- 和光大学現代人間学部紀要 (ISSN:18827292)
- no.3, pp.99-115, 2010-03
This article deals with the Italian School Textbooks, especially those of geography, published from 1920's to the first half of 1960's. My focus falls upon the Italian images of Japan──how they described Japan and things Japanese──and its transition. Naturally in the field of culture or belle arte important exchanges between Japan and Italy have been occurred since the end of Edo period. But the study of public images between the two nations has been less exhausted than we expect in the domain of modern Japanese history. This negligence seemed more queer in considering the intimate relations between the two countries as fascist powers in the late 1930's and in the first half of the 1940's. After the defeat of the fascist powers, democracy and economy appeared to have become the main interests of nations instead of the arrogant aggression and expanding the colonial-empire. So did it even in the ex-fascist nations. Then, what of the images of Japan in Italy? Even though my analysis is circumscribed by lack of comprehensive materials, for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the Italian images of Japan for nearly fifty years in the midst of 20th century, the following might be a conclusion. First and foremost, we often read in the textbooks that Japan made such a successful takeout both in the economical and in the political dimensions. It was so surprising that almost every textbook, no matter when it was published, mentioned on that point. Not only in the pre-WWII period but also in the post-WWII period, it is clear that they are astonished at the speed of development of Japan. Secondly, they tried to grasp the reason of such rapid development. The reason of this rapidity always centered on the shrewd capability of Japanese people to imitate European civilization. At the same time, often mentioned is the fact that Japan lacked enough space, food and materials to nurture the Japanese people. There comes the striking difference between pre- and post-WWII. Before the WWII, they regarded this lack as a reason that Japan conquered Korea, China, and Southeast Asia. In other words, it was well "justified" for Japan to annex these area. After the WWII, on the other hand, they come to think that over-population and material shortage compelled Japanese industry to become more labor-intensive and effective, which has been the essential characteristic of Japanese industries. Therefore Japanese products can be competitive everywhere in the world. Thirdly, with a feeling of marvels, they introduced Japanese ways of life, beautiful sceneries such as Inland See, and Japanese culture. It has been more mentioned in detail than we had ex pected. A particular emphasis is laid on the contrast between the highly modernized industrial apparatus and the traditional way of life. In a nutshell, reviewing the Italian school textbooks of geography, an ambivalent image has existed about Japan, that is, wonder and menace. When it comes to the rapidity of Westernization, a feeling of wonder cast a long shadow of the images of Japan in Italy. But at once looking from the viewpoint of geopolitics or the rapidity of Japanese expansion into Asia and the Pacific, a feeling of menace emerged into the images of Japan. This ambivalence seems to have created the prototype of the images of Japan in Italy.