Current Institutional Affiliation
Director/Associate Professor, History/International and Area Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Columbia University
When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation in Japan After World War Two

This dissertation traces the return of six million Japanese soldiers and civilians from former Asian colonies, from the end of World War Two in 1945 through the closing of the last repatriation camp in 1958. Based on archival sources, popular cultural representations of repatriation and oral histories, I document the creation of a distinct, repatriate (hikiagesha) identity and then show how the simultaneous dismantling of the Japanese Empire and the reconstruction of a new Japan played out in the lives of the repatriates. Repatriation in Japan is part of the international history of the massive human movement of millions of people throughout Europe, the Middle East, India and Pakistan, and Korea in the aftermath of World war Two. Within Japan, the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s repatriation ships, camps and trains in Japan served as places where the memories of war and empire and the rhetoric of the new Japan collided. Like other post-imperial societies such as France and England, Japan still grapples with the dislocations and belated relocations of empire and war. Repatriation is the story of empire coming home.