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This study explores the development of women’s physical education (PE) in Taiwanese schools during the Japanese colonial period. It seeks to understand how Japanese colonizers cultivated and shaped Taiwanese women’s bodies through PE in schools. First, Japanese colonizers faced the challenge of dismantling footbinding customs when implementing women’s PE and body engineering policies. However, when women were liberated from footbinding and the concept of natural feet emerged among the population, women’s PE came out of the shadow of footbinding. Second, as the natural feet generation arose, Taiwanese women started participating in physical activities and competitive sports while still abiding by the canons of the “Japanese woman.” Third, during the Pacific War, improving one’s physique and developing PE policies became part of a national defense strategy and the main focus in the process of producing imperial citizens. The body was given different meanings, yet its control and standardization were omnipresent under colonial governance.
Chin is with the Department of Physical Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Lee is with the Department of Physical Education, National Taichung University of Education, Taichung, Taiwan. Lee (email@example.com) is corresponding author.