The PSU Center for Japanese Studies presents
Dr. Naoko Shibusawa from the History Department of Brown University
Room 238 Smith Memorial Student Union (1825 SW Broadway)
Surviving Collaboration in the Aftermath of War
Dr. Shibusawa is the author of the book America's Geisha Ally: Re-Imagining the Japanese Enemy (Harvard 2006), which examines how Americans were able to accept the Japanese as valuable Cold War allies so quickly after a brutal and racialized war. Her talk at PSU will focus on a tale of two U.S. Army sergeants, Richard M. Sakakida and John David Provoo, who became prisoners of war when the island fortress of Corregidor surrendered to the Japanese on May 6, 1942. Because both men understood Japanese, both translated and were given tasks by their Japanese captors. Yet one emerged as a war hero—posthumously given a Congressional citation—whereas the other, though ultimately found innocent, remained hounded by the treason allegations against him for the rest of his life. The Japanese American went on to have a distinguished military career until retirement, whereas the Euroamerican became an indigent Buddhist monk who participated in anti-war demonstrations during Vietnam War. Their stories upend racialized normatives about nation and belonging, showing how the state firmly placed the Japanese American man into the circle of patriotism and honor while denying readmission to the white man. This talk will focus on Sakakida's testimony against Provoo at his 1952-53 treason trial and explain how Cold War racial liberalism, U.S. exceptionalism, and state surveillance allowed one man to survive World War II collaboration more easily than the other.
Co-sponsored by the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, the PSU History Department, and the Portland Center for Public Humanities.
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