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For Empire or Dominion? Prestige or Adventure? The Men of the Canadian Legation in Tokyo, 1929-1933


For Empire or Dominion? Prestige or Adventure? The Men of the Canadian Legation in Tokyo, 1929-1933

Butters, Jason (2016) For Empire or Dominion? Prestige or Adventure? The Men of the Canadian Legation in Tokyo, 1929-1933. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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In May 1929, the Canadian Department of External Affairs (DEA) formalized diplomatic ties with Japan by opening its Tokyo legation. Although the third of its kind, Canada's Tokyo legation initiated and managed bi-lateral relations with a degree of autonomy unparalleled by those in Washington and Paris. Within this newfound autonomous space was room for each of Canada's diplomats to negotiate, internalize, and perform their roles differently. This thesis investigates how and why First Secretary Hugh Keenleyside, Minister Herbert Marler, and Second Secretary Kenneth Kirkwood – the vanguards of Canadian national self-representation in the Pacific – engaged and employed that personal and national autonomy, studying their reactions to and participation in transnational political and cultural exchanges at the imperial Japanese capital. Their dissimilar experiences meanwhile act to demonstrate the complexities of those exchanges and highlight the various motives and opinions prevalent amongst Canada's late-interwar social political, and intellectual elite.
By adopting the perspectives of the individual as its primary subject of analysis, this study contributes to an extant literature that has regularly portrayed the DEA and its foreign offices as unitary practitioners of a singular ideology or policy. Furthermore, the individual voices of Canada's first ranking official in the Japanese capital are recovered from the silencing effect of top-down, national-political analyses that have so dominated the field. Finally, it eschews teleological readings of the period preoccupied with Europe, a North Atlantic Triangle, and the 'road to war' narrative, thus providing a new view of an understudied aspect of Canadian international history.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Butters, Jason
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Date:September 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Gossage, Peter
Keywords:Canada, Japan, interwar, imperial, empire, commonwealth, dominion, diplomacy, autonomy, sovereignty, gender, privilege, masculinity, diplomatic history, social history, cultural history, biography, prosopography, patrician, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Tokyo.
ID Code:982073
Deposited On:07 Jun 2017 17:22
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54


Archival Sources

Japan Center for Asian Historical Records
Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Library and Archives Canada
Department of External Affairs fonds, RG 25 D 1.
Herbert Meredith Marler fonds, MG 35, E 528.
Hugh L. Keenleyside fonds, MG 31, E 102.
Kenneth Porter Kirkwood fonds, MG 27, III E3.
Lester B. Pearson fonds, MG 26, N.

McMaster University Archives
Klaus H. Pringsheim fonds, RC0039.

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
John W. Dafoe Family fonds, MSS3, PC3, TC 89.


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