Skull trophies of the Pacific War: transgressive objects of remembrance


School of Psychology, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK.


This article discusses the use of enemy body parts as war trophies, focusing on the collection of Japanese skulls as trophies by Allied servicemen in the Second World War, and on the treatment of these objects after the war. I argue that such human trophy-taking tends to occur in societies, including modern states, in which two conditions hold: the hunting of animals is an important component of male identity; and the human status of enemies is denied.