“Champion of Justice”: How “Asian” Heroes Saved Japanese Imperialism – a seminar by Assoc Prof Leo Ching (Wed, 20 April 2011)

Speaker: Assoc Prof Leo Ching (Dept. of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, USA)
Date: Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm
Venue: AS3, Level 6, SEAS Seminar Room (06-20)

Through the analysis of postwar Japanese popular culture, especially those of children’s culture with its heroes and adventures, I argue that postwar Japan maintained a remarkable continuity between the prewar and the postwar in its orientalizing and imperializing of Southeast Asia. Looking specifically at the genre of early “TV movies”, I suggest that postwar Japan and the familiar figures of “Asian” heroes redefined the notion of “justice” that enabled Japan to enjoy the trauma of its imperialist endeavors in Southeast Asia and reconceptualize its new positionality within a U.S.‐dominated postwar postcolonial Asia.

About the speaker
Leo Ching is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University, USA. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He is the author of Becoming “Japanese”: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation (University of California Press, 2001; Chinese and Japanese translations are available from Maitian chuban and Blues Interactions). His writings have appeared in Public Culture, boundary 2, positions: an east asian cultural critique, and several other edited volumes. He is currently completing a book manuscript on anti‐Japanism in postwar postcolonial Asia.