First Advisor

Kenneth J. Ruoff

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I -- 1892-1975, Cold War -- Political aspects, Cold War -- Social aspects, Emperor of Japan Hirohito -- 1901-1989



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 129 p.)


The imperial visits to the United States by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in 1954 and Emperor Hirohito of Japan in 1975, while billed as unofficial by all parties involved, demonstrated the problematic nature of America's unstable Cold War political agendas, connected African and Asian Americans with alternative sources of race, nationality, and ethnic pride, and created spaces for the emperors to reinforce domestic policies while advancing their nations on the world stage. Just as America's civil and governmental forces came together during the imperial tours, in 1954 and 1975 respectively, to strongly promote Cold War ideological narratives to a global audience, African American and Japanese American racial and ethnic groups within the United States created their own interpretations of the tours. Likewise, the governments and imperial institutions of Ethiopia and Japan both appropriated American efforts in an attempt to renegotiate political relationships and produce imperial narratives for domestic consumption. However, fundamental contradictions arose during these tours as both Ethiopia and Japan simultaneously sought to embrace America and to expand their presence on the world stage. The full nature of the political, economic, and social ramifications of these two imperial visits, and the contradictions in American's Cold War policies revealed by the tours, has yet to be explored. Reactions to the emperors' tours demonstrated the connections and conflicts between race, nation, and identity. Further the narratives of Ethiopia's and Japan's role on the world stage, particularly during these "unofficial" imperial tours, have yet to be fully examined by historians. Only by examining the emperors' tours within a broader transnational context, taking multiple political, racial, and economic perspectives into account, can the consequences of these visits be fully observed and understood.


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Portland State University. Dept. of History

Persistent Identifier