1st Edition

Prisons and Forced Labour in Japan The Colonization of Hokkaido, 1881-1894

By Pia Jolliffe Copyright 2019
    100 Pages
    by Routledge

    100 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Prisons and Forced Labour in Japan examines the local, national and international significance of convict labour during the colonization of Hokkaido between 1881 and 1894 and the building of the Japanese empire.

    Based on the analysis of archival sources such as prison yearbooks and letters, as well as other eyewitness accounts, this book uses a framework of global prison studies to trace the historical origins of prisons and forced labour in early modern Japan. It explores the institutionalization of convict labour on Hokkaido against the backdrop of political uprisings during the Meiji period. In so doing, it argues that although Japan tried to implement Western ideas of the prison as a total institution, the concrete reality of the prison differed from theoretical concepts. In particular, the boundaries between prisons and their environment were not clearly marked during the colonization of Hokkaido.

    This book provides an important contribution to the historiography of Meiji Japan and Hokkaido and to the global study of prisons and forced labour in general. As such, it will be useful to students and scholars of Japanese, Asian and labour history.

    List of illustrations

    Technical notes




    1 Forced labour and arrest in Edo and Ezo

    2 Hokkaido prison island

    3 Prisons and rural development, 1881–1886

    4 Hard labour as penal servitude, 1886–1894

    5 Conclusion



    Pia Maria Jolliffe is a Research and Teaching Associate at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, UK. She is the author of Learning, Migration and Intergenerational Relations: The Karen and the Gift of Education (2016).