Welcome to the Empire
1912 Tokyo Colonial Exposition
The 1912 Tokyo Colonial Exposition was the first time the various races of the empire were brought together expressly in the name of promoting Japan's diverse multicultural empire. From the fairgoers at the exposition to the young children, ideas of living in a multi-ethnic empire were being conveyed in mass media publications, as well as throughout the various events held at the exposition. Tsuboi Shōgorō, the father of Japanese anthropology, and the man behind the displays of living humans at the 1903, 1912 and 1913 expositions, wrote an article in Shōgakusei (Elementary student) magazine about the human displays. He emphasized that all of the different colonial subjects, despite coming from different parts of the empire, were human beings. He told a story meant to convey their humanity: all the different colonial subjects who were housed in their different "traditional villages" were brought together to sit on some benches for an official photo. The bench they were sitting on broke, and they all came tumbling down, causing them to laugh aloud. (Corresponds to Lost Histories, p.154, footnote 2).
A nineteen year-old Nivkh named Punyon (Okuda Momotaro) from Karafuto (the southern island of Sakhalin) rode around on a reindeer for the prince. Credit: Tokyo jinruigakkai zasshi 29 (Jan. 1913). (Corresponds with Lost Histories, p. 155, footnote 3).
Crown Prince Hirohito's visit to the 1912 Tokyo Colonial Exposition
Ideas of imperialism and what it meant to be part of the Japanese empire had to be taught. When eleven year old Crown Prince Hirohito visited the Tokyo Colonial Exposition, the organizer of the human displays, Tsuboi Shōgorō gave him a special lecture about the the empire's territories and then introduced him to all the individuals in the human displays representing the different colonies. Each person presented the Crown Prince a gift and he gave them money in return. (Corresponds to Lost Histories, p. 156, footnote 6).
“The Social Gathering of the Races”
Held at the exposition’s Tourist Pavilion, the jinshu konshinkai (the social gathering of the races) brought together people from all walks of life including the colonial peoples participating in the human displays as well as Home Minister Hara Takashi and Foreign Minister Uchida Kōsai to actors and famous entertainers, such as kabuki entertainer Ennosuke.
Caption: “The Barbarian performances at the Social Gathering of the Races.” Although there were no Korean individuals in the human displays at the 1912 exposition, you can see on the stage a Korean man, as well as a seated Ainu woman and an Indigenous Taiwanese man on the right. Credit: Takushoku hakurankai kinen shashinchō. (Tokyo: Meiji Kinenkai, 1912). (Corresponds with Lost Histories, p. 166, footnote 45).
Uilta and Nivkh at the exposition
From left Ushirai, Uerakka, Aruraika, and Mariya.
Credit: Osaka mainichi, April 16,1913.
(Corresponds to Lost Histories, p. 182, footnote 89 and 90).