Yuichiro Onishi

I am an African Americanist trained as a historian of modern America. I write the history of the African American-led unfinished struggle for democracy in the twentieth century called the Black freedom movement that intersects with places rarely seen as centers of the African American experience, namely Japan and Okinawa. Of late, my scholarly agenda centers on local history research and writing, as well as collaborative community-based research and action. Specifically, I am working on the following two projects: (1) the civil rights unionism of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in St. Paul and Minneapolis between 1925 and 1945; (2) Japanese American resettlement in the Twin Cities between 1942 and 1946 and its impact on an emergent Minnesota-brand of racial liberalism that ultimately buoyed Hubert Humphrey's political leadership, both statewide and nationally. In addition, I continue to investigate the genesis of occupied Okinawa. This long-range research explores U.S. colonialism toward Okinawa during the early Cold War years. At the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, I primarily teach undergraduate courses in African American & African Studies and Asian American Studies. I began my academic career in the Center for Ethnic Studies at the Borough of Manhattan Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY). I have also taught African American studies courses at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: History, University of Minnesota, 2004.
  • M.A.: History, University of Minnesota, 1999.
  • B.A.: History, Macalester College, 1995.


  • Black radicalism and internationalism
  • African American history
  • Transnational American studies
  • Critical race studies
  • Asian American studies
Courses Taught
  • Imagining Asian America (AAS 1101)
  • Racial Formation and Transformation in the U.S. (AFRO/AMIN/AAS/CHIC 1201)
  • Contemporary Perspectives on Asian America (AAS 3001)
  • Comparative Race and Ethnicity in U.S. History (AAS/HIST 3875W)
  • Social and Intellectual Movements in the African Diaspora (Afro 3120/5120)
  • Ways of Knowing in Africa and the African Diaspora (AFRO 4105)
  • Introduction to Studies in Africa and the African Diaspora (AFRO 5101)
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Visiting Scholar: Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan


  • Japan's Black Studies:
  • Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in St. Paul and Minneapolis, 1925-1945:
  • Japanese American Resettlement in Minnesota:
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. ""Gerald Horne's Japan"." Black Perspectives (April 2017): Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "Afro-Asian Solidarity Through Time and Space: Roads Taken and Not Taken." Routledge Handbook of Asian American Studies (2017): Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro, co-authored with Tia-Simone Gardner. "Abbey Lincoln and Kazuko Shiraishi’s Art-Making as Spiritual Labor." Two Haiku and a Microphone: Traveling Texts and the Work of Afro-Japanese Cultural Production (2015): 57-75. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. Transpacific Antiracism: Afro-Asian Solidarity in 20th-Century Black America, Japan, and Okinawa. NYU Press, 2013. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "The New Negro of the Pacific: How African Americans Forged Cross-Racial Solidarity with Japan [reprint with a new introduction]." Escape from New York: The New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlem (2013): Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "Occupied Okinawa on the Edge: On Being Okinawan in Hawai'i and U.S. Colonialism toward Okinawa." American Quarterly 64 (December 2012): 741-766. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "The Presence of (Black) Liberation in Okinawan Freedom: Transnational Moments, 1968-1972." Extending the Diaspora: New Histories of Black People (2009): 178-202. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "Afro-Asian Solidarities and the “˜Circle of Culture’." XCP: Cross-Cultural Poetics 20 (2008): 97-101.
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "The New Negro of the Pacific: How African Americans Forged Cross-Racial Solidarity with Japan, 1917-1922." The Journal of African American History 92:2 (2007): 191-213. Download
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "Diaspora." XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics 15/16 (2005): 201. Link
  • Single-Semester Research Leave, University of Minnesota, Spring 2018
  • UMN College of Liberal Arts Talle Faculty Research Award, 2017 - 2019
  • Institute for Advanced Study Collaborative Fellowship, Minneapolis, MN, 2017 - 2018
  • College of Liberal Arts "Red" Motley Teaching Award, University of Minnesota, 2015 - 2016
  • American Studies Association Community Partnership Grant, 2015 - 2016
  • Imagine Fund Annual Award, 2012 - 2013
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, 2011 - 2012
  • Imagine Fund Annual Award, 2010 - 2011
  • Insitute for Advanced Study Residential Fellowship, University of Minnesota, Spring 2010
  • Multicultural Teaching and Learning Fellowship, Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Minnesota, 2008 - 2009
  • President’s Faculty Multicultural Research Award, Office of Equity and Diversity, University of Minnesota, 2008 - 2009
  • Faculty Fellowship Publications Program, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, Spring 2007
  • Mentor Recognition Award, Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York, May 2006
  • Professional Staff Congress & The City University of New York Research Award, 2005 - 2006
  • MacArthur International Predissertation Fieldwork Grant, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, University of Minnesota, Summer 2000