Vol. 26

Mao’s China and the Specter of Asian Victimhood: Hirano Yoshitarō and The Institute of Chinese Affairs in Early Postwar Japan

Seok-Won Lee
Rhodes College
Published December 12, 2019


This article critically revisits the writings of Hirano Yoshitarō, one of most influential wartime and postwar Japanese Marxist social scientists, and his ICA (Institute of Chinese Affairs) group intellectuals. By tracing their interpretation and endorsement of Mao’s notion of anti-imperial Asian communist revolution and modernization in the late 1940s and 1950s, this study examines the question of how these Japanese Marxist intellectuals appropriated communist China to rationalize their “radical†interpretation of postwar Japan as the victim of American imperialism. It thus reveals the continuity and discontinuity between these Marxist intellectuals’ anti-Western imperial discourses during the war and their postwar visions of a new Asian order.