The Japanese colonial empire existed from 1879 to 1945.
|“||The rise of Japan to a world power during the past 80 years is the greatest miracle in world history. The mighty empires of antiquity, the major political institutions of the Middle Ages and the early modern era, the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, all needed centuries to achieve their full strength. Japan's rise has been meteoric. After only 80 years, it is one of the few great powers that determine the fate of the world.||”|
—German writer Albrecht von Urach, in the booklet "The Secret of Japan's Strength," published in 1942
1868 to 1912 marked the Meiji Era in Japan, where the country transformed itself from an isolated, feudal society to a modern, industrial nation-state and an emerging great power. In the 1870s, Japan dispatched missions to the United States and Europe to renegotiate the unequal treaties with these countries, as well as to study the political, technological and military structure of Western nations.
The Japanese colonial empire ended with the unconditional surrender of Japan at the end of World War II, as the Allies forced Japan to give up all its colonies.
- 1 Meiji Shrine (明治神宮 Meiji Jingū). Shinto shrine built to house the spirit of Emperor Meiji, who took power back from the Tokugawa Shoguns, and oversaw the industrialization of Japan and its rapid rise to major world power status. The Japanese colonial empire also began under him, beginning with the annexation of Okinawa in 1879, followed by Taiwan in 1895 and Korea in 1910. Also a popular and less controversial alternative to the Yasukuni Shrine for Japanese politicians to offer prayers at. Free.
- 2 Tainan. Taiwan's oldest city is also home to a large number of well-preserved buildings from the Japanese colonial era. Perhaps the most famous of them is the Hayashi Department Store, Taiwan's oldest department store that also had its first ever elevator. The Shinto shrine at the top of the building has also been preserved. Just across the street from the Hayashi Department Store is the Land Bank of Taiwan, Tainan Branch, which was originally built by the Japanese as the Tainan branch of Nippon Kangyo Bank.
The Japanese occupation is a sensitive subject in many of its former colonies; tread carefully when discussing it with locals. Attitudes towards Japanese rule range from somewhat positive in Taiwan to strongly negative in China and South Korea.