In this innovative and engaging study, Mire Koikari recasts the US occupation of Okinawa as a startling example of Cold War cultural interaction in which women's grassroots activities involving homes and homemaking played a pivotal role in reshaping the contours of US and Japanese imperialisms. Drawing on insights from studies of gender, Asia, America and postcolonialism, Koikari analyzes how the occupation sparked domestic education movements in Okinawa, mobilizing an assortment of women - home economists, military wives, club women, university students and homemakers - from the US, Okinawa and mainland Japan. These women went on to pursue a series of activities to promote 'modern domesticity' and build 'multicultural friendship' amidst intense militarization on the islands. As these women took their commitment to domesticity and multiculturalism onto the larger terrain of the Pacific, they came to articulate the complex intertwinement of gender, race, domesticity, empire and transnationality that existed during the Cold War.
Mire Koikari is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Her research has focused on issues involving race, gender and empire, in particular the intertwined formation of American and Japanese feminisms against the backdrop of militarism and expansionism in Asia and the Pacific in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her teaching has focused on recasting the history of women and feminism in the transnational contexts of race, nation, military and empire, illuminating the varied and often surprising ways in which women, racial minorities, immigrants and colonized subjects negotiated with dominant dynamics of power. Her previous publications include Pedagogy of Democracy: Feminism and the Cold War in the US Occupation of Japan (2008), which examines the meanings and consequence of 'feminist reform' during the US occupation of mainland Japan. For her research on gender and militarism in Cold War Okinawa, which has culminated in the present volume, she has received a fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Asia Program, and another from the Japan Foundation. She is currently working on her new project which analyzes the process of remasculinization and remilitarization of Japan following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.
1. Rethinking gender and militarism in Cold War Okinawa; 2. Cultivating feminine affinity and affiliation with Americans: Cold War people-to-people encounters and women's club activities; 3. 'The world is our campus': domestic science and Cold War transnationalism between Michigan and Okinawa; 4. Building a bridge across the Pacific: domestic training and Cold War technical interchange between Okinawa and Hawaii; 5. Mobilizing homes, empowering women: Okinawan home economists and Cold War domestic education; 6. Cultivating feminine affinity and affiliation with the homeland: grassroots women's exchange between mainland Japan and Okinawa; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.