ACMS Virtual Speaker Series with Daigengna Duoer – Embodying Otherness: Religion, Colonialism, and the Story of a Japanese Intelligence Agent under Mongolian Buddhist Disguise

When: Monday, January 31, 2022, 6:00 am (PT) 9:00 am (ET); 10:00 pm (ULAT)

Where: via Zoom

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 860 3108 8079

Passcode: 405698




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. (143 words)

About the presenter:
Daigengna Duoer (pronounced “dye-gain-na” “door“; she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Religious Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation is a digital humanities project mapping the history of transnational and transregional Buddhist networks connecting early twentieth-century Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Republican China, Tibet, and the Japanese Empire. Daigengna is a host for the New Books in East Asian Studies Podcast, a channel on the New Books Network. She is also the Editor-in-chief for Digital Orientalist, an online magazine on digital humanities.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this program are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the American Center for Mongolian Studies, which is a non-political, non-profit organization of 501(c)(3) category.

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