Transnational Encounters in “Private Spaces” of the Japanese Allied Occupation | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


The purpose of this paper is to examine the US-Japanese encounters in occupied “private” spaces in post-WWII Japan through a case study of a military family housing, or Dependents Housing, area, particularly Grant Heights in western suburb of Tokyo, now the site of one of the largest residential and park complexes in Japan, Hikarigaoka. After briefly reviewing the existing literature on US-Japanese encounters in occupied Japan, including a brief chronology of Allied Occupation, starting in August 1945 and ending in April 1952, it will present an overview of Dependents Housing, starting with a 1946 order from Occupation forces, requesting dependent housings to be constructed, followed by the construction between 1946 and the end of the occupation period. This paper will analyze how the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers ordered 20,000, but later reduced to 10,000, housing units to be built in 1946, along with 950,000 household items such as refrigerators and washing machines. Then, it describes how and where units were built and forgotten, including Grant Heights among others in Japan. It discusses some legacies of these transnational encounters, including the architectural design of housing floor plan after the independence of Japan in 1952. And it will end with some remaining questions. The historiography of occupation studies is interdisciplinary and mainly covers areas such as national “rebuilding,” policy-making, legal issues, media/censorship, education “reform” and literature and film topics. Most of the studies are placed in a national framework generally ignoring the housing situation and daily experiences of the military/ civilian personnel and their families in occupied Japan. Exploring the history and cultural experiences of dependent housings should generate discussion between occupation studies, cold war cultural studies, gender studies, transpacific studies, and postcolonial studies.


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