"The Martial Islands": Making marshallese masculinities between american and Japanese militarism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For over a century, the Marshall Islands have been entangled between the United States and Japan in their conquest of the Central Pacific; yet because of this, these islands have also been a place where multiple masculinities have converged, competed, and transformed each other. This is especially true around the site of Kwajalein Atoll, where terrain understood in Marshallese terms as female or maternal has been reshaped and masculinized through the semiotics of colonialism and militarization. This article focuses specifically on three local representations of masculinity: the knowledgeable but strategic Marshallese "Etao," symbolized by a creative and resourceful male trickster spirit; the heroic but paternalistic American "Patriot," as enacted via the perpetual battlefield of military and weapons-testing missions; and the adventurous but self-sacrificing "Dankichi," deployed in Japan during the 1930s and echoed nowadays in the long-distance tuna-fishing industry. Cross-reading Judith Butler and R W Connell, this is an exploration of the "theater" of these masculinities in relationship to one another, and the story of how different superpowers strive for domination by emasculating a third colonial site and its subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-86
Number of pages32
JournalContemporary Pacific
Volume20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

militarism
masculinity
superpower
fishing industry
colonialism
atoll
weapon
Japan
Micronesia
militarization
colonial age
domination
semiotics
theater
Military
industry

Keywords

  • America
  • Gender
  • Japan
  • Kwajalein Atoll
  • Marshall Islands
  • Masculinities
  • Pacific War

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

"The Martial Islands" : Making marshallese masculinities between american and Japanese militarism. / Dvorak, Gregory Eric.

In: Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2008, p. 55-86.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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