Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Fine Arts

Degree Program

Art (Creative) and Art History with a concentration in Art History, MA

Committee Chair

Reitz, Chris

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Ma, Yuxin

Committee Member

Ma, Yuxin

Committee Member

Kim, Jongwoo Jeremy

Author's Keywords

Murakami; WWII; Nihonga; depersonalization; derealization


The purpose of this thesis is to argue that Murakami’s art expresses the Japanese’s psychological suffering by showing their struggle between remembering themselves as victims but forgetting themselves as aggressors. I apply the Mitscherlichs’ psychoanalisys of the Germans’s psyche to the Japanese because their people have had similar experiences. The first section examines the history of Japan surrounding WWII in order to demonstrate its effects on the Japanese people’s psyche. The second section introduces Otaku to better understand Murakami’s art. The third section examines how selective retention works on the Japanese’s psyche. The fourth section analyzes how Murakami’s art represents depersonalization and derealization to demonstrate selective retention. After a discussion of Buddhism related to Murakami’s art, I draw conclusion.