Making of a Japanese Community in Prewar Period (1841–1941)

  • Benjamin Wai-ming Ng


The Japanese in prewar Hong Kong were a medium-sized but fast-growing, united, and influential foreign community. They played an important role in promoting Sino-Japanese and Anglo-Japanese political, economic, and cultural interaction. Yet Hong Kong people had mixed feelings toward the Japanese in this period. Japanese investment in Hong Kong and Japan–Hong Kong bilateral trade strengthened Hong Kong’s position as a leading trading port in Asia as well as a business and industrial base in South China. The Japanese also introduced a new cultural diversity to Hong Kong. However, due to anti-Japanese sentiments, many Hong Kong people have chosen to ignore or deny the Japanese legacy in Hong Kong, seeing the involvement of the Japanese in Hong Kong’s history solely as a succession of imperialistic acts. There have been almost no studies in English on the Japanese in prewar Hong Kong. 1 Using Japanese primary sources as the main references, this chapter aims to provide a balanced historical overview of the Japanese community in prewar Hong Kong, focusing on its political and economic activities and its impact on Hong Kong’s politics, its economy, and its society.


Late Nineteenth Century Bilateral Trade Japanese Government Japanese Firm Japanese Product 
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© Cindy Yik-yi Chu 2005

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  • Benjamin Wai-ming Ng

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