Kislak Pavilion in Van Pelt
Asian historians typically end their accounts of “Imperial Japan” in 1945. With defeat and surrender, Japan lost its formal colonial empire and millions of soldiers and civilians returned to the home islands. But decolonization did not mean an end to Japanese power in Asia; nor did it preclude the reemergence of Japanese influence over former colonies traumatized by a brutal occupation. Though we tend to think of Japan after 1945 as the inverse of the prewar state, carrying the story forward allows us to think about the central importance of the Asian market for Japanese capitalism across the twentieth century, about continuities in regional geo-politics, and about the enduring relationship between nationalism and empire.
Louise Young ia a professor of History at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a social and cultural historian of modern Japan. Her research and teaching interests include Japanese international relations, World War Two in Asia, comparative imperialism, and urban history. She is currently working on two book projects. The Idea of Class in Modern Japan is a social and intellectual history of the transition from a feudal status system to a modern class hierarchy, 1860-1940. Rethinking Japanese Imperialism examines Japan in the world as a history of the present, tracing this history from the forced opening of the Japanese market in the mid nineteenth century to the current conjuncture, with the rise of neo-nationalisms in Asia and the challenge to the neo-liberal world order.
Event sponsored by the Penn Forum on Japan and Center for East Asian Studies