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Samurai and Southern Belles: Transnational Samurai Celebrities, Interracial Romance, and Tokugawa Japan in Antebellum America


Natalia Doan (International Research Fellow, Waseda University)

**This event has been canceled**

In 1860, seventeen-year-old samurai Tateishi Onojirō made headlines across America for his real and imagined adventures as part of the 1860 Japanese Embassy, the first Japanese diplomatic mission to the United States.

The perception of Tateishi’s interracial romantic encounters with American women sparked a cultural frenzy within the US that challenged linked conceptions of race, masculinity, and power.

This talk explores the transnational influence of Tokugawa Japan on identity formation, cultural productions, and intellectual discourse to share a new cultural history of Japan’s influence overseas.

About the speaker:

Dr. Natalia Doan is a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science International Research Fellow at Waseda University in Tokyo. Previously, she taught the history of gender and sexuality in Japanese popular culture at the University of Oxford, where she received her doctorate in Asian Studies. Her forthcoming book from Oxford University Press examines the transnational celebrity and influence of samurai overseas in the mid-nineteenth century.

She is the co-editor of the recently published volume Black Transnationalism and Japan (Leiden University Press), which introduces more than a century of cultural activity and intellectual movements created, shaped, and led by Japanese and Black people. She has also written for, among other publications, the Historical Journal, the Oxford Research Enyclopedia of Asian History, and the Journal of Social History, in which her article was shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society Alexander Prize.

Her research and teaching focus on the cultural and intellectual history of Japan, transnationalism, and popular culture as connected to global themes of gender, sexuality, personhood, and race.