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Never Again!: Tracing a Politics of Japanese Latin American Redress and Reparations as Global Justice

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Abstract:

Lauded as a “successful movement” and “landmark legislation,” in 2008, the “great American story” that has become “Japanese American redress” celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Indeed, this past year, numerous community and government-sponsored events were held across the country to commemorate the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the U.S. government legislation which provided for a formal apology and a payment of $20,000 to each surviving Japanese American interned during World War II as well as the establishment of a public education fund. Still, I find that the so-called ‘success’ of Japanese American redress remains haunted – haunted by “the little known stories” of the more than 2,000 Japanese Latin Americans who were, in effect, kidnapped upon U.S. order by the governments of twelve Latin American countries during WWII and brought to U.S. concentration camps and among whom hundreds were used in a U.S. hostage exchange program with Japan. Such former internees were denied recognition by the CLA and today, still over sixty years after the end of WWII, continue their struggle for governmental redress and reparations.

Indeed, it seems that, as global subjects, the presence of Japanese Latin American former internees, spilling over and flowing through the boundaries of the U.S. nation-state, their memories as traces perhaps threatening to raise the specter of U.S. empire, again persist in not only posing but complicating profound questions and deeply held notions of citizenship, sustainability and belonging within the context of late-modernity and global capitalism. Thus, I contend, the task of tracing Japanese Latin American redress is fruitful precisely for what it opens up – not only in terms of the politics of redress and redressability per se, but more broadly in regards to the question of historical justice for state violence as it contends with categories of citizenship, traditional practices of recognition and (national) belonging, as well as concepts and notions of sustainability. In other words, it raises such questions as: What are the transformative possibilities and limits of historical redress as universal justice within the particular liberal humanist ethicality of violence and redemption and its assumptions of citizenship, (civic) rights and universality? How might it urge a critical rethinking of what has become a central paradigm for global/racial justice and its underlying tenets of (national) recognition, inclusion, and belonging? Finally, how does a tracing of the complex politics and poetics of redress for Japanese Latin American internment effectively speak directly to the question of sustainability in its move toward a critique of violence and (un)redressability within the context of the present modern/(neo)colonial global configuration in which the U.S. has emerged as a supranational, imperial power? To address such research questions, this paper, deploying both Foucault’s genealogical method and Derrida’s notion of deconstruction, will map the discourse of Japanese Latin American redress by examining a range of texts, including congressional hearings and bills, mainstream and community-based media publications, and select interviews with activists and former internees. Here, it focuses precisely on the intertexuality among these different texts, the quality of knowledge produced by multiple actors from within diverse and overlapping fields of power.
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MLA Citation:

Kozen, Cathleen. "Never Again!: Tracing a Politics of Japanese Latin American Redress and Reparations as Global Justice" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Renaissance Hotel, Washington D.C., Nov 05, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p318930_index.html>

APA Citation:

Kozen, C. K. , 2009-11-05 "Never Again!: Tracing a Politics of Japanese Latin American Redress and Reparations as Global Justice" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Renaissance Hotel, Washington D.C. <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p318930_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Lauded as a “successful movement” and “landmark legislation,” in 2008, the “great American story” that has become “Japanese American redress” celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Indeed, this past year, numerous community and government-sponsored events were held across the country to commemorate the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the U.S. government legislation which provided for a formal apology and a payment of $20,000 to each surviving Japanese American interned during World War II as well as the establishment of a public education fund. Still, I find that the so-called ‘success’ of Japanese American redress remains haunted – haunted by “the little known stories” of the more than 2,000 Japanese Latin Americans who were, in effect, kidnapped upon U.S. order by the governments of twelve Latin American countries during WWII and brought to U.S. concentration camps and among whom hundreds were used in a U.S. hostage exchange program with Japan. Such former internees were denied recognition by the CLA and today, still over sixty years after the end of WWII, continue their struggle for governmental redress and reparations.

Indeed, it seems that, as global subjects, the presence of Japanese Latin American former internees, spilling over and flowing through the boundaries of the U.S. nation-state, their memories as traces perhaps threatening to raise the specter of U.S. empire, again persist in not only posing but complicating profound questions and deeply held notions of citizenship, sustainability and belonging within the context of late-modernity and global capitalism. Thus, I contend, the task of tracing Japanese Latin American redress is fruitful precisely for what it opens up – not only in terms of the politics of redress and redressability per se, but more broadly in regards to the question of historical justice for state violence as it contends with categories of citizenship, traditional practices of recognition and (national) belonging, as well as concepts and notions of sustainability. In other words, it raises such questions as: What are the transformative possibilities and limits of historical redress as universal justice within the particular liberal humanist ethicality of violence and redemption and its assumptions of citizenship, (civic) rights and universality? How might it urge a critical rethinking of what has become a central paradigm for global/racial justice and its underlying tenets of (national) recognition, inclusion, and belonging? Finally, how does a tracing of the complex politics and poetics of redress for Japanese Latin American internment effectively speak directly to the question of sustainability in its move toward a critique of violence and (un)redressability within the context of the present modern/(neo)colonial global configuration in which the U.S. has emerged as a supranational, imperial power? To address such research questions, this paper, deploying both Foucault’s genealogical method and Derrida’s notion of deconstruction, will map the discourse of Japanese Latin American redress by examining a range of texts, including congressional hearings and bills, mainstream and community-based media publications, and select interviews with activists and former internees. Here, it focuses precisely on the intertexuality among these different texts, the quality of knowledge produced by multiple actors from within diverse and overlapping fields of power.


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