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Original Articles Home > Acta Via Serica > Archives > Original Articles
Title Encountering the Silk Road in Mengjiang with Tada Fumio: Korean/Japanese Colonial Fieldwork, Research, Connections and Collaborations
Author Robert Winstanley-Chesters and Adam Cathcart
Volume Vol. 7 No. 1
Pages pp. 131~148 (all 18 pages)
Publication Date June, 2022
Keyword Silk Road, Geography in the Japanese Empire, Geography in Colonial Korea, Geopolitics, Mengjiang, Tada Fumio, Research Collaborations
Abstract While much has been written about Imperial Japan’s encounter with geopolitics and developing ideas about Geography as a political and cultural discipline, little if anything has been written about relational and research Geographies between Japan and Silk Roads both ancient and modern. Memories of the ancient Silk Road were revivified in the late 19th century in tandem with the Great Game of European nations, as Japan modernized and sought new places and influence globally following the Meiji restoration. Imperial Japan thus sought to conquer and co-opt spaces imagined to be part of or influenced by the ancient Silk Road and any modern manifestation of it. This paper explores a particular process in that co-option and appropriation, research collaboration between institutions of the Empire. In particular it considers the exploration of Mengjiang/Inner Mongolia after its conquest in 1939/1940, by a collaborative team of Korean and Japanese Geographers, led by Professor Tada Fumio. This paper considers the making knowable of spaces imagined to be on the ancient Silk Road in the Imperial period, and the projecting of the imperatives of the Empire back into Silk Road history, at the same time as such territory was being made anew. This paper also casts new light on the relational and collaborative processes of academic exchange, specifically in the field of Geography, between Korean and Japanese academics during the Korean colonial period.