Japan's Colonization of Korea
Discourse and Power
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
I am grateful to too many teachers, friends, and family members for these few paragraphs to suffice, and many of these people fall into each category anyway, so my attempts are muddled from the start. I simply wish that I could win the lottery and get everyone together for a “Babette’s feast” to thank you all....
Translating international law into Japanese and using its terms in practice were among the most transformative aspects of Japan’s Meiji era (1868–1912). Doing so gave Japanese rulers a new method of intercourse with the United States and Europe and enabled them to reorder the vocabulary of power within Asia. Moreover, this discourse inscribed the legitimacy of Japan’s...
1. Illegal Korea
In the summer of 1907, the world declared Korea illegal. The previous autumn, Emperor Kojong of Korea sent three representatives on his behalf to the Second International Conference on Peace at The Hague. Their mission was to register the emperor’s protest against Japan’s 1905 protectorate agreement over Korea. According to the well-known account of their travels overland...
2. International Terms of Engagement
International terms won the twentieth century. Terms such as independence and sovereignty became the means of discursive exchange in markets and parliaments around the world, but their everyday usage has obscured the historical process that made them the vocabulary of modern international relations. Use of these terms has simply become common sense. The new, post–9/11...
3. The Vocabulary of Power
For centuries, a shared knowledge and practice of kanji had facilitated official relations in what is now called the East Asian world. When the Meiji government chose to engage Japan in international terms, however, it ruptured this order. Politicians and diplomats went beyond scholars’ word lists and dictionaries and entrenched the terms in practice. They made these international...
4. Voices of Dissent
International terms empower the strong. At the same time, the potential represented by these terms inspires those who resist domination. For the architects of the Japanese empire, any debate over the relationship between power and words would have seemed nonsensical. The terminology of statecraft, through which modern Japan made sense internationally, defined power itself....
5. Mission L
The international politics of imperialism taught Meiji state aggrandizers that, if they were to gain full legitimacy in Korea as an enlightened exploiter, they should establish new legal codes in their protectorate. Before annexing Korea in 1910, in the absence of formalizing a Japanese code of law for Korea, Japanese colonial rulers realized that they ought to at least convey a desire and a...
Coda: A Knowledgeable Empire
The Meiji state aggrandizers’ mission to declare Japan a legitimate imperialist power came at enormous expense both to Japan and the countries Japan colonized. I mention this not to encourage us now to feel sorry, as it were, for the hardships the colonizers endured. Instead, it is important to recognize that by inscribing Japan in the early-twentieth-century world as a so-called first-rank...
Publication Year: 2005
OCLC Number: 256488856
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