• UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Cal Poly Edges Gauchos 73-72 With Late Basket https://t.co/B3JF2mtSt4
    1 hour 32 min ago
  • AS_UCSB twitter avatar
    CAMPUS JOB ALERT: @SBLivingHistory is seeking curious and creative types to join our team. https://t.co/FeQ8ybNJcQ https://t.co/o61fO77L50
    2 hours 14 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    UCSB MVB led 11-9 in the 5th Wednesday night, the team's first home match in 46 days and first game-action in two w… https://t.co/4zjvsMOFle
    2 hours 30 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Luke Andrews (7 IP, 1 R, 4 H) absolutely DEALT for @UCSB_Baseball today, leading the Gauchos to a 7-2 Opening Day w… https://t.co/JUpY8CLyTn
    5 hours 46 min ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    Sherie Labedis’s journey to reunite with a friend she lost touch with after the Civil Rights Movement brings her to… https://t.co/le1uWZrDo7
    7 hours 55 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    RT @TylerHayden1: Talked with NASA commander and crack photographer @AstroTerry about his book and upcoming talk in S.B. @ArtsandLectures h…
    7 hours 56 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    First-Place UCSB Travels to UC Irvine Thursday for Another 1-2 Showdown https://t.co/HH08BS8tGe
    8 hours 57 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    New Marine Protected Area Alert! Seychelles is home to giant tortoises, tuna, sharks, & scores of other marine spec… https://t.co/GhqaS4YmRE
    9 hours 15 min ago
  • UCSBLibrary twitter avatar
    RT @CSEP_UCSB: The sun is shining, the breeze is cool, time to snuggle up to your monitor and visit #ArtofScience #Voting! Cast your vote f…
    10 hours 35 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    UCSB Hosts Dayton, San Diego for Gaucho Classic I https://t.co/NwYtLZIfC7
    10 hours 47 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    RT @hfaucsb: It's foolish to think that politics is an expression of moral purity" - Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner at UCSB…
    10 hours 49 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    10 hours 50 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    @AstroTerry @NatGeoLive @NatGeoBooks @NatGeoPR woot woot! see you there!
    10 hours 50 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    RT @AstroTerry: If you are in Santa Barbara, CA on February 26, come see me at UCSB Campbell Hall and experience the beauty of our planet f…
    10 hours 50 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    "Most problems require multiple skillsets and disciplinary expertise to solve, so if I didn’t collaborate I wouldn’… https://t.co/Owza9Ezl0N
    10 hours 50 min ago

Empire Building

Historian’s new book examines how Japanese tourists helped to create and sustain the Japanese Empire
Monday, November 13, 2017 - 09:30
Santa Barbara, CA

Placing Empire Cover Hi Res.jpg

Placing Empire book cover

Photo Credit: 

Courtesy image

McDonald Website Hi Res.jpg

Kate McDonald

Kate McDonald

Photo Credit: 

Courtesy image

As Japan sought to expand and maintain its colonial empire in Korea, Manchuria and Taiwan, the government discovered a successful way to make these foreign lands seem more “Japanese” and acceptable to its own citizens: educational tourist trips to the colonies.

In fact, tourism was essential to establishing and maintaining the Japanese empire from the 1800s to the 1940s. That’s according to a new book, “Placing Empire: Travel and the Social Imagination in Imperial Japan” (UC Press, 2017) by Kate McDonald, an assistant professor of modern Japanese history at UC Santa Barbara.

While “Placing Empire” focuses on Japan and its colonies, McDonald said her book sends a greater message about the need to re-examine the morality and effects of colonialism as people visit places once dominated by another nation or culture. “This book is less about Japan than the world we live in today,” McDonald said. “Colonialism is alive and well.

“When you are touring California’s mission system, for example, think about how the stories you are learning through this process are justifying the ongoing colonization of California,” she continued. “Think about how these narratives are making colonialism part of the dead past rather than the living present. Tourism is not just a story about the Japanese empire. It’s a story of the 20th and 21st centuries.”

In her research, McDonald studied accounts of Japanese travelers and also government tour guidebooks from the late 1800s to the 1960s. In “Placing Empire” she explores what Japanese travelers saw when they went to colonized Korea, Manchuria and Taiwan, and how Japanese travelers in the early 1900s remembered the transformation of these lands to Japanese colonies. Taiwan became part of the Japanese empire in 1895; Korea became a formal part of Japan in 1910; and Manchuria was an informal colony of Japan until 1932, when members of the Japanese military created a puppet state of Japan called Manchukuo.

Hundreds of thousands of Japanese were encouraged to visit the colonies as their government sought to expand its empire and influence its people to accept those areas as a part of Japan. Travel was expensive at the time, McDonald noted, and the trips were associated more with education than leisure. The standard itinerary offered by the Japan Tourist Bureau took people to locales such as ports, soybean oil factories, sugar plantations and government buildings, all of which Japanese tourists viewed as markers of progress in colonies becoming more like Japan.

For students looking to improve their employment prospects, government-discounted tours sometimes resulted in job offers in Seoul or Taipei, McDonald added.

Initially, Japanese travelers were pleased to see the changes taking place in the colonies; but they denigrated the local people. “They figured the lands would modernize and colonized people would either come along or die off,” McDonald continued.

After World War I, as anti-colonial movements emerged in the global political consciousness, attitudes shifted and people began to question the morality of Japan being a colonial empire, she explained . “You start to see people focus on appreciating cultural diversity, talking about going to Korea to see authentic culture, going to Taiwan to see indigenous people in the jungle,” McDonald said. “This was also a way of making colonialism safe for this new world order. The tourism industry started talking about these places as the national exotic rather than the colonial frontier.”

Ultimately, the Japanese Empire and its colonial tourism industry ended in 1945 when Japan’s defeat in World War II resulted in the allies severing Japan’s control over Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria.

“Placing Empire” is available as a free, open access e-book through UC Press.

Contact Info: 

Shelly Leachman
(805) 893-8726
shelly.leachman@ucsb.edu

Topics: