ASCJ 2009
Session 36: Room 11-419

Border Crossing, Social History, and Japan's Foreign Relations during the Early 20th Century 
Organizer/Chair: Evan Dawley, U.S. Department of State

This panel will explore the impact of border crossing on issues of social history in Japan and among Japanese communities outside of the home islands. As Japan asserted itself on the world stage during the early 20th Century, it further opened its borders to the influx and outflow of new trends, ideas, people, and pathogens. Imperial subjects journeyed outward in hitherto unprecedented numbers, into both the colonial periphery and more distant locations, carrying with them aspects of modern Japanese culture and identity. In the process, they created new bi-directional channels between Japan and the wider world. Through these channels, the migrants influenced the societies in which they settled, and their home villages and cities felt the effects of international social, cultural, and epidemiological forces. Until very recently, Japan's social history has generally been studied as a mostly internal matter, something that has been largely removed from the processes of foreign relations and border crossing. However, there is now a new effort underway to look more closely at the interplay between local and global histories. By examining the connections between the Japanese Diaspora and its homeland, changes in women's education, the 1919 cholera epidemic, and the migration of women to Taiwan, this panel will promote new research and perspectives on Japan's interactions with the world as the nation adopted a greater global profile during the 1910s. 

 1) Yuehtsen Juliette Chung, National Tsing-hua University
Sovereignty and Imperial Hygiene: Japan and the 1919 Cholera Epidemic in East Asia

The outbreak of the cholera epidemic in 1919 rampaged through most of the East Asian region, including Taiwan, Korea, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Manchuria. Compared to these areas, Japan, however, was able to minimize the number of patients and deaths in the archipelago during this outbreak. Such success was derived from the wartime experience of the Japanese occupation of Qingdao, where Japanese officials instituted a comprehensive quarantine and segregation of water and food sources between the Japanese and the local population. In comparison, the Chinese were unable to ward off the spread of cholera because the Chinese quarantine regulations only targeted commercial ships and did not apply to the junk trade. These regulations unintentionally turned junks into free carriers of the infectious pathogen among Chinese coastal cities and between North China and Korea. 

 This paper explores different approaches to disease control in the region. It also examines the coalition and the competition between the Japanese quarantine regime and the regional quarantine services, which were shaped by the development of the cholera epidemic. 

2) Martin Dusinberre, University of Newcastle
Unread Relics of a Transnational Furusato: Rethinking "Internationalization" in 1910s Japan 

From the mid-1880s onwards, thousands of young workers left the south-western prefectures of Japan to seek new employment opportunities abroad—first to HawaiŽi or the Korean peninsula, subsequently to the United States, Latin America and the colonies of the ever-expanding Japanese empire. While many scholars trace the journeys and new lives of the emigrants, this paper examines the communities that they left behind. It uses a case study of Kaminoseki town, in Yamaguchi prefecture, to highlight the extraordinary impact of the Japanese diaspora on the homeland, in terms both of demography and of institution-building, employment networks and social status. Using a range of unpublished sources, it argues that Kaminoseki was in effect a transnational furusato (‘hometown’) by the 1910s—a concept which adds to ongoing research on local-national-international connections in modern Japanese history, and which equally forces us to reconsider what is meant by one of the most ubiquitous discourses in Japanese public life today. 

 3) Chika Shinohara, National University of Singapore
Border Crossing and the New Institutionalization of Women's Education in 1910s Japan 

Private women's schools started developing in Japan during the 1910s (e.g Tsuda Umeko's Tsudajuku). In pre-modernization/westernization urban Japan, girls' (and boys') education for the ordinary people was not at all behind their western counterparts. Yet, the new institutionalization of women's education in Japan started around this period. What brought this change? Exploring Japan's interactions with the wider world during the 1910s, my study investigates the beginning of the diffusion in Japan of processes and global norms such as "women's education" and "women's rights." This paper will show that the leaders of women's education were strongly influenced by developments that occurred earlier in Europe and North America. 

 4) Evan Dawley, U.S. Department of State
Women on the Move: Shifting Patterns in Japan's Settlement of Taiwan 

During the first decade of Japan’s rule of Taiwan, from 1895-1905, very few Japanese women settled in the colony. After this time the numbers of Japanese women in Taiwan began to increase and a steady flow of female migrants made the journey from the metropole to the colony in most years during the 1910s. The growing presence of Japanese women in Taiwan represented a new phase in the effort to both colonize and Japanize the island and its indigenous residents. This was an important development for Japanese settler society and the colonial project, but it is something that has not yet received much scholarly attention. This paper will explore why Japanese women made this trek to the frontier of Japan’s empire, what they did when they settled in Taiwan, and how their presence transformed Japanese settler society. In so doing it will also address the larger issue of Japan’s growing importance on the world stage during the decade of the Great War. 

Discussant: William Steele, International Christian University