Publication Details

Cusack, K. 2008, 'Beyond silence: giving voice to kure mothers of Japanese-Australian children', New Voices: A Journal for Emerging Scholars of Japanese Studies in Australia, vol. 2, no. December, pp. 103-127.


Within the complex process of historical production, silence is created, imposed and fostered. Encountering the existence of a cast of hitherto silent actors within history, therefore, is wholly unsurprising. This article draws focus to a cohort of Japanese women who have been excluded from conventional interpretations. Indeed, the experiences of the Kure women who bore children fathered by Australian servicemen during the occupation have been consistently marginalised to the periphery of existing scholarship on this period.

By applying a gendered perspective to the analysis of a selection of previously unexamined newspaper articles, this article will demonstrate that a meaningful history can be written for those excluded from primary or secondary discourse. This article will show that these women do possess a historically significant past through revealing that they were active participants in the post-war period who influenced the conduct of the military operation. Most importantly, this article will confront some of the imposed barriers of silence through analysing certain aspects of the women’s experiences within limited available material. This examination will illuminate prevalent local attitudes towards women involved in relationships with foreign servicemen and the predominance of the socially and culturally derived construct of the feminine role.

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