Meaning Transformation of Gundam Symbol in Japanese Society


Japan’s defeat at World War II gives a huge impact to the Japanese people. The defeat caused Japanese people collective memory to be changed, and it was unchanged for decades after it. The Japanese people feel responsible for the cruelty that they came up with, so they create a constitution that stated the renunciation of war and will never admitting/the rejection of any military power. This Constitution is called the Pacifist constitution. Nowadays, Japan has a third largest defense budget, yet their constitution interpretation still insist that “Self Defense Force” is for defense purposes only. Through this paper, author would like to analyze three Gundam movies from three different eras, which show how Japanese have changed their traumatic collective memory of World War II. Moreover, I tried to analyze and find out how the Japanese have change from the traumatic past to the current society which is shown by the popular culture phenomenon, Gundam. From the results of the study, it was found that the Gundam series reflected the condition of society in each era and there is meaning transformation of Gundam on opposition to the Self-Defense Forces into support for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

Keywords: Collective Memory, Pacifist Constitution, Mobile Suit Gundam

The paper is being presented in SYSSARM 2015, Denpasar.

Daniel Hermawan, S.S, M.Si