Paul Kratoska teaches Southeast Asian history at the National University of Singapore.
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.
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.