How do memories of national trauma remain relevant to culture and society long after the event? Why do the memories of difficult experiences endure, and even intensify, despite people’s impulse to avoid remembering a dreadful past and to move on? My chapter explores these questions by examining Japan’s culture of defeat. It surveys the stakes of war memory in Japan after its defeat in the Second World War and shows how and why defeat has become an indelible part of national collective life. Drawing on key popular culture material, especially recent popular manga and graphic novels, it probes into the heart of traumatic war memories that fuels and reinforces Japan’s anti-military sentiments and have become the backbone of Japan’s postwar pacifism.