Japan on the Silk Road

Encounters and Perspectives of Politics and Culture in Eurasia


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Japan on the Silk Road provides for the first time the historical background indispensable for understanding Japan's current perspectives and policies in the vast area of Eurasia across the Middle East and Central Asia. Japanese diplomats, military officers, archaeologists, and linguists traversed the Silk Road, involving Japan in the Great Game and exploring ancient civilizations.The book exposes the entanglements of pre-war Japanese Pan-Asianism with Pan-Islamism, Turkic nationalism and Mongolian independence as a global history of imperialism. Japanese connections to Ottoman Turkey, India, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, and China at the same time reveal a discrete global narrative of cosmopolitanism
and transnationality. The global team of scholars brings to light Japan’s intellectual and political encounters with the peoples and cultures of Asia, in particular Turks and Persians, Hindus and Muslims of India, Mongolians and the Uyghur of Inner Asia, and Muslims in China.
Contributors include: Ian Nish, Christopher Szpilman, Sven Saaler, Selcuk Esenbel, Li Narangoa, Komatsu Hisao, Brij Tankha, Erdal Küçükyalcın, A. Merthan Dündar, Katayama Akio, Miyuki Aoki Girardelli, Klaus Röhborn, Mehmet Ölmez, Banu Kaygusuz, Oğuz Baykara, and Satō Masako.

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Selçuk Esenbel is (emerita) Professor of Japanese and Asian History at the History Department of Bogazici University as well as the founding Director and current Academic Coordinator of the Asian Studies Center. She is also a Professor of History at 29 May University in Istanbul. She has received the Special Award of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the Imperial Order of the Rising Sun, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Georg Forster award for research. Esenbel is an honorary member of the Turkish Academy of Science (tüba), Trustee
of the Toynbee Prize Foundation, and Fulbright Senior Scholar. Esenbel has published in the American Historical Review, Bulletin of SOAS,
Japan Review. Her most recent publication in English is Japan, Turkey, and the World of Islam, (Brill Global Oriental, 2011).

'Japan on the Silk Road can be viewed as trail-blazing in the English-language literature as it brings together historiographic accounts from Western, Eurasian and Japanese authors as well as different intellectual disciplines, ranging from political history to translation studies. (...) All chapters introduce under-researched archival materials, many located in Japan, including primary and secondary sources in Japanese, German, Turkish and other languages, with a particular focus on the literary aspect of cultural exchange: literature (including travel writing), linguistics and philology. At the same time, the work succeeds in being integrative without becoming excessively eclectic and constitutes a culturally and linguistically nuanced inquiry. Moreover, given the sheer scope of the rare sources examined, the book’s unquestioned merit is in unearthing these abundant overlooked treasures and using them as the basis for a detailed synthesis.'
Nikolay Murashkin, Europe-Asia Studies, 71:2, 334-336
Acknowledgements vii
List of Illustrations viii
Contributors (By Order of Chapter) x

Introduction - Selçuk Esenbel
1 Japan and the Great Game - Ian Nish
2 Western and Central Asia in the Eyes of the Japanese Radical Right - Christopher W.A. Szpilman
3 Fukushima Yasumasa’s Travels in Central Asia and Siberia: Silk Road Romanticism, Military Reconnaissance, or Modern Exploration? - Sven Saaler
4 Fukushima Yasumasa and Utsunomiya Tarō on the Edge of the Silk Road: Pan-Asian Visions and the Network of Military Intelligence from the
Ottoman and Qajar Realms into Central Asia - Selçuk Esenbel
5 Mongolia as a Base for Central Asia and the Silk Road - Li Narangoa
6 Abdurreshid Ibrahim and Japanese Approaches to Central Asia - Komatsu Hisao
7 Exploring Asia, Reforming Japan: Ōtani Kōzui and Itō Chūta - Brij Tankha
8 Ōtani Kozui and His Vision of Asia: From Villa Nirakusō to “The Rise of Asia” Project - Erdal Küçükyalçın
9 The Effects of the Russo-Japanese War on Turkic Nations: Japan and Japanese in Folk Songs, Elegies, and Poems - A. Merthan Dündar
10 Some Notes on the Japanese Records and Information on the “Turks” - Katayama Akio
11 Tracing Origins Along the Silk Road: Japanese Architect Itō Chūta’s Travel in the Ottoman Lands -Miyuki Aoki Girardelli
12 The Beginning of Turkish Philology and Linguistics in Japan - Klaus Röhrborn
13 Appendix to the “The Beginning of Turkish Philology and Linguistics in Japan” - Mehmet Ölmez
14 F. Beato beyond Empires: Flaneur, Photo Reporter, Merchant - Banu Kaygusuz
15 Translation Practices on the Silk Road and Akutagawa Ryūnosuke’s “Toshishun” - Oğuz Baykara
16 Transforming an Ancient Myth into a Popular Medieval Tale - Masako Satō

Index 365
All interested in Modern Japanese history, Imperialism, Modern Asian History, Central Asia and the Silk Road, the Great Game, Intelligence, Explorations, Cultural Transmissions, Transnationality, Global history.
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