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The Spectacle of Japanese American TraumaRacial Performativity and World War II$
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Emily Roxworthy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832209

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832209.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021



Staging the Trauma of Japanese American Internment

(p.1) Introduction
The Spectacle of Japanese American Trauma

Emily Roxworthy

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book’s main themes. This book posits the importance of understanding the structural trauma of internment as located in the spectacularization imposed upon Japanese Americans by the U.S. government and mass media during World War II. By spectacularizing the disenfranchisement and imprisonment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, the U.S. government and mass media denied the gravity of what was taking place and disavowed the psychological suffering and material violence perpetrated against a persecuted ethnic minority. The book further argues that by framing the evacuation and internment as spectacles, the United States positioned the American public as passive spectators to the unconstitutional treatment of their ethnic Japanese neighbors and, simultaneously, cast the public as heroic “patriots” opposite Japanese Americans, who were cast in one of two thankless roles: expressionless automata or melodramatic villains.

Keywords:   Japanese Americans, internment, internees, relocation, World War II, trauma, spectacle, imprisonment

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