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Japanese Imperialism 1894–1945$
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W. G. Beasley

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198221685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198221685.001.0001

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The Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere

The Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere

(p.233) 15 The Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere
Japanese Imperialism 1894–1945

W. G. Beasley

Oxford University Press

‘Co-prosperity’ was used during the First World War to describe an unequal relationship between an industrial Japan and a backward China within the treaty port system. Presumably, the co-prosperity sphere was conceived as a type of informal empire, serving the needs of the Japanese economy but rejecting the models of European colonial government. However, there was never a blueprint towards which statesmen and their officials worked. The label emerged from a clutch of similar ones, chosen partly because it had the right ‘feel’, but also partly because it was politically convenient, in the sense of inhibiting opposition from those who were to find themselves under Japanese dominance. Only if Japan had won the war could it have been judged realistically as a form of empire.

Keywords:   industrial Japan, backward China, colonial government, war, Europe

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