Race for Empire
Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of California Press
Series: Asia Pacific Modern
Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Many years ago I began to write a book on the military and its effects in modern Japan that would have had much less to say about race than does this volume. While this book reflects some of the concerns I had at that time, the racial politics of the mid-to late 1990s derailed that project, at least for a while. ...
Note on Romanization and Naming
Commonly Used Acronyms
Introduction Ethnic and Colonial Soldiers and the Politics of Disavowal
Reflecting on her childhood years in early postwar Japan, the pioneering historian and activist Utsumi Aiko wrote in her 1991 contribution to the popular Iwanami Booklet series that she could recall no public memory from that time of the Korean and Taiwanese men who had fought for Japan as soldiers and sailors during the Asia-Pacific War. ...
Part One. From Vulgar to Polite Racism
1. Right to Kill, Right to Make Live: Koreans as Japanese
In its official history of thirty years of Japanese rule in Korea, the Government-General of Korea noted that a fundamental transformation in the state’s understanding of “population” had taken place since the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Previously, the population problem had been understood as a matter of an excess—that is, concerned with such issues ...
2. “Very Useful and Very Dangerous”: The Global Politics of Life, Death, and Race
Perhaps it goes without saying that in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, even the feeble signs that some Japanese Americans were becoming full-fledged members of the national community rapidly collapsed.1 Throughout the prewar years the Japanese minority had been more outside than inside the national community. ...
Part Two. Japanese as Americans
3. Subject to Choice, Labyrinth of (Un)freedom
The analogy of separating Japanese American goats from sheep that circulated so widely among civilian and military administrators points to another aspect of the shift from “vulgar” to “polite” racism that I have touched on but not adequately analyzed in the previous chapters: namely, that the new modality of governing this minority could no longer operate ...
4. Reasoning, Counterreasonings, and Counter-conduct
In the previous chapter I charted the shift inmodality of governing Japanese Americans toward a complex governmentality that mobilized exceptions and force precisely for the purpose of enabling liberal rule. As Dillon S. Myer put it in response to aggressive questioning in the Senate about the need to more strictly police the internees, ...
5. Go for Broke, the Movie: The Transwar Making of American Heroes
Despite the failure of the Japanese American volunteer program to produce a large number of volunteers from the mainland United States, by commonsense standards those eventually inducted into the army from Hawaii and the mainland United States (mainly through the draft) cumulatively performed astonishing feats of military heroism ...
Part Three. Koreans as Japanese
6. National Mobilization
U.S. psychological warfare during the Second World War had as one of its key strategies the exploitation of class, racial, and regional divisions within the Japanese nation and larger colonial empire. While most Americans in the postwar United States have tended to believe that the Japanese are a homogeneous people, and wartime propaganda represented the Japanese ...
7. Nation, Blood, and Self-Determination
The concerted disavowal of racism in the Japanese colonial empire during the late war years operated through media other than the documents and directives produced by the civil and military branches of the state. Newspapers, magazines, cinema, radio, literature, music, and other media also circulated stories about Japan’s empire of equality throughout not only Korea ...
8. The Colonial and National Politics of Gender, Sex, and Family
In recent years some of the most incisive scholarship on the cultural politics of empire has emphasized that the management of families, gender, and sex was not of secondary concern for colonial and imperial powers, but was central to and implicated in the constitution and maintenance of larger structures of exploitation and domination. ...
Epilogue “Four Volunteer Soldiers”
In April 1947 Nakano Shigeharu, the Marxist writer, poet, and critic, published a short essay titled “Four Volunteer Soldiers.” More a column than an extended essay, Nakano tells the story of his encounter on a train with four young men in Japanese army uniform in September 1945—four men who had belonged to the first cohort of Koreans who had volunteered for the Japanese army in 1938. ...