Japanese Colonization of Taiwan Over Term Paper

  • Length: 25 pages
  • Subject: History - Asian
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #93101329

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Tea was the third most important commercial product, and was also sold to the mainland. Research indicates that the Japanese, as well as other foreign powers, deeply coveted in Taiwan's wealth (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).

In 1886 Taiwan's defenses against foreign aggression were modernized, the government implemented tax reforms to make Taiwan financially independent, and educated its indigenous peoples. A general trade office was established to encourage foreign trade, and Western-style schools were set up (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).When Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895 under the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the locals declared independence on May 25, 1895, and formed the Democratic Taiwan Nation to resist the Japanese take-over. A total of 7,000 Chinese soldiers were killed in the conflict and civilian casualties numbered in the thousands (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).These events also assisted in the creation of a Taiwanese identity, because through western style schools, the older culture of the Taiwanese was preserved at the family base. The implemented tax reforms also assisted in making Taiwan financially independent, along with the encouragement of foreign trade.

The Japanese Rule of Taiwan

Colonial policies at the initial stage centered on consolidating political and economic control, achieving financial independence, and preparing for the entry of Japanese capital. In other words, this involved the restructure of the old social and economic development in ways that would benefit the Japanese. The Japanese eliminated property rights in favor of a class of owners who held usufruct rights over the land. Because Taiwan served as a model colony, Japan invested considerable funds in its industrialization and modernization. Scholars have indicated that the Japanese colonial rule was harsh, however, during this time period Taiwan developed in a considerably different direction than it might have as a province of the Qing dynasty. Japanese was made the national language of Taiwan and many Japanese settled in this colony as part of the plan of cultural and economic integration (Pastreich, at (http://www.hapress.com/prn.php?tp=150).

Scholars have indicated that the Japanese at the start of the 20th century gave priority to establishing effective political control over the island. Thus, the Japanese law enforcers became the most important tool in the exercise of Taiwan's colonization. The Japanese ruled Taiwan for fifty years, during which they developed programs designed to supply the Japanese empire with agricultural products, create demand for Japanese industrial products, and provide living space for emigrants from an increasingly overpopulated home country. Taiwan's peasants became increasingly subordinate to agroindustrial capital. The colonial state in connection with Japanese sugar capitalist invested in irrigation, transport and storage; financial capital and provided technology for farms.

History reveals that the period of Japanese colonization can be roughly divided into three stages (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).The first, from 1895 to 1918, involved establishing administrative mechanisms and militarily suppressing armed resistance by local Chinese (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).During this stage, the Japanese introduced strict police controls, carried out a thorough land survey, standardized measurements and currencies, monopolized the manufacture and sale of important products, began collecting census data, and made an ethnological study of the island's indigenous peoples (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).

During the second stage, from 1918 to 1937, Japan consolidated its hold over Taiwan. Compulsory Japanese education and cultural assimilation were the focus of this stage, while economic development was promoted to transform the island into a secure stepping stone from which Japan could launch its southward aggression (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).The third stage, from 1937 to 1945, entailed the naturalization of Taiwan residents as Japanese. The Chinese on Taiwan were forced to adopt Japanese names, wear Japanese-style clothing, eat Japanese food, and observe Japanese religious rites. Also during this stage, Japanese developed Taiwan into an area of heavy industry and foreign trade (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).

The Japanese established monopoly market control to regulate the supply of raw materials and quality of products. Although Taiwan's family-farming agriculture retained the appearance of autonomy, it was controlled by Japanese capital through monopolistic market prices and large-scale state investment. The capacity to extract a substantial surplus from highly productive family farms allowed the agroindustry to secure necessary profits for capital accumulation. In addition, the Japanese increased Taiwan's transportation facilities by developing steamship lines, improving harbors, and building railroads and highways. The Japanese government also rebuilt the old railroad within ten years, 250 miles long, linking the northern coast with the southwestern tip and passing through a number of other major cities. At the same time, many Japanese sugar manufacturers built private lines for both general traffic and transporting sugar cane (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).By the end of Japanese rule, the private and government lines totaled 2,857 miles in length, and with this line the Japanese began to conquer the steep slopes of Taiwan's mountainous center and to tap its abundant timber resources (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).

The Japanese also assisted in the development of Taiwan's irrigation system, and completed the great Chianan Irrigation System in 1930 (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).The Chianan Irrigation System converted 68,050 acres of poor land on the west coast of Taiwan into the most fertile farmland of the island. After the system went into operation, arable land for growing rice increased by more than 74% and sugar cane by 30% (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).During Japanese rule, rice production was increased through the introduction of a round-grain type of rice that produced a higher yield than the original long-grain type of Taiwan Indica rice. As a result, the yield per acre increased by one-third, and total rice production doubled (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).

In the late 1930's the colonial administration intervened heavily in market operation in the rice sector. The indigenous landlord class forced the maintaince of the terms of trade of rice until the government monopolized the trade in 1939. Government intervention aimed to cut rice prices and undermine the indigenous class forces. Government policy also accelerated the long-term trend toward land fragmentation within the indigenous socioeconomic structure.

Under the Japanese rule, the production of sugar cane in Taiwan was also increased. From as early as 1896, the Japanese imported various cane cuttings and seedlings of improved sugar varieties from Java, Cuba, Louisiana, and Australia, as well as from Hawaii (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).These Japanese imported seedlings were well suited to the local climate and soil, and resulted in two or three times as much as the indigenous varieties. Over the period of 30 years (1905-1935), the area planted in sugar cane increased by 500%, and total production skyrocketed. In 1939, Japanese-controlled Taiwan was the seventh largest producer of sugar in the world, ranking only after Cuba, India, the U.S.S.R., Germany, the United States, and Java (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).

Banana and pineapple production additionally soared under the Japanese rule. Although the banana tree was indigenous to Taiwan, only after Japanese rule began did bananas become an important export item. As a result, pineapple cultivation began to expand after canning techniques were finally introduced in 1923. Under the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, the industrial production began to increase slowly when sugar refining advanced. Research indicates that many large-scale state-run factories still operating today in Taiwan were constructed by the Japanese. The Japanese also implemented hydroelectric power as part of the industrial development. Heavy rainfall and swift mountain streams on the island permitted the establishment of large hydroelectric plants (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).The Sun Moon Lake power plant stands out as one of the greatest achievements of the Japanese period in Taiwan (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).Through this power project, it was possible for the island to support aluminum, chemical, and steel alloy plants (Government Information Office in Taiwan, at (http://www.taiwan.com.au/polieco/history/report04.html).

The creation of identity as part of a resistance to Japanese rule

Although the Japanese had greatly advanced Taiwan made the island extremely economically beneficial and successful, the natives still resisted rule by the Japanese. This is most likely because the Japanese forced their rule, traditions and ways of life on the natives. Additionally, the natives were used to alien rulers, and this probably added a customary hostility to any foreigners they encountered. Since the Japanese forced its policy of "industrial Japan, agricultural Taiwan" on the island, Japan thus made Taiwan's economy dependent on that of Japan. In order fully to exploit Taiwan's economic resources, Japan further expanded its farmland, and the Japanese colonial government, its financial magnates, and various individuals seized 68.5% of the land and 97% of the forest (Sohu.com, at (http://english.sohu.com/20040719/n221080673.shtml).

During the period of Japanese rule, the Japanese established various industries on the island, such as sugar processing, canning, paper making, camphor processing, wood processing, textiles, chemical products, machinery, iron and steel, and electricity.

Through Japanese…

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