East Asia by the Book! CEAS Author Talks: Seiji Shirane - "Imperial Gateway"

Thursday, October 26, 2023 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Seiji Shirane

Seiji Shirane will discuss Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan's Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895-1945.

Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies

This event will be held at The Franke Institute for the Humanities


About the Book: Imperial Gateway explores the political, social, and economic significance of colonial Taiwan in the southern expansion of Japan's empire from 1895 to 1945. Challenging understandings of empire that focus on bilateral relations between metropole and colonial periphery, the book uncovers a half century of dynamic relations between Japan, Taiwan, China, and Western regional powers. Japanese officials in Taiwan did not simply take orders from Tokyo; rather, they often pursued their own expansionist ambitions in South China and Southeast Asia. When outright conquest was not possible, they promoted alternative strategies, including naturalizing resident Chinese as overseas Taiwanese subjects, extending colonial police networks, and deploying tens of thousands of Taiwanese to war. The Taiwanese—merchants, gangsters, policemen, interpreters, nurses, and soldiers—seized new opportunities for socioeconomic advancement that did not always align with Japan's imperial interests. Imperial Gateway shows how Japanese officials and Taiwanese subjects transformed Taiwan into a regional gateway for expansion in an ever-shifting international order.

About the Author:  Seiji Shirane is an Associate Professor of History at City College of New York (CUNY), where his teaching and research interests include Japan's empire, Taiwan, and Sino-Japanese relations. He received degrees from Yale University (BA) and Princeton University (PhD), and his work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Event Location: 
Franke Institute for the Humanities
1100 E 57th St
Chicago, IL 60637