Peace for Our Time? The 1937 Nagoya Pan-Pacific Peace Exhibition

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 1:50 PM
Calvert Room (Omni Shoreham)
Nathan Hopson, Nagoya University
The spring 1937 Nagoya Pan-Pacific Peace Exhibition (NPPPE) was held just months before the escalation of war in China. The expo was the product of conflict and compromise between Nagoya’s regional promotion agenda, local elites’ memories of peace and prosperity through multilateralism, and the Imperial Army’s vision of peace through war. The NPPPE was originally planned as a regional promotion event by local commercial and political leaders whose self-interest was tied to international trade and who remained enamored of the 1920s’ capitalist peace and internationalist world order. Primarily, the NPPPE was part of the mayor’s “Nagoya-Detroit” and “Great Nagoya” plans to make Nagoya an industrial and tourist mecca. Ultimately, the expo was the product of compromise with the Imperial Army and Navy, its vision of peace badly twisted. However, this result obscures the process. I argue that closer examination of the expo’s origins and its place as regional history challenges standard narratives that efface nuances of region, class, and other divisions within Japanese society and assume near-universal national support for “militarism” after the Manchurian Incident.