Oceanic Japan: The Archipelago in Pacific and Global History

Hardback: $75.00
ISBN-13: 9780824897680
Published: November 2024
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Additional Information

424 pages | 8 color, 30 b&w illustrations
  • About the Book
  • Japan’s oceans demand our attention. Violent, prolific, and changeful, they define life and death on the archipelago: pushing the shore under the rush of tsunami, charging typhoon circulation, feeding millions, and seeding conflicts over territory and resources. And yet, Japan studies remains largely beholden to a terrestrial view of the world that is at odds with the importance of the sea. This “terrestrial bias” also means that on those occasions when oceans are recognized they are most often presented as dividers or connectors—spaces in between rather than rich ecologies and meaningful sites. Oceanic Japan is meant to help readers re-envision Japanese history in order to show how the seas created the country that we know today.

    The book convenes a diverse, multinational, multidisciplinary group of scholars to expand the scope of Japan studies and the field of environmental humanities. The chapters draw from the broader turn to the sea—characterized by new oceanic and terraqueous perspectives—developing within these fields and in areas such as Pacific history and Indian Ocean studies. The volume editors’ vision is bifocal. On one hand, they aim to reorient East Asian studies and Japan studies to the sea, underlining how oceans have shaped dynamics from the Tokugawa Era forward into the age of empire and the crisis of the Anthropocene. On the other hand, they argue for a more nuanced environmental approach within the burgeoning field of Oceanic studies. Seeing oceanic spaces as more than entrepots or political spheres requires thinking in new, often vertical, volumetric ways. The chapters follow human and non-human actors to recognize the variegation of watery ecologies through winds, tides, coasts, seabeds, and currents such as the Kuroshio and Oyashio, which have always shaped life on the archipelago.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Stefan Huebner, Editor

      Stefan Huebner is senior research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.
    • Nadin Heé, Editor

      Nadin Heé is a professor in the Graduate School of Humanities, Osaka University.
    • Ian Jared Miller, Editor

      Ian Jared Miller is professor of history at Harvard University.
    • William Tsutsui, Editor

      William M. Tsutsui is chancellor and professor of history at Ottawa University.


    • David R. Armitage
    • Gregory Clancey
    • Bathsheba Demuth
    • Alexis Dudden
    • Martin Dusinberre
    • Kjell Ericson
    • Gerald Figal
    • Nadin Heé
    • Toshihiro Higuchi
    • David L. Howell
    • Stefan Huebner
    • Julia Markio Jacoby
    • Jakobina Arch
    • Ryan Tucker Jones
    • Paul Kreitman
    • Manako Ogawa
    • Katherine Matsuura
    • Jonas M. Rüegg
    • Hannah Shepherd
    • Satsuki Takahashi
    • Takehiro Watanabe
    • Kären Wigen
    • Marcia Yonemoto
    • Brett L. Walker
    • Mary Carmel Finley
    • Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu
    • Sujit Sivasundaram