Megata Tanetarō 目賀田種太郎 , sometimes (mistakenly?) referred to as Megata / Mekata Jutarō, was one of the first Japanese students at Harvard university, and one of the founders (together with Sōma Nagatane 相馬 永胤, Tajiri Inajirō 田尻 稲次郎, and Komai Shigetada 駒井 重格) of Senshū University.
Today, September 1, is the 83rd anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake. Apparently coinciding with the anniversary, the Brown University Library now put the Dana and Vera Reynolds Collection of photographs taken at the time online; the Library's Center for Digital Initiatives maintains, and continues to develop, the site. The site contains more info on the project, as well as essays, and newspaper accounts of the event and disaster relief activities afterwards.
I have recently started reading Yosano Akiko's 与謝野晶子 diary of her trip to Manchuria and Mongolia, paid by the South Manchurian Railway Company. This also spurred a search for travelogues of the Asian continent by other reknown Japanese authors. Interestingly, Natsume Sōseki 夏目漱石 preceded (1909) Yosano in going to Manchuria (1928); his diary is in the public domain, thanks to efforts by Aozora Bunko 青空文庫 (see the relevant Wikipedia-pages or their introduction for more information). A great read; indispensible for the bookmarks. Joshua Fogel describes the travel diaries through China of other Japanese writers in his book The Literature of Travel in the Japanese Rediscovery of China 1862-1945.
In his larger piece about the Korean economy under Japanese rule, Abiola Lapite reviews Japanese imperialist rule on the Asian continent. There are some interesting arguments there, but I remain in doubt whether colonialism can be measured in terms of relative cruelty vis-a-vis relative profit to the 'oppressed' native population. Rather than judging contemporary Korean emotions in terms of their truth-value of what 'really' happened, analysis is better served by describing it as one political tool for putting Japan under pressure about its future political role in Asia.
In the course of preparing an application for a John Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress, I looked into the latter's impressive holdings of material related to the South Manchurian Railway Company and the Company's study bureau, the East Asia Research Institute.
The South Manchurian Railway Company was a central tool in the spread and maintenance of Japanese imperialism in East-Asia and the documentation and planning of its policies. Yet, I was surprised to find relatively few web-resources referring to its establishment. A good Japanese reference seems to be the 南満州鉄道株式会社（満鉄）設立-pages of the クリック２０世紀 -project. An impressive amount of pages, indeed, and a great encyclopedic and bibliographic reference: the larger part of entries contain bibliographical information as well. Other references are not so thorough, but may be useful after all. Look at the pages on the Company by the 20th Century Japan project; the Wikipedia (Japan) pages on Gotō Shinpei 後藤新平, its first director; some of Yamamoto Yūzō's 山本有造 remarks on macro-economic data on Manchuria (in the Hitsotsubashi University Asian Historical Statistics Newletter of the Faculty of Economics / also in English). Longer reads: papers (in .pdf format) by Imura Tetsuo and Tomotani Junichi.
Kimura Mitsuhiko, 'The Economics of Japanese Imperialism in Korea, 1910-1939', The Economic History Review 48/3: 555-574.
In this well-argued and thoroughly researched (have a look at the list of references) article, Kimura Mitsuhiko predominantly rejects the presuppositions of studies on Japanese imperialism that take the theories of Hobson and Lenin as their starting point. In the latter view, capitalism is eventually tantamount to imperialism: with markets that must at a certain point become saturated, imperialism is considered the political means to find an outlet for the forces of capital, and secure profit that would otherwise be brought to a halt.
I have again added pictures to the Histor¥-folder, this time pictures I took of the former Otaru branch of the Bank of Japan. Nowadays, it serves as the Bank of Japan Otaru Museum, and currently displays an exhibition of the new yen-bills (10,000¥, 5,000¥, 1,000¥), which will go into circulation on November 1 2004 (I will cover this in a later blogpost).
Mark Metzler, 'American Pressure for Financial Internationalization in Japan on the Eve of the Great Depression', Journal of Japanese Studies 28:2 (2002), 277-300
Focusing on 'foreign pressure" or 外圧 (gaiatsu) in Japan's attempts to return to the gold standard (1930), Mark Metzler turns to a lesser known aspect of Japan's modern financial history, and, indirectly, to an underdeveloped episode of Japanese expansionism and developmentalism as well. Metzler's account is a very fine argument on Japan's recurrent frustration with internationalization and foreign dependence.