Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Helena Rosenblatt


George Solt

Subject Categories

Asian History | Asian Studies


cross-boundary, Japanese empire, migration, Shantou, Taiwanese sekimin, treaty port


This dissertation explores Japanese imperial history in East Asia and focuses on a group of "cross-boundary people"--Taiwanese sekimin (Taiwanese who registered as Japanese subjects) and Japanese--who went to the treaty port of Shantou in southern China during the period between 1895 and 1937. The starting time point (i.e., 1895) corresponds to the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, by which Japan acquired Taiwan as a colony and informal privileges in Chinese treaty ports. The ending time point (i.e., 1937) corresponds to the decline that Shantou's Japanese community experienced owing to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War on July 7, 1937. By examining the official documents of the Taiwan General Government, commercial reports of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and major newspapers and travel writings published in colonial Taiwan, I explore the connections among the Japanese homeland (the metropole), the Japanese formal empire in Taiwan, and the Japanese informal empire in Shantou in terms of commercial activities, human resources, and networks of words.

Concerning commercial activities, I argue that Shantou was an important market for both Japanese and Taiwanese goods, and that the commercial network comprising the Japanese metropole, colonial Taiwan, and the Shantou treaty port was significant for Japanese imperial formation in East Asia. Moreover, by analyzing the Japan-China co-invested Dadong Ice-making Company in Shantou, I explore the complicated competitive and cooperative relationships among three notably different ethnic groups there: Taiwanese sekimin, local Chinese, and Japanese in Shantou. By examining the Japan-founded educational institution known as --the Toc School in Shantou, I clarify two important points: (1) the Taiwan General Government established a network of human resources for the Japanese homeland, colonial Taiwan, and the Shantou treaty port; and (2) this particular school's Japanese and Taiwanese teachers produced writings published in major Taiwanese periodicals, signifying a network of "words" between an element of Japan's formal empire (Taiwan) and an element of Japan's informal empire (Shantou).