The Sovereign Empire in multiple tongues
By William Wetherall

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Interior, Taiwan, Karafuto, and Chosen

Treaties, government reports, and other documents concerning the Empire of Japan refer to its territories and subject nationals in different terms, depending more on their writer's point of view than language. Point of view, not language, has led most writers of English, for example, to refer to "Korea" and "Koreans" in instances when Japanese sources refer to "Chosen" and "Chosenese". English translators are likely to reduce "Chosen" and "Chosenese" to "Korea" and "Koreans" even when their Japanese sources went to the trouble to use both sets of terms with different meanings.

The same problem arises in the use of "Japan" and "Japanese" in most English writing past and present, and in most Japanese writing today. Whereas accurate writing in Japanese might include Taiwan, Karafuto, and Chosen in "Japan", and Taiwanese, Karafutoans, and Chosenese in "Japanese", English reports almost always use "Japan" and "Japanese" exclusive of these entities and peoples, even when they were properly part of Japan and properly Japanese nationals.

There is a strong tendency today to avoid writing about the Empire of Japan the way it was -- and the way it continues to exist in legacy issues in Japan. Writers avoid or resist imperial metaphors out of studied or ideological choice, or fail to use them out of sheer ignorance that they ever existed.

This is not specifically an English problem. However, the exclusion of proper territories and peoples from "Japan" and "Japanese" is more likely to be found in English writing, because writers and editors of English learn to prefer established and familiar English metaphors of description of exotic places and peoples, to metaphors that require acceptance of new viewpoints and standards.

English writing habitually, then, describes the Empire of Japan is ways that alienate Taiwan, Karafuto, and Chosen from "Japan", and Taiwanese, Karafutoans, and Chosenese from "Japanese". Contemporary Japanese reports, more than present-day Japanese publications, tend to be descriptively more accurate, in that they linguistically include these subnational entities and their registered inhabitants within the semantic range of the sovereign empire and its subject nationals.

The articles in this section reflect the metaphors of their Japanese sources. Contemporary Japanese sources typically embrace the Interior, Taiwan, Karafuto, and Chosen within the singular sovereign dominion of the Empire of Japan. All four entities are part of "Japan", and their affiliated inhabitants are "Japanese" subjects and nationals. Exceptions to this rule will be noted, and discussed, as anomalies.