APPSI Executive Director Publishes New Book

The Asia Pacific Peace Studies Institute (APPSI) at Holy Names University of Oakland is pleased to announce a new book by APPSI Executive Director Chiho Sawada—Divided Lenses: Screen Memories of War in East Asia (edited with Michael Berry of UC Santa Barbara and published by University of Hawai’i Press). This book evolved out of a conference and film festival co-organized by Dr. Sawada at Stanford University, and is part of a multiyear project, “Divided Memories and Reconciliation,” that examines the legacies of twentieth-century wars in the Asia Pacific.

Divided Lenses represents the first comparative analysis of how the tumultuous years between 1931 and 1953 have been recreated and renegotiated in Asia-Pacific cinema. This period saw traumatic conflicts such as the Sino-Japanese War, the Pacific War, and the Korean War, and pivotal events such as the Rape of Nanjing, Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all of which left a lasting imprint regionally and globally. By bringing together a variety of specialists in the cinemas of six countries in the Asia Pacific, and offering divergent yet complementary perspectives, the book explores how the legacies of war have been reimagined through the lens of film.

This turbulent era opened with the Mukden Incident of 1931, which signaled a new page in Japanese militaristic aggression in East Asia, and culminated with the Korean War (1950–1953), a protracted conflict that broke out in the wake of Japan’s post–World War II withdrawal from Korea. Divided Lenses explores how the intervening decades have continued to shape politics and popular culture throughout East Asia and the world. Essays in part I examine historical trends at work in various “national” cinemas, including China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the United States. Those in part 2 focus on specific themes such as comfort women in Chinese film, the Nanjing Massacre, or nationalism, and how they have been depicted or renegotiated in contemporary films. Of particular interest are contributions drawing from other forms of screen culture, such as television and video games.

Divided Lenses builds on the growing interest in East Asian cinema by examining how these historic conflicts have been imagined, framed, and revisited through the lens of cinema and screen culture. It will interest later generations living in the shadow of these events, as well as students and scholars in the fields of cinema studies, cultural studies, cold war studies, and World War II history.
Advance Praise

“This well-conceived volume covers a wide range of topics and media while keeping a clear focus on screen memories of war. It provides both highly informative and comprehensive overviews of war films from China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, as well as in-depth, innovative readings of specific works. It is an important book that should become a standard reference for students and scholars for years to come.”—Jason McGrath, University of Minnesota

“In spite of its obvious importance, the war film genre has been inexplicably ignored in the study of East Asian cultures and societies. This pioneering volume fills a gaping hole in the literature and will be essential reading for students and researchers interested in the culture, in the broadest sense, of post-war East Asia.”—Timothy Tsu, Kwansei Gakuin University