Shared with permission from newsletter of the American Center for Mongolian Studies (one of the AORC, American Overseas Research Centers).
Title: Embodying Otherness: Religion, Colonialism, and the Story of a Japanese Intelligence Agent under Mongolian Buddhist Disguise
Speaker: Daigengna Duoer, PhD Candidate, Religious Studies | University of California, Santa Barbara
When: Monday, January 31, 6am PT, 9am ET, 2pm GMT, 10pm ULAT, 11pm JST
Where: Please send your request for link to join the room: email@example.com
Abstract: This talk is about a Japanese intelligence agent, Kimura Hisao (1922-1989), who carried out missions assigned to him by the Japanese military in 1940s Inner Asia under the disguise of an Inner Mongolian Buddhist monk on pilgrimage to Tibet. This paper explores the roles that Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhism played in Japan’s imperial ambitions in early twentieth-century Inner Asia and the transformations of Kimura’s colonial gaze through his embodiment of a Mongolian Buddhist identity. As Kimura traversed the Inner Asian landscape embodying the people that the Japanese Empire was attempting to “liberate,” tension and anxiety arise. By conflating the “self” and the “other” for the purpose of the mission, Kimura began to question the Japanese Empire as a truly pan-Asianist utopia. Reflecting on how Kimura’s travelogues were published in the postwar, this talk also interrogates the agent’s memories in the context of the Cold War.