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Language, nation, and empire : the search for common languages during the second world war

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Title:Language, nation, and empire : the search for common languages during the second world war
Authors:Utley, James Andrew
Keywords:Nihongo
Date Issued:Aug 2014
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2014]
Abstract:In the January 1943 issue of Nihongo, a Japanese-language education magazine, the following arresting sentence appears: "The true nature of the Greater East Asian War is that it is a thought war. The vanguard of the thought war is language, and its rearguard is also language. The goal of carrying out the Greater East Asian War must be to advance and spread the Japanese language throughout all regions of Greater East Asia."1 Such a sentence seems bold if not hyperbolic. But as the quotation reminds us, the Fifteen Year War was not simply about territory, resources, or power in the most basic sense; it was a war about ideas of how the world should be. Indeed, a quotation in Philippine Review, a magazine published in the occupied Philippines, makes it clear that this was the conviction of the war's participants: "The present World War is not only unprecedented in the magnitude of its scale but quite matchless in the immensity of its implications which is ascribable to the fact that it embodies a stupendous conflict between rival views of the world." Over the course of the war, Japanese was taught to the peoples of the various countries Japan occupied while newspapers reported on the efforts to spread Japanese to audiences at home, and magazines such as Nihongo continuously spoke of the pressing need to make Japanese the common language for all of Asia. Language education, like many other aspects of life, was absorbed into the larger propaganda efforts of Japan's war. In fact, the diffusion of language itself became one form of propaganda. Language is not only a touchstone for understanding the vision of the world held by the Japanese at the time of the war. We can see from the urgency exhibited by writers like the one above that language was also the means to make that vision a reality.
This paper is divided into three parts. In order to give more context for Japan's language campaigns,
Description:M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/100357
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - History
M.A. - History


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