Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Spectacle of Japanese American TraumaRacial Performativity and World War II$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Emily Roxworthy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832209

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832209.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

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

“A Race of Ingenious Marionettes”

“A Race of Ingenious Marionettes”

Theatricalizing the Japanese, 1853–1946

(p.19) Chapter 1 “A Race of Ingenious Marionettes”
The Spectacle of Japanese American Trauma

Emily Roxworthy

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter traces how a theatricalizing discourse about the Japanese became ingrained in U.S. foreign policy and entrenched in the Western imagination, starting with Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s spectacular opening of Japan in the mid-nineteenth century. This theatricalizing discourse insisted that Japanese people had long ago traded sincerity for artifice and focused their social and political interactions on the visible, superficial level of highly aesthetic ceremonies and spectacles. Eight decades later, the internment policy would replicate this logic by insisting that Japanese Americans’ claims to U.S. citizenship were merely surface imitations of Americanization that disguised their deep-seated loyalty to the Japanese Empire. The chapter traces this theatricalizing discourse circulated by thinkers in the West about the natural-born actors of Japan from the 1850s up to the present, in which many Anglo-Americans still blithely repeat the long-standing racist stereotype that those of Japanese descent are inherently theatrical people prone to hide their true motives behind a screen of aesthetic display and disguise.

Keywords:   Japanese Americans, Japan, United States, theatricalizing discourse, Japanese theatricalism, citizenship, racist stereotypes

Hawaii Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.