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Book Talk: Imperial Gateway with Seiji Shirane

December 9, 2022

On Thursday, January 19, 2023 from 3:30 to 5:00p.m. PT, Professor Seiji Shirane joined the UW Taiwan Studies Program to discuss his newly published monograph, Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan’s Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895-1945.

Shirane’s book explores the political, social, and economic significance of colonial Taiwan in the southern expansion of Japan’s empire from 1895 to the end of World War II. 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. Drawing on multilingual 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.

The livestreamed footage is available on our YouTube channel here and below.

Seiji Shirane is an Assistant Professor of Japanese History at The 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.


This event was made possible by the generous support of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.