Afro-Orientalism: An Exploration of the Relationship Between African Americans and the Japanese from the 18th to the 21st Century

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alana E. Lewis (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Noelle Morrissette

Abstract: The study of Afro-Asian relationships, often referred to as Afro-Orientalism, is a subject that is not widely discussed. This relationship is a cultural and often political interaction of two vastly different cultures, that have found a common identity and connectedness between themselves even across oceans. My honors thesis will specifically address the Afro-Asian relationship between African Americans in the United States and Japanese people. The benefit of the previous research that has been done in this study is that it sets the foundation for Afro-Orientalism. Additionally, those who have explored in this area have explicated the specific problems that fester as a manifestation of this Afro-Asian relationship such as the World Color Line. However, it fails to address the development of the Afro-Asian relationship from 1902 in comparison to the 21st century. It is important to understand how the dynamics between cultures and their interconnectedness with one another develop with changing cultural ideologies over time. This paper will extend beyond the existing scholarship about cultural politics and the critical problem of the World Color Line. It will address the relationship in the early 20th to early 21st century to explore how new frameworks of cultural understanding has changed the dynamics between the two cultures. To do this I will primarily look at Bill Mullin’s “Afro-Orientalism”, Gerald Home’s “Facing the Rising Sun: African Americans, Japan, and the Rise of Afro-Asian Solidarity”, Tze-Yue G. Hu’s “Frames of Anime: Culture and Image-Building”, and W.E.B. Du Bois’s “Black Princess”, as well as the anime “Afro- Samurai” by Takashi Okazaki.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Language: English
Date: 2020
African Americans, African American, Japan, Japanese, Afro-Orientalism, Orientalism, World Color Line

Email this document to