The Osaka Incident and the Revolutionary Overthrown of the Meiji State

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Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 20133:00PM - 5:00PM208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
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Reimagining the Asia-Pacific Series


In Makihara Norio’s words, the “Osaka Incident was a revolutionary program of the left-wing of the LPR movement to overthrow by force the despotic Meiji government” (1982, 84). As one part of the Incident included a plan to assist Korean independence activists in a coup d’état against the conservatives in the Korean monarchy, scholars on the left such as Inoue Kiyoshi and right like Marius Jansen have located the origins of Japanese imperialist expansion in the Osaka Incident. As I will explain in this presentation, the political motivations of the actors in the Osaka Incident come directly from the left-wing of the LPR movement: liberation, egalitarianism, and mutual aid—in other words, the antithesis of (at least) white imperialist deportment. The leaders of the Osaka Incident, Kobayashi Kuzuo and Oi Kentarô, were consistently critical of all existing forms of state power, which included criticism of Japan’s imperialist posture towards Korea and China.
I will explain why the Incident had been overlooked in both Japanese and Anglophone scholarship, fill in the absences of previous scholarship with archival work I’ve done on the classified police interrogation reports and suggest ways a fuller understanding of the Incident it speaks to our political present.

Mark Driscoll is Associate Professor of Japanese and International Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. After studying for five years at UC, Santa Cruz he received his PhD in East Asian Literature from Cornell in 2000. He has published a monograph on the Japanese imperial propagandist Yuasa Katsuei (Duke University Press, 2005) and a second book, also from Duke, called Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque. He has also published widely in cultural studies and postcolonial studies more broadly, including essays in Social Text, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Critique, Cultural Studies, and Public Culture.


Lori Lytle


Mark Driscoll
Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Main Sponsor

Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies


Asian Institute

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