This article examines Japanese processes of self-formation as reflected in junior high school civics textbooks, comparing books published in 1990 and 2012. It demonstrates surprising continuity in how books from the two years construct a pacifist self in sharp contrast to Japan's prewar and wartime belligerence. We argue that this kind of antagonistic temporal othering has continued to socialize Japanese students into a "peace identity" and helps to explain the strong grassroots opposition to the Japanese government's 2015 announcement of laws to back up its position that Japan can exercise collective self-defense.