What "Japan's Black Studies" Teaches Us about Race and Solidarity

The concept of “Japan’s Black Studies” is not at all an oddity. Much like various Black intellectual and disciplinary formations forged in the struggle for liberation across the African diaspora, Black studies in Japan possesses a dynamism of its own. My presentation will introduce this curious history, including seemingly idiosyncratic ways in which Japanese scholars of Black studies and ordinary people connected to the Black intellectual tradition contributed to critical knowledge and engaged in the practice of transpacific antiracism throughout the Civil Rights and Black Power eras. This history of Afro-Asian solidarity is instructive, insofar as it illuminates how we might fashion an ethics of racial justice in contemporary times.

Speaker Bio:
Yuichiro Onishi teaches in the Department of African American & African Studies and Program in Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Currently he serves as the chair of African American & African Studies. He is the author of Transpacific Antiracism (NYU Press 2013) co-editor of Transpacific Correspondence (Palgrave 2019).