From Portals to Borders
This chapter explains a shift in diplomatic thinking in Japan after the Meiji Restoration. Debates about Taiwan in the 1870s took place in the context of a comprehensive understanding of Japan’s border problems, and the Japanese government’s long-term interest in Taiwan, and its interest in the status of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, arose in part because of the need to clarify where the border lay between China and Japan. A global change in the predominant form of government from monarchy to government based on popular will (a “sovereignty revolution”) reached Japan and through the Meiji Restoration it transformed what imperial power meant in Japan. Because of the change, it became necessary to define the geographical limits of Japanese sovereignty and the new meanings of those limits.