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Colonialism and the `Korea Problem' in the Historiography of Modern Japan: A Review Article

Andre Schmid
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 59, No. 4 (Nov., 2000), pp. 951-976
DOI: 10.2307/2659218
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2659218
Page Count: 26
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Colonialism and the `Korea Problem' in the Historiography of Modern Japan: A Review Article
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Abstract

Andre Schmid's essay directly addresses the problem of twentieth-century Japanese history as "island history." Although there has been a wealth of recent scholarship on the Japanese empire, Schmid argues that until very recently the histories of the colonies have not transformed the histories of the metropole. His essay demonstrates the restrictions that the boundaries of the nation-state place on historical explanation. The critique he offers is not simply empirical; he suggests that taking the nation-state as the level of the analysis makes it much harder to look at transnational phenomena. Transnational history (requiring translingual competence) is much more difficult to write than the history of one nation, but, as Schmid suggests, it may be necessary in figuring out the dynamics of the twentieth century. It is a point Schmid makes more directly than do the other authors, but it is a theme that runs through all five of the articles in this issue.

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