Organizer: Adam Schneider, Harvard University
Chair and Discussant: Y. Tak Matsusaka, Wellesley College
Economic development and identity formation were central to the construction and sustenance of the Japanese empire. The strategic concerns of Japanese leaders led them to attempt the economic integration of the empire and cultural assimilation of colonial subjects. This panel explores how and why Japan's economic and cultural policies evolved from the direction envisioned in Japan's early colonialism.
The first paper examines Taguchi Ukichi's vision of Taiwan as a commercial stepping stone to the markets of South China and Southeast Asia. Taguchi's laissez-faire colonialism will be contrasted with the "positive" colonial policy of the Meiji government.
The second paper critically reexamines the distinction between "martial rule" (budan seiji) and "cultural rule" (bunka seiji), looking at different ideological formations in Korea and the metropole. The construction of an ideology of cultural rule under Saito Makoto's regime reveals that Japanese colonialism as an ideological structure was unstable and contested.
The third paper uses the Taiwan Development Corporation to reassess Taiwan's place in the wartime empire. It demonstrates that the colony was not just an isolated laboratory for assimilation and other domestic colonial policies but an active participant in Japanese expansion.
The final paper, a study of colonial education in Korea, will describe how Government-General officials compiled textbooks to foster a Korean subaltern identity, a policy which arose after early attempts at assimilation had failed.
"Laissez-Faire Colonialism": Taguchi Ukichi's Views on the Colonization
Michael Glen Cutler, Harvard University
This paper will trace the development of Taguchi Ukichi's views on the colonization of Taiwan. As the editor of the Tokyo Keizai Zasshi, Taguchi is most often remembered as the leading proponent of laissez-faire economics in the Meiji period. But he was also the first Meiji intellectual to urge the adoption of a systematic colonial policy-a policy which might be described today as free trade imperialism-to ensure Japan's emergence as a leading center of global commerce. Taguchi's earliest articles on colonialism (published in 1883) set forth a vision of laissez-faire colonialism free from the excesses of the state-led development initiatives implemented by the Hokkaido Colonization Board. Taguchi stressed that Japanese colonization efforts should be based on the peaceful emigration of business people to overseas colonies. In his view, colonies should serve as commercial, not agricultural, appendages of the metropole. Initially an opponent of Japan's occupation of Taiwan, he later proposed that Japan develop Taiwan as a free-trade port which could compete with Hong Kong, and serve as a linchpin of South China commerce. Taguchi's views on colonial economic policy will be contrasted with the economic policy of the Meiji government, and the "positive" (sekkyokushugi) colonial policy implemented by Taiwan's first civilian administrator, Goto Shimpei.
"Cultural Rule" as a Colonial Ideology: Saito Makoto and the
Government-General in 1920s Korea
Kyu Hyun Kim, Harvard University
The standard historical narrative of the Korean colonial government emphasizes the drastic change in the policies of the Government-General supposedly brought about by the March First insurrection in 1919. The terms "martial rule" (budan seiji) and "cultural rule" (bunka seij) are respectively used for the colonial policies under the tutelage of Terauchi Masatake and Hasegawa Yoshimichi (1910-1919) on the one hand, and Saito Makoto (1919-1927) on the other. There are few works in any language that examine the actual policies and ideological configurations of the Saito administration, putting them in the context of larger sociopolitical changes taking place in the Japanese empire in the late 1910s and early 1920s.
Drawing on Saito Makoto's personal papers, among other sources, and by focusing on linkages between domestic politics in the Japanese center and those on the Korean periphery, this paper seeks to address the question of the relative autonomy of the Government-General vis-à-vis the central state. It sheds light on the complex interactions among various contending agents of the imperialist project, including colonial administrators, the central bureaucracies, intellectuals and opinion makers in the Japanese metropole, and the Korean elite. Ultimately, the construction of the ideology of "cultural rule" under Saito Makoto's regime reveals that Japanese colonialism as an ideological structure was highly unstable and contested, unlike the picture portrayed in the Korean nationalist historiography.
An Empire for Taiwan: The Taiwan Development Corporation (1936-1946) and Japanese
Adam Schneider, Harvard University
Although Japanese expansion during World War II has received much scholarly attention, the role in that expansion of its colonies and of Taiwan in particular is only beginning to be understood. Taiwan appears in the existing historiography almost like a remote prefecture in rural Japan: a challenge for military mobilization and a source of cannon fodder, but far from the imperial frontier and a passive recipient of commands emanating from Tokyo. The history of the Taiwan Development Corporation demonstrates that Taiwan's role was active and complex. Company operations reflected the aims and history of the colonial administration in Taiwan, not simply the general imperatives of the Japanese empire.
Created to foster development in Taiwan and economic expansion into Southeast Asia and South China, the activities of this public policy company (kokusaku kaisha) ranged broadly from forestry, agriculture, and fishing to chemicals and mining. Although towards the end of the war it functioned increasingly as a provider of logistical support to the military in occupied territories, the company's early thrust into Indochina and Hainan Island illustrate the ambitious efforts of the colonial administration in Taiwan to carve out a sphere of influence centered on Taihoku as much as Tokyo. Liquidation followed Japan's surrender, but the decade of the Taiwan Development Corporation suggests that a reassessment of Taiwan's place on the imperial perimeter is in order.
Education and the Construction of a Colonial Identity in 1920s Korea
Leighanne Yuh, University of California, Los Angeles
Korean nationalist scholarship has claimed that the purpose of Japanese colonialism was to obliterate Korean identity and culture, and to "Japanize" the people of the peninsula. However, recent scholarship by Michael Robinson and Henry Em, among others, suggests that the Japanese were more interested in constructing a distinct identity for Koreans as a subaltern ethnic group within a multi-ethnic empire. This paper seeks to address the question of identity formation among the colonized Koreans through a study of the colonial education system. Nationalist scholarship has argued that the Japanese sought to create loyal imperial subjects by obliterating Korean culture and language. However, morals textbooks printed in the 1920's by the Japanese Government-General in Chosen suggest that this was not the case. An examination of these textbooks reveals the incorporation of Korean customs and language into the curricula. These textbooks and their corresponding teacher's supplements, ranging from grades one to six, are the primary sources for this research paper. It is clear that the Japanese were trying to create distinctions within the empire, by assigning the Koreans in the junior position in relation to the Japanese. Local Korean customs, for instance, instead of being eradicated, were frequently enlisted as instruments in creating this new scheme of identity relations. In conclusion, this paper will demonstrate that the Japanese colonial policy in the 1920s was aimed at a construction, rather than destruction, of a Korean sub-altern identity.