1st Edition

Competing Imperialisms in Northeast Asia New Perspectives, 1894-1953

    290 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Japan, China, and both Tsarist Russia and later the USSR, vied for imperial dominance in Northeast Asia. In the process, they contested and at the same time adopted many of the physical and rhetorical features of Old-World imperialism, mitigated by domestic political forces and deeply ingrained cultural and historical values.

    With chapters written by scholars from Europe and Asia, including Russia, this collection offers new international and interdisciplinary perspectives on competitions between imperialisms in Northeast Asia in the period 1894–1953, exploring encounters between old rivals and new protagonists. Bringing together specialists from different disciplines and drawing on newly discovered and hard-to-access sources, it presents a uniquely comparative and holistic perspective on the symbiotic relationships between these regional powers and resistance to them. The contributors focus on four key areas: ideology, rivalry and territoriality, social factors, and visual representations.

    A valuable resource for students and scholars of modern Northeast Asian history, and highly pertinent to understanding the imperial posturing between some of the same protagonists today.

    Table of Contents


    (Peter O’Connor)


    (Aglaia De Angeli and Peter Robinson)

    Part I: Imperialism in Northeast Asia: drivers and structures

    (Saitō Eiri, Christopher W. A. Szpilman, and Tsuchiya Reiko)

    Chapter 1: The Role of the Internal Colony in Empire and Imperialism: Japan and Britain Compared, by Saitō Eiri.

    Chapter 2: Social Darwinism as a Factor in Japanese Territorial Expansion, 1914-1941, by Christopher W. A. Szpilman.

    Chapter 3: Media and Imperialism in International Press Conferences in the Early Twentieth Century, by Tsuchiya Reiko.


    Part II: Imperial rivalries and questions of territoriality: Russia and Japan in Northeast Asia (Sherzod Muminov, Alexander Titov, Kobayashi Akina, Yaroslav Shulatov, Denis G. Yanchenko)

    Chapter 4: Reconsidering Japan’s Preoccupation with Soviet Power in East Asia, 1917-1937, by Sherzod Muminov.

    Chapter 5: National appropriation of imperial lands in Northeast Asia, by Alexander Titov.

    Chapter 6: From Japanese militarism to Soviet communism: The ‘change of heart’ of Japanese POWs through Soviet indoctrination, by Kobayashi Akina.

    Chapter 7: The Key Rivalry: Russo-Japanese Relations and International Order in Northeast Asia, 1895-1945, by Yaroslav Shulatov.

    Chapter 8: Government of Nicholas II and economy of the Far East in Russian archival materials, by Denis G.Yanchenko.


    Part III: Imperialism and society: actors and victims, migrants and the dispossessed
    (Yuexin Rachel Lin, Mikwi Cho, Peter O’Connor, Nikita Kovrigin)

    Chapter 9: "We are on the Brink of Disaster": Revolution, War and Imperial Conflict in Blagoveshchensk-Heihe, by Yuexin Rachel Lin.

    Chapter 10: Subversive or Ambitious?: Migration of Korean Students to the Metropole and the Response of the Empire, 1910-1933, by Mikwi Cho.

    Chapter 11: Compradors of Opinion: Irish Adventurers on the Road to Systemic Change in Northeast Asia, 1916-1949, by Peter O’Connor.

    Chapter 12: Shaping Chinese Communities in Japan and Russia: The Role of Political Factors, by Nikita Kovrigin.

    Part IV: Visualising competing imperialisms
    (Peter Robinson and Aglaia De Angeli)

    Chapter 13: Picturing Imperialisms in NorthEast Asia: Illustrations for The Times’s Japanese and Russian Supplements, 1910-1917, by Peter Robinson.

    Chapter 14: Competing imperialisms in Manchuria: Mapping a contested and disputed territory, by Aglaia De Angeli.



    Aglaia De Angeli is a Senior Lecturer in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, UK.

    Peter Robinson is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Japan Women’s University, Japan.

    Peter O’Connor is an Emeritus Professor of Musashino University, Tokyo, Japan. In 2022-2023, he was a George Lyndon Hicks Fellow at the National Library of Singapore.

    Emma Reisz is a Lecturer in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, UK.

    Tsuchiya Reiko is a Professor of Sociology and Media History at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.