The scholar considered to be the world’s leading expert on Japan’s imperial history and its spread to the transpacific, including to Hawaiʻi, will present the keynote address at the inaugural Empire Studies Initiative, August 20–22 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Eiichiro Azuma, the Alan Charles Kors Term Chair associate professor of history and former director of Asian American studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will give a free public lecture, “Narrating Transpacific Imperial History,” from 3–5 p.m. in Hamilton Library room 301.

“Professor Azuma’s presentation will offer fascinating new vantage points to reconsider Japan’s imperial past through the lens of transpacific migration or ‘settler colonialism,’ ” said conference co-chair Yuma Totani, a UH history professor. “This is a rare opportunity for the public and university scholars to learn about first-generation Japanese-Americans, who refashioned their identities as pioneers of imperial expansion and their impact on empire-building in the modern history of Japan.”

Headshot of Eiichiro Azuma

Eiichiro Azuma

There will be a question-and-answer session with Azuma from 4 p.m.

UH Mānoa is known internationally for its research institutions in the linked fields of Japanese, Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific studies. Hamilton Library has vast holdings of general library materials, archival sources, rare books and other historical documents relating to the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to Totani, initiative co-organizers are Tokiko Bazzell, Japan studies librarian, Asia collection, Hamilton Library; Andre Haag, assistant professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures; and Hanae Kramer, associate professor, School of Communications.

The conference is funded by the Japanese Studies Endowment, and supported by the Center for Japanese Studies, departments of history and American studies, and Hamilton Library.

For more on the public lecture and other events during the conference, see the Empire Studies Initiative, August 20–22 at the Universit website.