ASIAN 500 - Seminar in Asian Studies
Fall 2022, Section 002 - Pacific War Cinema: Dialogue of Violence
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:


“We can’t beat this kind of thing. We make a film like that maybe once in a decade. We haven’t got the actors.”

— Frank Capra, upon watching a captured print of the Japanese war film Chocolate and the Soldier

“Watching Fantasia made me suspect that we were going to lose the war. These guys looked like trouble, I thought.”

— Ozu Yasujirô, after seeing a captured print in Singapore

This course will explore the relationship of WWIIs Pacific Theater to moving image media in two movements. First, a comparative history of Hollywood and Japanese filmmaking during the war explores issues of race, nationality, propaganda, and violence. The second half of the course continues to analyze these problems by turning to post-1945 attempts to remember, critique and commemorate (or forget) WWII in media as disparate as television, video art, and the Internet.

We will screen propaganda by Frank Capra, Kurosawa Akira, John Ford, Bruce Conner, Imamura Shohei and others to ask questions like:

  • Do nations have their own, distinct languages of violence?
  • Why did nations expend vast, precious resources on movies?
  • What's Fordian about John Ford's Sex Hygiene?
  • How many women does it take to build a B-29?
  • Are stereotypes actually a mundane part of everyday life?
  • What does a mushroom cloud mean?
  • Is memory a form of history?
  • What happens when racism and global warfare meet?
  • What happened?

Intended Audience:

All students

Class Format:

There is an accompanying film screening section 003.


ASIAN 500 - Seminar in Asian Studies
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Note: Meets-with ASIAN 380.002
003 (LAB)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM

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