The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910

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University of California Press, Sep 20, 1995 - History - 498 pages
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What forces were behind Japan's emergence as the first non-Western colonial power at the turn of the twentieth century? Peter Duus brings a new perspective to Meiji expansionism in this pathbreaking study of Japan's acquisition of Korea, the largest of its colonial possessions. He shows how Japan's drive for empire was part of a larger goal to become the economic, diplomatic, and strategic equal of the Western countries who had imposed a humiliating treaty settlement on the country in the 1850s.

Duus maintains that two separate but interlinked processes, one political/military and the other economic, propelled Japan's imperialism. Every attempt at increasing Japanese political influence licensed new opportunities for trade, and each new push for Japanese economic interests buttressed, and sometimes justified, further political advances. The sword was the servant of the abacus, the abacus the agent of the sword.

While suggesting that Meiji imperialism shared much with the Western colonial expansion that provided both model and context, Duus also argues that it was "backward imperialism" shaped by a sense of inferiority vis--vis the West. Along with his detailed diplomatic and economic history, Duus offers a unique social history that illuminates the motivations and lifestyles of the overseas Japanese of the time, as well as the views that contemporary Japanese had of themselves and their fellow Asians.

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CHAPTER 1 The Korean Question 18761894
The Failed Protectorate 18941895
Japanese Power in Limbo 18951898
The Race for Concessions 18951901
Toward the Protectorate 19011905
The Politics of the Protectorate 19051910
CHAPTER 7 Capturing the Market Japanese Trade in Korea
Dreams of Brocade Migration to Korea
Strangers in a Strange Land The Settler Community
The Korean Land Grab Agriculture and Land Acquisition
Defining the Koreans Images of Domination
Mimesis and Dependence

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Page 9 - Basically the new imperialism was a nationalistic phenomenon. It followed hard upon the national wars which created an allpowerful Germany and a united Italy, which carried Russia within sight of Constantinople, and which left England fearful and France eclipsed. It expressed a resulting psychological reaction, an ardent desire to maintain or recover national prestige.
Page 21 - The Excentric Idea of Imperialism, With or Without Empire," in Wolfgang Mommsen and Jurgen Osterhammel, eds..
Page 9 - ... was the most spectacular expression of that growing division of the globe into the strong and the weak, the 'advanced' and the 'backward', which we have already noted.

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About the author (1995)

Peter Duus is William H. Bonsall Professor of History at Stanford University. He is author of Feudalism in Japan, (2nd ed. 1993), editor of The Cambridge History of Japan Vol. 6 (1989), and coeditor of The Japanese Informal Empire in Japan, 1895-1937 (1991).

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