Re: Tenkô in Japanese film - Hayashi ?

Michael McCaskey mccaskem
Sun Aug 26 08:01:00 EDT 2007

I may be mistaken, but I'd say Hayashi was at the least pro-militarist. She was a war correspondent embedded with Japanese troops in China. The Japanese troops in China generally behaved in a way similar to German troops in Russia in WWII. It may be that various war-crime level reprisals were in some cases provoked by partisan attacks behind the lines, but things were pretty bad.

After the war, as I recall, Hayashi brought out a "secret diary" she said she had hidden away, that contained many remarks critical of the militarist regime--but some people think she actually wrote that whole "secret diary" after the war had ended.

Think of what one would think about a German war correspondent who accompanied the troops in Russia throughout WWII, coming out as a "secret anti-Nazi" after 1945 (maybe there was one, but likely not).

Tenko was a phenomenon generally where people under coercion made a "change of direction," adopting the beliefs of those in power and abandoning their own beliefs. Some would call it "selling out," except that in pre-1945 Japan these people were often jailed, threatened, abused, even tortured, until they gave in.

In Germany 1933-1945 once people went into concentration camps, they usually never came out again--though Gunter Grass, in his latest book "Peeling the Onion," speaks of one history teacher he had who was put in a local camp, and returned to teaching many months later. The Japanese authorities tended to be more subtle, "recycling" problem intellectuals, writers, and artists. Lesser "problem people" were simply drafted and sent off to fight in China.

Nakajima Kenzo, a Todai prof. who never "made tenko," and was somewhat oppositional, was drafted ca. age 40 and sent off to fight. Nakajima's book Showa Jidai is a very readable short account of how it was to live under ever-increasing totalitarianism (a phrase coined by Mussollini) from ca. 1923 to 1945.

Some might say Hayashi's post-1945 revelation that she had been secretly anti-fascist (there were so many, many like her in Japan and Germany after 1945) was a form of tenko. The US authorities had banned fascists from publishing, teaching, etc., so there was a strong material motivation to prove one had somehow been "not-fascist," until ca. 1950, after which not so much attention was paid by anyone.

Michael McCaskey
Georgetown Univ.
----- Original Message -----
From: Roger Macy <macyroger at>
Date: Saturday, August 25, 2007 5:18 pm
Subject: Re: Tenk? in Japanese film - Hayashi ?

> Does this count?
> In Hayashi fumiko's Ukigomo (Floating Clouds), 1951,  and 
> faithfully adapted by Naruse in 1955, the character Iba who, until 
> this point hasn't shown a single redeeming trait, says (in Lane 
> Dunlop's translation, at Chapter41) to the woman he has previously 
> had a long-term abusive relationship, justifying his new (and very 
> lucrative) 'Great Sunshine Religion':  "Observing the world, 
> you've probably studied the sweet and sour in life.  You probably 
> understand that love and infatuation in men and women are not 
> greatly to be trusted.  Heaven and Hell in this world are a matter 
> of money alone.  I have come to keenly realise the blessedness of 
> money.  I was never so depressed as after as in the interval after 
> the war, but today I am different.  I have felt the necessity to 
> live all out, to make money while I can."
> There's a similar speech in the film, although I've no idea how 
> similar Hayashi's Japanese is to that of Naruse/Mizuki.
> Hayashi herself was associated with leftist writers in the 
> twenties although had not joined the communist party.  She had 
> then become an embedded war reporter with the army in China, being 
> the first reporter into Nanking, and her reports were 
> enthusiastically reported by the Asahi newspaper.  She was in a 
> good position to observe tenk? and their course-reversions, and 
> Naruse followed her faithfully.
> regards,
> Roger Macy
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Mark D. Roberts" <mroberts37 at>
> To: <KineJapan at>
> Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2007 11:46 AM
> Subject: Tenk? in Japanese film ?
> Dear KineJapan members,
> Does anybody know of any pre-1960 studio films which address or  
> depict tenk? (ideological conversion)?
> Thanks much,
> M. Roberts=

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