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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Story of Steain Family by Tim Steains

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, Oceania on 2015-07-22 19:37Z by Steven

Story of Steain Family by Tim Steains

Nikkei Australia: Japanese Diaspora in Australia
2014-11-02

Tim Steains


L to R – Sophie, Satsuki, Chris, Tim

My name is Timothy Kazuo Steains, I am of Okinawan and white Australian descent, and am 26 years old. I was born in Australia and have always lived here. As a child I attended Konomi Yōchien, and the Sydney Japanese School. I speak conversational Japanese, and have a modest repertoire of enka that I like to sing at karaoke.

My parents (Satsuki and Chris Steains) met through Buddhism. My mother has lived in Australia for almost 40 years, she’s from Ginowan in Okinawa. My father grew up in Newcastle.

My PhD work in Cultural Studies at Sydney University focuses on representations of Japan in contemporary Australian literature and cinema (and probably other media as well). I’m interested in Australian perceptions of Japan, Asian-Australian and Japanese-Australian interconnections, as well as Asian Australian and Japanese Australian mixed race. Broadly speaking my work uses postcolonial, multicultural, and transnational approaches.

My work started with an oppositional attitude towards white Australian representations of Japan. I examined Orientalist perceptions of Japan (take for example the feminisation of Hiromitsu in Japanese Story), the persistence of stereotype, and the marginalisation and exclusion of Asian Australian voices. I used critical race approaches that have helped me to understand my place in discussions of race and multiculturalism in Australia. While this attitude still informs my work to a significant extent, I’ve also been trying to broaden my approach in various ways…

Read the entire article here.

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Not Your Post-Racial Future: Why Interracial Families Need to Talk About Race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2015-07-22 15:16Z by Steven

Not Your Post-Racial Future: Why Interracial Families Need to Talk About Race

ARMED
2015-05-17

Sophie Steains

I have this memory that’s been troubling me for a while.

I was 18 and out in Kings Cross for the night. As I was waiting to order at the bar, a man came up and offered to buy me a drink. He was in his early 30s or so, white, built. He told me it was his birthday and that he wanted to celebrate. I knew he was coming on to me, but I was young and naïve, so I let him do it. Anyway, the lady at the bar made up this special blue birthday cocktail for him. She set it on fire, everyone around us cheered. I couldn’t help but join in on the celebration too. But then, as the man motioned to pay, I noticed a photograph tucked into the front pocket of his wallet. It was a young, beautiful Asian woman holding a Eurasian baby. My blood ran cold…

…Growing up half-Okinawan and half-white Australian has left me with a lot of these unanswered questions. It’s led me to the belief that our society just isn’t equipped to discuss mixed-race, despite the fact that I’m seeing mixed-race faces everywhere I look today. Despite the fact that mixed-race people existed on this land well before white people were even a blip on the radar. Watching Japanese-Canadian Jeff Chiba Stearns’ documentary “One Big Hapa Family,” I was struck by how much his own reflections mirrored my own:

“After thinking back on some bizarre identity related experiences that I had growing up mixed, I started to wonder if interracial couples ever considered how their marriages might affect their children? I got the sense that my relatives never discussed multiracial identity with their kids. I mean, not once growing up did I tell my parents that I experienced cultural confusion.”

Often when mixed-race identities are discussed today, they are conflated with this idea of our “post-racial future.” A future where race is no longer an issue and everyone looks like Halle Berry. The kinds of people who seem to be the most vocal about mixed-race are the people who claim that, “Everyone is a bit mixed-race” or “I don’t see race, we are beyond it” etc. There is this belief that Love and its mixed-race children will help break down the barriers that have been so doggedly safe-guarded for the past several hundred years. Parents of mixed-race children often believe this too, I’ve heard it coming from their mouths many times…

Read the entire article here.

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“Mixed Race” Identities in Asia and the Pacific: Experiences from Singapore and New Zealand

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Oceania, Social Science on 2015-07-10 13:36Z by Steven

“Mixed Race” Identities in Asia and the Pacific: Experiences from Singapore and New Zealand

Routledge
2015-11-03
208 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-13-893393-4

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and The Asian Journal of Social Science

“Mixed race” is becoming an important area for research, and there is a growing body of work in the North American and British contexts. However, understandings and experiences of “mixed race” across different countries and regions are not often explored in significant depth. New Zealand and Singapore provide important contexts for investigation, as two multicultural, yet structurally divergent, societies. Within these two countries, “mixed race” describes a particularly interesting label for individuals of mixed Chinese and European parentage.

This book explores the concept of “mixed race” for people of mixed Chinese and European descent, looking at how being Chinese and/or European can mean many different things in different contexts. By looking at different communities in Singapore and New Zealand, it investigates how individuals of mixed heritage fit into or are excluded from these communities. Increasingly, individuals of mixed ancestry are opting to identify outside of traditionally defined racial categories, posing a challenge to systems of racial classification, and to sociological understandings of “race”. As case studies, Singapore and New Zealand provide key examples of the complex relationship between state categorization and individual identities. The book explores the divergences between identity and classification, and the ways in which identity labels affect experiences of “mixed race” in everyday life. Personal stories reveal the creative and flexible ways in which people cross boundaries, and the everyday negotiations between classification, heritage, experience, and nation in defining identity. The study is based on qualitative research, including in-depth interviews with people of mixed heritage in both countries.

Filling an important gap in the literature by using an Asia/Pacific dimension, this study of race and ethnicity will appeal to students and scholars of mixed race studies, ethnicity, Chinese diaspora and cultural anthropology.

Contents

  • 1. Finding the “Mixed” in “Mixed Race”
  • 2. Mixed Histories in New Zealand and Singapore
  • 3. The Personal in the Political
  • 4. Being and Belonging
  • 5. Roots, Routes and Coming Home
  • 6. Conclusion
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Respecting and Celebrating Black Writing and Storytelling presented by Dr Anita Heiss

Posted in Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania on 2015-07-08 19:35Z by Steven

Respecting and Celebrating Black Writing and Storytelling presented by Dr Anita Heiss

Flinders University
182 Victoria Square
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
2015-07-09, 18:00-19:00 ACDT (Local Time)


Anita Heiss

A NAIDOC Week event co-hosted by Yunggorendi First Nations Centre with the School of Humanities and Creative Arts

Anita will address staff, students and members of the community for NAIDOC Week around this year’s theme: We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate.

This seminar will discuss the ways in which Aboriginal authors across genres write about concepts of space, respect for place and connection to country, and why we should be celebrating this new Australian literature…

For more information, click here.

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Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania, United States on 2015-07-08 02:41Z by Steven

Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia

University of Nebraska Press
2015-12-01
616 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8032-3825-1

Ann McGrath, Professor of History, Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History
Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Illicit Love is a history of love, sex, and marriage between Indigenous peoples and settler citizens at the heart of two settler colonial nations, the United States and Australia. Award-winning historian Ann McGrath illuminates interracial relationships from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century through stories of romance, courtship, and marriage between Indigenous peoples and colonizers in times of nation formation.

The romantic relationships of well-known and ordinary interracial couples provide the backdrop against which McGrath discloses the “marital middle ground” that emerged as a primary threat to European colonial and racial supremacy in the Atlantic and Pacific Worlds from the Age of Revolution to the Progressive Era. These relationships include the controversial courtship between white, Connecticut-born Harriett Gold and southern Cherokee Elias Boudinot; the Australian missionary Ernest Gribble and his efforts to socially segregate the settler and aboriginal population, only to be overcome by his romantic impulses for an aboriginal woman, Jeannie; the irony of Cherokee leader John Ross’s marriage to a white woman, Mary Brian Stapler, despite his opposition to interracial marriages in the Cherokee Nation; and the efforts among ordinary people in the imperial borderlands of both the United States and Australia to circumvent laws barring interracial love, sex, and marriage.

Illicit Love reveals how marriage itself was used by disparate parties for both empowerment and disempowerment and came to embody the contradictions of imperialism. A tour de force of settler colonial history, McGrath’s study demonstrates vividly how interracial relationships between Indigenous and colonizing peoples were more frequent and threatening to nation-states in the Atlantic and Pacific worlds than historians have previously acknowledged.

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Crowe’s ‘whitewashing’ sparks criticism from advocates

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2015-06-07 20:07Z by Steven

Crowe’s ‘whitewashing’ sparks criticism from advocates

BBC News
2015-06-07

Elena Boffetta, BBC Washington

Hollywood’s reliance on bankable – and often white – actors has led to another round of sharp criticism of filmmakers for “whitewashing” roles where race and ethnicity play a part.

In Aloha, Cameron Crowe’s latest film, Emma Stone, a American actress with blonde hair and green eyes, was cast as Allison Ng – a junior fighter pilot who was part-Chinese, part-Hawaiian and part-Swedish.

Soon after the release, there was an uproar of criticism from social media against Crowe’s casting choice.

Both Asians and non-Asians asked why they didn’t pick an Asian actress to play a character who is part-Asian.

One advocacy group called Aloha “a whitewashed film” that failed to portray the ethnical diversity of Hawaii.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) noted 60% of Hawaii’s population is Asian-American Pacific Islanders and 30% Caucasian, a fact not reflected in the film.

Crowe apologised on his website but said he based the Ng character on a real-life redheaded Hawaiian who felt compelled to constantly over-explain her unlikely ethnicity.

“I can understand what Crowe said about his intention that he based his character on someone that didn’t look Asian but identified with the culture but you could have casted someone who was part Hawaiian,” Guy Aoki, the founding president of MANAA, said.

“Whitewashing” casting differs from “colour-blind casting,” where a role is cast when factors of race or ethnicity are irrelevant to the character or plot…

Hollywood has been accused of whitewashing Asians for decades…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Race in Australia and the region

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Oceania, Social Science on 2015-05-15 20:09Z by Steven

Mixed Race in Australia and the region

University of Western Australia (UWA)
2015-06-08 through 2015-06-10

Conveners: Farida Fozdar

People of ‘mixed race’ are often seen as marginal individuals managing cultural and psychological tensions, or alternatively valorised as the vanguard of an integrated, post-racial, cosmopolitan world (Edwards et al. 2012). Such dichotomies ignore the complex lived reality of being mixed – ranging from ‘passing’, to constructing multiracial identities, to embracing a cultural identity not necessarily reflected in one’s appearance (see Perkins, 2007; Paradies, 2006; Song and Aspinall, 2012; Jones, 2011). Mixed identities are not singular and fixed, but multiple and fluid (Nandi & Platt 2012; Tilbury, 2007; Paradies, 2006), often characterised by ‘ordinariness’ (Caballero, 2012). The lived experience of being ‘mixed’ is strongly influenced by political and social context (Luke and Luke, 1999). While a growing body of research exists on ‘mixed race’, more productive approaches are needed to investigate the cultural production of ‘mixedness’.

Perhaps surprisingly, Australia and the region lag behind the rest of the world in research on ‘mixed race’. There has been little public debate about the place of ‘mixed race’ in Australia and New Zealand (see Fozdar and Perkins, 2014). The subject does rate a hearing in Australia, however, in regard to people of mixed Aboriginal descent (Andrew Bolt style) (see Paradies, 2006). The social and political contexts of mixed race in Australia, New Zealand and the region offer complex histories of colonisation and migration, making this region an important counterpoint to the large bodies of research undertaken in the UK and US.

We invite papers on mixed race in Australia and surrounding countries, with a particular focus on mixed race across the life course (Csizmadia, 2012), the health and development of young people and families; cross-country comparison, and transgenerational effects. We are keen to include papers on mixed race of all types.

Invited speakers include:

  • Prof Rosalind Edwards (Southampton)
  • Dr Chamion Caballero (LSE)
  • Prof Yin Paradies (Deakin)
  • Prof David Trigger (UQ)
  • Dr Kirsten McGavin (UQ)

View the program guide here.

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Being ‘Mixed Race’: Kira Lea Dargin and Annina Chirade

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Oceania, United Kingdom on 2015-05-13 15:58Z by Steven

Being ‘Mixed Race’: Kira Lea Dargin and Annina Chirade

BBC World Service
The Conversation
2015-05-11

Kim Chakanetsa, Presenter

Left: Kira Lea Dargin. Credit: Claire Mahjoub, SSH. Right: Annina Chirade. Credit: Adu Lalouschek

Kira Lea Dargin’s parents met at church. Her mother is white from a Russian family who emigrated to Australia in the 1950s, and her father is Aboriginal Australian. Being “mixed” Kira says, means constantly having to explain how you came about or how your family manages to blend. Having come through some difficult times as a teenager Kira now happily identifies with both of her cultural backgrounds. As the director of ‘Aboriginal Model Management Australia‘, her mission is to help broaden how Australian beauty is defined.

Annina Chirade describes herself as Ghanaian Austrian. She is the founder and editor of Rooted In magazine. When she was growing up, between London and Vienna, people would often question whether she was related to her fair, straight-haired mother. After many years obsessively straightening her own “kinky, curly, Afro-” hair as a teenager, she found her own style – inspired by the confident styles of black female singers like Erykah Badu. Annina says that when you are ‘mixed-race’ people make assumptions about your identity and consider it to be “up for debate”, but she is clear that “whiteness is not something I’m a part of.”

Listen to the interview here.

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The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race: Colonialism and Mestiza Privilege

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, Social Science, United States on 2015-05-10 23:58Z by Steven

The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race: Colonialism and Mestiza Privilege

Ashgate
May 2015
186 pages
234 x 156 mm
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4724-5307-5
eBook PDF ISBN: 978-1-4724-5308-2
eBook ePUB ISBN: 978-1-4724-5309-9

Elaine Marie Carbonell Laforteza, Lecturer in Cultural Studies
Macquarie University, Australia

Investigating the emergence of a specific mestiza/mestizo whiteness that facilitates relations between the Philippines and Western nations, this book examines the ways in which the construction of a particular form of Philippine whiteness serves to deploy positions of exclusion, privilege and solidarity.

Through Filipino, Filipino-Australian, and Filipino-American experiences, the author explores the operation of whiteness, showing how a mixed-race identity becomes the means through which racialised privileges, authority and power are embodied in the Philippine context, and examines the ways in which colonial and imperial technologies of the past frame contemporary practices such as skin-bleaching, the use of different languages, discourses of bilateral relations, secularism, development, and the movement of Filipino, Australian and American bodies between and within nations.

Drawing on key ideas expressed in critical race and whiteness studies, together with the theoretical concepts of somatechnics, biopolitics and governmentality, The Somatechnics of Whiteness and Race sheds light on the impact of colonial and imperial histories on contemporary international relations, and calls for a ‘queering’ or resignification of whiteness, which acknowledges permutations of whiteness fostered within national boundaries, as well as through various nation-state alliances and fractures. As such, it will appeal to scholars of cultural studies, sociology and politics with interests in whiteness, postcolonialism and race.

Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Series Editor’s Preface
  • 1. Introduction: the Routes of Mestiza Whiteness
  • 2. The Use and Limits of Colonial Mentality
  • 3. Providing a New Framework: Tracking Colonialism and Imperialism
  • 4. Somatechnologies of the Mestiza/o Self: Skin Colour and Language
  • 5. Mestiza/o Whiteness and Anglo-Australian Whiteness: Post-9/11 Somatechnologies of State and Secularism
  • 6. The Biopolitical Fracture: Deportation and Detention
  • 7. Bearing Witness to Racialised Norms: Challenges and Queer Interventions
  • Epilogue: To Remember and to Re-member
  • References
  • Index
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