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Morality and Responsibility of RulersEuropean and Chinese Origins of a Rule of Law as Justice for World Order$
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Anthony Carty and Janne Nijman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670055

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199670055.001.0001

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The Crisis of the Ryukyus (1877–82)

The Crisis of the Ryukyus (1877–82)

Confucian World Order Challenged and Defeated by Western/Japanese Imperial International Law

Chapter:
(p.360) 16 The Crisis of the Ryukyus (1877–82)
Source:
Morality and Responsibility of Rulers
Author(s):

Patrick Sze-lok Leung

Anthony Carty

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199670055.003.0017

Okinawa is now considered as Japanese territory, without challenge from most world powers. However, this is debatable from a historical viewpoint. The Ryukyu Kingdom which dominated the islands was integrated into Japan in 1879. The transformation is seen by Wang Hui as a process of modernization. This chapter argues the issue from an international law perspective. It shows that Ryukyu was an independent State as demonstrated by the 1854 Ryukyu–US Treaty, although it sent regular tributes to China. The Japanese integration by coercion is not justifiable. The people of Ryukyu were willing to continue being a tributary State rather than part of Japan. Britain, as the greatest colonial power, did not object. China and the US attempted to intervene in this affair, but no treaty has so far been concluded. Therefore, the status of Ryukyu/Okinawa remains unresolved and may need to be revisited, while putting the history context into consideration.

Keywords:   Ryukyu autonomy under Tributary System, nature of Confucian world order according to Ernest Satow, 1854 Ryukyu US Treaty, Mathew Perry, Gustavee Boissonade, Japanese transformation from feudal to Western-style State

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