Award Date

December 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Maria Casas

Second Committee Member

Austin Dean

Third Committee Member

Tessa Winkelmann

Fourth Committee Member

Tyler Parry

Number of Pages



This paper seeks to investigate the relationship that exists within Japanese print culture (woodblock prints, newspapers, etc.) from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries as a means of investigating how interactions with Western empires, specifically the United States influenced perceptions and awareness of Blackness and Black people. These images and the analysis surrounding the interactions between empires help to establish what Americans perceived as the performance of “blackness” through minstrel shows and blackface performances as a means of blurring and attaching racial lines and distinctions upon the Japanese people and as a response allow for the Japanese to build an identity that refutes “blackness” while performing whiteness.By incorporating an analysis of the woodblock prints, sheet music, playbills, photographs, paintings, letters, and diary entries this study finds that having increased interactions with Western empires and their ideas of “blackness” influenced the way the Japanese people view Black people from across the diaspora. While at the same time providing a counterimage of what whiteness looks like and the notion of civilization that is attached to that racial descriptor as a means of furthering their Imperial pursuits all while attempting to find footing on the world stage.


African Americans; Blackface and Minstrelsy; Empire; Gender; Popular culture/print culture; Race


Asian History | United States History

File Format


File Size

46270 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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