This paper examines some sociocultural implications of Palauan tourism through the lens of Japanese tourists. In 1997, Palau had some seventy thousand international visitors, of whom more than twenty thousand were Japanese, second only to the Taiwanese, whose visits have been increasing rapidly in recent years. After discussing the general characteristics of tourism in Palau, I investigate the Japanese way of encountering Palau, not only through contemporary tourism, but also in its historical context. Tracing the history of Japanese colonial expansion to the South, the paper pays special attention to the Japanese type of orientalism, in which Japan needed to orientalize the South as a backward and undeveloped place in order to de-orientalize Japan as an advanced and modernized country. The paper also argues that this Japanese orientalism is at work in contemporary postcolonial Pacific tourism. Analyzing the interregional interaction of Japan and Palau in this way, I explore how the Pacific is situated in the larger modern world system.
The Contemporary Pacific – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jul 1, 2000