Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story by Walter Hamilton (review)

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-07-30 01:58Z by Steven

Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story by Walter Hamilton (review)

The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
Volume 7, Number 3, Fall 2014
pages 565-567
DOI: 10.1353/hcy.2014.0047

Owen Griffiths

Hamilton, Walter, Children of the Occupation: Japan’s Untold Story (Sydney: NewSouth Books, 2012)

What if you felt like you didn’t belong to the society in which you were born and raised? This is the question Walter Hamilton explores in his powerful book about mixed-race children born during the occupation of Japan. Drawing on his long experience living in Japan as a correspondent for the Australian Broadcast Company (ABC), Hamilton weaves personal testimonials into a broader tale about race discrimination in the modern era. He focuses on cases drawn from Kure in southwestern Honshu (the “Kure kids”), which was the center of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) that included a large contingent of Australian troops. This is not just an Australian story, however. Hamilton reminds us that people from many different societies and cultures recoiled in “horror and pity” at the consequences of race mixing, including the Japanese, whose “racial intolerance was fully matched in the nations it fought against” (3).

This story is a tragedy on multiple levels, punctuated by poignant moments of survival, perseverance, and, occasionally, triumph. Japan’s defeat and subsequent seven-year occupation brought the impoverished Japanese, especially women, face to face with thousands of foreign troops, all bigger, healthier, and richer than most Japanese could have dreamed of at the time. The interactions that followed took many forms from rape and prostitution to workplace relationships and chance romance. The offspring of these encounters were the konketsuji (mixed-race children) or ainoko (half-caste or hybrid), boys and girls struggling to survive at the margins of a society already fractured by war, defeat, and occupation. These children were rejected by their communities and often their own families because they looked different, because they were impure. They also suffered the “sins” of their mothers, whom society often ostracized as prostitutes regardless of the true nature of their relationships with foreigners. Abandonment by both mothers and fathers was not uncommon, with reluctant relatives often stepping into the breach to care for them.

Karumi and Joji, the first two Kure kids we meet, exemplified this marginalization. Never knowing their fathers and abandoned by their mothers, the cousins were raised in poverty first by their aged great-grandmother and then separated when Joji was sent to Hawaii for adoption. After a time with her uncle and abusive aunt, Karumi was reunited with her great-grandmother, under whose care she thrived. At school she was a constant target for abuse. An Australian couple adopted her when she was eleven, but she never spoke of her adoption experience. Karumi nonetheless made a career for herself in nursing, married, and raised three children. Tragedy was close by, however. Her husband’s death in an accident left her a widow in her early forties with three kids to feed. She did remarry and continued to develop her career skills. Her comments, when looking back on her first husband’s death, exemplify the hardships of the mixed-race kid. “Remember what you went through as a child,” she said to herself. “Just try to think: ‘This [her husband’s death] ain’t nothing’” (246).

The mixed-race stigma forced on the Kure kids and their counterparts in Japan and elsewhere is a tragic legacy of our obsession with blood purity and skin color. It seems that everyone who came into contact with the so-called scientific racism of nineteenth-century Europe either adopted the concept wholesale or found at least some of it amenable to their own indigenous ideas. A long war filled with race hate intensified these prejudices, which then carried over into occupation policies like non-fraternization and bans on mixed-race marriage. The attitudes of the governments involved in the occupation, Japan’s included, more than matched those of the occupation authorities. They alternated between non-recognition of the children’s existence to prohibitions against immigration and adoption. Australia was particularly harsh in this regard, banning interracial marriage and immigration until after the peace treaty with Japan was signed in 1951, and then only under limited conditions. Some soldiers left Japan unaware they had fathered children. Others abandoned mother and child to their fate. Still others, however, sought to marry and bring their new families back to their homes but were thwarted by…

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Call for papers: “Mixed Race” in Asia

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2015-07-29 16:39Z by Steven

Call for papers: “Mixed Race” in Asia

2015-07-10

This edited volume seeks to focus attention on the neglected topic of “mixed race” in the Asian region. “Mixed race” identities have been the subject of growing scholarly interest over the past two decades. In multicultural societies, increasing numbers of people of mixed ancestry are identifying themselves outside of traditional racial categories, challenging systems of racial classification and sociological understandings of “race”.

There is a growing body of work emerging in the North American and British contexts. However, understandings and experiences of “mixed race” across different national contexts have not been explored in significant depth. Increasing research is being undertaken in the Australian/Pacific region, but research on “mixed race” in Asia has lagged behind. The proposed volume expands the field of research to include the Asian region. It explores these dilemmas through a series of case studies from around Asia, a region unique in its diversity of cultures, ethnicities, languages and histories.

In many countries in Asia, racial, ethnic and cultural mixing has a long and fascinating history, and narratives around “mixed race” have developed in vastly different ways. From established identities such as Anglo-Indians in India, to Eurasians in Singapore and Peranakan identity in Southeast Asia, to newer ones like Hafus in Japan, individuals of mixed heritage have diverse experiences across the region. These experiences have been shaped by a range of political contexts and levels of acceptance. This volume seeks to draw out these experiences, as well as the social and structural factors affecting mixedness both historically and today.

Book Overview

The proposed book will be edited by Associate Professor Farida Fozdar (University of Western Australia) and Dr Zarine Rocha (National University of Singapore).

It will include an introduction written by the editors surveying the current condition of the field of scholarship in the region, putting this in an international context. This will be followed by up to 15 chapters of original research by a selection of senior, mid and early career researchers across a range of disciplines. We particularly welcome contributions addressing “mixed race” in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Tibet.

Please send your abstracts (150-200 words) and bio (50-100 words) to: Dr Zarine L. Rocha at z.l.rocha@ajss.sg.

Deadline: 31 July 2015

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Call for Papers: Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2015-07-29 16:38Z by Steven

Call for Papers: Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California
2015-07-09

Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea, April 14-15, 2016

The University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies is pleased to announce the call for papers for “Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea” a conference to be held at the University of San Francisco on Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, 2016.

The highlight of the conference will be a keynote address by Emma Teng, Professor of History and Asian Civilizations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

With this conference, the Center plans to provide a forum for academic discussions and the sharing of the latest research on the history and life experiences of mixed-race individuals in China, Japan, and Korea. The conference is designed to promote greater understanding of the cross-cultural encounters that led to the creation of interracial families and encourage research that examines how mixed-race individuals living in East Asia have negotiated their identities. Scholars working on the contemporary period are also welcome to apply.

All participants will be expected to provide a draft of their paper approximately 4 weeks before the conference to allow discussants adequate time to prepare their comments before the conference.

Participants will be invited to submit their original research for consideration in the Center’s peer-reviewed journal, Asia Pacific Perspectives.

Interested applicants should e-mail the following to centerasiapacific@usfca.edu, subject line, “Multiracial Identities in Asia”:

  • 300 word (maximum) abstract
  • Curriculum Vitae

Please share this call with any scholars that may be interested.

Contact for Questions:

Melissa S. Dale, Ph.D.
Executive Director & Assistant Professor
University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies
mdale3@usfca.edu

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The Original Rachel Dolezal Was a Jew Named Mezz Mezzrow

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-07-28 20:40Z by Steven

The Original Rachel Dolezal Was a Jew Named Mezz Mezzrow

Forward
2015-06-16

Seth Rogovoy

As we all know, Rachel Dolezal was by no means the first white American to take on aspects of African-Americanness in her persona — calling Elvis, is anybody home? — although she will go down in history as one of the all-time champions of the syndrome based on the sheer chutzpahdik of her transformation. But blackness has always been an integral part of American identity, and has only grown more so with the passage of time (think of white-rap pop star Eminem and black President of the United States Barack Obama for two recent mirror-image examples), so that for any American, it’s nearly impossible not to take on some degree of Afritude without even trying.

But for all her efforts at “crossing the line,” including attending Howard University, changing her name, and becoming an official of the NAACP, Dolezal might not merit the crown from the all-time champion of race-crossing. That honor still and forever may belong to jazz musician Mezz Mezzrow, born Milton Mesirow to Russian-Jewish immigrants in Chicago in 1899. We have yet to hear the full story from Dolezal herself, and to understand just what her motivations were in creating a new African-American identity for herself to such an extreme that her parents felt impelled to out her as a liar. But Mezzrow’s story may at least provide help in understanding or at least contextualizing the Dolezal phenomenon…

Read the entire article here.

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“Fake Black?”

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-07-28 20:30Z by Steven

“Fake Black?”

brian bantum: theology, culture, and life in-between
2015-06-12

Brian Bantum, Associate Professor of Theology
Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington

Theorist Stuart Hall suggests identity is better understood as identification. That is, our identities are not fixed as essential realities whether gender, or race or nationality. We are always living into or out of the ideas and representations of what these things are.

Rachael Dolezal apparent presentation of herself as black shows this to an extent. She is living into a people with whom she has seemed to identify with. But this process requires point of departure and a point of entry. You identify from a particular place and a particular body, and this is part of the process of negotiating your identity.

To act as if you have no point of departure is to persist in a delusion and re-enact Americas fundamental racial sin – to pretend there was no history before you arrived, then co-opt the resources of the land for your benefit. Perhaps her life had deep resonances with aspects of the African American community. But to really understand that community, to understand their history also has to be an acknowledgement of what her white body signifies in that history. To even say that one is mixed must be to confess the complicated realities of mulatto identity and colorism in American racial history…

Read the entire article here.

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It’s My Party and I’ll Be Biracial if I Want to

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-28 20:18Z by Steven

It’s My Party and I’ll Be Biracial if I Want to

College Magazine
2015-07-23

Emanuel Griffin
University of Florida

The fact that I am half black and half Asian is the coolest thing about me. It’s like being a one-man Wu-Tang Clan. It’s like being the handsome result of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker having a baby. It means having the freshest Jordan’s but knowing to take them off when step in the house. Being mixed does have awkward drawbacks, I’ll admit. I’ve been asked what my ethnicity is at least 9001 more times than I’ve been asked my name. Folks joke about what race I am “down there,” and they always want to touch my hair.

I thought I had placed the same amount of importance on my two cultures until my grandma came to visit me from the Philippines. To prove how wrong I was, she went on one of her longwinded, heavily accented lectures. She pointed out that I didn’t have a Filipino flag, couldn’t cook basic Filipino food and couldn’t speak Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. I felt like an uncultured douche for neglecting my Asian half. Right in the middle of my downward spiral of contemplating life and drinking vanilla milkshakes, my fully Filipino friend Al invited me to the University of Florida’s annual Go Fest. By the time he finished the question, my bags were already packed…

Read the entire article here.

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Black, Jewish and challenging ideas about the face of federation

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-07-28 17:33Z by Steven

Black, Jewish and challenging ideas about the face of federation

Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
New York, New York
2014-12-01

Rebecca Spence

(JTA) — When Ilana Kaufman, a program officer at the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation, arrived at San Quentin State Prison for a meeting with the Jewish chaplain at California’s oldest correctional facility, the chaplain couldn’t seem to find her — even though Kaufman was standing in plain sight.

As Kaufman waited in the receiving area, a security officer by her side, the spiritual leader of the prison community — largely composed of men of color — turned her head left and right trying to locate the federation representative whose name she knew but whose face she had never seen.

“Finally the officer says, ‘Chaplain, this person standing right next to me,’” Kaufman recalled. “And the chaplain says, ‘You know, you are not who I expected.’”

It wasn’t the first time that Kaufman, 42, had heard such a comment…

Read the entire article here.

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Op-Ed: For black Orthodox Jews, constant racism is exhausting

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-07-28 17:20Z by Steven

Op-Ed: For black Orthodox Jews, constant racism is exhausting

Jewish Telegraphic Agency
New York, New York
2015-07-16

Chava Shervington, President
Jewish Multiracial Network

NEW YORK (JTA) – When I was 24, an Orthodox matchmaker tried to set me up on a date with a man older than my parents. When I objected, she told me, “Stop being so picky. Not many guys are willing to consider a black girl.”

As an African-American Orthodox Jew, this was hardly my first encounter with the questionable treatment I and my fellow Jews of color endure.

“Why is the goy here?” one black Jewish parent overheard when taking her child to a Jewish children’s event.

At one yeshiva in Brooklyn, the mother of a biracial student was asked to stay away from the school because it made the other parents uncomfortable.

An African-American acquaintance told me he overheard a worshiper at morning minyan talk about how he didn’t want to daven with a “shvartze” – while my acquaintance was putting on his tefillin.

Orthodox society is a beautiful community dedicated to charity, Torah learning and growth through observance of mitzvahs – and I believe we’re better than this racism suggests…

Read the entire article here.

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Long Time No See: A memoir of fathers, daughters and games of chance

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels, United Kingdom on 2015-07-28 15:02Z by Steven

Long Time No See: A memoir of fathers, daughters and games of chance

Periscope
2015-07-24
336 pages
204mm x 138mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781859643969

Hannah Lowe

Hannah Lowe’s father “Chick”, a half-Chinese, half-black Jamaican immigrant, worked long hours at night to support his family – except Chick was no ordinary working man. A legendary gambler, he would vanish into the shadows of East London to win at cards or dice, returning during the daylight hours to greet the daughter whose love and respect he courted.

In this poignant memoir, Lowe calls forth the unstable world of card sharps, confidence men and small-time criminals that eventually took its toll on Chick. She also evokes her father’s Jamaica, where he learned his formidable skills, and her own coming of age in a changing Britain.

Long Time No See speaks eloquently of love and its absence, regret and compassion, and the struggle to know oneself.

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Notable Black and Mixed Race men in Renaissance Europe

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2015-07-28 14:27Z by Steven

Notable Black and Mixed Race men in Renaissance Europe

Bino & Fino: Embracing My Child’s Black African Identity
2015-07-23

Maria Tumolo

We are thrilled to bring you our very first guest post from children’s author Maria Tumolo. She is also writes a blog called Tiger Tales which explores parenting as an expat mixed heritage family.

During my time at university many moons ago, I was intrigued by the ‘cross-pollution’ of cultures between Europe and Africa during the Renaissance age. It seemed to me that Europe gained more from the encounter than some historians would readily admit. It’s known that scholars travelled to Egypt to study. (Yes, Egypt is on the African continent.) For example it recorded that the Greek Astronomer and Mathematician, Sosigenes of Alexandria, advised Julius Caesar to adopt ‘the modification of the 365-day Egyptian solar calendar but with an extra day every fourth year (leap year). This came into effect in 45 BC.’ Other notable Greek Scholars who travelled and studied in Egypt were Plato and Pythagoras. However, I was curious to know more about the African presence in Europe during the Renaissance. It’s known that not all the black people in Europe during this time were not slaves. While searching the internet, I came across a review of an art exhibition that was run back in 2012, at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. It was entitled Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. I was fascinated by lives and stories of the individuals it featured. I didn’t want too long a blog post. Therefore, I’ll focus on three male historical figures, Black and Mixed Race. I present to you: Alessandro de’ Medici, Antonio Nsaku Manuel Vunda, and St. Benedict of Palermo

Read the entire article here.

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