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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

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Start date : 
September, 2017
Thesis Topic: 
Rethinking Defeat: Japan, Chiang Kai-shek and the 'White Group' in Taiwan, 1949-1969
Research Summary: 
Ko-Hang’s research analyses the history of the ‘White Group’ – Chiang Kai-shek’s secret Japanese military advisory group consisting of former imperial Japanese officers – as part of what might be loosely termed two consecutive waves of militarisation which shaped Taiwan’s modern trajectory. First, as part of Japan’s mobilisation of its militarised domains in the late-1930s and early 1940s; and second, as part of the Nationalist government’s Total Defence Mobilisation system after 1949. Ko-Hang’s concerns are twofold: first, the impact (or stickiness) of the Japanese imperial military ideas on the development of post-1949 Republic of China military culture and ethos; and second, how was the overlay of Imperial Japanese Army culture forged on the drill grounds of Sagamihara and the battlefields of China in the 1930s became ingrained in aspects of Taiwanese politics, economy, society, and culture? Put simply, the aim of this work is to trace the genealogy and impact of the ‘White Group’ over time and to argue for its centrality to the Nationalist nation-building and developmental state forged in Taiwan after 1949.