Tropics of Savagery: The Culture of Japanese Empire in Comparative Frame. Tropics of Savagery is a groundbreaking study of the figures and tropes of "savagery" in Japanese colonial culture. Through a rigorous analysis of literary works, ethnographic studies, and a variety of other discourses, the author demonstrates how imperial Japan constructed its own identity in relation both to the West and to the people it colonised. By examining the representations of Taiwanese aborigines and indigenous Micronesians in the works of prominent writers, he shows that the trope of the savage underwent several metamorphoses over the course of Japan's colonial period: violent headhunter to the subjugated, ethnographic other to be studied, happy primitive to be exoticised, and hybrid colonial subject to be assimilated. Similarly, he argues that Japanese writers defined themselves in relation to these "savages": as conquerors bringing civilisation to backward others, as ethnographers studying these same others, as nostalgic romanticists in flight from civilisation, and as colonial officials promoting assimilation policies.
Tropics of Savagery
AuthorsTierney, Robert Thomas
PublisherUniversity of California Press