This article examines Hanama Tasaki’s antiwar novel, Long the Imperial Way (1950), as a key text in the postwar era. Based on the author’s own experiences, the book focuses on a disillusioned Japanese soldier in the Imperial Army as it occupies China in the late 1930s. This English-language work by the Hawai’i-born Nisei writer explained the destructiveness of Japanese imperialism in East Asia for an American nation now reasserting its own presence in the region. Offering lessons about the limits of imperial desires, the novel resonated with audiences wary of US overseas involvements. As a public figure, Tasaki embodied “Japanese” and “American” identities, negotiating between them by playing on the “absent presence” of his Nisei subjectivity. His life story thus raised questions about race, empire, and national loyalties, even as he aspired to transcend them in his plea for universal rights based on democratic ideals.


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pp. 31-59
Launched on MUSE
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