Seductive Alienation: The American Way of Life Rearticulated in Occupied Japan

TitleSeductive Alienation: The American Way of Life Rearticulated in Occupied Japan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsJung, Ji Hee
JournalAsian Studies Review
Pagination498 - 516
Date Published07/2018

This article explores how the notion of American domesticity promoted by US occupation forces in postwar Japan was decoded and rearticulated by non-elite Japanese women, a social group that has been largely overlooked in studies of the global promotion of the American way of life during the early Cold War years. Specifically examined here is the case of Takehisa Chieko, an actress and the wife of an American officer, who enjoyed high visibility in popular women's magazines as the embodiment of the idealised postwar American lifestyle. A reading of Takehisa's magazine writings, interviews, and photographs suggests, however, that she was far from a passive recipient and transmitter of this cultural message. As such, a close unpacking of her rearticulation of the idea of American domesticity toward the particular socio-cultural fabric of postwar Japan reveals the particular nature of this supposedly universal American model. In demonstrating the various dilemmas that stemmed from confronting both the seductive and alienating features of the American way as promoted in occupied Japan, this study illuminates a point of rupture in the larger US global promotion of American domesticity as a means toward cultural hegemony and political containment in the early Cold War period. (Jung)

Short TitleAsian Studies Review
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DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2018.1474171
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