Fostering Patriotism: Geography Education under Japanese Colonialism
Patriotism was one of the important concepts of Japanese colonialism. This paper discusses the role of geography education in fostering patriotism among the colonised people. Particular attention will be focused on Taiwan, Korea and Nan’yo. Taiwan and Korea were, as Peattie (1984) put it, ‘the most important colonies’ where ‘were well populated lands whose inhabitants were racially akin to their Japanese rulers with whom they shared a common cultural heritage’. Taking advantage of this cultural affinity, Japan developed a unique colonial policy: Pan-Asianism. The Japanese aimed to assimilate the colonised people and transform them into ‘Japanese’. Education was one of the key tools in Japanese colonialism to promote the assimilation and geography was a core subject in elementary school education to foster patriotic spirit among children. Nan’yo, the South Sea Islands, had a different position in the Japanese Empire. As Nan’yo was less populated, ‘technologically primitive’ (Peattie, 1984) and culturally different, Japan provided only basic education to the people in Nan’yo. In other words, because of both geographical and cultural distance, Japan did not treat the people in Nan’yo equally even though it intended to Japanize them. Attention will be paid how patriotism was taught in ‘less important’ territory and how different from that of major colonies.
By comparing colonial policy and geography education in Taiwan, Korea and Nan’yo, I will discuss how patriotism was fostered among the children of the territories and how it affected them.