Academic journal article Military Review

The African American Encounter with Japan and China: Black Internationalism in Asia, 1895-1945

Academic journal article Military Review

The African American Encounter with Japan and China: Black Internationalism in Asia, 1895-1945

Article excerpt

THE AFRICAN AMERICAN ENCOUNTER WITH JAPAN AND CHINA: Black Internationalism in Asia, 1895-1945, Marc S. Gallicchio, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2000, 262 pages, $45.00.

The African American Encounter with Japan and China details the ups and downs of black internationalists' efforts to find a leader of a dark-race internationalism to counter white-- race imperialism. The book highlights this little-known race-based philosophy with the other serious black alternative to American nationalism; that is, class-based socialism and communism.

For too long, until the excesses of World War II shocked it into disrepute, race seemed a legitimate defining category; both blacks and whites assumed that race mattered. Black internationalists believed that the oppressed throughout the world shared a common interest, that the dark races could ameliorate domestic conditions by easing white colonialism. When Japan defeated a white power in the Russo-Japanese War, African Americans tried to adopt Japan as the leader of the dark and oppressed, who would lead them into a new world of equality and respect by the white oppressors.

Japan was not an easy model. Aggressively imperialist against other dark-skinned people, Japan allied itself with European supremacists, who then became the enemy. World War II and the Double-V campaign emphasized nationalism against Japan. …

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