Brokers of Empire: Japanese Settler Colonialism in Korea, 1876–1945 (Harvard East Asian Monographs)

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9780674062535: Brokers of Empire: Japanese Settler Colonialism in Korea, 1876–1945 (Harvard East Asian Monographs)
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  • WINNER OF 2012 JOHN K. FAIRBANK PRIZE, AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
  • WINNER OF 2012 PACIFIC COAST BRANCH BOOK AWARD, PACIFIC COAST BRANCH OF THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
Between 1876 and 1945, thousands of Japanese civilians--merchants, traders, prostitutes, journalists, teachers, and adventurers--left their homeland for a new life on the Korean peninsula. Although most migrants were guided primarily by personal profit and only secondarily by national interest, their mundane lives and the state's ambitions were inextricably entwined in the rise of imperial Japan. Despite having formed one of the largest colonial communities in the twentieth century, these settlers and their empire-building activities have all but vanished from the public memory of Japan's presence in Korea.

Drawing on previously unused materials in multi-language archives, Jun Uchida looks behind the official organs of state and military control to focus on the obscured history of these settlers, especially the first generation of "pioneers" between the 1910s and 1930s who actively mediated the colonial management of Korea as its grassroots movers and shakers. By uncovering the downplayed but dynamic role played by settler leaders who operated among multiple parties--between the settler community and the Government-General, between Japanese colonizer and Korean colonized, between colony and metropole--this study examines how these "brokers of empire" advanced their commercial and political interests while contributing to the expansionist project of imperial Japan.

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About the Author:

Jun Uchida is Associate Professor of History at Stanford University.

Review:

"Brokers of Empire is a magisterial work. This is a lavish compliment, but Uchida deserves it. Her book is grand in the sweep of its reinterpretation and in its command of information about a huge cast of actors. Viewing the Korean colonial experience through the lens of the all-but-forgotten settler community, she compels us to rethink the empire-building process."--James C. Baxter, Japan Review

"Brokers of Empire is a triumphant, landmark study.... At once lyrical and analytical in its prose, Brokers of Empire offers--through the lens of settler colonialism--a complete re-examination of Korea under colonial rule and, with it, the role of settlers in shaping the Japanese empire. Unquestionably, the impact of Uchida's work will be felt not only in the study of Japan, but also in the broader literature on comparative settler colonialism and empire, writ large."--Caroline Elkins, Harvard University

"Richly researched and nicely argued, this study brings Asia into the burgeoning literature on colonialism that stresses the co-production of empire by the colonizers and the colonized. Uchida shows how Japanese settlers and Korean elites operated in a tense dynamic with one another, with the colonial state, and with the imperial metropole in a more complex choreography of colonial power than the conventional narrative admits. An important contribution to the history of twentieth-century East Asia."--Carol Gluck, Columbia University

"The Roman deity Janus, he of two faces, is a constant presence in Brokers of Empire, serving as a metaphor for the brokering activities of the Japanese settlers .... But it might equally be applied to Uchida herself, as she artfully turns through multiple sources and historiographical approaches, and as she leads the reader through multiple Janus-like transitions ... with elegant turn of phrase and clarity of argument. Brokers of Empire is an outstanding book, one that will be read and referenced for many years to come." -- Martin Dusinberre, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

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