In 1870, a prominent samurai from Tōhoku sells his castle to become an agrarian colonist in Hokkaidō. Decades later, a man also from northeast Japan stows away on a boat to Canada and establishes a salmon roe business. By 1930, an investigative journalist travels to Brazil and writes a book that wins the first-ever Akutagawa Prize. In the 1940s, residents from the same area proclaim that they should lead Imperial Japan in colonizing all of Asia.
Across decades and oceans, these fractured narratives seem disparate, but show how mobility is central to the history of Japan’s Tōhoku region, a place often stereotyped as a site of rural stasis and traditional immobility, thereby collapsing boundaries between local, national, and global studies of Japan.
This book examines how multiple mobilities converge in Japan’s supposed hinterland. Drawing on research from three continents, this monograph demonstrates that Tohoku’s regional identity is inextricably intertwined with Pacific migrations.