Publishing about Asia in Academic Journals and Book Series (Roundtable)

Discussant: Bruce Batten, J. F. Oberlin University

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Discussant: Bruce Batten, J. F. Oberlin University
Session 6: Room 203

Trans-Pacific Overtures: Japan-U.S. Exchanges and Collaborations of the 1950s and 1960s

Organizer: Alisa Freedman, University of Oregon

Chair: Mary Knighton, Aoyama Gakuin University

This panel considers cultural exchange and collaboration between Japan and the United States in the 1950s and 1960s by individuals who created new views of literature, academics, and music through experiencing life abroad. Be it the American men who came to Japan in jobs related to the U.S. military or the Japanese men and women who traveled to the United States through government grants, these sojourners were as affected by their national home as by the foreign country they encountered. They approached life abroad with wonder and openness to possibilities. They lived within a nexus of change, when the United States was rising in international stature and Japan reemerging in a different form on the international scene. Whether acknowledged or not, their roles were highly political. Kendall Heitzman analyzes how Japanese authors sent to the United States were influenced both by the literary climate they left behind and the new places that inspired their writing. Richi Sakakibara explores how translators like Edward Seidensticker made Japanese literature available to American readers but downplayed or suppressed politics in their representation of Japan. Alisa Freedman discusses how a generation of Japanese women who studied abroad at U.S. universities helped establish the American postwar field of Japanese studies and pioneered careers in male-dominated fields. Jayson Chun reexamines the career of music producer Johnny Kitagawa as a case study of the “Pop Pacific,” a framework of cultural hybridity. Discussant Mary Knighton will invite audience engagement with the legacy of these Cold War endeavors.

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