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Office: 5238 BUNCHE HALL
Fax: 310-206-9630
E-mail: hirano@history.ucla.edu

Mailing Address:

UCLA Department of History
6265 Bunche Hall
Box 951473
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1473

Class Websites


Early modern and modern Japan, Colonialism, Critical Theory, Marxian Theory of History

Research Interests

Katsuya Hirano’s teaching and research explore the intersection between history and critical theory with a focus on questions of ideology, political economy, and subject/subjectivity. His first book, The Politics of Dialogic Imagination: Power and Popular Culture in Early Modern Japan, (Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 2013) outlines a general theory of the transformation in modes of subject-formation from the Tokugawa regime (1603-1868) to Japan’s first modern state, the early Meiji government, through an analysis centered on the regulation of popular culture. His current book project examines, through the prism of biopolitics, the correlative operations of capitalism and racism in the making of the Japanese empire. Taking the colonization of the Ainu people as the locus of analysis, the project explores the relation between the state’s drive for primitive accumulation (deterritorialization and reterritorialization of Ainu lands) and the construction and implementation of racial categories through academic (linguistic, economic, and anthropological) and legal discourse. The project ultimately seeks to deepen our understanding of the history of Ainu experiences through the perspectives of global histories of empire, capitalism, and colonialism. Hirano is also co-editing a translation volume with Professor Gavin Walker, entitled The Archive of Revolution: Marxist Historiography in Modern Japan. This volume will be the first major introduction of the rich yet long neglected Japanese Marxist historiography that played the decisive role in the formation of critical social science in modern Japan from the late 1920s to the 1970s.

Hirano received BA in political theory from Dōshisha University (Japan), MA in cultural studies/international studies from the University of Birmingham (UK), and Ph.D in history from the University of Chicago. He was a member of history department at Cornell University before joining UCLA in 2013.

Selected Publications


The Politics of Dialogic Imagination: Power and Popular Culture in Early Modern Japan (Chicago: U of Chicago Press, Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning series, 2013). The Japanese translation of the book is forthcoming from Iwanami Shoten (岩波書店)

Book manuscript in progress: 『「他者の到来」の歴史(学)―“アイヌ”とポストコロニアル的考察』(仮題) (Toward the History of The Coming of the Other: On the “Ainu” and Postcolonial Reflections) (Under Contract with Hōsei University Press, Tokyo).

Edited volume: The Archive of Revolution: Marxist Historiography in Modern Japan, 1930s-1980s. (co-edited with Gavin Walker) (under consideration).

Book Chapters & Articles

Journal Article: "Thanatopolitics in the Making of Japan's Hokkaido: Settler Colonialism and Primitive Accumulation" in Critical Historical Studies vol. 2, no. 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015) (refereed).

Journal Article: "A Reflection of Uemura Takashi's Talk at UCLA" in Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (Ithaca NY: April, 2015) www.japanfocus.org/-Katsuya-Hirano/4363/article.html

Journal Article: "カルチュラル・スタディーズの汚らしさ - ステュアート・ホールの政治”("Dirtiness of Cultural Studies - Stuart Hall's Politics") in Special Issue on Stuart Hall 「思想」5月号 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten/岩波書店, 2014)

Book chapter: “Dialectic of Laughter and Tosaka's Critical Theory” in Ken Kawashima and Robert Stolz eds., Tosaka Jun: A Critical Reader (Ithaca NY: Cornell East Asia Series, 2013).

Book chapter: “In Place of Translator's Afterword: The Future of 'Empire' ” (帝国と「帝国」のゆくえ - あとがきにかえて)in『アメリカ<帝国>の現在 ― イデオロギーの守護者たち』(Tokyo: みすず書房, 2014).

Journal article: “Politics and Poetics of the Body in Early Modern Japan” in Modern Intellectual History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, November. 2011) (refereed).

Journal article: “The Politics of Colonial Translation: On the Narrative of the Ainu as a “Vanishing Ethnicity”” in The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (Ithaca NY: January. 2009) (refereed). Link: http://japanfocus.org/-Katsuya-HIRANO/3013; Reprinted in Kirsten Ziomek eds., The Japanese Empire: Colonial Lives and Postcolonial Struggles (Ithaca NY: The Asia-Pacific Journal, Course Reader no. 8, 2013).

Journal article: “江戸の遊びと権力” (On Play and Power in Late Tokugawa Edo) in みすず no.565 (Misuzu) (Tokyo: みすず書房, 2008)

Book chapter: “編訳者あとがき ― 現代の苦境を切り開く過去との対話” (Afterword: Dialogue with the Past to Live through the Predicament of Modernity) in Doing 思想史 (Doing Intellectual History) (Tokyo: みすず書房、2008)

Book chapter: “Social Networks and Production of Public Discourse in Edo Popular Culture” in Elizabeth Lillehoj (ed.) Acquisition: Art and Ownership in Edo-Period Japan (New York: Floating World Edition, 2007)


Book: "Translator of The Empire’s New Clothes: Paradigm Lost, Regained (『アメリカ帝国の守護者たち』)by Harry Harootunian (Tokyo: Misuzu, みすず書房, 2014)

Book: Editor and translator of Doing Intellectual History (Doing 思想史) by Tetsuo Najita (Tokyo: Misuzu, みすず書房, 2008)


Interview with Blouin Media on Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's Nationalism and his Politics (LA: March 20, 2014) Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSF_ywzq5MU

Interview with Murakami Tatsuya, former mayor of Tōkaimura or Tōkai Village, on Fukushima and the crisis of democracy http://japanfocus.org/-Katsuya-HIRANO/4320/article.html (published in May, 2015)

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