Defensive colonialism is practiced today

Japanese colonialism

content

introduction

1. Japan as an object of colonization
1.1. The Unequal Treaties - Japan becomes part of the “informal empire” of the Western powers
1.2. The construction of the modern nation state as an act of self-assertion and the changed relationship to Asia

2. Japan as a colonizer - forms, structures, ideologies
2.1. Hokkaidō - colonization without colony formation
2.2. Taiwan - Laboratory of Japanese Colonial Rule
2.3. Taiwan and Korea as the subject of Japanese colonial theory

Summary and Outlook

Bibliography

introduction

In the present work, the basic forms and structures, as well as the conceptions and ideological formations of Japanese colonialism are to be worked out. Of course, this work makes no claim to completeness, but nevertheless aims to classify Japanese colonialism within global modern colonialism based on its most important manifestations. Modern colonialism is understood here as the imperialist overseas expansion of the European nation-states and the USA in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Jürgen Osterhammel's definition of colonialism is, as will be worked out in this work, also very useful for Japanese colonialism. It is:

“Colonialism is a relationship of domination between collectives, in which the fundamental decisions about the lifestyle of the colonized are made and actually implemented by a culturally different minority of colonial rulers who are hardly willing to adapt, with priority given to external interests. In modern times, this is usually associated with ideological justification doctrines based on the conviction of the colonial rulers of their own cultural superiority. "(Osterhammel 2006: 21)

As we shall see, in the case of Japan and its colonies, the cultural otherness and the conviction of cultural superiority must be put into perspective. Essentially, they were formed in the modernization phase, whereby the common cultural heritage and ethnic kinship was always used to underpin the Japanese claim to rule in Asia. I would now like to briefly summarize the result of this work to be verified. Japanese colonialism until 1937 was conceived as border colonialism and, as such, had the goal of avoiding the formation of colonies or merely establishing the colony as an interim structure. This means that the Japanese colonialism represented in principle an expansion of the national imperial borders to new peripheries. These peripheries were to be legally and socio-culturally integrated into the empire in the shortest possible time. The ideal cases of such colonization without colony formation were the Japanese north island of Hokkaidō and the south islands of Ryūkyū. In the case of Hokkaidō, the planned settlement colonization and the weakened constitution of the indigenous population were decisive, in the case of the Ryūkyū Islands, the small size of the territory and the weakness of China were decisive for the successful incorporation into the Japanese Empire. Conversely, Taiwan and Korea could not be fully integrated into the empire and retained their interim structure as Japanese ruling colonies under special administration until their independence in 1945. The reasons for the failure of the project to make Taiwan and Korea fully integrated parts of the Japanese empire are to be seen here in the case Taiwan, on a structural and ideological level. The difficult definition of the national self, between the demarcation from and identification with the imperial Western powers on the one hand and the East Asian neighbors on the other, played the most important role. Japanese colonialism, like modernization and nation-state building, was heavily influenced by Western systems and ideologies. In general terms, one could say that Japanese colonialism can be located between British “indirect rule” and French “assimilation” and, as time progressed, moved more and more towards the latter. It must be noted, however, that Japanese colonial theory created a special East Asian variant of assimilation that competed with social-Darwinian theories and racist attitudes. This resulted in a paradoxical mixture of assimilation efforts and continued legal and socio-cultural practices of discrimination against the locals. As a result, the colonized were equal in duties, but not equal in rights.

This work is mainly based on secondary literature published in European languages, so there were limited resources available. With his brilliant comparative description of colonialism, Jürgen Osterhammel formed the most important basis for this attempt to classify Japanese colonialism. Furthermore, the "Invention of Japan" by Shingo Shimada, in which the construction of the Japanese nation in the space between Asia and Europe, is brilliantly analyzed, was an important source of ideas for this work. Even if it is getting on in years, the work "The Japanese Colonial Empire" edited by Ramon R. Myers and Mark R. Peattie with its detailed individual studies still provides the most global overview of Japanese colonialism and was of course an important source of information for this work. The two essays “Barbarians and Teachers” by Wolfgang Schwentker and “The Pains of Modernization as a Trigger of Cultural Self-Assertion” by Mihima Ken’ichi were very helpful in understanding the ideological formation behind Japanese colonialism.

1. Japan as an object of colonization

1.1. The Unequal Treaties - Japan becomes part of the “informal empire” of the Western powers

Before Japan's colonialism can be classified within global modern colonialism, Japan must first be viewed as an object of colonization. How did Japan become an object of colonization? Before the Meiji Restoration (1869-1889), that is, before the Japanese modernization, Japan fell into informal colonial dependence of the USA and England, and later also of Russia and other European countries. The USA and England tried under the sign of "free trade imperialism" to expand their power hemisphere by appropriating strategic trading bases and port colonies in Asia. China and Japan were supposed to join the world trading system, i.e. they were forced to open their economies and the sovereignty restrictions characteristic of "informal empire" were imposed on them (Jürgen Osterhammel 2006: 39). The informal colonization of Japan followed the same pattern as it had previously been practiced in China. Under the threat of military force, the so-called "gunboat diplomacy", Japan was forced to conclude trade agreements with the imperialist western powers. These treaties guaranteed the Western powers one-sided advantages, such as duty-free and extraterritoriality, and therefore went down in history as the unequal treaties (cf. W. G. Beasley 1987: 21). The contracts that were enforced by the military were followed by trade between the economically unevenly developed partners, so to speak in reverse of the colonial slogan, according to the principle "the trade follows the flag". The loss of customs sovereignty represented the greatest disadvantage for Japan because it could not protect its domestic pre-industrial trade from inexpensive imported goods (cf. Zöllner 2006: 255). This means that foreign industrial products could be sold at a profit, while Japanese industrial production was not yet competitive. This threat scenario formed the background under which Japan's rapid modernization process took place.

1.2. The construction of the modern nation state as an act of self-assertion and the changed relationship to Asia

The cultural scientist Mishima Ken’ichi argues that political thinking in Japan towards the West has been shaped by mistrust since the country's violent opening and that there is a tendency to assume evil motives hidden under the guise of human ideals (Mishima 1996: 97). He goes on to say, “The ongoing trauma that the nation suffered repeatedly between the arrival of the“ Black Ships ”of Commodore Perry in 1853 and the so-called intervention of the three powers of 1895 as a“ threat from the West ”drew on the one hand Attempts to adapt to the political style of the stronger nations, not only in foreign policy, but also with regard to the presentation of one's own culture, a self-presentation that extends into the capillaries of everyday life ”(ibid .: 98). The Japanese nation-state, which was constructed between unequal treaties and triple intervention, was in a defensive situation from the beginning in which its own position had to be asserted. The adaptation of imperialist practices in foreign policy must also be assessed against this background. For its part, Japan forced the opening of Korea as early as February 1876 with a gunboat policy and concluded a trade agreement based on the “unequal treaties” model (Zöllner 2006: 234). The modernization of the country was logically correct, in response to the external threat of colonization. Even if the essential preconditions for modernization were laid in the Tokugawa period, the speed and radical nature of the upheaval at the end of the 19th century can only be explained by the threat scenario outlined above (cf. Beasley 1987: 27). In addition to its defensive character, the modernization was also characterized by partial cooperation with the Western powers. Jürgen Osterhammel describes the modernizing power groups in Japan since 1868, with the term cooperation elite within a clientele relationship (Osterhammel 2006: 73). With the term clientele relationship, he names a dependency of the weaker on the stronger partner, without which the weaker is at the mercy and is directly subject to the proconsular rule of the stronger (ibid. 72).In his essay "Barbarians and Teachers", Wolfgang Schwentker aptly characterized the dialectical relationship between Japan and the West in the period of upheaval and modernity (cf. Schwentker 1997: 101-121). The buzzwords of this era were both "Drive out the barbarians" and "Learn from the West". While the former reflects the belief that intruders from the West are fundamentally enemies, the latter developed from the realization that Japan would not be able to assert itself without studying Western science and the appropriation of Western technology. The neo-Confucian scholar Sakuma Shōzan was the first to consider the acquisition of “western artistry” and the maintenance of “eastern morality” to be the right way (ibid. 115). With this he showed the way to the later Meiji reformers. The support layer of the modernization formed so far from the political power kept away members of the lower warrior nobility, who came mainly from the southern Han (principalities) Satsuma and Chōshū. Many of them, such as the liberal educational reformer Fukuzawa Yūkichi, already had a large amount of knowledge from the western world through studying the "Dutch Studies" - Rangaku acquired. Fukuzawa warned in his writings that so far all non-European societies have forfeited their independence through the encounter with Europe and that Japan must develop into a modern nation-state as quickly as possible (cf. Shingo Shimada 2006: 211). The appropriation and utilization of western knowledge, techniques and systems consequently formed one of the pillars of self-assertion in Japan. Western forms of statehood, administrative and educational systems, agricultural and industrial technologies and of course military technologies were the main focus of the Meiji reformers. The modernization was a gradual approximation of Japan to western standards, with the political goal to achieve the withdrawal of the "unequal treaties" and to rise to the equal nation of the western powers. Since the inquisitive Japanese reformers and intellectuals, when they were in Europe or the USA, were often treated with cultural chauvinism or racism, they developed an attitude of having to fight for recognition of their own cultural and racial equivalence. Mishima uses the writings of outstanding intellectuals and scientists of the Meiji period, such as Fukuzawa, Okakura Kakuzō and Fukuda Tokuzō, to show how the encounter with the West triggered a cultural self-assertion (cf. Mishima 1996: 87-122). Fukuda and Fukuzawa transferred the social-Darwinist race discourse uncritically to Japan's relationship with Asia (ibid. 104). The Japanese upward development was now attributed to the special talent of the Japanese breed. The other peoples of Asia could stand up to the Japanese civilization, because Japan embodies the technological strength of the West, coupled with the spiritual strength of the East, according to the opinion of many Japanese contemporaries. Fukuzawa derived from the Japanese racial superiority the duty to protect from Asia from the attack of the West (cf. Shimada 2007: 211). He, who initially hoped Korea would develop on the model of Japan, entered his writing when this hope was disappointed Datsu-A In 1885 he called for Japan to be separated from Asia, later he openly pleaded for the colonization of Korea by Japan. A process that Shingo Shimada calls the "discovery / invention of the natives" (ibid. 210) is also related to this. In the newly developed Hokkaidō, the Ainu were the first culture-chauvinist "savages", meaning natives who could civilize Japan. The natives of Taiwan also fell under this category. During the imperialist expansion into the South Seas, the Japanese colonialists met other indigenous island populations who could be given civilization and "indigenous welfare". These peripheral Asian peoples were classified on a scale that was based on a historical-philosophical classification system adopted from the West. On this scale, the white Europeans were at the top and the natives at the bottom (ibid. 211). The Japanese saw themselves in an upward movement on this scale, away from the Asiatic natives towards the civilized Europeans (ibid. 211). In general, the term Asia only came into use in Japan in the first half of the 19th century and was a translation from the European languages ​​(ibid. 209). Shimada points out that the designation “Asia” therefore denoted the self in the eye of the stranger from the start, that is, was conceived relationally (ibid. 209). This leads us to the second pillar of self-assertion, the development of cultural nationalism. This cultural nationalism was characterized by a double demarcation from the other. On the one hand it was the demarcation from the West and on the other hand from Asia. According to Shimada, the conception of the self in the nation-state framework was carried out by Japanese intellectuals through the translation of borderline semantics from European social theory (ibid. 217). He calls this national self-definition, the Occidentalist and Orientalist construction of the foreign, through which the unified image of the West and Asia was designed (ibid. 217). Through the discursive classification of Japan between Orient and Occident, the national special position could be maintained (ibid. 217). In relation to Asia, however, there was not only a demarcation, but Asia also served to contrast Eastern virtue and Western vice. An Asia encompassing China, Korea and Japan was seen as a haven of civilization and sophistication. Individualism, egoism and materialism were considered to be in the west, and nature-relatedness, group-relatedness, spirituality and loyalty to family and rulers were considered to be in the east. The latter was manifested in the Confucian-influenced imperial edict of education (kyōiku chokugo), issued in 1890 and henceforth recited in all schools. The aforementioned Sakuma and Okakura are only representative of a large number of intellectuals who claimed the superiority of the East Asian spirit. Since the crisis-ridden encounter with Western trade imperialism, the classification of Japan between Asia and the West has always remained topical in the discourse of intellectuals. The construction of East Asia at the end of the 19th century was based on the common written culture and Confucian ethics. The "Association for the Common East Asian Writing Culture" (Tōa Dōbunkai) even trained thousands of Japanese to become China experts in China (ibid. 277). The "Greater East Asian Prosperity Sphere", established in 1940 under Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro as an economic and defense community under Japanese sovereignty (daitōa kyōeiken), can be traced back to the work of his father Konoe Atsumaru, who, as chairman of the Tōa Dōbunkai, already in 1900 coined the formula that the solution of the problems in East Asia should be the responsibility of the East Asians (ibid. 278). Behind both stood the military as the driving force, Tōa - East Asia was for the army from the beginning the term that described its potential area of ​​operation (ibid. 277). Decisive for the growing support for annexation and colonization among politicians, the military and intellectuals was the realization that the two Asian neighbors, China and Korea, and also the rest of East and Southeast Asia, are not so successful against Western trade imperialism and creeping colonization could defend themselves. You would not be able to modernize yourself in the foreseeable future. Japan's colonization in Asia therefore pursued the goal of pushing back the imperialist western powers on the one hand and helping its Asian neighbors to "make their fortune" on the other. From the higher development of Japan one derived the duty to control the modernization in the rest of Asia. The absorption of western colonial theory played a decisive role in this. The right of Japan to rule in Asia, on the other hand, was also derived from the shared cultural heritage and ethnic kinship. Nevertheless, during the colonial period from 1895 to 1945, an unmistakable racism developed against the Chinese, Koreans and other colonized people. There was a clear tension between racist demarcation and alleged common ground, between the aspired assimilation of the colonized into the state body and their legal and social discrimination. Japanese colonialism is now to be characterized more precisely in terms of the colonization of Hokkaidō, Taiwan and Korea.

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