Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Vlastos, Stephen

First Committee Member

Sessions, Jennifer E.

Second Committee Member

Chen, Shuang

Third Committee Member

Greenough, Paul R.

Fourth Committee Member

Ryang, Sonia


Kenkoku University (Nation-Building University, abbreviated as Kendai) was the university founded in 1938 by the Kwantung Army, the Japanese army of occupation of the northeastern provinces of China commonly designated Manchuria. Sheared off from China by the Kwantung Army in March 1932 and declared an independent country, Manchukuo existed as a client state of Japan on the margins of the international order, recognized by a handful of nations. Kendai was the only institution of higher learning administered directly by the Manchukuo's governing authority, the State Council, which was dominated by Japanese officers. Kendai recruited male students of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, Mongolian, and Russian backgrounds, and aimed to nurture a generation of leaders who would actualize the Pan-Asianist goal of "harmony among various peoples residing in Manchukuo," one of the founding principles of Manchukuo. Wartime relations between Japanese and non-Japanese are often framed in terms of binary narratives of resistance to or collaboration with Japanese imperialism. Assuming that national consciousness had firmly taken root in people's minds, most historians simply dismiss Japan's wartime discourse of Pan-Asianism as just another empty rationale for the domination of subject peoples by an imperial power, akin to the Anglo-American ‘white man's burden.’ Recent scholarship, however, has complicated the picture by identifying multiple and competing articulations of Pan-Asianism, while re-examining its effects on policy making and its reception by subject populations. My dissertation extends this effort by investigating actual practices of Pan-Asianism as experienced by Japanese and Asian students enrolled at a unique institution whose ideal was Asian unity on the basis of equality. Taking Kendai as a case study and uncovering the interactions that shaped relations below the level of the state, I attempt to demonstrate that the idealistic and egalitarian version of Pan-Asianism exercised considerable appeal even late into World War II.


colonial education, Colonialism, Japanese Empire, Manchukuo, Pan-Asianism, Transnational


xiii, 304 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 284-304).


Copyright © 2013 Yuka Hiruma Kishida

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