The Colonial Eyeglasses of Nakajima Atsushi

Robert Thomas Tierney

in Tropics of Savagery

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780520265783
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947665 | DOI:
The Colonial Eyeglasses of Nakajima Atsushi

Show Summary Details


This chapter looks at the South Seas literature of Nakajima Atsushi (1909–42), an important writer who published most of his work during the period of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Nakajima, who grew up in Japanese-ruled Korea in the 1920s, went to Palau in 1941 to work as editor of Japanese language textbooks in Japanese-ruled Micronesia. Returning to Japan after about nine months, he wrote two collections of stories that offer the reader a compendium of colonial discourses and stereotypes on nan'yō during this late period of the Japanese empire. The chapter examines the colonial filter through which the narrator of these works regarded the islands of Micronesia and the people that inhabited them. This late colonial writer offers a sensitive reflection on Japanese “imperial mimicry” and a self-conscious assessment of the Japanese imperial gaze.

Keywords: Nakajima Atsushi; South Seas literature; Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere; colonial discourse; Japanese empire; Micronesia; imperial mimicry

Chapter.  18197 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.