Sunday, August 09, 2015

Japanese Peace Movements

I'm in Japan for one month and the issue of peace, pas, minagem is all over the place. Part of the reason is because my guide while I'm here is Professor Ronni Alexander who teaches International Relations/Peace Studies at Kobe University and is the head of the Popoki Peace Project. The main thrust of her work is helping communities, a diverse range of communities across Asia and the Pacific, young and old, to imagine peace in new and interesting ways. To get to see what in their life creates peace and what limits peace. As a result of my connection to Ronni, my mindset here is actively been shaped by peace and non-peace. For example:

I'm teaching a course on US militarization in the Asia-Pacific region and various peace movement, antiwar and demilitarization movements are all over the curriculum.

I'm in Japan at a time when protest movements are evolving around the Prime Minister's attempts to pass new security laws that would fundamentally change Japan's peace constitution.

I'll be giving talks on Guam to different activists and academics here about Guam and whether or not it is a peaceful island because of the significant US military presence there.

I'll be visiting communities that have been affected by the nuclear radiation at Fukushima and displaced by the tsunami, to learn more about how the Japanese government is taking care of them or ignoring them.

I watched a documentary last week titled X Years Later, which discussed Japanese deep sea fishermen who witnessed the US nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands and whose stories and whose sicknesses were largely covered up by the Japanese media and government.

I'm here at the time of year when Japan commemorates the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which ushered in the nuclear age of human history. This is a key moment in how Japan builds its antinuclear and peace movements, but also how it reshapes its memories of World War II in order to become the victim of violence as opposed to the perpetrators of violent imperialism.

I've decided to start writing up my thoughts on this blog, in a series called "Japanese Peace Movements." Check back here for more of them over the next few weeks.

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