Eurasians and Racial Capital in a “Race War”

Eurasians and Racial Capital in a “Race War”

Perspectives: A Publication of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies
Volume 14, Number 2 (Spring 2017)
pages 4-19

W. Puck Brecher, Ph.D., Professor of History
Washington State University

The ubiquity of racist propaganda in Japan and the U.S. during the Pacific War and the extraordinary cruelty of the fighting have fostered the perception that Japanese and Americans harbored a deep racial hatred for each other. Indeed, historical research convincingly interprets the Pacific War as a “race war” within the contexts of military engagement and state rhetoric. We know little, however, about how resident Westerners lived and interacted with Japanese during the war and whether they became victims of racial hatred. This article explores the impacts of state ideology on Japanese citizens’ racial attitudes by examining the treatment and experiences of mixed-race individuals, and Eurasians particularly, stranded in Japan during the war. In doing so, it contextualizes and corrects harmful allegations of racism among civilian Japanese.

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