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History, U.S. Latino/Latina Studies

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Book Chapter

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Published Version

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Crossing Boundaries: Ethnicity, Race, and National Belonging in a Transitional World

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During World War II, Imperial Japan conquered vast swaths of territory in the Pacific and East Asia. While it constituted a military and political type of colonialism, Japanese leaders advertised their project of expansion as a form of anti-colonialism and Pan-Asian nationalism. The Japanese Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, the grandiloquent label given to this venture, hardly sounded imperialistic. The Japanese infused their colonial ambitions with variations of civic and ethnic nationalism, which became transnationalized when they spread beyond the territorial borders of the Japanese islands. Moreover, they promised to spread a type of national belonging that would draw all Asians into a shared civic culture. Their Co-Prosperity Sphere purported ideological, political, intellectual, social, economic, ethno-racial, and even metaphysical qualities that crossed boundaries to link broad and heterogeneous peoples. In truth, however, the Japanese established imperial puppet states that ended when World War II did.


This is a chapter from Simon Wendt and Brian D. Behnken. 2013. "Introduction: Hybrid National Belonging and Identity in a Transnational World". In: Crossing Boundaries: Ethnicity, Race, and National Belonging in a Transitional World. Brian D. Behnken and Simon Wendt, Editors. Lexington Books. Reproduced by permission of Rowman & Littlefield,


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Lexington Books



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