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Fwd: Seminar on Japanese-Taiwanese marriage 1919-1937 at University of Oxford

University of Oxford International East Asian History Seminar Series 

Monday 16th November 2020, 1PM GMT

Marriage of Convenience: Constructing a Japanese Model of Empire Through Intermarriage, 1919-1937

Genevieve Tann, UPenn 

Abstract:  In 1933, Han-Japanese intermarriage was legalized in colonial Taiwan. Why was it necessary for the Japanese empire to legalize intermarriage when informal unions and concubinage had already existed? Why was intermarriage legalized when European powers were either banning or discouraging miscegenation? Why was the dominant model of intermarriage represented in the government-general’s official newspaper between a Japanese woman and Taiwanese man? Through an examination of coverage in Taiwan Daily News between 1919 and 1937, this paper illustrates two of the biggest advantages of legalization—consolidation of Japanese rule in Taiwan and creation of a model of colonial relations different from European empires. I argue that Japan contributed to the changing face of global empires by legalizing colonial intermarriage. Although Japan’s intermarriage policy is most often examined as part of its later imperialization movement, tracing its origins reveals Japanese leaders’ active efforts at establishing an improved model of colonial relations that was best suited for the post-World War I environment. Aside from accommodating uxorilocal marriages in a modern legal framework, Japan’s advocacy for racial equality, although often more self-interested than altruistic, also set the precedent for changes that would emerge after the Second World War. To register for the zoom link please email


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