Sidney Xu Lu
(Cambridge University Press, 2019)
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This innovative study demonstrates how Japanese empire-builders invented and appropriated the discourse of overpopulation to justify Japanese settler colonialism across the Pacific. Lu defines this overpopulation discourse as “Malthusian expansionism”. This was a set of ideas that demanded additional land abroad to accommodate the supposed surplus people in domestic society on the one hand and emphasized the necessity of national population growth on the other. Lu delineates ideological ties, human connections and institutional continuities between Japanese colonial migration in Asia and Japanese migration to Hawaii and North and South America from 1868 to 1961. He further places Malthusian expansionism at the center of the logic of modern settler colonialism, challenging the conceptual division between migration and settler colonialism in global history.
“Brilliantly researched and conceptually sophisticated, this book offers a new interpretation of Malthusianism and will have a huge impact on the way we think about Japanese migration while complicating the divide between studies of the Japanese empire and Japanese immigration to the US, Hawaii, Latin America and other locations in Asia-Pacific.”
– Takashi Fujitani, University of Toronto
Sidney Xu Lu is assistant professor of history at Michigan State University.