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Perilous Memories The Asia-Pacific War(s) by T. Fujitani

Perilous Memories The Asia-Pacific War(s)


Perilous Memories The Asia-Pacific War(s) by T. Fujitani

Perilous Memories makes a groundbreaking and critical intervention into debates about war memory in the Asia-Pacific region. Arguing that much is lost or erased when the Asia-Pacific War(s) are reduced to the 1941-1945 war between Japan and the United States, this collection challenges mainstream memories of the Second World War in favor of what were actually multiple, widespread conflicts. The contributors recuperate marginalized or silenced memories of wars throughout the region-not only in Japan and the United States but also in China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Okinawa, Taiwan, and Korea. Firmly based on the insight that memory is always mediated and that the past is not a stable object, the volume demonstrates that we can intervene positively yet critically in the recovery and reinterpretation of events and experiences that have been pushed to the peripheries of the past. The contributors-an international list of anthropologists, cultural critics, historians, literary scholars, and activists-show how both dominant and subjugated memories have emerged out of entanglements with such forces as nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, racism, and sexism. They consider both how the past is remembered and also what the consequences may be of privileging one set of memories over others. Specific objects of study range from photographs, animation, songs, and films to military occupations and attacks, minorities in wartime, comfort women, commemorative events, and postwar activism in pursuing redress and reparations. Perilous Memories is a model for war memory intervention and will be of interest to historians and other scholars and activists engaged with collective memory, colonial studies, U.S. and Asian history, and cultural studies.Contributors. Chen Yingzhen, Chungmoo Choi, Vicente M. Diaz, Arif Dirlik, T. Fujitani, Ishihara Masaie, Lamont Lindstrom, George Lipsitz, Marita Sturken, Toyonaga Keisaburo, Utsumi Aiko, Morio Watanabe, Geoffrey M. White, Diana Wong, Daqing Yang, Lisa Yoneyama


Unsettling official national accounts with memories of war from Okinawa, Guam, and Taiwan, of the Nanjing massacre, occupied Singapore, and the Hiroshima bombing-PERILOUS MEMORIES provokes a haunting dialectic between familiar history and endangered memories. -Lisa Lowe, University of California, San Diego This excellent interdisciplinary collection of essays gives diverse and heterogeneous voice to many ordinary people who suffered in the Asian wars that began in 1931-wars that, for many of these same people, never really ended. At every turn, Perilous Memories counterpoints the extraordinary elites who have dominated historical memory with the recuperated experience of their victims. This book is a major contribution to what the authors call `critical war remembering.' -Bruce Cumings, author of Parallax Visions: Making Sense of American-East Asian Relations at the End of the Century Perilous Memories is a major statement in current discussions concerned with assessing the problematic relationship of history and memory. The authors gathered in this volume edited by T. Fujitani, Geoffrey White, and Lisa Yoneyama forcefully rescue the memories of other wars and genocides in the arena of Asia-Pacific to remind us of the dangerous but necessary task of the present to actualize the past in order to remember the forgotten yet unforgettable. With this volume we have an incomparable guide to what Walter Benjamin once described as the `copernican turn to remembrance.' -Harry Harootunian, New York University

About the Author

T. Fujitani is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego and author of Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan. Geoffrey M. White is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawai'i, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, and author of Identity Through History: Living Stories in a Solomon Islands Society. Lisa Yoneyama is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and Japanese Studies at University of California, San Diego and author of Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space, and the Dialectics of Memory.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st June 2001


T. Fujitani

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Duke University Press


472 pages


Asian history
Second World War

War & defence operations



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