Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

Multi-layered Transformation in Modern East Asia from City to State to Empire, 1860s-1930s

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Amaltas, Lower Ground Floor

This panel rethinks governance in East Asia from the late 19th century to early 20th century. The simple story of government-led “Westernization” has long been criticized, which has led to the emergence of alternative historical frameworks. These frameworks, however, have tended to downplay government intentions, which in fact should be thoroughly re-investigated as a historical product. To fully understand the complexity of the question, three papers in this panel examine multi-layered interactions among different strata of political centers and entities, ranging from ports, cities, states, and empires.

Maho Ikeda illustrates how the political order of Edo/Tokyo, the national capital of Japan, was transformed by focusing on a business community directly affected by the city’s new socioeconomic status in an emerging capitalist society. By delving into the geopolitical significance of ports and frontiers, Isami Sawai demonstrates how China and Japan struggled to establish their respective decision-making mechanisms in their foreign policies with the West. Wei Yi Leow examines how new agriculture technology altered the structure of the British and Japanese empires by focusing on the rubber industry in British Malaya and the rice industry in Taiwan. Together, this panel describes how the government efforts to introduce new political institutions or technology often led to unexpected results, by focusing on the geopolitical interactions during the process. Antony Best and Aleksandra Kobiljski, historians specializing in diplomacy and the circulation of technical knowledge in the region respectively, will serve as discussants.

Maho Ikeda

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan

Presentation(s):

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Aleksandra Kobiljski

French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France

Presentation(s):

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Maho Ikeda

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan

Presentation(s):

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Isami Sawai

London School of Economics and Political Science, Japan

Presentation(s):

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Leow Wei Yi

National University of Singapore, Malaysia

Presentation(s):

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Aleksandra Kobiljski

French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Aleksandra Kobiljski


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