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Uneasy Warriors

Gender, Memory, and Popular Culture in the Japanese Army

Sabine Frühstück (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 275 pages
ISBN: 9780520247956
August 2007
$34.95, £27.00
Other Formats Available:
Following World War II, Japan's postwar constitution forbade the country to wage war or create an army. However, with the emergence of the cold war in the 1950s, Japan was urged to establish the Self-Defense Forces as a way to bolster Western defenses against the tide of Asian communism. Although the SDF's role is supposedly limited to self-defense, Japan's armed forces are equipped with advanced weapons technology and the world's third-largest military budget. Sabine Frühstück draws on interviews, historical research, and analysis to describe the unusual case of a non-war-making military. As the first scholar permitted to participate in basic SDF training, she offers a firsthand look at an army trained for combat that nevertheless serves nontraditional military needs.
List of Illustrations
Note on Asterisked Names and Abbreviations

1. On Base
2. Postwar Postwarrior Heroism
3. Feminist Militarists
4. Military Manipulations of Popular Culture
5. Embattled Memories, Ersatz Histories

Sabine Frühstück is Professor of Modern Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan (UC Press, 2003).
“Fruhstuck’s well-observed, thoughtfully analyzed portrait of the military allows us to consider these deeper issues. It is a must read in the canon of recent ethnographies of Japan.”—Amy Borovoy Journal Of Japanese Stds
“An important and thoroughly enjoyable contribution to the field of Japanese studies . . . An enlightening book.”—Beatrice Trefalt Japanese Studies
“This is an important, timely contribution to gender, cultural, and military studies. . . . Highly recommended.”—G. B. Osbourne Choice
“Documents . . . with clarity and insight.”—Intl Herald Tribune/The Asahi Shimbun
“This is a very useful book on an important but relatively little researched topic, and will be of benefit to all who are interested in Japan.”—Ken Henshall New Zealand Journal Of Asian Stds
"This is one of the best—most surprising, insightful, provocative—books I've read on the complex interplay of memory, militarism and masculinity. Japan specialists will be sure to find it thought-provoking. But it should also be 'must reading' for all students of masculinity, femininity, militarization, and soldiering. This is comparative feminist ethnography at its smartest."—Cynthia Enloe, author of The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire

"Uneasy Warriors presents a rare and intimate view into the psychological and social workings of the Self-Defense Forces. As the US and Japanese governments gear up to change the Japanese anti-war constitution, this book is even more important for understanding what the consequences will be."—Catherine Lutz, author of Homefront: A Military City and the American 20th Century

"Sabine Frühstück expertly describes the ambiguous status of the Japanese Self Defense Forces. The book reveals insights gained from several years of sustained research, including a stint "in uniform" at an army base near Mt. Fuji. Frühstück's observations about the SDF's public relations emphasis on "cute" popular cultural media are timely and trenchant, as are her analyses of the militarization of masculinity and femininity."—Jennifer Robertson, author of Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan

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