Situating the Komagata Maru Incident in a Global Context: A Collaborative Work with Professor Shigeru Akita

In: Asian Review of World Histories
Michihisa Hosokawa Department of Humanities, Kagoshima University Kagoshima Japan

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The Komagata Maru incident of 1914 occurred at a time when intra-Asian trade was flourishing, but it coincided with a period of great migration. Many Indians (South Asians), and also Chinese and Japanese, moved around the Indo-Pacific, a migration that stirred anti-Asian feeling among white peoples. It also occurred in a transitional period for the British Empire. But Britain still held a dominant position in the Indo-Pacific, not only because it benefited from intra-Asian trade, but also because it could make use of Indians as a military force and rely on a measure of assistance from Japan, its ally. Taking the above facts as background, this article examines the incident by approaching a wide range of topics, including political, legal, and immigration histories, and by incorporating local, national, and regional histories into a globally connected history, to demonstrate the incident’s use as a showcase that illuminates multilateral and multitiered linkages in the Indo-Pacific, the British Empire, and beyond.

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