Ministry of Colonial Affairs

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The Ministry of Colonial Affairs (拓務省, Takumushō) was a cabinet-level ministry in the government of the Empire of Japan from 1929 to 1942.

History[edit]

Poster encouraging Japanese emigration to South America

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.

On 1 November 1942, the Ministry of Colonial Affairs was abolished, and its functions divided between the Foreign Ministry and the newly created Ministry of Greater East Asia.

Ministers of Colonial Affairs[edit]

Portrait Name Term of office Cabinet
1 Tanaka Giichi.jpg Tanaka Giichi
田中 義一
10 June 1929 2 July 1929 Tanaka
2 Genji matsuda.jpg Matsuda Genji
松田 源治
2 July 1929 14 April 1931 Hamaguchi
3 Shujiro hara.jpg Hara Shūjirō
原 脩次郎
14 April 1931 9 September 1931 2nd Wakatsuki
4 Reijiro Wakatsuki.jpg Wakatsuki Reijirō
若槻 礼次郎
9 September 1931 13 December 1931 2nd Wakatsuki
5 Toyosuke hata.jpg Hata Toyosuke
秦 豊助
13 December 1931 26 May 1932 Inukai
6 Ryutaro nagai.jpg Nagai Ryūtarō
永井 柳太郎
26 May 1932 8 July 1934 Saitō
7 Keisuke Okada 2.jpg Okada Keisuke
岡田 啓介
8 July 1934 9 October 1934 Okada
8 Hideo Kodama.jpg Kodama Hideo
兒玉 秀雄
9 October 1934 9 March 1936 Okada
9 Hidejirō Nagata 1.jpg Nagata Hidejirō
永田秀次郎
9 March 1936 2 February 1937 Hirota
10 Toyotarō Yūki.jpg Yūki Toyotarō
結城 豊太郎
2 February 1937 4 June 1937 Hayashi
11 Son'yu Ōtani.jpg Ōtani Sonyu
大谷 尊由
4 June 1937 26 May 1938 1st Konoe
12 Kazushige Ugaki 3.jpg Ugaki Kazushige
宇垣 一成
26 May 1938 30 September 1938 1st Konoe
13 Fumimaro Konoe profile.jpg Konoe Fumimaro
近衞 文麿
30 September 1938 29 October 1938 1st Konoe
14 Yoshiaki Hatta 1939.jpg Hatta Yoshiaki
八田 嘉明
29 October 1938 7 April 1939 1st Konoe
15 Kuniaki Koiso 2.jpg Koiso Kuniaki
小磯國昭
7 April 1939 30 August 1939 Hiranuma
16 Tsuneo kanemitsu.jpg Kanemitsu Tsuneo
金光 庸夫
30 August 1939 16 January 1940 Abe
17 Kuniaki Koiso 2.jpg Koiso Kuniaki
小磯國昭
16 January 1940 22 July 1940 Yonai
18 Yohsuke matsuoka1932(cleaned).jpg Matsuoka Yōsuke
松岡 洋右
22 July 1940 28 September 1940 2nd Konoe
19 Kiyoshi akita.jpg Akita Kiyoshi
秋田 清
28 September 1940 18 July 1941 2nd Konoe
20 Toyoda Teijirō.JPG Toyoda Teijirō
豊田 貞次郎
18 July 1941 18 October 1941 3rd Konoe
21 Shigenori Togo.jpg Tōgō Shigenori
東郷茂徳
18 October 1941 2 December 1941 Tōjō
22 Hiroya Ino.jpg Ino Hiroya
井野 碩哉
2 December 1941 2 November 1942 Tōjō

References[edit]

  • 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.