井の中の蛙

9/18/2007

Worth Noting

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 2:43 pm Print

John Dower kicks off the American Historical Association’s Perspectives newsletter’s new “Masters at the Movies” series with a review and commentary of the two Eastwood Iwo Jima movies. It is, as you’d expect from John Dower, well sourced, psychologically sensitive, clear-headed and even-handed. Nothing very new there, but a good survey of the end-of-war issues and narratives. End-of-war issues remain sensitive in Japan1. For a completely different perspective, Richard Frank’s review of Maddox’s Hiroshima book claims, as so many conservative commentators have before, that it settles the “revisionism” questions once and for all. We’ll see.

Non Sequitur: In other news, this week’s Japan Focus is all about current immigration issues in Japan, so I’ll have to read it and see if anyone’s got an historical perspective worth noting.

  1. then there’s the cabinet minister resignation, etc. []

9/17/2007

Diasporic Remnants

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 3:22 am Print

I’m always interested in interesting tales and connections regarding the Japanese diaspora. Here’s a couple that I’ve run across: New research on Japanese settlers in Korea; Jorge Luis Borges, the great surrealist, married a Nikkei Argentinian woman late in life; Japanese post-WWII settlers in the Dominican Republic abandoned by both governments. I love being part — a small part, but nonetheless — of the diaspora studies movement. We’re complicating the history of the world, chronicling the wonderful diversity of seemingly simple things. [continued...]

(more…)

9/9/2007

Reminder to self: Complicating History

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 4:31 am Print

This is an old-fashioned web-log post: links that I don’t want to lose in the ether or the depths of my Eudora folders. Both are from Japan Focus, and both have to do with complicating our view of Japanese history.

The first is a conceptual and migratory complication, which I’m always in favor of, by Chris Burgess: “Multicultural Japan? Discourse and the ‘Myth’ of Homogeneity”. Burgess does a bit of deconstruction on both Nihonjinron and its attackers, problematizing both homogeneity and diversity. Then he talks about migration, but goes beyond the usual platitudes by addressing actual numbers and even coherent international comparisons! I’m not entirely convinced — limiting the migration discussion to in-migration always makes me a little wary — but that’s why I want to go back and read it again another time.

The second is Aaron William Moore’s “Essential Ingredients of Truth: Soldiers’ Diaries in the Asia Pacific War”, which includes not only a substantial discussion of WWII diaries, but also a contextual discussion of the tradition of diary-keeping in modern Japan, especially the military, a discussion of the publication of military diaries in Japan, and then concludes with a discussion of wartime military diaries from other countries, so as to put the Japanese diaries in the fullest possible context.

Go, read, and come back and discuss, perhaps? Perhaps not.

Update: Nobuko Adachi — editor of the recently reviewed collection of Diaspora studies in which I had a chapter1 — graces this week’s Japan Focus with “Racial Journeys: Justice and Japanese-Peruvians in Peru, the United States, and Japan”, which tells the story of the WWII era deportation to the US and interment of Japanese-Peruvians, and the slow realization by the governments involved that a grave injustice was done. She then goes on to discuss the dekasegi and other return migration (including that most famous Japanese-Peruvian, Alberto Fujimori) and the crisis created by Japan’s economic slowdown. Interesting stuff.

  1. In spite of the very positive review, the book’s rank at Amazon is just on the cusp of the top million…. []

Powered by WordPress