One of the distinctive aspects of the end of the Japanese empire in 1945 is the intersection of defeat, foreign occupation, and decolonization. After defeating the Japan's military, the Allies occupied all of its colonies as well as the home islands. In this way, the Allies inserted themselves between the colonizers and the colonized at a critical moment in the decolonization process, and oversaw many of the tasks of the end of the empire, including the handover of political power, the redrawing of borders, and the transfer of newly displaced populations. Through case studies, this lecture explores the ways in which Japanese military defeat complicated, and also simplified, the dismantling of the empire.
Lori Watt is associate professor of history and international & area studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2009). With the support of an ACLS Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship, she is working on The Allies and the Decolonization of the Japanese Empire, which explores the intersection of decolonization, foreign occupation, and population transfers throughout the Asia-Pacific region. She holds degrees from Columbia University, Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, and Reed College.