This seminar is about a book published in 2021. While transatlantic history has been much investigated, its counterpart, transpacific history, has only recently attracted scholarly interest. The main focus of transpacific history has been northern Hemisphere-centric connections, basically US-Asian connections: i.e., those between a hegemonic western country and Asian countries ー either as colonies, trust territories or independent countries (e.g., Hoskins & Nguyen 2014). However, there is more to be explained in the transpacific space beyond such a Northern Hemisphere-centric perspective.
This book argues that transpacific history cannot be comprehended without including “vertical” connections; namely, those between the southern hemisphere and the northern hemisphere. It explores such connections by uncovering small histories of ordinary people’s attempts at événements which they undertake by means of uneven, unlevel, and multidirectional mobilities. In this way, this book goes beyond the usual notion of transpacific history as a matter of Northern Hemisphere-centric connections and enables us to imagine the transpacific space as a more dynamic and multi-faceted world of human mobilities and connections. By exploring cases whose actors include soldiers, missionaries, colonial administrators, journalists, essayists, and artists, the book highlights the significance of "vertical" perspectives in understanding complex histories of the region.
Professor Yasuko Hassall Kobayashi is Assistant Executive Director in the Division of Global Planning and Partnerships at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. She specialises in inter-Asian and Pacific migration / mobilities, and my research covers both historical and contemporary migration issues.
Dr Shin Takahashi is a lecturer in Japanese studies at Victoria University of Wellington and also teaches Asian studies at the School of Languages and Cultures. His main fields of expertise are modern and contemporary Japanese history (political, social, intellectual, transnational), and the history and cultural memory of WWII in East Asia.
The ANU Japan Institute Seminar Series is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.