War Games: Childhood, Militarization and the Future of a Pacifist Japan

Sabine Fruhstuck, Professor of Modern Japanese Cultural Studies and Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies ,UC Santa Barbara

Winter Quarter Japan Seminar Series

RSVP Required by 5PM February 9

In March 2000, the release of Sony's new PlayStation2 hit a snag. The
Japanese government classified the game console as a "general purpose product related to conventional weapons" on the grounds that it was powerful enough to be used as an actual missile guidance system. Accordingly, the government applied export controls on PlayStation2 requiring that distributors obtain a special license. Illustrating the coinage of such terms as "military-industrial-entertainment complex," the incident marked one of numerous collusions between military and commercial uses of video games in Japan and elsewhere.

It is against this backdrop that Frühstück traces the rules and conventions of war games from the fields of rural Japan in the nineteenth century to cyberspace in the twenty-first century. Her examination of the varying configurations of militarism and infantilism, the production of "child soldiers," and the competing roles of state agencies and entertainment industries suggest that war has been leaving its mark on the social body, and on children in particular, not only in the form of injury or death. Rather, through military institutions, pedagogy, technology, popular culture, and other intermediaries, war continues to have general effects on Japanese society and the global order as a whole.

Sabine Frühstück is a professor of modern Japanese cultural studies and Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Employing historical and sociocultural methodologies, Frühstück's research focuses on militarization and war, gender and sexuality, and Japan in a global context from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries. Her book Uneasy Warriors: Gender, Memory and Popular Culture in the Japanese Army (2007) was translated into Japanese as Fuan na heishitachi: Nippon Jieitai Kenkyû (2008). She is also the author of Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan (2003) and Die Politik der Sexualwissenschaft, 1908-1941 (1997), and the co-editor of volumes on The Culture of Japan as Seen through Its Leisure (1998), Neue Geschichten der Sexualität in Zentraleuropa und Ostasien (1999), and Recreating Japanese Men (in press, 2011). Committed to engaging the humanities and the social sciences, she has written essays in English, Japanese and German that have been published in The Journal of Japanese Studies, The Journal of Asian Studies, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, American Ethnologist, Jinbun Gakuho, and Zeitschrift für angewandte Sozialforschung, among other scholarly journals.

Since joining the faculty at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Frühstück has been serving as the executive board director of the UC-wide Pacific Rim Research Program and as a member of the editorial boards of the University of California Press and The Journal of Japanese Studies. She also has been a member of the American Advisory Committee for Japanese Studies of the Japan Foundation; the executive board of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan, and the Board of Trustees of the Society for Japanese Studies. At UCSB, she has dry appointments with the departments of History, Anthropology, and Feminist Studies, and the Cold War Center.

Friday, February 11, 2011 | 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Okimoto Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor

Shorenstein APARC