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AlegalBiopolitics and the Unintelligibility of Okinawan Life$
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Annmaria M. Shimabuku

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823282661

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823282661.001.0001

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Japan in the 1950s: Symbolic Victims

Japan in the 1950s: Symbolic Victims

(p.15) Chapter 1 Japan in the 1950s: Symbolic Victims

Annmaria M. Shimabuku

Fordham University Press

Chapter 1 presents a genealogy of sexual labor in Japan from licensed prostitution and the so-called “comfort woman” system of sexual slavery in the imperial period, through the state-organized system of prostitution for the Allied forces in the immediate postwar, and to the full-fledged emergence of independent streetwalkers thereafter. It links protest against private prostitution in the interwar period to aversion toward the streetwalker in the postwar period through an examination of Tosaka Jun’s Japanese Ideology. There, he defined Japanism as the symbolic communion between the family and state and showed how Japanists attacked private prostitution for purportedly interfering with the integrity of both. What was at stake was the ability of a budding middle class to manage the reproduction of labor power for the biopolitical state. Through Tosaka, this chapter delineates a mechanism of social defence amongst the middle class that targeted life thought to be unintelligible to the state such as the streetwalker and her mixed-race offspring. Further, it shows how this occurred through cultural productions such as anti-base reportage that focused obsessively on the figure of the streetwalker.

Keywords:   Japan’s anti-base movement, Japanism, military prostitution, reportage, Tosaka Jun

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