Lori Watt F'11
Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships 2011
Washington University in St. Louis
The Allies and the Decolonization of the Japanese Empire
In the aftermath of World War II, the Allied militaries moved millions of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and other civilians throughout Asia in addition to the 3.7 million defeated Japanese soldiers they had come to demobilize. American soldiers, Japanese colonial officials, and transnational aid workers all participated, and the sources they generated reveal the challenges of placing individuals and families into single national categories in the aftermath of empire. The transfers, in which the Allies simultaneously adjusted geographical boundaries and moved people to fit them, transformed fluid colonial identities into fixed national ones and transmitted extant colonial views to the Americans, profoundly shaping postwar East Asia. This project thus integrates the end of the Japanese empire into the world history of decolonization.