Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, History, National University of Singapore

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2010
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Columbia University
Nation of Youth: The Mobilization of Rural Youth in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea 1915-1950

My dissertation investigates the mobilization of rural male youth by the Japanese imperial government through the “Seinendan” (youth associations) in the Japanese periphery (Tohoku) and its three longest-standing colonies, Okinawa, Taiwan, and Korea, roughly between 1915 and 1950. The Seinendan, as state-sponsored institutions spread both in the home islands and its colonies, were designed to inculcate a national consciousness and to provide pre-military training for the masses. The goals of my research on the processes and aftermaths of this institutional mobilization in Tohoku, Okinawa, Taiwan, and Korea are the following. First, I aim to explore the nature of the Japanese empire as a national empire, or a “nation-empire,” which is characterized by a strong drive to homogenize the populations within the empire. Second, I will examine the notion of “rural modernity” that functioned as the backbone of the Pan-Asian ideal. Third, my research will shed light on the legacies of Japanese militarism that remained in post-liberation authoritarian regimes in Taiwan and North and South Korea in the form of militaristic youth mobilization. By using both the macro perspective that situates East Asia within global trends of imperial youth mobilization and the micro-focus on youth's everyday experiences seen through close case studies, my research will explain the mechanisms of – and responses to – the imperial government's efforts to mobilize and militarize colonial societies at the grassroots level as well as describe their impact on postwar societies in East Asia.