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