I. Introduction

This essay examines corporal-punishment imagery in early-twentieth-century Japanese print media, with a focus on pictures from colonial Taiwan and Korea. Its purpose is twofold. First, it attempts to account for the absence of mass-circulation photographs of floggings and cangues from colonial Taiwan. The contrast with Korea, where such imagery proliferated, is pronounced. Because Taiwan's colonial subjects were flogged proportionately to Korea’s—under previous regimes and during the Japanese occupation—this discrepancy requires explanation.

Second, this essay brings new sources to bear on debates about judicial flogging in the Japanese empire. In the past decade or so, a number of scholars have examined corporal punishment in early-twentieth-century Taiwan and Korea to position Japan and its colonies in broader discussions of colonial modernity.1 At issue in that debate is the extent to which illiberal, coercive, and even brutal Japanese regimes—externally imposed governments general in Korea and Taiwan and an imperial police state in Japan—laid the institutional, infrastructural, and ideological groundwork for today’s democratic states of East Asia. This regional variant on colonial modernity is of special interest because the dominant power was a non-Western nation-state.

Structurally, Japan occupied the in-between position of object and author of Euro-American-style gunboat diplomacy in the nineteenth-century world of competitive empire-building. Two prominent Western scholars have thus characterized Japanese imperialism as “mimetic.” 2 As a mimetic power, Japan imposed a hastily imported bundle of Western-inspired policies and rhetoric on militarily weaker Asian neighbors, making its overseas empire in some sense “derivative.” More important, as an almost Great Power, a “white but not quite” junior member of the imperialist club, itself a target of Western civilizing–mission policies and rhetoric, Japan’s status as an agent of “enlightenment and progress” was especially unstable.

State-sponsored photographers and publishers, however, bequeathed divergent visual legacies to Japan’s colonies. To account for this, I suggest that differences in the timing, character, and duration of Taiwanese and Korean resistance movements tipped the balance. I conclude, then, that although “mimicry” is a useful concept regarding very specific vectors of Japanese colonial history in Asia, it cannot account for variations among Japan’s colonized and occupied spaces.

II. Visual Cultures of Progress, Hierarchy, and Difference

After the dissolution of the Qing state3 in Taiwan and the Yi dynasty4 in Korea, Japanese propagandists—in order to legitimate change—denigrated predecessor regimes as backward. In visual culture, what Joseph Allen terms the “comparative before and after” genre5 was commonly deployed in depictions of each colony; this motif is exemplified by figure 1 [from East Asia Image Collection (Easton, PA: Lafayette College, 2012)].

These 1915 photographs of sugar production contrasted the primitive methods of manufacture and farming before colonial rule with the updated technology and increased investment that followed the Japanese flag to Taiwan.

Our second example is a montage from the publication Thriving Chosen (figure 2).6 It contrasts Seoul’s old urban landscape and modest central terminal with the open spaces, new structures, and modern rail system of a refurbished capital under Japanese management.

The explicit or implicit denigration of cultures, ethnic groups, and races as backward or primitive was another motif in Japanese colonial visual culture. Donald Keene, John Dower, and Judith Fröhlich have demonstrated that wood-block prints flooded the Japanese market with racially charged portrayals of Chinese to fan the flames of xenophobic nationalism during the Sino-Japanese War.7 This imagery continued to flourish during the wars of conquest in Taiwan, as exemplified by the drawing of Taiwanese “ethnic types” in figure 3.

The image (fig. 3) seems harmless enough: it is a sketch of the fūzoku (customs) that separated Taiwan’s population into several status groups and it emphasizes distinctive modes of dress, hairstyles, and comportment for each. But the painting also indulged in an old Qing-period convention, which was to portray Taiwan’s indigenous males as bestial savages by attaching fur or hair to their bodies.

During the period under consideration, Japanese writers and image-makers typically organized the sensible markers of cultural/racial identity under the rubric fūzoku,8 as in figure 3. Colonial imagery in the fūzoku genre ranged from stereotyped “chankoro” (a pejorative term for Chinese) or “yobo” (a pejorative term for Korean) figures in Japanese wood-block prints to more benign sketches of local architecture, clothing, and other folkways.

The Chōsen manga cartoon in figure 4, from a book comprised solely of fūzoku caricatures, also appears innocent. Like numerous Japanese postcards from the period, it features a Korean woman with a head covering.9 However, the illustration’s attached text excoriates the rudely fashioned head and body coverings of Pyongyang women by contrasting them to the better-crafted hats of Japanese komusō (blind priests) and to the elegant head scarves of aristocrats in the golden age of Japanese court culture. In the Korean context, the authors refer to this feminine custom (onna fūzoku) as “primitive/barbarous” (yaban na mono).10 The postcard in figure 4, titled “Fūzoku [Customs] of Korea: Women Going Out,” which may have been the model for the cartoon, presents the more benign face of the genre.

Todd Henry analyzed the dark side of fūzoku cartoons in his study of Japanese discourse on the “yobo.” This term impugned all Koreans as backward people in need of Japanese discipline. The yobo archetype reached its apogee in iconic form in the 1909 satirical book Korean Comics (Chōsen manga),11 from which figure 4 is taken. For every element of Korean culture that Japanese photographers had disseminated via picture postcard or photo album (fig. 4, right), no matter how sympathetic, Chōsen manga provided a derogatory counterpart.

For David Howell, fūzoku—customs understood as distinctive presentations of hairstyle, dress, and language, for example—ideally conformed to a person’s social role in nineteenth-century Japan. Unlike race or modern nationality, fūzoku was malleable because it could be shed, temporarily, in certain political or ritual situations.12 In figures 3 and 4, however, fūzoku goes deeper than Howell’s exterior status-marking elements and shades into what Henry calls “affective racism.” Clothing, comportment, and adornment are indeed malleable traits, but when they are all bundled and found wanting and then distilled in demeaning graphic stereotypes, fūzoku discourse becomes racial contempt.

The concept fūzoku is central to my analysis because Japanese publicists conflated Joseon-era legal practices, presumably the prerogative of the Yi court, with Korean fūzoku in graphic representations of corporal punishment. In contrast, Japanese discourse on Qing penology drew a line between Qing institutions and Taiwanese fūzoku.

III. Japan between the West and Asia: Recycled Imagery of Dynastic Punishments

The discursive separation of Taiwanese fūzoku from Qing official policy was articulated in the influential Japanese periodical “Reports on Old Taiwanese Customs” (Taiwan kanshū kiji, hereafter TKK). Between 1901 and 1904, the TKK published twelve illustrations of Qing punishments: two color lithographs, seven halftone photographs, and three monochrome prints. These illustrations seem to be the Meiji era’s only Japanese-published images of corporal punishment from Taiwan. Although their quantity was not great nor their circulation wide, their contents and timing are well suited for situating Japanese discursive practices toward Taiwan and Korea within a broader trajectory of nineteenth-century Orientalist discourse.

The color lithographs in figure 5 decorated the January 23, 1903 issue of the TKK as a rare color insert. They depict a defendant undergoing public humiliation on his way to trial and a convict being banished and were taken from the 1801 book Punishments of China, by George Henry Mason. Timothy Brook, Jérôme Bourgon, and Gregory Blue argue that Mason’s influential book crystallized growing European disenchantment with the Middle Kingdom. Punishments put the implementation of Chinese law codes under the harsh light of scrutiny, whereas earlier Western publications focused on more-abstract elements of Chinese philosophy, religion, and government. Moreover, Mason’s book propagated this harder view of Chinese society via an emerging nineteenth-century mass-market print culture.13

To be sure, Mason’s preface is favorably disposed to the Qing legal system. Nonetheless, he asserted that pictures of Chinese cruelty, in the form of corporal punishments, were proof enough that Anglophone and Francophone readers lived in societies far more just and humane than China’s.14

One hundred years after Mason’s colorful lithographs abetted a hardening Orientalist discourse in Europe, they were printed by Japanese scholar-bureaucrats charged with investigating the customs of a putatively inferior subject population—the inhabitants of Taiwan. Thus, one would expect the Japanese retread in TKK (figure 5) to confirm the thesis of Japanese mimetic imperialism: Japanese colonialists mimic white people in their treatment of other nonwhites as part of their modernizing project.15

As it turned out, this particular recycling operation was not mimetic. Of the twenty-two prints in Punishments of China, the TKK editors adapted the two most innocuous. No instruments of torture or cruelty are displayed in either image, though they predominate in the original publication. Moreover, Mason’s invidious and denigrating preface is ignored in the Japanese update. The TKK captions are similar to the originals, with a few technical additions, but in the two pages of explanatory material, there is no mention of the barbarity of Qing methods or their suitability to the Taiwanese populace.16

On the other hand, if we assume that the editors of the TKK (and others) studied all twenty-two of Mason’s influential prints, we can surmise that Punishments of China directly or indirectly influenced the accretion of a Japanese iconic vocabulary for representing backward dynastic punishments in the region. Several mainstays of Japanese colonial visual culture—the Mandarin/Yangban courts, prisoners in the cangue, and convicts undergoing judicial torture—were anticipated by Mason’s 1801 compendium. The following section will juxtapose Mason’s lithographs, TKK imagery from the period 1901–1904, and Japanese photographs of Joseon justice from the 1910s to further test the “mimetic imperialism” hypothesis and to explore convergences and divergences.

IV. The Court of Law and the Cast of Characters

George Mason’s 1801 description of Qing justice (figure 6) as dispensed by the local Mandarin is laudatory; it retains no hints of the denigrating language that ended his preface to the volume. Mason’s caption stipulated that Mandarins could summarily punish culprits only for petty offenses. For these, the pictured “bastinade” might be applied liberally. But serious cases required five or six outside examiners, and all capital cases were prolonged affairs requiring the emperor’s confirmation.17

The Qing courtroom photograph in TKK (figure 7) shares many compositional and editorial elements with Mason’s inaugural image (see again figure 6). It also prefigures an iconic photograph of a Joseon court (figure 8). Like the reproductions of Mason’s lithographs (see again figure 5), this photo was inserted into TKK opportunistically—that is, it did not support technical recommendations or advance an editorial position. The sunglasses, the singular painting, and the outmoded “big sticks”18 suggest that this was never a documentary photograph to begin with. For textual elaboration, readers were referred to content published independently in previous issues of the journal.19

This retrofitted explanation is a more rigorously researched reprise of Mason’s account. It stipulates that courtrooms attached to governmental offices, and presided over by district officials (Mandarins), were reserved for minor corporal punishments (the “heavy sticks” [zhang] 杖in figure 7, for example). Serious crimes such as robbery and murder were referred to higher-level officials.20 Although the photograph itself is placeless and unsourced, its associated overview of Taiwan’s court system was gleaned from interviews with ex-Qing officials, records in a Xinzhu district office, and old Qing gazetteers.21

Our third image in the courtroom series was published in 1910 on the eve of Japan’s annexation of Korea (figure. 8). In all three images (see also figures 6 and 7), a robed magistrate towers over prostrate defendants. Scribes record the verdict to visually assert the legality of the proceedings. But in the Qing images, the desks are equipped with tally sticks to measure blows administered by the armed attendant. In the Joseon image (figure 8), there is no hint of violence in the wings. But it is not this photograph that condemned Joseon justice, in Japanese eyes, to atavism. Rather, its position as the “before” photograph next to the “after” image of a Japanese courtroom (figure 9) defined it as backward.

In the modern Japanese colonial court (Fig. 9), a mechanical stenographic machine has replaced the inkwell and brushes of the Qing magistrates (see again figures 6 and 7) and the prostrate Joseon scribe of figure 8. The suited, collared, and mustached Japanese jurists have displaced the robed and hatted Qing and Korean officials of yore (figures 6–8). Japanese policemen equipped with swords substitute for Qing officials with chains and clubs (figures 6 and 7). Perhaps most important, the defendants stand upright to face their accusers or are positioned on benches. Defendants do not grovel in modern courtrooms, figure 9 seems to say.

Neither Mason nor the TKK juxtaposes the Qing courtroom scenes with “after” images. Mason is describing a contemporaneous (or coeval) but radically Other penal complex; he does not emphasize its pastness (though its inferiority is implied). The TKK set out to understand old Taiwanese “customs” for their practical application. In either case, the focus of the explanations is on how a particular device or practice fits into a Chinese/Qing/Taiwanese social or administrative logic. The captioning of post-1910 photographs of Korean penology, in contrast, emphasize their distance and difference from Japan’s modern improvements.

V. The Cangue

Mason’s 1801 account of the Chinese cangue (jia枷) is ambivalent. On the one hand, the two-hundred-pound cangue (the heaviest possible), worn for too long, could kill a man. On the other hand, Mason wrote that culprits employed various subterfuges to lighten the cangue’s load. Among them were posts on a special chair to keep the cangue’s weight off the wearer (figure 10) and appeals to acquaintances to lift the corners of the cangue while conversing and keeping the wearer in good spirits.22

The TKK caption for the cangue in figure 11, like Mason’s, is largely technical. Beyond describing the wooden slats, the straps, and the methods of attachment, the TKK provides dimensions and reads almost like an instructional manual. It also lists the types of offenses to which it was applied. The TKK goes further than Mason by providing alternate Japanese readings kasha and kase for the Chinese character 枷 (jia) and the synonyms panjia (盤枷), gouniu (梏杻), and zhixie (桎械), for example, that appeared in “our documents.”23 These other terms were presumably glossed to help the Japanese officials who read the TKK decipher synonyms in Qing and Taiwanese records.

Unlike the flog and the baton, which were commonly applied in nineteenth-century China, Japan, and Korea, cangues were not widely used in Japan after the eighth century.24 The TKK places the cangue outside of the five major punishments of the Qing code, but enumerates its eight associated classes of offense and minute gradations of application. The article concludes with a detailed vignette about the specific use of the cangue in the punishment of corrupt officials during the tenure of Governor Liu Mingchuan (r. 1886–91).25

The other cangue image in the TKK (figure 12) was published in 1902. The TKK attaches it to an account of the punishment of ring leaders of a charismatic religious cult who played upon a Hakka customary (fūzoku) temple practice to incite the masses. The supporting article, subtitled “Heterodoxy Confusing the People,” mentions the cangue as a remedy to the social disorder of heterodoxy. It points out that the malefactors were paraded in a cangue, after receiving heavy blows, in front of a great hall.26 In this account the cangue was not a Chinese, Taiwanese, or Qing fūzoku; rather, it was an instrument of Qing law pitted against Hakka fūzoku. The men in the photograph are not the actual culprits in the tale. Indeed, like the Qing courtroom photograph (see again figure 7), figure 12 appears to have been a stock photograph in search of a home, rather than a documentary image from colonial Taiwan.

A review of missionary and travel genre books about Korea from the 1880s through the early 1900s indicates that cangue (kal) photographs did not appear salient to outsiders until 1906, a year after Korea became a Japanese protectorate. The traditional Korean kal was distinctive; as we can see in figure 13, it allowed suspects or convicts to nourish themselves by virtue of its oblong rather than square shape. Mason’s illustration (see again figure 10) shows a rice bowl next to the collared sitter to symbolize his dependence on others in order to eat. Despite this palpably unique feature, the kal appears in Western missionary discourse and Japanese visual culture as a mere symbol of cruelty and atavism. It elicited no commentary regarding its particular function, or about its difference in relation to the square-shaped Chinese cangue.

The photo in figure 13 appeared in the missionary Homer Hulbert’s 1906 book The Passing of Korea.27 Hulbert condemned the Joseon regime’s system of justice in the strongest possible language—it was arbitrary, cruel, and ineffective. At the same time, Hulbert did not think Koreans themselves were worthy of something better, and condemned the society generally for its moral shortcomings. The cangue itself is a decoration for this discussion, and is not mentioned specifically in Hulbert’s rambling account of selected aspects of Joseon jurisprudence. He shared with Mason a relish for literary descriptions of carnage and suffering, but did not follow Mason in finding compensating salutary aspects of Korea or its system of justice.

Hulbert’s image was recycled in the first mass-circulation Japanese photograph of the kal. It appeared as one of thirty-five “manners and customs” (風俗) photographs in the 1911 Yūrakusha publication “Japan's Korea” (日本の朝鮮).28 Hulbert employed kal imagery as part of a broadside against the cruel Joseon dynasty that governed a barbaric Korean populous. The Japanese use of the term fūzoku to describe the kal (figures 13 and 14) is consonant with the Western writers who supplied the photographs and regarded the kal as symptomatic of an ingrained backwardness. That is to say, the TKK descriptions of cangues in Taiwan made distinctions between Qing institutions and Taiwanese customs, while missionary and Japanese accounts pathologized Joseon institutions in the same sweeping language they used to denigrate Koreans as a stagnant and retrograde race.

The picture postcard in figure 14 was published by at least two Japanese companies between 1907 and 1918. It was printed in high-resolution collotype and issued in print runs of thousands (if not tens of thousands) on sturdy cardstock. Compared to the low-resolution and grainy halftones of Qing cangues in the TKK, this print represents a leap in Japanese reprographic technology. In this format (one not attainable in 1902, when the TKK published its photos of cangues), the image lent itself to extensive circulation and persistence. It was used to illustrate a Swedish-language book (1912) that was later translated into Japanese (1989).29 It is also reproduced in 1996 and 2009 Korean-language compendia of colonial images, one published in Seoul, the other in Busan.30

VI. Colonial Mimesis and Its Limits

In contrast to the courtroom photo series in figures 6–8), Japanese publishers did not supply “after” images to juxtapose with the implied “before” images of Korean corporal punishment. For example, the Hulbert kal illustration (figure 13) was reproduced in a 1914 Japanese photo album with the caption “Cangue punishment in Chosen, now abolished.”31 However, in place of the expected “after” photograph of humane treatment under Japanese rule, a photograph of a Korean man on a flogging table (figure 21) appears with this surprising “after” caption: “Scourging punishment in Chosen, now in force.”32 As we shall see, the 1914 publication was not in error—the Korea Government General in fact adopted this practice. Thus, the editors were at a loss to provide an analogue to the modern courtroom photograph we see in figure 9.

Five years later, in 1919, the Hulbert photo of the kal resurfaced in an official Bank of Korea publication, which returned to the missionary’s script of “decadent Joseon.” As Japan was joining the great powers at Versailles as one of the victors of World War I, its colonial government in Korea published its “after” pictures in the English-language Pictorial Chosen [Korea] and Manchuria. Like Hulbert, the editors of Pictorial Korea did not refer specifically to the cangue but, rather, used it as a decorative element for a litany of disparaging remarks about the Joseon dynasty. Juxtaposing the kal with several other Korean/Chinese instruments of corporal punishment, they wrote: “The methods of punishing criminals in Korea were practically all Chinese. Implements used in torture are shown in Picture 261 [figure 15]. Lashing was a form of punishment most universally practised. The prison in those days was literally hell, no attention being paid to the spiritual or physical welfare of those confined therein.”33

Like the editors of the 1919 Japanese report, Hulbert homogenized China and Korea as static and backward societies; he believed that both kingdoms were in need of moral and ethical restructuring. The missionary Hulbert’s view is consonant with the above 1919 quote, which identifies Korean instruments of torture as “Chinese.” When he wrote his book, circa 1906, he dismissed the Qing dynasty as moribund. But for the authors and editors of the TKK, the Qing was still a functioning state and a formidable regional power. Japanese scholars and administrators who researched its institutions for guidance in the pages of the TKK (1901–1904) took pains to sort out regional and historical variations in Qing penology and the difference between folk law and official statutes. In 1915, Takeuchi Sadayoshi reprised the articles of the TKK regarding Qing law and Taiwanese legal customs for a more popular readership, and appended a photograph that bears comparison to figure 15.

Takeuchi’s photograph (figure 16) shows only four of the ten instruments listed in his digest of TKK articles: (5) the short cudgel, for prompting confessions; (7) the large split-bamboo stick, for “big-stick (jōkei杖刑) sentences”; (8) the cangue; and (10) the ankle-leash chain, used on convicts at or above the “penal-servitude level.”34 Although the Qing had recently been overthrown when the first edition of Takeuchi’s book was published, in 1914, the texts that frame this photograph are retreads of the technical descriptions in the TKK and do not suggest that the instruments are indicative of a barbaric dynasty.

The Japanese editors of Pictorial Korea had a less refined view of Joseon, however. As Kim Sun Joo and Kim Jungwon wrote in a recent study, two of the most severe punishments associated with the 1919 Japanese illustration (figure 15)—execution and beating with a heavy stick—had been dropped from the legal statutes in 1896.35 The photographic record bears out Kim and Kim’s findings, yet the 1919 publication gives the impression of an undifferentiated and brutal dynastic legacy.

In his book, Hulbert distinguished Japan from retrograde China and Korea because the new Meiji state had risen to the challenge of modern military competition. At the same time, according to Hulbert, the Japanese did not have the civilizational depth and collective moral stature to reform Korea. Thus, Japan's protectorate (tōkanfu), though an improvement in some ways, was blocking preternaturally enlightened Westerners from introducing the fruits of civilization to Korea.36 The 1919 Pictorial Korea, which was directed at foreigners, pushed back against the anti-Japanese comments of Hulbert and McKenzie and proclaimed Japan as a progressive force in East Asia with this declaration, also attached to figure 15:

All this has since been improved, and Chosen to-day may well boast of having some of the best prisons in the Orient. The system of enslaving criminals once obtained in Chosen, but that of setting them to certain kinds of work, so that they might learn a trade and earn an honest living after their discharge, was entirely unknown in the country. The prisons in Chosen are now provided with workshops of every kind and no prisoner is suffered to idle, while their spiritual and moral welfare is also attended to by special instructors and chaplains.37

Hulbert’s qualified praise of Japan in 1906 as “relatively civilized” and the 1919 rejoinder quoted above confirm the “colonial mimesis” thesis. In Peter Duus’s formulation, Japan as an in-between power borrowed colonial policies and rhetoric from the West and deployed them vis-à-vis militarily weaker Asian neighbors. Japanese prison reform in Korea and the uncritical reproduction of Hulbert’s views are examples of colonial mimesis, one could argue. After the Japanese had earned a seat at the imperialist club, as Duus’s model would predict, publicists still had to battle Westerners like Hulbert to overcome the stigma of being a non-Christian and somehow “inauthentically modern” power.38

The mimesis thesis has an important shortcoming, however. As shown above, Japanese colonialists did not reproduce Western rhetoric about the “Oriental despot” in their publications about Taiwan, its Chinese population, or its former Qing overlords. This divergence, which I will explore below, supports Nadine Heé’s observations about the study of Japanese imperialism. Heé argues that the triangulation of Japan, the West, and its colonies—a strategy advocated by Duus and the mimesis school—is insufficient because it does not account for the dynamics of Sino-Japanese relations as an independent variable. In addition to the West-Japan-Colony triad, the vicissitudes of the China–Japan relationship structured relations between Japan and its colonies and Japan and the West, according to Heé.39 Indeed, the evidence from the TKK indicates that the Qing’s continuation as a powerful state in East Asian diplomacy until at least 1905 significantly shaped Japanese discourse on the subject of corporal punishment.

VII. Divergent Genealogies of Corporal-Punishment Imagery

The TKK pictured a few Qing punishments in addition to the cangue. Some, such as the finger press, were also pictured in Mason’s book but lack Korean analogues. Others, like beating with a light/heavy stick, reveal parallels between Mason’s lithographs and photographs of Korean punishments but without Taiwanese analogues. We will take these two examples in turn.

The finger press, like many other Qing-era tools of punishment and interrogation, dated back to at least the Ming dynasty. Brook, Bourgon, and Blue write that ankle presses and finger presses were used only for serious cases (instead of light or heavy sticks). Finger presses were applied to women, they write, in lieu of the harsher ankle press.40 George Mason’s 1801 book in fact depicts a woman with her fingers in the press (figure 17), and the TKK illustration, in figure 19, of long fingernails may indicate femininity. Mason called it a device for the “punishment upon disorderly women,” a muted reference to sexual impropriety.41

The only Taiwan-specific photographs of corporal punishment in the TKK were posed at the Xinzhu district courthouse by investigators of the Committee to Survey Old Taiwanese Customs.42 One of these six images (figure 18) shows the “finger press” punishment, and the same punishment was illustrated with a line drawing in the same issue (figure 19). An unnamed local Taiwanese was called into service to pose for this photo—it is not a photograph of actual punishment/interrogation. Because the instrument was devised for use on women, the image is doubly misleading.

Images of women as objects of judicial torture are exceptional—there is only one in the twenty-two plates in Mason’s book and just a female hand in the TKK. I have yet to see a Japanese photograph of a Chinese, Taiwanese, or Korean female to illustrate corporal punishment. This represents a sharp break with mid-Meiji visual culture; the famous color-illustrated Punishments of the Tokugawa Period features several graphic images of women being burned at the stake, decapitated, and crucified.43

VII. Flogging and Beating

Mason’s portrait of the bastinade (banzi [板子]; figure 20) prefigures Japanese photographs of Koreans on the flogging table but not the TKK pictures of flogs. Mason described the punishment: “He is thrown flat upon his face, and held in a position by one, or more, if necessary, of the magistrate’s attendants kneeling upon his back, whilst another applies the pan-tsee (banzi) to his posteriors.”44

In contrast to Mason’s graphic prose and dramatic painting, the TKK’s only image of a beating implement is a clinical drawing of a “light stick/flog,” published as part of a discussion of reviving judicial beatings in Taiwan (figure 21). As Nadine Heé and Daniel Botsman have written, the revival of corporal punishment in Taiwan occasioned vigorous debates. In Japan, the practice was discontinued in 1882 as part of an effort to “civilize” the penal code in accord with the preferences of treaty-port powers. Some Japanese critics thought bringing it back in Taiwan was tantamount to civilizational backsliding; others worried it would brutalize the floggers and flogged alike.

By the time the Flogging Ordinance was revived, in 1904, it had been out of use as an officially sanctioned punishment in Taiwan for more than nine years. Thus, in contrast to the Korean case (below), it would have been difficult for Japanese officials to promote flogging as a “Taiwanese fūzoku” in light of its ostentatious revival by the Japanese government. In fact, thousands upon thousands of Taiwanese were flogged until 1921, when the ordinance was abolished. Nonetheless, it appears that the policemen, rural officials, and court officers who administered these punishments did not countenance cameras on the scene, as the surviving photographic record is quite thin.

The five traditional punishments in Joseon Korea, in ascending order of severity, were light flogging (笞刑 taehyeong), beating with a heavy stick (杖刑 janghyeong), penal servitude/forced labor (徒刑 dohyeong), banishment (流刑 yuhyeong), and death (死刑 sahyeong). Only the “lightest”—that is, taehyeong—survived the 1894–96 Gabo Reforms on the books, though it was not ended completely in practice.45 Indeed, the most prevalent of the mass-produced, colonial-era photographs of Korean punishments depicted taehyeong.

The image in figure 22 was one of thirty-five “customs” (fūzoku) photographs in a 1911 feature that introduced the Korean peninsula and its people to a metropolitan Japanese audience.46 The notion that judicial flogging was a Korean fūzoku would persist in Japanese publications deep into the colonial period. This characterization existed in tension with the fact that flogging remained a Japanese colonial form of punishment until 1920. Unlike in Taiwan, in Korea the practice was never abrogated, and was codified as an arm of Japanese law in 1912. To be sure, the photo in figure 22 appears to be from the Joseon period, but the most widely circulated photos of flogging were produced and circulated after annexation (1910).

With the exception of W. A. Grebst’s 1912 I Korea: Minnen och studier fran “Morgonstillhetens land”, photographs of flogging and flogged Koreans did not appear in Western books. The image in figure 22 appeared in three Japanese books in 1911 and 1912, then disappeared from the record. It was displaced by the photo in figure 23, which appeared in Japanese publications in 1918 and 1919. Figure 23 was also featured in at least two picture-postcard designs: one published before 1918 and a color postcard published after World War I.47

The 1919 Bank of Korea’s Pictorial Chosen and Manchuria retains the cangue photograph from Hulbert’s 1906 book (see again figure 13), but exchanges the original flogging photo (figure 22) for the upgrade in figure 23, which contained several improvements. First, it captures the architectural details of the Korean-style courtyard and tiled building, which are obscured in figure 22. Second, the composition displays the sartorial habits, the fūzoku, of the Korean ministers, attendants, and audience more clearly than did its predecessor. Third, the arm of the flogger in figure 22 is a blur; the faces of the gathered Yangban are indistinct. Figure 23, in contrast, appears to have been staged, to great effect, for the benefit of the camera.

Certainly, in the late 1910s and early 1920s, all judicial flogging was done under Japanese government auspices, though the actual assailants were often Koreans. To call the practice a “Korean Custom” at this late date, as is the case with all of the postcard designs emanating from the photo in figure 23, is something of a misnomer. Two much less widely circulated photographs (figure 24) depict floggings done under the visible supervision of Japanese men, although one (at left) still retains the “Korean Customs and Manners” subheading on its caption. If photographs could summarize the political realities and physical aspects of Japanese justice in the period of Military Rule (1910–1919), those in figure 24 might come close.

The white-uniformed, starch-collared Japanese officials in the shadows of the postcard on the left do not handle canes or whips, but are elevated and assume postures of authority. In the postcard on the right, the whip is not visible, though the man on the board is obviously about to receive a flogging. It is difficult to discern the ethnicity of the standing men in the photo, but the geta and haori of the man to the viewer’s extreme left suggest that the photographer was not concealing Japanese involvement in this “customary” form of Korean punishment. Both of these cards were published between 1907 and 1918; it is likely that the “Rioter” identified in the caption in figure 24, right, was either a captured member of the Uibyeong (Righteous Armies) or was rounded up on suspicion of subversion.

I have located six postcard designs, based on four photographs, that feature as their subject the flogging of Koreans. Four of these postcards were circulated between 1907 and 1918; the other two were published between 1918 and 1933. In addition, the five photographs of whipping that I have been able to locate were all published between 1911 and 1919. The six cangue photographs I found were circulated between 1906 and 1919 but appear in Japanese-language publications only after 1911. Moreover, both designs of the well-circulated cangue postcard in figure 15 were published between 1907 and 1918. In short, it would seem that Japanese commercial and official photography that illustrated the backward, barbaric punitive “customs” of old Korea circulated only after formal annexation (August 1910), and came to a virtual halt after the March 1st Movement (1919).

A slickly produced official photo album titled Thriving Chosen (1935) highlighted the backwardness of precolonial Korea, for example, but dispensed completely with the photographs of floggings in its section titled “Peace and Order.” Despite the wealth of photographic source material at hand, its editors resorted to ink-drawn cartoons of Koreans in Joseon-era cangues to make an allusion to those bad times (figure 25).48

I suspect that the old drawings in figure 25 replaced the flogging and collaring photographs from figure 15 (1919) because by 1935 few could believe that judicial punishments enacted on the bodies of Korean men, as recorded by modern photography, were anything but Japanese customary practices.

VIII. The Death Sentence

Despite the vogue for photographs of beheaded Boxers and of the mutilated corpses of lingchi executions in the West circa 1900 49 and the popularity of wood-block prints of Tokugawa-era dismemberment in the 1890s, Japanese publishers do not appear to have joined the frenzy to reproduce such photographs for the mass market, nor did the TKK publish photographs of executions of any kind. It is true that Japanese postcards and scattered publications contained grisly mementos of decapitated Indigenous peoples of Taiwan, but these were not legal executions. However, the TKK reproduced one old Qing line drawing of an execution (figure 26):

This seemingly archaic Chinese wood-block print was published by Xu Wenda徐文達, sometime after 1887, in the illustrated pamphlet Daqing xinglü tushuo 大清刑律圖說 (Illustrations and Explanations of the Qing Statutes). According to Brook, Bourgon, and Blue, the Ming and Qing were reluctant to publish graphic depictions of capital punishment, but resorted to this measure as a response to the chaotic situation prompted by increased missionary and foreign-soldier disturbances in China. As they explain, this wood-block print portrays capital punishment as a pedagogical exercise, not as a horrific event. The parent and child placidly viewing the scene confirm this ideal. The print itself was mass produced and distributed to edify the population.50

On most scores, the TKK caption anticipates Brook et al.’s contemporary analysis, though it is ambiguous regarding the novelty of the etching in question. Graphic depictions of punishment began with Wu Di, of the Han dynasty, according to the TKK.51 A miscellaneous note in a different issue stated that death penalties in Taiwan were usually meted out to “coolies, boatmen, vegetable peddlers, fish mongers of the lower classes . . . with the occasional village head.” According to the pseudonymous author, these illiterates did not leave stirring diaries or utter cries of execration on the strangling platform; they met their deaths placidly, without comment. The author noted that the death penalty was carried out in Taiwan almost as in Japan, the big difference being the nonchalant acceptance of the sentence and its execution in Taiwan.52

Mason’s 1801 volume expends three of its twenty-two prints on the death penalty, illustrating the forced march to the platform in one, a strangling in another (figure 27), and the moment before a beheading.53 Like the Qing-period line drawing from the TKK, Mason’s illustration is restrained in comparison to the graphic photos that circulated in the West circa 1900.

Japanese publications were less circumspect regarding the executions of Koreans than they were with those of Taiwanese. The most notorious Japanese-published execution photos were taken by Henry Jessen Muhlensteth on September 21, 1904. Choi Injin has reprinted all thirteen of Muhlensteth’s photos in his exhaustive history of photography in Korea.54 Muhlensteth documented the execution of three Righteous Army saboteurs who damaged Japanese rail track built on confiscated Korean land. On October 1, Tokyo Asahi Shinbun reported these executions in graphic detail,55 and a mass circulation Hakubunkan illustrated magazine reproduced one of Muhlensteth’s photos unflinchingly.56 Just after annexation, the 1911 Yūrakusha publication Japan’s Korea reproduced two of these thirteen photos as well. Figure 28 shows one of the 1911 reproductions.

It was impossible to configure these executions as manifestations of Korean fūzoku, especially with uniformed Japanese soldiers so prominent. However, another iconic Korean execution photo, of unknown origin, did adopt the fūzoku label. The photo in figure 29 is something of a mystery.

Another postcard of the same photograph, issued during the period 1907–1910, described the victims as “criminals” but declined to call the hanging a “Korean custom.” The recently updated and revised Historical Dictionary of Modern Korea 1860–2005 labels this photograph “People receiving the death penalty for the treasonous crime of rebelling against the Japanese military (Russo-Japanese War Period),” though it does not source the photograph.58 I have not been able to locate this photo in any prewar Japanese albums, books, or magazines—it may have circulated only as a high-quality collotype postcard in the 1900s and 1910s. Nonetheless, it was picked up after liberation to be recycled time and again.

The earliest postwar reproduction of this photo that I could locate was published in Busan in 1966 in a book titled A Short History of the Independence Movement in Kyongnam. The editor, Byeon Ji-seop, captioned the very grainy and reversed image this way: “The Japanese took us Koreans (minjok) who were protesting with our bare fists and killed us by hanging us on wooden sticks.”59 Three years later, the same scene, photographed from a different angle with less cropping, appeared in Ko Jae-wook’s Collection of Essays to Commemorate the March 1st Movement60 (figure 30).

Unlike the postcards and the many other reproductions, this 1969 version in Ko shows spectators with umbrellas and a large, Korean-style building in back. There are no visible Japanese soldiers in the picture, but white-robed men appear to be supervising the proceedings. The additional visual information in this alternate take of figure 29 does not identify a scene, but the setting disqualifies this photo from being among those shot by Muhlensteth in September 1904. Kang Deok-sang’s 1972 translation of Pak Dan-sik’s Bloody History of the Korean Independence Movement attached the alternate version of the strangulation photo (figure 30) to two pictures from Muhlensteth, implying that they all document a single event. This is doubtful, as the Muhlensteth photos reveal an isolated-field setting for the executions with no bystanders present.

In 1987 Shin Gisu published the version in figure 29 and attributed it to the period of the Russo-Japanese War period. He described it as a Japanese military execution of Korean rebels.61 A year later, the Asahi Shinbun company followed suit, and added that a similar fate befell the March 1st rebels—extending the range of the photo over space and time.62 Another progressive publication, Okinawan Governor Ōta Masahide’s book about genocide, adopted the photo with this caption: “Japanese police executed ‘guerrilla soldiers,’ who had stood up to resist the Japanese control throughout Korea, by hanging them without due legal process.”63 The Kodansha press recycled this same photo in 1998 as part of a short feature on the March 1st, 1919, Movement in its 20th Century series, connecting these executions to the 1919 events without mentioning the Russo-Japanese War.64

In short, the photograph in figure 29 alternatively depicted traditional Joseon-era justice, military executions during the Russo-Japanese War, or collective punishment in the wake of the March 1st Movement—depending on which caption is to be believed. Although the occasional photo of Taiwanese casualties of war and rough justice can be found buried in postwar histories, Japan’s first formal colony never produced icons that could match Muhlensteth’s photos or the mysterious postcard (figure 29) of the mass strangulation of (probably) Korean rebels in terms of longevity or reach.

IX. Why the Difference in Taiwan and Korean Representational Practices?

As a source of judicial punishment, flogging was practiced in Joseon Korea, Qing China, and Tokugawa Japan. It fell out of use in Japan itself in 1882; the Government General banned the practice in Taiwan in 1895. However, in a curious about face, the Japanese revived the practice on Taiwan in 1904 and kept it on the books until 1921. In its first year of implementation, some twenty-five hundred Taiwanese were flogged, about seventy percent without benefit of trial. Thereafter, the annual rate increased. Some six thousand Taiwanese were flogged each year from 1910 to 1920; the practice was abolished in 1921.65

After Japan annexed Korea, in 1910, the Government General of Korea continued the Yi-dynasty punishment of flogging. Borrowing from colonial Taiwanese statutes, the government codified its “Flogging Ordinance” in Korea in 1912, and flogged offenders until 1920. In the larger colony of Korea, “an average of more than thirty-thousand people were flogged annually” from 1910 to 1915. The following year, some fifty-two thousand were flogged. The practice was ended one year earlier in Korea than in Taiwan, in 1920.66 Adjusting for population, flogging was similarly pronounced in each colony.67 So why were the photographic legacies so different?

I will propose two possible explanations for that disconnect. First, the ideological valence of the Qing and Joseon dynasties for Japanese colonialists was different. Derogatory depictions of Korean penology were deployed by Japanese as they had been by Western critics of the Joseon dynasty to make the case for regime change. In the Residency period, Itō Hirobumi promised foreigners that Japan would improve on the Yi court’s miserable record. However, foreign observers such as Hulbert remained unimpressed. In the infamous decade (1910–1919) of Japanese military rule known as the “dark times,” Japanese disregard for due legal process vis-à-vis Korean colonial subjects was well known. In this period, anti-dynastic rhetoric—of the “comparative before and after” or fūzoku variety—was expedient, even if it meant forgoing the opportunity to attract Korean cultural elites. The fact that corporal-punishment imagery packaged as “Korean customs” dried up during the comparatively lenient period of cultural rule that followed the March 1, 1919, uprisings attests to this hypothesis.

In the most violent period of Japanese rule in Taiwan, from June 1895 through March 1896, there were ample reasons to extol Japan’s modernizing legal system in contradistinction to Qing backwardness and Taiwan’s "low level of civilization.” Indeed, large-scale guerrilla resistance to Japanese rule persisted in the plains and ports of Taiwan into 1902.68 But there were important differences from Korea.

First of all, the Japanese government facilitated the repatriation to China of all Taiwanese officials who wanted to return within a two-year window. Many of Taiwan’s leading figures, among them those who could mobilize resistance, returned rather than rally righteous armies against Japan in the name of the Qing.69 Moreover, the Qing dynasty was a formidable player in the treaty-port system of East Asia at the time.

Second, when Japan passed its Flogging Ordinance in Taiwan in 1904, the practice had been outlawed on the island for nine years. As Daniel Botsman and Nadine Heé have explained, the reinstitution of flogging in Taiwan occasioned heated debate. It had been outlawed in Japan itself in 1882, as part of an overhaul directed at treaty revision. In this context, with the world’s eyes on Japan as it embarked on colony-building in Taiwan in 1895, the abrogation of Qing forms of punishment were part of a larger campaign to become a “modern colonizer.” But this circumspection did not last. As Daniel Botsman notes, flogging was used in the British empire, and therefore not considered retrograde if applied to colonized subjects with putatively lower levels of civilization. This argument gained traction in the ruling circles of Taiwan as Japan was scaling back on its military budget and moving toward government by police instead of by gendarmes and army units.

Nadine Heé has argued that the sources of the Japanese flogging technique in Taiwan were domestic traditions and Qing precedents, not the British model. According to Heé, flogging advocates in Taiwan cast their position as a defense of Japanese tradition against Western pretensions to universalism, which had caused flogging to be abolished domestically in 1882. In any event, the practice was adopted in 1904, as a clearly Japanese practice in Taiwan. In the Korean case, judicial flogging straddled the periods of Joseon and Japanese rule with no clean break. Therefore, flogging could be plausibly constructed as a Korean custom.

The reason for the dearth of Taiwan images of death at the hands of the invading army or Government General firing squads may be technical. During the period 1895 to 1902, the most violent phase of Japanese colonial rule, reprographic and camera technology was insufficiently advanced to create portable, stable, and recombinable photographic images of Taiwanese in front of firing squads.70 As we have seen, it was only in September 1904 that Henry Muhlensteth took the first circulated photograph of a Korean execution. Thus, imagery of Japanese punishment meted out against Taiwanese, in contrast to its Joseon counterpart, does not appear in the copious photograph record of colonial rule in Taiwan that emerged in the post-1905 Japanese publishing industry.71

X. Mimetic Imperialism in Studies of Colonial Visual Culture

In his landmark study of the drawn-out process that led up to the annexation of Korea, Peter Duus concluded with reflections on the nature of Japanese imperialism. There he employed the term mimesis to capture Japan’s in-between position in the global arena of imperial competition.

As an object of gunboat diplomacy, an industrial “late developer," and a non-Western nation-state, Duus writes, Japan entered the imperialist club under unique circumstances. In essence, Japan “mimicked” the policies and rhetoric of the industrially advanced nations with which it sought parity, but had to do so with a smaller amount of capital to invest and a complicated relationship to the peoples it would colonize. Whereas Frenchmen or Americans had little trouble applying labels such as “savage” to Vietnamese or Filipinos (and policies appropriate to that conception), Japanese colonialists were compromised when it came to Koreans and Chinese subjects. As fellow East Asians who shared much in the way of literate, ritual, and material culture—as well as the experience of Western aggression—it was a fraught task to treat Taiwanese and Koreans as radically “Other.” Thus, many Japanese held out false hopes that their relative cultural/racial affinity would entail a more enlightened and benign form of imperial rule. These hopes were dashed, for the most part, because in essence colonial rule was a violent and unilateral undertaking. To add another source of frustration, Duus reminds us that Japan’s theater of operations was severely curtailed by the fact that Western powers could intervene directly, or issue warnings, to make certain annexations, occupations, or conquests moot.72

Focusing on the Japanese 1874 invasion of southern Taiwan, Robert Eskildsen adapted the model of mimetic imperialism to analyze Meiji-period Japanese visual culture. He argued that Japanese mass media deployed a globally circulated vision of racial hierarchy against the Paiwan, Indigenous peoples of Taiwan, to assert Japan’s own modernity and civilization. Wood-block print artists achieved this by visually accentuating the barbarity and savagery of Japan’s enemies and idealizing their countrymen as upright, dashing, brave, and well-coiffed professional soldiers. In this scenario, mimetic imperialism adopted elements of Western civilization for the purpose of warding off the West itself, which still loomed as a threat in the age of treaty ports and frequent wars of colonial conquest. In the Social Darwinist language of the 1870s, Japanese were classified as a “semi-civilized” Asiatic race, along with Chinese—a rung above the savage Africans but a peg below the civilized White races. Thus, Japanese artists painted Taiwan’s Indigenous peoples as dark, brutish, cowering enemies to increase the civilizational distance between Japanese and other Asians, as if to catapult them into the upper tier in the global racial hierarchy.73

The mimetic imperialism model has much to recommend itself for studies of Japanese imperialism and its associated cultural production. It would be short-sighted indeed to ignore the influence of the foreign diplomatic community and industrialized powers in the conceptualization and conduct of Japanese empire-building. As we have seen, Japanese official and commercial publications reproduced the denigrating photographs and rhetoric of Western missionary publications about Korea’s “cruel and primitive” Joseon-dynasty prisons, and for the purpose of promulgating the same message: it was a state that had outlived its usefulness.

One can also apply the mimetic model to understand the cruel caricatures that populate Usuda’s and Torigoe’s Korean Comics (1909). During the Russo-Japanese War, American, German, French, and British publishers flooded the world with racist caricatures of the Japanese, in postcards and newspaper cartoons. The imperial-mimesis model would predict, then, that Japan bolstered its civilizational credentials by doing the same to Koreans after robbing them of their sovereignty in 1905.

At the same time, if the mimetic model was generally predictive, one would expect Japanese image-makers and consumers to mimic its Western “betters” in relation to Taiwan in the area of corporal-punishment and execution photography. By 1904, cameras, reprographic techniques, and photo ops were all sufficiently developed in Taiwan for either agents of the Government General or commercial operators with government ties to produce photographs of Taiwanese subjects on the flogging board, in parallel with the well-circulated photographs of Koreans in the same position—but this did not happen.

This essay has shown that the mass-production of flogging and collaring photographs of Korean subjects was promoted as part of a broader offensive against Joseon-period and Yi dynasty institutions. Japanese mass-media photographs of colonial Taiwan rarely invoked the Qing or the scholar officials who did its bidding. In contrast, numerous post-1905 photos of Korea were of royal Yi family members, the palace grounds, and yangban officials. These photographs emphasized the demotion of the House of Yi that attended the dissolution of the Korean empire (DaeHan Jeguk) in 1910 by showing former emperor Sunjong, now merely a “king,” next to Japan’s crown prince (the future Taishō emperor), or by showing the young heir-apparent Prince Yi Un next to his Japanese tutor, Itō Hirobumi, or alone. Formerly imperial Korean (DaeHan Jeguk) structures, along with royal titles, were all tagged with the character “wang/ō王” to clearly mark that the Joseon was now subordinate to the Japanese tennō 天皇.

The copious photographs of retrograde Joseon courtrooms, collared prisoners, and flogged convicts were part of this “diminish Joseon complex.” I attribute its emergence to the tenacity of Yi revivalism, in the form of uibyeong (“righteous army”) resistance between 1905 and 1910. Michael Robinson has written:

As early as the mid-1890s, particularly after the assassination of Queen Min [1895], small, armed bands of guerrilla fighters emerged to harass the Japanese and other foreign enemies of the kingdom. Known as righteous armies . . . these groups were often organized by local literati, and their patriotism focused on supporting the monarch and the [Joseon] system. The movement grew rapidly after the announcement of the Protectorate Treaty [1905]. . . . Their pronouncements were very traditional: their goal was to protect the monarch, resist the Japanese, and restore independence. . . . The disbanding of the Korean army in 1907 further swelled the ranks of the uibyeong groups. . . . Most bands numbered in the hundreds, but some uibyeong were able to put several thousand together against the Japanese army. The largest encounter involved an army of 10,000. . . . The Righteous Army activity reached a peak in 1907 with Japanese estimates of nearly 70,000 irregulars challenging Japanese forces in 1500 clashes[,] . . . sporadic fighting continued for a year after the annexation. The meticulous Japanese military ultimately numbered Korean deaths in the conflicts at 17,690.74

Therefore, it was not the mimetic imperative to denigrate Koreans as “savages” to promote Japan as “civilized” that spawned the proliferation of photographs of Joseon-era corporal punishments, coded as “Korean customs,” but rather a more immediate task of delegitimizing a dynasty that threatened Japan’s empire.

In stark contrast, Qing revivalism in Taiwan did not pose a threat to Japan, because most potential Qing loyalist leaders had either removed to the mainland or by the late 1890s had made their peace with the new colonial government, long before the flogging ordinance was enacted, in 1904. Therefore, if we consider mass-market photographs of floggings and collared convicts as vehicles for anti-dynastic propaganda, it is not surprising that photographs of Taiwanese in the cangue or on the flogging board never gained traction in early-twentieth-century Japanese print culture.

It may also be the case that developments in the Qing dynasty contributed to the dearth of photographs of corporal punishment in Taiwan. In early 1905, a year after the flogging ordinance went into effect, the Qing dynasty abolished its most cruel corporal punishments. This reform was intended to disrupt the foreign sport of photographing decapitations and lingchi (death by a thousand cuts) and making the Qing look barbaric to the outside world.75 The well-circulated photographs of flogged Koreans, captioned as local fūzoku, were certainly staged with policemen and officials looking on.

This circumstance suggests that Japanese officials had the power to prevent their own empire from becoming the object of derision Hulbert and the editors of Korean Comics had made of Korea. We can surmise, though this requires further investigation, that photographs of corporal punishment were not countenanced by Japanese constables and judges in Taiwan for this reason. By late 1907, the Qing court received a draft legal code put together with the advice of Japanese jurists. Among its new provisions: the abolition of flogging and blows by a heavy stick.76

The author would like to thank Professor Kishi Toshihiko for his support during a sabbatical leave at Kyoto University and Professor Seo-Hyun Park for advice and translations with Korean-language sources.



Daniel Botsman, Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 201–29; Nadin Heé, “Japan’s Double Bind: ‘Civilised’ Punishment in Colonial Taiwan,” in Comparativ: Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung 19 (2009): 71–87; Wang Tai-sheng, Legal Reform in Taiwan under Japanese Colonial Rule, 1895–1945: The Reception of Western Law (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000); Lee Chulwoo, “Modernity, Legality, and Power in Korea under Japanese Rule,” in Shin Gi-Wook and Michael Edson Robinson, eds., Colonial Modernity in Korea (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2000); Yi Jong-min, “Nihon no shokuminchi shihai to chikei: Chōsen no jirei o chūshin ni,” in Chiiki shakai kara miru teikoku Nihon to shokuminchi, Matsuda Toshihiko and Jin Jung Won, eds. (Tokyo: Shibunkaku shuppan, 2013), 319–52; Umemori Naoki, “Hensō suru tōchi: nijūseiki shotō ni okeru Taiwan to Kankoku no keibatsu, chian kikō,” in Iwanami kōza “Teikoku” Nihon no gakuchi 1: “teikoku” hensei no keifu, Sakai Tetsuya, ed. (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 2006), 44–81.


Peter Duus, The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895–1910 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995, 424-434; and Robert Eskildsen, “Of Civilization and Savages: The Mimetic Imperialism of Japan’s 1874 Expedition to Taiwan,” in American Historical Review 107 no. 2 (2002): 388–418.


From 1684, Taiwan was governed by the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). It was ceded to Japan in order to end the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95).


Korea became a protectorate of Japan in November 1905, at the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War. Under a coerced arrangement known as the residency-general (tōkanfu), Korean emperors reigned but Japanese resident generals ruled the tottering Joseon/Chosŏn state (1392–1910). In 1910, Japan demoted the Yunghui emperor (Sunjong), the last in a long line of Yi (李) dynasts, to the rank of king (王) and established direct colonial rule under the Korea Government General (Chōsen sōtokufu).


Joseph Allen, “Colonial Itineraries,” in Japanese Taiwan: Colonial Rule and Its Contested Legacy, Andrew Morris, ed. (London and New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2015), 35.


In the prewar era “Chōsen,” or朝鮮, was what the Japanese called Korea.


Donald Keene, “The Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95 and Its Cultural Effects in Japan,” in Tradition and Modernization in Japanese Culture, Donald Shively, ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971), 121–75; Judith Fröhlich, “Pictures of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895,” in War in History 21 no. 2 (2014): 214–50; John Dower, “Throwing Off Asia II: Woodblock Prints of the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95),” in Visualizing Cultures (Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008). http://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/throwing_off_asia_02/toa_essay01.html


風俗, or “customs and manners.”


See Heejeong Sohn, “Gendering Modernity: Korean Women Seen through the Early Missionary Gaze (1880s–1910s), in Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review E-Journal 16 (2015), at https://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/archives, for a discussion of colonial-period photography and female head coverings (accessed March 26, 2016).


Usuda Zan’un and Torigoe Seishi, Chōsen manga, 144–46.


Todd A. Henry, “Assimilation’s Racializing Sensibilities: Colonized Koreans as Yobos and the ‘Yobo-ization’ of Expatriate Japanese,” in positions: east asia culture critique 21, vol. 1 (2013), 21–22.


David L. Howell, Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 6–7; 135–50.


Timothy Brook, Jérôme Bourgon, and Gregory Blue, Death by a Thousand Cuts (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 170–71.


Mason, Punishments of China, preface, n.p.


Duus, The Abacus and the Sword, 424–34; Eskildsen, “Of Civilization and Savages,” 388–418.


“Shin-koku keibatsu zu ni tsuite,” 3, vol. 1 (January 23, 1903), 78–79.


Mason, The Punishments of China, plate I.


In Taiwan, by the late 1880s, the split-bamboo (banzi), pictured in figures 16 and 20, became the instrument of choice, in place of the flog or the heavy stick. Mark A. Allee, Law and Local Society in Late Imperial China: Northern Taiwan in the Nineteenth Century (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994, 301.


Taiwan kanshū kiji 2, no. 8, 660.


See Allee, Law and Local Society in Late Imperial China, for details about the functioning of this court system.


Suzuki Munegen, 鈴木宗言 “Taiwan no kyū soshōhō,” in Taiwan kanshū kiji 1 no. 2 (February 20, 1901), 1–4.


Mason, Punishments of China, plate XIII.


“Kagō,” in Taiwan kanshū kiji 1, vol. 2 (February 20, 1901), 38.


Okuma Shigenobu and Marcus B. Huish, eds., Fifty Years of New Japan, vol. 1 (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1909), 298–307.


“Kagō,” 40.


Mukeiko (無刑子), “Zatsuroku: Rokushū saiban,” in Taiwan kanshū kiji 2, vol. 8 (August 23, 1902): 643–46.


Hulbert, The Passing of Korea, 62.


Anonymous, Nihon no Chōsen (Tokyo: Yūrakusha, 1911), 96–97.


William A. Grebst, I Korea: Minnen och studier fran “Morgonstillhetens land” (Göteborg: Västra Sverige, 1912), 271; Aason Gurebusuto, Kō En I, trans., Zangyaku no Chōsen (Tokyo: Hakuteisha, 1989).


Cho P’ung-yǒn, Sajin ǔro ponǔn Chosǒn sidae [Yi-Dynasty through Pictures] 1 (Seoul: Sǒmundang, 1996), 202; Yu Sŭng-hun 유승훈. Sajin yŏpsŏ ro ponŭn kŭndae p’unggyŏng [Scenes of Modern Korea Viewed through Postcards] 7 (Pusan Kwangyŏksi: Pusan Pangmulgwan, Sŏul-si: Minsogwŏn, 2009), 473–78.


Akikō Zentarō(秋好善太郎), ed., Nihon rekishi shashinchō kinko no kan, zohō shihan hakkō (Tokyo: Tōkōen, 1914), 186.


Ibid., 185.


Bank of Chosen, Pictorial Chosen, 137.


Takeuchi, Taiwan, 156–58.


Sun Joo Kim and Jungwon Kim, eds., Wrongful Deaths: Selected Inquest Records from Nineteenth-Century Korea (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014), 221.


Hulbert, Passing of Korea, 3–9.


Bank of Chosen, Pictorial Chosen and Manchuria, 137.


Hulbert, 3–9.


Heé, “Japan’s Double Bind.”


Brook, et al., Death, 43.


Mason, The Punishments of China, plate X.


The TKK places these implements in the Xinzhu City God Temple, but other texts in the TKK and an envelope containing these photographs (discovered in Japan in the 1990s) suggest a district court. It may be that the temple preserved the relics. See Nihon Jun'eki Taiwan Genjūmin kenkyūkai, ed., Inō Kanori shozō Taiwan Genjūmin shashinshū (Photographs of Taiwan Aborigines from the Inō Kanori Collections). (Taibei: Jun'eki Taiwan Genjūmin hakubutsukan, 1999), 231–35, for details.


Fujita Shintarō, Tokugawa bakufu keiji zufu (Tokyo: Kanbe Naokichi, 1893), 50, 52, 53, at http://kindai.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/787026, accessed March 25, 2016.




Kim, Wrongful Deaths, 221; 태형 (笞刑), Glossary of Korean Studies (Seongnam-si: The Academy of Korean Studies). http://glossary.aks.ac.kr/Default.aspx, accessed on March 24, 2016.


Nihon no Chōsen, 96–97.


Bank of Chosen, Pictorial Chosen, 138; Nishida Shigezō, Nihon meishō kyūseki sangyō shashinshū (Nagoya: Toyotaya shoten, 1918), n.p. This same photograph was also reproduced in Cho, vol. 2, 141, and in Yu, vol. 7, 475.


Foreign Affairs Section, Thriving Chosen, 7–8.


James L. Hevia, English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century China (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 1–3; 226–28; Brook, et al., Death, 22, 31.


Brook, 215, 216; Jérôme Bourgon has built a digital archive called Chinese Torture / Supplice Chinois:

approche iconographique, historique et littéraire d’une représentation exotique. The picture in figure 9 is reproduced at http://turandot.chineselegalculture.org/VisualSet.php?ID=85 (accessed March 19, 2016); a slightly different version, with explanatory text, is reproduced here. http://turandot.chineselegalculture.org/Bibliography.php?ID=219 (accessed March 19, 2016).


“Dai Shin keiritu keiritsu zu no hitotsu,” in Taiwan kanshū kiji 2, no. 3 (March 23, 1902): 198–99.


Gaji Maru, “Shikeishū,” in Taiwan kanshū kiji 1, no. 2 (February 20, 1901): 58–59.


Mason, Punishments of China, preface, n.p.


Choi In Jin, [Inubuse Masakazu (ed.)], trans. Kang Mi Hyun, Hong Seong Woon, Park Gi Ryung, Lee Kyung Uhn, and Kim Keun Ae, Kankoku shashin shi 1631–1945 (Tokyo: Seikyusha, 2015), 566–75. Thank you, Professor Hyung Il Pai, for alerting me to Choi’s book and Muhlensteth’s existence.


Anonymous, “Tetsudō hōgaisha no jūsatsu,” in Tokyo Asahi Shinbun, October 1, 1904, 3. Accessed on Kikuzō II Visual (Tokyo: Asahi shinbunsha).


Anonymous, Kankoku shashinchō (Tokyo: Hakubunkan, 1905), n.p.


Also see: Choi In Jin, Kankoku shashin, 572.


Kim Yongon, Kankoku kingendaishi jiten, 185.


Byeon Ji-seop卞志燮, A Short History of the Independence Movement in Kyongnam (Busan: Sankyō insatsusha, 1966), 15.


Ko Jae-wook, ed., Collection of Essays to Commemorate the March 1st Movement (Seoul: Tōa Nippōsha, 1969), n.p.


Shin Gisu (辛基秀), ed., Eizō ga kataru “Nikkan heigō” shi (Tokyo: Rōdō keizaisha, 1987), 56.


Asahi shinbunsha, ed. Bessatsu Ichi-oku nin no Shōwa-shi: Nihon shokuminchi shi 1 Chōsen (Tokyo: Asahi shinbunsha, 1988), 21.


Ōta Masahide, Shashin kiroku: Ningen ga ningen de nakunaru toki Genocide (Naha: Okinawa Taimuzu, 1991), 120–21.


Kōdansha, ed., 1919 Taishō 8-nen: Nichi roku 20 seiki (September 29, 1998), 3.


Botsman, Punishment and Power, 212; Heé, “Japan’s Double Bind,” 78; Wang, Legal Reform, 54, 123.


Lee, “Modernity,” 199; Botsman, 212.


In 1920, Taiwan’s population was 3,655,000 and Korea’s was 17 million; Dennis L. McNamara, “Comparative Colonial Response: Korea and Taiwan,” in Korean Studies, 10 (1986): 55.


Edward I. Chen, “Gotō Shimpei, Japan’s Colonial Administrator in Taiwan: A Critical Reexamination,” in American Asian Review 13, no. 1 (1995): 39–40.


In A New Illustrated History of Taiwan (Taipei: Southern Materials Center, 2015), 156, 161, Chao Wan-yao writes that “leaders from the gentry, such as Ch’iu Feng-chia, Lin Ch’ao-tung, and Lin Wei-yüan . . . left the country and abandoned Taiwan” after the May 1895 declaration of a republic. By October 19, 1895, one of Taiwan’s most stalwart holdouts, General Liu Yung-fu, removed to Amoy. The Qing governor of Taiwan and titular head of the Taiwan Republic, T’ang Ching-sung, left for the mainland, with his chief ministers, a week after Japanese troops arrived, on May 29, 1895. Harry J. Lamley, “The 1895 Taiwan Republic: A Significant Episode in Modern Chinese History,” in the Journal of Asian Studies, 27, no. 4 (August 1968): 739. Dennis L. McNamara has also identified the strong literati-leadership component of Korean resistance as a distinguishing feature of Korean resistance to Japan regarding Taiwan (“Comparative Colonial Response,” 59, 63).


For a detailed history of reprographic capabilities in relation to the Sino- and Russo-Japanese wars, see Inoue Yūko, Nisshin, Nichiro sensō to shashin hōdō (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 2012), 1–26.


An extremely blurry, grainy, and barely legible photograph of a Taiwanese man undergoing a lashing by a uniformed police officer has been reprinted in a recent 2-28 Museum compendium of highlights in Taiwan resistance movements against colonial rule. It was supplied by Zhuang Yuan-ming, whose extensive collection of visual materials has filled many volumes of illustrated books about Taiwan’s colonial history. My assumption is that if the 2-28 Museum in Taipei, working with Zhuang Yuan-ming, can produce just this one example of corporal punishment, such pictures must be almost nonexistent. Zhuang Yuan-ming, et al., eds., Lièrì xià de wénhuà dòu hún-Táiwān fǎn zhímín yùndòng yǔ wénhuà juéxǐng tè zhǎn烈日下的文化鬥魂-台灣反殖民運動與文化覺醒特展 (Taipei: Taipei 2-28 Memorial Museum, 2005), 15.


Duus, The Abacus and the Sword, 424–34.


Robert Eskildsen, “Of Civilization and Savages: The Mimetic Imperialism of Japan’s 1874 Expedition to Taiwan,” in American Historical Review 107, no. 2 (2002): 388–418.


Michael E. Robinson, Korea’s Twentieth-Century Odyssey: A Short History (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007), 34–35.


Brook et al., Death, 28.


Xu Xiaoqun, Trial of Modernity: Judicial Reform in Early Twentieth-Century China, 1901–1937 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008), 35–36.

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