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Graduate Student

Advisor: Dr. Christopher T. Nelson
Alumni Building 402

About Chu-Wen

Originally from Taiwan, Hsieh is interested in military bases, social movements, nationalism, and Okinawa and Japan. Her current research explores how the Japanese people in Yokosuka have engaged with the U.S. military, shaping networks or paradoxes against the backdrop of the global ubiquity of U.S. military presence overseas and the shifting dynamics of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.

Research Interests

Military, base culture, social movement, violence, war, nationalism, empire, Japan & Okinawa

Research Background

My research explores the over 70-year U.S.-Japan partnership since 1945, focusing on one aspect of this partnership that is significantly understudied: the experiences of local communities surrounding U.S. military bases in mainland Japan. How have these communities been transformed by the foreign military presence on their land? My research delves into the “extraordinary ordinary life” – a precarious condition in which local Japanese residents are subject to actions by the U.S. military, emerging from the conflicted yet interrelated pressures of militarized U.S. regional policy and rising Japanese nationalism. Drawing on eighteen months of anthropological fieldwork and historical research, My research offers important insights into how ordinary people endure, contest and change the effects of state policies, political and economic objectives, as well as community and personal interests.

Hsieh research in Tokyo-NP newspaper:


Advanced Japanese Studies Certificate, 10-month training program, Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies, Yokohama, Japan, 2018; MA, Anthropology, National Taiwan University, 2013; BA, Anthropology and Political Science, National Taiwan University, 2008.


2024 “A Good Neighbor, A Best Friend, and An Important Partner: U.S. Military Presence in Japan and Its Image in Propaganda Manga.” In ACG Power in Taiwan: 1st International Conference of Taiwan Association for Animation, Comics, and Game Studies, edited by Taiwan Association for ACG Studies, 37-72. Taipei: Qiyiguowenchuang. (in Mandarin)
2023 “Book Review, Footprints in Paradise: Ecotourism, Local Knowledge, and Nature Therapies in Okinawa, Andrea E. Murray,” Asia-Pacific Research Forum 72: 124-131. (in Mandarin)
2022 “Cards against Anthropology in Taiwan: Using A Borad Game to Teach and Learn Anthropological Ethics.” Anthropology View 31:37-43. (in Mandarin)
2022 “Demilitarization or Militourism: The Act on Reconstruction of Cities that Formerly Served as Naval Ports in Japan,” Angles - Carolina Planning Journal (blog) (in English)


2023 “From Kaigun Curry to Navy Burger: Transitions of A Military Port City,” American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada, Nov. 15-19, 2023. (in English)
2023 “Military Anthropology? Anthropology and War?,” opening symposium, 2023 Annual Meeting of the Taiwan Society for Anthropology and Ethnology, Taipei, Taiwan, Sep. 24-25, 2023. (in Mandarin)
2023 “Fearing the Worst: Preliminary Study of Military and Civil Disaster Drills for the U.S. Nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier in Japan,” 2023 Annual Meeting of the Taiwan Society for Anthropology and Ethnology, Taipei, Taiwan, Sep. 24-25, 2023. (in Mandarin)
2023 “Two Empires in A Military Port City: Yokosuka Story,” Conference of Ethnographies of (Global) China and the Geopolitics of Theorizing World Order, Academia Sician, Taipei, Taiwan, June 6-8, 2023. (in English)
2023 “Yokosuka, A Base City and Extraordinary Ordinary Life,” invited talk, Graduate School of International Media, Communication, and Tourism Studies, Hokkaido University, Japan, Jan. 28, 2023. (in Japanese)

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