Race and Empire in Meiji Japan

Ayelet Zohar (Editor), Mark E. Caprio (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


This special issue assesses Japan’s passage to modernity through the lens of race and empire, and the interrelationship of the two concepts during the Meiji era. The articles analyze the role of nationalism in Meiji Japan, its interplay with Western concepts of racial hierarchy, and its role in shaping Japanese colonialism and imperialism.

The authors explore Japan’s curiosity about the West from the Iwakura Mission to the United States and Europe beginning in 1873; the encounter of Japanese and white populations through immigration to the United States; the developing imagination of Europe, America, Africa and Asia through geography textbooks; Japan’s reconsideration of its own borders and relations with the neighboring peoples – including subjugation of the Ainu in Hokkaidō, and the educational system of the Ryūkyūs/Okinawa, emphasizing the subpordination and assimilation of local cultures . Uniquely, authors of this issue come from diverse backgrounds and varied fields of research, creating a colorful matrix of points of views, scholarship and new ideas.

I would like to acknowledge Mark Selden's insightful comments and close reading of all articles. Mark has kindly offered us his wise remarks to make the articles brightly accomplish clear and powerful statements. I would also like to acknowledge the tremendous help I received from Mark E. Caprio in editing this issue. Mark's perspective, discerning remarks and advice served as a lighthouse in the process, guiding me through the long route of bringing these articles to their best argument and discussion.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Issue number20
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2020


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