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Title: Green Star Japan : language and internationalism in the Japanese Esperanto movement, 1905-1944
Author: Rapley, Ian
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The planned language Esperanto achieved popularity in early twentieth century Japan, inspiring a national movement which was the largest outside Europe. Esperanto was designed to facilitate greater international and inter-cultural communication and understanding; the history of the language in Japan reveals a rich tradition of internationalism in Japan, stretching from the beginnings of the movement, in the wake of the Russo-Japanese war, through the end of the Pacific war, when, for a brief period, organised Esperanto in Japan ceased. Building upon existing studies of internationalism amongst elite opinion makers in Japan, this history of Esperanto reveals unexpected examples of internationalism amongst the broader Japanese public, a number of competing conceptions of the international world, and their realisation through a range of transnational activities. Esperanto was at once an intellectual phenomenon, and a language which could be put into immediate and concrete practice. The diversity of social groups and intellectual positions within the Japanese Esperanto community reveals internationalism and cosmopolitanism, not as well defined, static concepts, but as broad spaces in which different ideas of the world and the community of mankind could be debated. What linked the various different groups and individuals drawn into the Japanese Esperanto movement was a shared desire to make contact with, and help to reform, the world beyond Japan's borders, as well as a shared realisation of the vital role of language in making this contact possible. From radical socialists to conservative academics, and from Japanese diplomats at the League of Nations to members of rural communities in the deep north of Japan, although their politics often differed, Japanese Esperantists came together to participate in the re-imagining of the modern world; in doing so they became part of a transnational community, one which reveals insights into both modern Japanese history, and the nature of internationalism.
Supervisor: Konishi, Sho Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of Asia & Far East ; Japanese ; History ; International,imperial and global history ; transnationalism ; internationalism ; modern Japan ; Esperanto