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. I also continue to investigate the genesis of occupied Okinawa. This long-range research explores the genealogy of U.S. colonialism toward Okinawa during the early Cold War years. 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).

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
  • 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)
  • War and Empire: Asian American Perspectives (AAS 3601W)
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Visiting Scholar: Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan


  • Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in St. Paul and Minneapolis, 1925-1945:
  • Japanese American History in Minnesota:


  • Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American WWII Experience: Public History Exhibit, June 30, 2018 - September 3, 2018
  • The Reading Room - Honoring Pullman Porters' Struggles in Saint Paul: Model Cities' Public History Project,
  • Onishi, Yuichiro, and Toru Shinoda. "The Paradigm of Refusal: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Transpacific Political Imagination in the 1930s." Citizen of the World: The Late Career and Legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois (2019): Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro, and Fumiko Sakashita. Transpacific Correspondence: Dispatches from Japan’s Black Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro, and Fumiko Sakashita. "Introduction." Transpacific Correspondence: Dispatches from Japan’s Black Studies (2019): 1-20. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro, and Fumiko Sakashita. "Studies in ‘Japanese Dream’: A Transpacific Inquiry into Afrodiasporic Feminist Thought." Transpacific Correspondence: Dispatches from Japan’s Black Studies (2019): 23-55. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "Yoriko Nakajima and Robert F. Williams: Reasoning with the Long Movement Thesis." Transpacific Correspondence: Dispatches from Japan’s Black Studies (2019): 183-202. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "Afro-Asian Solidarity Through Time and Space: Roads Taken and Not Taken." Routledge Handbook of Asian American Studies (2017): 342-354. Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro, and 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. "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. Link
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop Award, University of Minnesota, 2018 - 2019
  • UMN College of Liberal Arts Talle Faculty Research Award, 2017 - 2019
  • Institute for Advanced Study Collaborative Fellowship, Minneapolis, MN, 2017 - 2019
  • Single-Semester Research Leave, University of Minnesota, Spring 2018
  • College of Liberal Arts "Red" Motley Teaching Award, University of Minnesota, 2015 - 2016
  • American Studies Association Community Partnership Grant, 2015 - 2016
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, 2011 - 2012
  • Insitute for Advanced Study Residential Fellowship, University of Minnesota, Spring 2010
  • Mentor Recognition Award, Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York, May 2006