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THE TRANSITION OF FOREIGN RESIDENTS OF HOLIDAY HOMES IN KARUIZAWA AND ITS RELATIONSHIPS TO THE COMMUNITY OF EVACUEES DURING THE WAR

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  • 戦争中の軽井沢の外国人別荘の変遷とコミュニティとの関係
  • センソウ チュウ ノ カルイザワ ノ ガイコクジン ベッソウ ノ ヘンセン ト コミュニティ ト ノ カンケイ

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Abstract

<p> In 1887, Karuizawa was developed by British and American missionaries who were working in Japan, as a place for forming friendships extending beyond Protestant beliefs. In the prewar period, around 1930, Karuizawa became the most popular summer resort in Japan thanks to its cool and pleasant climate. Around that time, many Japanese noblemen and celebrities also built holiday homes there; however, the most highly prized locations had already been bought by foreign missionaries. This made Karuizawa an exotic place that accommodated many foreign nationals during the summer. This study examines the foreign residents living in holiday homes during wartime in Karuizawa and reveals that, for a short period of time, the colony of foreign residents functioned as a meaningful community. The following are summaries of each section:</p><p> </p><p> The first section includes the background and objectives of the study and a review of previous studies.</p><p> </p><p> The second section compares the ownership of the holiday homes owned by foreign nationals before and after the war to help understand the changes that occurred and the holiday home area. Because of the war, the original owners were replaced with new ones. Most prewar holiday homes had a balcony on the first floor that made it easier to meet other residents. We consider that this open structure helped build a community.</p><p> </p><p> The third section describes changes as regards the residents. We evaluated the approximate number of foreign residents and revealed that prewar residents were mostly British or American missionaries; in contrast, postwar residents were generally evacuees from neutral countries. Differences between the living styles of Westerners and Japanese meant that the new residents tended again to be Westerners. The number of foreign nationals living in Karuizawa peaked in the summer. Their oral histories suggest that a community was established that helped them to survive.</p><p> </p><p> The fourth section describes diplomatic cables with the message “Immunité (do not bomb) Karuizawa,” sent from the Swiss Legation in Japan by the Swiss Minister, Camille Gorgé. Although he described the community as being a colony of Swiss in cables to the United States asking Karuizawa to be spared, he highly valued the community, which comprised many nationalities including Germans. This means that although he did not know Karuizawa well, he thought that its status should be maintained.</p><p> </p><p> The fifth section summarizes the results of the first to fourth sections.</p><p> </p><p> In addition, the final years of the war saw various events in Karuizawa, including the preparation of the Imperial Villa (Omiya Palace) as a place of evacuation for the Empress Dowager Teimei, and a visit by Foreign Minister Togo to former Prime Minister Konoe. The above reveal Karuizawa to be a very fascinating place.</p>

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