The Japanese Immigrant Who Fought in Pancho Villa’s Revolution

Kingo Nonaka was born in 1889 in the southern Japanese region of Fukuoka. Facing the rich seas of the Tsushima Strait, Nonaka’s family made their living by diving for pearls — an occupation with two thousand years of history in the archipelago. Due to the social and political upheavals occurring in Japan in the later 19th century, many like Nonaka considered casting their lot in the New World.

The majority emigrated to the United States, and more notably, Brazil, but between the years of 1904 and 1907, hundreds of Japanese emigrated to Mexico, where skilled labor in the construction, mining…

How One Ethnographer Taught an Enduring Lesson to the French Military

In 1962, the French people were slapped awake from a century-long rêverie of emerald lagoons, azure skies, and seaside patios. After a grueling eight-year fiasco involving terrorist attacks, tortures, indiscriminate killings, and tens of thousands of lives lost on both sides, Algeria was lost to France.

Unlike her other possessions in Africa, France didn’t treat Algeria as an outright colony; it was integrated as a department of France, who sent millions of settlers — known as pied-noirs — primarily to metropolitan Algiers, where they would produce many figures in the arts and literature, like Camus, Derrida, and Senac. Perhaps this…

How a 17-year-old Ended the Closest Attempt at Socialist Government in Japan

12 October, 1960. It all happened in a split second at the red-brick Hibiya Hall. Heckling crowds. Journalists shoving each other at the shoulders. As photographer Yasushi Nagao of the Mainichi newspaper changed his Speed Graphic 4x5 camera’s focus to ten feet, a teenager with a face twisted in fury charged the stage and slammed into the man speaking at the lectern. Half a moment later, the boy pulled back, and the gleam of a short sword reflected the auditorium light onto the stupefied crowd. …

A Buddhist General’s Prediction on the Clash of Civilizations

Gen. Ishiwara in Manchuria, early 1930s

Many who have taken an undergraduate political science or international relations course may recall American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington’s work The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996) in which the author postulated that future international conflicts will be defined along cultural and religious lines instead of the ideological conflicts which carried an enduring presence in most of the 20th century wars.

Huntington first used the term ‘clash of civilizations’ in a lecture delivered in 1992. This date, a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, indicates that most of Huntington’s academic life was spent…

How an island Empire across the Pacific inspired and supported such champions of Black liberty as W.E.B. DuBois, Elijah Muhammad, and Pearl Sherrod.

W.E.B. DuBois (center, front) with Japanese professors in Tokyo, 1936

Summer 1942 in the Midwest was abnormally warm. The sweltering heat of southern Illinois beats down on a group of young Black men, glistening jewels of perspiration resting on their pores, their strained breath audibly forcing their way out of their flared nostrils. The occasional passerby in East Saint Louis would have easily mistaken them for laborers. They were mixed members of the Black nationalist paramilitary Pacific Movement of the Eastern World (PMEW) and Nation of Islam (NOI), training for an imminent invasion of the mainland United States by the Japanese Empire. …

A biography of the Italian submarine that fought under the flag of three nations and the forgotten Italian conflict in Asia.

When the first crew of Luigi Torelli launched into the depths of the Atlantic from the occupied port of Bordeaux in early 1940, none would have imagined that their vessel would be destined for more than the irregular anti-shipping sortie in the Atlantic- Mediterranean sea lanes; and for the first three years of Italy’s war against the Allied powers, that is just what Luigi Torelli did. …

Kanki Takahara

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store