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Of World History and Great Men: A Japanese Village and its Worlds

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Chapter Summary

The microhistorical approach of this chapter attempts to reveal a world in the sandy grounds of Murotsu village elementary school. The extraordinary details of transnational village life as revealed by the surviving Murotsu archives enable us to pose wider historical and historiographical questions about our study of early 20th century Japan than might at first sight be supposed by a study of "local" history. It suggests that the plan to construct a new assembly hall, and to target villagers living on the peninsula as potential donors, constituted a much more concrete imagination of Korea in the local bureaucratic consciousness than abstract questions of annexation and sovereignty. Although Europe stumbled into a world war in 1914, the "wider world" for many Murotsu villagers in that year would have been symbolized more by plans to build an America-Hawai'i Hall in the elementary school grounds than by photographs of an assassination in Sarajevo.

Keywords: America-Hawai'i Hall; Japan; Korea; Murotsu village



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