Recovering the Subject in the Shadows of Empires: Colonial Violence and Resistance in Taiwan

Edited by: 
Satoshi Mizutani, Doshisha University

Komagome Takeshi 駒込武. Sekaishi no naka no Taiwan shokuminchi shihai—Tainan chōrō chugakkō kara no shiza 世界史のなかの台湾植民地支配 : 台南長老教中学校からの視座 [Colonial rule in Taiwan in world history—From the perspective of the Tainan Presbyterian Middle School]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2015. ISBN: 9784000610735.

Colonial Rule in Taiwan is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of education and religion in East Asia under Japanese imperialism. With its exposition of the violent nature of colonial education, it offers a much-needed corrective to the prevailing myth―politically exploited by Japanese conservatives―that the colonization of Taiwan was smoothly accomplished because its people were supposedly more “pro-Japanese” than other colonized peoples, like the Koreans. Moreover, with its focus on the intimate relationship between religious and educational policy, the book helps us come to terms with a series of issues that have plagued Japan in recent years. While writing this review, I could not help but be struck by how absolutely relevant Komagome’s work is to contemporary Japanese politics. Almost all cabinet members of Abe Shinzo’s government (as of April 2017) are members of the Shinto Political Alliance Diet Members’ Association, the political wing of the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership. Given the endemic spread of rampant racism targeting ex-colonial minorities and their schools, particularly since these “patriotic” politicians came to power, the book is an unsettling reminder that East Asia is still haunted by the ghost of colonial violence, the kind of violence experienced in Taiwan more than eight decades ago...

Recovering the Subject in the Shadows of Empires: Colonial Violence and Resistance in Taiwan
Satoshi Mizutani, Doshisha University
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