Between Two Empires: Race, History, and Transnationalism in by Eiichiro Azuma

By Eiichiro Azuma

The incarceration of jap americans has been discredited as an important blemish in American democratic culture. Accompanying this view is the belief that the ethnic workforce held unqualified allegiance to the U.S.. among Empires probes the complexities of prewar jap the US to teach how jap in the US held an in-between area among the U.S. and the empire of Japan, among American nationality and jap racial identification.

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Understandably, the business-minded, educated youth were most susceptible to his ideas. Disseminated in Keio classrooms, at public lectures, and through newspaper editorials, Fukuzawa’s call for entrepreneurial emigration motivated a number of his early students and others to jump into 21 MULTIPLE BEGINNINGS export-import businesses between Japan and the United States. 16 According to one observer, “[T]he many successful Japanese immigrants whom I met during my 1907 trip . . 18 As their mentor had taught them, these Issei businesspeople tended to view the significance of their ventures as much in terms of Japan’s national interest as in terms of their own personal achievement.

36 The ideology of success had another keen audience: Japan’s rural masses. Unlike students, dekasegi emigrants of rural origin were mostly indifferent to the valorization of emigration beyond personal or family concerns. 38 These accounts demonstrate no trace of concern for the state, or even for their village communities. From the standpoint of the government elite and urban intelligentsia, rural Japanese were indeed a great trouble. When a large number of laborers crossed the Pacific for work, the process of molding them into imperial subjects had barely begun at home.

S. S. annexation, opted to go to the Pacific Coast states after 1900 instead of continuing to work on sugarcane fields or returning home. 57 Unlike the contract labor scheme, the new pattern of labor emigration soon came into conflict with the diplomatic agenda of the Japanese state. The massive influx of common laborers from Japan incited anti-“Oriental” agitation 29 MULTIPLE BEGINNINGS among white Californians, who had excluded Chinese immigrants on the pretext of their economic, cultural, and racial danger.

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