ASCJ 2009
Session 2

City, School, Enterprise, and Government: the Changing Landscape of East Asian Societies in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Organizer: De-min Tao, Institution for Cultural Interaction Studies, Kansai University

Chair: De-min Tao

1) Nguyen Thi Ha Thanh, Graduate School, Kansai University

The Rise and Fall of Hue, the Citadel City of Vietnam in the 19th century

2) Wei-wei Shen, Graduate School, Kansai University

Kang Youwei and the Daido School in Yokohama

3) Dong Jin, Institution of Chinese Modern History, Hua Zhong Normal University

Shibusawa Eiichi’s Efforts for Founding a Central Bank in China

4) Yi-min Chen, Graduate School, Kansai University

Robert Dollar and E. H. Harriman: Two Ambitious American Enterprisers in the Far East in 1900s

Discussant: Masato Kimura, Shibusawa Ei’ichi Memorial Foundation

City, School, Enterprise, and Government: the Changing Landscape of East Asian Societies in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Organizer: De-min Tao, Institution for Cultural Interaction Studies, Kansai University

Chair: De-min Tao

This panel brings together six people including four graduate studentsone from Vietnam and three from Chinato discuss various visible changes occurred in East Asian societies during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Needless to say, many of these changes were caused by the impact from the West. Ha Thanh’s paper gives us a sense that how Hue, the once prosperous capital city of Vietnam, declined due to the Nguyen dynasty’s seclusion policy and the expansion of French colonization in Indochina. Shen, on the other hand, tells the story about the Daido School in Yokohama, which practiced the reform-minded scholar Kang Youwei’s idea of transforming Confucianism into a national religion similar to Christianity in some powerful Western nations. As for the two papers on the international enterprises, Jin recognizes Shibusawa Eiichi’s efforts for founding a central bank in China in order to help increase Japanese investment and ease China’s financial problems, whereas Chen analyzes the attempts for providing the round-the-world steamship and railroad transportation service through joint venture in China and Manchuria of the two ambitious American businessman, Robert Dollar and E. H. Harriman. In a sense, we are still in the same process of this Western-style modernization. What lessons can we draw from the history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries? This panel may provide with some useful clues and hints through presentation and discussion.

1) Nguyen Thi Ha Thanh, Graduate School, Kansai University

The Rise and Fall of Hue, the Citadel City of Vietnam in the 19th century

Hue city was chosen to be the capital of unified Vietnam in 1802 by the Nguyen dynasty, and experienced several significant changes during the whole 19th century. The first major factor contributing to the change was urban space, of which the most impressive phenomenon was the decades-long projects of construction the Hue citadel – an admirable combination between geographical space and human talents, regardless of changing parts of river course. As of special landform, a system of important socio-cultural-economic works here located dispersedly along Huong river, making Hue an interesting landscape albeit not a fine model of urban space. Economy was another factor. By a series of incoherent policies, Hue’s economic life developed toward its exclusive big customer-merchant, the Hue imperial court. Refusing to trade with Western countries and adopting exclusion policies toward Christianity and Catholicism, however, the Nguyen dynasty was not able to avoid an invasion of the French empire and to save itself from a declination. Being the home of a defeated native dynasty, Hue became powerless in both economy and administration under the French colonization. Obviously, the third factor was politics. The present paper attempts to analyze these three factors which greatly changed the face of Hue in the broader domestic and international contexts and draw some lessons from the history.

2) Wei-wei Shen, Graduate School, Kansai University

Kang Youwei and the Daido School in Yokohama

Kang Youwei (1858-1927) was a major leader of the late Qing’s reform movement in 1898 following China’s defeat in the Sino-Japanese War. His ideas included an advocacy of establishing a national religion by transforming Confucianism into a religious organization like Christianity. Kang did not only appealed to Guangxu Emperor (reign 1875-1908) in his memorialsbut also took actions to practice this idea with his followers. For example, Daido School, an elementary school run by Chinese residents in Yokohama was deeply influenced by Kang’s idea. Kang met Kuang Rupan, an executive of Yokohama’s Chinese group in December 1897 in Shanghai and offered his idea about education. Kang further recommended his follower Feng Qin to be the headmaster of the school and renamed it as Daido which revealed his utopianism. The school provided an opportunity for Kang, after his exile in Japan, to experiment on his Confucian Religion through education and ritual performance. The emphasis of Confucianism in this educational institution won the support from the overseas Chinese and evoked the admiration from Japanese scholars. Meanwhile, his religious thoughts and actions were strongly opposed in China for their “conservative” nature and fashion. The paper will examine the different responses to Kang’s religious movement both inside and outside of the contemporary China through the case of the Daido School.

3) Dong Jin, Institution of Chinese Modern History, Hua Zhong Normal University

Shibusawa Eiichi’s Efforts for Founding a Central Bank in China

Shibusawa Eiichi’s1840―1931plan for founding a central bank in China was one of the main parts of his financial thought and practice about China. As an outstanding business leader, he realized from the early Meiji period the importance of an effective banking system to the development of Japanese economy as well as Japanese overseas investment. When Japan began to pay more and more attention to the Chinese markets, Shibusawa’s idea of establishing a central bank in China became gradually clear. For one reason, the Central Bank of Korea founded by Japan played a positive role on Japanese investment in Korea, which was a good reference for Japanese investment in China. The other reason was that, he wanted to let China have the same money system with Japan through the central bank, and therefore Japanese companies’ finance would become more convenient, and China’s serious finance problems could be alleviated partly.

Shibusawa joined the efforts for creating a central bank in China in 1899, 1912 and 1916, but none of them was successful. The failures were caused by the unstable political situation in China, different opinions in Japan, and some other factors. However, it should be realized that Shibusawa devoted his time and energy for those attempts, which had an important influence on the later Japanese investment in China and Sino-Japan economic relations.

4) Yi-min Chen, Graduate School, Kansai University

Robert Dollar and E. H. Harriman: Two Ambitious American Enterprisers in the Far East in 1900s

Robert Dollar (1844-1932), known as the “Grand Old Man” of the Pacific, was engaged in the negotiations with Chinese government in 1900s on establishing China American Steamship Company in order to provide a trans-Pacific and then a round-the-world passenger service. Likewise, E. H. Harriman (1848-1909), once called the “emperor of the railroads” of the United States, negotiated closely with both Japanese and Chinese authorities on purchasing the South Manchuria Railways in Northeast China which Japan had just acquired from Russia in 1905 through the war. He also had a big plan of establishing a round-the-world transportation line under the unified American control. Notwithstanding the great efforts, both of them did not realize their ambitions because of the complicated international relations and their misunderstanding of East Asian cultures. However, from the prospective of history of human civilizations, it is no exaggeration to say that as the result, Robert Dollars and Harriman’s attempts had brought the two regions along the Pacific Ocean closer, and that American government began to realize seriously the economic significance of the Far East. This paper will analyze the complicated situation in which Dollar and Harriman put their idealistic thoughts into practice, and reveal that cultural understanding is a necessary condition for international business and economic expansion.

Discussant: Masato Kimura, Shibusawa Ei’ichi Memorial Foundation