Take two: photography and the reconstruction of the post-war Australia/Japan relationship

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Photography was a significant mediator of responses to Japan in the post-war period, from the late 1940s when thousands of Australians travelled to the country to participate in the US-led military occupation, through to the signing of the landmark Australia-Japan Commerce Agreement in 1957. The camera became a crucial instrument of reconciliation, as Australians began to look at the recent enemy with what one visitor called ‘non-military eyes’, reframing the ‘traditional’ Japan privileged by official military photographers into a dynamic, embryonically modern society with a future linked to Australia’s own. After the Occupation ended and Australia moved to cement the bilateral relationship with Japan, photography continued to act as a powerful medium of cultural reinterpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-45
Number of pages23
JournalHistory Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • Australia and Japan
  • military occupation
  • photography and tourism
  • the 1950s

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