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  • 1.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    American Advisors, Ainu ‘Artefacts’ and Japanese Settler Colonialism in Hokkaidō, 1868-18852017In: Everyday Empires: Trans-Imperial Circulations in a Multidisciplinary Perspective, 2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In 1878, Professor William Smith Clark presented clothing and other objects produced by the Ainu people of Hokkaidō to an eager Massachusetts audience. The local newspaper reported:

    With the exception of two or three articles, he was able to represent all the Ainos have ever produced, and he said that it was truly a remarkable fact that individuals in our country would accumulate during the period allotted to man more wealth than all the Ainos have during the thousands of years they have lived on the island.[1]

    The belief that the nineteenth-century Ainu were a “primitive people” frozen in time remains widespread. In fact, the Ainu had had well-developed agriculture and manufacturing before their gradual suppression from the seventeenth century under Japanese pressure.[2] As this paper will show, the interpretation of the Ainu’s mid-nineteenth century non-agricultural state according to Western anthropological theories ended up cementing the view of the Ainu as a “dying race” that had always lacked agriculture.

    Inspired by American expansion into the “Wild West”, Japanese leaders hired American advisors in the 1870s to help them colonize Hokkaidō. Having a “frontier” with “primitive” peoples to “civilize” served them well as they strove to demonstrate Japan’s parity with the West. Especially interested in currying American favor, strategic comparisons were made between Ainu and Native Americans. Nevertheless, the subordination of Ainu, widely believed to be “Caucasian,” to Japanese complicated the standard colonial trope, provoking fascination and horror in the West.

    This paper will investigate the transnational circulation of everyday Ainu objects and how they acquired new, colonially-coded significance outside their original context. How did these objects reinforce or challenge standard colonial narratives of development? It will argue that American advisors and the Ainu objects and stories they brought home with them played a key role in legitimizing Japanese imperialism.

    [1] “President Clark’s Lecture on the Ainos of Japan,” Amherst Record, 20 November 1878.

    [2] Tessa Morris-Suzuki. “Creating the Frontier: Border, Identity and History in Japan's Far North.” East Asian History 7 (1994): 1-24.

  • 2.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    An Overlooked Golden Age?: Representations of the Heian Era in Contemporary Japanese Public History Venues2016In: Every Picture Tells A Story – The Visualization of Japanese History, Oslo, 10-11 March, 2016, 2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The Heian era (794-1185) saw the authorship of several of Japan’s foremost literary masterpieces, a flourishing of other art forms, and the development of an indigenous writing system. Moreover, it has typically been portrayed by historians as an age of peace and stability. In these and other respects, it would seem like useful material for the creation of a Japanese national identity. Indeed, as early as the 1880s, Suematsu Kenchō translated part of the period’s foremost literary work, The Tale of Genji, into English to show the Western world that Japan had a long history of cultural achievements. As Japan increasingly turned to totalitarianism, however, the Heian era was largely eschewed in favor of later periods of warrior rule and its representative work The Tale of Genji was considered dangerous for its insinuation that the Japanese imperial line was not unbroken since time immemorial.

    This study investigates how the Heian period is represented in public history fora such as museums and textbooks in contemporary Japan. It contends that despite Japan’s postwar attempt to refashion its image as a peace-loving, cultural nation, the Heian era has not been rehabilitated as a “golden age” but instead is sublated in these contexts. It argues that a variety of factors, especially the period’s sexualization by recent manga and anime versions of The Tale of Genji and Heian society’s different family structures, have led political elites to emphasize the Tokugawa period as the “golden age” in Japan’s past that should be considered representative of its “traditional” culture. The hegemonic power of anime and manga on the Japanese public’s imagining of the Heian era stymies the attempts of public history venues to depict the period as a “respectable” source of pride, leading them to downplay it instead.

  • 3.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Book Review: Review of Faye Yuan Kleeman, In Transit: The Formation of the Colonial East Asian Cultural Sphere2015In: Japanese Studies, ISSN 1037-1397, E-ISSN 1469-9338, Vol. 35, no 1, p. 136-138Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Cradle of Imperialism: Sapporo Agricultural College and the Transnational Exchange of Colonial Knowledge2017In: EAJS2017 : 15th International Conference of the European Association for Japanese Studies: Lisbon, August 30 - September 2, 2017, 2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Long featured in history textbooks, the story of William Smith Clark is familiar to most Japanese. Clark, the founding president of Massachusetts Agricultural College, was hired in 1876 by the Kaitakushi to establish a comparable institution in Hokkaidō. At Sapporo Agricultural College (SAC), Clark’s charisma, educational zeal, and his conversion of many students to Christianity became legendary. Many early SAC students, including Uchimura Kanzō, Satō Shōsuke and Nitobe Inazō, went on to become influential leaders. Clark’s legacy is most famously encapsulated in his supposed parting words, “Boys, be ambitious!” dramatically delivered from horseback before he rode off into the sunset.

    Far less well-known is the significant role that SAC played in the formation of Japanese imperialism. Despite Clark’s high profile and the plethora of biographical works about him, his tenure at SAC has never been analyzed from a postcolonial perspective. This is no doubt in part because Hokkaidō is seldom discussed in colonial terms despite the systematic dispossession of the Ainu using colonial technologies that its settlement involved. Hokkaidō became a model for Japan’s later colonial ventures, with many of SAC’s early students serving as leading colonial administrators. Most notably, Nitobe Inazō worked for the government general of Taiwan before becoming Tokyo Imperial University’s first professor of colonial studies, a new academic discipline that had debuted at SAC.

    This paper will investigate how Clark and one of his successors as president of SAC, David Pearce Penhallow, served as conduits for the transmission of colonial knowledge between Japan and the United States. Letters, newspaper articles and their published work reveals that both had a strong anthropological interest in the Ainu that was profoundly influenced by the colonial thought of the age. Both men not only spread such ideas and worldviews to their Japanese students but also defended Japanese expansionism after their return to the United States. The paper will conclude with a discussion of what terms Clark, Penhallow and Meiji leaders used to describe Hokkaidō – a “frontier”, “colony” or other kind of territory – and what this can tell us about their mindset and intentions.

  • 5.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Creating a Colonial Consciousness?: Reflections on Audience Reception at the Tokyo Colonization Exposition of 19122015In: Asia in Focus: A Nordic journal on Asia by early career researchers, ISSN 2446-0001, E-ISSN 2446-0001, no 2, p. 15-24Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is well-recognized in historical scholarship that in both Japan and the West, expositions were an important site for the dissemination of colonial propaganda in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, the question of how colonial themes were perceived and understood by visitors to these events remains largely unanswered in this literature. This essay reflects on the question of audience reception, or how media texts both influence and are interpreted by their consumers, through an examination of the Colonization Exposition [Takushoku hakurankai] that was held in Tokyo in 1912. Using a previously unexamined contemporary magazine article that describes visitor reactions, it argues that the messages that the organizers of this exposition intended to send were interpreted in diverse ways by the viewing public, ranging from acceptance to rejection. The discussion centers on notions of dignified public education, human exhibits and the methodological difficulties involved in determining media reception from historical documents.

  • 6.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Defining Taiwan: Turn-of-the-Century Japanese Colonial Classification2014In: The Politics of Colonial Comparison, Oxford, 29 September, 2014, 2014Conference paper (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.

  • 7.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Discourses of the Heian Era and National Identity Formation in Contemporary Japan2015Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper investigates the relationship between history and national identity, specifically how “golden ages” in a nation’s past are used for nationalist ends. Using discourse analysis, it examines how two types of popular historical venues, museums and textbooks, present Japan’s Heian period (794-1185) and explores what this reveals about Japanese national identity formation. The Heian era has a mixed legacy, making it an interesting case study of nationalist uses of history. The study concludes that there seem to be two major discourses of the Heian era in contemporary Japan: a literary discourse celebrating the epoch’s aesthetics and a historical discourse that is less enthusiastic. The first is far more prevalent, but it depicts certain facets of the Heian period, like differing gender norms, that apparently challenge the nationalist narrative of public history venues. The second discourse endeavors to rehabilitate the Heian era as another “respectable” piece of the master Japanese historical narrative. The presence of a strong literary discourse of the Heian that runs gainst some Japanese elites’ aims renders the Heian period an unappealing choice as a “golden age”, despite its achievements.

  • 8.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Engineering Japanese Settler Colonialism in Hokkaido: A Postcolonial Reevaluation of William Wheeler's Work for the Kaitakushi2018In: Asia in Focus: A Nordic journal on Asia by early career researchers, ISSN 2446-0001, Vol. 6, p. 2-13Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 1876, the Kaitakushi, the Japanese government agency responsible for the settlement of the northern island of Hokkaido, hired three Americans from Massachusetts Agricultural College: William Smith Clark, William Wheeler and David Pearce Penhallow. Their task was to establish a comparable institution in Hokkaido, Sapporo Agricultural College, that would spread American-style scientific agriculture among new settlers. Although recent historical research has highlighted the colonial nature of the modern settlement of Hokkaido and other American advisors’ role in transmitting modern technologies of settler colonialism, the tenure of these three professors has never been examined from a postcolonial perspective. This article will investigate the writings of engineer William Wheeler, who served as president of the new college for several years and advised the Kaitakushi on numerous infrastructure projects, to look for clues about his attitudes towards and role in Japanese settler colonialism in Hokkaido. Textual evidence reveals Wheeler’s awareness of and complicity in this undertaking.

  • 9.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Fashioning a Scientific Persona in a Colonial Borderland: The Many Identities of William Smith Clark in 1870s Colonial Hokkaido2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Even in so international a field as science, those who are hard on luck may sometimes seek a new start overseas. In the 1870s, Massachusetts-native William Smith Clark had accrued many achievements, including a prestigious doctorate from Göttingen University, a successful research career in botany, a position as founding president of a land grant college in his hometown of Amherst and a reputation as a charismatic, skilled orator. Nevertheless, frustrated by university politics, financial difficulties and perhaps a midlife crisis, Clark jumped on the chance to establish a copy of Massachusetts Agricultural College on the northeast Asian island of Hokkaido when recruited by the Japanese government.

    Hokkaido at this time was the site of an ambitious settler colonial project undertaken by the new Meiji regime to demonstrate Japan’s credentials as a civilized, “great power.” In this liminal, multifarious contact zone far from New England and even Japan proper, Clark skillfully managed to combine numerous identities, including scientist, amateur missionary, teacher, explorer, farmer, bearded white man, Yankee and father figure to craft a flamboyant persona that won the lasting respect of his students and Japan as a whole. Clark is memorialized with laudatory biographies, statues and history textbook entries in Japan, but his role in Japanese settler colonialism has received less attention. Indeed, his persona was asserted largely at the expense of the indigenous Ainu people. Clark’s success and fame in Japan have also overshadowed his professional demise after returning to America. Unable to successfully reintegrate to American society, Clark’s inflated persona would destroy his academic and scientific career as he embarked on ever wilder and risker adventures, eventually losing everything. Using Clark’s correspondence and publications, this paper will critically investigate the creation of Clark’s complex identity, involving the creative combination of multiple discourses of power in a colonial borderland.

  • 10.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Harmless Entertainment or Propaganda?: Discourses of Empire in early 20th century Japanese Expositions2014In: Svenska historikermötet (Conference for Swedish Historians), Stockholm, 8-10 May 2014, 2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    With the upsurge of scholarly interest in Japanese colonialism 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 the development of a transnational culture of imperialism. 

    In this paper, I will explore these themes in relation to colonial exhibits at various early 20th century expositions, both within Japan and internationally. As many scholars have recognized, international expositions were a significant venue for spreading discourses of empire to a broad public.[3] They were also, however, crucial nodes at which different countries’ imperialisms interacted, and hence one of the key sites at which a transnational imperial culture developed. Beyond their oft-stated aim of educating the general public, imperial exhibitions at these international fairs were a location where colonial administrators, businessmen, or academics from the field of colonial studies could learn from each other’s methods, establish trade contacts and size each other up. By regularly exhibiting their various colonies in the same venue (large expositions were occurring almost annually by the early 20th century), the various imperial powers assured that their colonialisms remained within the same conceptual sphere. Like a group of closely related languages, the colonialisms of the different imperial powers retained certain particular characteristics, but their frequent interaction prevented them from becoming mutually unintelligible. Japan’s position as a latecomer and an outsider is particularly interesting from this perspective.

    Japan’s Meiji leaders were quick to see the importance and usefulness of expositions in furthering national interest abroad and committed significant resources to participation in world’s fairs from early on. Interestingly, however, they also quickly began to adapt the genre to domestic ends, holding a number of industrial trade fairs of an increasingly grand scale in the last decades of the 19th century. After becoming a colonial power in its own right, Japan even began to hold numerous expositions in its own colonies in an attempt to awe its imperial subjects with Japan’s technological and military might.[4] Curiously, while Japan generally presented a traditional image of itself overseas, with exhibits displayed in wooden replicas of temples and castles, it chose to exhibit itself in Western guise within the Japanese empire through, among other things, monumental neoclassical architecture.[5] Analyzing Japanese colonial displays in particular, I will attempt to explain this paradoxical tendency and its implications for Japan’s role in the transnational culture of imperialism.

    I will focus on two expositions that are particularly significant but which have received scant scholarly attention: the Japan-British Exhibition of 1910 in London, in which Japan was especially keen on spreading a favourable impression of its colonial rule in preparation for the annexation of Korea that same year, and the Colonization Exposition (Takushoku Hakurankai) that was held in Tokyo two years later. Comparing the exhibits at these two fairs will allow me to gauge to what extent Japanese mimesis of Western imperial discourses influenced domestic imperial propaganda, as opposed to rhetoric aimed at shaping international public opinion.  To what extent did international imperial discourses penetrate Japan’s domestic imperial propaganda? Did Japan pursue different discursive strategies for “selling” its empire to domestic and foreign audiences and what results did these strategies have? Through a comparative analysis of these two expositions, I hope to reach a deeper understanding of Japan’s place in the transnational culture of imperialism.

    [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.

    [3] See, for example, MacKenzie, John M. Propaganda and Empire: The Manipulation of British Public Opinion 1880-1960.  Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984.

    [4] One of the leading Japanese-language studies of these expositions is Yamaji Katsuhiko (山路勝彦). 近代日本の植民地博覧会 (The Colonial Expositions of Modern Japan). Tokyo: Fukyōsha, 2008.

    [5] For a discussion of the significance of exposition architecture, see Oh Se-Mi. Consuming the Modern: The Everyday in Colonial Seoul 1915-1937. Dissertation, Columbia University, 2008.

  • 11.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Japan in the Transnational Culture of Imperialism, 1895-19152014In: 14th European Association of Japanese Studies Conference, Ljubljana, 27-30 August, 2014, 2014Conference paper (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.

  • 12.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Moving Up in the World: Japan’s Manipulation of Colonial Imagery at the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition2018In: Museum History Journal, ISSN 1936-9816, E-ISSN 1936-9824, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 24-41Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article uses 1910 Japan–British Exhibition as a case study for examining the strategies employed by Japanese leaders to win Western acceptance for Japan as a ‘great power’ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Like other contemporaneous imperial powers, Japanese leaders employed colonial imagery and discourses of otherness at large expositions to raise their status compared to ostensibly inferior colonised peoples. This article argues that contrary to some previous assertions, Japan presented its history and traditional culture at Western expositions not as an intentional concession to Western Orientalism but rather in an attempt to show that an alternative path to modernity was possible. Though largely successful in winning Western recognition as an important empire, Japanese leaders were nonetheless unable to fully escape becoming victim to the very colonial tools they sought to employ.

  • 13.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    [ Review of ] Robert Thomas Tierney, Monster of the Twentieth Century: Kōtoku Shūsui and Japan’s First Anti-Imperialist Movement: Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015. 280 pp. ISBN:97805202863442016In: Itinerario: International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction, ISSN 0165-1153, E-ISSN 2041-2827, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 155-157Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 14.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Rule by Association: Japan in the Global Trans-Imperial Culture, 1868-19122018Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Criticizing one-empire approaches, calls to apply much-needed transnational perspectives and methodologies to colonial history have recently emerged. This groundbreaking scholarship has already revealed that the competition between different European empires after 1850 has typically been overemphasized; in fact, a transnational perspective reveals extensive cooperation between the “great powers” of the age, along with myriad examples of exchanges and transfers of colonial knowledge. In this dissertation, I argue that during the height of the New Imperialism during the latter half of the long nineteenth century, one can go even further and describe the co-production of a “global trans-imperial culture” by all of the colonial powers of the age, facilitated by a common “knowledge infrastructure,” including international congresses, trans-imperial scholarly exchange and expositions. I contend that Japan was an important member of this “colonial club” that was deeply engaged with evolving global colonial discourse and practice throughout this period. Emerging trans-imperial historiography has largely neglected Japan, while historians of Japan have tended to exaggerate its uniqueness in global imperial history and often missed important global trends in colonial policy that explain many characteristics of Japanese expansionism. Furthermore, an oversimplified description of Meiji expansionism as “mimetic imperialism” shared by some Japan scholars and global imperial historians ignores the degree to which all imperial powers imitated each other during this period and the great extent to which Japan was involved in multidirectional inter-imperial exchanges.

    The dissertation has three interrelated aims. First, it applies cutting-edge theories of inter-imperial exchanges and cooperation to the Japanese Empire, arguing that Japan took part in a developing global trans-imperial culture throughout the Meiji period. Focusing on connections rather than comparison, it traces how and when different examples of Western colonial knowledge came to Japan and ways in which Japan influenced other empires, investigating trans-imperial conduits like foreign consultants, scholarly texts and international expositions. Secondly, it works to dismantle persistent notions of Japan as a marginal latecomer to this community of imperial powers by demonstrating that Japan engaged with inter-imperially circulating discourses and practices from as early as 1868 and contributed to the development of the culture as a whole. The dissertation joins a growing body of critical work that argues that Meiji-era Hokkaidō is best understood as a colony in which modern technologies of settler colonialism were systematically employed starting directly after the Meiji Restoration.

    Finally, it employs theories of colonial association as a kind of overarching case-study to illustrate how ideas and practices of colonial governance circulated over imperial boundaries and concurrently influenced all empires of the time. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the strategy of assimilating colonized peoples became increasingly discredited among the colonial policy elite worldwide. New notions of how best to rule a colonial territory based on Social Darwinism and British and Dutch experiments in indirect rule, later collectively referred to as the “association” of colonizer and colonized with minimal cultural interchange, became correspondingly influential. Although assimilation and association are frequently treated as unchanging traits of specific empires (with France and Japan typically identified as assimilationist and Britain and the Netherlands as associationist), this dissertation contends that shifts between assimilation and association happened concurrently in different empires around the world, providing important evidence of a common trans-imperial culture. I will demonstrate that Japanese colonial elites engaged with these ideas at the same time as their counterparts in Western empires, with Japan’s famous radical assimilation campaign coming only in the final years of its empire. Revealing the strong influence of associationist thought among Meiji leaders helps to illuminate the consistency and “timeliness” of Japanese colonial discourse and practice and challenges anachronistic notions of the Japanese Empire always being characterized by a unique form of colonial assimilationism.

    The empirical “body” of the dissertation is divided into three large, thematic sections. Part I investigates the trans-imperial linkages between Japan and the United States during Japan’s colonization of Hokkaidō around the 1870s. Chapters 1 - 3 consider the role of three American professors, William Smith Clark, William Wheeler and David Pearce Penhallow, who were hired to establish an agricultural college as part of the colonial development of Hokkaidō. I argue that these American professors contributed to Japan’s colonial expansionism in at least three ways: by helping the Kaitakushi physically transform Hokkaidō into a Japanese settler colony, by spreading a colonial worldview according to which the Ainu were portrayed as a primitive, dying race similar to Native Americans, and finally by acting as propagandists for Japanese expansionism after their return. Chapter 4 considers continuing links to American technologies of settler colonialism in the next generation through the writings of Satō Shōsuke on Hokkaidō’s colonial status. Satō graduated in Sapporo Agricultural College’s first class and later studied land policy in America before returning and becoming president of his alma mater.

    Part II investigates Japan’s early colonization of Taiwan and the debates over its colonial status, which remained highly ambiguous for more than a decade after its acquisition by Japan in 1895. Chapter 5 considers the opinions of three Western colonial consultants from France, Britain and the United States who were engaged by the Japanese government in 1895 from the perspective of assimilation and association. I contend that contrary to previous assertions, all three individuals should be understood as proponents of globally fashionable theories of colonial association rather than as advocates of different national colonial cultures. Chapter 6 is devoted to the writings of Takekoshi Yosaburō, a prominent Japanese proponent of association. I argue that the position of his 1905 book Japanese Rule in Formosa in the domestic political debate over Taiwan’s status has not been fully appreciated and that its 1907 English translation played a crucial role in linking Japan into the trans-imperial academic field of colonial policy studies. Thanks to the efforts of Takekoshi and other propagandists, Taiwan came to be seen as a model colony in the West, especially in the United States where it was widely considered to be a good example for the Philippines, raising Japan’s status among world colonial powers.

    Part III shifts focus from colonial territories to expositions, which Japan used to present its empire to a mass public in Japan, its colonies and the West. I argue that expositions were one of the most important sites at which the global trans-imperial culture was created and maintained. Chapter 7 investigates how the Japanese Empire was presented to a Western public at the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition in London, where it displayed its various colonial territories in detail for the first time outside of Japan. Chapter 8 analyzes presentations of the constituent parts of the Japanese Empire at the Takushoku hakurankai or Colonization Exposition that was held in Tokyo two years later.

    Based on the above case studies, this dissertation concludes that contrary to common assertions, colonial assimilation was not a salient characteristic of Meiji imperialism, and that Japanese leaders did not emulate specific French assimilationist models as is commonly asserted. Instead, leading colonialists in both France and Japan, as well as other empires, were concurrently influenced by new, anti-assimilationist ideas of colonial association, including conserving resources by allowing indigenous laws and customs to be maintained as much as possible, making colonies financially self-sufficient and endowing a separate colonial administration with vast discretionary power. This is not to say that assimilation did not have proponents in Japan and that it did not sometimes inform Japanese colonial policy, but rather that it did not form the dominant mode of Japanese colonialism at this time. While examples of assimilationism can be found in Meiji Japan, I contend that these have been anachronistically exaggerated by later historians as a result of their greater familiarity of Japan’s later radical assimilation drive. The ideas that would later be collectively known as association so dominated the global trans-imperial discourse of colonial administration at this time that countries like Japan that aspired to influence and respect by the world’s “great powers” could hardly afford to ignore them. Assimilation was widely censured as a failed policy by inept “Latin” colonizers like Spain and could therefore only be advocated by Japanese politicians in a domestic context. Even then, opponents of assimilation had a powerful tool at their disposal in the ostensibly scientific arguments of numerous well-known Western theorists. Though not always completely successful, Japanese overseas propaganda still managed to use presentations of Taiwan’s efficient management along associationist lines to convince many Westerners of Japan’s aptitude for colonization, allowing it to participate in many of the key institutions of the global trans-imperial culture and even, at times, to serve as an inspiration to other empires.

  • 15.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Self Abroad, Other at Home: Turn-of-the-Century Japanese Imperial Exhibitions2014In: BAJS Advanced Postgraduate Conference, SOAS, London, 25 April, 2014, 2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of my dissertation is to situate Japanese imperialism during the period 1895-1931 within an evolving transnational culture of imperialism that was dominated by the Western colonial powers, but in which Japan was also an active participant.  How did Japan deploy Western imperial discourses and what did its expansion add to the global, trans-imperial culture of the time? Drawing on Homi Bhabha’s concept of “colonial mimesis,” I will argue that analogously to the relationship between coloniser and colonised described by Bhabha, Japan’s imitation of Western imperialism exposed the ambivalence of Western discourses of civilisation and destabilised the Western colonial order. At the same time, Japan’s interactions with Western imperialisms strongly influenced the character of its colonial rule and the rhetoric used to justify it.

     

    In this paper, I will explore these themes in relation to colonial exhibits at various early 20th century expositions, both within Japan and internationally. Special attention will be given to the Japan-British Exhibition of 1910, in which Japan was especially keen on spreading a favourable impression of its colonial rule in preparation for the annexation of Korea that same year. This exposition is a useful site for both analysing Japan’s use of colonial discourse and measuring British opinions of Japanese imperialism.  In addition, I will draw parallels with the Japanese government’s presentation of its empire to its own people in domestic exhibitions, notably the Colonisation Exposition (Takushoku Hakurankai) of 1912 that was held in Tokyo.  This will allow me to gauge to what extent Japanese mimesis of Western imperial discourses influenced domestic imperial propaganda, as opposed to rhetoric aimed at shaping international public opinion.

  • 16.
    Hennessey, John
    Lund University;University of Notre Dame, USA.
    Shattered Images: French Indochina as a failed symbolic resource2015In: Imperial expectations and realities: El Dorados, utopias and dystopias / [ed] Andrekos Varnava, Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2015, p. 228-247Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Several generations of French leaders had high expectations for French Indochina’s usefulness as a symbolic resource for unifying the nation after times of disaster, but in fact the colony time and again proved to be little more than a burden.  This chapter explores how a variety of factors, not the least of which was poor planning on the part of the French métropole, dashed the high hopes French leaders had for Indochina’s symbolic and strategic importance throughout the period of colonization. 

  • 17.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Shock and Awe: Representations of Colonial Violence at Japanese Expositions and Metropolitan Tours for Colonial Subjects2018In: Global Challenges: Borders, Populism and the Postcolonial Condition: An international conference on critical theory, postcoloniality, migration and populism. Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden, 14-16 June 2018, 2018Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 18.
    Hennessey, John
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Cultural Sciences.
    Strategies for Investigating ‘Popular Imperialism’2012In: Global Communities: Transnational and Transdisciplinary Exchanges, Linnaeus University, Växjö, 29-30 October, 2012, 2012Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Classic imperial history generally focused on diplomacy and administration at an elite level.  With the rise of subaltern studies and postcolonial theory, attention was shifted to the colonized populations.  In recent years, many scholars have begun investigating settlers and their interactions with colonized peoples.  However, a fourth category of people involved in the imperial project, the metropolitan population of the various imperial powers, has received little scholarly attention.[1]  Nevertheless, the fact remains that most of the major colonizing countries were democracies during the era of New Imperialism, thereby implicating their populations to at least some degree in the colonial project.

    The relatively few attempts to study “popular imperialism”, or the degree of involvement of metropolitan populations in their countries’ expansion overseas, have been somewhat problematic.  The first group of historians to analyze popular imperialism was strongly influenced by Marxism and often became bogged down by attempts to define reified class categories that were stymied by a more complex historical reality.   Moreover, in studying the attitudes of the metropolitan population, popular imperialism does not focus on the colonized, potentially opening it to criticism from postcolonial scholars.  Finally, while historians of popular imperialism have been very successful in unearthing vast amounts of colonial propaganda targeted at metropolitan populations, it remains unclear what real affect these had on public opinion and government policy. 

    Nevertheless, I believe that studying popular imperialism helps to answer important questions that complement those posed by more classic postcolonial scholars.  It can reveal insights into why countries devoted so many resources to colonizing distant and, in many cases, (to the metropole) unimportant lands.  More importantly, it can help answer the humanitarian question of how such horrendous atrocities that accompanied nearly all colonial projects could be condoned (or ignored?) by the citizens of the democratic countries that undertook them.  What does this say about how (or whether) such people residing in imperial metropoles were cognizant of belonging to global communities? My paper will analyze the various approaches used to study popular imperialism from the 1980s until the present day and will argue that some of their methodological tools can be valuable to future studies.  I will conclude by describing how they could be applied to my own field, Japanese colonialism, where the question of collective responsibility is particularly strongly contested.

    [1] At least from an imperial perspective.  They can rightly be said to have dominated history-writing otherwise.

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