College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)
Japan, Occupation, History, America, WWII, MacArthur, Tokyo War Crimes Trial, Hirohito, Race Relations
History | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies
Jones, Phillip, "The Twenty-Year Occupation: Cultural Reimagination and the American Occupation of Japan" (2022). Masters Theses. 882.
In the wake of the violence and racial animosity of World War II, the United States carried out an ideologically ambitious occupation of Japan, with the stated purposes of demilitarizing their former enemy and facilitating Japan's reintroduction to the world as an appropriately reformed nation. Between 1945-1952, Japan and the United States engaged in complex and often contradictory processes of cultural reimagination, through which they reimagined the recent past, each other, and their roles in the world. I contend that the Occupation of Japan can only be appropriately understood through these processes, placed within the appropriate historical context. These processes occurred within tension between the trauma of the Second World War and the increasing ideological demands of the Cold War. This tension produced contradictions and inconsistencies in policymaking which are reflected by the erratic implementation of American geopolitical directives, as well as the varied and diverse responses to occupation on the part of Japanese.