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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Sven Matthiessen

Japanese Studies
Since July 2009
(PhD Students, July 1, 2009 - September 30, 2009)
  • Japanese Pan-Asianism
  • Japanese Occupation Policy
  • Japanese Imperialism

Dissertation Project (working title)

“The Japanese Greater East Asia Co- Prosperity Sphere and the Philippines”

The Philippine archipelago differed remarkably from other Southeast Asian countries invaded and administrated by the Japanese during World War II. The majority of the Philippine population was Catholic and more than four centuries of Spanish and American colonialisation had a large impact on the self image of the Filipinos. The Japanese invaders who claimed their mission was to liberate the Asian continent from Western suppression found themselves confronted with an environment where people did not consider themselves as Asians in the first place. Thus, the Japanese Pan – Asianism that had become a leading motive in Japanese foreign policy since the late 1930s, propagating the slogan “One Asia” needed to be put into action in the country with the most westernized population in the region.

The research purpose of this thesis is to examine if and how the Japanese conquerors tried to meet the cultural and historical specifics of the Philippines and to what extent these specifics had an influence on the Japanese occupation policy in the archipelago, i. e. if Japanese Pan – Asianism was adapted to Philippine circumstances. The question how the political mission was communicated to the military, especially the common soldier, plays a crucial role in this examination.

The backbone of this study is the evaluation of Japanese primary sources on Japanese Pan – Asianism and its role in Japanese foreign policy and occupation policy as well as the examination and comparison of eyewitness reports by Japanese soldiers and Filipino people.