Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Kilpatrick, H. & Muta, O. 2013, Deconstructions of the (Japanese) Nation-State in Uehashi Nahoko’s Moribito (Guardian) Series, in C. Kelen & B. Sundmark (eds), The Nation in Children’s Literature: Nations of Childhood, Routledge, New York. pp. 81-95.


Uehashi Nahoko's ten-volume Guardian fantasy series for young adults (1996- 2008) creates a fantastic medieval world that is both entertaining and intensely political. In reflecting upon a fictitious nation's beginnings, it resonates with some of ]apan's well-known legends and sociohistorical imaginings, destabilizing their cultural authority. By exposing the "real" stories and behind-the scenes power plays in an extended kingdom, Moribito questions hegemonic power constructions, deconstructing how cultural myths are made, manipulated, and reinforced by corrupt leaders. In doing so, it presents an unconventional critique of many Japanese ideologies and national institutions, drawing attention to the limitations inherent in dominant understandings of, for instance, Japan's emperor system and power politics, past and present.