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Dancing with the Dead: Memory, Performance, and Everyday by Christopher T. Nelson

By Christopher T. Nelson

Hard traditional understandings of time and reminiscence, Christopher T. Nelson examines how modern Okinawans have contested, appropriated, and reworked the burdens and chances of the previous. Nelson explores the paintings of a circle of Okinawan storytellers, ethnographers, musicians, and dancers deeply engaged with the legacies of a brutal eastern colonial period, the just about incredible devastation of the Pacific struggle, and a protracted American army career that also casts its shadow over the islands. The ethnographic study that Nelson performed in Okinawa within the overdue 1990s—and his broader attempt to appreciate Okinawans’ severe and inventive struggles—was encouraged through his first stopover at to the islands in 1985 as a lieutenant within the U.S. Marine Corps.

Nelson analyzes the practices of particular performers, exhibiting how thoughts are recalled, our bodies remade, and activities rethought as Okinawans paintings via fragments of the earlier so one can reconstruct the cloth of way of life. Artists similar to the preferred Okinawan actor and storyteller Fujiki Hayato weave jointly genres together with eastern stand-up comedy, Okinawan celebratory rituals, and ethnographic stories of conflict reminiscence, encouraging their audiences to visualize alternative ways to stay within the glossy global. Nelson seems to be on the efforts of performers and activists to wrest the Okinawan previous from romantic representations of idyllic rural existence within the eastern media and reactionary appropriations of conventional values by way of conservative politicians. In his attention of eisā, the conventional dance for the lifeless, Nelson reveals a tradition that reaches past the predicted obstacles of mourning and commemoration, because the residing and the lifeless come jointly to create a second within which a brand new international could be outfitted from the ruins of the previous.

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Extra resources for Dancing with the Dead: Memory, Performance, and Everyday Life in Postwar Okinawa

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Feminism has not only criticized the system of male dominance, but has also attempted to eradicate this masculine structure by defying the dichotomy between men and women itself. However, this, she argued, has overshadowed other social and cultural differences such as race, ethnicity and sexuality that intersect with gender differences and generate inequalities. Ogoshi claimed that feminists are now more conscious of diversities among both men and women – categories that have long been regarded as pre-given and fixed (Ogoshi, 1996; 2000b: 296–7).

40 Unfolding the ‘Comfort Women’ Debates Despite the difference in their interpretations of when the modern era started in Japan, all these critics regard the Japanese wartime fascist experience as ‘deviant’, ‘aberrant’, or something ‘outside’ of modernity, and attribute its causes to specific socio-cultural factors in Japan (Ueno, 1998: 20; Narita, 2006: 25). This widely shared view of deviation in Japanese history has been pointed out by critics such as Yamanouchi Yasushi and J. Victor Koschmann.

For example, a literary critic, Kato Norihiro, argued that in order to offer a sincere apology to non-Japanese victims of the Pacific War in Asia, establishing a national subject through the process of mourning for Japan’s war dead, both soldiers and civilian victims, is first required (Kato, 1995: 286; Koschmann, 2000: 741). The logic behind his argument is that because of the post-war paradigm that was developed under the US occupation, the Pacific War was condemned as having been initiated by an unjust Japanese invasion, so that Japan’s war 46 Unfolding the ‘Comfort Women’ Debates dead have been disrespected and ignored.

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