My New Book: For Undergraduates, History Buffs, and Students of Colonialism and Empire

Smartly produced and attractive paperback and hard-cover copies available at:

Or download a free .pdf version from my Research Gate site: link

Book Review in Taipei Times by James Robert Baron:

New Books in Japanese Studies Podcast, Hosted by Ran Zwigenberg:

University of Minnesota Book Club Discussion with Hiromi Mizuno:

Jonathan Clements Blogpost Review:


Kondo the Barbarian is a gripping and revealing account of the colonial Japanese era in Taiwan, focusing on the Musha Rebellion and its brutal suppression by the Japanese military. The book presents the translated account of Kondō Katsusaburō, a Japanese adventurer who married into an indigenous Taiwanese family. Kondō’s journals offer an intimate and personal perspective on the events, though they can also be unreliable and prone to sensationalism.

To help readers navigate Kondō’s account, Barclay has provided a deeply-researched introduction, extensive notes, and context essential to understanding what really happened during the Musha Rebellion. The book sheds light on the cultural clashes and sporadic violence that characterized Taiwan during this period. Through the writing of Kondō, interpreted and contextualized by Barclay, readers gain insight into the complexities of colonialism, imperialism, and indigenous resistance.

The Musha Rebellion was a pivotal moment in the relationship between the indigenous people and the Japanese colonial government. In 1930, after years of oppression, the Seediq people of central Taiwan, led by Mona Rudao, attacked a gathering of Japanese people at a local school, slaughtering over one hundred men, women, and children. The Japanese military responded with overwhelming force, employing tactics including poison gas, artillery, and aerial bombardment to quell the rebellion.

Barclay’s book offers a fresh and engaging perspective on a tragic chapter in Taiwan’s past, and the notes and context provided help readers understand the complexities of the events. The book is an important addition to the growing body of literature on Taiwan’s history, and it underscores the power of personal narratives to illuminate broader historical themes. Kondo the Barbarian is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of Taiwan, the contradictions of colonialism, and the challenges of interpreting personal accounts of historical events.


“Part fact, part fiction, an engrossing account of colonial benevolence and violence. Lucid, learned, and superbly translated, Kondo the Barbarian is an indispensable source for those interested in Taiwan’s colonial history, Japanese settlers’ writing and events leading up to the infamous 1930 Musha Uprising.”

—Leo T.S. Ching, author of Becoming Japanese: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation

“A fascinating account by a figure who lived a unique colonialist-adventurer life. Barclay’s expert introduction and notes demonstrate a first-rate historian’s skill to verify and contextualize Kondo’s account.”

—Sayaka Chatani, author of Nation-Empire: Ideology and Rural Youth Mobilization in Japan and Its Colonies

“This should become an essential source for understanding one of the most important acts of resistance to Japan’s rule of Taiwan and the complex relationships between Japanese colonizers and indigenous Taiwanese.”

—Evan Dawley, author of Becoming Taiwanese: Ethnogenesis in a Colonial City, 1880s-1950s

“Barclay not only gives us a masterful translation of Japanese colonialist Kondō Katsusaburō’s memoir but puts it into rich historical context. This book is an invaluable resource for understanding the ground-level dynamics of Japanese colonialism in Taiwan.”

—Seiji Shirane, author of Imperial Gateway: Colonial Taiwan and Japan’s Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895-1945

“Barclay’s beautiful translation brings Kondō the ‘Barbarian,’ a Japanese who lived with Indigenous Peoples in colonial Taiwan, back to life. Engaging, lucid, and illuminating. Highly recommended.”

—Hiromi Mizuno, author of Science for the Empire: Scientific Nationalism in Modern Japan

Kondo the Barbarian ‘de-anonymizes’ the Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan, who are here individuals with names, life trajectories, and their own voices, in the process forcing the reader to reconsider the nature of colonial rule in Taiwan.”

—Nadine Willems, author of Ishikawa Sanshirō’s Geographical Imagination: Transnational Anarchism and the Reconfiguration of Everyday Life in Early Twentieth-Century Japan

“Barclay’s masterful research offers the reader critical context to understanding Kondo’s life and perspective, as well as the implications of Japanese colonial rule and the Musha Uprising for Taiwan’s history.”

—James Lin, Assistant Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington

“With the infamous 1930 Musha uprising as the historical underpinning of the book, Barclay introduces us to this world partly through the eyes of a Japanese adventurer – Kondō “the Barbarian” Katsusaburō – all the while never losing sight of the delicate interplay and agency of Taiwan’s Indigenous peoples. A story that resonates beyond time and place.”

—Kirsten Ziomek, author of Lost Histories: Recovering the Lives of Japan’s Colonial Peoples

Imperial Japan’s Forever War, 1895-1945

New open-access  article  in  the  Asia-Pacific  Journal:  Japan  Focus

This article was launched in the summer of 2019 at the National Archives of Japan in Tokyo.

I was interested in battlefield honors for Japanese soldiers, and other forms of compensation, which are documented in a large collection of manuscript records in this repository.

Based on the documents and catalogs, I made a chart to think about the temporal experience of “wartime” for families, soldiers, and sailors directly connected to military funerals, awards disbursement, and after-war occupations of foreign lands. This resulting chart suggests a nation at war from 1895 through 1945.

This  illustration  from  a 1930s  youth  magazine  shows  that  campaign  medals  were  issued  for  many  more  wars  in  Japanese  history  than  one  usually  reads  about  in  textbooks.

This picture postcard also reflects the publicity that surrounded “small wars” in Japanese history that have escaped the attention of historians. This article presents my thoughts on why these many smaller wars have been ignored, and how our views of Japanese history might change if we took such wars more seriously.

Outcasts of Empire News and Updates

English-language version: Outcasts of Empire: Japan’s Rule on Taiwan’s “Savage Border,” 1874-1945. Oakland: University of California Press, 2018.










Purchase paperback:   UC Press Barnes&Noble  Amazon

Luminos Open Access digital edition [free] (click here)

“What is Asia?”: Podcast hosted by Nakota DiFonzo

New Books Network:  Podcast hosted by Shatrunjay Mall:

Award: Shortlist, International Convention of Asia Scholars 2019 Book Prize, Social Sciences category:


Fabienne Hofer-Uji, Japanese Studies

Hiroko Matsuda, American Historical Review

Mark Driscoll, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

Anne E. Sokolsky, Journal of Asian Studies 

Nathanel Amar, H-Solz-Kult

Scott Simon, Pacific Affairs

Robert Stolz, Cross-Currents 

Ann Heylen, The China Journal 

Robert Eskildsen, Monumenta Nipponica

I-An Wasiq Gao, International Journal of Taiwan Studies

Michael Turton, The View from Taiwan

Article in The Daily about my book talk at University of Washington in April,

Podcast of Interview with “Meiji at 150” host Tristan Grunow:

Georgetown University book talk:

Yale University book talk:

University of Toronto book talk:

Ohio State University book talk:

University of California Luminosa Open Access blogpost re: Outcasts of Empire:

Article on Lafayette College website:

(from UC Press website):

“Paul Barclay’s exploration of indigenous histories in Taiwan is sophisticated and engaging. This highly original narrative of a formative period will be of great interest to all those concerned with comparative colonial history.”—Nicholas Thomas, Professor of Historical Anthropology, University of Cambridge

“Barclay’s work reveals how indigeneity evolved coevally with capitalist imperialism and nationalism during the last century. It is a multisided and multiscale analysis—incorporating global, regional, and local scales—and it is embedded in a coherent and compelling narrative. Analysts are greatly concerned about resource frontiers in today’s world; this study furnishes them with an indispensable historical framework.”—Prasenjit Duara, Oscar Tang Professor of East Asian Studies, Duke University

“Analytically precise and theoretically ambitious, Barclay’s wonderful new book examines the entanglements of the interstate system, indigeneity, and sovereignty through the case of Japanese-occupied Taiwan. A must-read for anyone interested in the fate of indigenous peoples under modern colonialism.”—Louise Young, author of Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism

The expanded, Chinese-language edition of Outcasts of Empire is out: 帝國棄民:日本在臺灣「蕃界」內的統治 (1874-1945). National Taiwan University Press, 2020 (560 pp).

In addition to a preface by my good friend and colleague Chen Wei-chi 陳偉智, the new edition contains over 45,000 additional words of text. The Chinese-language edition benefits from the sharp eyes of translator Yao Chia-ning 堯嘉寧 and editor Tsai Min-chun 蔡旻峻, who made numerous suggestions for clarifying, correcting, and improving the original text. The new edition adds more global and theoretical context, goes into greater empirical detail, and utilizes recently digitized primary source material, to amplify and round out the analysis presented in the University of California Press edition of this book.

Review in the Taiwan National History Museum Journal, Taiwan History:


Resources for Learning about the Corona Virus/COVID-19

Compiled by Dr. Paul D. Barclay, Professor of History, Lafayette College

Data and Reports

Science. Articles about COVID-19 are unlocked.

The Lancet (open access): 

Nextstrain (Real-time tracking of pathogen evolution) (Thanks Professor James Orr)

“Coronavirus COVID-19: Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU).” Accessed March 27, 2020.

Wu, Jin, Weiyi Cai, Derek Watkins, and James Glanz. “How the Virus Got Out.” New York Times, March 22. Accessed March 27, 2020.

Wu, Jin, Allison McCann, Keith Collins, Karen Yourish, et. al. “Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak.” New York Times, last updated March 27.  Accessed March 27, 2020. 

Desjardins, Jeff. “The 7 Best COVID-19 Resources We’ve Discovered So Far.” Visual Capitalist, March 24. Accessed March 27, 2020.

World Health Organization Situation Reports

Debunking Myths about COVID-19 fact-checking website.

Historical Context

A collection of open access articles: “Anthropology and Epidemics, a Quarantine Reading List.” American Ethnologist. April 21, accessed April 23, 2020.

Strochlic, Nina and Riley D. Champine. “How Some Cities ‘Flattened the Curve’ During the 1918 Flu Pandemic. National Geographic. March 27, accessed April 20, 2020.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. “Pandemics and the Shape of Human History.” The New Yorker. April 6, Accessed April 9, 2020.

Rhodes, Ben. “The 9/11 Era Is Over.” The Atlantic. April 6, Accessed April 11, 2020.  (Thanks Professor Josh Sanborn)

De Waal, Alex. “New Pathogen, Old Politics: Thinking in a Pandemic.” Boston Review, April 3. Accessed April 11, 2020. (Thanks Professor Jeremy Zallen).

Porter, Katherine Anne. Pale Rider, Pale Horse: Three Short Novels. (published in 1939).,_Pale_Rider 


“Maps and Trends: Hubei Timeline.” Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Accessed April 28, 2020.

“Daily Confirmed New Cases (5-day moving average).” Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Accessed April 28, 2020.

Schumaker, Erin. “Timeline: How Coronavirus Got Started.” ABC News, March 25. Accessed March 27, 2020.

“Coronavirus Outbreak Timeline Fast Facts.” CNN, March 26. Accessed March 27, 2020.

“Timeline: How the New Coronavirus Spread.” Al Jazeera, March 27. Accessed March 27, 2020.

Taylor, Derrick Bryson. “A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic.” New York Times, March 27. Accessed March 27, 2020.

Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany. “Timeline: The Early Days of China’s Coronavirus Outbreak and Cover-Up.” Axios, March 18. Accessed March 27, 2020.

Kiernanand, Samantha and Jason Socrates Bardi. “UPDATED: Timeline of the Coronavirus.” Think Global Health (Council on Foreign Relations), March 3. Accessed March 27, 2020.

Chalfant, Morgan and Brett Samuels. “White House Grapples with the Coronavirus Outbreak: A Timeline.” The Hill, March 23. Accessed March 23, 2020.

Geraghty, Jim. “The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies.” National Review (blog), March 23. Accessed March 29, 2020.


Atlantic Monthly (open access): 

New York Times (open access):

Foreign Affairs (open access):


BBC News

Caixin Global 财新传媒

Think Global Health (an initiative of the CFR):

The Nation

The National Review

The Economist (pay wall):

Wall Street Journal (pay wall):

Higher Education and COVID-19

Maloney, Edward J.  and Joshua Kim. “15 Fall Scenarios: Higher Education in a Time of Social Distancing. Insider Higher Ed. April 22, accessed April 27, 2020.

Paxson, Christina. “College Campuses Must Reopen in the Fall. Here’s How We Do It.” New York Times. April 26, accessed April 27, 2020.

Wood, Graeme. “There’s No Simple Way to Reopen Universities.” The Atlantic. April 27, accessed April 27, 2020.

Inspiration from World Leaders

Angela Merkel:

Queen Elizabeth II:

Ed Lin and Paul Barclay: The Character and Characters of Taiwan History

Author of the Taiwan Night Market novels Ghost Month and Incensed Ed Lin reads from and discusses his work with author of Imperial Outcasts: Japan’s Rule on Taiwan’s “Savage Border” 1874-1945, Paul Barclay (History, Lafayette). The theme of the conversation will be Taiwan as a site of and inspiration for literary production, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Friday, April 13, 2018 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Kirby Auditorium

sponsored by: Asian Studies Program, History Department, Provost’s Office

4:10pm-5:30pm: Seminar w/students and faculty: “Reading/Writing Taiwan in the Age of Martial Law and White Terror” Ramer 103.

Novelist Ed Lin and Historian Paul Barclay host a round-table discussion about the newly emerging history of Taiwan’s brutal dictatorship centered around the 2/28 (1947) Incident, martial law during the US Alliance (“White Terror”) and the perennial challenge of writing about places “over there” for readers and students “over here”. 

Just for fun: Short Readings on Taiwan/Cold War/Martial Law

Rwei-Ren Wu, “Fragment of/f Empires: The Peripheral Formation of Taiwanese Nationalism,” Social Science Japan December 2004. Fragment of empires pdf

Chou Wan-yao, A New Illustrated History of Taiwan excerpts on Feb 28 Incident, Martial Law and White terror. Chou Wanyao pdf

Victor Louzon, “From Japanese Soldiers to Chinese Rebels: Colonial
Hegemony, War Experience, and Spontaneous Remobilization during the 1947 Taiwanese Rebellion,” The Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 77, No. 1 (February) 2018: 161–179. JAS article pdf

Steven Phillips, “Between Assimilation and Independence: Taiwanese Political Aspirations under Nationalist Chinese Rule, 1945-1948.” From Murray Rubinstein, ed. Taiwan: A New History. Phillips pdf

Leonard Gordon, “American Planning for Taiwan, 1942-1945,” Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 37, No. 2 (May, 1968), pp. 201-228.pdf for Leonard Gordon article


Musha 1930: History, Memory, Culture 《霧社1930: 歷史、記憶、文化》

Three-day workshop at beautiful Royce Hall, UCLA.

Front row: Kieu-fen Chiu, Darryl Sterk, Paul Barclay, Bob Tierney, Dakis Pawan, Wan Jen, Leo Ching. Middle Row: Jiajun Liang, Toulouse-Antonin Roy. Back Row: Michael Berry, Bakan Pawan, Deng Shian-yang, Wu Chien-heng, Ping-hui Liao
1930s postcard of the Japanese memorial to the fallen from the Musha Incident.

Ren’ai Township, 2010, possible site of the former Japanese  monument.

Wushe, from a 1934 Japanese photograph album

Ren’ai town in 2010 (formerly Wushe).

Site of the Mona Rudo Anti-Japanese Commemoration Monuments (above on google maps; the next five images are from this site)

Statue of Mona Rudo, 2010, near Ren’ai township, Nantou Province

The grave of Mona Rudo, 2010

Derryl Sterk, Dakis Pawan and Bakan Pawan make plenary remarks

(Above) Workshop organizer, film and literature scholar Michael Berry, filmmaker Wan Jen and historian Deng Shian-yang discuss Wan Jen’s 20-hour TV series Dana Sakura, based on story by Deng Shian-yang (next two photos)

Deng Shian-yang’s pioneering books about the Musha Incident

Leo Ching, author of the first English-language scholarly treatments of the Musha Incident and the famous book Becoming Japanese. 

The lodging for the workshop attendees, right on campus.

The Hitodome Pass, on the road from Puli to Ren’ai. In 1900, Tgdaya warriors ambushed advancing Japanese troops. They used their knowledge of terrain and defensive of warfare to defeat the imperial forces.

East Asia Image Collection: Release of the New Design

qingdaoOver the past two years, Eric Luhrs (Director Digital Scholarship Services), James Griffin, and the hard-working team at Digital Scholarship Services, Lafayette College, have redesigned the East Asia Image Collection.  The redesigned site is now functional.  Its new features include: “facets” that allow users to rapidly limit searches, and just as quickly unlimit them; an improved image-viewing interface; the ability to view the backs of postcards, and many more improvements.  The East Asia Image Collection now has 19 sub-collections and over 5100 records (with another 900 in various stages of preparation).

new and old postcard

The East Asia Image Collection is an open-access archive of digitized photographs, negatives, postcards, and slides of imperial Japan (1868-1945), its Asian empire (1895-1945) and occupied Japan (1947-52). Images of Taiwan 台湾, Japan 日本, China 中国, Korea 朝鮮, Manchuria 満洲国, and Indonesia are included. The Collection is built around a core of visual materials donated to Skillman Library Special Collections by the family of Gerald and Rella Warner. Images unique to this collection include the Warners’ unpublished slides and negatives , made from snapshots taken during their years of US State Department service in Asia (1932-1952). Rare materials include prewar picture postcards, high-quality commercial prints, and colonial era picture books. Each record in the East Asia Image Collection has been assigned subject headings, hyper-linked metadata, and, to the fullest extent possible, historiographical, bibliographical and technical data.

Updates, news from the world of visual studies and East Asian politics, history, and culture, and be found on The East Asia Image Collection Facebook page.


We have also created a blog with bibliographies, guides to resources, and research notes:


Visualizing War, Visualizing Fascism: November 11th, 2013, Kirby Auditorium, Lafayette College


The workshop “Visualizing War, Visualizing Fascism” will be held at Lafayette College, at the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, on Monday, November 11th,  in the auditorium facing the front entrance (room 104). We will begin at 4:10pm and end at 6:30pm.


Film and Photography in Germany and Japan

A purely technological history of photography and film would explain why the second World War was recorded so copiously and vividly in contrast to earlier conflicts, but the development of handheld cameras (like the Leica created in 1925), advances in film technology (including sound), and better means of transmitting images for publication via wire do not explain how war came to be seen either during the conflict or in retrospect.  This workshop addresses some the cultural complexities of visualizing war in Germany, Italy, and Japan during the 1930s and 1940s, raising the political, aesthetic and ethical quandaries posed by trying to see combat and glory, death and destruction contemporaneously and retrospectively.

There are two quandaries central to this workshop: the invisible nature of that which is being visualized and the particular slipperiness of interpreting visual materials.  The workshop’s title alludes to a central paradox in visualization.  Since war cannot be seen in its totality and memory concerns the invisible past, the visualization of war and memory concerns something which, in one sense, cannot be seen at all.  We are talking about the visualization of the invisible. One issue of the workshop will therefore necessarily be the difference between “visualizing” and “seeing.”   A second issue will be the question of subjectivity, i.e. who visualizes the violence and who reenvisions it retrospectively.  On the one hand, attention must be paid to the strategies adopted and deployed by the fascist states themselves to propagate war and make it meaningful.  On the other hand, state representations can be subverted when seen by the “wrong” people, the unintended viewer or someone with a different perspective, politically or chronologically.  The workshop will therefore consider the contingent relationship between any particular political or ethical stance and any particular aesthetic style.

Although the representational repertoire through which World War II has been addressed includes painting, drama, poetry, dance, monuments, commemorations, museums, and the whole range of practices involved in memorializing and memory work, this workshop will focus on film and photography, suggesting that the camera’s particular efficacy during this particular war is worth examining.  Representations made with the camera, whether the still presences of photography or the moving images of film, were and are potent tools for propagating, resisting, and understanding that era of violence.