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Man-Houng Lin - The “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere”

A New Boundary for Taiwanese People and the Taiwanese Capital, 1940-1945

This article deals with Taiwanese civilian emigration and overseas investment in the period of 1940-1945. Taiwan in general and some Taiwanese in particular helped in the reconstruction of Japanese occupied areas during the war. Overseas Taiwanese mainly worked as employees for Japanese stores, companies, mines, plantations, and Japanese government offices, but also opened stores, factories, plantations and banks by themselves. As a kind of overseas ethnic Chinese , the Taiwanese civilian emigrants examined in this paper moved in the direction opposite that of other overseas Chinese holding Chinese nationality. The Taiwanese expanded overseas to Greater East Asia, while the Chinese nationals withdrew from this area and went back to China. Thus, this paper will illustrate how the phrase “people should fight for their country” bore different meanings for these two different types of overseas Chinese in the Asia-Pacific War theater of WWII. 

Keywords: definition of the overseas Chinese—relative forces of the Allies and the Axis—Taiwanese overseas economic activities—Taiwan’s role in East Asia

Man-houng Lin was mostly educated in Taiwan and received her Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University in 1989. Lin has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica since 1990 and Professor at the Department of History, National Taiwan Normal University since 1991. Lin’s main area of research focuses on treaty ports and modern China, native opium of late Qing China, currency crisis and early nineteenth-century China, Taiwanese merchants' overseas economic networks, 1895-1945. She has published 4 books and about 80 papers in Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean in these areas. Her book, China Upside Down: Currency, Society and Ideologies, 1808-1856 (Harvard East Asian Series, 2006) links China's topsy-turvy change from the center of the East Asian order to its modern tragedy with the Latin American Independence Movement. From May 20, 2008 to December 16, 2010, she served as the president of the Republic of China’s Academia Historica (State History Academy). Then, she returned to Academia Sinica to finish her book on Pacificbound: The Rise of the Taiwanese merchants in the Asia-Pacific Commercial Network, 1895-1945. It is in the research of this book that Lin encounters the Taipei Treaty signed in 1952 and its significance to Taiwan.



1930至40年代,中日學者曾就華僑的定義進行討論。吳主惠將華僑定義為定居於海外的中國人及其後裔,不包括駐外政府官員和留學生。吳氏認為華僑的最嚴格定義,是指定居海外但仍保有中國國籍者。1933年日本大藏省為替局統計臺灣地區約有46,000至47,000名華僑,便是依據這樣的定義。吳氏指出,在此嚴格定義下,華人後裔如不具中國國籍者,便非華僑。另有一種較為寬鬆的定義是: 無論是否具中國國籍,凡定居或曾赴海外的中國人及其後裔皆為華僑,井出季和太即持此見。關於日本統治臺灣時期的臺灣人國籍,根據日本大藏省為替局的解釋,由於馬關條約簽訂後的二年內,臺灣人得自由決定離去與否,留下臺灣者為日本國民。這些成為日本國民的臺灣人曾具有中國國民的身分,因而1933年的340萬臺灣人也被視為較寬定義下的華僑。許多不具軍人身分的臺灣人在日本建構所謂的「大東亞共榮圈」時期(1940-1945)向海外移民或投資,與之相反的是,擁有中國國籍的華僑在此時期則多回歸故里。在大東亞戰爭時期的華人,由於出身不同,「為國而戰」一詞對於他們的意義也因而分歧。

關鍵字: 華僑的不同定義—協約國與軸心國的相對力量—臺灣海外移民的經濟活動—大東亞中的台灣角色

Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies

Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
AAKH-Campus, Hof 2, Entrance 2.3
Spitalgasse 2
1090 Vienna Austria

Contact: Astrid Lipinsky
T: +43-1-4277-43844
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Lastupdate: 09.08.2017 - 21:57