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Japan and the Specter of Imperialism by M. Anderson

By M. Anderson

Japan and the threat of Imperialism examines competing eastern responses to the overdue 19th century unequal treaty regime as a war of words with liberal imperialism, together with the tradition and gender politics people territorial enlargement into the Pacific.

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To his mind, socialism should undermine the capitalists’ monopoly on profits to be distributed. 100 Workers become automatic, inhuman machines, a haunted, abject form of life that is neither alive nor dead. With the image of twentieth century imperialism as a monster, Kotoku conceives imperialism as a specter of death that haunts the state and the workers upon whom the state enforces such misguided ways of life. He finds that all of these issues are relayed through the domestic sphere as well. ” While it may be good that women’s issues are being researched, when you actually examine what such studies are attempting, he argues, they are essentially conducting surveillance on women and trying to think of new ways to control them.

Journalists for magazines such as Kokumin no tomo and Nihon, and newspapers such as the Heimin shinbun, the Kokumin no shinbun, the Yorozu chohô, and the Osaka Mainichi, were documenting the extreme and rapidly rising poverty of the Japanese lower classes. Both groups, often with vocal support from state bureaucrats, were beginning to actively campaign for 40 Japan and the Specter of Imperialism factory laws to protect workers from unsafe and exploitative conditions in the workplace. In the face of this initiative, managers of corporate Japan routinely turned to an argument in the melodramatic mode in order to fend off and delay state legal involvement in business management and working conditions.

Further, the transnational project of governmentality presented in the guise of “civilization” is depicted as haunted by the very bestiality and inhumanity it claims it is dedicated to overcoming in others. The very project of civilization in the form of capitalist governmentality is revealed as a mere semblance of humanity— as a mode of abjection by which the vaunted liberal “civilizing mission” haunts those of all nations and cultures and races it designates as less or other than itself. Mark Metzler’s superb Lever of Empire implicitly establishes that Kôtoku was on the right track in his efforts to make sense of turn of the century Japan’s international predicament.

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