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The famed animator of Mobile Suit Gundam, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, has claimed that “the American Dream and Soviet Dream coexisted” in Japan after World War II.
The “American Dream” refers to the fact that one could now freely own possessions and travel abroad unhindered. This came about through US Occupation policies. In contrast, the “Soviet Dream” refers to a postwar scenario that might have been, had a portion of Japan been occupied by the Soviet Union or if Japan had joined the Communist Bloc.
Located within sight of the border with the Soviet Union, Hokkaido could have very well become a buffer zone between the Eastern and Western Blocs. For this reason, it has served as the setting place for many fictional works exploring the “what-ifs” of history. For example, the 2019 NHK drama Natsuzora is set in postwar Hokkaido. The work depicts the two contrasting characters of Taiju, who reclaims a large swath of land and builds a massive farm, and Takeo, who attempts a bulk purchase of milk in order to protect small and medium-sized farms. Taiju is like a cowboy and embodies the “American Dream.” Takeo’s plan resembles the Kolkhoz collective farm, and strives toward the “Soviet Dream.”
Hideo Furukawa’s novel Miraimirai is another notable work set in Hokkaido. In it, Hokkaido is occupied by the Soviet Union after the end of the World War II, and follows a historical trajectory different from Honshu. The issue of Japan’s possession of nuclear weapons is the theme at the climax of the novel. It probes a “future” (mirai) different from either the “American Dream” or the “Soviet Dream.”