Between Two Empires: Race, History, and Transnationalism in Japanese America / Edition 1

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The incarceration of Japanese Americans has been discredited as a major blemish in American democratic tradition. Accompanying this view is the assumption that the ethnic group help unqualified allegiance to the United States. Between Two Empires probes the complexities of prewar Japanese America to show how Japanese in America held an in-between space between the United States and the empire of Japan, between American nationality and Japanese racial identity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Firmly grounded in empirical evidence and theoretically sophisticated, Between Two Empires tells the complex story of Japanese immigration into the United States within the twin contexts of Japanese and U.S. empire-building and the development of transnational identities among the immigrants themselves. Azuma's prose is fluid; his analysis is supple, nuanced, and elegant. This is an exemplary work of enduring significance."—Sucheng Chan, University of California, Santa Barbara

"...a wonderfully nuanced account of Japanese-Americans' efforts to find a place for themselves between their ancestral country and their country of residence, often in the face of hostility from both....anyone interested in the genuine complexity of Japanese-American history should take the plunge."—Asahi

"While aspiring to a cosmopolitan vision, building bridges across the Pacific, the Japanese in America could not escape the clutching hands of the state—indeed two states. In response to the difficult situation, Japanese immigrants developed alternative narratives of their experiences, but a particularly persistent narrative incorporated the American vocabulary of the frontier, reform, family values, and race purity. With this thorough and sophisticated study, so filled with fascinating data and insights, it is not surprising that transnational history is emerging as an imaginative approach to the history of the modern world."—Akira Iriye, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195159417
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/17/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,162,681
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Eiichiro Azuma is an Assistant Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : immigrant transnationalism between two empires 3
1 Mercantilists, colonialists, and laborers : heterogeneous origins of Japanese America 17
2 Re-forming the immigrant masses : the transnational construction of a moral citizenry 35
3 Zaibei Doho : racial exclusion and the making of an American minority 61
4 "Pioneers of Japanese development" : history making and racial identity 89
5 The problem of generation : preparing the Nisei for the future 111
6 Wages of immigrant internationalism : Nisei in the ancestral land 135
7 Helping Japan, helping ourselves : the meaning of Issei patriotism 163
8 Ethnic nationalism and racial struggle : interethnic relations in the California Delta 187
Epilogue : wartime racisms, state nationalisms, and the collapse of immigrant transnationalism 208
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