Drawn in bloodlines : blood, pollution, identity, and vampires in Japanese society

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Miller, Benjamin Paul

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This thesis is an examination of the evolution of blood ideology, which is to say the use of blood as an organizing metaphor, in Japanese society. I begin with the development of blood as a substance of significant in the eighth century and trace its development into a metaphor for lineage in the Tokugawa period. I discuss in detail blood's conceptual and rhetorical utility throughout the post-Restoration period, first examining its role in establishing a national subjectivity in reference to both the native intellectual tradition of the National Learning and the foreign hegemony of race. I then discuss the rationalization of popular and national bloodlines under the auspices of the popular eugenics movement, and the National Eugenics Bill. Then, I discuss the racialization this conception of blood inflicted on the Tokugawa era Outcastes, and its persistent consequences. Through the incongruity of the Outcastes ability to "pass" despite popular expectations that their blood pollution was visibly demonstrative, I introduce the notion of blood anxiety. Next, I address the conceptual and rhetorical role blood played in articulating Japan's empire and imperial ambitions, focusing on the Theory of Common Descent and the Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus report. I follow this discussion with a detailed examination of the postwar reconceptualization of national subjectivity, which demands native bloodlines and orthodox cultural expressions, and which effectively de-legitimized minority populations. As illustration of this point, I describe the impact of this new subjectivity on both the Zainichi and the Nikkeijin in lengthy case studies. Finally, I conclude this examination with a consideration of blood ideology's representation in popular culture. I argue that the subgenre of vampire media allegorizes many of the assumptions and anxieties surrounding blood that have developed since the Restoration, and demonstrates the imprint of blood ideology on contemporary society.




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