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Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review is a peer-reviewed, quarterly online journal that offers its readers up-to-date research findings, emerging trends, and cutting-edge perspectives concerning East Asian history and culture from scholars in both English-speaking and Asian language-speaking academic communities.

Articles | Japanese Imperial Maps as Sources for East Asian History: The Past and Future of the Gaihōzu

Introduction to "Japanese Imperial Maps as Sources for East Asian History: The Past and Future of the Gaihōzu"

The spatial turn of recent years has brought a number of novel landscapes into focus for scholars of East Asia. One such frontier—located at the intersection of urban development, state power, and territorialization—provided the conceptual ground for the inaugural issue of the Cross-Currents e-journal in December 2011. Another—the domain of imperial cartography—undergirds the present collection of articles. The articles featured here grew out of an international symposium on the gaihōzu held at Stanford University in October 2011. The occasion for the conference was the belated discovery that Stanford is among the half dozen universities in the United States to harbor an as-yet uncatalogued collection of Japanese military maps. Bringing together librarians, geographers, and historians from both sides of the Pacific with generous support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Stanford symposium explored how Japanese military and imperial maps can speak to the fields of social, diplomatic, and economic history alike. Whether interrogated as evidence for the mentality of their makers, the process of their production, or the content of their data, gaihōzu offer a wealth of scholarly riches.

Japanese Mapping of Asia-Pacific Areas, 1873-1945: An Overview

Japanese mapping in the Asia-Pacific region up to 1945 calls for scrutiny, because its development was a multifaceted process with military, administrative, political, and cultural dimensions. This article traces the changes in Japanese mapping of overseas areas to the end of World War II and assesses the significance of the resulting maps, called gaihōzu, as sources for East Asian history. As implements of military operation and colonial administration, the gaihōzu were produced during a protracted period by various means under changing circumstances. Expanding military activity also promoted differentiation among the gaihōzu by increasing the use of maps originally produced in foreign countries. In conclusion, the need for detailed cataloging, in combination with chronologically arranged index mapping, is emphasized for the systematic use of the gaihōzu.

Imagining Manmō: Mapping the Russo-Japanese Boundary Agreements in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, 1907-1915

This study attempts to delineate the boundaries of the spheres of interest in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia established under the Russo-Japanese accords of 1907 and 1912. Although the agreements are well known, there have been few efforts to reconstruct these spheres cartographically. Two existing maps offer contradictory interpretations. These partition agreements had a major impact on diplomacy, railway policy, and strategic planning during the decade they held force between 1907 and 1916, and the precise location of the Russo-Japanese sphere boundaries in this contested region was a matter of no small consequence. The author proposes a revised boundary map based on an examination of textual and cartographic sources, including maps produced by the army command of the Kwantung government-general. At the same time, the author seeks to highlight the potential value of cartographic analysis as a mode of historical inquiry into the record of Japanese imperialism. Cartography was an indispensable tool for modern empire builders in bringing a measurable territoriality to their realms and making their lands and subjects politically legible. The mapping entailed in these boundary agreements was important not only in bilateral diplomacy, but also in enhancing the legibility of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia to Japanese imperialists themselves.

Triangulating Chōsen: Maps, Mapmaking, and the Land Survey in Colonial Korea

Drawing from an assortment of government reports, contemporary publications, and cartographic materials, this article examines the triangulation survey conducted by the Japanese government-general in Korea from 1910 to 1918. In addition to elucidating the mapmaking process, it explores the ways in which the triangulation survey both reflected and promoted Japan’s colonial authority in Korea and abroad. By turns, the author provides a broad sketch of the planning and implementation of the survey, considers the tools and techniques that enabled it, traces the progress of the triangulation enterprise, and dwells on the legacy and limitations of the maps brought about by the triangulation survey.

Mapping Economic Development: The South Seas Government and Sugar Production in Japan’s South Pacific Mandate, 1919–1941

Japan acquired the Mariana, Caroline, and Marshall Island chains as a League of Nations mandate following World War I. Why did the local administration (the South Seas Government or Nanyōchō) heavily subsidize the establishment of a sugar industry? While the South Seas Government did not explicitly state why it chose to support the sugar industry despite the wealth of oceanic resources surrounding the islands, imperial maps of the South Pacific produced by the Japanese navy and the South Seas Government provide a window into how both parties envisioned and planned for the economic future of the mandate. These maps included information regarding the available natural resources, land, and culture level of the Micronesian population. The author argues that in depicting the islands as spaces where a “primitive” nonagricultural population failed to take advantage of the islands’ resources, mapmakers and officials planned for the mass migration of Japanese labor to the mandate in order to support a newly established sugar industry.


Asian Studies/Global Studies: Transcending Area Studies and Social Sciences

The post–World War II growth of area studies, and Asian studies in particular, posed a serious challenge to the mainstream social sciences. Yet the epistemic and institutional foundations of area studies were never well articulated or justified, and the post–Cold War years brought a pervasive sense of crisis to its intellectual mission and justification. In particular, the author focuses on the tensions, if not contradictions, between social science disciplines and area studies. In advocating a more integrated human science, which depends more on mobile networks of scholars than on fixed fields of discipline-bound professors, the author suggests global studies as a fitting field of inquiry in the age of globalization.

Defenders and Conquerors: The Rhetoric of Royal Power in Korean Inscriptions from the Fifth to Seventh Centuries

This article compares the rhetoric of three inscriptions from the Three Kingdoms period of Korea: the Gwanggaeto inscription, which was carved in 414 on the tomb stele of King Gwanggaeto of Goguryeo; the inscriptions on the monument stones raised between 550 and 568 to record the tours of King Jinheung of Silla; and the King Munmu inscription on the funerary stele of King Munmu of Silla, which was completed in 682. Notably, although all three monarchs were successful warriors, only the Gwanggaeto inscription is characterized by the martial rhetoric of conquest, while the two Silla examples employ the cautious rhetoric of peacemaking. The author analyzes this difference by understanding the inscriptions as situated speech acts, and he suggests that these inscriptions should be understood within the particular political circumstances in which they were situated. Whereas the Gwanggaeto inscription was produced by a powerful Goguryeo acting within a Northeast Asia in which no one state could claim dominance, the Silla inscriptions were produced by a Silla Kingdom that had to struggle first against established Korean rivals and then against an enormously powerful Tang empire.

Photo Essay

Shanghai Alleyways

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