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, as it relates to 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 intellectual history
  • Transnational American 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, 2013 - 2017
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. "A Politics of Our Time: Reworking Afro-Asian Solidarity in the Wake of George Floyd’s Killing." Unmargin (June 2020): Link
  • Onishi, Yuichiro. ""A View from Beale Street" ." Modern American History 3 (2020): 99-102. Link
  • 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): 13-35. 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. "Gerald Horne's Japan." Black Perspectives (June 2017): 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
  • College of Liberal Arts "Red" Motley Teaching Award, University of Minnesota, 2015 - 2016
  • American Studies Association Community Partnership Grant, 2015 - 2016
  • 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