Public Lecture: Narrating Transpacific Imperial History

August 20, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Hamilton Library #301 Add to Calendar

This public lecture offers a new way of narrating a transpacific history of the Japanese empire through the examination of migration-driven national expansion (“settler colonialism”). Even though imperial Japan was fundamentally a settler colonial empire where the migration of Japanese commoners and their agrarian settlement in new territories served as a basic mode of empire-building, scant attention has been paid to that dimension of Japan's imperial history in the existing scholarship. Japanese settler colonialism tended to look to Anglo-Saxon precedents for models, where the U.S. popular discourse on “frontier conquest” was most frequently referenced.

Professor Azuma uses the perspectives of migration and agricultural colonization to explore how deeply the history of Japan’s state imperialism was intertwined with that of early Japanese America (Hawai‘i included). This lecture sketches out the transpacific mobility of the first-generation Japanese Americans (Issei) who remigrated to various parts of the Asia-Pacific basin and refashioned their identity as “pioneers” of Japan’s imperial expansion. Professor Azuma will present examples of three such Issei, who became trailblazers and teachers of colonial development and settlement-making in Japanese-controlled Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria on the basis of their U.S. immigrant experiences.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Japanese Studies, the Department of American Studies, the Department of History, and Thomas Hale Hamilton Library. It is open to public. For more information, visit

Event Sponsor
Hamilton Library, Mānoa Campus

More Information
(808) 956-8564,, announcement (PDF)

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