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Japan in the Transnational Culture of Imperialism, 1895-1915
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. (Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4041-6150
2014 (English)In: 14th European Association of Japanese Studies Conference, Ljubljana, 27-30 August, 2014, 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

With the upsurge of scholarly interest in Japanese imperialism in recent years, it is now recognized that imperialism was an integral part of pre-war Japan’s modernization/Westernization efforts.  As several recent studies have shown, Japan’s “mimetic imperialism” involved the emulation not only of Western colonial practices, but also of discourses that served to legitimize overseas expansion.[1]  Nevertheless, Japan’s interaction with Western colonial culture is still generally explained as a one-way flow from the West to Japan, whereas Japan was in fact “a coeval participant in the early twentieth-century reorganization of the world”[2] and contributed to a transnational culture of imperialism.  Japan’s position as a non-Western newcomer to the “colonial club” not only gave rise to an inferiority complex among Japanese imperialists, but also had a significant impact on Western colonial worldviews.

Drawing on contemporary newspaper articles and books, this paper argues that one of the keys to understanding Japan’s position in the turn-of-the-century trans-imperial system lies in how Taiwan (often described as Japan’s first colony) was discussed inside and outside of Japan.  Acquired rather hastily at the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, the island was in fact not universally considered a “colony” until many years later.  For over a decade, Taiwan’s status became a discursive field of contention for Japanese politicians and intellectuals holding competing visions of the Japanese empire.  This debate was important in shaping perceptions of Japan as a “great power” abroad and contributed to later tensions between colonialist and pan-Asianist discourses within the Japanese Empire.

[1] Tierney, Robert. Tropics of Savagery: The Culture of Japanese Empire in Comparative Frame. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010, p. 15.  See also Atkins, E. Taylor. Primitive Selves: Koreana in the Japanese Colonial Gaze, 1910-1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.

[2] Hill, Christopher. “Tropics of Savagery: The Culture of Japanese Empire in Comparative Frame (review).” The Journal of Japanese Studies, 38:1 (Winter 2012), p. 162.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
transnational culture of imperialism, colonial club, Japanese imperialism, Takekoshi Yosaburo
National Category
History
Research subject
Humanities, History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-52008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-52008DiVA: diva2:918050
Conference
14th European Association of Japanese Studies Conference, Ljubljana, 27-30 August, 2014
Available from: 2016-04-08 Created: 2016-04-08 Last updated: 2016-04-20Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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