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“Going to the Philippines is like coming Home”—Japanese pan-Asianism and the Philippines from the Meiji Era to the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

Matthiessen, Sven (2012) “Going to the Philippines is like coming Home”—Japanese pan-Asianism and the Philippines from the Meiji Era to the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the perception of the Philippines in Japanese pan-Asianist thought from the Meiji era (1868-1912) until the end of the Pacific War in 1945. Special focus will be given to the impact of pan-Asianist ideology on Japanese administrative policy in the archipelago during the Japanese occupation of the islands, from 1941 to 1945. The Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia with a mainly Christian population, and the impact of American rule in the country from 1898 to 1941 was extraordinarily strong. These two factors largely hindered the implementation of an ideology that propagated a return to “Asian values” in the islands. Philippine and Japanese literature on the Japanese occupation indicates that most Filipinos considered themselves not as Asians but as belonging to the Western hemisphere. This self-image of the Filipinos made the Philippines a special case among all those countries occupied by Japan throughout the Pacific War. In my thesis, I will show how Japanese pan-Asianism developed over the years into an ideology that shaped the outline of Japanese foreign policy by the late 1930s. I will examine how the perception of the Philippines in this ideology changed, and how far pan-Asianism played a role in Japanese-Philippine relations. Furthermore, I will show that there were two concurrent factions within the Japanese pan-Asianist community: one an “exoteric” or traditionalist faction; the other an “esoteric” or realist faction. These factions had divergent views on the perspectives of the Philippines becoming part of the so-called Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. While the “exoteric” faction was very optimistic that the Philippines could be easily integrated into the sphere, the iv “esoteric” faction regarded the cultural differences between the islands and Japan as a major obstacle to the admission of the Philippines into the sphere. I will show how eventually the “esoteric” faction had a stronger impact on Japanese occupation policy. However, the pro-Americanism of many Filipinos, along with a pressing war situation for Japan, made the success of pan-Asianism in the Philippines impossible. Despite the propaganda efforts of Japanese administrators and some Filipino intellectuals who promoted pan-Asianist ideals, pan-Asianism could never establish roots in the islands during the occupation period.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of East Asian Studies (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr. Sven Matthiessen
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2012 15:01
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2565

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