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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Zoom [Registration link available below]
Event date: 
Monday, 24 January, 2022 - 18:00


Mission Impossible: Women, Resilience, and the Culture of Securitization in Post-3.11 Japan

The 2011 Great East Japan Disaster (3.11) ushered in a new era of cultural production in Japan during which discussions on recovery and resilience, readiness and preparedness, and self-help (jijo) and mutual aid (kyōjo) proliferated on an unprecedented scale. Against a backdrop of pervasive precarity whose sign first had appeared in the 1990s and whose reality became undeniable following the March 11 catastrophe, “national resilience” (kokudo kyōjinka) emerged as a leading national doctrine, a doctrine that assigned women an improbable and, in the end, impossible mission—safeguarding the homeland against all future calamities by remodeling their homes, remaking their communities, and remolding their minds. The neoliberal axiom of resilience was combined with the militarized language of security to articulate a new vision of female citizenry. Because the post-disaster mobilization was (mis)represented as an occasion to showcase female tenacity and promote gender equality, some female leaders joined this dangerous cultural liaison to enunciate a tenet of “security feminism.” By creating an interdisciplinary dialogue among frequently disparate inquiries into gender, culture, and disaster, this talk examines the workings of militarism, neoliberalism, and neoconservatism that undergird the post-3.11 securitization culture in which femininity and domesticity play an essential yet understudied role. 

Mire Koikari is Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at University of Hawai‘i. She is the author of Gender, Culture, and Disaster in Post-3.11 Japan (Bloomsbury, 2020), Cold War Encounters in US-Occupied Okinawa: Women, Militarized Domesticity, and Transnationalism in East Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and Pedagogy of Democracy: Feminism and the Cold War in the US Occupation of Japan (Temple University Press, 2008).