, 2021, over 50 participants attended the YCAPS-JUMP Community Conversation webinar on Depictions of the Self-Defense Forces, U.S. Military and Yokosuka in Japanese Manga and Anime, led by Prof. Jeffrey Hall from Waseda University. Prof. Hall mainly discussed two series published during Abe Shinzo’s time as Prime Minister, the Aozakura: The Story of National Defense Academy and Gate: Thus the Japanese Self-Defense Force Fought There.
Prof. Hall’s prepared remarks described the political views as well as the themes and messages that can be highlighted and the contextual differences between the two series. Throughout this discussion, he addressed questions about the level of ideological consistency and oversight within the public affair offices of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and Ministry of Defense. Following the presentation, the webinar continued with a highly interactive Q&A session where participants asked a variety of questions, from whether there is a trend in pop-culture’s militaristic content, to the recent demographic pattern of recruitment to SDF, to how these mangas are received by the public. Throughout the webinar, participants actively engaged and shared their thoughts on topics surrounding media depiction of the SDF, demonstrating that this topic will continue to be a matter of growing interest for those watching civil-military relations in Japan.
By Sema Gelegen from International Christian University