In the 1960s, Australia was in the midst of profound social and cultural transformations. One significant change was the gradual move away from the "White Australia" policy. During this pivotal decade, Japan emerged as one of Australia's major trading allies. This budding economic relationship marked a shift in Australian perceptions. Where once there was wartime animosity, a new acknowledgment of Japan's blossoming economic strength was forming. The rise in trade also fostered increased tourism between the two nations, paving the way for deeper cultural understanding and exchanges.
The postwar era saw Japan undergoing a swift economic rejuvenation. By the 1960s, it had firmly established itself as a global economic powerhouse. This rapid economic ascent drove many Japanese individuals to seek opportunities beyond their homeland, resulting in heightened migration, particularly to countries like Australia.
Migrants from Japan, reminiscent of families like the one in When Blossoms Fall, brought a unique blend of skills, expertise, and cultural nuances that enriched their new communities. Furthermore, as Japanese businesses expanded their global footprints, many workers and their families ventured overseas, aligning with company growth and opportunity.
When Blossoms Fall serves as a lens through which the complexities of cultural memory and belonging can be viewed. The Nikkei Australian characters' challenges with belonging stem from their intricate memories of the past, memories that are disjunctive and mutable across national borders, generations, and genders. For the characters in Fukui’s novella, national belonging is not a uniform aspiration. Their sense of belonging is shaped by a cultural memory moulded by racialisation processes that uniquely impact Nikkei Australians and, more broadly, Asian Australians.
The cultural and economic atmosphere of 1960s Australia was influenced by memories of WWII and Japan's rising economic strength. How did this environment impact the characters in When Blossoms Fall?