Organized Panel Session
Japan in the wake of the Second World War was reeling from the shock of defeat and occupation. This panel explores the theme of defeat itself and how it affected the lives of women, children, soldiers, and criminals during the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945-1952). Examining the chaotic demobilization of the imperial military, Samuel Porter contends that the shock of defeat triggered a wave of disobedience among soldiers that directly contributed to a surge of anti-military sentiment. Kristin Roebuck argues that after Allied forces overran Japanese territory, Japan embraced abortion as a eugenic tool to avert “race-mixing” between Japanese women and foreign soldiers. Jesús Solís investigates how defeat created new illicit non-state relationships between Japanese civilians and U.S. servicemen within the world of the black market. Finally, Benjamin Uchiyama looks at how a 1950 robbery by a teenaged delinquent unleashed a national debate over an alternative “after-war” future in which Japan would never escape its wartime past. Each paper presents fresh reinterpretations of how different segments of Japanese society engaged with the experience of defeat. Together, the papers argue that the experience of defeat played a critical role in defining a new moral order and marking out the mainstreams and margins of Japanese society after the war.