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Japan in Murzilka Magazine (1924–2021)

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The article attempts to generalize and analyze the materials dedicated to Japan, its folklore, culture, and literature in the children’s literary and art magazine Murzilka since its founding up to the present time. It traces the evolution of the image of Japan in the pages of the magazine for almost a hundred years, taking into consideration the historical circumstances, the SovietJapanese relations, the change in the approach to showing the peculiarities of daily life of other peoples in children’s literature. One can single out five periods of interest towards Japan in the magazine. In the second half of the 1920s, there is no unity in the image of Japan. Individual publications present it either as a capitalist country, where even small children must work, or as a collection of clichés (geishas, national clothing, Boys’ Day). The topic of Japanese aggression in China appears. During the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, the clashes at Lake Hassan and Khalkhin Gol, as well as during the first year after the war with Japan, the abstract “Japanese” are presented as aggressors, enslavers of the Chinese people, fascists encroaching on Soviet borders. The class nature of the Japan-China conflict and the liberating nature of the war against Japan are emphasized. While the Neutrality Pact between the USSR and Japan was in effect, the “Japanese” material was absent from the magazine. In the period of the Thaw, Japan turns out to be a country with an interesting and peculiar culture. In 1955–1966, the magazine publishes poems and songs by Japanese poets, fairy tales, descriptions of folk festivals and daily life, the kamishibai “paper theater”. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Japan fascinates the readers of Murzilka with its unity of material and spiritual culture, presented in ikebana, origami, and tea ceremony. In the publications of 1991–2001, this is a country existing outside of time, and the life of the Japanese is based on ancient traditions and exquisite festivals. In 2016–2021, Japan is presented, first and foremost, by daily life culture. Besides, for the first time during the existence of the magazine, the topic of technical progress appears. 

About the Author

M. M. Gromova
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Gromova Mariya Mikhailovna – junior researcher, Research Laboratory “Russian literature in the modern world”, Faculty of Philology, 

First humanities building, Moscow State University, Moscow, 119296


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For citations:

Gromova M.M. Japan in Murzilka Magazine (1924–2021). Russian Japanology Review. 2022;5(2):116-135.

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