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Colonial settlement and migratory labour in Karafuto 1905-1941

Ivings, Steven (2014) Colonial settlement and migratory labour in Karafuto 1905-1941. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Following the Russo-Japanese War Japan acquired its second formal colony, Karafuto (southern Sakhalin), which became thoroughly integrated with mainland Japan, developing into an important supplier of marine products, lumber, paper and pulp, and coal. This sparsely populated colony offered the prospect of large scale settlement and over the course of the Japanese colonial period the population of the Karafuto increased to over 400,000 before the Pacific War. This thesis traces the course of migration to Karafuto and assesses the role of settlement policy, and migratory labour in colonial settlement. Utilizing colonial media, government reports and local documents, as well as the recollections of former settlers, this study argues that the phenomenon of migratory labour acted as an indirect means for establishing a permanent settler community in Karafuto. This study stresses that the colonial government of Karafuto’s efforts towards the establishment of permanent settlements based on agriculture largely failed. Instead, it was industries that involved the utilization of migratory labour which acted as base-industries for economic life in the colony, and helped support Karafuto’s more enduring communities. Indeed, even in the few cases of successfully established government sponsored agricultural communities in Karafuto, seasonal migratory labour and nonagricultural activity were a persistently crucial component of the community’s economic life. A further implication of this study relates to the comprehensive integration of Karafuto with migratory labour markets in northern mainland Japan and Hokkaido. Evidence presented in this study allows us to question the prevalent notions that northern Japan was an isolated, or poorly connected, region. Instead, it is found that the prefectures of Japan’s northeast were actively engaged in northward bound settlement and migratory labour circuits.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Steven Edward Ivings
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Supervisor: Minns, Chris

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