Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific

“Babysan” by Bill Hume; and Japan Society Review by Kim Brandt

babysan-cover

 

One of the most interesting and revealing pieces of art and history, as well as what I think to be among the most “valuable” from the U.S.-Allied Occupation of Japan, is Bill Hume’s cartoon book: Babysan: A Private Look at the Japanese Occupation.

A great review of this book can be found at the Japan Society, written by Kim Brandt:

http://aboutjapan.japansociety.org/learning-from-babysan

This book gives a great glimpse into how American soldiers viewed their stay in Japan, as Occupiers, as boys who have left home, as military personnel, who were largely becoming intimate with a “Japan” through their relationships with their own ideas about “Oriental” women and Japanese women themselves. In my own work, I focus much on the more intense violent interactions in order to make points related to uneven relations, nation-building, and the tactics and thinking that create the will, desire, and the unspoken aspects of military occupation and empire-building in our world, whether past or present, and most likely the same building blocks that will be re-created in structural procedures and people’s minds in the future. Babysan looks at these these things in the intimate everyday, through their loneliness, need for affection and sex, and their position as conquerors, as male.

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Blog-post by Mark Makino – on the Japanese term: “Gaikoku-Jin” which translates: “Outsider-foreigner”

Mark Makino‘s post on the embedded aspects of race, nation, colonialism, and Japanese identity in the term: Gaikoku-Jin (Outsider-Foreigner):

Foreign? Western? White? Non-Japanese? Occidental proboscis monsters?

https://futurealisreal.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/foreign-western-white-non-japanese-occidental-proboscis-monsters/

Black, Yellow, White in Japan and Asia

JPN - Black Sambo - Ufu and Mufu - Robert Moorehead
Black Sambo characters: Ufu and Mufu, popular in Japan – photo by Robert Moorehead

 

My need to think about Blackness in Asia goes far beyond the fact of my father being an African-American soldier stationed in Japan during the Korean War. It goes beyond anti-Black attitudes among Asians that I have experienced, and the anti-Asian attitude I have experienced among African-Americans today. I knew that a superficial and very American notion of anti-black racism in the United States would not do to understand my own place in history and the languages I would use to uncover and do my part to undo its power in the world.

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Academy Awards, Racism and Sayonara: Creating the White Pacific

Miyoshi Umeki’s character pouring warm bath water onto her onscreen partner played by Red Buttons.

Many people don’t know (and perhaps don’t care), that a Japanese woman became the first actor of East Asian descent to win an Academy Award.  Her name was Umeki Miyoshi 梅木 美代志, or better known as: Miyoshi Umeki ミヨシ・ウメキ  (May 1929-August 2007).

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Vintage Japanese Film – Trailer: Konketsuji Rika 混血児 リカ (1972)

Konketsuji Rika  混血児 リカ (Mixed-Blood Rica), is another vintage Japanese movie that was fairly successful for its makers.  This movie was released in 1972.  It was proven so successful that it was  turned into a trilogy with two more films in its series. They are in the “exploitation” tradition.  More information here.

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Okinawan Boys Scouts, the War, Internalized Oppressions: A Commentary

A group of U.S. Soldiers, Boy Scouts, Okinawan and Japanese citizens combined their efforts Saturday to help clean up the Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner Jr. memorial site located in Itoman City. Photo courtesy of JapanBases.com

I want to make a small, agitating comment on the conditions that underlie the photo above.  This is from a March 23, 2011 event in Okinawa.

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