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The Making of Japanese Settler Colonialism
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Book description

This innovative study demonstrates how Japanese empire-builders invented and appropriated the discourse of overpopulation to justify Japanese settler colonialism across the Pacific. Lu defines this overpopulation discourse as 'Malthusian expansionism'. This was a set of ideas that demanded additional land abroad to accommodate the supposed surplus people in domestic society on the one hand and emphasized the necessity of national population growth on the other. Lu delineates ideological ties, human connections and institutional continuities between Japanese colonial migration in Asia and Japanese migration to Hawaii and North and South America from 1868 to 1961. He further places Malthusian expansionism at the center of the logic of modern settler colonialism, challenging the conceptual division between migration and settler colonialism in global history. This title is also available as Open Access.


‘Brilliantly researched and conceptually sophisticated, this book offers a new interpretation of Malthusianism and will have a huge impact on the way we think about Japanese migration while complicating the divide between studies of the Japanese empire and Japanese immigration to the US, Hawaii, Latin America and other locations in Asia-Pacific.'

Takashi Fujitani - University of Toronto

‘The Making of Japanese Settler Colonialism offers a bold new synthesis of the histories of Japanese imperialism and diaspora. It shows vividly how Japanese ideologues from the late nineteenth century straight through until after World War II were driven by anxieties about overpopulation and by the ideology of race competition.'

Jordan Sand - Georgetown University, Washington DC

‘Sidney Lu’s wonderful new book delves into the history of Japanese migration and its relation to the quest for power on the world stage. It’s the story of a nation’s fixation with overpopulation: how Malthusianism gained traction in the 1860s and why it flamed out in the 1950s. This is an important addition to the literature on Japanese empire and settler colonialism.’

Louise Young - University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Full book PDF
  • The Making of Japanese Settler Colonialism
    pp i-i
  • Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University - Series page
    pp ii-ii
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Dedication
    pp v-vi
  • Contents
    pp vii-viii
  • Illustrations
    pp ix-x
  • Acknowledgments
    pp xi-xiii
  • Note on Names, Terms, and Translations
    pp xiv-xiv
  • Additional material
    pp xv-xvi
  • Introduction
    pp 1-36
  • Malthusian Expansion And Settler Colonialism
  • Part I - Emergence, 1868–1894
    pp 37-98
  • Chapter 1 - From Hokkaido to California: The Birth of Malthusian Expansionism in Modern Japan
    pp 39-68
  • Chapter 2 - Population and Racial Struggle: The South Seas, Hawaiʻi, and Latin America
    pp 69-98
  • Part II - Transformation, 1894–1924
    pp 99-180
  • Chapter 3 - Commoners of Empire: Labor Migration to the United States
    pp 101-125
  • Chapter 4 - Farming Rice in Texas: The Paradigm Shift
    pp 126-148
  • Chapter 5 - “Carrying the White Man’s Burden”: The Rise of Farmer Migration to Brazil
    pp 149-180
  • Part III - Culmination, 1924–1945
    pp 181-234
  • Chapter 6 - Making the Migration State: Malthusian Expansionism and Agrarianism
    pp 183-205
  • Part IV - Resurgence, 1945–1961
    pp 235-262
  • Chapter 8 - The Birth of a “Small” Japan: Postwar Migration to South America
    pp 237-262
  • Conclusion
    pp 263-274
  • Rethinking Migration And Settler Colonialism In The Modern World
  • Bibliography
    pp 275-294
  • Index
    pp 295-310
  • Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University - Series page
    pp 311-314


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