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
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. Specifically examined here is the case of Takehisa Chieko, an actress who enjoyed high visibility in popular women's magazines as the embodiment of the idealized postwar American lifestyle. A reading of Takehisa's magazine writings 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 socio-cultural fabric of postwar Japan reveals the nature of this supposedly universal American model. In demonstrating the various dilemmas that stemmed from confronting 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.

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DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2018.1474171
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