Japanese colonialism

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Japanese Colonialism
Colonial Empire
1895–1945[1]


Flag

The Empire of Japan in 1942.
Capital Tokyo
Political structure Colonial Empire
History
 -  Established 1895
 -  Disestablished 1945[1]
Currency Japanese yen,
Korean yen,
Taiwanese yen,
Japanese military yen

Japan built up an empire of overseas colonies in the Western Pacific and East Asia region from 1895.[1] Victories over China and Russia expanded the Japanese sphere of influence, notably in Formosa and Korea, but South Sakhalin also became a part of metropolitan Japan as Karafuto Prefecture in 1905.

Pre-1895[edit]

The first overseas territories that Japan acquired were the islands of the surrounding seas. In the 1870s and 1880s, Japan established control over the Bonin, Ryukyu, and Kurile islands as well as strengthening its hold on Hokkaido. But this effort was less the initial step toward colonial expansion than it was a reassertion of national authority over territories traditionally within the Japanese cultural sphere.[2] This was similar to nation building in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe.

Acquisition of Colonies[edit]

"The Nation, Volume 74", published in 1902, described the conditions leading to Japanese colonialism : "In all the ameliorating conditions every one must rejoice; but when these are coupled with the old-time lack of self-control leading to universal early marriages, a problem is rolling up before which Japanese statesmen are appalled. At the present rate of increase there will, before the middle of this century, be a hundred million people to provide for. It Is this prospect which is leading Japanese statesmen to make such frantic efforts to secure opportunity for colonization. Being practically shut off from going to other foreign countries, and Formosa being already largely occupied, Japan would naturally look to Korea and Mantchuria; but of these places Korea would afford only partial relief, both because of its limited area and of its present population. The northern province of Mantchuria, however, is still almost as much in a state of nature as were the prairies of the Mississippi valley when the Indians roamed freely over them."[3]

Following seizures of German territories in 1914, the League of Nations granted Japan mandates over some former German possessions in the Western Pacific after World War I.

With the Japanese expansion into Manchuria in the early 1930s, Japan adopted a policy of setting up and/or supporting puppet states in conquered regions. In this less obviously imperialist form Japan controlled many of the states of the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere which came under Japanese influence from 1943 to 1945.

Colonial control over the far-flung territories from Tokyo ended after the Allies defeated Japan in 1945: the extent of Japanese governance reverted to the four home islands and the Ryukyus.

Administration[edit]

Plowman recounts how the lack of skilled personnel led to the establishment of puppet-governments and the promotion of indigenous elites in the administration of territories which came under Japanese control in the 1940s.[4]

Economic development[edit]

According to Atul Kohli, the David K.E. Bruce Professor of International Affairs and Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton, "the Japanese made extensive use of state power for their own economic development and then used the same state power to pry open and transform Korea in a relatively short period of time".[5] Japan was "decisive in altering both the nature of the Korean state and the relationship of this state to various social classes."[6] How the Japanese centralised bureaucratic style of government was transferred to Korea; how they developed Korean human capital by a considerable expansion of education; how the Japanese invested heavily in infrastructure. Kohli's conclusion is that "the highly cohesive and disciplining state that the Japanese helped to construct in colonial Korea turned out to be an efficacious economic actor. The state utilised its bureaucratic capacities to undertake numerous economic tasks: collecting more taxes, building infrastructure, and undertaking production directly. More important, this highly purposive state made increasing production one of its priorities and incorporated property-owning classes into production-oriented alliances".[7] This sprawling bureaucratic state continued post-World War II and after the Korean War. Japan's early colonial industrialisation of Korea also made it easier to rebuild after the Korean War, because there was no need to begin industrialisation ab initio. Examining Korea's policies and achievements in the 1960s and 1970s, Kohli states that during this period the country was firmly heading towards "cohesive-capitalist development, mainly by re-creating an efficacious but brutal state that intervened extensively in the economy".[8] South Korean economic development was not market-driven—rather the "state intervened heavily to promote exports, using both market and non-market tools to achieve its goals".[9]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Peattie 1988, p. 217.
  2. ^ Peattie 1988, p. 224.
  3. ^ The Nation, Volume 74. VOLUME LXXIV. NEW YORK: NEW YORK EVENING POST COMPANY. 1902. p. 187. Retrieved Dec 20, 2011. "In all the ameliorating conditions every one must rejoice; but when these are coupled with the old-time lack of self-control leading to universal early marriages, a problem is rolling up before which Japanese statesmen are appalled. At the present rate of increase there will, before the middle of this century, be a hundred million people to provide for. It Is this prospect which is leading Japanese statesmen to make such frantic efforts to secure opportunity for colonization. Being practically shut off from going to other foreign countries, and Formosa being already largely occupied, Japan would naturally look to Korea and Mantchuria; but of these places Korea would afford only partial relief, both because of its limited area and of its present population. The northern province of Mantchuria, however, is still almost as much in a state of nature as were the prairies of the Mississippi valley when the Indians roamed freely over them." 
  4. ^ Plowright, John (2007). The causes, course and outcomes of World War Two. Histories and Controversies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-333-79345-9. Retrieved 2010-08-29. "The success of the Japanese had other consequences for Britain's—and others'—former colonies. Lacking sufficient numbers of skilled personnel to administer their newly conquered lands, they sometimes either set up puppet governments or entrusted relatively high administrative responsibilities to the local native élites whom the former colonial powers had hitherto systematically kept in lower grade jobs[...]" 
  5. ^ Kohli 2004, p. 27.
  6. ^ Kohli 2004, p. 31.
  7. ^ Kohli 2004, p. 56.
  8. ^ Kohli 2004, p. 84.
  9. ^ Kohli 2004, p. 119.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Myers, Ramon Hawley; Peattie, Mark R. (1984). The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-521-22352-0. 
  • Peattie, Mark R. (1988). "Chapter 5 - The Japanese Colonial Empire 1895-1945". The Cambridge History of Japan Vol. 6. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22352-0. 
  • Peattie, Mark (1992). Nan'Yo: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese in Micronesia, 1885-1945. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1480-0. 
  • Kohli, Atul (2004). State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-54525-9.