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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #200: July 1, 2005

Japanese Studies

Journal Name: Japanese Studies: May 2005, Vol. 25, No. 1
ISSN: 1037-1397 (Paper), 1469-9338 (Online)


Japanese Colonial control in International terms (pp1 - 20)
Alexis Dudden (Connecticut College)
Promoters of Meiji Japan's imperialist expansion vied with European and American competitors for control of Korea perhaps more than in any other place in Japan's early empire. Thus, although Korea was not officially colonized until 1910, Meiji officials recognized the need for Japan's new policies toward Korea to make international sense more acutely than in the country's other colonial schemes. Within Japan's expanding empire, therefore, the annexation of Korea most significantly established the perceived legitimacy of Japan as a modern imperial nation. This paper examines this issue by analyzing how the idea of the legitimacy of colonization itself came into being in Meiji Japan. It focuses particularly on the period leading up to annexation during which the development of colonial 'science' as an area of specialized knowledge took hold, particularly in relation to Japan's development of Hokkaido.

Stories of ideal Japanese subjects from the great Kanto earthquake of 1923 (pp21 - 34)
Janet Borland (University of Melbourne)
This article examines stories of ideal subjects published by the Ministry of Education within three months of Japan's most devastating natural disaster, the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. The education materials, entitled Shinsai ni kansuru kyoiku shiryo, are a collection of stories of exemplary behaviour based on experiences of the earthquake and are imbued with moral values, such as loyalty to the Emperor and self-sacrifice. In this article I will demonstrate that widespread concerns about decaying moral values in Japanese society compelled the government to use these education materials in order to extol the moral values they considered necessary for creating ideal Japanese subjects.

The discourse of national greatness in Japan, 18901919 (pp35 - 51)
Sandra Wilson (Murdoch University)
Between about 1890 and 1919, the dominant discourse in Japanese nationalism emphasised Japan's status as a great modern nation, in contrast to earlier concerns about weakness and vulnerability in the face of Western imperialism, and despite continuing insecurities of various kinds. This paper revisits the 'discourse of national greatness', focusing on its construction, limitations and consequences. Emphasis on Japanese greatness was evident in the press, in self-presentation at industrial expositions, and in substantial written works by Japanese intellectuals. Several factors explain the rapid spread of such a discourse, including the decline of class and regional identification, the considerable expansion of the press, and the stimulus of war. The consequences of the rise of the notion of Japanese greatness for the later development of Japanese nationalism were profound. They included the further subordination of regionalism, entrenchment of the gendered nature of Japanese nationalism, the further denigration of other Asian peoples and of Japan's own past, reinforcement of the yet fragile cult of the emperor, encouragement to conflate 'nation' and 'state', and a strong tendency to associate nationalism with military conquest.

Remapping Japanese militarism: provincial society at war 19041905 (pp53 - 63)
Stewart Lone (University of New South Wales)
In order to reassess the dominant images of popular militarism or stoic suffering in wartime Japan, this paper takes a street-level view of provincial society during the major conflict with Russia, 19041905. It focuses on three main sites of wartime contact between the community and the military: the rail station, the cinema, and the cemetery. By mining local press reports and especially letters to the press from local people, it exposes the diversity of public attitudes towards the war, the military and those in authority; these attitudes include a healthy cynicism and satire towards elites or propaganda, as well as a readiness to express discontent rather than suffer in silence.

Christians and the State in Early Twentieth Century Japan: from confrontation to collaboration and back again (pp65 - 79)
Colin Noble (University of Sydney)
This article challenges the frequent assertion that there is a static relationship of inherent incompatibility between Christianity and Japanese culture. The alternative interpretation presented here is a dynamic, mutually influential relationship between churches, as the institutional bearers of Christian thought, and the state, as the institutional upholder of Japan's identity. To illuminate the oscillating relationship between Christians and the state in modern Japan, the article draws on historical evidence, particularly with reference to government attempts to pass religious legislation in the period between 1899 and 1933. At least two factors support the suggestion that confrontation between Christianity and Japanese culture is neither immutable, nor an inevitable outcome of something inherent in Christianity. The first is that representatives of other religions and indeed of the wider society joined with Christians in opposing legislative initiatives intended to allow the government to monitor and regulate religious behaviour. The second is that at times during the period examined, Christians and the state enjoyed a relationship of mutual benefit and support.

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