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Japan: colonization and settlement

Migration A–Z


  1. Kate E. Taylor

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm319

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Taylor, K. E. 2013. Japan: colonization and settlement. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


As a collection of islands close to the regions that would eventually become modern-day China and Korea, Japan in its early form was heavily indebted to the influences of those traveling across Asia. It is generally considered that modern Japanese culture began with the mingling of the Jōmon civilization with the arrival of Korean and Chinese refugees from the aggression taking place during the Qin and Han dynasties (221 bce–9 ce). In 250 bce the Yamato state unified Japan and involved itself extensively in the activities of Korea and China; there was constant cross-immigration and settlement between these areas. This settlement and interaction, however, was drastically reduced around the time of the Tang dynasty in China, which saw Japan retreat from international affairs. After 918 ce the nation had little international contact, concentrating instead on internal civil wars. From very early on Japanese colonization and settlement was thus more internal than external. Various tribes conquered and settled land from their neighbors until the Minamoto dynasty emerged triumphant at the end of the 12th century.


  • empire;
  • imperialism;
  • borders;
  • ethnocentrism;
  • farming;
  • labor supply;
  • geopolitics;
  • poverty