Let me be clear from the start: I am critiquing, not criticizing. Criticizing judges, has a moral hierarchy, is more “truth oriented.” I come from an intellectual background that struggles to critique–to point out crevices, junctures, and points of diversion that may open to new possibilities that present multiple locations from a single space (as opposed to criticism which tends to negate and/or annihilate whatever it points to). What is “multiracial” and “bi-racial” for? Who does it serve? What does it do or not do? Why?
December 7th. In any year, in the United States, it is memorialized.
Just what is memorialized?
Memory. . . . . . What is it? Memory of What? For what?
Of course. We mourn. the loss.
Veterans of the U.S. military who were alive at the time, who experienced it, must remember it, perhaps simply to honor their friends and fellow military friends who perished, or whose lives were maimed.—But . . . . . . .
My BOOK is, for the FIRST TIME in six years of being in the works with the publisher, is ON TRACK!
For the first time, the ENTIRE manuscript has been proofed and is being reviewed for final edits and placement of photos. This has never happened! So it is going to be ready by next fall!
The many photos need to be placed throughout the book in the right places, the captions need to be cleaned up, and then the Index needs to be done.
While this is going on, those doing extra chapters such as the Introduction, will be able to read the manuscript and write their pieces for the Front Matter.
So it feels GOOD to finally be in the “BOOK IS HAPPENING” stage, and no longer in the start-and-stop phase.
The book by Terese Svoboda, Black Glasses Like Clark Kent (Graywolf Press 2008), tells the personal true story of Svoboda’s journey, beginning with her Uncle who becomes depressed, then takes his own life.
Her uncle served in the US Occupation of Japan, working as a Military Stockade guard.
Kenji Chienshu Liu‘s latest book of poetry: Map of an Onion, (published by Inlandia Institute 2016), a recent winner of the U.S. national Hillary Gravendyk Prize, is an exquisite blend of intimacy, heart, colonial history’s effects, war, displacements and identity. Grief, loss, and rage are not locked into rational categories displaced in a western psychological malaise, but are instead interwoven and particularized in textures of belonging, memory and uncovering, through the vast emptiness of fullness-in-difference, of history and intimately personal worlds, evoked between words and from words.
I highly recommend this for anyone who loves poetry in contexts of understanding and owning the multiple histories through which our personal lives are woven; intricately with others, of the present and times past, and the future.
Vimeo Visual Poems accompanying the Book, at Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/album/3840355
Leah Silvieus‘s review of Kenji’s book at Hyphen Magazine: http://hyphenmagazine.com/blog/2016/03/“i’ll-look-behind-you-you-arrive”-kenji-c-liu’s-map-onion
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:
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.
One of the strongest global collective memories, still operating in our world today as “the global color line between white and other,” is the Human Zoo.
These “zoos” were planned and constructed to exhibit “aborigines,” native “tribal” peoples, and “indigenous” darker-skinned peoples from around the world, for white and white wanna-be people to be amused and entertained and “discovered” by. Often, they were just added exhibits to existing animal zoos.
From the Asia-Pacific and Pacific Islands, African, European and American continents, the white formation of a “world” was being formed via the consolidating of global mapping and human social ordering through race science (white at the top) and the self-structures of modernity (future-oriented and primitivity connected to the past, ecology and less rational), through which the assumptions of superiority and inferiority are silently or overtly proven. From Burun and Atayal people of Formosa (Taiwan), Igorot and Aeta from the Philippines, Native American tribes including Inuit and Sioux from North America,The Sami of Finland, Egyptian and Congo tribal peoples, and many others, were exhibited.
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?
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.
The Rio Olympics have come and gone! Although I know that like many other global events such as the Olympics, is made possible through the displacement of underclass communities and in many cases, a stress on ecologies and linked to economic-social-ecological ruin for the local, and at the same time linked with benefits for a certain few, there is the ideal, the spectacle, the beauty and tragedy of sport, of different world cultures, of the striving toward excellence.
The next summer Olympics is slated for Tokyo in 2020. As one born in Japan, and raised there twice in my younger life, and with Japanese being my first language until I was fully bilingual as a teenager, I have a special place for Japan and Japanese sport. My chosen sport was volleyball. I learned basic skills from young teenager players at a Japanese Junior national team public practice in Japan, after I had first been attracted to volleyball in Hawaii in the mid-1960s. I continued in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a player and later as a player at Long Beach City College in the Los Angeles, California area in the late 1970s. Volleyball in Japan, in the 1960s, was the most popular women’s sport, and there was a ブーム (boom, or explosion in popularity) in those days, and due to the popularity of the National Women’s Team that had gone undefeated in years and in 1962, had won the world championships and ending with the Gold Medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, against bigger, taller opponents. “Witches of the Orient” (東洋の魔女) as they were called, became an attraction to me and later became a reality for me in Hawaii in 1966, upon seeing volleyball there.