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An Iconography of Japanese Identity

ID: 2171 - Edit In OJS

This volume shows that far from being the immutable properties of a primordial people, national identities are contextually constructed and evolved over time in response to historical contingencies. It also argues that explicit and situated textual analysis is essential to a truly social constructivist approach to identity.

An Iconography of Japanese Identity takes a cross disciplinary approach to identity construction, and draws on political and cultural studies to explore the construction of collective identities in mass media. A detailed examination of a range of popular bestsellers on Japanese identity, representative of different historical moments from the 1930s to the present, will be presented as a case study of national identity discourse. The book will examine the linguistic patterns that are used across these publications to construct a sense of community, communal values and cultural myths in relation to their respective contexts. It provides a detailed linguistic account of these three types of icons, using the explicit analytic tools developed in Systemic Functional Linguistics as well as the insights of Membership Categorization Analysis and identity theorists. Analyses are provided for both English and Japanese texts, and the analytical tools presented in this book are equally applicable to other forms of national identities.

Written for an audience with limited knowledge of Systemic Functional Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis, the volume will serve as a valuable reference book for postgraduate students and scholars in linguistics, media and Japanese studies.

Published: Dec 1, 2025