The Empire of Japan in English
By William Wetherall

Some articles on menu to right are not yet public

Linguistic difference and indifference

Many Japanese organizations, governmental and private, produced yearbooks and other annual reports to publicize their achievements in the prefectures and other territories of the Empire of Japan. These include publications in English intended to inform the outside world of Japan's achievements.

Some of these publications reflect the momentum of standards established prior to the events they describe -- "Korea" and "Koreans" rather than "Chosen" and "Chosenese" after 1910, for example -- indifferent to the changing times. Others, though, reflect standards revised to accommodate the fact, in this case, that the Empire of Korea had become a territory of Japan called Chosen, and its inhabitants had become a variety of Japanese called Chosenese.

Prewar and postwar yearbooks and reports

Here you will find overviews of content selected from various official publications in English which disseminated objective information mixed with propaganda: (1) The Japan Year Book, which covered the entire empire, (2) reports on Formosa/Taiwan, (3) reports on Korea/Chosen/Tyosen, and (4) reports on Manchuria.

Prewar and postwar advocacy and observation

Here you will find some excerpts from a few of the more interesting if not always accurate or influential books written by Japanese and non-Japanese -- publicists, critics, and journalists -- on the rise and fall of the Empire of Japan.

Information and propaganda

Governmental and quasi-governmental agencies of the Empire of Japan, and its various territorial governments, published several series of yearbooks in English and numerous irregular reports on the state of affairs in the sovereign and unsovereign empire. One purpose of these publications was simply to disseminate information to readers of English. Another object, though, was to vindicate Japanese actions and policies in the eyes of of the world outside the empire.

Some news companies published general yearbooks with the cooperation of the government agencies from which they obtained their statistics. Corporations, associations, and religious groups also published yearbooks as means of providing information and publicizing their operations. Both governmental and private organizations put out one-off yearbook-like volumes to commemorate an occasion.

For purposes of this article, I have chosen to examine volumes selected from three yearbooks, two of which had long runs spanning the better part of the half century ending with the Second World War. Further details on each series are provided in the introductions to each series.

The Japan Year Book
Series 1: 1905-1931
Series 2: 1932-1952

Taiwan reports
Aboriginal control reports: 1911
Statistical reports: 1912
Other reports: 1936-1938

Korea/Chosen/Tyosen reports
Series 1: 1907-1909/10 Korea, Seoul
Series 2: 1910/11-1921/22 Chosen (Korea), Keijo (Seoul)
Series 3: 1922/23-1935/36 Chosen, Keijo
Series 4: 1936/37-1939/40 Tyosen, Keizyo

Manchuria reports
6 volumes: 1907-1928, 1930, 1932, 1934, 1936, 1939

Opinion and reportage