Men in Metal

“Saaler is resistant to propaganda and the official record – noting that public interest in the funeral of the Meiji Emperor was so low that his mourners were outnumbered by his honour guard. He ends by tying the choices of statues in public places to a related issue – school textbooks that get to rule on who the great people of history are, itself a subject of some controversy in Japan. He points out, for example, that a statue of the legendary Yamato Takeru is one thing, but including him in a children’s book of ‘great Japanese’ is tantamount to suggesting that the imperial family really were sent from space by the Sun Goddess.”

Over at All the Anime, I review Sven Saaler’s fascinating new book about Japanese statues.

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