AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 562

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Session 562: East Asian Colonial Histories

The Pen for the Sword: Japanese Management of Emotions and Violence in Pre-War Taiwan
Winifred Chang, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

For Taiwan under Japanese rule, the period between 1930 and 1937 was bookended by violence on and off the island. The aboriginal uprising in the Musha Incident of 1930 challenged the political myth of assimilation, raising unavoidable questions about the intersection of violence, emotions, and “civilizing progress” in Taiwan as a Japanese colony. In 1937, the Second Sino-Japanese War prompted initiation of imperialization policies, which sought to create obedient Taiwanese subjects ready to embrace glorious death. Between these landmark dates, the Japanese state marshaled military and discursive responses to deal with the shock of rebellion. Edicts, newspapers, and colonial textbooks increasingly clarified the meaning of Japanese Imperial subjecthood. Coherent colonial pedagogy in cultural policy taught all Taiwanese people to love the Japanese Empire, offered a vocabulary to express implicitly regulated emotions, and prescribed normative standards for performing fervent patriotism. Rhetorical strategies drew from Confucian ethics, Japanese history and mythology, and depictions of Taiwan as a natural and significant part of the Empire. Both print and non-textual sources showed that as mobilization intensified in Japan’s “model colony,” Japanese militarism became the focus in attempts to shape Taiwanese emotions. In fact, after the Musha Incident, many writers equated the aborigine rebels’ “purity of spirit” with “the Japanese spirit” and Bushido, simultaneously exoticizing and taming the major uprising. Although results of the emotional manipulation policies varied, many aborigines did become the fiercest supporters of the Japanese war effort. The interplay between emotions and violence was a crucial link in wartime mobilization of Taiwan.

Phantasmal Jinzhou—Aigun and Mongol Railway Projects and International Settings in North East Asia, 1909–1916
Masafumi Asada, George Washington University, USA

In the early twentieth century, England, France, Germany, Russia, the US, and Japan invested large amounts of money in constructing the Chinese railways. This was at the peak of the so-called railway imperialism. Additionally, the Qing Dynasty constructed railways to restore its dominant centripetal force. Several studies have examined the imperialist politics of the Great Powers in constructing the Chinese railways; however, very few attempts have been made to take a comparative approach, mainly because research thus far has relied on the domestic documents of each country. As an appropriate example, this “border-crossing” paper will illustrate phantasmal Jinzhou—Aigun and Mongol railway projects. Further, this paper will reveal how the Qing dynasty fought against the Great Powers’ territorial dismemberment by using these railway projects and how the US and England assisted in these projects for their “open door” policy of North East Asia. Finally, the paper will reveal how the Russo–Japanese alliance blocked this project because they considered it an intrusion in their effective area (Manchuria and Mongolia). How did the Qing Dynasty’s final challenge of using these railway projects against the Great Powers fail in the international settings of North East Asia? The answer to the above question will demonstrate that Qing’s independent reconstruction was difficult at that time and it depended on the balance of the international relationship in North East Asia.

Nakanishi Inosuke’s Dangerous Journeys into “Futei Senjin” Territory: Ethnic Identity, Irony, and Fear in Taisho-Era Narratives of Colonial Korea
Andre R. Haag, University of New Mexico, USA

The language of Japanese colonial discourse following the 1919 Korean independence movement reflected a rising fear and anxiety toward the empire’s Korean subjects, which undercut the assimilationist rhetoric of “cultural politics” (bunka seiji). In the early 1920s, narratives featuring radical Korean terrorists (popularly labeled “futei Senjin”) haunted the pages of metropolitan newspapers, magazines, and government reports. This popular anxiety toward futei Senjin surfaced in the violence against Koreans immediately following the 1923 Kanto Earthquake. While the Taisho literary establishment showed little interest in rebellious Koreans prior to the quake, leftist novelist and activist Nakanishi Inosuke (1887-1958) devoted much of his early work to interrogating and satirizing popular representations of Korean terrorists. In a number of border-crossing travelogues, essays and novels that mixed proletarian literature’s socialist politics with elements of popular entertainment aimed at a mass audience, Nakanishi used irony and wordplay to turn fear of “futei Senjin” into a key site to reveal the complexity of the colonial encounter with radical Otherness. This paper reviews Nakanishi’s early narratives of perilous travel in Korea and fleeting encounters with ‘unruly Koreans’--particularly his 1922 novella Futei Senjin. These texts participated in unfolding contests over the representation and language of ‘futei’ colonial rebellion, dangerous thought and terror. Nakanishi’s ironic engagement with the idiom of colonialism in the age of “Taisho Democracy” occupied an unstable position, between reinforcing ethnic borders and fear of the colonized Other, and discovering inspiration for social critique and interethnic solidarity in the dynamic anti-colonial modernity of a “new” Korea.

Voices That Resuscitated: Revisited Total War Narrative in Korean Popular Songs During Post-Liberation Era
Yongwoo Lee, Cornell University, South Korea

This paper investigates the Koreans’ continual colonial submission, from the Japanese occupation to the U.S. military government as a linear coloniality during Korean War era. Looking in particular at the postcolonial interregnum between the two empires as it is revealed in popular song, I look closely into the persistent colonial submission in popular song narratives as a traumatic mimesis and a surplus fantasy in relation to colonial experiences during and after the post-liberation era. The paradoxical coexistence of popular music narratives reappropriating Nambang fantasy in the post-liberation era and reterritorializing Total War sentiments during the Korean War era, summoned a post-traumatic narrative while invigorating postwar logics of Cold War tropes and anti-Communism.