A recurring theme of Japanese social and political debate was the nation’s emotional torpor. Conservatives and progressives alike emphasized the need for hope, for Japan to recover the pride, optimism, or moral commitment necessary to return it to the collective successes of the country’s postwar economic miracle. And yet this was rarely depicted as ‘trauma,’ despite both the institutional popularity of the term and the implied focus on therapeutic solutions. This chapter explores the politics of trauma in debates about Japanese decline, focusing especially on the meanings of the term as well as on the limits on its use, despite its conceptual breadth and malleability.