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The Redeployment and Legalization Process of Educational Funds During the Early Japanese Colonial Era
After taking control of Taiwan, Japan began investigating and organizing the public assets of local society, with educational funds being one important type. This study examines the redeployment and legalization process of educational funds and shows how during this process the Japanese government took advantage of the power of the state to disguise as "modern corporations" the assets that should have been used for public purposes, and re-appropriate them for national use. The origin of the educational funds can be traced back to the Qing dynasty. Most people felt that these funds, especially those belonging to the Shu-Yuan, should belong to society. Whether they were used to run schools or to provide scholars with book or test expenses, both local officials and the people agreed that educational funds should be directed toward educational purposes. After the Japanese took over, they began investigating these funds, which had been being put toward a variety of purposes. They began land surveys and required that all parcels of land belonging to the educational funds were to be reorganized and registered. As legal modernization was carried out, government interference increased, and in 1906 the educational fund corporation was founded. This corporation appeared to maintain the principle of reserving funds for public use, as had been done since the Qing dynasty, but in fact it transferred control of the funds to the government. Although in principle the corporation continued to prioritize education in its appropriation of funds, it was no longer independent and therefore operation was for the convenience and benefit of the government. The result of this systematization was to allow the government a greater degree of control over an asset which had originally been agreed to be put toward a specific use by the society.
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