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Japanese Imperialism and civic construction in Manchuria : Changchun, 1905-1945

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Title: Japanese Imperialism and civic construction in Manchuria : Changchun, 1905-1945
Author: Sewell, William Shaw
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program History
Copyright Date: 2000
Subject Keywords City planning -- China -- Manchuria -- History.; Manchuria (China) -- History -- 20th century.; Japan -- Foreign relations -- China -- Manchuria -- History.; China -- Foreign relations -- Japan -- History.
Abstract: This study explores some of the urban visions inherent in Japanese colonial modernity in Manchuria and how they represented important aspects of the self-consciously modernizing Japanese state. Perceiving the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun as a tabula rasa upon which to erect new and sweeping conceptions of the built environment, Japanese used the city as a practical laboratory to create two distinct and idealized urban milieus, each appropriate to a particular era. From 1905 to 1932 Changchun served as a key railway town through which the Japanese orchestrated informal empire; between 1932 and 1945 the city became home to a grandiose, new Asian capital. Yet while the facades the town and later the capital—as well as the attitudes of the state they upheld—contrasted markedly, the shifting styles of planning and architecture consistently attempted to represent Japanese rule as progressive, beneficent, and modern. More than an attempt to legitimize empire through paternalistic care, however, Japanese perceptions of these built environments demonstrate deeper significance. Although Japanese intended Changchun's two built environments to appeal to subject populations, more fundamentally they were designed to appeal to Japanese sensibilities in order to effect change in Japan itself. Imperialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries involved policies of dominance and exploitation that included a range of endeavors central to the creation of contemporary societies. It is in part because Japanese believed they were acting progressively in places like Changchun that many Japanese in the postwar era have had difficulty acknowledging the entirety of Japanese activities on the mainland in the first half of the twentieth century.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/10902
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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