As a transnational history of science, Japan's Empire of Birds: Aristocrats, Anglo-Americans, and Transwar Ornithology focuses on the political aspects of highly mobile Japanese explorer-scientists, or cosmopolitan gentlemen of science, circulating between Japanese and British/American spaces in the transwar period from the 1920s to 1950s.
Annika A. Culver examines a network of zoologists united by their practice of ornithology and aristocratic status. She goes on to explore issues of masculinity and race-related to this amidst the backdrop of imperial Japan's interwar period of peaceful internationalism, the rise of fascism, the Japanese takeover of Manchuria, and war in China and the Pacific. Culver concludes by investigating how these scientists repurposed their aims during Japan's Allied Occupation and the Cold War. Inspired by geographer Doreen Massey, themes covered in Japan's Empire of Birds include social space and place in these specific locations and how identities transform to garner social capital and scientific credibility in transnational associations and travel for non-white scientists.
List of Illustrations
Introduction. Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Japanese Aristocrats and the Cosmopolitan Science of Empire
1. The Practice of Ornithology: Birds, Hunting, and Social Class in Prewar Japan and the Anglo-American World
2. Western Villas in Aristocratic Japanese Hands: Spaces of Imperial Mimesis and Informal Scientific Exchange
3. Cambridge, UK (1925-1929)-From "Scandalous Marquis" to Explorer-Scientist: Japanese in Western Imperial Settings
4. The Philippines (1929-1931)-A Japanese Ornithologist Encounters the American Empire
5. Manchukuo and the Japanese Empire (1932-1940)- Deploying Avian Imperialism in the Media, Military, and Scientific Expeditions
6. Wartime Tokyo and Defeat (1937-1945)-Mobilizing Imperial Japan's Ornithologists and Birds for the War Effort
7. Tokyo under the Allied Occupation (1945-1952)-Yankees with a Mission amongst Threadbare Aristocrats
8. Tokyo and the US (1940s-1970s)-Cold War Ornithological Collaborations between Japanese and American Scientists
Conclusion. Tokyo and Cambridge, UK (1950s-1970s)-Fledging Global Conservation Policies
Annika A. Culver is an Associate Professor of East Asian History at Florida State University, USA. She is the author of Glorify the Empire: Japanese Avant-Garde Propaganda in Manchukuo (2013) – winner of the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (SECAAS) 2015 Book Prize. She is also the co-editor, along with Norman Smith, of Manchukuo Perspectives: Transnational Approaches to Literary Production (2019).
"This book excels as a gateway to Japanese history for nonspecialist readers. Culver's Japan's Empire of Birds makes an exceptional contribution to existing literature by providing a different perspective to the conceptualizing of transnational scientific imperialism."
– H-Net Reviews
"Annika Culver's Japan's Empire of Birds stands out for its original and illuminating topic, which the author has researched with vigor, creativity, and thoroughness. Delving into all matters avian related, from collecting and science to hunting and carrier pigeons, the book makes a compelling case for Japan's previously unacknowledged relationship with birds as a lens on the history of imperialism and war, science and masculinity."
– Miriam Kingsberg Kadia, Professor of Modern Japan, University of Colorado Boulder, USA