Ministry of Colonial Affairs
The original Ministry of Colonial Affairs was the short-lived Hokkaidō Colonization Office, established in the early Meiji period by Prime Minister Kuroda Kiyotaka to protect Japan's sparely populated northern frontier against encroachment by Imperial Russia by encouraging the settlement of ex-soldiers as militia-farmers in Hokkaidō. This was followed by the even shorter-lived Colonial Administration Department within the office of the Governor-General of Taiwan. Established on 2 April 1896 by General Takashima Tomonosuke, it was intended to encourage Japanese investment and settlement in Taiwan, after the acquisition of that island by Japan as a result of the First Sino-Japanese War. The office was abolished on 2 September 1897.
The Japanese government continued to provide sporadic encouragement of overseas emigration to help relieve overpopulation of the Japanese home islands and to help spread Japanese influence overseas. During the late Meiji and early Taishō periods, large numbers of Japanese emigrated to Hawaii, California and the Philippines, and lesser numbers to China, South America and Southeast Asia. However, the emigration of Japanese to foreign countries did nothing to help secure the peripheral areas of the Japanese Empire itself.
After the acquisition of Korea, Karafuto, and the Kwantung Leased Territory as a result of the Russo-Japanese War, a Colonization Bureau (拓務局 Takumukyoku) was established within the Home Ministry on 22 June 1910. The bureau came under much criticism for its ineffectiveness, and on 10 June 1929, it was elevated into a separate cabinet-level ministry under Prime Minister Giichi Tanaka.
The new ministry was intended to coordinate emigration and settlement in all exterior territories of Japan, and had supervisory responsibility for:
However, the ministry did not actually sponsor emigration to those territories. It only provided advice and cooperated with private emigration sponsorship companies.
The ministry also oversaw operations of the South Manchuria Railway Company, but its authority did not extend to Manchuria due to strong resistance by the Ministry of War, who wanted to keep control over the future economic development of Manchuria to itself.
Likewise, the Governor-General of Korea, who was accustomed to virtual autonomy, rejected the new ministry's control and continued to administer Korea with little interference.
Ministers of Colonial Affairs
|Portrait||Name||Term of office||Cabinet|
|10 June 1929||2 July 1929||Tanaka|
|2 July 1929||14 April 1931||Hamaguchi|
|14 April 1931||9 September 1931||2nd Wakatsuki|
|9 September 1931||13 December 1931||2nd Wakatsuki|
|13 December 1931||26 May 1932||Inukai|
|26 May 1932||8 July 1934||Saitō|
|8 July 1934||9 October 1934||Okada|
|9 October 1934||9 March 1936||Okada|
|9 March 1936||2 February 1937||Hirota|
|2 February 1937||4 June 1937||Hayashi|
|4 June 1937||26 May 1938||1st Konoe|
|26 May 1938||30 September 1938||1st Konoe|
|30 September 1938||29 October 1938||1st Konoe|
|29 October 1938||7 April 1939||1st Konoe|
|7 April 1939||30 August 1939||Hiranuma|
|30 August 1939||16 January 1940||Abe|
|16 January 1940||22 July 1940||Yonai|
|22 July 1940||28 September 1940||2nd Konoe|
|28 September 1940||18 July 1941||2nd Konoe|
|18 July 1941||18 October 1941||3rd Konoe|
|18 October 1941||2 December 1941||Tōjō|
|2 December 1941||2 November 1942||Tōjō|
- Beasley, W.G. (1991). Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-822168-1.
- Ching, Leo T.S. (2001). Becoming Japanese: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22553-8.
- Myers, Raymond; Mark R Peattie (1987). The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-10222-8.
- Townsend, Susan C. (2000). Yanihara Tadao and Japanese Colonial Policy: Redeeming Empire. RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-7007-1275-5.