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Guest Lecture: A branch in the Japanese tree - the Philippines and the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”

19. Dez 2017 14:00 Uhr bis 16:00 Uhr
Karl Jaspers Centre, Room 212

Guest Lecture by Dr. Sven Matthiessen

This event was moved from December 18 to December 19.

The Philippine archipelago differed remarkably from other Southeast Asian countries invaded and administrated by the Japanese during World War II. The majority of the Philippine population was Catholic, and more than four centuries of Spanish and American colonialization had a large impact on the self-image of the Filipinos. The Japanese invaders who claimed their mission was to liberate the Asian continent from Western suppression found themselves confronted with an environment where people did not consider themselves as Asians in the first place. Thus, the Japanese Pan – Asianism, which had become a leading motive in Japanese foreign policy since the late 1930s, propagating the slogan “One Asia” needed to be put into action in the country with the arguably most westernized population in the region.

Ideas to unify Asia under Japanese leadership emerged in Japan as early as in the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912). Pan-Asianist movements called for the unification of the Asian race (“One Asia”) under Japanese leadership. Due to the obvious differences in terms of culture, language and politics, most advocates of Pan-Asianism by then however only referred to the unification of the Eastern part of Asia. From February 1941, the Supreme Command of the Japanese Imperial Army conducted specific research on how to administer occupied territories, including those in Southeast Asia. In these plans it considered the independence of Burma and the Philippines within a “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” (daitōa kyōeiken). This independence meant that the Philippine government was to be run by Filipinos; however, the Philippines was to become part of an economic bloc where it was no longer dependent on trade with America, but subject to Japanese domination.

This talk will focus on the perception of the Philippines in Japanese political thought, especially Pan-Asianism, from the early 20th century to the eve of the Pacific War. I will also outline the envisaged political and economic role of the archipelago as a member of the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”.

The guest lecture will be given within the frame of the weekly seminar "The Philippines - from Western colonialism to national independence". The number of seats is limited. If you would like to attend the guest lecture, please pre-register by email to takuma.melber@asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de

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