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Communications Under the SeasThe Evolving Cable Network and Its Implications$
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Bernard Finn and Daqing Yang

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012867

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012867.001.0001

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Submarine Cables and the Two Japanese Empires

Submarine Cables and the Two Japanese Empires

(p.227) 11 Submarine Cables and the Two Japanese Empires
Communications Under the Seas

Daqing Yang

The MIT Press

This chapter surveys the history of submarine cables in the context of Japan. The telegraph first came to Japan after the Tokugawa shogunate in response to pressure from the West to set up diplomatic representation and settlement in its ports. In 1870, during the young Meiji government, the Great Northern Telegraph Company constructed submarine cables linking Nagasaki with other sites such as Shanghai and Vladivostok. The chapter then examines the presence of submarine cables during Japan’s colonial empire. After the Shimonoseki Treaty, for example, telegraph facilities and navigation beacons were established in the new colony. The influence of the Great Northern, however, hampered Japan’s aspiration for a broader telegraph network. According to Daniel Headrick, the first submarine telegraphic cables first functioned as expansion technology for Meiji Japan, and their return to submarine cables fits a pattern of modern imperialism.

Keywords:   telegraph network, Tokugawa shogunate, Great Northern, submarine cables, Daniel Headrick, submarine telegraphic cables, Shimonoseki Treaty

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