To Catch a Tiger by Its Toe

The u.s.-Japan Security Treaty, Moral Re-Armament, and Cold War Orientalism

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Chelsea Szendi Schieder Meiji University,

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This article discusses a global theatrical spectacle that Moral Re-Armament (mra), a spiritual movement originating in the United States, produced in 1961. mra used contemporary protests in Japan, and actors ostensibly involved in them, as a strategy to bolster its authority in the context of U.S. Cold War policy in East Asia. How it claimed to represent Japan to the world and attempted to transform itself into the spokesman for the “Free World” offers insight into the symbolic position of East Asia in the United States and the areas it sought to influence during the early 1960s, a key moment in the intensifying U.S. involvement in East Asia, and offers a case through which to explore Christina Klein's model of “Cold War Orientalism.” mra tapped into this more inclusive discourse and also exploited ignorance in the United States about Japan to bolster widespread misconceptions about demonstrations in Tokyo. While introducing mra’s history, this essay teases out a gap between the reality and representation of Japanese politics and protest in the case of The Tiger, which reflects the historical context in which popular culture excluded real knowledge about how U.S. foreign policy affected, and often threatened, local political autonomy.

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