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East Asian Studies

Fuji at War: Turning Parasitic Militaries into Symbiotic Partners

Date: November 15 2011 4:00pm Location: Miller Hall

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Miller Hall

Many think of Fuji as a picturesque and peaceful symbol of Japan, and yet the U.S. and Japanese militaries currently use about 34,000 acres of its lower slopes for training grounds and target ranges.  In this talk, Professor Andrew Bernstein will explain how the militarization of Fuji took shape in the years leading up to World War II and in the Cold War that immediately followed.  On one level, this is a familiar story of those with more power imposing their will on those with less.  But while Fuji was drafted to serve the nation—and after World War II, the U.S.-led battle against communism—villagers living at the base of the volcano also worked to incorporate the Japanese and then U.S. militaries into an ecosystem shaped by traditional common land practices.  Highlighting the agency of these villagers contributes to a broader conversation about the ways in which militarized landscapes are fashioned not only by the goals of military and bureaucratic elites but also by the needs and desires of those who live in or nearby them

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