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Early Meiji Policies Towards the Ryukyus and the Taiwanese Aboriginal Territories

This article focuses on Meiji Japan's policies towards the Ryukyus and the Taiwanese aboriginal territories in the early 1870s. The Meiji Government incorporated the Ryukyus by abolishing the kingdom in 1872 and sent expeditionary forces to the Taiwanese aboriginal territories on the pretext of... Full description

1st Person: Mizuno, Norihito
Source: in Modern Asian studies Vol. 43, No. 3 (2009), p. 683-739
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Type of Publication: Article
Language: English
Published: 2009
Keywords: research-article
Online: Volltext
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520 |a This article focuses on Meiji Japan's policies towards the Ryukyus and the Taiwanese aboriginal territories in the early 1870s. The Meiji Government incorporated the Ryukyus by abolishing the kingdom in 1872 and sent expeditionary forces to the Taiwanese aboriginal territories on the pretext of the massacre of the shipwrecked Ryukyuans by the aboriginal tribes in 1874. Many Japanese and non-Japanese historians have argued that Japan started aggression on China by annexing its tributary state and invading its territories. In this article, I contend that the Ryukyu--Taiwan policies in the early Meiji period grew out of Japanese concerns over national security and prestige in a Western-dominated international environment but had no intention to secure Japan's independence and to aggrandise its national prestige by encroaching on China's territorial sovereignty. 
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