Ethnic and Colonial Soldiers and the Politics of Disavowal

T. Fujitani

in Race for Empire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780520262232
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950368 | DOI:
Ethnic and Colonial Soldiers and the Politics of Disavowal

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This introductory chapter first sets out the purpose of the book, which is to show that during the Second World War the positions of U.S. and Japanese ethnic and colonial soldiers, as well as the respective regimes that called them national subjects and then mobilized them into service, were surprisingly similar. It seeks seek to show how discussions about, policies concerning, and representations of these soldiers tell us a great deal about the characteristics of wartime racism, nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, gender politics, the family, and related issues on both sides of the Pacific that go well beyond the Japanese American and Korean Japanese soldiers themselves. The chapter then discusses two factors that propelled the American and Japanese total war regimes toward vigorous campaigns in which each presented itself as the authentic defender of freedom, equality, and anti-imperialism while pointing to the other as not only the true racist power and oppressor but also as duplicitous in its denunciations of racism. An overview of the three parts of the book is also presented.

Keywords: American soldiers; Japanese American soldiers; World War II; racism; war regimes

Chapter.  13263 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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