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Products for grant FO-268646-20

Gateway Imperialism: Colonial Taiwan and Japanese Expansion into South China and Southeast Asia, 1895–1945
Seiji Shirane, CUNY Research Foundation, City College

Grant details:

Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan's Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895-1945 (Book)
Title: Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan's Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895-1945
Author: Seiji Shirane
Abstract: In Imperial Gateway, Seiji Shirane explores the political, social, and economic significance of colonial Taiwan in the southern expansion of Japan's empire from 1895 to the end of the Second World War. Challenging understandings of empire that focus on bilateral relations between metropole and colonial periphery, Shirane 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, for their part—merchants, gangsters, policemen, interpreters, nurses, and soldiers—seized new opportunities for socioeconomic advancement that did not always align with Japan's imperial interests. Drawing on multi-lingual archives in six countries, Imperial Gateway shows how Japanese officials and Taiwanese subjects transformed Taiwan into a regional gateway for expansion in an ever-shifting international order.
Year: 2022
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Cornell University Press website book page.
Access Model: Open Access
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781501767708
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

New Books Network Interview (Podcast) (Radio/Audio Broadcast or Recording)
Title: New Books Network Interview (Podcast)
Abstract: Seiji Shirane’s Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan's Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895-1945 (Cornell UP, 2022) demonstrates that colonial Taiwan was an imperial center in its own right, a political, social, and economic hub for the southern expansion of Japan’s empire led by officials with agendas that did not always match those of the government in Tokyo. In addition to this contribution to the study of Japanese empire, Imperial Gateway highlights two aspects of the history that are often underappreciated in the Anglophone literature. First, Shirane expands the aperture of his narrative beyond bilateral Sino-Japanese relations to encompass a dynamic multilateral milieu that includes colonial Taiwan, the region’s Western powers, and the Taiwanese subjects of the empire called “overseas Taiwanese” (sekimin) by Japan. Second, Shirane pays particular attention to the agency not just of the Government-General installed by Japan to rule over Taiwan, but also the “overseas Taiwanese” both wooed by the Japanese to advance imperial ambitions and also pursuing their own autonomous interests. Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese language and history in the University of Bergen's Department of Foreign Languages.
Date: 02/24/23
Primary URL: http://
Access Model: Open Access
Format: Web

Taiwan Gazette Interview (Blog Post)
Title: Taiwan Gazette Interview
Author: Sabrina Teng-io Chung
Abstract: We are pleased to discuss with Professor Seiji Shirane the intermediary role of colonial Taiwan and overseas Taiwanese subjects in the Japanese Empire’s southern advance in South China and Southeast Asia. Professor Shirane is a historian of modern Japan at The City College of New York (CUNY). His first book is Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan’s Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895–1945 (Cornell University Press, 2022). His research has received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The interview was conducted online in English on February 2, 2023 and has been edited for clarity. The interview is published in two parts. Part 1 details Professor Shirane’s academic trajectory and the historiographical interventions that his scholarship builds on and further extends. Part 2 covers Professor Shirane’s thoughts on his book’s potential reception in Taiwan, his pedagogical and historiographical interventions in the field of modern Japanese history, the goals of the newly founded Modern Japan History Association (MJHA), and his advice to graduate students studying Taiwan history in North America. Interviewed and edited by Sabrina Teng-io Chung
Date: 02/25/23
Primary URL: http://

Imperial Gateway: A Conversation with Seiji Shirane (Article)
Title: Imperial Gateway: A Conversation with Seiji Shirane
Author: Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Seiji Shirane
Abstract: How does one write the history of an empire? One approach is to focus on plans made in a metropole and carried out by armies and colonial officials in nearby or distant locales. Another highlights struggles in those targeted locales carried out by people threatened by imperial actions. And yet another combines a top-down concern with powerful figures in the metropole and military manoeuvres with a bottom-up interest in rebellions and everyday forms of resistance. All these strategies have been used to good effect in works on the Japanese Empire on which Seiji Shirane builds in Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan’s Expansion in South China and Southeast China, 1895–1945 (Cornell University Press, 2022). What is most exciting, however, about his exhaustively researched, cogently written, and carefully argued new book is that Shirane treats Taiwan as both a place transformed by plans hatched in and people deployed from Tokyo and a launching pad for other imperial projects. He also offers a sophisticated analysis of the varied roles that different sets of people with ties to Taiwan played in the rise and fall of the Japanese Empire. The result is a work that makes major contributions to not only different fields in East Asian studies but also the literature on modern Southeast Asia.
Year: 2022
Primary URL: http://
Access Model: Open Access
Format: Journal
Publisher: Made-in-China