Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian HistoryMain MenuGet to Know the SiteGuided TourShow Me HowA click-by-click guide to using this siteModulesRead the seventeen spatial stories that make up Bodies and Structures 2.0Tag MapExplore conceptsComplete Grid VisualizationDiscover connectionsGeotagged MapFind materials by geographic locationLensesCreate your own visualizationsWhat We LearnedLearn how multivocal spatial history changed how we approach our researchAboutFind information about contributors and advisory board members, citing this site, image permissions and licensing, and site documentationTroubleshootingA guide to known issuesAcknowledgmentsThank youDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fThis project was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
1media/Ara Kinue 2.mp32020-01-12T08:17:24-05:00Hiroko Matsudadcd719582014fb85f4ce73292fca95ce698fbfa9Prejudice and discrimination14plain2021-10-07T12:44:30-04:00Hiroko MatsudaAra KinueKate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f
12020-04-30T18:05:34-04:00Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fOkinawan Children10Children in Gail's Photosstructured_gallery2021-10-08T16:44:11-04:001952Dustin WrightGail, CharlesKate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f
12020-04-30T18:05:32-04:00Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fStrangers9Introduction to the path on migration from Fuqing to Japan.image_header1082021-10-12T10:50:23-04:001858-1926David R. AmbarasForeign MinistryKate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f
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12020-04-30T18:05:32-04:00Strangers7Introduction to the path on migration from Fuqing to Japan.image_header1082021-06-24T11:39:48-04:001858-1926David R. AmbarasForeign Ministry
This path focuses on migrants from Fuqing to Japan. Their mobility built on a history of Sino-Japanese exchanges, both legal and illegal, during the early modern era. Under the so-called maritime prohibition policies of the Tokugawa shogunate, Nagasaki had been the only port to which Chinese merchants and ship crews, mainly from Fujian Province, were permitted access. Chinese and local Japanese enjoyed generally good relations—so good that the shogunate confined Chinese traders and crews to a gated compound to prevent smuggling and other transactions that would overwhelm its policy of tightly controlled borders. Nonetheless, smuggling persisted, and by the nineteenth century, small-scale private trade by Fujianese ship crewmen constituted a significant portion of the overall Chinese trade (Hishitani 1988, Chen 2006).
Chinese migration to Japan grew dramatically after the implementation of the 1858 Ansei Treaties with the Euro-American powers (the so-called unequal treaties) and the opening of the treaty ports at Nagasaki, Yokohama, Kobe, Hakodate, and Niigata (the latter two under the terms of the Japan–US Treaty of Peace and Amity), as well as the foreign concessions in Tokyo and Osaka. In Nagasaki, resident Chinese were joined by compatriots employed as compradors or servants of Euro-American traders, by those who set up their own shops or trading firms, as well as by those who, lacking any employment, simply gained passage on Western ships bound for Japan. Comparable social topographies soon developed in Yokohama and Kobe. In fact, Chinese quickly came to comprise by far the largest group of foreigners in the treaty ports.
Popular images of the Chinese shifted over time. On the one hand, Chinese merchants were seen as kindly "Acha-san" who distributed gifts to children (Vasishth 1997; see also Kamachi 1980). But strangers could have dangerous as well as friendly aspects. Discourses on Chinese criminality soon spread, abetted by the new media of the Meiji era, which projected images of Chinese larceny, opium smuggling, and abduction and human trafficking, well out of proportion to the incidence of actual Chinese misbehavior. Geopolitical rivalry between Meiji Japan and Qing China, which culminated in Japan's victory in the 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War, also replaced earlier fears of Chinese power with increasingly racist depictions of the Chinese as uncivilized and less-than-human (Lone 1994; Keene 1971), even as popular enthusiasm for Chinese food grew rapidly (Han 2014).
The Chinese who came to Japan had to find ways to exist in a society marked by these divisions, even as they embodied them in their daily movements across Japanese space—movements that were subjected to intensive police surveillance. (The image at the top of this page is part of a 1926 report titled "In the matter of a criminal Chinese"; it is contained within one of several Foreign Ministry dossiers on illegal activities of Chinese in Japan.)