Founded In    1967
Published   annually
Language(s)   Japanese

Fields of Interest


any field

ISSN   0387-2815
Editorial Board
Let me introduce this year’s editors: Takayuki TATSUMI (editor-in-chief, Literature, Keio University), Yoko SHIRAI (History, Tokyo International University), Ken CHUJO (History, Obirin University), Eiko IKUI (Cultural Studies, Kyoritsu Women’s University), Shoko ITOH (Literature, Hiroshima University), Tadashi UCHINO (Literature, The University of Tokyo), Chieko KITAGAWA OTSURU (Politics, Kansai University), Fukuko KOBAYASHI (Literature, Waseda University), Takuya SASAKI (Foreign Policy, Rikkyo University), Noriyuki SUGIURA (Economics, Keio University), Hiroshi TSUNEMATSU (History, Kyoto Women’s University), Hayumi HIGUCHI (History, Senshu University), Anri MORIMOTO (Religion, International Women’s University), and Tomoyuki ZETTSU (Literature, Rikkyo  University).


Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Interdisciplinary articles are very welcome. The editors examine the submitted papers very closely and provide the promising authors with the opportunity to revise the manuscripts. Every issue publishes major scholars’ contributions to enrich the special feature section.


The American Review


Since 1967 the Japanese Association for American Studies (JAAS) has published its interdisciplinary annual The American Review . Each issue features special topics like: American  family,  Globalization, post-Cold War,  Religion, Media and so forth. The 40th  anniversary issue due in March 2006 will concentrate on the topic of Violence. What is more, in the 39th issue we set up the section of longer book reviews; while our quarterly The American Studies Newsletter (its issue 160 is also due in March, 2006) has consistently printed short reviews of a variety of books, The American Review  decided to highlight several major works published by our members in the previous year. The editorial board consists of specialists from a diversity of fields.


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March 2005, Issue 39

American Journalism in Decline: Factors Behind its Transformation

Is American journalism in decline? Perhaps yes, to say the least. It is not what it used to be in the 1970s when the New York Times and the Washington Post stood firm against the government in exposing the Pentagon Papers and Watergate affairs respectively. At the beginning of the 21st century, media's news coverage is remarkably more entertainment-oriented. Reporting the Iraqi war, the media in general seem more docile, less aggressive than they should be. Two major trends are behind this transformation of American journalism in the past couple of decades. The first is a rapid development of communication technologies since the 1980s, which has made it possible to transmit globally a vast amount of information in a matter of seconds as well as to diversify media outlets from cable television to the Internet. The second is the consolidation of media business mostly in the United States and Europe. Now just a handful of conglomerates control a great number of media companies around the globe. The first trend has reduced the three major networks and newspapers, the one-time backbone of traditional journalism, to just a part of ever changing media landscape. The second has brought many of the news organizations under the control of a small number of mega media capitals, whose primary objective is to maximize profits from operating media organizations. The result is more entertainment, more fluffy news, less hard news. Public service seems to be put far behind profit margin and stock prices in their priority. Demoralized news organizations are now festered with scandals involving plagiarism, fabrication and other unethical conducts like Jayson Blair at the New York Times among others. In the run-up to the Iraqi war, the media were simply powerless in being manipulated by the Bush administration to propagate government position that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or ties with the Al Qaeda terrorist group, which later turned out false. The media have lost trust of the people, lost credibility as an institution. They stand at a critical crossroads in whether they go further down in decline or try to recover from the current lamentable situation. Obstacles are huge. Some indications of positive moves toward reform of journalism are seen, however. One is what is called public journalism, sort of reformist movement which has been pushed forward since the beginning of the 1990s. It has been promoted by those journalists and academics who believe in a reconnection between media and citizens. Another is the apparent effort on the part of the some of the major newspapers in improving the way of news reporting. After the Blair affair, the New York Times tightened the rule of handling unnamed sources and other rules of news reporting. So did the Washington Post. Whether or not these efforts will prove to be effective remains to be seen. But there will be no other way for American journalism to be credible than to go back to the basics of journalism and try to rebuild trusts.

“Bloody Shirt” and the Idea of Racial Equality: Radical Republicans and Post-Civil War Journalism

Historians have recently directed increasing attention toward the origins and nature of American nationalism on the basis of the paradigms of Benedict Anderson's “imagined communities” and Eric Hobsbaum's “invented traditions.” Using the framework that nationalism depends on the imaginative process of uniting disparate communities into a “deep, horizontal comradeship,” this paper analyzed how print capitalism formed the American nationhood and influenced the development and consolidation of patriotic cultures in the American society between the Civil War and the World War I, a period in which the country emerged as a modern nation-state. Particularly it focused on the post-Civil War political strategy of appealing to voters by reminding them of the soldiers consecrated in the bloodshed during the battle, which was referred to as the technique of “waving the bloody shirt.” This was most often employed by Radical Republicans who committed to the enfranchisement of the freed blacks and pursued the idea of racial equality and the building of a color-blind nation state. At the end of the Civil War, the implication of being a loyal American remained an open question and national unity remained fragmented. The question arises of what binds a nation that is divided to such an extent by regions, race (white and colored), gender, class, and political partisanship. This article concluded that the blood sacrifice of union soldiers as a consensual representation of the nation's icon had a crucial impact on the formation of patriotic culture through the Republican newspapers in the post-Civil War era. In the post-Civil War journalism, I examined Harper's Weekly (1857-1899) as a primary source, which was the most influential instrument in forming images of the deaths of union soldiers. In addition, it had a premier artist, Thomas Nast who drew 2188 patriotic and powerful cartoons that led President Lincoln to refer to him as the Union's best recruiter. This paper examined fourteen political cartoons that featured the “bloody shirt” and the image of a soldier. The first half of this paper surveyed human mobilization of federal military in the Civil War as the first “total war” and examined the anti-draft sentiments, focusing on the Draft riot in New York. This riot was triggered by the Conscription Act of 1863 that demanded patriotic loyalty toward the federal power. The rioters who claimed democratic liberty in their vernacular culture were not willing to die for their country. In order to resolve the problem of draft dodgers, the Northern Republican press played a key role in urging the nationalization of the people by enshrining the fallen soldiers of the union and representing union veterans as a role model of respectable citizens. The second half concretely demonstrated how and why the “bloody shirt” tactics were successful in the Presidential elections of 1868 and 1872 and how and why it lost its power in the election of 1876, 1880, and 1884. After the Civil War, union veterans' associations such as the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) which were engaged in redefining patriotism and renegotiating the memory of the Civil War, rose in their status. However, after the end of the Reconstruction era, the racialization of patriotism occurred with the reconciliation of the north and the south.

The Rosenberg Case and American Intellectuals: A Background Analysis of the Media Tug-of-war

With the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in June 1953, the controversy surrounding their guilt and innocence seemed to have ended. Yet, even half a century later, the case has not achieved closure and continues to invite new interpretations from scholars, critics, and novelists. This paper explores the way the Rosenberg case mirrored antagonisms and dividedness among post-war American intellectuals. Similarly, there was a tug-of-war between those American media that depicted the Rosenbergs as diabolical traitors and those that portrayed them as innocent victims of a witch-hunt. The first half of this paper traces the political and intellectual climate in which the Rosenberg case loomed large in the American consciousness. The capture and prosecution of the alleged spies became a national obsession in the wake of such frightening events as the atomic bomb tests in the Soviet Union, the Chinese Revolution, and the Korean War. Amid these international crises, Senator McCarthy began his anticommunist crusade and targeted, among others, leftist scientists who participated in the Manhattan project and China experts who were deemed responsible for the “loss” of China. The conspiracy theory gave expression to the frustrations of those Americans who were unable to understand or control the increasingly complex world. The latter half of this paper focuses on the crusade of one progressive newspaper, the National Guardian, to exonerate the Rosenbergs. The National Guardian labeled the Rosenberg trial an anti-Semitic frame-up subjecting the poor and powerless to an unfair ordeal. This crusade contributed to the formation of a pro-Rosenberg camp, which included both firm believers in the couple's innocence and skeptics who felt that there was a “reasonable doubt” about their guilt. For its part, the Jewish community was divided on the case. Many Jews sought to disassociate themselves from the dangerous “pariahs” who might imperil the entire community. The fact that the defendants, judge, attorneys, defense lawyers and major witnesses were all Jewish made the Rosenberg case even more divisive. Jewish intellectuals such as Leslie Fiedler felt that the Rosenbergs, whom he calls the sterile Stalinists, were deceiving themselves in their false claim of being martyrs of American Fascism. Riesman and Glazer suggested that the Rosenberg case divided American intellectuals while the Sacco-Vanzetti case united them. It may be more accurate to say that American leftist intellectuals' solidarity was fragmented in the late 1930s when they became disillusioned with the Soviet experiment under Stalin. In defending Sacco and Vanzetti in the 1920s, American intellectuals were able to romanticize them as “proletarians” trapped in a capitalist conspiracy. However, the Rosenberg case made intellectuals uneasy because it exposed internal feuds, as the Rosenbergs fought with the Greenglasses, and communists and ex-communists shouted at each other. In the end many intellectuals─divided, ambivalent, and insecure─fell into silence as the very ambiguity of the case frustrated nerves already frayed by McCarthy's attacks.

New Media, Old Media: A New Phase of Media Studies in the U.S.

The term “new media” has become an established discourse as well as a catchword in the United States, both with general public and in academia. Although it can be said that this term has been employed for a long time, it has come to the scene with a new conceptual direction, which corresponds to the fact that computer technology has recently turned out to be a major media thanks to the remarkable developments of its human interface and the advent of the Internet. In this paper, I try to trace the ways in which the term has been discussed in academia. In doing so I would like to show some aspects of the theoretical horizon that the term has opened up in media studies. First, I argue that the term appeared at the turn of the century when media studies had been stuck in a situation from which no more radical progress or theoretical development was possible. In other words, structuralism and post-structuralism as a theoretical tool to analyze media phenomena had produced no significant outcome in the 1990s. Since studies of such kinds assume that every media phenomenon can be reduced to be a text analyzable by semiotics in almost the same way they could not substantially discuss the distinction between newly appearing media and pre-existing media such as cinema and television. Therefore, something more radically theoretical was in demand when the term “new media” started to be employed in academic world. Second, I state that there are differences between the ways in which the term “new media” is employed in the United States and in other countries. One of the differences is that while arguments as regards to “new media” are in other countries mostly directed on the assumption that new media as such is distinct from old media, discussions about “new media” are conducted in ways that bracketed the definitional demarcation between new and old media in the United States. One of the reasons for this is that in the United States the 2000 crash of the IT stock market shattered the euphoric mood of new digital technology. Also, old media such as cinema and broadcasting has been successful in exploiting digital technology. Thirdly, I address the theory that one can see new theoretical achievements in “new media” studies in its efforts to devise analytical tools to approach newly appearing media distinctively from older media, and at the same time to treat the confused condition that new media have to adapt themselves to the existing market logic established by older media and older media can be a new form of new media. Then, I draw attention to three representative works that show achievements of this kind; Mark Hansen's ontological analysis of media experience, Rosalind Krauss's re-definition of what it is to be an expressive media, and Lev Manovich's reconceptualization of the relationship between human existence and media technology.

Reinventing America as the Other: A New Perspective on American Studies

What has “America” meant in everyday terms for the people of East Asia since the end of the Second World War? What indeed does it continue to mean for us in the present day? Would it not be possible to review the relationship with America built up especially during the period of the Cold War from a comprehensive regional perspective, taking into account the level of people's everyday consciousness and culture besides military and politico-economic aspects. At least as concerns such countries as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, “America” has had a uniquely strong and significant presence, which it has not had in quite the same way in any other region, whether South Asia, West Asia, Europe or South America. Most of these countries of the Pacific Rim were once under either temporary or long-term Japanese military occupation. They have since been incorporated into the American sphere of influence as bases for the activity of the American military and multinational corporations. As seen from the perspective of American Cold-War strategy, there can be no doubt that the Pacific Rim area, extending from Japan to Indonesia, formed a continuous space for the establishment of hegemony in Asia. Looking at the everyday consciousness and cultural practices among the people living in this region, does one find a similarly distinctive presence of “America”? Is there also a spatial continuity whereby the cultural responses to “America” are similar throughout the region? Despite the evident importance of research on such a wide-ranging and complex phenomenon, hardly any attempt has been made until very recently to study the significance of “America” in a region-wide context from the perspective of everyday consciousness and culture while also considering political and military issues. This kind of approach relates to the field of post-colonial studies (which has seen rapid recent growth in the East Asian region). The postwar dominance of America in East Asia is, in a certain sense, a reconstruction of the Japanese imperial order that existed until the end of the war. In accordance with the China-containment policy first set out by George F. Kennan, Japan's industrial power was linked to the natural resources and markets of Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Korea, Taiwan and Okinawa were to act as military buffers for the co-prosperity sphere thus formed. There has recently been much reexamination of the continuity of colonial consciousness and practice in the areas once under Japanese colonization. This includes a growing body of work on mass culture, media, urban culture and intellectual practice in Okinawa, Korea, Taiwan, Manchuria, and Micronesia. It is essential that the mediating role of “America” be considered in these investigations of the further postwar development of colonial consciousness and practice in Asia under the Cold War order.

Emerson’s Style and Its Reception in Japan

“Literature” in modern times aims at integrating the literature in the narrow sense that pursues the beauty of words, and the inquiry into more universal human values. Ralph Waldo Emerson, who modernized American literature, also tried to make literature spiritual. He emphasized the role of the poet as representative of universal humanity. And he attempted to give holy meanings to ordinary facts of the world. Men of letters in Meiji Japan, who read Emerson eagerly, found it difficult to understand this attempt of Emerson to integrate singularity and universality, the secular and the spiritual. The secret of nature which, according to certain romantic views, only a poet could approach was made accessible to everybody by Emerson. This democratic poet brought confusion to Emerson's narrative style. Occasionally, regarding the poet, Emerson speaks as if he or she was a special person, and occasionally, he speaks as if he or she was a common person. Kitamura Tokoku, a poet in Meiji Japan, became interested in Emerson's view of the poet. Among Emerson's opinions, however, Tokoku disregarded those which held that anyone can be a poet, while he sympathized with those which asserted that a poet is alienated from ordinary people. Tokoku thus neglected Emerson's democratic dimension. Moreover, he disregarded the materialistic tendency of Emerson's philosophy. Kunikida Doppo, known as a writer who described natural scenery and people who live with nature, was interested in Emerson's “democratic” human view. Emerson is sure that the whole world is permeated by a “common heart”. Actually each person leads an individual life and the world remains superficial. This “common heart” will be completely revealed in the future. The moment the “common heart” is discovered is the omen of the perfect future. But Doppo, lacking such a teleology, feels the discovery only as the upsurge of feeling, and is troubled by all other desolate hours. He faced the separation and rupture between the aspect of being an individual and the aspect of sharing the “common heart.” In “Nature” and “Essays,” Emerson insists that each individual directly shares the “common heart.” But in “Representative Men”, this optimistic faith in the “common heart” is discarded. Instead Emerson accepts the particularity of each individual, and explains that it “symbolizes” a universal thing. This “symbol” theory impressed Iwano Homei, a novelist of Japanese naturalism. Emerson's “symbol” theory has a tendency toward idealistic and transcendental integration, and the tendency toward the fragmentary and relative perception coexist. Homei eliminated the idealistic side and accepted only the formal aspect in building his own symbol theory. Homei found the discontinuity of Emerson's thinking which tends toward universality and spirituality. Tokoku, Doppo, and Homei suffered from a gap between the particular and the universal, or between the spiritual and the secular, which Emerson integrated. The problems inherent in Emerson were actualized there. This means that Emerson made them face the crisis of meaning or value at the bottom of modern literature.

The New Deal and the Third Parties: The Jobless Party and the Pennsylvania Security League

This article deals with two minor third parties in the era of New Deal, and examines the process how those parties were organized, operated, and they declined. At first, the analysis focuses upon the Depression that hit the City of Pittsburgh in 1929. It was estimated that more than 200,000 residents were unemployed. Governor Gifford Pinchot of Pennsylvania moved and provided with various kind of relief that the federal and state government made available. But as Pinchot's plan was hampered, and the private relief organizations shouldered the great financial burden, the situation seemed to be getting worse with each passing time. Such intense of national conflicts in the Great Depression were major preconditions for the looming of the third parties. Trying to find a way out of the deadlock, Pittsburgh's catholic priest James R. Cox of St. Patrick's Church decided to lead the “Jobless March” to Washington, D.C., in January 1932, seeking federal assistance. After his returning to Pittsburgh, he organized “Jobless Party,” and announced his candidacy for the president under its banner. After Cox abandoned his drive for presidency and disbanded “Jobless Party” in October, Stephan Raushenbush, the son of the well known theologian and a leader in Social Gospel movement, Walter Rauschenbusch, formed a League for Social Justice (LSJ), which was to seek with a wide variety of means of taking action on unemployment relief, social insurance, and law-enforcement to protect labor. In 1933, Raushenbush reorganized LSJ as the Pennsylvania Security League (PSL), and carried on vigorous education programs on many critical economic issues and social programs of those days. Successively, Raushenbush launched the campaign to form a third party movement in Pennsylvania. In spite of their efforts PSL finally went out of existence about 1938, and a number of factors were at work here. Among them three major aspects will especilally deserve attention for the explanation for the decline of PSL. First and foremost, many PSL members were forced to leave PSL because of their financial reasons. Secondly, a factional struggle for control of the third party movement split the movement itself. Especially Unemployed Council, who viewed PSL as their chief rival for organizing the unemployed, often denounced PSL that PSL was working for the reactionary cause. In the third place, many of the party activists accepted jobs in the federal administration. Within the Roosevelt administration, some politicians (including the president himself) tried to smash the progressive third party movement and they skillfully took members away from the third parties by using the federal projects for the coercion.

Selling Democracy: Norman Granz and Jazz in the Cold War

Norman Granz (1918-2001) was arguably the most successful entrepreneur in jazz history. Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) concert series, his primary achievement, began in the Los Angeles area and toured nationwide from 1944 to 1957. In its heyday it was an annual four million dollar institution, giving 150 concerts a year throughout North America, with excursions to Europe and Asia. Aside from its enormous success as a business, what distinguished JATP was its unique desegregation policy. Granz not only featured black and white musicians on the same stage, but also demanded that concert halls sign a contract stipulating the desegregation of the audience seats. He also publicly urged other band leaders to follow his example. These efforts led the African American media to laud Granz as a one-man crusade for desegregation. Granz's anti-racist activism was rooted in the 1930s Popular Front, a loose coalition of leftist political activists, artists, and intellectuals. Growing up the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and organizing his first large-scale concert with support from labor leaders and Hollywood celebrities who had long involved in anti-racist movements in the Los Angeles area, Granz duly inherited their ideological legacies in the postwar era. “Jazz is America's own,” he declared in every JATP publication, “It is a product of all America, deriving much of its inspiration and creation from the Negro people.” The “swing ideology” of the 1930s─the idea that there is an essential affinity between jazz, democracy, and the American way of life, and that Americans therefore should listen to jazz and live up to the ideals it expresses─was mobilized in Norman Granz's JATP. At the same time, however, Granz held a set of new assumptions that were more in line with Cold War conservatism rather than the Popular Front, and it was often manifest in the music itself; JATP's stage always featured an interracial jam session, which symbolized a color-blind, individualistic meritocracy, in contrast to the collective work ethic of the Swing Era's dance bands. Granz believed that individual efforts in accord with market principles, rather than political interventions, would make racial discrimination “unprofitable.” By the time the modern Civil Rights movement emerged as a working class mass movement, Granz had become a favored figure in mainstream media, as a millionaire who sold American music and democracy worldwide. This celebratory Americanism, among other things Granz inherited from the Popular Front, explained both his initial successes in promoting desegregation, and his eventual co-optation into the Cold War state. For all its idiosyncrasies, Granz's career epitomized the larger transition of American culture from the 1930s to the Cold War.

Other Issues

Special Feature: Nuclear Space, Issue 42
Special Feature: Nature and Environment, Issue 41
Special Feature: Violence, Issue 40