This book challenges the historical myopia that treats Hollywood films as always having dominated global film culture through a detailed study of the circulation of European silent film in Australasia in the early twentieth century. Before World War I, European silent feature films were ubiquitous in Australia and New Zealand, teaching Antipodean audiences about Continental cultures and familiarizing them with glamorous European stars, from Asta Nielsen to Emil Jannings. After the rise of Hollywood and then the shift to sound film, this history—and its implications for cross-cultural exchange—was lost. Julie K. Allen recovers that history, with its flamboyant participants, transnational currents, innovative genres, and geopolitical complications, and brings it vividly to life. She reveals the complexity and competitiveness of the early cinema market, in a region with high consumer demand and low domestic production, and frames the dramatic shift to almost exclusively American cinema programming during World War I, contextualizing the rise of the art film in the 1920s in competition with mainstream Hollywood productions.
High modernity claims that the modernity project gave rise to institutional
organs of modern nation states, culminating in an emergence
of ultra-military states with wartime economy in the early twentieth
century. It also argues that the same developmental pattern continued
to dominate in the post-World War II period. This chapter examines this
high-modernity thesis, employing Japan and Hiroshima as cases to be
analyzed. Against the high-modernity thesis, many believe that Japan
had a historical disjuncture in 1945, being ultramilitary before the end
of World War II and a peaceful nation after. Examinations show that,
while the modernity project controlled a large-scale historical process in
Japan, it met vehement resistance, and became stranded in Hiroshima.
This article explores the ties between anti-Black racist kitsch and kawaii culture through the history of the Dakko-chan doll. In what came to be called the “Dakko-chan boom” of 1960, tens of thousands of Japanese people lined up to purchase an inflatable blackface doll with a circular red mouth, grass skirt, and winking hologram eyes. Dakko means “to hug,” and Dakko-chan's astronomical popularity resulted in part from the way the doll could be worn as an accessory, attached to the body by its hugging arms. This article asks what it meant for Japan, a nation still recovering from World War II and the American occupation, to quite literally embrace American blackface in the form of an embraceable doll. Rejecting the claim that blackface loses its significance in a Japanese context, this article argues that Dakko-chan cannot be considered devoid of racist meanings. Emerging amid the political turmoil surrounding the revision of the US-Japan Security Treaty, Dakko-chan came to express a wide range of contradictory feelings about race, sex, and nation, illustrating how affective attachments to racist forms have accrued rather than dissipated through their movement into new cultural contexts.
In The End of Pax Americana, Naoki Sakai focuses on U.S. hegemony's long history in East Asia and the effects of its decline on contemporary conceptions of internationality. Engaging with themes of nationality in conjunction with internationality, the civilizational construction of differences between East and West, and empire and decolonization, Sakai focuses on the formation of a nationalism of hikikomori, or “reclusive withdrawal”—Japan’s increasingly inward-looking tendency since the late 1990s, named for the phenomenon of the nation’s young people sequestering themselves from public life. Sakai argues that the exhaustion of Pax Americana and the post--World War II international order—under which Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and China experienced rapid modernization through consumer capitalism and a media revolution—signals neither the “decline of the West” nor the rise of the East, but, rather a dislocation and decentering of European and North American political, economic, diplomatic, and intellectual influence. This decentering is symbolized by the sense of the loss of old colonial empires such as those of Japan, Britain, and the United States.
The origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia are most often located in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, in the late 1940s. Historians sometimes trace its origins to Japan's expansionist phase in the 1930s, which accelerated the decline of the European and American colonial order in this part of Asia. However, the necessity of the fight against communism appeared very clearly in the minds of the leaders of the major colonial powers well before the 1930s. Focused on the case of Siam, this article aims to show that the origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia dated back to as early as the 1920s with the emergence of international cooperation in the fight against communism and the Thai elite's manipulation of imperialist powers to further their own political agenda and support their dominance in the domestic political arena. The Cold War in Southeast Asia was not only about the postwar fight against the spread of communism, but also closely intertwined with the decolonisation and nation-building efforts of every country in the region — including of the so-called un-colonised Thailand.
The article is dedicated to the reception of Mykhailo Hrushevsky’s academic achievements in German science and journalism during the first third of the 20th century, in the years of World War I and the interwar period. The authors emphasize that German scientists were generally honest about the achievements and activity of the Ukrainian historian. Despite their scepticism towards M. Hrushevsky’s Anti-Normanism ideology, they followed closely the emergence of his major scientific works. In the reception of the Ukrainian historian’s work, the academic motivation definitely dominated over the political one, although the latter indirectly appeared in many statements devoted to him. The authors prove the vivid presence of Hrushevsky’s thought in the German Slavic discourse of the period.