Racial Contacts across the Pacific and the Creation of Minzoku in the Japanese Empire

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Focusing on the work of the Japanese sociologist Koyama Eizō, this paper critically explores the development of Japanese race studies from the late 1920s to the 1940s. During this period, Japanese intellectual discourses on race developed in the context of the need to manage heterogeneous populations within the Japanese empire and contain the growing mobility of populations in and outside of the territory. Reflecting Koyama’s keen interest in racial/ethnic contacts and interdisciplinary perspectives, his intellectual work symptomatically exemplifies not only the convergence of knowledge production and the dominant imperial regime but also the transpacific implications of Japanese race studies. On the one hand, my study examines Koyama’s preoccupation with racial/ethnic contacts in relation to imperial security and also traces how his study intersected with the discourse of American social scientists who were also interested in Japanese migrations. On the other hand, the study examines how the development of the idea of minzoku in Koyama’s discourse coincided with contemporaneous attempts to mobilize diverse populations in the empire. Thus, my research reveals a complex dynamic of integration and differentiation in discourse on Japanese race studies in the interwar era.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-205
Number of pages20
JournalInter-Asia Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

User-Defined Keywords

  • Japanese empire
  • mobility
  • contacts
  • transpacific studies
  • security
  • inclusionary racism
  • social science
  • Japanese immigrants
  • imperial subjects


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