16th GJS Seminar Series (133th Tobunken/ASNET Seminar) Mobilizing Taiwanese Subjects in Japan's Southern Military Advance, 1937–1945

Date and time: December 17, 2015 (Thur.), 5:00-6:00PM
Venue: Lobby(1F), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo
Speaker: Seiji Shirane (Assistant Professor of History, City College of New York)
Language: English

Abstract: This presentation examines how Japanese authorities mobilized thousands of Taiwanese subjects—ethnic Han and aborigines—overseas to aid Japan's military occupation of South China and Southeast Asia from 1937 to 1945. Taiwanese served as military translators, laborers, nurses, "comfort women," and POW prison guards. The Japanese media celebrated the Taiwanese as ideal imperial intermediaries for their regional and linguistic skills suited to the Southern Region. Yet the wartime experience of Taiwanese overseas did not neatly align with Japanese propaganda discourse. This presentation explores how the wartime mobilization of Taiwanese engendered multiple, often conflicting layers of imperial relations between Taiwanese, Japanese, Chinese, and even Western Allied soldiers.

Organizer: The Global Japan Studies Network (GJS)
Co-organizer: Network for Education and Research on Asia (ASNET)
Contact: gjs[at]