11.10.21 (Jacobowitz) South America Bound: The Origins of Settler-Colonist Fiction in Meiji Japan - Dr. Seth Jacobowitz
From Julia Karon Grimm on November 10th, 2020
Virtual lecture by Seth Jacobowitz, Senior Research Associate, The City College of New York.
This talk investigates the origins of settler-colonist fiction that began in Meiji-era Japan (1868-1912), and constituted one of the most tangible forms by which modern literature participated in the Empire of Japan’s broader expansionist aims. Contrary to the conventional wisdom which takes for granted that this genre was exclusively set in Japan’s burgeoning empire in Asia, from 1908 until the onset of World War II, settler-colonist fiction expressly promoted emigration overseas to sovereign nations in South America, notably Peru and Brazil, as an essential part of its diversified strategy to alleviate the burdens of overpopulation in the home islands.
Seth Jacobowitz is a scholar of transnational Japanese diaspora and Senior Research Associate at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute. He is the author of "Writing Technology in Meiji Japan: A Media History of Modern Japanese Literature and Visual Culture" (Harvard Asia Center, 2015) which received the ICAS Book Prize in the Humanities in 2017. His Portuguese to English translation of Fernando Morais' "Dirty Hearts", a work of literary and investigative journalism about the history of the Japanese Brazilian community during and immediately following World War II, is forthcoming next year from Palgrave MacMillan.