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Japan's Imperial Underworlds: Intimate Encounters at the Borders of Empire

Ambaras, David R. (North Carolina State University)

978 1 108 47011 7
List price(s):
99.99 USD
75.00 GBP
87.53 EUR

Publication date:
9 August 2018

Short description: 

Explores Sino-Japanese relations through encounters that took place between each country's people living at the margins of empire.

Full description: 

This major new study uses vivid accounts of encounters between Chinese and Japanese people living at the margins of empire to elucidate Sino-Japanese relations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Each chapter explores mobility in East Asia through the histories of often ignored categories of people, including trafficked children, peddlers, 'abducted' women and a female pirate. These stories reveal the shared experiences of the border populations of Japan and China and show how they fundamentally shaped the territorial boundaries that defined Japan's imperial world and continue to inform present-day views of China. From Meiji-era treaty ports to the Taiwan Strait, South China, and French Indochina, the movements of people in marginal locations not only destabilized the state's policing of geographical borders and social boundaries, but also stimulated fantasies of furthering imperial power.

Table of contents: 

Introduction: border agents; 1. Treaty ports and traffickers: children's bodies, regional markets, and the making of national space; 2. In the Antlion's pit: abduction narratives and marriage migration between Japan and Fuqing; 3. Embodying the borderland in the Taiwan Strait: Nakamura Sueko as runaway woman and pirate Queen; 4. Borders in blood, water, and ink: Ando Sakan's intimate mappings of the South China Sea; 5. Epilogue: ruptures, returns, and re-openings.


David R. Ambaras is Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University. His publications include Bad Youth: Juvenile Delinquency and the Politics of Everyday Life in Modern Japan (2006). He has received fellowships from the National Humanities Center and the National Endowment for the Humanities.




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