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Defining Taiwan: Turn-of-the-Century Japanese Colonial Classification
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: The Politics of Colonial Comparison, Oxford, 29 September, 2014, 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Soon after a string of smashing victories over China in 1894-95 emboldened Japan to demand the cession of Taiwan, Japanese leaders found themselves in possession an island that they had little idea how to rule and whose legal and symbolic status was highly unclear.[1] Politicians and academics weighed the pros and cons of different Western colonial systems while British and French advisors pushed their respective models.[2] One prominent figure in this debate was journalist and MP Takekoshi Yosaburō. Much as Western colonial discourse conflated geography and time to explain the non-West according to a teleological theory of progress, Takekoshi classified the various Western empires in terms of different developmental phases, placing Japan in “the English era”.[3] Through this and other means, Japanese intellectuals’ detailed attempts to catalogue Western colonial systems served not just as a guide to colonial methods to be applied in Taiwan but also as a discursive tool to assert Japan’s place within the international colonial club. This paper will discuss the ambiguity of the discourse surrounding Taiwan during its first 15 years under Japanese rule, paying particular attention to the different ways the island was described both within Japan and in Japanese-authored texts aimed at Western audiences.

[1] Edward I-te Chen convincingly argues that the annexation of Taiwan was not among Japanese leaders’ long-term plans but was decided during the Sino-Japanese War. Chen, Edward I-te. “Japan's Decision to Annex Taiwan: A Study of Itō-Mutsu Diplomacy, 1894-95”. The Journal of Asian Studies, 37:1 (Nov. 1977), p. 61-72.

[2] For a discussion of the British and French advisors, see Oguma, Eiji (小熊英二). 〈日本人〉の境界:沖縄・アイヌ・台湾・朝鮮 植民地支配から復帰運動まで (The Boundaries of the Japanese: Okinawa, Ainu, Taiwan, Chōsen; From Colonial Rule to the Reform Movement). Tokyo: Shinyōsha, 1998, p. 83-84.

[3] Takekoshi Yosaburō (竹越與三郎). Japanese Rule in Formosa. Trans. George Braithwaite. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1907, p. 10.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
Japanese imperialism, Takekoshi Yosaburo, colonial club, Taiwan
National Category
History
Research subject
Humanities, History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-52011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-52011DiVA: diva2:918061
Conference
The Politics of Colonial Comparison, Oxford, 29 September, 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
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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  • asciidoc
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