This presentation analyzes Japanese and American filmic representations of the liberation of the Philippines during World War II in the Asia-Pacific. Professor Fujitani argues that while the occupations of both these militarized empires disavowed colonialist and cam in the name of freedom and self-determination for all peoples, they were very similar attempts to establish a new and postcolonial form of empire that depended upon producing the feeling that their empires enabled freedom and equality. They talk further explores how the American and Japanese films mobilized the tropes of choice, death, romance, and race to produce images of their empires as spaces of freedom and equality.
Takashi Fujitani is the Dr. David Chu Professor and Director in Asia Pacific Studies. His research focuses especially on modern and contemporary Japanese history, East Asian history, Asian American history, and transnational history (primarily U.S./Japan and Asia Pacific).
Much of his past and current research has centred on the intersections of nationalism, colonialism, war, memory, racism, ethnicity, and gender, as well as the disciplinary and area studies boundaries that have figured our ways of studying these issues. He is the author of Splendid Monarchy (UC Press, 1996; Japanese version, NHK Books, 1994; Korean translation, Yeesan Press, 2003) and Race for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Koreans in WWII (UC Press, 2011; Japanese version forthcoming from Iwanami Shoten); co-editor of Perilous Memories: The Asia Pacific War(s) (Duke U. Press, 2001); and editor of the series Asia Pacific Modern (UC Press).
He has held grants and fellowships from the John S. Guggenheim Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, Stanford Humanities Center, Social Science Research Council, Institute for Research in Humanities at Kyoto U, Humanities Research Institute at UC Irvine, University of California President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities, American Philosophical Society, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard U, and other institutions.
He has served on numerous editorial and institutional boards including for the International Journal of Korean History, Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, Japanese Studies, University of California Press, Stanford Humanities Center, SSRC, and Association for Asian Studies. He is currently working on a book that assesses the location of the Japanese monarchy in contemporary Japanese understandings and contestations over the meaning of the nation, gender, race, globalization, and the past.