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The Color of SuccessAsian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority$
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Ellen D. Wu

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157825

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157825.001.0001

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Nisei in Uniform

Nisei in Uniform

(p.72) Chapter 3 Nisei in Uniform
The Color of Success

Ellen D. Wu

Princeton University Press

This chapter talks about how the Nisei soldier, the Japanese American Citizens League's (JACL) brainchild, answered various race and citizenship imperatives in the 1940s and 1950s. For all Japanese Americans, Nisei fighters guaranteed their claims to assimilability and national belonging by responding to the call to arms, recasting them from enemy aliens to loyal citizens in the process. As the pinnacle of wartime masculinity, soldiering allowed Japanese American men in particular to rebut deep-rooted popular beliefs that the gender identities of “Oriental” men were feminized, ambiguous, or deviant. For JACL, the ascendance of the warrior persona, recognized and lauded by the public and policymakers, offered reassurance that its orientation was indeed the righteous path to redemption for both itself and the ethnic community.

Keywords:   Nisei soldier, Japanese American Citizens League, citizenship imperatives, Japanese Americans, wartime masculinity, Oriental men, warrior persona, ethnic community

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