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Guns and Grass: The Militarization of Fuji's Common Lands

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Bernstein, Andrew
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8890
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): military
land tenure and use
community participation
Abstract: "Many think of Fuji as a picturesque and peaceful symbol of Japan, and yet the U.S. and Japanese militaries currently use thousands of hectares of its lower slopes for training grounds and target ranges. In this presentation I will explain how the militarization of Fuji took shape in the years leading up to World War II and in the Cold War that immediately followed. On one level, this is a familiar story of those with more power imposing their will on those with less. But while Fuji was drafted to serve the nationand after World War II, the U.S.-led battle against communismpeople living at the base of the volcano also worked to incorporate the Japanese and then U.S. militaries into an ecosystem shaped by traditional common land practices. By highlighting the agency of those who asserted their common land rights, I hope to contribute to a broader conversation about the ways in which militarized landscapes are fashioned not only by the goals of military and bureaucratic elites but also by the needs and desires of those who live in or nearby them."

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