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War and the latent public : Shimizu Ikutaro on rumours and public opinion in transwar Japan, 1937-1960.

Bronson, Adam (2020) 'War and the latent public : Shimizu Ikutaro on rumours and public opinion in transwar Japan, 1937-1960.', Global intellectual history. .

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between rumour and public opinion in Japan across the middle decades of the twentieth century. By situating Shimizu Ikutaro’s 1937 theory of rumour as ‘latent public opinion’ in comparative perspective, I show how he articulated an original vision of individual agency in an emergent mass-mediated society characterised by mobilisation, surveillance, and censorship. I then examine how Shimizu's theory acted as a reference point for discussions of rumour across the wartime divide. During the war, state officials drew on Shimizu's work as part of research into the efficacy of efforts to suppress rumourmongering. This ambivalent discourse on rumour provides insight into tensions between obedience and initiative during the mobilisation of the homefront for total war. After the war ended, the legacy of the wartime discourse on rumour was palpable in an undercurrent of skepticism directed toward quantitative approaches to public opinion promoted by the Allied Occupation. This skepticism shaped attitudes toward postwar democracy, leading some progressive intellectuals to turn to the rumours theorised by Shimizu as a possible basis for mobilised resistance against the sway of the mass media during the heyday of postwar protest movements.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 05 March 2022.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
(871Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1080/23801883.2020.1816840
Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Global intellectual history on 5 September 2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/23801883.2020.1816840
Date accepted:24 July 2020
Date deposited:04 September 2020
Date of first online publication:05 September 2020
Date first made open access:05 March 2022

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