1st Edition

The Dismantling of Japan's Empire in East Asia Deimperialization, Postwar Legitimation and Imperial Afterlife

Edited By Barak Kushner, Sherzod Muminov Copyright 2017
    348 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    348 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The end of Japan’s empire appeared to happen very suddenly and cleanly – but, as this book shows, it was in fact very messy, with a long period of establishing or re-establishing the postwar order. Moreover, as the authors argue, empires have afterlives, which, in the case of Japan’s empire, is not much studied. This book considers the details of deimperialization, including the repatriation of Japanese personnel, the redrawing of boundaries, issues to do with prisoners of war and war criminals and new arrangements for democratic political institutions, for media and for the regulation of trade. It also discusses the continuing impact of empire on the countries ruled or occupied by Japan, where, as a result of Japanese management and administration, both formal and informal, patterns of behavior and attitudes were established that continued subsequently. This was true in Japan itself, where returning imperial personnel had to be absorbed and adjustments made to imperial thinking, and in present-day East Asia, where the shadow of Japan’s empire still lingers. This legacy of unresolved issues concerning the correct relationship of Japan, an important, energetic, outgoing nation and a potential regional "hub," with the rest of the region not comfortably settled in this era, remains a fulcrum of regional dispute.

    Introduction: Angles of Empire

    Part I: The New Postwar Order - Meaning and Significance

    1. The Decline of the Japanese Empire and the Transformation of the Regional Order in East Asia Katō Kiyofumi

    2. "De-imperialization" in Early Postwar Japan: Adjusting and Transforming Institutions of Empire Kawashima Shin

    3. Imperial Loss and Japan’s Search for Postwar Legitimacy Barak Kushner

    4. Collapse of the Japanese Empire and the Great Migrations: Repatriation, Assimilation, and Remaining Behind Araragi Shinzō

    Part II: War Criminals, POWS, and the Imperial Breakdown

    5. The Shifting Politics of Guilt: the Campaign for the Release of Japanese War Criminals Sandra Wilson

    6. Allied POWs in Korea: Life and Death during the Pacific War Sarah Kovner

    7. Carceral Geographies of Japan’s Vanishing Empire: War Criminals’ Prisons in Asia Franziska Seraphim

    8. Prejudice, Punishment and Propaganda: Post-Imperial Japan and the Soviet Versions of History and Justice in East Asia, 1945-1956 Sherzod Muminov

    Part III: Diplomacy, Law, and the End of Empire

    9. Sublimating the Empire: How Japanese Experts of International Law Translated "Greater East Asia" into the Postwar Period Matthias Zachmann

    10. The transformation of a Manchukuo imperial bureaucrat to postwar supporter of the Yoshida Doctrine: the case of Shiina Etsusaburō Kanda Yutaka

    11. North Korean Nation Building and Japanese Imperialism: People’s Nation, "People’s Diplomacy" and the Japanese Technicians Park Jung Jin

    12. Humanitarian Hero or Communist Stooge? The Ambivalent Japanese Reception of Li Dequan in 1954 Erik Esselstrom

    Part IV: Media and the Imperial Aftermath

    13. The "Pacifist" Magazine Sekai: A Barometer of Postwar Thought Satō Takumi

    14. Post-imperial Broadcasting Networks in China and Manchuria Shirato Kenichirō

    15. Parting the Bamboo Curtain: Japanese Cold War Film Exchange with China Michael Baskett

    Comparative Epilogue

    16. Germany as a role model? Coming to terms with Nazi War deeds, 1945-2015 Kerstin Von Lingen


    Barak Kushner teaches Japanese history at the University of Cambridge and is the author of Men to Devils, Devils to Men: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice (winner of the American Historical Association's 2016 John K. Fairbank Prize). 

    Sherzod Muminov is a Research Associate in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK.

    "When the Japanese empire ended, it did not necessarily go away. Throughout East Asia, its legacy lingers on. This volume presents fresh and exciting new work, much of it published in English for the first time. It helps us understand how the demise of empire left its mark on the beginning of the Cold War in Asia, and continues to shape political relations in the region to this day."

    Prof. Dr. Sebastian Conrad, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

    "This ambitious volume brings together the latest in Japanese and Western scholarship on the turbulent years following the end of Japan’s empire in East Asia. It examines the uneven physical retreat of the Japanese empire, which disappeared abruptly in some places within days of the surrender and yet persisted much longer in other places. More than that, it grapples with mind-sets, with the changes that were forced by the surrender and those that stubbornly resisted pressure to change. It is a rewarding expedition into geographies of the mind in post-war East Asia."

    Professor Robert Cribb, Australian National University.

    "The Dismantling of Japan’s Empire in East Asia: Deimperialization, Postwar Legitimation and Imperial Afterlife is a quintessential work examining with great profundity, the complex historical dissolution of the Japanese Empire, and affording postwar Japan a forward-looking vision for its future national narrative."

    Blake I. Campbell, Independent Researcher