A Japanese Anomaly

Special Issue: Race and Empire in Meiji Japan

The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 18 | Issue 20 | Number 4 | Article ID 5499 | Oct 15, 2020
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.

A Japanese Anomaly:
Theodore Roosevelt and Japan’s Racial Identity at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Tarik Merida

The nineteenth century saw the consolidation of a pattern: the high age of imperialism had divided the globe into two spheres, one for the colonizers and the other for the colonized. Various justifications were used to rationalize the colonial venture, one of these being the idea of racial superiority. Geopolitical and scientific developments gave birth to the idea of an unbreachable gulf between the superior “white race” and the inferior “colored races.” While circumstances in the colonies seemed to confirm that idea, Japan had, through a process of modernization, reached the civilizational level of the Western powers, thereby becoming a racial anomaly. To cope with this anomaly, the nations in the West had to devise a negotiation zone, in which the Japanese were temporarily granted privileged racial status without upsetting the racial status quo.

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