Japan-in-America 1890-1915:Representation and Commercial Culture

"Japan-in-America 1890-1915" was a research project culminating in an exhibition in 2008 of samples of the vast number of images, stories, performances, and accounts of Japan that circulated in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. At no time has the interest in and significance of Japan for Americans been greater than between 1890-1913, a rich and complex historical period for both nations. Marked by the emergence of broadly available media (including motion pictures and mass-circulation magazines), the early twentieth century was also a time when the United States expanded into the Pacific and became increasingly aware of Japan's modernization and its new geopolitical role, particularly after its victories in the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War. It is, in fact, difficult to overestimate how Japan's military successes, rapid modernization, and emergence as a global power captivated and troubled the imagination of Americans. At the same time, this era also saw ongoing controversy about Japanese immigration to Hawaii and the West Coast, the appearance and immense popularity of Madame Butterfly (as novella, opera, play, and film) and the continuing fascination with an exoticised, non-Western Japan, a heroic, traditional Japan, and a racially "pure" homogenous Japan. 

Prof Gregory Waller's Bio 

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