Episode 344 – Blackness in Japan, Part 2

This week, we look at Japan’s relationship with blackness and black communities in the wake of the Meiji Restoration, and at the beginnings of a movement among black people to make Japan into a champion of non-white peoples.

Note: this episode includes some language that may be considered dated or offensive (though no use of slurs).


Horne, Gerald. Facing the Rising Sun: African Americans, Japan, and the Rise of Afro-Asian Solidarity.

Martin, Michael T and Lamont H Yeakey. “Pan-American Asian Solidarity: A Central Theme in DuBois’ Conception of Racial Stratification and Struggle.” Phylon 43, No 3 (3rd Quarter, 1982).

Araki, Keiko. Anywhere but Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond.

An excellent piece from JSTOR Daily on Black Radicalism’s relationship to the Japanese Empire.


A woodcut of American sailors aboard the black ships. Note the way the black sailor is depicted relative to whites. From MIT’s Visualizing Cultures project.
A Japanese woodcut of one of the American minstrel shows. From MIT’s Visualizing Cultures project.
The program for a minstrel show aboard the USS Powhattan, from May 1854. From MIT’s Visualizing Cultures project.
Another woodcut of a minstrel performance. From MIT’s Visualizing Cultures project.
Marcus Garvey.
W.E.B. DuBois.


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