Graduate Student Forum

Colonial Conservation in the Japanese Empire

Tuesday, 20 July 2021 | 9:00 - 9:45 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • John Hayashi History Department, Harvard University
  • Rieko Kage Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Event Description

His presentation looks at the history of the Japanese Empire in order to ask questions that lie at the heart of environmental management, colonialism, and the place of indigenous peoples in modern states. Resource extraction has often been understood as central to imperialism, but in the early 20th century Japanese officials were often equally interested in protecting resources such as timber and water to ensure sustained use. In a colonial context, this amounted to conservation through exclusion–defining indigenous environmental practice as ecologically harmful and seeking to eliminate it. Drawing from his research on Taiwan, he traces the development and consequences of what he calls colonial conservation, the idea of saving land from the people who live on it. Finally, he suggests ways in which this history can speak to contemporary issues, both in Japan and across the globe.

About the Speaker

John Hayashi is a PhD candidate in the History Department at Harvard University specializing in environmental history in modern Japan and Taiwan. Additional interests include migration, diaspora, and the history of science. He holds a B.A. from Yale College and has been a research associate at Kyoto University’s Institute for Research in Humanities.