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The Nature of the BeastsEmpire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo$
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Ian Jared Miller

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520271869

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520271869.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2020

Military Animals

Military Animals

The Zoological Gardens and the Culture of Total War

(p.95) Chapter 3 Military Animals
The Nature of the Beasts

Ian Jared Miller

University of California Press

The fascist 1930s and 1940s began as a golden age for the zoo. Vast ecosystems were suddenly within reach, as the military conquered new territory. Highly sought after megafauna, such as Indonesian Komodo dragons and Mongolian snow leopards—totems of empire—flooded into the gardens. At the same time, “military animals” such as dogs, pigeons, and especially warhorses—strong, silent, and obedient—were idealized as model soldiers, while millions of people streamed into the zoo to participate in the pageantry of fascist expansionism. Mounted troops led parades, and government scientists staged exhibitions on the natural wonders of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Nearly all aspects of the war effort involved animals or animal products—as companions, specimens, resources, and calories—and as the pursuit of war overseas tilted the home front into a state of emergency, people also became, in a sense, “military animals,” populations of physical bodies whose claims to autonomy were sacrificed to the dictates of total war.

Keywords:   military animals, horses, warhorses, bio-power, total war, animal memorials, animal funeral rites

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