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.


» Visit Journal Web Site

Special Feature: Nature and Environment, Issue 41

Rereading "American" Places: Postcolonial Dimensions in Bioregionalism

  Various aspects of bioregionalism are intrinsically postcolonial. Renaming North America as "Turtle Island," for example, indicates a conscious move from a Euro-American name with a 500-year history to a name that suggests the 20 to 40 thousand year pre-white history and implies the even greater pre-human geological and biological history of the place.
  As Ashcroft and others suggest, "Place and displacement [...] are major concerns of all postcolonial peoples" and various contemporary American writers and their works reveal the trajectories of their negotiations with the awareness of North America as their "place" or "home." Thus, American bioregionalists' recent attempts to redefine and re-vision places and borders are calls for decolonization of the place now called America. The redefinition of place also suggests an alternative, decolonized political future for the U.S.A. As Ashcroft and others state, the U.S.A. is a "white diaspora," like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and "[...] land was occupied by European colonists who dispossessed and overwhelmed the Indigenous populations."
  This article focuses on two American bioregional poets, Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry, and attempts to examine their work as resulting from their uncompromising negotiations with the places they chose to live in. Living in a place or becoming place-based means to "reinhabit" the place, which signifies an attempt to grasp a complex entity consisting of history, culture, and environment.
  The reinhabitory poet is not free from the postcolonial history of a place, and thus a historically aware American place-based culture breeds a postcolonial sense of place. Moreover, establishing a sense of place in a bioregion suggests uncovering acts of remapping that took place in ecosystems. A postcolonial re-visioning of places opens up hitherto unseen dimensions in American literature and American environmental ideas.

On the Gender Root of Silence: Going down the "Toxic Inferno" of Silent Spring

  Few books have greatly influenced our attitude toward environment and world itself so courageously as Silent Spring. It has been said that Carson wrote another Uncle Tom's Cabin that exploded against the traditional American assumptions, and achieved a similar political success in banning DDT or in establishing the Environmental Protection Agency as Harriet B. Stowe led the way to Abolition. But compared with the adequate study of the historical importance to environmentalism and social-cultural movements caused by Silent Spring, her literary methods and influence seen in this work have not yet been fully examined. It goes without saying that the success of Silent Spring comes from Carson's special narrative power and structure where she relates the cold war rhetoric and environmental apocalypse connecting them with her literary tradition inherited from the British Romantics, and the seasonal structure of nature writing initiated from Thoreau's Walden. However, there is still room for further investigation for us as to the following questions.
  What is the relation between Carson and Keats, whose famous verse "The sedge is wither'd from the lake, /And no birds sing" becomes a kind of refrain repeated on the first page and the title of Chapter 8 of the book? Why does Carson refer to the texts of such European sources as Greek Mythology or the dark history of the Borgias or the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm or others? What influence did Thoreau give to Carson's ecofeminist text, while Walden has always been considered as "a book of Manliness?"
  This paper tries to solve these questions through three approaches. First, it considers the transformation of the title from "War against Nature" into "Silent Spring," focusing on the metaphorical and representational traits influenced by Keats or other quoted texts in Silent Spring. Second, it analyses Thoreau's influence on Carson from the viewpoint of "Walden as Feminist Manifesto" declared by L. D. Walls, and brings out ecofeminist principle observed in Thoreau's Journal. Carson inherits the gendered narrative structure in Walden and the severe dichotomy with the confrontation of the Earth against the hegemonic power in Silent Spring.
  Finally, it discusses the relationship of the "toxic discourse" with the dichotomy of the narrative structure and how that connects to the political idea of cancer buried in Cold War rhetoric and Environmental Apocalypse. As a result this paper specifies the "toxic discourse" as starting from Silent Spring to the environmental discourse in general, and constructs a story of "toxic Inferno" of Silent Spring guided by the Virgilian Carson in the spirit of Dante.

Legal Framework for Environmental Conflict Management: How Did Federal Agencies Reach Consensus Ending Development of the Oregon Inlet Jetty Proposal?

  The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) was established by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) to review, appraise, and advise the President regarding agency implementation of environmental law and policy, charging with mediating interagency disagreements. The CEQ regulations implementing NEPA set forth the process known as "referral" for resolving federal agency disputes when there are "interagency disagreements concerning proposed major Federal actions that might cause unsatisfactory environmental effects" (40 C. F. R. 1504. 1).
  On October 16, 2001, the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asked CEQ, through the "referral," to help resolve outstanding issues concerning the U. S. Army Corps of Engineer (COE)'s proposal to construct two jetties at Oregon Inlet on North Carolina's Outer Banks, arguing that the proposal would threaten the fisheries by interfering with larval fish movement and destroying essential fish habitat. Even before the referral by NOAA, the jetty proposal had been long opposed by two Interior agencies (National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service), expressing concern over its adverse impact upon Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the north side of the inlet while Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the south side.
  On May 1, 2003, CEQ, COE, and the Interior and Commerce Departments announced that they have reached agreement not to proceed with development of the proposed navigation project. The decision to cease work on the Oregon Inlet jetty project resolved a long-standing (a 30-year) debate among federal agencies with different Congressional mandates -- economic, engineering, and environmental.
  This paper explores what brought the interagency conflict and how it was resolved for the purpose of clarifying the basic structure and practice of legal framework for treating such interdepartmental disputes over environment-related decisions at the executive level of the U. S. federal government. As the paper shows, the legal framework has functioned well in the Oregon Jetty case, and does seem based upon the concept of the so-called "conflict management," which, taking conflicts into account, does not avoid but tries to manage them. This American experience with such legal framework for "environmental conflict management" provides us with a fresh look at how to see and cope with interagency conflicts pertaining to most environmental decision making systems where jurisdiction for environmental policy is spread across varieties of administrative agencies.

Market, Cultural, and Ecological Values of Water: A Historical Case of the American West and Beyond

  Water has many roles to play: as an economic resource, a source of inspiration and spirituality, and a fundamental life support for all beings. As long as it is abundant, these different values can coexist. However, once scarcity is felt, the battle is on the horizon. In the American West, as Mark Twain said, whiskey's for drinking, water's for fighting about. The challenge then becomes the question of how to manage such conflict. The possible options include tighter administrative regulations, conservation-oriented court orders, public education and grassroots participation, as well as water marketing. All of them require consensus-building which is always time-consuming.
  The purpose of this paper is to critically examine a general policy direction toward the "commodification" of water since the late 1970s -- treating it more as an economic entity in the market than a gift of nature. In principle, many agree with the idea of properly valuing precious water. 0ne major factor driving this trend is the inability of any government to finance the rising capital, operational, and maintenance costs of irrigation and urban water infrastructure. Historically heavy subsidies have long discouraged water efficiency, and thus to price water closer to its "real" cost has been strongly recommended.
  In fact, the idea of water marketing was one of the four principles adopted at a major international water conference in Dublin in 1992, which was echoed in Agenda 21; the action plan emerged from the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and again in the 1993 water policy paper of the World Bank. Has a new era of hydropolitics arrived in the arid places on the globe including the American West? How did it come about? What are the consequences? Certainly, better pricing and more open markets will end up by bringing about economic efficiency. Yet, how can we realize socio-culturally equitable and ecologically sustainable future? The challenge now is to balance market, cultural, and ecological values of water.

Environment Sculpture: Isamu Noguchi's Garden Sculpture, Environment Sculpture and Site Specificity

  The artistic production of Isamu Noguchi (1904-88), in particular his search for a way to create a more direct relationship between sculpture and ordinary life and nature, has a strong resonance today and would benefit from further analysis. Noguchi's works in which he sought to fulfill his concept of creating a symbiotic relationship between mankind and nature include his unrealized Play Mountain (1933, model). Noguchi described this work as "The kernel out of which have grown an my ideas relating sculpture to the earth." Other examples that were not realized include Playground Equipment (1940, model) designed for Hawaii's Ala Moana Park, and Contoured Playground (1941, model), planned for New York's Central Park, a landscape design that attempted to provide opportunities for children to come into closer contact with nature.
  Among projects that were realized are the garden for the Tokyo office of Reader's Digest (1951), and the garden for Keio University's Number 2 Faculty Building, or Shin Banraisha Building (1951), and the garden for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris (1956). Noguchi noted: "I do not distinguish the act of designing a garden to be different from that of creating sculpture. It is simply the case that the space used for my sculpture has expanded. I have moved from a two-dimensional space to a four-dimensional space." His comment addresses the later reception of Noguchi's work as being beyond that of ordinary sculpture, rather as belonging to environment sculpture.
  Noguchi was particularly influenced by Richard Buckminister Fuller's (1895-1983) concept of the "Whole Earth" that gardens can be both aesthetically pleasing and emotionally moving. Fuller, a famous individualist built a lasting relationship with Noguchi in the artist's later years. The influence that Fuller exerted on Noguchi and his artistic activity has not been fully explored in reference to the role that Fuller's concept of "Whole Earth" exerted on Noguchi's sculptures. Coupled with the fact that Noguchi's sculpture is site specific, this aspect is crucial when considering Noguchi's artwork.
  In this paper I discuss the issues surrounding the disassembling and rebuilding of the "Noguchi Room" in the Shin Banraisha Building on the Keio University Mita Campus. This room is regarded as a forerunner to Noguchi's future environment designs. Noguchi's sculpture and the space they occupy should be considered together as a single unit, and this fact puts into question the degree of interdependency between a sculpture and the space it occupies.
  Depending on the situation, art that is site specific may be deeply affected if the original configuration is altered. Art that is linked with the space it occupies becomes an increasingly difficult problem when spatial considerations are changed. The Noguchi Foundation failed to prove its authorship rights for the Noguchi Room and therefore lost its appeal to halt the dismantling process. However, the Court recognized in its provisional disposition statement: "retaining the identity of the artist after moving the facilities will be difficult." The court judged that the sculpture was art that was part and parcel of the designed space, and that gardens and interiors such as the Noguchi Room, including the sculpture and the space they occupy, should be considered as a single unit where the author's copyright can be applied. Therefore, the personal rights of the authors can be exercised over their designs. This decision will certainly initiate a debate over the role of outdoor sculpture that is interdependent with the space it occupies and the role that they play within the public sphere.

The Perplexity of the Animals: Thomas Pynchon's Postmodern Ecology

  While skeptical about the general ideas of nature and the environment, postmodern ecologists have attempted to cross the border between science and the humanities. As one of the most important postmodern ecologists, Donna Haraway has formerly presented a critically effective metaphor, "cyborgs," in order to erase the radical boundaries of these "two cultures." The concept of cyborgs, however, has not only blended the machine with human beings, but also subverted the relationship between people and animals. Haraway recently succeeded in advancing her postmodern ecology by shifting her metaphors from cyborgs to companion species. Based on the concept of companion species, this paper analyzes how the animal representations in Thomas Pynchon's novels subvert the relationships between people and other species. This analysis is conducted with a special focus on the idea of "possession."
  Whereas the relationship between Haraway and her own dog exemplifies the happiness of "reciprocal possession," which is in opposition to the ascription of slavery, the relationship between people and animals in Pynchon's latter novels suggest the presence of anxiety associated with reciprocity. Moreover, Pynchon's anxiety points to an alternative relationship evident in postmodern ecology. An example of this alternative relationship can be seen in the dog in Vineland. This dog is rarely described throughout the entire story except in a moment when its owner feels strong anxiety for its safety. Although now the dog is totally independent from its owner, the narrator of this novel still regards it as "his own dog" -- his possession -- because of his anxiety.
  In the context of postmodern ecology, we should not overlook the fact that the owner's anxiety is caused by "deer rifle," which is viewed as a menace to homeless dogs. Particularly for the characters in Vineland who have experienced great disappointment at the failure of 1960s counterculture movement in America, the rifle or gun functions as a technological metaphor to reflect the characters' ambivalent feelings toward technology itself. Historically speaking, it is the ex-hippies' technophobia that directly provoked Haraway to use the metaphor of cyborg because she believed that environmental movements in 1980s California could not be carried forward without accepting the ambivalence about technology. This paper attewpts to demonstrate that both Pynchon's and Haraway's speculations about technology's impact on our awareness of ecology originate from their common experiences in the 1960s. Moreover, by taking a social event such as the Unabomber Case to illustrate the tragedy of environmental Luddism, it concludes that reciprocity between human beings and their companion animals could be represented through the metaphor of technology, and that Mason & Dixon might well be viewed as a more radical fable of postmodern ecology. This is because the existence in that novel of a werebeaver whose teeth are compared with that of an ax, the technology used in those days to kill trees, subverts the three-way relationship between people, domestic animals, and wild creatures, and, in so doing, shows the grotesqueness that is unleashed when reciprocity is destroyed.

The Culture and Business of Farming: The Ecological Imagination of Japanese American Writers

  Focusing on the relationships between the environment and agribusiness, this article examines the ways in which the idea of biodiversity correlates with the discourse of cultural diversity in two texts: Ruth L. Ozeki's novel, All Over Creation (2003), and David M. Masumoto's work of nonfiction, Epitaph for a Peach (1995).
  Biodiversity is becoming shared knowledge for both ecocritics and environmental activists. Following Arne Naess's idea of Deep Ecology, which includes "diversity of life forms" as one of its principles, Wendell Berry in The Unsettling of America (1978) advocates organic farming as a form of "healthy" human culture based on a diverse ecosystem while criticizing the monocultural nature of agribusiness as destructive both for the environment and human culture. Meanwhile, with the emergence of the Environmental Justice Movement in the 1980s, promoting the idea of cultural diversity has become a high priority for current environmental studies. By insisting that the burden of environmental pollution is not shared equally by every group in society, the discourse of environmental justice exposes the environmental inequity in culturally layered societies. Although environmental trends like biodiversity and cultural diversity comprise important elements in contemporary environmentalism, these two streams of environmental discourse have not yet come to a confluence. All Over Creation and Epitaph for a Peach bridge the gap between them: as new forms of environmental texts they successfully incorporate these seemingly disparate ideas in their views of agribusiness.
  Within the framework of the toxic discourse established by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, All Over Creation foregrounds the intersection of war science and monoculturalism in agricultural history and expresses concerns about the dangers of genetically engineered foods, unraveling the intricately weaved rhetoric of agribusiness. As a counter-narrative to monoculturalism represented by genetically engineered plants, Ozeki introduces the seeds Momoko Fuller collects from all over the world in the story: the cultural and ecological diversity manifested in Momoko's seeds and garden is appropriately placed at the center of the eco-resistance posed by diverse groups of people.
  Political implications of biodiversity are evident in Masumoto's organic peach farming as well. As Michael Pollan suggests, eating and raising organic food, as in "brown food," was considered a symbolic choice that celebrated the solidarity with racial minorities in 60s and 70s counter culture. In Epitaph for a Peach, Masumoto acknowledges various challenges and paradoxes of modern organic farming including issues of race and class, which are inseparable from the hierarchical economic system at the root of fruit farming. Particularly, Masumoto examines these issues in relationship with immigrant farmers or farm workers. While presenting the problems of modern agriculture, Masumoto sees the future of his farm in its ever-evolving characteristics: the success of his organic farm depends on the dynamic cultural diversity of his family and community as well as his inheritance of Japanese American history and culture.

The Nexus Between Native Americans and the Salem Witchcraft: John Neal's Rachel Dyer and American (Literary) Independence

  Among myriad studies and literary narratives dealing with the Salem witchcraft episode of 1692, John Neal's Rachel Dyer (RD; 1828) merits particular attention for the light it sheds on the relation of Native Americans to the episode. In RD, Neal interweaves his description of the circumstances and process of the witchcraft cases with an account of the warfare between the Indians and Puritans in Maine. Neal's fictional narrative encompasses references to Robert Calef's interpretation, historical figures such as Increase Mather, Samuel Parris, and George Burroughs, and the persecution of Antinomians and Quakers in New England prior to the witchcraft tumult; the eponymous protagonist of RD is a granddaughter of the historical Mary Dyer, who was executed as a Quaker martyr. As her religious origins foreshadow, Rachel is also persecuted as a pro-Indian Quaker who practices sorcery; ultimately, she dies in prison. In RD, every religious persecution committed by the Puritans, including the witchcraft tragedy, is situated either before or after episodes of Indian captivity and struggle. The novel thus underscores New England's history of persecuting racial/religious Others.
  Of particular interest in RD in regard to the witchcraft-Indian connection are the racial origins of George Burroughs. The historical Burroughs was a Salem minister who was executed as a ringleader of the accused witches. On the basis of the historical Burroughs's strength and prowess in a war between whites and Indians in Maine, Neal portrays him in RD as the son of a white woman held captive by Indians and an Indian warrior who was descended from a white man. Mediating between the Puritans and Indians, the mixed-blood Burroughs becomes a voluntary captive in exchange for a suspension of hostilities. After several years with the Iroquois, he returns to white society to encounter the witchcraft trials, where he stands against the magistrates and the British law they represent; nonetheless, the Indian Burroughs himself, along with Rachel, is finally accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death. Burroughs's racial status and victimization work to expose not only the racial and religious dynamics of Puritan Massachusetts, but also the threat minority rebels always represented to the New England theocracy.
  Burroughs's oratorical flair during the witchcraft trials embodies the revolutionary spirit of independence that Neal strongly prized in Americans. Advocating literary independence from British letters in the preface to RD, Neal has Burroughs play the role of revolutionary American, laying bare how America was founded on the sacrifice of racial and religious minorities. Burroughs's racial status and his revolutionary spirit resonate in the context of the historical struggle of American nation building, in which the founding fathers referred both to their European heritage and to the republican model of the Six Nations of Iroquois. Much as the American nation-state borrowed greatly from these forgotten Native American forebears in coming into being, Neal, by assigning Burroughs a mixed racial identity, attains literary independence; at the same time Neal suggests that these vanishing Native Americans cannot be truly lost to history even after the Jacksonian policy of Indian removals.

Japanese American Soldiers and European "War Brides": American Orientalism and Whiteness

  This research note examines how the international and interracial marriages between Japanese American soldiers and European, particularly German, women challenged and simultaneously helped to shape American Orientalist ideology and American national identity based on the ideas of "American-ness as whiteness" in the late 1940s and 1950s. Little scholarly attention has been paid to the fact that many Nisei soldiers, including the members of the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, brought back European "war brides" to Hawaii after World War II. This paper is an attempt to recover their experiences, including their marriages and immigration to Hawaii, based on little-used transcripts of sixty interviews conducted by a sociologist during the early 1950s, a soldier's memoir of his German wife, and local and ethnic newspaper articles.
  Historically, interracial marriages between Asian men and white women were seen as a "threat" to racialized American national identity and in some cases prevented by U.S. anti-miscegenation laws and immigration laws. Asians were racialized as polar opposites to American-ness and not considered to belong in the United States. In this sense, the marriages between Japanese American soldiers and German women challenged the East/West binary of American Orientalism which characterized Asia as non-white, feminine, and primitive, and America as white, masculine, and civilized. Even though Japanese American soldiers were racialized as Japanese and fought in segregated units during World War II, they became masculine "American" with power and privileges as U.S. citizens and U.S. male servicemen. A new category of these soldiers as "Hawaiian" by German people also made their Japanese-ness less visible.
  For many Japanese American soldiers and German women, their border-crossing marriages were forms of rebellion against the racial politics of their own countries. The interracial marriages with white women, who were considered as racially assimilable unlike Asian women, helped the soldiers Americanize themselves. On the other hand, Japanese American soldiers found German women's "traditional Japanese women-like" characters more attractive than "Americanized" Nisei women, which reflected the complexities of their identity formation between American-ness and Japanese-ness. German women understood their marriages to "Hawaiians" rather than to Japanese or Asians. It pushed them to challenge American racism by marrying the soldiers against the discouragement of the soldiers' commanding officers. On the other hand, it also gave them a way to claim their own respectability through differentiating themselves from German women who went out with "(white) mainland" soldiers for money and who were with "Negro" soldiers.
  Japanese American and German marriages were discouraged but not restricted by the U.S. military as strictly as those between African American soldiers and German women. However, they were still considered "un-American" and contained within Hawaii, separated from the mainland's authentic "American family." On the other hand, their marriages played a propaganda role in the Cold War as a "show-case" of multicultural Hawaii and contributed to demonstrating the power of American democracy to integrate immigrants of diverse backgrounds successfully into the "melting pot." Thus, their marriages challenged the racialized and gendered binary of American Orientalism inscribed in anti-miscegenation laws and immigration laws, but simultaneously played a part in sustaining existing racial hierarchies and American national identity.

Other Issues

Special Feature: Nuclear Space, Issue 42
Special Feature: Violence, Issue 40
March 2005, Issue 39