Black Women in the Postwar Pacific Theater

Reading Materials

Nan Watson, (1950). “Letter from Japan,” Negro Digest, 46-49.

Sylvia J. Rock, (1951). “Japan Intrigued Jersey Girl: Ex-Red Cross Worker Says Yokohama Is Like Harlem,” The Baltimore Afro-American.

Yasuhiro Okada, (2012). “Negotiating Race and Womanhood across the Pacific: African American Women in Japan under U.S. Military Occupation, 1945-52,” Black Women, Gender & Families, 6(1), 71-96.

Discussion Questions

What kind of Black Pacific imaginary were Black WACs attempting to construct in the postwar era?

What role did the Black press play in cultivating this image for readers ‘back home’?

What were the intersecting dynamics of race, gender, and nationality happening in this moment in time and space?

How might we understand the moments of connection and disconnect occurring between African-American and Japanese women in postwar Japan? Did these moments challenge, subvert, or reaffirm the “rules” of patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism?

How might we characterize the homosocial spaces that American and Japanese women often found themselves interacting in during this period?