Skip to navigation – Site map


Arnaud Nanta and Laurent Nespoulous

Full text

1Over one hundred years have now passed since the Kingdom of Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910. It was inevitable, then, that 2010 would be an important year for scholarship on the Japanese colonisation of Korea. In response to this momentous anniversary, Cipango – Cahiers d’études japonaises launched a call for papers on the subject of Japan’s colonial past in the spring of 2009.

2Why colonisation in general and not specifically relating to Korea? Because it seemed logical to the journal’s editors that Korea would be the focus of increased attention from specialists of East Asia, at the risk of potentially forgetting the longer—and more obscure—timeline of the colonisation process. Indeed, the annexation of Korea was preceded not only by that of Taiwan, but also by a growing Japanese presence in Manchuria as of 1904. This is in addition to Japan having established a position of dominance in Korea as of 1876. Moreover, while the fall of Japan’s colonial empire coincided with the defeat of 1945—for Japan, decolonisation went hand in hand with military defeat—current events are a reminder that to this day, and perhaps more than ever, the country’s colonial past continues to poison relations between modern-day nations. Focusing solely on Korea under colonial rule thus seemed overly restrictive and it was decided to widen the call to include papers treating Japan’s colonial past in its entirety.

3Admittedly, the term “colonial past” (in French, fait colonial) is vague. Nevertheless, we felt it more effective at encompassing a range of disparate phenomena linked to the effects (direct or indirect) of colonisation, both in the context of the time and in that of the postcolonial period. Accordingly, the title of this issue of Cipango should be understood as being thematically and chronologically open, reflecting our desire to attract contributions from a diverse range of disciplines. The aim was to avoid a purely historian perspective and enable scholars from other disciplines to express their views, not only on the colonial period itself, but on anything potentially connected to it, even outside of the time frame in question.

4The response exceeded our wildest expectations, amounting to almost nine hundred pages of text written on an extremely wide variety of subjects. Only half of these submissions were eventually published due to space constraints and the need to ensure a coherent whole. Of the two issues published in French—Cipango 18 on the colonial period (1880s-1920s) and Cipango 19 on the postcolonial period (1950 to the present day)—, five papers (in other words half of the original publications) appear in this English-language version of Cipango and will be presented in more detail below.

5The papers chosen for publication faithfully reflect our original desire to illustrate the variety of subjects relating to Japan’s colonial past. Accordingly, readers will find articles focusing on the colonial societies themselves, on the colonial memory, on cultural and economic history, and even on diplomatic and military history. Our challenge was to provide an overall coherence to these texts. This of course proved impossible beyond the chronological boundaries of the period.

Japan during the Age of Empire

  • 1 P.H. II, Constructing “Korean” Origins: A Critical Review of Archaeology, Historiography, and Racia (...)

6The present issue of Cipango focuses on the colonisation that took place during the late modern period, as carried out by the nation-states born during the long nineteenth century defined by Eric Hobsbawm and more recently adopted by Christopher Alan Bayly. And yet, much could also be written about other examples of colonisation, such as those carried out by the Old Regimes (during the early modern period), those relying on tributary relationships, or those that took place during ancient times. Indeed, the ancient world served as an argument in colonial and postcolonial discourses, as was the case for many European colonial powers. Just as Great Britain claimed to be the heir to the Roman Empire, Imperial Japan used protohistory and early antiquity as a historical justification of its desire to control the Korean peninsula. In a kind of mirror effect, formerly colonised peoples, who often choose to adopt this discourse to some extent, draw on this revisited past when constructing their modern ethnicity. However, this process cannot be attributed solely to colonisation and the nation-building efforts seen during the postcolonial era: archaeology is well known to have shown itself historically to be an “eminently national science”. This is eloquently illustrated by Pai Hyung II’s work on Korea. Similarly, Penny Edwards has demonstrated the extent to which French archaeology at Angkor has served to forge a particular history of Kampuchea and the Khmers.1 Accordingly, modern-day nations often owe much to these tools for constructing—and reformulating—the past in the present. In this respect, the postcolonial nation-states reflect the same processes that underpinned the formation of nation-states like France and Germany.

7This formidably complex interweaving of immemorial past, history, colonial rule and nation building could not possibly be covered here. Instead we will restrict our ambitions to exploring the colonisation carried out during what French historians call the époque contemporaine (running from 1789 and the creation of the nation-state through to the present day, whereas Japanese historians use the term kindai 近代, literally the “near period”, usually deemed to run from the Meiji Restoration to the end of the Pacific War. This is understood in Anglo-American historiography as the “modern era”).

8The Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 marked a watershed in modern colonisation, when mercantile colonisation—based on trading posts and port enclaves—began to venture into territorial and fiscal colonisation. The “modern” form of colonial domination via trading posts gave way to the more “contemporary” form of the protectorate, and most of all the colony, involving the territorial and fiscal exploitation of regions in order to “develop their productive value” for the benefit of the metropole. This transformation—which was described by Lenin in 1917 in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism—, occurred roughly between 1857 and 1874. It then accelerated during the final third of the nineteenth century through to the 1920s, during a phase referred to in English-language historiography as New Imperialism or High Imperialism. Japan also joined in the “Great Game” played by the colonial powers by establishing its own empire during this same period: a foothold was gained in the Korean peninsula in 1876 thanks to the signing of an unequal treaty (one of the famous treaties of amity and commerce) with the Kingdom of Joseon; Japan’s colonial possessions—whatever their official titles might have been—subsequently grew until 1914. At this point the country’s colonial empire consisted of the island of Taiwan, a former frontier of the Qing Empire won by Japan in 1895, the Korean peninsula (made a protectorate in 1905 and annexed in 1910), the southern half of Sakhalin Island (captured in 1905), the Liaodong Peninsula, located in southern Manchuria (1905), and the islands of Micronesia (1914). In 1931-32, Japan secured the entire South Manchuria after having extended its presence in the region as of 1905.

After Decolonisation

9Let us now move on to the subject of decolonisation. The date of August 15, 1945 is highly complex and multi-layered in meaning, marking on the one hand Japan’s military defeat in the Asia-Pacific War (1937-45), and on the other, the loss of its colonial empire, as decided at the Cairo Conference in November 1943. For Korea, August 15, 1945 marks the anniversary of the end of colonial rule, as signalled by the Korean term kwangbok 광복, meaning “the return of light”. This expression, which is little used elsewhere in the sinicised world—and not at all in Japan—, is also employed in Taiwan, where it is given the Chinese reading guangfu 光復. Yet in the case of Taiwan, there is no reference to “independence” since the island was restored to the Republic of China (with which Japan resumed dialogue in 1956) before being separated from the mainland once again in 1949. Obviously, this does not signify the absence in Taiwan of a debate on the issue of colonisation. On the contrary, it constitutes a highly complex web of subjects that are tied up with the memory of the war led by the Chinese “mainlanders” who had recently arrived on the island. Furthermore, the other former Japanese colonies also received new masters: Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands were incorporated into Russia, Manchuria passed to China, or more precisely, to the People’s Republic of China after 1949, before eventually being culturally sinicised. Finally, the islands of Micronesia became “associated states” of the United States of America.

10Among these different territories, the two Koreas thus stand apart as the only cases in which dialogue has truly taken place between the former metropole and sovereign states composed clearly of the formerly colonised peoples. Indeed, the Korean peninsula was the only Japanese colony to regain its independence after 1945. Compare this situation with the dialogue seen, for example, between France and Algeria or France and Vietnam. Note incidentally that when “Korea” is mentioned by scholars and the media they are almost always referring solely to South Korea (with which Japan normalised diplomatic relations in 1965). Despite having equal importance in the history of the peninsula in general, and the colonial period in particular, North Korea is all too often overlooked.

11The post-decolonisation period in East Asia was neither a time of peace nor of restored national unity. The Japanese presence in or occupation of French, British and Dutch colonies was one of the major causes of the colonial wars that ensued as part of an effort to “repacify” territories that were in reality already lost, as illustrated by the First Indochina War (1946-54). In this instance too, the former Japanese colonies are in no way counterexamples. Firstly, because independence was not restored to these territories, with the exception of Korea, whose independence had been guaranteed in Cairo in 1943. Secondly, because of the violence that engulfed all of these regions: the brutal repression of Taiwan beginning in February 1947 (February 28 Incident), followed by the south of Korea, where it culminated in Jeju (incidents known collectively as the Jeju Uprising, beginning on April 3, 1948); continuation of the Chinese Civil War, and finally, the fratricidal Korean War (1950-53), said to have claimed the lives of at least one million people. World War II may have been over, East Asia continued to fight a series of “postwar wars” before entering a long period of discord that has yet to come to an end.

12This general context in which colonial past and postwar situation—meaning the Cold War—intertwine, added to the existence of “heated” conflicts, has made settling the past extremely complicated. This issue of settling the past constituted one of the main themes in the French-language edition of Cipango, which included two translated contributions focusing on North and South Korea. Although Japan, and for that matter the international community, long accepted the existence of dictatorial (described as “nationalist”) regimes in South and East Asia (Taiwan, South Korea, or even South Vietnam) as part of the “war against communism” (People’s Republic of China, North Korea, USSR), the democratisation of Taiwan after 1988, and South Korea after 1993, revived the debate on colonial issues. This debate had previously been stifled in these two countries during the time of military rule. Moreover, Japanese politicians, in particular leading figures from the Liberal Democratic Party, were long in denial regarding the question of Japan’s colonial responsibility (a stance that has changed little).

Historiographical Advances

13Ever since decolonisation and the fall of the European and Japanese empires, which occurred largely between 1945 and the 1960s, the history of colonial societies has become a major area of study for university historians, as much in the former colonial powers as in the former colonies. Such scholarship often explores the tensions that may arise between these two camps, for example between Japan and South Korea (North Korea being frequently overlooked). Nevertheless, more than the tensions and opposition triggered by the asymmetrical colonial system, an examination of the various historiographies suggests differences in the themes studies and the way they are approached rather than disagreements in principle. Conversely, greater similarities can be seen in the questions asked by historians from the former metropoles and a global view of colonisation is beginning to emerge. In this way, through its current issue, Cipango, a French journal focusing on Japan, is participating in a wider historiographical movement which since the era of independence has tackled the subject of colonisation in all its diversity.

  • 2 J-F. Bayart, Les études postcoloniales. Un carnaval académique (Postcolonial Studies: An academic c (...)
  • 3 C. Liauzu (ed.), Dictionnaire de la colonisation française (Dictionary of French Colonisation), Par (...)

14France has shown a “passion” for the history of the colonial period, particularly since the 2000s and the great debate on the “Colonial Republic”.2 And yet the study of French colonisation dates back much further than this. The field emerged at universities in the 1970s, with a notable focus on Indochina, and made significant advances during the 1980s thanks to the likes of Charles-Robert Ageron, Mohammed Harbi, Claude Liauzu and Pierre Brocheux. The last decade saw a considerable increase in publications, with 2007 being a particularly prosperous year thanks to the publication of two dictionaries on French colonisation.3 The “colonial societies”—from the French empire and the other former powers—reached another milestone in 2013 and 2014 when they were selected for the CAPES and agrégation (two French teaching qualifications) exam syllabi in history for those years.

  • 4 See the selected bibliography for this Atlas and for the articles published in 2012 by A. Delissen, (...)

15This led to the publication of several exam preparation guides in 2012, notably by the companies Ellipse and Sédès, prepared with the help of scholars specialising in Japan’s colonial possessions. East Asia also featured prominently in the Atlas des empires coloniaux, xixe-xxe siècles (Atlas of Colonial Empires: Nineteenth and twentieth centuries), published by Autrement in 2012.4 This book was the first in the world to provide a comprehensive survey of contemporary colonisation, presenting not only the Indochinese peninsula and the Dutch East Indies but also Taiwan and Korea under Japanese rule.

16Issues 18 and 19 of the French Cipango, from which the papers in this English-language edition were chosen, thus sought to be part of a wider dynamic. The reason is that, in France, the study and understanding of East Asian history, aside from the Indian subcontinent and China, remains limited. French historiography on Japanese colonisation—Japan being the only East Asian nation to have undertaken a colonial-type expansion during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—is split between Korean Studies (the work of Alain Delissen), Japanese Studies and Chinese Studies. The two original issues of Cipango thus constituted a kind of inventory of French-language research on the Japanese colonial empire.

  • 5 See the society’s annual report for the figures quoted here.
  • 6 A. Nanta, “The Japanese Colonial Historiography in Korea (1905-1945)”, in R. Caroli & P-F. Souyri ( (...)

17A brief look at the Japanese historiography is necessary at this point. Indeed, the sheer volume of work written in Japanese on Japan’s colonial possessions makes it impossible to ignore, whether it be the general studies on colonisation published in the 1960s and 70s, or the more “specialist” studies that have appeared since. Clearly it would be impossible to provide an exhaustive description of these works here. Allow us to simply stress that the volume of Japanese scholarship on Korean history is one of the highest in the world—outside of South Korea—, on a par with the United States. Approximately one hundred books (all periods combined) and almost one thousand academic articles are published annually in Japanese. The subject of colonisation has always featured prominently in such publications, ever since the founding in 1959 of the Japanese Society for the Study of Korean History (Chōsen Shi Kenkyūkai 朝鮮史研究会).5 Moreover, far from “discovering” a new area of inquiry, these studies carry on from those conducted during the colonial era itself, adopting a critical stance to the issue.6 Although a similar observation can be made concerning Japanese sinology on Taiwan, in reality, it is Korea and the former Manchuria that represent the lion’s share of subjects most frequently covered by Japanese historians.

  • 7 In contrast, the Second World War began to be studied in the 1950s. See T. Brunet, “Le débat sur l’ (...)
  • 8 K. Yamabe 山辺健太郎, Nikkan heigō shōshi 日韓併合小史, Tokyo, Iwanami, 1965. He also published Nihon tōchi-ka (...)
  • 9 Studies on this specific theme include those by S. Tanaka, P.H. II and L. Babicz.
  • 10 The best illustration of this is no doubt the two hundred or so volumes of facsimiles focusing sole (...)

18The first historical scholarship on Japanese colonisation appeared in the 1960s.7 This included the research by historian Yamabe Kentarō (1905-77), author of methodical studies such as A Short History of the Annexation of Korea by Japan, published in 1965,8 or the work of Hatada Takashi 旗田巍 (1908-94), who made a critical contribution to later scholarship exploring the Japanese perception of Korea.9 The study of Japan’s colonial past also owes much to the work of economic historians—not necessarily Marxist—, who in the 1960s believed that a systematic and comprehensive examination of Japan’s economic development during the early twentieth century was impossible without carefully considering the close relations linking the metropole to its colonies. At the same time, corpora of documents aimed at scholars began to be compiled in the 1970s and two decades later were particularly abundant.10 Colonial history featured in the reference work Nihon rekishi 日本歴史 (Japanese history), published by Iwanami in 1962, right from its first edition. In 1992 it also found a place in an eight-volume series devoted to the subject and entitled Contemporary Japan and its Colonies (Kindai Nihon to shokuminchi 近代日本と植民地). Together such publications played a crucial role in the debates on Japan’s responsibility towards Asia in the early 1980s, at a time when the question of popularising academic knowledge through education arose. Henceforth, a more specialised historiography developed, examining for example the circulation between the different colonial territories, the cohabitation between coloniser and colonised, the industrial development of specific regions of Korea, or even the building of ports on Sakhalin. It was around this same time, in 1988, that the Japanese Society for Colonial Studies (Nihon Shokuminchi Kenkyūkai 日本植民地研究会) was founded.

  • 11 A. Schmid, The Journal of Asian Studies 59, no. 4 (2000): pp. 951-976; response by Mark Peattie and (...)

19Similar questions emerged in historical works published in the United States during the 1980s. A selection of titles can be found in the bibliography presented at the end of this editorial. These studies also illustrate the collaboration between American, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese scholars, as seen in The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945, published in 1984. Although Ramon Myers and Mark Peattie underlined the lack of English-language research in their introduction to this book, twenty-five years later the historian Andre Schmid criticised their work, stressing the need to take into account the historiographies of the former colonies, in particular Korea. He also attacked Carol Gluck and her famous work Japan’s Modern Myths (1985), highlighting the impossibility of studying the history of contemporary Japan while ignoring its colonial empire.11 In our opinion, this debate demonstrated above all the acceleration in research. And we can only stress in turn the crucial importance of being familiar with historiographies written in the local languages, and on the need for a systematic regional history.

Contents of this Edition

20What general perspective can we apply to this collection of papers on Japan’s colonial past published by Cipango? As we stressed earlier, it would be impossible to recreate a kind of grand general mechanism characterising all that was cause and consequence of Japanese colonisation. This observation also applies to other instances of colonial rule. Firstly, from the final third of the nineteenth century through to the mid-twentieth century, a range of contradictory factors played as much of a role as careful planning. Moreover, any such planning could merely be an illusion created intentionally, and after the fact, by the colonial authorities in order to give meaning to their actions. Japanese colonisation was not a monolithic block but rather a dynamic and protean phenomenon that developed both in a manner consistent with its chosen territory (as illustrated by the existence of several different development policies), and in contradiction with its own interests in the medium or long term (something that was quickly understood by certain critics and commentators in Japan). Quite logically, the same can also be said of the postcolonial period: each colonisation corresponded to a particular postcolonial destiny, ranging from a simple change of “tutelage” to situations in which genuinely sovereign states were created. Another subject that clearly illustrates the disparities in the way the formerly colonised territories were “reformulated” (a subject covered in Cipango 19 with regards Taiwan after 1945) is that of the composition of modern ethnicities. All formerly colonised peoples forge a new identity that bears little resemblance to its previous incarnation, one that is the twisted result of a colonial history, a history of war and, often, a history of fratricidal conflict.

21The configuration of East Asia is thus unusual in that, whereas the former European colonial powers interact or wage war on one another as equals so to speak, Japan is the only colonial power (in the modern sense) in its region. Consequently, it is surrounded exclusively by modern nations with whom it has previously maintained unequal relations, whether through war or through colonial rule. This complicates the nature of any dialogue.

22Let us now turn our attention to the selection of articles presented in this English-language edition of Cipango, which covers both the colonial and postcolonial periods.

  • 12 For a French perspective on these conflicts, see Olivier Cosson’s work Préparer la Grande Guerre. L (...)

23Michel Vié looks back at Manchuria during the time of the Qing. Still poorly defined at the end of the nineteenth century, this territory was subsequently fought over by Russia, China and Japan at the heart of what Pierre Renouvin called the “Far Eastern Question”. Vié puts forward arguments that challenge an approach which, in the analysis of colonial rule and its motivations, frequently consists in viewing the issue in terms of the economic exploitation of the acquired territories. This paper highlights the imperialist game played by nation-states, all the while emphasising the vital importance of military history if we are to understand the obsession with self-defence shown by predatory nations during the decade spanning the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) to the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05).12 In this way, Vié highlights the longstanding nature of the hesitations and uncertainties that still characterise this region of Northeast Asia today. The author remains faithful to the main ideas he presented in his 1995 book Le Japon et le monde au xxe siècle (Japan and the World during the Twentieth Century). Note incidentally that throughout its chapters this book systematically addressed the issue of colonisation.

24Alexandre Roy adopts an economic historical approach to examine Japan’s domination of Korea during the early part of the colonial period, from the establishment of the protectorate in 1905 to the events of 1 March 1919 and the recession that followed World War I. The coloniser’s industrial and economic efforts in the peninsula are often analysed from a perspective of economic exploitation (which it was), or else through the prism of Japan’s determined (but belated) efforts to develop Korean industry during the 1930s. Roy attempts to understand the economic reality of the peninsula by analysing the initial phase in Japan’s economic hold over Korea. He shows how the inflow of capital was above all linked to a “Korean bubble” that enabled rapid yet highly superficial development, the impact of which must therefore be assessed with caution.

25Pierre-François Souyri presents a little-known chapter in Japanese history, namely the country’s anti-colonialist discourse. He focuses in particular on the 1920s and analyses some of the main texts written by economic thinkers, theorists of colonial administration, art specialists with an interest in Korea, and liberals from the interwar period. Although, as the author notes, anti-colonialism was never a powerful voice during the colonial period itself, whether in Western Europe or Japan, a few intellectuals did take up their pens to criticise colonial rule, which they saw as either wrong or inefficient. There was no radical criticism of Japanese rule, then, but rather biting remarks regarding the policy implemented in Taiwan and Korea.

26Samuel Guex focuses on the debate in Japan and Korea over secondary school history textbooks. The author leaves behind the Japanese situation, which he has written about previously, to turn his attention to South Korean textbooks. He analyses a series of historiographical points and the manner in which these are presented in South Korea, highlighting the continued dominance of the state textbook despite the liberalisation that took place at the end of the 1990s. In our opinion, this paper provides a clearer understanding of the complexity of the “textbook war”, which cannot be reduced to a simple conflict between two nations.

27Finally, Adrien Carbonnet looks at how the colonial issue has influenced the negotiations undertaken by Japan and North Korea since 1991. Whereas the bombastic rhetoric of North Korea frequently mentions “Japanese imperialism”, Japan, a member of the U.S.-Japan alliance, views the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a “rogue state”, to borrow the words of George W. Bush. The first negotiations, which took place in the 1990s, were intended to normalise relations between the two countries. They were broken off due to the events of September 11 and the issue of Japanese citizens being abducted by North Korea, as the author explains.

Top of page


Selected Bibliography

Atkins, E.T., Primitive Selves - Korea in the Japanese Gaze, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2010.

Babicz, L., Le Japon face à la Corée à l’ère Meiji (Attitudes to Korea in Meiji-Era Japan), Paris, Maisonneuve et Larose, 2002.

Brandt, K., Kingdom of Beauty: Mingei and the Politics of Folk Art in Imperial Japan, Duke University Press, 2007.

Caprio, M., Japanese Assimilation Policies in Korea 1910-1945, Seattle, University of Washington Press, 2009.

Ching, L.T.S., Becoming Japanese: the Politics of Identity Formation in Colonial Taiwan, Berkeley, UCP, 2001.

Delissen, A., “La Corée” (Korea), in A. Delissen et al., Histoire de l’Asie orientale et méridionale au xixe et au xxe siècles (The History of East and South Asia during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries), Paris, PUF, 1999.

Delissen, A., “La Corée, perle de l’empire” (Korea, Pearl of the Empire), L’Histoire, no. 333, July-August 2008, pp. 70-73.

Delissen, A. and A. Nanta, “Sociétés et possessions coloniales japonaises (fin xixe à mi-xxsiècle)” (Japanese Colonial Societies and Possessions [late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century]), in D. Barjot and J. Frémeaux (eds.), Les sociétés coloniales à l’âge des empires des années 1850 aux années 1950 (Colonial Societies in the Age of Empire: 1850s-1950s), Paris, Sedes, 2012, pp. 173-182.

Duus, P., The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea (1895-1910), Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995.

Fujitani, T., Race for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americans during World War II, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2011.

Katz, P., When Valleys Turned Blood Red: The Ta-pa-ni Incident in colonial Taiwan, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2005.

Klein, J-F., P. Singaravélou, M-A. de Suremain, Atlas des empires coloniaux, xixe-xxe siècles (Atlas of Colonial Empires: Nineteenth and twentieth centuries), Paris, Éditions Autrement, 2012.

Kim, E., P-H. Liao & D.D-W. Wang (eds.), Taiwan under Japanese Colonial Rule, 1895-1945, New York, Columbia, 2006.

Myers, R.H. & M.R. Peattie (eds.), The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1894-1945, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1984.

Matsusaka, Y.T., The Making of Japanese Manchuria, 1904-1932, Cambridge (MA), Harvard University Press, 2003.

Nanta, A., “Le Japon face à son passé colonial” (Japan and its Colonial Past), in O. Dard and D. Lefeuvre (eds.), L’Europe face à son passé colonial (Europe and its Colonial Past), Paris, Riveneuve, 2008, pp. 129-146.

Nanta, A., “L’effondrement de l’empire colonial japonais” (The Fall of the Japanese Colonial Empire), in P. Brocheux (ed.), Les décolonisations au xxe siècle. La fin des empires européens et japonais (Decolonisation during the Twentieth Century: The end of the European and Japanese empires), Paris, Armand Colin, 2012, pp. 23-32.

Nespoulous, L., “Panorama du fait colonial moderne au Japon” (A Survey of Modern Colonisation in Japan), in C. Laux and J-F. Klein (eds.), Les sociétés coloniales à l’âge des empires. Afrique, Antilles, Asie (années 1850-années 1950) (Colonial Societies during the Age of Empire: Africa, West Indies, Asia [1850s-1950s]), Paris, Ellipse, 2012, pp. 86-94.

Peattie, M., Nan’yō: the Rise and Fall of the Japanese in Micronesia, 1885-1945, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, (1988) 1992.

Schmid, A., Korea Between Empires, 1895-1919, New York, Columbia University Press, 2002.

Shin, G-W. & M. Robinson (eds.), Colonial Modernity in Korea, Cambridge (MA), Harvard University Press, 1999.

Souyri, P-F., “La colonisation japonaise” (Japanese Colonisation), in M. Ferro (ed.), Le livre noir du colonialisme (The Black Book of Colonialism), Paris, Hachette, (2003) 2005, pp. 543-574.

Uchida, J., Brokers of Empire: Japanese Settler Colonialism in Korea, 1876-1945, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2011.

Vié, M., Le Japon et le monde au xxe siècle (Japan and the World during the Twentieth Century), Paris, Masson, 1995.

Yoo, T.J., The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea: Education, Labor, and Health, 1910-1945, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2008.

Top of page


1 P.H. II, Constructing “Korean” Origins: A Critical Review of Archaeology, Historiography, and Racial Myth in Korean State Formation Theories, Cambridge (MA), Harvard University Asia Center, 2000; P. Edwards, Cambodge, The Cultivation of a Nation, Honolulu, Hawaii University Press, 2008.

2 J-F. Bayart, Les études postcoloniales. Un carnaval académique (Postcolonial Studies: An academic carnival), Paris, Karthala, 2010.

3 C. Liauzu (ed.), Dictionnaire de la colonisation française (Dictionary of French Colonisation), Paris, Larousse, 2007; J-P. Rioux (ed..), Dictionnaire de la France coloniale, Paris, Flammarion, 2007. See also S. Dulucq, J-F. Klein and B. Stora (eds.), Les mots de la colonisation (The Language of Colonisation), Toulouse, PUM, 2007. Similar books have also since been published.

4 See the selected bibliography for this Atlas and for the articles published in 2012 by A. Delissen, A. Nanta and L. Nespoulous in connection with the CAPES and agrégation syllabi on colonial societies.

5 See the society’s annual report for the figures quoted here.

6 A. Nanta, “The Japanese Colonial Historiography in Korea (1905-1945)”, in R. Caroli & P-F. Souyri (eds.), History at Stake in East Asia, Venezia, Lib. Ed. Cafoscarina, 2012, pp. 83-105.

7 In contrast, the Second World War began to be studied in the 1950s. See T. Brunet, “Le débat sur l’Histoire de Shōwa et le Japon de 1955” (The Debate on Shōwa History and 1955 Japan), Cipango, no 17 (2010): pp. 81-258.

8 K. Yamabe 山辺健太郎, Nikkan heigō shōshi 日韓併合小史, Tokyo, Iwanami, 1965. He also published Nihon tōchi-ka no Chōsen 日本統治下の朝鮮 (Korea under Japanese Rule), Tokyo, Iwanami, 1971.

9 Studies on this specific theme include those by S. Tanaka, P.H. II and L. Babicz.

10 The best illustration of this is no doubt the two hundred or so volumes of facsimiles focusing solely on colonial Korea (archives and documents), published by Ryūkei Shosha 龍渓書舎 since the 1990s.

11 A. Schmid, The Journal of Asian Studies 59, no. 4 (2000): pp. 951-976; response by Mark Peattie and Ramon Myers, then by Andre Schmid, The Journal of Asian Studies 60, no. 3 (2001): pp. 813-816.

12 For a French perspective on these conflicts, see Olivier Cosson’s work Préparer la Grande Guerre. L’armée française et la guerre russo-japonaise (1904-1905) (Preparing for the Great War: The French Army and the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05), Paris, Les Indes Savantes, 2013.

Top of page


Electronic reference

Arnaud Nanta and Laurent Nespoulous, « Introduction », Cipango - French Journal of Japanese Studies [Online], 4 | 2015, Online since 18 September 2017, connection on 16 December 2017. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/cjs.1028

Top of page


Creative Commons License
Cipango – French Journal of Japanese Studies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Top of page
  • Logo Centre d’Etudes Japonaises | Inalco
  • OpenEdition Journals