Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Ungar, Steven

First Committee Member

Gölz, Sabine

Second Committee Member

Peters, John

Third Committee Member

Vlastos, Stephen

Fourth Committee Member

Heitzman, Kendall


My dissertation investigates American images of Japan in the aftermath of World War Two. My premise: Japan represents America’s last clear victory, militarily and culturally. In the decades since the cessation of active hostilities, Japan has served in the American regard as an Other that reinforces and perpetuates an American mythos that is rooted in masculine narratives that depict righteous, regenerative violence.

I emphasize images that legitimate American excesses during World War Two, reflecting earlier “Yellow Peril” periods of anti-Japanese immigration scares. American excess is sanitized during the SCAP Occupation period, after which American—and ancillary—images posit Japan as an exoticized site for Western self-affirmation. Japan remains thus marginalized until the late eighties, at which point Japan’s burgeoning economic power engenders American images that regress to the demonization of wartime propaganda.

My hope for the dissertation is to assert American images of Japan as a negative paradigm. The example of how Japan has been manipulated for American purposes should be considered cautionary. America must be concerned about the ramifications of its continued reliance on a mythos narrative of redemptive masculine violence. The relocation of Japanese culture may prove prescient if America does not learn how to deal more appropriately with other Others that do not conform to America’s mythos-based Self-sustaining narrative.


American, Film, Images, Japan, Post-War, Representation


viii, 233 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 224-233).


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Copyright © 2016 Raymond Waters