Nissan Seminar: Ivan Svit and Ukrainian - Japanese collaboration in Manchuria,1922-1945

Co-Convenors: Juliana Buriticá Alzate, Jenny Guest, Hugh Whittaker

Speaker(s): Dr Olga Khomenko, (CARA/British Academy Fellow, Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies)

Ivan Svit and Ukrainian - Japanese collaboration in Manchuria,1922-1945

This talk tells the story of the unknown 100 000 people Ukrainian diaspora in Manchuria and its leader, Ivan Svit (1897–1989), a forgotten Ukrainian journalist, editor, historian, and social activist, and their active communication and collaboration with Japanese authorities under the occupation (1932-1945). During this time, Ukrainians tried to negotiate about creating a Ukrainian national state in the Far East and broader North-East Asia. 

Besides working as a journalist, a stamp dealer, and an editor running a couple of Ukrainian printed media publications, including the "Manchurian Herald" (1932-1937) and "The Call of the Ukraine"(1941-1942) as well as radio programs, Svit helped to print a Map of Green Ukraine (1937) and to publish the first Ukrainian Japanese dictionary (1944). 

This talk explores the processes of self-identification of Ukrainians through printed media and the cooperative nature of Ukrainian-Japanese relations in Manchuria (1922-1945). 

Olga Khomenko is a CARA/British Academy Fellow at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies. Her research interests include Transnational History, the history of Ukraine-Japan relations, and the business history of Japan. She holds a Ph.D. in Area Studies (history of Japan) from the University of Tokyo (2005), a Ph.D. in world history from the Ukrainian Academy of Science (2013), and an MBA from the Kyiv School of Economics (2017). 

She is author of “The Far Eastern Odyssey of Ivan Svit” [original Title Далекосхідна одіссея Івана Світа] (published in 2021 by Laurus, Kyiv), also国境を超えたウクライナ人」and「ウクライナから愛を込めて」(both Gunzosha, 2022), and co-translator of 『現代ウクライナ文学短編集』(Gunzosha, 2005).