Home > Programs > Japan

Modernity and Dependency in the Asian Sphere: the Fictions and Realities of Colonial Japan on the continent (1901-1945)

by Lemardelé Élise - published on , updated on

Principal investigators : Midori HIROSE, Arnaud NANTA.

Participants :

Full Members


Associate Members

Arnaud NANTA (IAO Lyon)

Post-doctoral students

Grégoire SASTRE, Seiko SUZUKI.

International collaborators :

Alain DELISSEN (Directeur d’études à l’EHESS/Paris)
Claude HAMON (Paris Diderot/ ancien membre CRCAO)
Nadin HÉE (JP/Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut/ Berlin)
Izumi ITO (Co-directrice du Musée Yokohama Eurasia Bunka kan 横浜ユーラシア文化館)
Juling LEE (PostDoc / Université de Genève)


Renewed project following the 2014-2018 five-year programme.
In the first half of the 20th century, Japanese colonial presence implemented itself through the creation of an empire encompassing the island of Taiwan, Korea, and later Manchuria. The development of novels, advertising graphics, magazines, LP records, cinematography, news agencies, but also industrial and colonial exhibitions established cross-exchanges between the Japanese Archipelago and the Asian continent. This Japanese-Korean and Chinese-Japanese play of mirrors between the dominant and dominated was particularly significant in Shanghai, the main hub of commercial exchanges in China, but also more widely throughout East Asia. If it is difficult to grasp the changing and at times jarring reality of these dynamics, everybody contributed to the general hubbub, in which espionage and smuggling thrived. Industrialists, ‘compradores’, commercial representatives, military detachments and agents of influence all contributed to weave a network in which Japan was soon to become the main actor.
This project proposes to examine different aspects of Japan’s multifaceted policy in China (1901-1945), concerning the collection of information, the managements of semi-colonial markets, namely around Shanghai and Manchuria, and that extended during the war to the occupied territories of South-East Asia. Research will also focus on the earlier approaches adopted in Taiwan and Korea, and the specific policy implemented in nationalist China, based on detective novels, diplomacy and business, as well as various applied and performing arts (cinema, theatre, songs, etc.). Finally, adopting an experimental and multifaceted approach, the project will address the topic of Asian exhibitions held in Japan in the decades preceding the war as a performance, orchestrated by the Japanese empire of the transfer of western-based crafts and industrial and cultural technologies.
Scientific output and planned activities for 2018-2022:
- Symposium at the Paris Diderot University in 2019:
“Colonial Japan: Contemplating Multiple Societies (1901-1945)”