Families remade, empire reconfigured: Discourse, law, and colonial Taiwan in Japan, 1870s-1937 /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Ishikawa, Tadashi, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (377 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/10773247
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Susan L. Burns Committee members: Jacob Eyferth; James E. Ketelaar.
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Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:Modern-day scholars and people assume that East Asia lacks the rule of law and the dynamism of litigation and that its societies rely on human relationships and a sense of harmony to resolve the conflicts of interest in private realms like family. However, that is not the case with law and discourse on family in the Japanese Empire and Taiwan, Japan's first official colony from 1895 to 1945 and an island mainly settled by Han Chinese from southeastern China. Since the beginning of its rule, the Government-General of Taiwan had instituted various modernizing projects, including the investigation of Taiwanese family customs and the mixed incorporation of the customary law and the 1898 Japanese Civil Code into Taiwanese families. The Civil Code on family and succession matters was intended to reconstruct the Japanese patriarchy, but this new conception of patriarchy did not go uncontested, not only by men and women in the metropole, but also those in Taiwan. In the 1920s and thereafter, thousands of colonized men and women flocked to the courtrooms to resolve their family matters, while Japanese ideologues and Taiwanese elites pressed their family ideals. Thus, at the core of the issue is how the colonial authorities, civil leaders, colonized elites, as well as the Japanese colonial courts, shaped their understandings of and judicial practiced concerning families from the late nineteenth century to 1937 when the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War changed the landscape.
In the dissertation, I argue that discursive approaches and judicial practices on families recast the Japanese Empire as an elastic empire from the late 1920s onward. The argument centers on the socio-legal attempts to redefine the boundaries of family and marriage in the three social practices: bride prices, the adoption of daughters, and premarital sexual relationships. Analyzing numerous press reports, governmental statistics and ethnographic records, as well as the three thousand case records the Japanese colonial courts, I demonstrate that discourse and law relating to those practices unsettled and realigned intra-Japanese, Japanese and Taiwanese, and intra-Taiwanese relations. Depending on the questions of how to strike the balance between individual freedom and social discretion as a means of regulating the three family matters, Japanese and Taiwanese discourses brought about discrepancy and convergence between metropolitan Japanese and colonial ones, between the colonizers and Taiwanese elites, as well as between some Taiwanese elites and others. Moreover, the Japanese colonial courts became the arena in which brides, adopted daughters, and unmarried women could be freed from, but also tended to be bound to, the dynamic control of their households and family strategies. These findings trace the transfiguration of discursive and legal approaches to family relationships in the metropole into those in colonial Taiwan and consider law and society as an integrative object of historical analysis. Thus, this dissertation challenges the legal analysis, gender history, and Taiwan studies that limit its inquiries into one side of the empire.