We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Race for Empire

Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II

Takashi Fujitani

Publication Year: 2011

Race for Empire offers a profound and challenging reinterpretation of nationalism, racism, and wartime mobilization during the Asia-Pacific war. In parallel case studies—of Japanese Americans mobilized to serve in the United States Army and of Koreans recruited or drafted into the Japanese military—T. Fujitani examines the U.S. and Japanese empires as they struggled to manage racialized populations while waging total war. Fujitani probes governmental policies and analyzes representations of these soldiers—on film, in literature, and in archival documents—to reveal how characteristics of racism, nationalism, capitalism, gender politics, and the family changed on both sides. He demonstrates that the United States and Japan became increasingly alike over the course of the war, perhaps most tellingly in their common attempts to disavow racism even as they reproduced it in new ways and forms.

Published by: University of California Press

Series: Asia Pacific Modern


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-1

Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. vii-viii

read more

Preface and Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. ix-xviii

Many years ago I began to write a book on the military and its effects in modern Japan that would have had much less to say about race than does this volume. While this book reflects some of the concerns I had at that time, the racial politics of the mid-to late 1990s derailed that project, at least for a while. ...

Note on Romanization and Naming

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xix-xx

Commonly Used Acronyms

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xxi-xxii

read more

Introduction Ethnic and Colonial Soldiers and the Politics of Disavowal

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-32

Reflecting on her childhood years in early postwar Japan, the pioneering historian and activist Utsumi Aiko wrote in her 1991 contribution to the popular Iwanami Booklet series that she could recall no public memory from that time of the Korean and Taiwanese men who had fought for Japan as soldiers and sailors during the Asia-Pacific War. ...

Part One. From Vulgar to Polite Racism

read more

1. Right to Kill, Right to Make Live: Koreans as Japanese

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 35-77

In its official history of thirty years of Japanese rule in Korea, the Government-General of Korea noted that a fundamental transformation in the state’s understanding of “population” had taken place since the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Previously, the population problem had been understood as a matter of an excess—that is, concerned with such issues ...

read more

2. “Very Useful and Very Dangerous”: The Global Politics of Life, Death, and Race

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 78-122

Perhaps it goes without saying that in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, even the feeble signs that some Japanese Americans were becoming full-fledged members of the national community rapidly collapsed.1 Throughout the prewar years the Japanese minority had been more outside than inside the national community. ...

Part Two. Japanese as Americans

read more

3. Subject to Choice, Labyrinth of (Un)freedom

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 125-162

The analogy of separating Japanese American goats from sheep that circulated so widely among civilian and military administrators points to another aspect of the shift from “vulgar” to “polite” racism that I have touched on but not adequately analyzed in the previous chapters: namely, that the new modality of governing this minority could no longer operate ...

read more

4. Reasoning, Counterreasonings, and Counter-conduct

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 163-205

In the previous chapter I charted the shift inmodality of governing Japanese Americans toward a complex governmentality that mobilized exceptions and force precisely for the purpose of enabling liberal rule. As Dillon S. Myer put it in response to aggressive questioning in the Senate about the need to more strictly police the internees, ...

read more

5. Go for Broke, the Movie: The Transwar Making of American Heroes

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 206-236

Despite the failure of the Japanese American volunteer program to produce a large number of volunteers from the mainland United States, by commonsense standards those eventually inducted into the army from Hawaii and the mainland United States (mainly through the draft) cumulatively performed astonishing feats of military heroism ...

Part Three. Koreans as Japanese

read more

6. National Mobilization

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 239-298

U.S. psychological warfare during the Second World War had as one of its key strategies the exploitation of class, racial, and regional divisions within the Japanese nation and larger colonial empire. While most Americans in the postwar United States have tended to believe that the Japanese are a homogeneous people, and wartime propaganda represented the Japanese ...

read more

7. Nation, Blood, and Self-Determination

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 299-334

The concerted disavowal of racism in the Japanese colonial empire during the late war years operated through media other than the documents and directives produced by the civil and military branches of the state. Newspapers, magazines, cinema, radio, literature, music, and other media also circulated stories about Japan’s empire of equality throughout not only Korea ...

read more

8. The Colonial and National Politics of Gender, Sex, and Family

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 335-374

In recent years some of the most incisive scholarship on the cultural politics of empire has emphasized that the management of families, gender, and sex was not of secondary concern for colonial and imperial powers, but was central to and implicated in the constitution and maintenance of larger structures of exploitation and domination. ...

read more

Epilogue “Four Volunteer Soldiers”

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 375-386

In April 1947 Nakano Shigeharu, the Marxist writer, poet, and critic, published a short essay titled “Four Volunteer Soldiers.” More a column than an extended essay, Nakano tells the story of his encounter on a train with four young men in Japanese army uniform in September 1945—four men who had belonged to the first cohort of Koreans who had volunteered for the Japanese army in 1938. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 387-446

Selected Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 447-468


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 469-488

Production Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 514-514

E-ISBN-13: 9780520950368
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520262232

Page Count: 520
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Asia Pacific Modern
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 759101284
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Race for Empire

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Participation, Japanese American.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Korea.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Social aspects -- United States.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Social aspects -- Japan.
  • Nationalism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Nationalism -- Japan -- History -- 20th century
  • Racism -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Racism -- Japan -- History -- 20th century.
  • Imperialism -- Japan -- History -- 20th century.
  • Imperialism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access