Greetings traveler on the great ocean of knowledge that is the internet! My name is Daniel Fandino and I am a first year PhD student in the Department of History at Michigan State University and a 2017 Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellow. My research is centered on the study of modern Japan with a focus on U.S. – Japanese relations and the intersection of popular culture, technology, and nationalism. Before arriving at Michigan State I earned my Master’s degree in History from the University of Central Florida and then spent the next few years living in Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo. Although my academic pursuits primarily revolve around Japanese history I have been able to explore other areas of personal interest such as fandom and video games by assisting in editing a collected volume of essays on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, contributing to an encyclopedia of Japanese horror films, and writing about dark tourism in the massively multiplayer game EVE Online.
While I am still early in my studies at Michigan State, my previous work has dealt with East Asian migration to the United States and framing the American response to the Boxer Uprising in China as a domestic crisis rather than a primarily foreign conflict. I am fascinated by the construction of expatriate communities within Japan as well as the reception and refashioning of Japanese cultural products within the United States. Of particular interest to me is the digital humanities. I currently volunteer for H-Net editing the Popular Culture and Digital History networks, a task which has given me the opportunity to see a wide cross section of the kind of cutting edge digital projects being undertaken today. The digital humanities offer an exceptional means through which to convey information and bridge the gap between academia and a “popular” audience. The field is still a relatively recent one, so digital projects hold the promise of new horizons and new ways to examine at the past, a very exciting proposition for a historian. Working with the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative is allowing me to learn the tools and methodology required to create viable and academically rigorous digital projects that can also connect with a wide audience.
My proposed project for CHI examines the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The 1964 Olympics marked the start of new era for Japan as the nation reinvented itself to reenter the world stage. Less than 20 years after the end of World War II, Japan used the Olympics to present a new image to the world as a revitalized, peaceful, and technologically advanced nation. The Games provided Japan a way to explore a form of nationalism not connected to the militarism of the war years and enabled a restart to interaction with the other nations of East Asia and the world under the ostensibly nonpolitical banner of sports. The memory of the highly successful 1964 Games and the resulting boost to Japanese prestige has helped drive Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Games. The transformative forces unleashed by the Games had a profound impact on Japanese cultural heritage, as the legacy of 1964 can still be seen throughout the city of Tokyo and continues to reverberate throughout popular culture. The Olympics were a vital element in determining the path of Japan’s new postwar national identity, a matter that is now being reconsidered in the runup to the 2020 Games. My project will endeavor to explore the cultural heritage and legacy of the 1964 Olympics through media, popular culture, everyday life, with an emphasis on exploring the connections between four major venues and the story of postwar Tokyo. With Tokyo set to host the 2020 Games in a few short years, it is a fantastic time to examine the cultural legacy of the 1964 Olympics and its relationship to the preparations and expectations for 2020.
Follow me on Twitter @danfandino and if you are so inclined read my musings on the intersection of history and popular culture at www.wiredhistory.com.