By Motoko Tanaka (auth.)
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Extra resources for Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction
The modern apocalypse of progressivism has been sentenced to death, yet apocalypse as a form lives on; principle elements in the traditional apocalypse narrative are again incorporated into the postmodern apocalypse. The sense of the end of major ideologies reminds us of the apocalyptic mood of the classical period. 30 Jameson considers the end of meta-narratives as millenary and apocalyptic, and regards this as one of the characteristics of postmodernism. The sense 20 Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction of ending recurs everywhere; it replaces modern anxiety and stagnation by covering up all the universal, grand narratives.
Japanese apocalyptic thought began to seek the connection between oppositional values and between self and the unknown Other, offering more concrete ideas of what would come after the end. However, unlike Western apocalyptic thought, these premodern Japanese apocalyptic movements were not powerful enough to become a revolutionary ideology that could reform society. This may be because the traditional Japanese worldview values the present as it is, or it may be because people simply expected the regular renewals of stagnant social conditions that the cyclical view of time presupposes.
Yet the doctrine of absolute transcendence achieved in the Pure Land could not solve the actual problems and suffering of this world. Kamakura Buddhism chose instead to face real problems in this world and sought salvation in reality. 5 Kamakura Buddhist reformers widened the scope of salvation from the individual to society as a whole. Nichiren’s teachings and performance in particular can be considered millenarian, for he longed for social reform and the establishment of an ideal nation according to religious doctrine.