Paul Kratoska teaches Southeast Asian history at the National University of Singapore.
Listed in: History · Asian Studies · Southeast Asian Studies · International History · Asian History
Southeast Asia summons images of tropical forests and mountains, islands and seas, and a multitude of languages, cultures, and religions. Yet the area has never formed a unified political vision nor has it developed cultural unity. Academics have defined Southeast Asia over the years as what is left over after subtracting Australia, the South Pacific islands, China and India.
“Questions about the identity of Southeast Asia are implicitly questions about whether Southeast Asia is or can be a nation writ large. For people who live in the region, the answer is ‘no.’ The concept of Southeast Asia evolved from the need of Europe, America and Japan to deal collectively with a set of territories and peoples that felt no particular identification with one another.”
Locating Southeast Asia
Beginning with the closing decade of European colonial rule in Southeast Asia and covering the wartime Japanese empire and its postwar disintegration, Tensions of Empire focuses on the Japanese in Southeast Asia, Indonesians in Japan, and the legacy of the war in Southeast Asia. It also examines Japanese perceptions of Southeast Asia and the lingering ambivalence toward Japanese involvement in Asia and toward the war in particular.
“This is an excellent collection of articles written by Japan’s foremost historian of Japan’s evolving relations with Southeast Asia during the 20th century. Goto refutes the widely held view that Japan invaded Southeast Asia in 1941 to liberate Asian people from Western Colonialism.”
The Japan Times