Between 1869 and 1945 Japan possessed an empire that at its peak stretched from the Aleutian islands through China, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea to the remote Pacific island of Nauru. Remnants of this great empire persist in the 21st century. Seen and unseen, they continue to form and influence how people are, how people think and act. Japanese imperialism in Asia still shapes politics, economics, and cultures in ways resembling Japanese imperialism itself. This is the undead empire, and Undead Empire takes us right into its heart in Asia, into its history, its people, its stories, and its undying power.
: undead story | the meaning of undead
The undead part of the undead empire comes from science. This undead is not about zombies, the walking dead, ghosts and ectoplasm. The undead of the undead empire is like the undead cells prevented by scientists from entering and completing programmed cell death: apoptosis. Just as these artificially undead cells in nature are associated with new cellular outgrowths, the parts of the Empire of Japan not entirely destroyed by the traumas of defeat, surrender and imperial dismantlement in 1945 are associated with outgrowths of Japanese imperial forms persisting well beyond the collapse of the empire itself.