This article examines the narratives of wartime victimhood and victimization in Japan's junior high school history textbooks in the early 1980s and in contemporary times from the perspective of national identity. Unlike most existing scholarship, this article argues that the narrative regarding the wartime suffering of the Japanese people can be seen as inducing a critical perspective on imperial wars and their disastrous impact on ordinary people. It also argues that contemporary narratives contest the notion of a monolithic Japanese identity and challenge Japan's monopoly over writing its own national history.
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Errata: In the September/October 2016 issue (volume 56 number 5, pages 836 and 849), there was a technical printing error in Figures 1b and 2 of the article by Ajay Raina that resulted in a loss of data on the graphs. This online article contains the restored figures in their original, correct state. The error is regretted.