Staging Democracy and Multiculturalism

The 1970 Osaka Exposition and the Hawai‘i Pavilion

in Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas
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This article examines the critical role Hawai‘i’s Japanese American diaspora played at the 1970 Osaka Exposition in facilitating a Hawai‘i-Japan economic partnership and disseminating messages of Hawai‘i’s multiculturalism and democracy to local and international audiences. White and Japanese American male government officials and members of the Governor’s Citizen Advisory Committee for the Expo emphasized the large Japanese American population in Hawai‘i as well as the cultural hybridity of their state in order to make the Japanese audience—potential tourists and investors—feel welcome. The main “spectacle” of the Hawai‘i pavilion featured a group of hostesses—primarily of Japanese American ancestry—who daily danced the hula. While the hostesses graciously performed the femininity and aloha that were expected of them, they also articulated their ethnic identities by educating the Japanese about the Japanese diaspora and its contributions to the fiftieth state of the United States.

Staging Democracy and Multiculturalism

The 1970 Osaka Exposition and the Hawai‘i Pavilion

in Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

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References

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Michael A. Barnhart“From Hershey Bars to Motor Cars: America’s Economic Policy toward Japan, 1945–76,” in Partnership: The United States and Japan 19512001 ed. Akira Iriye and Robert A. Wampler (Tokyo: Kodansha International2001) 203–208.

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Adria L. ImadaAloha America: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire (Durham: Duke University Press2012) 70–71.

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RydellAll the World’s a Fair4 64–65.

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Peter H. HoffenbergAn Empire on Display: English Indian and Australian Exhibitions from the Crystal Palace to the Great War (Berkeley: University of California Press2001) xviii.

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Robert C. SchmittHistorical Statistics of Hawaii (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii1977) 25.

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Christine R. YanoAirborne Dreams: “Nisei” Stewardesses and Pan American World Airways (Durham: Duke University Press2011) 26–28.

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Tony BennettThe Birth of the Museum: History Theory Politics (New York: Routledge1995) 84.

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Lois Taylor“Finishing off Hawaii’s Expo Hostesses,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin4 February 1970.

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John Roderick“At Osaka Expo ’70: Hostesses’ Hula Show Top Pavilion’s New Look,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin15 June 1970.

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