From Internment to Occupation: A Japanese American Observer’s Transpacific Sociological Practices

Activity: Conference/talk/lecture/symposium/speech/workshop, etcEvent organized by non-HKBU units


This presentation deals with the Japanese American Sociologist Shibutani Tamotsu’s observational record of Japanese American soldiers in the United States and Japan during and after World War II. Shibutani Tamotsu (1920-2004) was a second-generation Japanese-American who served as a participant–observer in an academic research group during the Japanese American internment in World War II. He later focused his observations on a single Japanese American military unit, which was stationed in Japan during the early period of American occupation. Based on this observation, he later published The Derelicts of Company K (1978), which, contrary to the dominant narrative of wartime Japanese American soldiers, described turmoil and “demoralization” within the unit. My presentation analyzes this book and his unpublished records, as it reveals a complicated relationship between racial politics and knowledge production during the occupation of Japan and wartime America.
Period11 Apr 2018
Held atSchool of Modern Languages and Cultures, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong