The Japanese government has strengthened statism since 1937, when Japan launched an assault against China, which is known as the Sino-Japanese War. During the war, many Japanese geographers engaged in activities contributing to national policies. Some geographers engaged in geopolitics as a tool for ideological warfare, whereas other geographers engaged in the exploration of areas newly occupied by Japan, and school teachers had to teach geography textbooks written from the emperor-centered geographical perspective. School textbooks on geography were written with the intention of aiming for the construction of the the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. Furthermore, with the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941, the expansion of Japan’s sphere of influence increased the need for geography in the areas occupied by the Japanese army, especially the South Seas (Nanyo) which cover an area of Pacific islands and Southeast Asia. Therefore, several geography books on Nanyo and the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere were published during the war period.
Our research group gives six oral presentations and an e-poster on the Nanyo in prewar Japan in this session. Firstly, I explain the characteristics of wartime Japanese geopolitics and analyze the contents of geography books on the Nanyo and school geography textbooks during wartime.
Keywords: South Seas (Nanyo)|Japan|geopolitics|geography books|school textbooks