How “Developmental” Was Japan’s Colonial Impact on Northeast and Southeast Asia? Did the “Stanford School” Get It Right?



Anne Booth, 2015-16 NUS-Stanford Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Fellow on Southeast Asia, Stanford University

Date and Time

November 19, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM November 18.


Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central, C330
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Co-sponsored by the Japan Program

Prof. Booth will assess the socioeconomic consequences of Japanese colonialism in Taiwan, Korea, and Manchuria from 1910 to 1945. She will compare Japan’s policies with those implemented by other colonial powers in South and Southeast Asia. In particular she will address the writings of what has been termed the “Stanford School”—an influential group of scholars who published widely on Japanese colonial policies over the last fifty years. Their work has been used to support the argument that Japanese rule was more developmental than that of other colonial powers, and that it laid the foundations for the stellar economic performance of Taiwan and the Republic of Korea in the decades after 1950. She will challenge these conclusions by comparing economic and social indicators for Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria with those from other Asian colonies and also from Thailand. While Japan’s colonies, especially Taiwan, do score well on some indicators, they do less well on others. The notion that Japanese rule was exceptionally “developmental” does not merit support.

Anne Booth has been an Asia-focused professor of economics in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, since 1991. She studies the modern economic history of Southeast Asia with emphasis on the 20th century. Her many writings in this field include Colonial Legacies: Economic and Social Development in East and Southeast Asia. Her latest book, Economic Change in Modern Indonesia, is due from Cambridge University Press in April. Before coming to SOAS, she held research and teaching positions in Singapore and Australia. Her degrees are from Victoria University of Wellington (BA) and the Australian National University (PhD). Before 1991 she held research and teaching positions in Singapore and Australia. She grew up in New Zealand.

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