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The Making of Japanese American War Heroes and the Rearmament of Occupied Japan: An intersection of U.S. Race Politics and International Relations
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 6:00pm

Mar 9th (Tue) at 6:00, Smith Student Union 327/8
“The Making of Japanese American War Heroes and the Rearmament of Occupied Japan: An intersection of U.S. Race Politics and International Relations”

By Prof, Eiichiro Azuma, University of Pennsylvania Historians have examined a critical nexus between a contrived story of Japanese American (Nisei) military heroism and the remaking of postwar America as a colorblind republic in the context of Cold-War racial liberalism. The political use of Nisei's wartime military exploits nonetheless was not limited to U.S. domestic race relations. In occupied Japan, "democratic" Nisei troops served as an important trope for new soldiers of free Japan—the kind of fighting men who stood in sharp contrast to "savage" imperial soldiers in the popular imagination. My paper traces the convoluted politico-cultural process in occupied Japan that gave birth to, and solidified, such an image of Nisei soldiers—the process that provided a background for the formation in July 1950 of the National Police Reserve, the predecessor of the present-day Self-Defense Forces of Japan.