The Dai Nippon War In Manchuria And whole China History Collections

 

The Driwan’s  Cybermuseum

                    

(Museum Duniamaya Dr Iwan)

                    Please Enter

                   

              DMC SHOWROOM

(Driwan Dai Nippon Cybermuseum)

Showroom :

The Driwan Dai Nippon War’s book

(Buku Karangan Dr Iwan “Perang Dai Nippon)

 

Frame One:

Introductions

1.I have the complete collection of postal and ocument history during Dai Nippon Occupations Java Island 1942-1945, chronology day per day from the Capitulation day on March,8th.1945 to August,17th,1945(2605) ,also until The Japanese Army back Home to their homeland Dec.1945 but the Dai nippon revenue still used by Republic Indonesai until 1947.

2. Now I only add the 1942(2602) Collections, and if the collectors want the look the complete collections ,not only from Java island  but also from sumatra Island, please subscribe as the blog premium member via comment,and we will contack you via your airmail. We will help you to arranged the very rare and amizing collections of Dai Nippon Occupations Indonesia postal and document special for you.

3.I had add in my block the articles odf Dai nippon war from all east asia countries, many collectors and friend asking me to edited  that all information in one book, and now I have finish that amizing book.

4.Not many Historic Pictures durting this period, if we found always in bad condition and black  _white  as the book illustrations, I hope someday the best colour pictures will exist to add in the book.

5.This book is the part of the Book :”THE DAI NIPPON WAR”

6. My Collections still need more info and corrections from the collectors of all over the world,thanks for your partcipatnt to make this collections more complete.

Jakarta, Mei 2012

Greatings From

Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA

Perkenalan
1.Saya  memiliki koleksi lengkap sejarah pos dan dokumen serta gambar  selama Dai Nippon Menduduki Pulau Jawa  1942-1945  berupa kronologi hari per hari dari hari kapitulasi pada Maret, 8th.1945 sampai Agustus, 17, 1945 (2605), juga sampai Jepang Tentara kembali ketanah airnya , sampai untuk Dec.1945 Tentara Dai nippon masih memiliki kekuasaan yang dberikan oleh Sekutu sehingga prangko dan meterainya masih digunakan oleh Republik Indonesai hingga 1947.

2. Sekarang aku hanya menambahkan 1942 (2602) Koleksi, dan jika kolektor ingin terlihat koleksi lengkap, tidak hanya dari pulau Jawa tetapi juga dari Pulau sumatra, silakan berlangganan sebagai anggota premium blog melalui komentar, dan kami akan contack Anda melalui Anda pos udara. Kami akan membantu Anda untuk mengatur koleksi sangat langka dan amizing Dai Nippon Pekerjaan Indonesia pos dan dokumen khusus untuk Anda.

3.saya  telah menambahkan di blok saya, artikel perang Dai nippon dari seluruh negara asia timur, banyak kolektor dan teman meminta saya untuk mengedit  seluruh informasi tersebut dalam sebuah  buku, dan sekarang saya sudah menyelesaikan BUKU yang menarik ini.
4.Gambar  sejarah selama  periode ini,  kami ditemukan selalu dalam kondisi buruk dan  hitam putih dari  ilustrasi buku, saya berharap suatu hari nanti gambar warna terbaik akan ada untuk menambahkan dalam buku ini.
5.Tulisan ini  adalah bagian dari buku karangan saya : ” PERANG DAI NIPPON (THE DAI NIPPON  WAR)”
6. Koleksi saya masih perlu info dan koreksi dari kolektor di seluruh dunia, terima kasih atas partisipasit Anda untuk membuat koleksi ini lebih lengkap.7. terima kasih kepada berbagai pihak yang telah membantu sya sehingga buku ini dapat terwijud, maaf namanya tidak saya tampilkan satu persatu.

Jakarta, Mei 2012

Salam  Dari

Dr Iwan Suwandy

 
_________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Table Of Content

Part One:

The Dai Nippon war In Indonesia

1.Chapter One :

The dai nippon war In Indonesia 1942. 

2.Chapter Two:The Dai Nippon War In Indonesia 1945

Part Two.:

The Dai Nippon War In Korea

Part Three:

The Dai Nippon war In China

 Part Four :

The Dai Nippon War In Malaya Archiphelago ,Malayan Borneo and Singapore,also Phillipine

In Malaya the Japanese overwhelmed a Commonwealth army composed of British, Indian, Australian and Malay forces. The Japanese were quickly able to advance down the Malayan peninsula, forcing the Commonwealth forces to retreat towards Singapore. The British lacked aircover and tanks; the Japanese had total air superiority. The sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse on December 10, 1941 led to the east coast of Malaya being exposed to Japanese landings and the elimination of British naval power in the area. By the end of January 1942, the last Allied forces crossed the strait of Johore and into Singapore. Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese on Christmas Day.

In the Philippines, the Japanese pushed the combined Filipino-American force towards the Bataan peninsula and later the island of Corregidor. By January 1942, General Douglas MacArthur and President Manuel L. Quezon were forced to flee in the face of Japanese advance. This marked among one of the worst defeats suffered by the Americans, leaving over 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war in the custody of the Japanese.

On February 15, 1942, Singapore, due to the overwhelming superiority of Japanese forces and encirclement tactics, fell to the Japanese, causing the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. An estimated 80,000 Indian, Australian and British troops were taken as prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken in the Japanese invasion of Malaya (modern day Malaysia). Many were later used as forced labour constructing the Burma Railway, the site of the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai.

During 1943 and 1944, Allied forces, backed by the industrial might and vast raw material resources of the United States, advanced steadily towards Japan. The Sixth United States Army, led by General MacArthur, landed on Leyte on 19 October 1944. In the subsequent months, during the Philippines Campaign (1944–45), the combined United States and the Philippine Commonwealth troops, together with the recognized guerrilla units, liberated much of the Philippines.

Dai nippon War Part Three.

“The Dai nippon War In China”

Prolog

DAI NIPPON WAR IN CHINA

(3)1932
(a)january 1932
The Japanese seized the Northeastren China Province in 1932.In manchuria a violent tension had arisen in shanghai between dai Nippon and chinese, a tension which led the landing of Dai Nippon Marines on January 28th 1932 for what was expected to be a rapid and simple action-the dispersal of the Chinese defensive forces.Mao Comunist local pst office issued the thirs stamps nominal 4 cent design Communist emblem in the star.


(b) The Japanese stamps used at Daeren. manchuria 1932.
(c)The vintage picture photo from vintage dutch enciclopedia, Emperor Puyi (the young man with jacket) with the Dai Nippon soldier and the Manchuira government official(P)


(d)Januaty 1932
ROC soldier moving to the front after Dai Nippon invasion of Shanghai in January 28th,1932.
(e) The Vintage picture photo book illustration .Profile of Araki Sadao, Dai Nippon General and menistry of war of prime menistry Inoekai (Dec 1931-Jan 1934). He created the Bloody military attack during China-japan conflict, Occupied Manchuria, Shanghai and province Jehol (P)
 

(f) The vintage Picture Photo book illustration, Effect of Bomb in Hongkew,Shanghai.and A chinese soldier examining a comarade who has been killed by a bomb at Taitsang outside Shanghai , and Japanese soldiers during street-fighting in shanghai (P)
(g)May 1932
May 1st, Mao communist Local postoffice issue eight worker day stamps, three communist flag and glbe,two soldier, two communiat flag and one the communist soldiers in war.
(h)The vintage picture photo book illustration, A picture taken on August,14th 1937 showing the immense crowds on Garden Bridge and the bund to watch the first air attack on Idzumo.
(h)The Vintage color Picture Postcard of Honkew Market Shanghai and Race Course Shanghai.
(i) ROC Post office issued the Martyr stamps, printing between 1932-1934.
nominal 1/2,1,21/2,3,8,10,13,17,10,20,30,40 and 50 cent.
also issued Nrthwest Scientific expedition cmmemrative stamps nominal 1,4. 5 and 10 cent
and the thir issue airmail Stamps fligt on greatwall nominal 15c,25,30,45,50,60,90 c and $ 1.-,2.- ,5.- .
(j) March 1932
The vintage picture photo from magazine illustration in March,5th 1932. The Chinese Artillerist training to used Granat at the Chinese-Japanese fornt (P)
Not until very cnsiderable reinforcements had been brought from Dai Nippon did the Nineteenth Army retire in good order on Marchd 2nd, but by then the district of Chapei, where fighting had taken place, wasno more than a heaps of ruins and it is estimated that the material damage in this thickly populated quater amounted to 350 million shanghai dollars.
(k) May 1932
May 1st 1932, Mao Communist local post office issued two types stamps, Military stamps eight nominal and
worker day stamps two nominal 1 and 2 cents.
2. The Chiang New life Movement (1933-1937)

(1)1933
(a)The Mao Communist mounted an uprising in Fukien provcince 1933
and Chiang issued the strategy against Mao in 1933.
(b) January 1933
Fragment cover used Dr Sun type I double circle 2x 1cent and Junk 2x 4 cent (rate 10 cent) CDS Shanghai 18.1933.
January 1933,Mao Communist Local Post office issued red Flower stamp
(c)In 1933 Dai Nippon Military seizure Jehol and invasion of eastren Hopei ( DN issued overprint Hupei in chines langguage on Dr Sun stamps)
(d)February 1933
In February,19th.1933.Chiang launching the “New Life Movement” at nanchang in an effort to rekindle the chinese moral sense and reinfrce determination to resist foreign aggression and ideology
The Kuomintang has developed more and more into an upperclass party. It is not likely in the beginning the Father of the revolution, Dr Sun ,foresaw any such tendency. But sun merried one of the exceptionnally gifted daughters of the Soong dynasty, one of the richerest families in China, and Chiang chose for his consort the most energic of these ssiters, while Dr H.H.Kung, the present Prime menister of China, merrierd a third of the sisterss , and the brothers Soong, particulary T.V.Shoong have acquired a far reching influence in State affairs.
Chiang asked Dr Sun ‘s mother in law and Dr Sun’s wife brothers , to marry to Dr Sun’s wife sister.
All the family of Dr Sun’s mother in law accepted to Chiang prefered with one condition, Chiang must went home t the village fr asking permisiions from his family and divorce his first wive. chiang sent his first wife to USA and never met her again.
After that Chiang merried the Dr sun’s wife sister , his second wife then became the ROC first lady and she have gave Chiang many support.
(d) the rare Cinderella stamp commemorate one years Tuberculosis campaign in China. desig TB control emblem and the sun rays with the TB man.
(e) In the autumn of 1933 a revolt broke out in Fukien,which, however, was quickly crushed.
(f) In April 1933,Chiang launched his fourth campaign against, the communist armies in Kiangsi. In the course of the first engagement two f Chiang’s divisions were disarmed. After Chiang’s best division, the eleventh had been destroyed, the war was ended.
(g) October 1933
Used fragment cover Dr Sun double circle stamp 3x 25 cent and Martyr 2×10 cent CDS Shanghai 14.10.33.(PH)
(h) ROC issued Tan Yen Kai commemorative stamps.nominal 2,5,25 cent and $1.-
(1) Hupeh provincial bank issued the Pagoda Banknote 1 Yuan,10 Yuan and 100 Yuan.

(2)1934
(a)Fragment used block five Dr Sun stamps ttype II single circle 5 cent CDS Shanghai 9.5.1934 (rate 25 cents to Indonesia)
(b) From this year until 1936 eastren hopei entirely lawless conditions prevailed, with armed smuggling which cause the Chinese government a loss in revenue of two million dollars a week.(J.G.Anderson,1939)
(c) October 1934
The red generals now realized that their only chance of escape was to cut their way out and retire to more sheltered region. Quite unexpectedly they fell upon the blockading forts in Quangtung and Hunan in October 1934 and tok them bystorm, till the way lay open t the suth and west. Then began the Red armies long and famous March to the north-west thrugh Kiangsi,Hunan,Kueichw,Yunnan,Szechuan and eastren Tibet into Sensi and Kansu which became their new home. it was a strategic retreat, or ought we rather to call it astrategic advance-agains Dai Nippon; since the Reds have for years detested the civil war and dream of meeting the aggresor in the north ? This migration over adistance of more than six thousand miles, including several of the highest mountains of Asia and some of its greatest rivers is an aimost inconceivable feat of strength, the more so as it was attended by constant engagements with a far superirenemy. Altogether the march lasted almost exactly a year, and of its three hundred and sixty-eight days only one hundred were rest days,often disturbed by serious fighting, and in the two hundred and sixty-eight marching days the phenomenal average rate of twenty-three and a half miles a day reached, in great part on unmade mountain tracks! It is true that of ninety thousand who started from kiangsi only twenty thousand reached thei new home in Shensi; but their spirit was unbroken, as is shown by the succeeding great events,which contributed to bring about the present crisis between China and dai nippon.
Chiang never succeeded in completely defeating the red armies, although in the course of fve great campaign he mobilized all his available forces to this end.
The constanttly repeat assention by Dai Nippon that they are waging war against Chiang in order to extirpate Bolshecism in China is one of the most ludicrus f the propaganda lies by which world pinin is being misled at the present time. The truth is that during the great work of reorgani-zation ofthe last ten years Chiang has been forced t live between the devil and the deep sea. n the ther hand he had the cntinual intriguing f the great generals, besides the Reds, who shot up like a social epidemic where ne least expevted them; on the other the never-resting aggressin of the Dai Nippn. If during these years of recionstraction Dai Nippon had left the Chinese in piece to work ut their wn salvation.
the Red agitation would certainly have been in process of liquidation long ago in the only really effective way, namely by an agrarian reform, initiated from above but going to the bottom of the question,with the object of providing the agricultural Labourer with Land and making his hard life secure. Chiang himself comes of peasant stock and knows full well whre the shoe piinches.
(d) In the autumn of 1934 there began for Chiang and his energic consort new, colourful and adventuruous phase of their life.Their great flying tours in the interior of China to parts of the country which to them were comparatively unknown.

(3)1935
(a)The Vintage Picture Photo ” The first Mass Wedding in Shanghai 1935. A young couple could be merried for 23 shilling, wedding dinner included. (vintage book illustration)
(b) January 1935
fragment cover Cds 1/1-35 special chinese language postmark on 4 X 1c martyr and 2×5 c Dr Sun single circle (rate 14 cent) and frag. Martyr 10 cent and Dr Sun 15 cent CDS Swatow , date incHinese language.
(c) December 1935
In this month Mao communist local post office issued blue Military stamps.

(4)1936
(a)In the spring of 1936 the province of Quantung and Quanshi declared themselves independent of Nanking , but his revolt was brught to end in July when the Quantung air frce flew ver the Chiang’s flying base at Nanchang in Kiangshi and placed its self to the disposal of nanking.
For ten anxious years, amid constant fighting, now with the super-Tuchuns,the great provincial Governors, now withthe Rd Armies(Russian&Mao), Chiang had welded the cuntry into something resemblin a unified state. It was to be shown,howeever, in the ggreat event before and during the war with Dai Nippon, how far this cohesion yet come short of accomplishment.
(b)October 1936
In October 1936 Chiang flew up to Sian to organize the campaign against the Reds. He found the tungpei troops unwilling to fight the Reds, with whom they had so many interest in common. The only possibility was to sent up Nanking divisions for the anti-Communist campaign, ameasure which was eventually to lead the eliminating of the tungpei army. The tensin were extreme, the more so as a new ill-conceled dai Nippon advance was in progress in the north, in the province of Suiyuan. Chiang wished at all cost to avoid a general armed conflict with dai Nippon. The Tungpeis and the red together wished to march agains dai Nippon.Ten Nanking divison,with field equipment,were waiting in Tungkuan,ready to advance into Shensi. Railway trains full of war material were unloaded at Sian, and rders were given from Nanking that Sian and Lanchow to arrange to receive a hundred bombing planes, to be used in wiping outvthe Reds.
Thre events now follwed in rapid succesin, all calculated to increase the tension at Sian.The first was the signing of the anti-comitern pact between Germany and Dai Nipponwith Italy’s tacit recognation of the dai nippon occupation of Manchukuo in return for dai Nippon’s recognation of Italy’s conquest Abyssinia.
Seven respected citize of Shanghai , a banker,a jurist, some professors and writers had been arrest by Chiang’s order for Anti Japanese propaganda.
(c) November 1936
J.Gunnar Anderson entered again in November 1936, finding everywhere sweeping evidences of the rapid renaissance of avigrous healty nation.
The work of freconstruction would have been a still more assured success, had not Chiang and the thousand of able reformers working with him been labouring all the time under the most terrific stress, walk-ing “between the devil and the deep sea” . On the one hand,there were the constant onsslaught of the rebellious generals and the Communist, on the other, the never-ceasing encroachment of Land-hungry Dai Nippon militarist on Chinese territory.
n November 21st ne of Chiang best general Hu Chung-an the head f Nanking’s first Army, was ttally defeated far up in Kansu by the red armies.for weeks the Reds had dne nthing but retreat,while Hu, entirely misinterpeting the situation , had penetrated farther and farther into nothern kansu. the one night,after the Reds had lured hu into a basin of Loess surrounded by heights, they fell upn him from all sides. two brigades and a regiment of cavalary were entirely cut to pieces and one regiment went over to the reds.
(d)December 1936
In December 8th in athunder -laden atsmophere that Chiang landed with his giant plane on the flyingground at Sian. several hundred officers from the Tungpei and Hsipei armies met him and demandes a hearing, He referred then to Chiang Hsueh-liang as the proper man to communicate their view to him. During the next few days Chiang and Chang conferred with each other many times. The former desired war with the Communists, the latter armed resistance to Dai Nippon. They had reached a deadlock,beyond which their exchange of view could no further.
on december 11th Chiang move out to Hua ching chi, a bathing resort about fifteen miles from sian,where he often stayed during his visit to Shensi. At half past five on the morning of the 12th Chiang heard rifle-fire in the vicinity, and it soon became clear that Chang’s and Yang’s troops had started a revolt against Chiang.
the greter of Chiang Bodyguard was shot down, and one of its officers urged chiang to seek safety on the mountain.
Before the war of Resistent against Dai Nippon, Mao communist urged that Chinese not fight each other nut joint together in fighting the Dai Nippon. The slogan confused forces under the command of Chang Hsueh-lien, deputy commander of the Mao Communist suppression Forces in Northeast China ,
From the Northeast Provinces occupied by the Dai Nippon, and the followers of Yang Hu-cheng commander of the Shensi farrison.
On December 3 1936, Chang Hsueh-lien went to Loyang to meet Chiang and reported that the situation in northwest China was chaoutic and required a visit by the commander in chief.
In December 4th 1936, the Chiang flew to Sian in chang’s company and was housed at the Chinghuachih Hostel. Many Governmengt leaders and military commander converged on Sian.
On the Moring of December 12 1936, the hostel was surrounded by the troops of CHang Hsueh-liang (the Chinese war lord)
One of the Chiang’s bodyguard and a secretary were killed in line of duty. The Mao PLA forces abducted the Chiang and took him to another place in the city. High ranking officials and commanderds in Sian were detained. Shao Yuan-chung,vice president of the Legislative Yuan, died of wounds inflicted by the Mao PLA army.
Chang Hsueh-liang and Yang Ho-cheng telegraphed and eight point plitical manifesto to the Central Executive Committee of the KMT and the natinal Government.
The Whole country was dismayed. At urgently summond meeting, the national Government decided to dismiss Chang & Yang and named Ho Ying-chin commander of the Communist Suppresion force.
At the same time.Ku Ch-tung was named commander of the west Route Army and Liu Chih commander of the SWest Rute Army.
These two forces advanced in Shensi form different directions. Aircraft were dispatched to drop leaflet on Sian.
When Chang Hsueh-liang read in the Chiang diary how the commander in chief had worked desperately to mount a war of resistance against Dai Nippon, he was convinced and began to feel repentance.
On December 2nr 1936, Madam Chiang flew to Sian to persuade Chang Hsuen-liang to realese chiang.
in december 25,1936. Chang accompanied the Chiang on a flight to Nanking via Loyang. Thw hole country erupted in a joyous celebration . String of firecrackers were sent off every where to mark the leader’s safe return..
(c) Finally in this year, the desperate Chinese patriots lost their temper”YThere is no limit to the aggresioon of Dai Nippon, but there is no limit to the aptience of the Chinese (Hu shih).
The scheme f the Dai Nippon army was to seize northern China, the to stop and consilidate that gain. But the chinese, once forced into war, have nevefr allowed the japanese to rest and consilidate. I spite of repeated Dai Nippon victories on the battlefield, their army have only plunged deepetr and eeper intoa gloomy adventure, the issue of which now looks more doubtful tha ever. Dai Nippon captured Namking in this year and then waited for the chinese to sue for peace. Nerly five mth later, after prtracted and most sanguinary struggle, Dai Nippon cuptured Hankw, and nw again they invite the chinese to come to terms-term which are generous according to the Dai Nippon, but which, in the opinion of the despearte and stubborn Chinese, are only terms of surrender and subjugation. the situation seems very absurd. The victors offer peace time and again, obviously anxious to see the war ended. the retreating Chinese refuse even to discuss the dai nippon terms, still hoping to make the aggressor collapse under a protacted war of attrition.
(e) ROC post office issued New Life Movement commemorative stamps nominal 2,5,20 cent and $1.- Also issued 40th Anniversary Chinese Post Office. nomial 2,5,25 cent and $1.-
(f) Kwang Tung Provincial Treasury issued one dollar local currency , ten dollars banknote with auto truck design
III. WAR WITH DAI NIPPON (1937-1945)

DN Occupation Hupei 1943

(1)1937
(a)January 1937
Fragment used Dr Sun singlecircle stamps 2×25 cent and 5 cent(rate 55 cent to indonesia) CDS Shanghai 7.1.37. and fragment Dr sun singlecircle 2x 5 cent with red village transit postmark.
(b)March 1937
fragment postcard Used Dr Sun single circle 25 cent CDS Shanghai 20.3.37.
(c)May 1937
Mao communist local post issued Soldier and fighting stamps three nominal.
(d)july 1937
Chiang and his military adviser tried to postpone the inevitable armed confilct, but in the early part of July 1937 the war broke out over a trifle. The Dai Nippon expected the chinese to yield- as had alwats happened before. But they did not take int account the new national spritit which had spread all over China.The patience of the Chinese was exhausted. In their despair they determined to hold up Dai Nippon aggression at any cost.
(e)August 1937
Two vintage picture Photos “Bloody saterday” in Shanghai in August,14th 1937 (P)
(f) ROC pst office issued provisibal surcharge on Dr Sun single circle stamps and peking martyr type stamps 1c n 4c,8c n 40 c,10c n 25 c, and 4c n 5c stamps.

(2)1938
(a) January 1938
January.7t.1938
Just before the resistent war against japan strated, a chines immigrant from Fukien by ship from amoy port went to Semarang Indonesia via Hongkong to have visa, The Chinese overseas passport with Nedeland consular revenue 6 gld with 0fficial stamped straight Consulaat general der Netherlandedn and the visa have signed by “De waarbemend Cosul-Geneal voor dezen De Vice Consul with official Consulate General of the Netherland Hongkong coat of arm stamped in vilolet.
(b)The Marcopolo Bridge incident triggered the war of Resistance against Japan in 1938

(c)July 1938
The Kuomintang provinsional congreess at Wuchang in March 20, 1938.and decided to organize a youth corps to give expression to the National cause among the young people and the young corps establish on july 9.
(d) Chiang presided over a military conference at Hengshan to review progress of the war effort . He reiterated that ROC would fight to the finish in November 25,1938.
(e) The famous godown of the four banks in Shanghai where “800 brave Soldier” heroically held out against one Japanese assault after another.
(f) Chiang and his General meeting in Chungking abaot the war capital
(g) Fan Szu-chaou . a 70-yearold guerilla leader fought the Japanese behind enemy lines.
(h) The National Gouvernment Building of ROC at Chungking and Japanese bombing that Temporary capital.
(i) ROC post office issued Palace half Button Chung Hwa printing $ 1 , 2 and 5,- top frame unshade.
I have this $2.- top frame unshade OC used cds Amoy Szeming, the years not clear.
(j) ROC post office issued 150th Anniversary American Constitution with USA and ROC flag with map. nominal 5,25,50 cent and $1.-
(k) September 1938
Mao Communist local poat ffice issued the red military victory stamp
(2)1939
(a) January 1939
in January,5th,1939, Postally used latter and cover of The Chinese American Publishing Company Nanking Road Shanghai send Bilingual shanghai postmark CDS Jan.7th.1939 on Dr sun stamps 5 cent and the Martyr stamp 10 cent one stamp off to Soerabaja, JAVa NEI(Indonesia).
The letter in the cover written by typemachine:

The Chinese American Publishing Company. 160 Nanking road Shanghai,China.
Jan.5,1939

Mr Tan Tik Ie
107 Dongojoedan street
surabaya,Java.N.E.I.

Dear sir :
In reply to your post card d December 17 wuld state that we should be please to fill your orders,
should you desire to send them to us, and there is no risk so far as mailing things to or from Shanghai.
We are mailing you a Mcgraw-Hill Co. catalohue, listing their technical publications, ost of which we carry in stock in Shanghai, although if out, we can order them from New York, to be send direct to you. we don’t carry radio or electronical magazines in stock, but accept subscriptions which are forwarded to the Publishers. The megazinees you would like to subscribe to, we shall be pleased to send you a proforms invoice showing prices. All such subscrriptions are payable in advance, by demand draft on N.Y. in U.S.currency.
Thanking you for your inquiry, we are,
Yours faitfully
Chinese American Publishing Co,inc
hand signed
m.m. Magill.
This letter very rare and have many informations about the Shanghai situation, and about the publications like McGraw Hill Co and also for the US expatriat Mr Magill the sender and mr Tan Tik Ie, especially their family, please contacct uniquecollections blog via comment and UCM will put the memoriable letter illustratins in this blog.
(b) September 1939
Off Cover used Dr Sun stamps double circle 1.00 Dollars(Yuan) cds shanghai 23.9.39
(c) November 1939
Postally used cover from Nam Chow Company 41 consulat road cds shanghai 1.11.39 on Dr Sun Stamp 2x 25 cent(rate) with Chinese character stamped (?) to Mrs Tjoan Seng Tjan Pintoe kecil (small door) gang Boeroeng (bird0 Batavia (Java)

(3)1940
(a)ROC issued Palace Chung hwa- full button (die 2) $ 10 and $20.

and Dr Sun Dah tung book cp printing (type III) 2,5 c and $ 1,2,5 ,10.- single thin line KMT star coat of arm. , also Dr Sun imperfect Button $1,2,5,10 and 20,- and Dr Sun unwatermarked secret marks 5 green,5 olive green,8 olive green.8 without Dah in button,10,30,50c $1,2,5,10, and 20,- ,

Sun Double circle 1931
sun Single circle 1931
sun Dahtung printing 1942

Dr sun Dah Tung printingg watermarked -secret mark type III same nominal as Dah Tung type II.
In this year issue martyr Hongkong print watermarked nominal same as the Peking printing.


also Surcharge 3c Hongkong print on Dr Sun 5c dah tung print,Hunan 3c surchage, Kansu 3 cent surcharge, Kiangsi 3c surcharge, Szechuen 3 c Surcharge,Chekiang 7 c surcharge, 7c Fukien surcharge, Kiangshi 7 c surcharge on Dr sun dahtung print.


Provisional surcharge on martyr stamps from Fukien,Hunan kwantung,kwangsi, kiangsi,Szechuan,Yunnan on Dr Sun Dah Tung printing.

Palace London printing
Palace Peking printing
Junk London printing
Junk Peking Print
Martyr stamp 1932

(b) October 1930
Mao communist local pst issued red 5 cent National Day stamps design star and other types from 1930 until 1945

Communist Military stamp 1930
Red Communist stamp 1932
Mao Military stamp 1932
Reds military stamp 1932
Reds Flower stamp 1933
Red Communist stamp 1933
KMT Military stamp 1937
Reds Soldier 1938
Reds Military stamp 1940
Reds Soldier 1942
Reds Communist stamp 1942
Reds Ship 1943
Reds Flight 1944
Reds Train 1945

.
(4) 1941
(1)All area occupied by the Dai Nippon issued surcharge the area name in chinese languaged on Dr Sun and martyr stamp , I have found from Hupe1,mengyang, Nianyudi,Henan and Supei .
(2) ROC Post Office issued six stamps of Presiden Lin Sen profile.
(3) ROC issued Dr Sun New York printing with different design and same nominal as Peking printing. and also Martyr peking printing 8c re-issue. and also Thrift commemorative stamp nominal 8,21,28,33 ,50 cents and $1.-
(4) ROC issued Express and Registry stamp $1,5 and 2

(5)1942
(a)January 1942
The Allied countried name Chiang as the commander-in-chief for China-Burma war theater in January
(b) ROC reinforcemnts rush to the front in the Battle at Changsa
(c) ROC Foreign menistry Wei Tao-ming signing of the treaty on equality and reprocity with the secretary of State Cordel Hull of the United State.
(d) ROC post office issue Dr Sun stamps ,Chungking print at native paper.
(e) Fragment used this stamps 3x Y.50. and 2×500.-(rate 1100)
(f) ROC post office issued Dr Sun Pacheng print with same design and nominal with the paking print. but Thin paper-roulet and imperfect.
(g) The Central Bank of China issued Dr Sun yat-sen and Ming palace Banknote one hundred Yuan.
(h) June 1942
Mao Communist local post issued the bird stamps there nominal 2.5 cent and $ 1.-
(i) July 1942
Mao communist local post issue the military horse riding and obor (Flame stick) stamps

(6) 1943
(a)Chiang with government leaders have at the meeting of the National Government chairmanship in October 10 1943
(b) October 1943
In October 10th, Mao communist Xuat nan local post issued the ship stamps , Star ,and ttransportation stamps bird post, flight,junk and ship.

(7)1944
(a)Dai Nippon military administarition China issue two deffenitve Dai nippon occupation stamps.
(b)ROC post office issued Dr Sun pacheng print and Chung hua print, also The 50th years kuomintang anniversary stamps nominal $ 2,5,6,10 and 20.
(c)OC used Block Four of 500.- and 1000,- Chinese character pstmark.

(8)1945
(a) January 1945
The masacre of 89 chinese civilians and burning of houses at Leinhua,Suchuan and Taiho, Kiangsi by the Dai Nippon troops
(b)April-July 1945
the murder of 110 chinese civilians at Shaoyang,Hunan, by troops of the Dai Nippn 116th Division.
(c)January-August 1945
Arsn and pillaging of civialian property at Yungkiang and Loching,Chekiang, by troops of the 55th Brigade of Dai nippon 64th division.
(d) February-May 1945
the murder of 22 Chinese civilian at Yuangking and Hsiangying,Hunan by troops under the dai Nippon Changsa Garrison Command.
all of that infrmation above have charge againgst General Okumura , but he answered that he was in command of the japanese Land forces in China for only eight months when the war came to a close. Ha also said that he was commander-in-chief the Dai Nippon forces in North China when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. The trial was resmed when Okamura was taken under armed escort to the military court along with four other Japanese officers from the Kiangwan war prisoner camp. Another trial will be held before judgment is handed down.
(c) ROC won a pyrrhic victory in the eight-years war against Dai Nippon.
(b) Chiang is greeted warmly outside a radio station after broadcasting the news of victory over Japan to the world.
(c) March 1945
In March 15th 1945,Mao Communist Local Post issued Train stamp.
(d) August 5,1945
Dai Nippon surrender
(c) September 9,1945
General Ho Ying-ching represent ROC in recieving the instrument of surrender from General Okamura Neiji, commander of the Japanese forces in China
(d) ROC Post office issued National Currencey Surcharge type one serie A on Sr Sun single circle stamps and also on the Dr Sun Chungking print native paper. also 20th anniversary death of Sun Yat-sen ,nominal $ 2,5,6,10,20 and 30,-
(e) ROC issued comemmorative stamps, Cairo Conference with Chiang photo and 1943, also Presidenyt Lin Sen nminal 1,2,5,6 cent and $ 10.- & 25.-
(f) The bank of China issued Dr Sun Yat-sen and flight-boomber banknote
500 yuan and 1000 Yuan Dr Sun with ancient building

The Chronic Historic Collections

1. 1915

092205

In May 1915, Yuan Shikai’s representatives agreed to Japan’s Twenty-one Demands in order to win support from the Japanese government for his scheme to restore the monarchy. This incident sowed the seeds of discontent that led to the May Fourth Movement. (Photo courtesy of The National Museum of China)

Yuan Shih-kai silver

1a.1927 EMPEROR HIROHITO ORDER

1b.1937

1) Dai nippon Occupied Manchuria and Puyi became Emperor of Manchuria.

KMT granat NorthChina 1932

THE PROCLAMATION OF MANCHURIA KINGDOM

DN Occupied Proclaimed Mukden

PUYI BECAME THE EMPEROR OF MANCHURIA(MANCHUKUO),THE CEREMONY AT THE CAPITAL CITY MUKDEN.

 
Poeyi Manchuria 1931

Manchuria Under Japanese Dominion

 

 

Introduction

1. Japan’s “Sole Road for Survival”: The Range of Views Within the Guandong Army over the Seizure of Manchuria and Mongolia
2. Transforming Manchuria-Mongolia into a Paradise for Its Inhabitants: Building a New State and Searching for State-Building Ideals
3. Toward a Model of Politics for the World: The Banner of Moral State Creation and the Formation of Manzhouguo Politics
4. “The Long-Term Policy of National Management Will Always Be in Unison with the Japanese Empire”: The Paradise of the Kingly Way Stumbles and the Path Toward the Merging of Japan and Manzhouguo
5. Conclusion: Chimera, Reality, and Illusion

Afterword
Interview: How Shall We Understand Manchuria and Manzhouguo?
Appendix: On the Historical Significance of Manchuria and Manzghouguo
Chronology on the Modern History of Manchuria and East Asia


 
The Shadow of Manzhouguo(MANCHURIA)

There was once a country known as Manzhouguo (also rendered Manchukuo). It emerged suddenly in China’s northeast on March 1, 1932, and vanished with Emperor Puyi’s manifesto of abdication on August 18, 1945, having lasted for just over thirteen years and five months.

For the Japanese who actually lived there, however, this country’s final end was only the beginning of their real Manzhouguo “experience.” What was Manzhouguo and how did it relate to them personally? They must have asked themselves these questions repeatedly as various images of Manzhouguo later took shape; virtually all of these Japanese went through gruesome experiences in the aftermath of the state’s collapse, often lingering between life and death—the invasion of the Soviet Army, their evacuation, and perhaps their internment in Siberian camps—experiences that are exceedingly difficult to describe. Is it now possible for us to see through to the countless fragments of these images of Manzhouguo which continue to live in their memories now strewn through innumerable notes and memoirs?

For the great majority of Japanese who have since lived through more than a half-century longer than the thirteen and one-half years that Manzhouguo existed, that land has become little more than a historical term which conjures up no particular image of any sort. To be sure, the past half-century has been sufficiently long for many matters to pass from experience to memory and from memory into history, long enough perhaps for even the experience of hardship to be refined into a form of homesickness, for the crimes that transpired all around them to be forgotten as if the whole thing had been a daydream. For the Japanese in the home islands with no links to Manzhouguo, whether they have sunk into oblivion or, pent up with their memories, have taken their ignorance of Manzhouguo as commonsensical, today the scars left from Manzhouguo continue to live on in that land, be it as the issue of war orphans “left behind” in China or as that of the wives left behind. Although Manzhouguo has ceased to exist, for the people who continue to live there, and for the dwindling number of survivors of that era, the wounds of Manzhouguo continue to ache and will not heal or disappear.

In fact, the Japanese are by no means the only ones still affected. Indeed, the Chinese and Koreans who lived in Manzhouguo suffered far more and bore far heavier burdens. Certainly for descendants of those “suppressed” as “bandits” who opposed the state of Manzhouguo and Japan and for those who had their lands confiscated by such concerns as East Asian Industry (Tō-A kangyō) and the Manchurian Colonization Corporation (Manshū takushoku kōsha), the shadow of Manzhouguo always lingers close at hand and never leaves for long. So, too, for those who may have participated in Manzhouguo affairs or been pro-Japanese and were subjected to persecution by their fellow nationals, particularly at such times as the Cultural Revolution in China. Furthermore, among those Koreans who, in conjunction with the colonial policy of Japan and Manzhouguo, were forcibly moved there, many were mobilized by the Guandong (also transcribed as Kwantung) Army and taken prisoner in Siberia, and later—after the disintegration of Manzhouguo—wanted to return to home but were detained for economic reasons and must have been burning with homesickness for Korea.

Manzhouguo, a Puppet State

The number of people who have no knowledge of Manzhouguo increases with each passing day. However, like a piercing thorn that cannot be removed, the incessant pain it caused has left a residue of bad feelings in the minds of many Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and others. While the great majority of people now know nothing about Manzhouguo, for those who lived through it, much too short a time has passed for it to be forgotten. Any evaluation of Manzhouguo would be remiss not to stress the extraordinary artificiality of which it smacked.

In Japanese dictionaries and historical encyclopedias, its position has all but become fixed. The general narrative runs as follows: Manzhouguo—in September of 1931, the Guandong Army launched the Manchurian Incident and occupied Northeast China; the following year it installed Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing dynasty, as chief executive (he was enthroned in 1934), and a state was formed; all real power in national defense and government were held by the Guandong Army, and Manzhouguo thus became the military and economic base for the Japanese invasion of the Asian mainland; it collapsed in 1945 with Japan’s defeat in the war. Also, most designate Manzhouguo as a puppet state of Japan or of the Guandong Army.

In Chinese history texts and dictionaries, by contrast, Manzhouguo is described in the following manner: a puppet regime fabricated by Japanese imperialism after the armed invasion of the Three Eastern Provinces (also known as Manchuria or Northeast China); with the Japan-Manzhouguo Protocol, Japanese imperialism manipulated all political, economic, military, and cultural powers in China’s northeast; in 1945 it was crushed with the victory of the Chinese people’s anti-Japanese war. In order to highlight its puppet nature and its anti-popular qualities, the Chinese refer to it as “wei Manzhouguo” (illegitimate Manzhouguo) or “wei Man” for short. They frequently refer to its institutions, bureaucratic posts, and laws as the “illegitimate council of state,” “illegitimate legislature,” and “illegitimate laws of state organization.” This language is not unique to mainland China, but appears in works published in the Republic of China (Taiwan) as well.

In addition to writings of this sort by people involved in the events, narratives of Manzhouguo in English and other Western languages frequently offer explanations such as the following: “Manchukuo” (or Manchoukuo): a puppet state established by Japan in China’s northeast in 1931; although Puyi was made nominal ruler, all real power was dominated by Japanese military men, bureaucrats, and advisors; in so doing, Japan successfully pursued the conquest of Manchuria, which had been contested by China and Russia (later, the Soviet Union) for nearly half a century; in spite of the fact that many countries recognized it, Manzhouguo remained essentially a puppet regime; and it was destroyed with Japan’s surrender in World War II.

Putting aside for the moment the actuality of who manipulated and ruled whom and in what way, if we consider a “puppet state” one in which—despite its formal independence as a nation—its government rules not on behalf of the people of that nation but in accordance with the purposes of another country, then Manzhouguo was a puppet state. One can scarcely deny that one of the forms of colonial rule was the very form this state took. In particular, for people who were mercilessly stripped of the wealth they had painstakingly saved on the land they worked for many years and who consequently suffered greatly, no matter how often they heard the ideals of this state recounted in elegant, lofty language, they certainly would not have accepted any legitimation for a state that threatened their lives and livelihoods.

Each person is likely to see the level of “puppetry” in Manzhouguo somewhat differently. While the concept of an illegitimate or puppet state may be too strong for many Japanese to accept, once exposed to the Chinese museum exhibits and pictures depicting excruciating pain in such places as the Museum of the Illegitimate Manzhouguo Monarchy in Changchun, or the Northeast China Martyrs Museum and the Museum of the Evidence of the Crimes of Unit 731 of the Japanese Army of Aggression in Harbin, or the Hall of the Remains of the Martyred Comrades at Pingdingshan in Fushun, comfortable images will no longer be acceptable.

Furthermore, it is certainly necessary to investigate the realities behind the “pits of 10,000 men” scattered about at various sites where it is said were buried roughly one million victims to plans for the development of the region from 1939, or the “human furnaces” at which human bodies were roasted on plates of steel to draw off their fat. However, when we realize that in most cases forced labor in general prisons or reformatories led to death and arrest itself was completely arbitrary, it would seem only natural that the horrifying shock this entails would necessitate calling Manzhouguo an Auschwitz state or a concentration-camp state, more than just a puppet state. The claims of the last two sentences raise the ante very high: I strongly recommend that some claims follow the presentation of the author’s evidence to avoid a sense that this is empty rhetoric. Let’s talk about this and, if you and I agree, find a way to discuss it with the author. I think that the point is an important one. I’m not familiar with the claim of human furnaces to “draw off fat.” If, on the other hand, the author wishes to present this as among the charges that have been levied by the Chinese government or by others, that would be fine.

Manzhouguo, an Ideal State

In spite of all this, though, Manzhouguo was never simply a puppet state or just a colonial regime. Another view has continued unshakably to persevere even after 1945: Manzhouguo as the site of a movement to expel Western imperialist control and build an ideal state in Asia; its establishment then is seen as an effort to realize a kind of utopia.

Hayashi Fusao (1903-75) once wrote: “Behind this short-lived state lay the 200-year history of Western aggression against Asia. The Meiji Restoration was the first effective resistance against this [onslaught]; Manzhouguo was the continuation of this line of opposition…. Asian history will itself not allow us to disregard it by invoking the Western political science concept of a ‘puppet state.’ Manzhouguo still continues to live in the development of world history.” It may take another one hundred years, he noted, to come to a proper evaluation of Manzhouguo.

Kishi Nobusuke (1896-1987), who worked as deputy director of the Management and Coordination Agency of Manzhouguo and became prime minister of Japan after the war, has also noted in a memoir that, in the establishment of Manzhouguo, “the ideals of ethnic harmony and peace and prosperity [lit. the paradise of the Kingly Way] shone radiantly. A scientific, conscientious, bold experiment was carried out there. This was a truly unique modern state formation. The people directly involved devoted their energies to it motivated by their sincere aspirations, and also the peoples of Japan and Manzhouguo strongly supported it; and Mohandas Gandhi, the Indian holy man, offered encouragement from far away. At the time Manzhouguo was the hope of East Asia.”

Furumi Tadayuki (1900-83), who witnessed the last moments of Manzhouguo as a deputy director of the Management and Coordination Agency, firmly believed in it: “The nurturing that went into the establishment of the state of Manzhouguo was a trial without historical precedent…. It was the pride of the Japanese people that, in an era dominated by invasion and colonization, our efforts to build an ideal state were based on ethnic harmony in the land of Manchuria. That young Japanese at that time, indifferent to fame or riches, struggled for their ideals remains the pride of Japanese youth.” Without the least doubt, he believed that the ideal of ethnic harmony—the founding ideal of the state of Manzhouguo—would continue to shine brilliantly for many years.

Guandong Army Staff Officer Katakura Tadashi (1898-1991), who promoted the establishment of Manzhouguo, saw Manzhouguo as the manifestation of a humanism based on the lofty ideals of peace, prosperity, and ethnic harmony. “In the final analysis,” he averred, “as a cornerstone for stability in East Asian, it was an abundant efflorescence.” Similarly, Hoshino Naoki (1892-1978), who worked as director of the Management and Coordination Agency, endlessly praised the formation of Manzhouguo: “Not only did the Japanese take a leading position, but all the ethnic groups of East Asia broadly worked together for development and growth. We were building a new paradise there in which the blessings were to be shared equally by all ethnicities.”

In one line of his memoirs, Hoshino attached to Manzhouguo the heading “Atlantis of the twentieth century.” (By “Atlantis” he was referring to the ideal society of the distant past, as described in Plato’s dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, said to have been to the West of the Straits of Gibraltar.) It is unclear in what sense Hoshino was himself dubbing Manzhouguo the “Atlantis of the twentieth century,” because he simply suggests this heading and says nothing about the content of Atlantis itself. However, the plot of a visionary state—beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, with an orderly, well-planned city and strong military organization, based on a national structure of harmony and single-mindedness, which having attempted the conquest of Asia and Europe now faced retaliation by Athenian warriors, and had sunk into the sea in a single twenty-four-hour period of great earthquakes and floods—remains eerily imaginable even now, corresponding in great detail to Manzhouguo. Like the tale of Atlantis as a dreamlike paradise, Manzhouguo would be passed down over the centuries, and perhaps a day would come many generations hence when it might occupy a kind of resuscitated historical position, such as that given Atlantis by Francis Bacon in his New Atlantis(1627).

Be that as it may, even if it cannot compare to the myth of Atlantis, which is said to have produced a wide assortment of books in excess of 20,000 volumes, Manzhouguo has continued to be portrayed in the image of such an ideal state. A good part of the reason for this is the exceedingly tragic experience that followed its dismemberment and the great suffering that ensued. One can readily imagine that an act of psychological compensation—not wanting that pain to go for naught—has been invested in this now defunct state.

All this notwithstanding, the examples given by these and other leading figures cannot sustain the view that Manzhouguo alone, in its search for coexistence and coprosperity among all ethnic groups, was qualitatively different from other colonies. This view would undoubtedly be the sentiment shared by those people who were on the spot as local officials or members of cooperatives, as well as those who were directly connected with them; so, too, among most Japanese who were linked to the formation and management of Manzhouguo in one form or another, such as the Japanese emigrants there and the Manchurian-Mongolian Pioneer Youth Corps. There were many who, supported by a sense of personal pride in the accomplishments of Manzhouguo, survived down into the postwar era. This being the case, we have to redouble our efforts to listen to the low, strained voices behind the loud, booming voices propounding the idea of an ideal state and try to ascertain the realities of this “ideal” in which not only Japanese but Chinese, too, gambled their lives.

Must we heed the view repeatedly put forward that one should rightfully look not only at the aspect of the Japanese invasion of the mainland leading to the creation of Manzhouguo but also at the aspect of its accomplishments? In other words, it has been emphasized that despite its short history a “legacy of Manzhouguo” has contributed greatly to the modernization of China’s Northeast in such areas as the development and promotion of industry, the spread of education, the advancement of communications, and administrative maintenance. These attainments, the argument continues, cannot only withstand scrutiny from our perspective today—when ethnic harmony has become an important ideal in politics—but they also warrant significance as an “experiment for the future”—namely, what may be possible in the arena of cooperation among different ethnic groups in years to come. Can this argument be justified?

How would this argument about an ideal state, stressing the positive factors and legacy of Manzhouguo, echo among people from countries other than Japan? The issue of Manzhouguo refuses to leave us—not only must we evaluate its results but the “seeds it planted” as well. In fact, one may recognize its distinctive qualities as being surpassingly pregnant with contemporary implications.

Manzhouguo, a Chimera

On reflection, there may be nothing that spurs on human dreams and emotions quite like the reverberations of such words as “state-founding” or “nation-building,” as hinted at by Goethe in Faust. Especially in the early Shōwa years, the Japanese empire towered overwhelmingly above the individual, and people were seized by a sense of being closed in and unsettled. When he committed suicide in 1929, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke (b. 1892) left behind the expression: “bakuzentaru fuan” (a sense of being unsettled). For Japanese of that time, words such as “state-founding” or “nation-building” may have borne a distinctively seductive power offering an impression of liberation stirred up by a sense of mission hidden within. Thus, for many Japanese, the notion that “what drew them to Manchuria was neither self-interest nor fame, but a pure aspiration to participate in the opening up of a new realm and the building of a new nation” cannot be completely denied as false consciousness. That they firmly believed this in their own subjective minds would scarcely be strange, but selfless, unremunerated, subjective goodwill does not necessarily guarantee good deeds as a final result, especially in the world of politics. Also, no matter how pure the emotions behind one’s actions, in politics responsibility for ultimate results is an issue, and one cannot elude the blame that one deserves. One individual’s ideal may for one’s counterpart be an intolerable hypocrisy, indeed a form of oppression.

In the final analysis, in what sense was Manzhouguo a Japanese puppet or colonial state? Should we instead recognize that this is merely a distortion, an arbitrary understanding dictated by the victor nations, the “historical view of the Potsdam Declaration” or the “Tokyo Trials view of history” which echo it; and insist that the historical reality of Manzhouguo was the creation of a morally ideal state in which many ethnic groups would coexist? As Kagawa Toyohiko (1888-1960) has noted: “In the invasion carried out by Japan, only Manzhouguo possessed a mixture of dreams and lofty ideals.”

Before rushing to any conclusions, we need to begin by asking why Manzhouguo was established in the first place and then follow its traces where they lead us. Why in the world did this state of Manzhouguo have to have been created under Japanese leadership in China’s Northeast? What was the process of its formation, and how were Japanese and Chinese involved in it? Furthermore, what actually were ruling structure and national ideals of the new state? Also, what were the mutual relations among Manzhouguo, China, and Japan in political institutions and legal systems, policy and political ideas? In sum, what was the distinctive nature of Manzhouguo as a state, and what place should it occupy in modern world history? Portraying this state of Manzhouguo through an analysis of these questions is the principal task of this book.

I set the task in this way because one reason the evaluation of Manzhouguo remains unsettled lies in the fact that each of the opposing views of this state that I have outlined stresses only one side of the issue. From the perspective that sees it as a puppet state, the organization and ideals of Manzhouguo are belittled as merely camouflaging its essence as one of military control by Japan; from the perspective that sees it as an ideal and moral state, its essence lies more in the lofty state principles it professed than in the background to its founding, and the actual mechanisms of rule are of scant interest.

Although Manzhouguo enjoyed a short life, still portraying the features of this state as a whole in more or less the correct proportions remains an exceedingly difficult task. Although the quantity of memoirs and reminiscences about Manzhouguo written since the end of World War II is absolutely immense, there is nonetheless a dearth of official government sources of sources, as much of the “primary historical documentation” from the Manzhouguo era itself was destroyed by fire or disappeared during the period when the state was in the process of destruction.

In considering all this, there may simply be no way to avoid the abundance of material in one arena and the rough and uneven quality of it in another, but by focusing on Manzhouguo as a state, I hope in this book to offer a portrait of Manzhouguo as I have come to understand it. I have attempted here to portray Manzhouguo by likening it to the Chimera, a monster from Greek mythology. Thomas Hobbes used the Leviathan, a beast that appears in the Book of Job, to symbolize the state as an “artificial being.” Similarly, Franz Neumann (1900-54) used the name of the monster Behemoth to characterize the Third Reich of the Nazis. Drawing inspiration from these cases, I offer for Manzhouguo the Chimera, a beast with the head of a lion, the body of a sheep, and the tail of a dragon. The lion is comparable to the Guandong Army, the sheep is the state of the emperor system, and the dragon the Chinese emperor and modern China. What is implied here will be become clear as the argument of this book develops.

2) Dai nippon Occupaied Tianjin and beijing

Japanese troops , which already occupied tianjin and beijing ,were now moving steadily southwards,. they met suprisingly strong resistance in nanking and, in retaliation, went on a terrifying spree of rape,looting and murder. over 3000.000 civilians and prisoners were torrtured and killed during the rape of nanking in 1937.

Pao Ju which originally severed as a store for cannons, ordnances, and waste cannons during late Qing Dynasty, was converted into a prison at the end of the Qing Dynasty. A map printed in Republican period confirms that there was already a military prison between Pao Ju Hutong and Pao Ju Tou Tiao at the time.

pj4

In November 1934 General Ji Hongchang, known for his strong anti-Japanese position, was placed in Pao Ju prison.  Ji was born in October 1895 in Fu Gou, Henan province. The general was known for his bravery and the troops that he lead in the Northern expedition were known as the “Iron Army” of the National Revolutionary Army. In 1930, Ji was nominated as chief commander of twenty-second troop of the Kuomintang. Because he refused to fight a civil war for Chiang Kai-shek, Ji was exiled in the name of “overseas research”in 1931.

On 28 January 1932, the Songhu Battle broke out.  Ji Hongchang quickly returned to China and went to Shanghai to facilitate the logistics of the war and joined the Chinese Communist Party in the autumn of that same year.  To support the war effort, Ji sold all his private property for around sixty thousand silver coins in exchange for munitions and arms. In May 1933, General Ji, along with General Feng Yuxiang and General Zhang Zhenwu in Zhangjiakou, organized an allied civilian volunteer military force in Chahar to defend against the Japanese.

In May 1934, Ji organized the Chinese people’s  “Anti-Fascist Alliance” in Tianjin.

On November 9 of that year he was wounded during a Kuomintang planned assassination. On 22 November, Ji was detained and transferred to a Beijing army prison. During his interrogation, Ji denounced both Chiang Kai-shek and Ho Yingqin, an act which lead to Chiang Kai-shek ordering his execution.

On November 24, 1934,

 Ji Hongchang calmly walked to the execution ground. The sky was covered with dark clouds and the ground was covered with thin snow. He picked up a piece of wood, and wrote a poem on the snowing ground: I am only sorry that I did not die while fighting the Japanese invaders, and,today, I feel it as a great shame; my motherland is suffering so much, why should I care about my own life and death. Ji was only thirty- nine years old when he died. Another general, Ren Yingqi, was also executed the same day, but his Communist Party membership was not recognized until now.

JULY 1937

Beijing fell on 29 July, 1937 to the Japanese and came under full Japanese occupation 8 August. Beijing became the political, military, and cultural center of the Japanese occupation in North China. Japan fostered a regime backed by the military and stationed the command and various military and political authorities of North China in Beijing.  During this time, Pao Ju became a Japanese military prison.

According to a newspaper article written around 1944, Zhao Zhongyi and six other Communist Eighth Route Army soldiers were put in Pao Ju prison and were tortured there.

After the Second World War in 1945, Pao Ju became the Kuomintang prison. According to an article by Wang Zhihong, Pao Ju prison was externally called the “young patriots discipline brigades” and it was there that underground Communist Party members were detained.

(a)January 1937
Fragment used Dr Sun singlecircle stamps 2×25 cent and 5 cent(rate 55 cent to indonesia) CDS Shanghai 7.1.37. and fragment Dr sun singlecircle 2x 5 cent with red village transit postmark.
(b)March 1937
fragment postcard Used Dr Sun single circle 25 cent CDS Shanghai 20.3.37.
(c)May 1937
Mao communist local post issued Soldier and fighting stamps three nominal.
(d)july 1937
Chiang and his military adviser tried to postpone the inevitable armed confilct, but in the early part of July 1937 the war broke out over a trifle. The Dai Nippon expected the chinese to yield- as had alwats happened before. But they did not take int account the new national spritit which had spread all over China.The patience of the Chinese was exhausted. In their despair they determined to hold up Dai Nippon aggression at any cost.
(e)August 1937

DAI NIPPON OCCUPIED SHANGHAI

DN street fighting 1937
DN Air attack Garden Bridge
DN across Yangtse river 1937

1)1937
(a)January 1937
Fragment used Dr Sun singlecircle stamps 2×25 cent and 5 cent(rate 55 cent to indonesia) CDS Shanghai 7.1.37. and fragment Dr sun singlecircle 2x 5 cent with red village transit postmark.
(b)March 1937
fragment postcard Used Dr Sun single circle 25 cent CDS Shanghai 20.3.37.
(c)May 1937
Mao communist local post issued Soldier and fighting stamps three nominal.
(d)july 1937
Chiang and his military adviser tried to postpone the inevitable armed confilct, but in the early part of July 1937 the war broke out over a trifle. The Dai Nippon expected the chinese to yield- as had alwats happened before. But they did not take int account the new national spritit which had spread all over China.The patience of the Chinese was exhausted. In their despair they determined to hold up Dai Nippon aggression at any cost.
(e)August 1937
Two vintage picture Photos “Bloody saterday” in Shanghai in August,14th 1937 (P)
(f) ROC pst office issued provisibal surcharge on Dr Sun single circle stamps and peking martyr type stamps 1c n 4c,8c n 40 c,10c n 25 c, and 4c n 5c stamps.


Two vintage picture Photos “Bloody saterday” in Shanghai in August,14th 1937 (P)

DN street fighting 1937
DN Air attack Garden Bridge

(f) ROC pst office issued provisibal surcharge on Dr Sun single circle stamps and peking martyr type stamps 1c n 4c,8c n 40 c,10c n 25 c, and 4c n 5c stamps.

Japanese pressure on China increased. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident of July 1937 marked a new level of Japanese intrusion into China, but Mathews was able to continue working.

Shanghai in 1941

The external tempo now picked up. The Japanese declaration of war on America at the end of 1941 further polarized relations among Japan, China, and foreign residents in China.

Japanese Troops Entering Shanghai, 1941

Shanghai was a virtually international city, with its nearly extraterritorial legation zones. It was entered by the Japanese Army in 1941, but for a time was handled with circumspection. At at the end of 1942, this changed (a moment that Reifler experienced in a different way, and in a different part of Shanghai), and CIM, which had already moved its quarters within Shanghai in 1931, now relocated more drastically, to Chungking in Szchwan, where the Nationalist Chinese government had also taken refuge. In 1943, the previous CIM compound in Shanghai was taken over by Japanese occupation troops, and the printing blocks as well as the copies of Mathews’ own revision of his Dictionary were destroyed. That left only the original edition, and the lack of copies of that edition suddenly became an urgent matter for the English-speaking nations involved in the Pacific War. Within a few months, Harvard University Press had issued a reprint of the original Dictionary. The March 1943 Foreword begins thus:

Shanghai in 1943.

In April 1943, Mathews himself, along with Violet, was interned by the Japanese at the Lunghwa Camp, the former campus of the Kiangsu Middle School, seven miles southwest of Shanghai and a mile from the Whangpoo River. With them were missionaries both Protestant and Catholic, businessmen and their families, and the officers and crew of the SS President Harrison, among hundreds of others. At 42 acres, this was the largest of all the internment camps in China, and one of the bleakest. Most buildings were of concrete, three of them were ruined, and the landscape was desolate, with “only one tree.” The prospect was not improved by the typhoon of 11 August 1943, which blew the roof off the West Dining Hall, and effectively destroyed that building; it also unroofed several small residence houses. A few Americans were repatriated in September of that year. The rest settled down to wait out the war. By and large, conditions were manageable. Ten acres were devoted to communally farmed vegetable gardens, and there were also a few private gardens. Hot showers were available, though since the well pumps were slow, the showers had to be brief. The animal population included two cows, hens, a flock of goats, and sixty pigs. Communications with the outside were possible, and the Shanghai Dairy donated an additional Holstein calf; eventually there was enough milk for all the camp children to get half a pint a day. Communications with the outside worked both ways, and there were four successful escapes, plus a few failed attempts, during the next two years. Nor were high spirits confined to escape attempts. One internee recalls that the single men, who were quartered in the Assembly Hall, “raised so much hell at night, laughing and telling jokes, that one night a guard took a potshot into our window to stop us from making so much noise.” As at some other camps, the guards were not Japanese Army, but drawn from the Consular Police. The bullets, however, were real.

Japan surrendered in August 1945, the Swiss temporarily took over the management of the camp, and the internees left later that month. Mathews, then 68, returned to Melbourne for a third and final time, to a well earned retirement. But China continued to loom large in the Australian consciousness, and Mathews’ linguistic skills were known to the Australian Department of Defense. In 1948 he was recruited to work part time on the translation of archival material and the compilation of glossaries. In 1951, this was increased to full time.

(2)1938
(a) January 1938
January.7 th.1938
Just before the resistent war against japan strated, a chines immigrant from Fukien by ship from amoy port went to Semarang Indonesia via Hongkong to have visa, The Chinese overseas passport with Nedeland consular revenue 6 gld with 0fficial stamped straight Consulaat general der Netherlandedn and the visa have signed by “De waarbemend Cosul-Geneal voor dezen De Vice Consul with official Consulate General of the Netherland Hongkong coat of arm stamped in vilolet.
(b)The Marcopolo Bridge incident triggered the war of Resistance against Japan in 1938

(c)Early 1938  after the nanking city was captured by the japanese . shanghai fell and chiang kaisek fled westward across china, up the yangtse river, deep into the mountainous province od sichuan. there he set up his wartime goverment in the town of chongqing. it’s not hard to image the tension and turmoil that these monumntous political upheaval imposed on chinese family life.

(d)July 1938
The Kuomintang provinsional congreess at Wuchang in March 20, 1938.and decided to organize a youth corps to give expression to the National cause among the young people and the young corps establish on july 9.
(d) Chiang presided over a military conference at Hengshan to review progress of the war effort . He reiterated that ROC would fight to the finish in November 25,1938.
(e) The famous godown of the four banks in Shanghai where “800 brave Soldier” heroically held out against one Japanese assault after another.
(f) Chiang and his General meeting in Chungking abaot the war capital
(g) Fan Szu-chaou . a 70-yearold guerilla leader fought the Japanese behind enemy lines.
(h) The National Gouvernment Building of ROC at Chungking and Japanese bombing that Temporary capital.
(i) ROC post office issued Palace half Button Chung Hwa printing $ 1 , 2 and 5,- top frame unshade.
I have this $2.- top frame unshade OC used cds Amoy Szeming, the years not clear.
(j) ROC post office issued 150th Anniversary American Constitution with USA and ROC flag with map. nominal 5,25,50 cent and $1.-
…etc….etc……………………………………………………………………….

1939

in 1939, sudenly and without warning, tianjin was drowned in a great flood. the disaster was of staggering propotion. the chinese called it “china’s sorrow” and went to the buddhist temple to burn incense and offewr prayers for relief. pro japanese newspapers printed in tianjin blamed the catastrope on chiang kaisek while the nationalist party press in chongqing accused the japanese

Chinese Flee to Southern China


War orphans Many Chinese fled southward to Yunnan and Sichuan (where the Kuomintang had their wartime capital in Chongqing). Air raids were launched on Chongqing in May 1939. Altogether 218 air raids were conducted on the city over the next several years, leaving the city in ruins and killing around 20,000 people, including people that sought refuge in tunnels and suffocated to death there

THE DAI NIPPON OCCUPATION PROPAGANDA

THE NANKING MASSACRE – two films to remind us

Why do I do this to myself? First I watch two intensely depressing dramatic recreations of war atrocities, intense enough to haunt me for days. Then I decide to review them, challenging my love of Japan with these accounts of atrocious conduct by their armed forces.

In 1937, when Japan was invading China, its armies conquered the (then) capital city of Nanking. The Japanese army then began killing the prisoners of war, then the civilians, to strike a psychological blow to the rest of China. Knowing full well that they were breaking international conventions of war, they disguised the massacre from the rest of the world.

NANKING MASSACRE(RAPE)

(A) HISTORIC COLLECTIONS

(B) FILM COLLECTIONS

These are two very different films about the siege, serving two audiences: one is obviously intended for ‘international cinema’, the other (possibly unintentionally) is ‘exploitation’.

Though they’re tough viewing, knowing that these events actually happened, I wanted to learn more about the depths that the Japanese army sank to. While I admire Japanese culture, pop and otherwise, I’ve mainly been learning about their history from their viewpoint. But after visiting several of Japan’s neighbouring countries and reading their news sites, I became increasingly aware of ‘old wounds’ and lasting hostilities.

While the US and Europe are hyper-conscious of the history of Nazi Germany, we mainly remember wartime Japan for Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. In China, Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, Japan was regarded the same way we saw Germany. Indeed, the scale of Japanese war crimes and the variety of atrocities rivals Nazi Germany.

So I’m having trouble joining the dots between their peace-loving society of today and the extremes of their wartime mindset. How can a country change so quickly and so completely? I guess the answer is closer to home – my own country has much to answer for in it’s conduct abroad, both recently and historically.

I’m not going to boycott Japanese culture for the crimes of the past, but I’m not going to ignore history either. When I first heard of the ‘Rape of Nanking’, I naively assumed it happened centuries ago in more barbaric times. To find that it was only last century showed up a large gap in my historical knowledge.

BLACK SUN: THE NANKING MASSACRE,
MEN BEHIND THE SUN 4
(1994, Hong Kong, Hei tai yang: Nan Jing da tu sha)

This is a weird film that would need much more research to determine what the film-makers were trying to do, if I was at all impressed by it. The director, T F Mou, denies it’s an exploitation film, and the size of the budget seems to lift the project out of that genre. But it’s an endless diary of gory re-enactments of war atrocities, with little story or drama, and a near absence of continuing characters. The Japanese soldiers storm around the city, killing and raping. The commanders take pleasure in trying out various methods of execution, from machine-gun to samurai sword.

It looks like a wartime propaganda film, but it was made 1994. I’m almost guessing it was intended to pressure the Japanese government on outstanding issues – maybe compensation, apologies, selective history books? The other likely result was to incite outrage amongst Chinese audiences.
Japan conquered Nanking but with utmost brutality

Already earlier, Japan followed the example of Western nations and forced China into unequal economical and political treaties. Furthermore, Japan’s influence over Manchuria had been steadily growing since the end of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05. When the Chinese Nationalists began to seriously challenge Japan’s position in Manchuria in 1931, the Kwantung Army (Japanese armed forces in Manchuria) occupied Manchuria. In the following year, “Manchukuo” was declared an independent state, controlled by the Kwantung Army through a puppet government. In the same year, the Japanese air force bombarded Shanghai in order to protect Japanese residents from anti Japanese movements.

In 1933, Japan withdrew from the League of Nations since she was heavily criticized for her actions in China.

Japanese soldiers bayoneting Chinese civilians in Nanking

Compare this blunt approach to any modern American movie about the Nazis. One moment in Black Sun made me remember a silent movie where Eric Von Stroheim throws a baby out of a high window. The scene looked comical: a swift but lazy cinematic shorthand to make you hate the character in seconds, and tell you what to think about all German commanders.

While City of Life and Death shows only one Japanese leader orchestrating the destruction of the city, Black Sun takes pains to name and shame many different commanders and their personal roles in the killing. This is perhaps another clue to the movie’s intentions.

After a while, the many shock moments reminded me of the climax to Soldier Blue, but in contrast with it’s involving characters, storyline and complex portrayal of the invaders as well as the invaded (Soldier Blue himself is shocked by his own sides’ misconduct). The Japanese soldiers of Black Sun are portrayed with a uniform hive mentality. It also doesn’t help that the Japanese soldiers all look very Chinese. Only the commanders look as if they’re played by Japanese actors. Lazily and inaccurately, the soldiers of both sides talk in Chinese.

I expected this to be far more cheaply made than it is. It looks largely authentic, uses a lot of extras and some extensive locations. The most spectacular scene illustrates how the Japanese burned the bodies of civilians before dumping them in the river. They could then claim that they’d only killed soldiers. The scale of the fire of hundreds of bodies along a riverbank rivals the inferno at the end of Apocalypse Now.

But if there’s any doubt that what we’re being shown happened, the catalogue of atrocities is verified onscreen, by cross-cutting with actual photographs and filmed footage. The power and importance of these images was not lost on the Japanese army who made every effort to destroy any incriminating material that left Nanking at the time, and they burnt any such evidence of their own when the war was lost.

There’s no doubt that all this and worse actually happened, but without any emotional involvement and a clumsy, one-sided approach, it’s a far less powerful and informative film than it should have been.

I watched the US region 1 DVD, which fills in much of the historical context with an informative old documentary episode of Frank Capra’s Why We Fight as a DVD extra.

In the UK, it’s purely been sold as exploitation, check out the crass DVD cover, which somehow borders on comedy, using a poorly staged publicity shot of one of the film’s most infamous scenes. Contrast that with the US DVD cover that uses an actual archive photograph.

This is actually the fourth in a series of films, called Men Behind the Sun, which I won’t be investigating any further. The first film in the series has an important subject, the horrifying human experiments of Camp 731, but the inclusion of animal cruelty and mondo footage (using an actual corpse for one scene) means I’ll avoid it. However, the story of Camp 731 has one hell of conspiracy storyline and I’d like to learn more about it.

Black Sun is a bizarre experience – as it abandons so many movie conventions – that it’s fairly silly to compare it to the professionally and artfully produced City of Life and Death. But I have.

CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH
(2009, China/Hong Kong, Nanjing! Nanjing!)

An involving man-made disaster

This major new film, shot in black and white, is still being premiered round the world. It’s also about the Nanking during the Japanese siege.

While Black Sun throws out plenty of factual context in captions and voiceovers, this has no such introduction and relies on small badly-written postcards to set up a little historical background. Black Sun also portrayed the Chinese, soldiers and civilians alike, as totally defeated. This begins with the army still defending itself, albeit with guerrilla tactics. It also sets up storylines with soldiers from both armies, one Japanese soldier being just as traumatised.

The success of the film is the emotional involvement with the characters, focussing on the family of the Chinese translator to John Rabe – a German envoy famous for his attempts to protect the civilians against impossible odds.

Unlike Black Sun, if anyone gets hurt, raped, slaughtered, the impact is devastating. There’s a dreadful scene that’s basically a point of view experience of being herded into a mass slaughter.


After the threat of counterforce has been systematically eradicated, the invading army are rewarded with ‘comfort women’, Japanese prostitutes rationed out to the soldiers. But as the siege wears on, the supply of women starts taking Chinese ‘volunteers’. The widescale use of civilian women for sex lends an awful, literal meaning to ‘the rape of Nanking’.

While the Japanese use of unnecessary force was meant to terrify the rest of China, it instead unified the regions of the massive country into an unbeatable foe.

The inclusion of a sympathetic portrayal of a Japanese soldier has drawn criticism from Chinese critics, complaining that the tone of the film wasn’t harsh enough on the Japanese. Perhaps they would have preferred a less-sensitive, less balanced film, like Black Sun perhaps?


I’d recommend City of Life and Death as a beautifully made and observed film on a harrowing subject.

It had a limited cinema release in the UK and there’ll be a DVD and Blu-Ray release in August. I watched a Chinese DVD, which may be slightly censored (missing some violence). The subtitles didn’t translate all the onscreen signs and nameplates.

The excellent WildGrounds site has an article comparing City of Life and Death to actual (and upsetting) photos from the siege.

DAI NIPPON WAR IN HONGKONG(1941-1945)

Japanese soldiers marching along Queen's Road on Hong Kong Island in December 1941. 

Japanese soldiers marching along Queen’s Road on Hong Kong Island in December 1941.
Main article: Battle of Hong Kong

In the autumn of 1941, the Third Reich was at its height of power. German forces had overrun much of Western Europe and were racing towards Moscow in the invasion of the Soviet Union. With France under occupation, England was enduring devastating German bombardment almost daily, having to fend off an amphibious invasion. In the Asian theatre, Japan was also experiencing spectacular victories and began consolidating its territorial gains. At the time, the United States was not participating in the war but was seen by the Axis Powers as an obstacle to further global conquest. This prompted Japan to launch a sudden attack against the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. As part of a general Pacific campaign, the Japanese launched an assault on Hong Kong on the morning of December 8, 1941 (Hong Kong local time), less than eight hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. British, Canadian and Indian forces, supported by the Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Forces attempted to resist the rapidly advancing Japanese invasion but were outnumbered. After racing down the New Territories and Kowloon, Japanese forces crossed Victoria Harbour on December 18. After fierce fighting continued on Hong Kong Island, the only reservoir was lost. Canadian Winnipeg Grenadiers fought at the crucial Wong Nai Chong Gap that secured the passage between Hong Kong proper and secluded southern sections of the island. Hopelessly defeated, on December 25, 1941, British colonial officials headed by the Governor of Hong Kong Mark Aitchison Young surrendered in-person at the Japanese headquarters on the third floor of The Peninsula Hotel. On 20 February 1942, General Rensuke Isogai became the first Japanese governor of Hong Kong, ushering in almost four years of Imperial Japanese administration.

Postal History

DN Occupation  issued china local stamp in 1944

Politics

Roots of the Conflict
c. 1890 political cartoon: China & Japan both fishing for Korea

This French cartoon from c. 1890 perceptively states the principal cause of the conflict: Japan and China are both fishing for the same fish – Korea. In the background, Russia watches with avid interest: a Russia for once not caricatured as a huge, clumsy bear, but bearing an uncanny resemblance to Josef Stalin!

The Meiji Emperor around 1884By the time the conflict broke out in 1894, Japan had emerged from her centuries of isolation and boldly stepped into the modern world, adopting Western-style education and industry. Coming to the throne just as Japan was forced to open to the West, the Meiji Emperor had pulled off a slick move by opposing the forces of feudalism, making anyone who obstructed his reforms guilty of personal disloyalty to the throne. The Mikado and his counselors shrewdly picked the very best European models on which to base their new, western-style military: the Prussian Army for their land forces and Britain’s Royal Navy for their ironclad steam navy. While this led to some cultural rivalry between the services (Japanese army officers famously sported dueling scars and clicked their heels like the Kaiser’s men, while Imperial Japanese naval officers affected monocles and called each other “old chap”), Japan’s military was soon the finest homegrown force in all Asia, land or sea. Its first test in full-scale warfare was the Sino-Japanese conflict.

And the Imperial Japanese Navy, at this time mostly composed of vessels purchased from Europe and America, was one of the two foremost forces in Asia. The other was the Chinese navy, also largely purchased abroad, which outnumbered the Japanese by a considerable margin. Fortunately for the Japanese, the rival service was divided into four regional fleets and in the impending war, Japan’s navy had only to fight the Northern, or Beiyang, fleet, China’s second largest division.


The Stakes

Map of the Sino-Japanese War Battle Arena (1894-95)

Japanese cruiser ITSUKUSHIMA, built in FranceThis was to be a war for territory — for control of Korea. Japan specifically targeted tottering China, a traditional rival and enemy since the time Kublai Khan tried to invade the Japanese home islands (1274 and 1281) and lost his fleet to an enormous typhoon — a “kami-kaze,” or divine wind. Now the positions were somewhat reversed. Riven by internal revolt and beggared by the huge indemnities levied by the Western powers increasingly since the Opium Wars of 1839 and 1860, China had lost much of her sovereignty; had sacrificed control over her own finances to pay the ruinous indemnities to the imperial Powers. The Koreans (a tributary state to the Manchu empire) were glad to play both ends, provoking the Japanese and then beseeching the Dragon Throne for protection. Hesitantly, the Manchu dynasty stepped forward with its best troops and modern steam navy to beat back the semi-barbarian Japanese. Japan held no illusions: she was making a bid to join the club of imperial powers who took what they wanted by force and then made their victims pay for the military operations that victimized them. Japan’s first bite was to be Korea and the Liaodong Peninsula just NW of Korea, a strategic key to Manchuria’s mineral wealth, containing easily defensible deep-water ports like Dalian and Lüshun (Port Arthur). It would then be a relatively easy matter to ship Manchuria’s high-quality coal and iron ore to the vast complex of steelworks, armories and shipyards Japan was constructing on the northwest coast of Kyushu — the closest part of Japan to Manchuria. Not coincidentally, this region contained Japan’s principal naval base at Sasebo, a satellite base at Nagasaki and easy access to the base at Kure on the Inland Sea. It was here that Japan’s warship manufacturing base was getting started; by the end of WWI these yards would be busily rolling out dreadnought battlecruisers and 700-foot, 16″ gunned battleships that made every navy in existence take notice.

POSTAL HISTORY OF THE SINO-JAPANESE WAR.
 
 
 
1895 Japanese Military mail from KAWAHASHI Yosouemon, 9th Company, Infantry 9th Regiment,
Hsi-mu-ch’eng Garrison, Shengching Province, Manchuria, China.
Cancel reading ‘1st Army No. 14, Field Post Office, 28. 10. 16′ (16th October 1895), located at Hai-ch’eng.
Sent to a relative, KAWAHASHI YKyosouemon, Ikagu-mura, Ika-gun, Shiga-ken, Japan.
 
 
 
 
 
1896 Japanese Military mail from KAWAHASHI, 9th Company, Infantry 9th Regiment, Taiwan.
Cancel reading ‘No. 2, Field Post Office Formosa, 29. 3. 1’, (1st March 1896), located at T’ai-pai.
Sent to a relative KAWAHASHI, Ika-gun, Shiga-ken, Japan.
Receiving cancel ‘Omi, Kinomoto, 29. 3. 16’, (16th March 1896).
 
 
 
POSTAL HISTORY OF THE BOXER UPRISING.
 
 
 
 
A July 1900 telegram from the British Legation, Peking, China, to England.
 
Reading ‘Allies routed Chinese round Tientsin July 9th. Capturing 6 Guns destroyed fort, Chinese made
determined attack on twelth repulsed with heavy loss, Allies lost 150 killed wounded.
 
 
 
 
   
 
Mail from German Expeditionary Force China.
 
1900 German Military mail from the German warship at Taku, China.
Cancel reading ‘Kaiser Deutsche Marine Schiffspost No. 69, 24/10 00’, (24th October 1900).
 
 
 
 
 
Mail from the French Expeditionary Force in China.
 
1901 French Military mail from the French Legation in Peking, China.
Oval cancel reading ‘Peking, MAR 1 1901’, (1st March 1901).
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mail to the Japanese Expeditionary Force in China.
 
1902 Japanese Military mail outgoing from Japan to the Army Garrison in Tientsin, China.
Outgoing cancel dated 35. 2. 18, (18th February 1902).
Receiving cancel of ‘TIENTSIN I.J.P.O. 22 FEB 02′, (22nd February 1902).
 
 
 
 
  
 
Mail showing the foreign post offices in China of Japanese, Germany, Russian, British, French and the Chinese post office all at Tient-sin.
 
 
 
POSTAL HISTORY OF THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR.
 
 
 
 
 
1904 Japanese Military mail from SASAMOTO Tomigoro, 101 Relief Team, Japan Red Cross Society,
Commissariat Hospital, Manchuria, Expeditionary 3rd Army.
Handstamps in red-orange read ‘Military Mail’ and ‘Senior Doctor HOSOYA Osamu, 101 Relief Team,
Japan Red Cross Society’.
Mail sent to FUKAZAWA Tomizo, Ochiai-mura, Naka-Koma-mura, Kai-no-kuni, Japan.
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
1904 Japanese Military Mail from ship of the Japanese Navy ‘No. 38 Torpedo Boat’ of the 2nd Fleet.
Mail carried back to Japan by the ship ‘Genkai-maru’ built in 1891 at Glasgow, Scotland, of 1,446 tons.
On-board post office of ‘Genkai-maru’ cancel ‘No. 3, Navy Post Office, 37. 7. 12’, (12th July 1904).
Sent to Fujima-mura, Seta-gun, Kouzuke-no-kuni, Gumma-ken, Japan.
Receiving cancel of Kouzuke, Komino, 37. 7. 20′, (20th July 1904).
 
 
 
 
1904 Military Mail from the Japanese 2nd Army at the Sha-ho (Sha River), Manchuria.
Cancel reading ‘No 2 Army, Fied Office No. 1, Branch No. 1, 37 – 9 – 30’, (30th September 1904).
Sent to Japan with receiving cancel dated 37. 10. 8, (8th October 1904).
 
 
 
 
 
 
1904 Russian Military mail from the Ruusia-Holland Sanitary Troops, Kharbin, Manchuria.
Circular ‘Red’ Cross handstamp. Cancel of ‘Head Field Post Office, 22. 9. 04′, (22 September 1904).
On reverse 7 kopek stamp paying the registration fee to St. Petersburg. 

The Fleets Contrasted

Barbette and 12-in guns on replica of Chinese battleship DING YUEN, museum ship in Weihaiwei.But in the 1890s, Japan was still buying its ironclad warships overseas. Nor had China neglected modernization, though in that vast realm, adopting western ways was fraught with more difficulties and contradictions than in Japan. China had been deeply hurt and humiliated time and again at the hands of the western “barbarians”; these continual losses of face, coupled with the increasing internal troubles in China, had fanned the flames of xenophobia and resistance to all things western. It was thus something of a coup that reformer Li Hongzhang (together with Prince Kung and other progressive-minded officials) had been able to bring forth a modern naval establishment: A steam battle fleet, together with the shipyards and arsenals to supply it, located in Shanghai. By 1888, China fielded a fleet of some 78 steel warships, mostly built in England, Germany, and Italy, with several smaller vessels produced by the new Kiangnan and Fuzhou shipyards. The échelon battleship Chen Yuen and her sister Ding Yuen (right), mounting four 12-inch guns apiece, were built at Vulcan Werft in Stettin, Germany in 1882-5 for the Beiyang (northern) fleet. A large number of steel cruisers mounting 6-inch and 8-inch guns, mostly built at Armstrongs or Vulcan, made China’s navy the biggest in Asia; a large number of Rendel gunboats and Rendel cruisers performed river and coast patrol duties and could augment the cruiser navy in an emergency. On paper the Chinese fleet outnumbered the Japanese almost 4:1, and was rated eighth best in the world. Many of the officers were experienced Europeans acting as mercenaries in the Qing dynasty’s service; Adm. Ting’s flagship co-captain was an American, Philo McGiffen, USN (ret.); Ting’s chief military advisor was a German, Major von Hanneken, assisted by a Brit, W.F. Tyler, RNR.

The Japanese fleet, commanded by Vice Adm. Ito Sukeyuki, was under the influence of French 1880s doctrine, with a short-lived affiliation with the French navy cemented by the residence of naval architect Émile Bertin, who later rose to become Chief Constructor for the Marine Nationale Française. Bertin designed the protected cruisers Matsushima and Itsukushima, each mounting a single 12.6″ Canet gun and a dozen 4.9″ weapons, and both built in France. The jeune école philosophy had swayed Japanese naval purchases and strategy, especially after France’s lopsided victory over China in the Sino-French War of 1883-85. Following the naval rout at Fuzhou, Vietnam and present-day Cambodia and Laos were annexed to the French Empire in a union that would last until 1956. Otherwise the IJN was largely British-built, ranging from the Izumi (ex-Esmeralda, purchased from Chile), a 4,300-ton Elswick cruiser armed with two 10″ and six 6″ breech-loading guns, to the old Fuso, a central battery ship built in Britain in 1878 and modernized in the early 1890s for the war that was by then imminent. On paper there was narrow Chinese superiority, with two battleships, seven cruisers, a corvette, two gunboats, and two TBs confronting the Japanese force of one old battleship, eight protected cruisers, a corvette, a gunboat, and a converted liner; or 8 large and 4 small warships (China) versus 10 large and 2 small warships (Japan). Paper didn’t tell the whole story, though. Administrative control of the Chinese fleets lay with regional mandarins. These local fiefdoms were not accustomed to coöperating and making rapid decisions in the national interest. So when the Beiyang (Northern Division) fleet went to meet the Japanese, though it was only the largest of China’s four regional fleets, it did so with no backup from the other 53 warships in the Imperial Chinese Navy. Japan benefited from central control and clear lines of authority, running directly from the Emperor, who was revered as divine.

Moreover, the Chinese fleet had been in decline since 1889 due to a lack of interest in naval matters at the palace. The Dowager Empress Cixi, well along in her seemingly endless career of misrule, commandeered the moneys appropriated for maintaining the Navy and spent them instead on luxuries for herself, including a lavish landscape garden at the Summer Palace outside Beijing. The scenic lakes of this garden included pavilions in the shape of carved stone boats — a pointed slap at the Prince and the reformers. Morale in the fleet had slipped since funds for training and operations started being siphoned off. At the time the war began, there had been no target practice in the Beiyang fleet for months. The ships were in indifferent repair and discipline was slack. Guns were used (in one case) for storing pickles; in another, the ship’s officers had stripped the armament and sold it on the black market for ready cash. Just as in the earlier wars with the British, corruption in contracting ate away at the military effectiveness of the Chinese Navy: Many shells were found to be filled with flour or cement powder rather than explosives. Finally, the entire fleet had been inspected recently, so the ships were freshly coated with flammable paints and varnishes inside and out. By contrast, the Japanese navy was a taut, disciplined instrument of war, poised for combat at a moment’s notice.

“Happy Takeshima Day…?”
Shimane Declares Takeshima Day as February 22nd – Japan Adds Insult to Injury
The following page describes the Japanese Government’s more recent attempts to gain sovereignty over Korea’s Dokdo Island. These rocks located between Japan and Korea are sometimes called Liancourt Rocks or Takeshima.
 
On March 16, 2005, in Matsue, western Japan Shimane prefectural assembly members rose as they voted on the passage of a bill designating February 22 as ‘Takeshima Day’. This was despite Japan’s central government’s efforts to make Shimane Prefecture to give up plans to pass the legislation.

 

The text of the ordinance translated by Kyodo News read as follows:

“…Takeshima Day shall be instituted in order to promote a movement by the citizens of the prefecture, its cities, towns and villages united as one aimed at establishment of territorial rights on Takeshima (Dokdo) at an early date and at enlightening the opinions of the nation with respect to the issue of Takeshima. The prefecture shall strive to implement measures and policies necessary to promote undertakings befitting the purposes and objectives of Takeshima Day…”

Above Left: On March 16th 2005, Shimane’s cabinet rises as “Takeshima Day” is declared February 22nd..
 
This was the 100th anniversary of Japan’s annexation of Liancourt Rocks. (Dokdo) Right Above: A Korean newspaper cartoon depicts Shimane’s cabinet as colonial era Japanese soldiers. Japan “incorporated” Takeshima (Dokdo) during the Russo-Japanese War 1904~1905, while Japan was in the process of colonizing Korea.
Why are the Koreans Outraged About “Takeshima Day”?
Koreans immediately reacted with outrage to the declaration and a firestorm of demonstrations took place immediately thereafter. Why did the Koreans become so enraged when Japan’s celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Shimane Prefecture’s incorporation of Takeshima?
 
Why do Koreans continually draw parallels between Japanese colonialism and Takeshima Day?

 

The following page highlights historical milestones in the days immediately before and after February 22nd 1905, Shimane’s beloved Takeshima Day. Is Takeshima Day, February 22nd, 1905 a day that should be celebrated…?

In the picture to the right, Korean protesters angrily vent their frustration towards Japan’s goverment for what they see as whitewashing Japan’s militaristic past and attempting to encroach onto Korean territory. A detailed study of the circumstances surrounding Japan’s 1905 “incorporation” of Dokdo Island explains Korea’s anger and resentment toward Japan.

January 2nd 1905 –
 
Port Arthur (Lushun) is Captured by Japan’s Second Army
About three weeks before Japan’s cabinet decided to “incorporate” Takeshima, the Japanese Second Army captured Port Arthur and ousted the Russian Pacific Naval Fleet and Army. T
 
he Siege of Port Arthur (Japanese: Ryojun Koisen),
 
1 August 1904 – 2 January 1905,
 
the deep-water port and Russian naval base at the tip of the Liaotung Peninsula in Manchuria, was the longest and most vicious land battle of the Russo-Japanese War.
During the first year of the Russo-Japanese War, Japanese troops landed in Korea and Manchuria and began pushing the Russians back towards their base at Port Arthur. Located on the Liaodong Peninsula, Port Arthur was Russia’s sole warm water port in the Pacific . The campaign saw the introduction of many weapons that would shape the modern battlefield such as the machine gun, barbed wire, rapid-firing howitzers, bolt-action magazine rifles, and mines. Japanese troops began building trenches and digging tunnels under the Russian lines. To bombard the city, large 11-inch Krupp howitzers were brought in which fired 500-lb. shells. Slowly advancing, Japanese troops took the Waterworks Redoubt on September 19, and launched a major attack against Temple Redoubt and 203 Meter Hill.As 203 Meter Hill became the new focus of the battle, the attack continued for the next nine days until the Japanese finally overran the Russian positions. The capture of the hill proved critical as Nogi shifted some of his 11-inch Krupps to its summit. From this position, they were able to hit and sink the Russian warships in the harbor. On the night of 2 January 1905, after Port Arthur surrendered.The Siege of Port Arthur cost the Japanese 57,780 killed, wounded, and missing. The Russians lost 31,306 killed, wounded, and missing. The remaining 23,491 Russian troops were taken into captivity, while their 868 officers were given the choice of joining their men or accepting a parole. To the left above, A map of the Korean peninsula and area during the Russia Japanese War. Important battles are shown, such as Porth Arthur’s Fall (January 2nd 1905) The Battle of Mukden (February 20th 1905) and the Battle of Tsushima (May 27th 1905)

Above left: After the fall of of Port Arthur, January 2nd, a soldier sits atop mountains of spent cartridge cases. Above right: Russian soldiers stare solemnly at the rotting corpses of their fallen comrades. (click picture for larger image)
Seppings Wright’s book “With Togo” published after the war described the destruction in Port Arthur very vividly. “…At the gates of Port Arthur the Russians had built barricades of felled trees and wire entanglements in a last-minute attempt to stop the Japanese, and these were covered with dead soldiers, still clutching swords in their hands…”Great clouds of smoke rose from 203 Meter Hill where the dead were being burned. ..”“…Every inch of the ground had been ploughed by the projectiles, rocks were ground to powder. The trenches on the side could scarcely be traced for they were filled to the level of the ground with Russian corpses, burnt beyond recognition. Such a terrible sight I had never looked upon. Everywhere scorched faces with hideous death grins looked up at us with unseeing eyes from the awful debris…”
The Japanese wood block artists’ renderings found to the right, belie the gruesome reality of this era’s “modern” trench warfare shown in the photos of this page. The first Japanese print celebrates the Fall of Port Arthur (top) The bottom print commemorates the Battle of Nanshan. Japanese Lieutenant Shibakawa Matasaburo raises the rising sun war fan while cutting down a russian soldier. (click pictures for larger image)
January 1st 1905 – Japan’s Imperial Navy Zones the Sea of Japan. How did the fall of Port Arthur relate to Dokdo – Takeshima?
Japanese military records from the Russo~Japan War show that as Port Arthur fell, a plan was quickly implemented to posture for the Russian Baltic Fleet dispatched to help the now captured city. The Japanese knew the Russian Navy now had to steam through the Tsushima Straits their only logical path to Vladivostok. As a result, the Sea of Japan was precisely zoned and regiments of the Japanese Imperial Navy assigned to each area. Of course, the waters surrounding Ulleungdo and Dokdo were incorporated into this plan. On January 1st 1905 maps were submitted showing the waters of the Sea of Japan zoned in preparation of the impending battle. At this point the Russians were steaming around Madagascar.

The map above is an original Japanese Imperial Navy map of the East Sea (Sea of Japan) It is dated the 38th year of Meiji January 1st (1905). The map is tilted showing South~North as left~right respectively. It has been labeled in English for reference. This chart shows how the Japanese Imperial Navy mapped, zoned and then assigned certain naval regiments to each area of the Sea of Japan to engage Russia’s Baltic Fleet. (click map for larger image)
January 5th 1905 – Japan’s Imperial Navy Construction Plans For Military Facilities on Dokdo
Japan’s Imperial Navy’s Plans for Dokdo Expose the Aggressive Nature of her “Incorporation.”
Japan’s plan also included building watchtowers on Takeshima (Dokdo) and linking them with telegraph systems already (illegally) built on Korean soil. On January 5th 1905 Captain Yamanaka Shibakichi of the warship Tsushima submitted the results of his topographical survey of Takeshima to determine the feasability of constucting military facilities on the islets. He confirmed it was difficult, but possible to build on Takeshima’s East islet. This can be seen on Captain Saedo Taketaeru’s Report and Deputy Commander Yamanaka’s map below.

Above left and center: These pages are Japanese Imperial Warship Tsushima’s Captain Saedo Taketaeru’s report for constructing military watchtowers and a telegraph station on Takeshima (Dokdo) Island. Above right: Vice Commander Yamanaka Shibakichi’s map. This data was gathered from the November 20th 1904 survey by the warship Tsushima. These activities were undertaken before Japan’s incorporation and thus prove Japan’s motives for incorporation were not peaceful. (click pictures for larger image)
February 20th 1905 -The Battle of Mukden (Shenyang) Begins
Two days before Japan incorporated Takeshima,The Battle of Mukden (Japanese: Hoten Kaisen), the last major land battle of the Russo-Japanese War, started. It was fought from 20 February to 10 March 1905 between Japan and Russia near Mukden in Manchuria. The city is now called Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province in China. The Russian forces consisted of 275,000 infantrymen, 16,000 cavalry, and 1,219 artillery pieces were under General Alexei Nikolajevich Kuropatkin. The Imperial Japanese Army forces consisted of 200,000 infantrymen, 7,350 cavalry, and 992 artillery pieces, were led by Field-Marshal Prince Oyama Iwao. (see battle map)

Above left: Russian soldiers pose beside a trench filled with the corpses of Japanese soldiers. Above right: Japanese infantrymen take a pause in the battle near Liaoyang, (South of Mukden) to build a funeral pyre preparatory to burning their dead. (click pictures for larger image)

Above left: March 11th 1905, Japanese soldiers march into Mukden through its massive gates as Russian forces fell back in disarray to the mountains in the north. Above right: This painting depicts Japanese soldiers beheading Chinese citizens suspected of Russian sympathies near Mukden (Shenyang) from Le Petit Journal, Paris, 23 April 1905. These incidents were reported by foreign war correspondents. (click pics)
Russian General Kuropatkin had lost one third of his armies in battle. More than 20,000 had been killed or were missing in action, apart from the 20,000 left behind in Japanese hands. The wounded numbered more than 49,000. The Japanese casualties reflected the ferocity of the action. Japanese Field Marshall Oyama lost 15, 892 officers and men killed and 59,612 wounded or more than a quarter of the forces commited to battle.
February 22nd, 1905 – Japan Annexes Dokdo – Takeshima
As 500,000 soldiers, Russian and Japanese gave battle in the blood-soaked trenches of Mukden, a tiny unihabited rock was “incorporated” by Shimane Prefecture. There was no mention of Takeshima (Dokdo’s) real name (Liancourt Rocks) in Shimane’s announcement. (see link) The Japanese government did not announce the Cabinet decision in the official gazette, nor make a public announcement at the central government level. The document shows was stamped as for “internal circulation” and not distributed to the general population. As a result, even the Japanese public themselves were not aware of the incorporation until long after 1905. Due to the harsh conditions on the Sea of Japan, the Imperial Navy couldn’t build their planned watchtower on Takeshima until spring. This would change however after the Japanese Navy would decimate the Baltic Fleet in what would be known as the “Tsushima Massacre” (see link)

Above left: This image is the document “announcing” Japan’s annexation of Dokdo Island. It was an internal document not a public declartion. Above center and right: Japan’s only public announcement was a tiny ad on the second page of a local Japanese language newspaper. No mention is made of the island’s then real names, Dokdo, Liancourt Rocks or Matsushima.
May 27th, 1905 The Infamous ‘Battle of Tsushima’ and Dokdo Island
Three months after Japan siezed Takeshima the Japanese Imperial Navy engaged and destroyed Russia’s Baltic Fleet in the waters surrounding Ulleungdo and Dokdo. The Battle of Tsushima was also known as the “Tsushima Massacre” it was the last and most decisive sea battle of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. It was fought on May 27-28, 1905 in the Tsushima Strait. In this battle the Japanese fleet under Admiral Heihachiro Togo destroyed two-thirds of the Russian fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky. Historian Edmund Morris calls it “…The greatest naval battle since Trafalgar…” It was also the largest naval engagement to the day.
The Battle of Tsushima was the only sea battle in history in which steel battleships fought a decisive fleet action. In addition, much to the Russian Navy’s credit, Admiral Rozhestvensky’s battleship fleet conducted a voyage of over 18,000 nautical miles (33 000 km) to reach their Far Eastern station. Nicknamed the ‘Voyage of the Damed, The map above right shows the 18,000 nautical mile journey of Russia’s Baltic Fleet. They were originally sent to aid besieged Port Arthur (Lushun) While the Russians slogged through the sweltering waters of the tropics, Japanese Admiral Togo prepared for the impending battle at the occupied port city of Chinae, South Korea. Admiral Rozhestvensky was knocked out of action by a shell fragment in his skull. The Russian fleet lost the battleships Knyaz Suvorov, Oslyabya, Imperator Aleksander III and Borodino on May 27. Japanese ships only suffered light damage, mostly to Mikasa. In the evening, Rear Admiral Nebogatov took the command on the Russian side. The Japanese had a large technical supremacy in terms of ordnance. The Russians were using armor-piercing rounds whereas the Japanese were high explosive rounds. (see battle map)

Above left:Russian Admiral Rozhestvensky’s flag battleship Knyaz Suvorov takes a direct hit from the Japanese in the early stages of the Battle of Tsushima. Admiral Rozhestvensky was wounded in the head by a shell fragment, he was transferred to a destroyer that was eventually captured. Rozhestvensky was then taken prisoner by the Japanese navy. Above right: Russian sailors desparately cling to their sinking warships during the Battle of Tsushima.

Above left: The Russian ship Oleg with a gaping hole in her side. She escaped the carnage of Tsushima and limped to Manila where she was interned by American ships. Above right: Admiral Nebogatov commanding the Nakai I surrenders to the Japanese Navy near Takeshima.
During the night action Admiral Togo was able to rest his main fleet of armoured ships. At 9.30am, what remained of the Russian fleet was sighted heading northwards. At 10.34, realising that his situation was hopeless, Admiral Nebogatov ordered six ships remaining under his command to surrender, just south of Takeshima, XGE, an international signal of surrender, was hoisted up, it was only at 10.53 that the Japanese agreed to the surrender.
June 12th , 1905 – Japan’s Imperial Navy Begins Construction on Dokdo – Takeshima
The Battle of Tsushima confirmed the strategic value of Ulleungdo and Dokdo and more detailed plans to build military facilities on Dokdo were drafted immediately following the Battle of Tsushima. About two weeks after 4,380 Russian sailors perished in the Sea of Japan, the Imperial Navy dispatched the warship Hashidate to begin watchtower and telegraph construction on Takeshima.

Above left two images: The construction survey report from the Japanese Imperial Navy for watchtower and telegraph construction. Above right: These are survey maps of Takeshima. The above data was gathered by the warship Hashidate immediately following the Battle of Tsushima. (click images)
The defeat of the Russians around the waters of Ulleungdo Island and Dokdo first spurred a sense of urgency in the Japanese to step up military construction on the islets. With the Russian Navy being less of a threat, the Japanese weren’t as concerned about being attacked while constructing watchtowers. Thus, on June 12th a special team of construction engineers sent by the Japanese Imperial Navy surveyed Takeshima. The report and survey maps are above. (see entire report here)
Japan’s Declaration of Takeshima Day – Korea’s Outrage is Justified
“Historically speaking, what defined Japanese military aggression…?”
Ask any American the above question, they will tell you Japan’s December 7th 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor marked the start of Japanese hostilities. Ask those from northeast Asia and you will get different answers. Chinese and Taiwanese will tell you Japanese aggression started in 1894 with the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. If you ask a Korean they will undoubtedly tell you February 8th 1904 was the start of Japanese military dominance over Korea. (link)
With this in mind, imagine the West’s reaction if Japan commemorated a day celebrating, for example, Japan’s capture of Wake Island or other lands gained furthering Japanese expansionism during World War Two. Through this analogy we can appreciate Korea’s anger. Japan’s decision to honor an annexation of territory for the purpose of colonizing Korea is a slap in the face. To Koreans, Japan’s attempt to dispute the ownership of Dokdo-Takeshima stems from the legacy of Japanese colonialism and imperialism. Some of the newly discovered Japanese military records show these sentiments are well-founded. To the right, Korean actors dramatize Japan’s seizure of Dokdo in this demonstration in front of Gwanghwamun in downtown Seoul. An actor in traditional Korean clothing potrays “Dokdo” slain by a soldier of the Japanese Imperial Army.

Why Japan’s Policy Toward the Dokdo – Takeshima Dispute is Failing

Unlike other countries once involved in colonialist adventures, Japan has not shed its colonial legacy entirely. This Japanese historical baggage still remains an important stumbling block for her. Japan must prove she is a sincere peaceful county to earn the prowess necessary to play a leading role in shaping international affairs.

Japan’s fundamental foreign policy in the Dokdo/Takeshima issue was to increase its diplomatic pressure on the world stage. However, regarding the announcement of Takeshima Day, it was both counterproductive and damaging for Japan to argue over such an unsubstantiated territorial claim to this small Korean islet. Only by washing away its imperialist stains and by giving up once and for all what it took in times of imperialism, can Japan contribute to peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

The Battle of the Yalu

Sinking of Chinese battleship CHIH YUEN at the Battle of the Yalu.As hostilities began, the Japanese occupied the Korean peninsula on the pretext of preserving its independence. Having coerced cooperation from the decadent Korean dynasty, they invested the city of Pyongyang in August 1894; their fleet methodically destroyed all Chinese ships they found in harbor. Japanese Marshal Yamagata surrounded the city and defeated the defenders under Gen. Tso, who was killed in the battle, Sept. 15-16, 1894. The following day the 25 ships of the Beiyang Fleet sailed into Korea Bay to cover a troop landing at the mouth of the Yalu. There they met the 21 ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy in what became known as the Battle of the Yalu (right). Adm. Ting Zhuqang in the Ding Yuen — a cavalry officer recently assigned to command the Beiyang Fleet — opened fire prematurely with his guns pointed dead ahead, destroying his own flying bridge and inflicting blast damage and perforated eardrums on himself and his staff; he was in the sick bay for most of the fight. Although the Chinese fought stoutly in most cases, they did so without their commander. Their ships were older and slower than the Japanese (15 kts versus as fast as 23), and, dare one say, handled with less finesse. And their defective ammunition failed to explode on impact time and again. The war of mobility advocated by the jeune école now served the Japanese well. They clearly had caught on to using speed and maneverability to advantage in action, enveloping the Chinese in a near-complete ring of fire and disabling eight of Adm. Ting’s best ironclads, including the cruiser Chih Yuen: sinking five, killing some 850 Chinese sailors, wounding a further 500. The Chinese battleships were largely unharmed. With one direct hit on the flagship, the Chinese caused serious damage to four of the Japanese vessels and casualties of 90 killed and about 200 wounded, but withdrew on Ting’s order as daylight faded and their ammunition ran out. Meantime on land, Gen. Yamagata routed Chinese forces and marched to the Yalu, the traditional border between Korea and Manchuria (well remembered from the more recent Korean War of 1950-53). In November, Marshal Oyama laid siege to Lüshun (Port Arthur), taking the fortress by storm on the 20th-21st as Ito’s torpedo boats rushed the harbor entrance and turned their machine-guns on the garrison once inside. And once within the town walls, the Japanese troops massacred the defenders to a man, then fell to looting the town to avenge supposed ill-treatment of Japanese POWs, in an incident that quickly got out of hand. The three days’ riot that ensued was sensationalized further by the international press, and is remembered to this day in China; a vast monument to the victims now occupies a prominent hilltop in Lüshun.


The Siege of Weihaiwei & the End Game

Having captured the Liaodong Peninsula, Oyama and Adm. Ito continued wreaking havoc on Chinese fortifications in the Shandong Peninsula on the opposite side of the Gulf of Chihli (or Bohai Gulf). Adm. Ting’s forces had retreated to their fortified base at Liukung Island in Weihaiwei Harbor. During the 23-day siege, they suffered further attrition defending against the bombardment of Weihaiwei, with Chen Yuen running hard aground and halving Chinese battleship strength (she was later refloated and taken into the Japanese fleet). In a battle fought in -26-degree cold (-32° C), 20,000 Japanese crossed the frozen harbor to storm Weihaiwei. On Feb. 12, 1895 Ting bowed to the inevitable and surrendered the remnant of his fleet and the great forts guarding the approaches to Beijing. Already damaged by a Japanese torpedo attack, his flagship was defiantly blown up by her crew to deny her to the Japanese. Japan thus picked up one recent ironclad and a half-dozen serviceable cruisers — in need of some repair, it is true, but at a nominal cost. In a tragic sequel, Adm. Ting refused Adm. Ito’s offer of asylum in Japan; Ting and the greater part of his staff all committed suicide instead. Apparently the cult of seppuku was not unique to the Japanese military class; certainly the shame of defeat is universal. How much greater that shame must be for the servants of an ancient Power, a leader in civilization for over 2,500 years, now clearly going to the dogs.


The Varyag
American-Built Protected Cruiser (1899/1902)

VARIAG at Kronstadt on delivery

The Varyag was built in the Cramps shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, which also produced the battleship Retvizan for the Tsar. She is seen above at Kronstadt shortly after delivery in 1902. Click here to enlarge photo. Varyag was part of the huge naval buildup leading to the Russo-Japanese War. At the very beginning of that conflict, the new cruiser was bested in battle and scuttled by her crew to avoid capture. The ship was subsequently salvaged by the Japanese and sailed in their fleet as HIJMS Soya for many years.

With her length and arrow-like form, Varyag was intended as a commerce raider, swooping down on her prey with overpowering speed. She was originally intended to be boilered with Belleville water-tube boilers, but the builders lobbied hard for using the Niclausse water-tube type instead. The Tsar’s admirals had cause to pull out their hair over that decision, for the ship never lived up to expectations in terms of speed: designed for 25+ knots, with 20,000-HP engines, she seldom exceeded 23. The ship’s engines and boilers were not improved by more than a year’s immersion in sea water off Chemulpo, Korea. In the vessel’s refit following salvage, an extensive rebuild was necessary. The Japanese started by replacing the Niclausse boilers with Miyabara.

The vessel’s name describes the Varangians — legendary traders, mercenaries, and pirates who controlled the water routes through the eastern fringes of Europe from Finland down to the Black Sea by a series of forts in the 9th and 10th centuries. Of Viking and Slavic stock, they controlled much of the trade with Constantinople in the waning years of the Byzantine Empire, and provided much of the military muscle that sustained the Kievan state (“Rus”). These burly warriors and watermen were among the original founders of the Russian state. In medieval times and, indeed, all the way down to the 1917 Revolution, Russian nobles calculated their rank by the proximity of their descent from Rurik the Viking — a legendary Varangian whose descendents founded the Kievan state. A number of powerful warships were named for Rurik in the later Russian Navy.


Ship’s Specifications

Profile & upper deck plan of protected cruiser VARIAG (1902)

Specifications for the Varyag:
Dimensions: 416 x 52′ x 21′ Displacement: 6,500 tons. Armament: (12) 6″/45 cal, (12) 12-pdr, (6) 3-pdr; (4) 18″ torpedo tubes. Armor: Harvey type throughout: CT: 6″, deck: 3″; engine hatches: 4″. Propulsion: coal-fired Niclausse boilers, replaced by Miyabara in 1907; (2) 4-cyl. vertical triple expansion engines, developing 20,000 hp, shafted to twin screw. Maximum speed: 24.6 kts. Fuel capacity: 770 tons of coal normal; 1,250 tons maximum. Operating radius: 960 nm @ 23 kts; 4,500 nm @ 10 kts. Crew: 571.

Metric Specifications:
Dimensions: 126.8m x 15.85m x 6.4m Displacement: 6,500 tons. Armament: (12) 152 mm/45 cal, (12) 12-pdr, (6) 3-pdr; (4) 45 cm torpedo tubes (2 dry, 2 submerged). Armor: Harvey type throughout: CT: 152 mm; deck: 76 mm; engine hatches: 101 mm. Propulsion: coal-fired Niclausse boilers, replaced by Miyabara in 1907; (2) 4-cyl. vertical triple expansion engines, developing 20,000 hp, shafted to twin screw. Maximum speed: 45.56 km/hr. Fuel capacity: 770 tons of coal normal; 1,250 tons maximum. Operating radius: 1,778 nm @ 42.6 km/hr; 25,002 km @ 18.52 km/hr. Crew: 571.


Ship’s History

As hostilities commenced in the first days of February 1904, the Varyag and the gunboat Koriets were surprised in the Korean port of Chemulpo (Inchon) by an overwhelmingly superior Japanese squadron. It was the day before Japan launched its surprise torpedo attack on Port Arthur when the Koriets stumbled upon a troop convoy with 4 batallions of soldiers was on its way to fight the Russians, with a planned landing at Inchon.

VARYAG at Chemulpo before the battleLate on the afternoon of Feb. 8, 1904, a squadron of six Japanese cruisers and eight destroyers, escorting the transports, passed off Inchon to ensure unopposed landings for Japanese troops that night. Setting out for Port Arthur, Koriets ran into the Japanese fleet and saluted the Japanese flag. To their horror, the Russians found their salute returned with deadly force: the sea seethed with torpedoes aimed at them, although none hit. Quickly switching from blanks to live ammo, Koriets got off the first Russian shots of the Russo-Japanese War before scurrying back to Chemulpo to raise the alarm.

Brazenly defying Korea’s neutrality, the Japanese commander, R. Adm. Uryu, proceeded to land his 3,000 troops that night; some occupied Chemulpo while the balance of the force prepared to march on Seoul. Being privy to the war plans, he surely knew that Korea was to be reduced to a puppet state and later taken over by Japan, and so had little reason to respect the Hermit Kingdom’s neutrality. Even so, the Japanese ships all withdrew beyond the harbor before dawn. Having discharged his primary mission, Uryu next morning issued an ultimatum to the Russians, sending the document by boat from the cruiser Naniwa: Leave port by noon or we will attack you in harbor. The captains of the neutral warships in harbor delivered a protest to Uryu, but the Russians had already determined to make such an end as would be celebrated in song. Following the orders of Captain Vsevolod Rudnev, the four funnels of Varyag belched black smoke as she raised steam and sortied to meet her doom, followed by her junior partner, at 11:30 a.m. Large battle flags streamed from their mastheads and the Varyag’s band played the national anthem, “God Save the Tsar!”, as the two warships steamed out to fight.

Japanese wood-block print of Chemulpo battle - KORIETS getting hit Despite the brave show, Russian gunnery proved sadly deficient in the battle that followed. Neither ship put so much as a scratch on any Japanese cruiser. Varyag took hits on her bow and after hull at the waterline, on the foremast and on the bridge; her fearless captain was among the wounded, struck by shrapnel from a shell bursting on the foremast. Varyag was still a tenable contender until her steering was damaged; she could still maneuver, with difficulty, using engines and a crew muscling the big wheels in the steering flat, but responsiveness was sluggish and she responded poorly in currents; Inchon is noted for tricky tides and currents. After an hour’s bloody affray, all the cruiser’s 6-inch guns had been put out of action. Varyag limped back into harbor about 12:45, listing and flaming, laden with 33 dead and 191 wounded. The Koriets, largely masked by the Varyag’s bulk, came back relatively unscathed. Faced with insuperable odds, Rudnev ordered both ships scuttled once the wounded had been taken off. Around 6:30 p.m. the big cruiser capsized onto her starboard side in the shallow anchorage. Meanwhile, the Koriets had been blown to atoms by her crew. At 4:00 sharp, two terrific explosions tore her hull and a dense, grey mushroom cloud shot skyward. As the smoke cleared over the turbulent water where the warship had floated, only jagged bits of wreckage and the top 4 feet of her funnel could be seen. Her hull had broken into three pieces, the foremost of which landed upside down in the harbor mud.

The survivors of both vessels escaped capture. The wounded were treated ashore in Inchon, while many of the survivors were taken aboard neutral warships that were in port, all of which had been watching the day’s events with eager interest. The foreign warships included HMS Talbot, the Italian cruiser Elba, the USS Vicksburg and Pompey (collier), and the French cruiser Pascal.

The Russian mariners enjoyed international fame for their heroic (and well-publicized) fight. After the war, the heavily damaged Varyag was salvaged and laboriously repaired in Japan. Honoring their foe, the Japanese conferred the Order of the Rising Sun on Capt. Rudnev and placed monuments to the battle at Seoul and Inchon; Korea was nominally independent but really under increasing Japanese control until 1910, when it was formally annexed by Japan.

Renamed Soya, the ex-Varyag was taken into the Mikado’s fleet, commissioning in 1908. But the ship was among several ex-Russian prizes sold back into the Tsar in 1916. The following year she was undergoing overhaul in Britain when successive waves of revolution and civil war broke over Russia. Sold to Germany for scrap, she foundered while under tow to the wreckers in 1920; her remains rest in the Firth of Clyde to this day. The site overlooking her sinking at Lendlefoot, Scotland was used for a joint Russo-Scottish ceremony dedicating a memorial marker on July 30, 2006 — Russian Navy Day. Because of their gallant action at Chemulpo, the ship and her crew are revered to this day in Russia. A song written by Rudolf Grenz, glorifying the ship’s exploits, has become the unofficial anthem of the Russian Navy. The fighting spirit of the Varyag thus is linked closely to the esprit-de-corps of the entire service.


Relevant Web Resources


A Varyag Picture Gallery

The VARIAG - wedge view, 1902
Varyag at Philadelphia shortly after completing.

The VARIAG fitting out at Philadelphia
Varyag fitting out at Cramps’ yard.

The VARIAG fitting out at Philadelphia
The Varyag’s forecastle head.

The VARIAG's wheelhouse
Wheelhouse of the Varyag.

The VARIAG fitting out at Philadelphia
Varyag’s housetop with funnels, ventilator cowls, and flying bridge for swift access.

The VARIAG fitting out at Philadelphia
Varyag viewed from astern.

The VARIAG - distant view w/battleship at Port Arthur, c. 1903
Arrival at Port Arthur: Varyag and one of the Petropavlovsks. Enlarge

The VARIAG in drydock at Port Arthur
Soon after arriving, Varyag occupies the graving dock at Port Arthur, 1903.
Enlarge


The Battle of Chemulpo

The gunboat KORIETS of 1886, dressed over all

The Varyag’s squadron-mate in the Far East was the 1,300-ton gunboat Koriets. This peculiar-looking ram, completed in 1887, carried two 8″/35 in sponsons, a 6″/35 on the quarterdeck, two 4.2″ guns, and six small quick-firing guns. The feisty Koriets had a speed of 13.3 kts, fired the first gunshots of the Russo-Japanese War. Her picturesque barquentine rig shown here had been cut down to a three-mast military rig some years before the battle.

The VARYAG and KORIETZ sortie from Chemulpo, 2/9/04
Varyag and Koriets steam into battle, 11:15 a.m., February 9, 1904.
Photos of the Japanese squadron at Chemulpo.

VARYAG in battle with the Japanese - boxtop art for Zvezda 1:350 model kit
Varyag‘s guns spit defiance at the numerically superior Japanese cruiser fleet.

The Russian vessels burning at Chemulpo, 2/9/04

The Varyag and Koriets burn and founder in Chemulpo Harbor as their crews row off: Japanese propaganda postcard.

The KORIETS' magazines explode at Chemulpo, 2/9/04
The Koriets blows sky-high at Chemulpo: photo taken by the American consul from the gunboat USS Vicksburg in port.

The VARYAG sunk at Chemulpo
Varyag scuttled by her crew at Chemulpo.


Final Years

The Japanese protected cruiser SOYA, formerly the Russian VARYAG, in secluded cove with misty trees
Varyag refurbished and mustered into the Mikado’s fleet as HIJMS Soya.

The Japanese protected cruiser SOYA, formerly the Russian VARYAG, in harbor with smoke
Another view of HIJMS Soya, ex-Varyag.

Postage stamp honoring the VARYAG
Soviet-era 3-kopeck postage stamp of the Varyag, ironically issued in the middle of the Cold War.

The RURIK's 10

The reverence which Russians feel for the ship may be appreciated on beholding this monument to the Varyag. Dedicated on Navy Day, 2006, it stands on the Scottish bluffs overlooking the spot where the cruiser sank in a raging storm in 1920.

 

The Treaty of Shimonoseki

The Chen Yuen in drydock at ShanghaiThe Japanese were now in a most advantageous position as the Chinese delegation under Li Hongzhang sued for peace in March 1895. An extremely punitive peace, along the lines of the treaty that concluded the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, was hammered out at Shimonoseki, overlooking the straits between Kyushu and Honshu — looking towards the great Yawata Steelworks then under construction at Fukuoka. As was common practice in those days, Japan’s occupation of Port Arthur and the Liaodong territory was euphemistically called a “lease” (the U.S. presence on Cuban soil at Guantánamo is so designated to this day). Japan’s primacy in Korea was recognized (Japan annexed the territory in 1910). China was assessed an indemnity of £25 million, equal to 15% of Japan’s GNP — and they couldn’t very well say no. Japan also swallowed what remained of the Chinese imperial fleet — to make it that much easier the next time she had a go at China, one supposes. With her newfound wealth, Japan hastened to order a half-dozen of the latest pre-dreadnought battleships from British yards — and settled in for a lengthy occupation of Weihaiwei to guarantee the indemnity would be paid on schedule. So far things seemed quite satisfactory from the Japanese point of view. At left, the Chen Yuen in drydock at Shanghai (enlarge). She and her sister Ding Yuen, Ting’s flagship, were China’s most advanced warships present at the Yalu, having been delivered in 1885.

Specifications for the pair:
Dimensions: 308′ x 59′ x 20′ Displacement: 7,430 tons std; 7,670 tons deep laden. Armament: four 12″/25 en barbette, with all-round 3.5″ gun shield; two 5.9″ in single turrets; six 37mm Hotchkiss machine guns; three torpedo tubes. Armor: Compound type. 14″ citadel, 12″ barbette, 3½” shields, 3″ secondary turrets & deck; 8″ CT. Fuel capacity: 700 tons of coal, normal; 1,000 tons maximum. Propulsion: 8 coal-fired cylindrical boilers; (2) 3-cyl horizontal trunk engines developing 7,200 IHP, twin screw. Speed: 15.7 kts. Tactical radius: 4,500 nm. Crew: 363. Cost: 6.2 million gold marks (US $1.5 million).

Metric specs:
Dimensions: 94m x 18m x 6.1m Displacement: 7,430 tons std; 7,670 tons deep laden. Armament: four 305 mm/25 en barbette, with all-round shield; two 150mm in single turrets; six 37mm Hotchkiss machine guns; three torpedo tubes. Armor: Compound type. 356 mm citadel, 305 mm barbette, 89 mm main gun shields, 76 mm secondary turrets & deck; 254 mm CT. Fuel capacity: 700 tons of coal, normal; 1,000 tons maximum. Propulsion: 8 coal-fired cylindrical boilers; (2) 3-cyl horizontal trunk engines developing 5,369 kW, twin screw. Speed: 29 km/hr. Tactical radius: 8,334 km. Crew: 363.


The Tripartite Intervention

Replica of battleship DING YUENBut some members of the imperialist “club” were not at all pleased at the prospect of their would-be new member. As nonwhite applicants to country clubs can attest, becoming the first person of color to stroll the links can be fraught with controversy; so much more so with becoming a member of the most exclusive club of all. The principal troublemaker was Russia, the avaricious presence in our old cartoon at the top of the page; coveting the very territories Japan had won by force of arms, with willing compliance from the Kaiser and more reluctant complicity by the French. In what became known as the Tripartite Intervention, the three Powers demanded that Japan relent and give the territories back to China “to guarantee China’s sovereignty.” In a display of unvarnished hypocrisy that would remain unequaled until the Soviet-Nazi Pact of 1939, the continental Powers backed up the demand with a massive naval and troop buildup in the Bohai Gulf, threatening joint action against Japan if she did not comply; and Japan had no choice but to knuckle under. No sooner had Japan backed down than Russia coerced these very same territorial rights for herself that she had so recently denounced Japan for getting. The difference, of course, was that Japan had won these privileges on the battlefield, while Russia merely exacted them by blackmail. This was only too typical of Russia’s behavior in the Far East all through the period.

Naturally enough, this incident and the monumental bad faith of Russia spawned bitterness and outrage in Japan. The continuing belittling behavior and offhanded attitude of the Tsar’s servants — particularly Viceroy Alexeiev at Port Arthur — rubbed ever more salt into Japan’s wounds. By 1898 Russia had moved into Port Arthur and begun to transform it into a formidable fortress and naval base from which the Tsar could base economic exploitation of Manchuria, railroad building, and further military adventures aimed at Japan and China, and indirectly at Britain and other imperial rivals. Half of Japan’s hard-won war gains had been given to a dangerous, treacherous rival, one new to a region that was old familiar turf for Japan. And it had been a great loss of face to submit to the Tripartite sabre-rattling. Japan was seething.


The Rise of the “Yellow Peril” Myth

Racist anti-Japanese cartoon of 1905One aspect that particularly rankled the Japanese was the blatant way Russia and her henchmen in the Intervention played the race card. It may not have been coincidental that right at this time, a great deal of literature about the “Yellow Peril” found its way into print. Partly used as an excuse to limit immigration to the U.S., part as a means of chastising Europeans for being too slack and luxury-loving and exhorting them to become more militaristic, the literature was a new branch of the jingoistic fiction of empire so much in vogue, from The Boys’ Own Paper to Rudyard Kipling‘s Barrack Room Ballads. Hitherto the racism of these writings had been aimed primarily at East Indians, Black Africans, and Native Americans; now “Orientals” started getting hit thick and hard.

The Germans were among the most active and inventive purveyors of the Yellow Peril myth; the term “Yellow Peril” was coined by Kaiser Wilhelm himself, in fact; governing several million Chinese in his Shandong colony, he was apparently feeling the heat from the new Power active in that neighborhood (note on map that Weihaiwei is only 200 km, or 124 mi., from Qingdao as the gull flies). The Kaiser’s feelings on race are on record and consistent; he also bandied about the terms “Black Peril” (black Africans) and “Slav Peril” to undergird the theory that the Reich was encircled by enemies, justifying ever-greater military expenditures. Many anecdotes center around his despatch of a 30,000-man force to wreak bloody vengeance on China after the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and in the wake of Russia’s duplicity in the Tripartite Intervention, Great Britain reached out to Japan. Japan’s capital ships had been built in Britain and many of her leading naval commanders studied in British naval academies and served with the British fleet. So it was that in 1902 Britain signed her first ever foreign alliance: the Anglo-Japanese Pact of 1902. This was certainly aimed at Russia, Britain’s rival in the “Great Game” wherein Britain sought to secure the Khyber Pass region and protect her Indian Empire.

Dragon Figurehead of CHEN YUENBritain continued arming and training Japan in hopes she would fight a proxy war against Russia and win. Few other European Powers took the Japanese seriously; perhaps knowing the capabilities of her military minds at first hand, the British were more respectful of the disciplined Sons of Nippon. (Japan was also an excellent customer of Armstrong, Vickers, John Brown et al. as she raced to build up her predreadnought fleet to fight the Russians.) Thus it was that when Japan and Russia came to blows in 1904 — fighting a much longer and more costly war over the same ground Japan had won from China ten years earlier — the Japanese burned to prove themselves with an even more sweeping victory. In 1905 Japan did get to keep the territories she won by force of arms; but she was once again forced to abandon some of her broader war aims, ones which would give her legitimate membership in the “club.” Once again she was blackballed, denied a large indemnity for what had been a much longer, harder, more expensive war. Now that she had defeated a proper Caucasian Great Power fair and square, the hysterical racism reached an even louder pitch than when she had triumphed over China. For a full analysis, read our history of the Russo-Japanese War.


A Sino-Japanese War Picture Gallery

Japanese cruisers sink Chinese merchant shipping at Pyongyang, provoking confrontation with China.

A view of the Battle of the Yalu, one of several by Kobayashi Kiyuchika, a Japanese artist who documented the entire conflict superbly — from the Japanese point of view. Here the flagship Matsushima breaks the enemy line, blasting Chinese warships to port and to starboard. Enlarge

Another, more distant view of the Battle of the Yalu by Kobayashi. An officer surveys the action as the Chinese fleet burns a short distance across the waves.    Enlarge

Another triumphalist woodblock print by Kobayashi, treats the sinking of a Chinese vessel with considerable imagination. Where are the ghosts? Maybe you can see them when you click to enlarge.

Adm. Ting's surrender (1895): Woodblock print by Kobayashi Kiyuchika

Adm. Ting and staff (including European captains) surrender what is left of the Beiyang Fleet after the naval battle and bombardment of Weihaiwei, Feb. 1895. Contemporary woodblock print by Migita Toshihide. The Chinese navy did not adopt western-style uniforms until 1909. Enlarge

The Chinese emissaries, including Li Hongzhang, meet with their Japanese counterparts to negotiate the Treaty of Shimonoseki, April 1895.

The 4,150-ton Elswick cruiser Yoshino was built by Armstrong’s in Britain, had a 2½” protective deck and mounted six 6″ guns. At 23 kts. she was the swiftest in the Japanese fleet in 1894-5. Ship was sunk in a collision with the Kasuga in 1904.

HIJMS Itsukushima firing a salute

The heaviest units in the Japanese fleet were a sort of hybrid protected cruiser/battleship built in France. They were custom designed for the IJN by Louis Émile Bertin, later to be Chief Constructor of the French Navy. These three ships each carried one 12.6″ Canet gun each en barbette and a dozen 4.7″ on broadside. The Itsukushima (shown), completed 1889, carried the big gun forward (schematic); her sister-ship Hashidate was built to the same design in Japan, completing 1891. The Matsushima of 1890 cleverly rearranged the same elements, mounting the gun aft, and actually proved a faster and handier ship (schematic) and was Ito’s flagship at the Yalu and later. But over all these were not successful ships; they were certainly not beautiful. The Canet guns were beset by technical failures so extreme they could only fire one round per hour. At the Yalu, the flagship suffered a 12″ hit which caused numerous casualties. After the peace, as soon as the Chinese indemnity payments started rolling in, Japan went shopping at British shipyards. Ten years later Japan’s British-built battle fleet annihilated a largely French-built (or at least French-influenced) Russian armada, validating Japan’s switch of providers.

The 220-foot, 3,700-ton central battery ship Fusô, built in Britain in 1878, was one of the oldest ironclads in the Japanese battle fleet in 1894-5. Protected by a 4½” belt of obsolete wrought-iron armor, she carried six 9.5″ (240mm) RML and 8 MG. At the Yalu she took 8 direct hits, killing 2 crewmen and wounding 12. Fusô was scrapped in 1910 after a long and distingished career.

The Tsi Yuen, like many of the Chinese cruisers of her generation (1884), was built at Vulcan Werft in Stettin, Germany. Shown here after her capture by Japan, she was typical of the protected cruisers in Ting’s fleet. At 2,300 tons, she mounted two 8.2″ Krupp BLR and one 5.9″, steamed at 15 knots on her twin compound engines, and carried a 3″ armored deck and 10″ compound armor on the barbettes. Delivery of the four cruisers and two battleships completing at Vulcan was delayed ten months so that they would not influence the outcome of the Sino-French War. After capture, Tsi Yuen sailed under the Rising Sun ensign for more than nine years. She was sunk by a mine during the Russo-Japanese War. Her guns are on display today at Lüshun and Liukung.

The Chen Yuen taken into Japanese service as the Chin En (the Japanese pronunciation of her name, written with the identical Chinese characters). She was later in the fleet that fought the Russians at Tsushima in 1905. Enlarge

After Port Arthur surrendered, Japanese troops butchered the remaining garrison and ransacked the town. The American and world press exaggerated this misbehavior, using the incident to push the “yellow peril” button. No such outcry went up 5 years later when the allied western nations pillaged Beijing in the wake of the Boxer Rebellion.

Touching painting of the toll of war on Chinese civiliansWar is never easy on civilians. In an age before photojournalism came of age, the combat correspondent artist depicted the scenes of struggle and suffering, often with remarkable clinical precision. Here on-the-scene artist H.W. Korkworth has rendered the despair of one unfairly despoiled civilian family in Manchuria (click here to see the fine detail). They sit in the street next to their ruined home, their butchered pony lying in the snow and their few undamaged possessions heaped in the roadway. The mother buries her face in her hands in despair as her young son tries to comfort her; Cossacks ride off into the snowy night, he gazes after them. Will he grow up determined to avenge this moment, hating the soldiers who did this to his family and the country that sent them? One wonders.

As a result of colonial conflicts, generations of Asians knew little but war and hardship in the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the twentieth. Korea and Manchuria were seats of conflict that did not pause until the Korean Armistice of 1953 — proof of the adage that mineral riches are often a curse rather than a blessing to the natives.

The elite members of the Imperial Club show little enthusiasm for their new member. The cartoonist pokes fun at the Japanese’s inappropriate mix of old and new attire: full western frock coat combined with traditional wooden geta on his feet, umbrella held awkwardly under the arm; buck-toothed grin and slitted eyes are easily identifiable racist stereotypes.

This British “chromo” cartoon of 1901 lampoons the situation after the Boxer Rebellion was quelled: The imperial powers cluster around the prostrate carcass of the golden dragon, China, to claim their share. Newcomers Japan (sabre-toothed tiger, with samurai short sword in mouth), Italy (toothy dog in carabinieri garb) and U.S. (one of 3 eagles) are just as aggressive, though not as large, as the Russian bear and British lion. France is seen here as a rooster, Austria the two-headed eagle. In truth, economic decline and social instability had wracked China since the 1860s. Even so, by 1900 signs of imminent collapse were appearing — a collapse greatly hastened by the dynasty’s siding with the Boxers. The several years of foreign occupation and looting that ensued destabilized Chinese society and resulted in increased foreign control and further deligitimization of the dynasty. In 1902, when order was restored, it had barely 10 years to live. The toothless Republic that succeeded it never established broad national control. In less time than it takes to tell, China broke down into chaos, civil war, and warlordism — when combined with the 8-year Japanese invasion and occupation, a dark tunnel of horrors from which the population did not emerge until 1950. This fine drawing may serve as a metaphor for the squabble of the imperial powers over how best to dismember the defunct Chinese Empire

The Russo-Japanese War Begins

Destroyers mixing it up outside Port Arthur
Russian and Japanese destroyers clash off Port Arthur in the opening phase of the war.

The war’s origins lay in the conflicting territorial ambitions of both sides for the strategic port city of Lüshun (Port Arthur), occupied by Russia since 1897 after Japan was displaced by the Tripartite Intervention of 1895. Russia had been energetically turning the town into an impregnable fortress and naval base ever since. The city was the key to Manchuria’s mineral wealth; Russia had built a railroad down the Liaodong Peninsula to exploit the massive coal and metal desposits of the region, running between Port Arthur and their railhead on the Trans-Siberian Railway at Mukden, the ancient Manchurian capital.
Map of the theatre of war
Their hatred inflamed by the gratuitous taunts and contempt of the Russian administration (Prince Alexander Alexeiev, Viceroy at Port Arthur; M. Pavlov, Russian Ambassador to Beijing), the Japanese gave up on diplomacy and advanced their plans for open war. In a striking precursor to Pearl Harbor, they launched a sneak attack on the Russian fleet at Port Arthur. The Russian ships were blazing with light on the night of Februrary 8, 1904, when blacked-out Japanese torpedo boats crept into the enemy’s roadstead and delivered a devastating attack, neutralizing two of Russia’s best battleships (Tsesarevich and Retvizan) and incapacitating most of the rest of her fleet. In a follow-up raid the next day, Togo’s battleships steamed up and down just beyond the Tiger’s Tail, shelling the hapless Russian fleet at the waterline. The results showed the Russians to have been utterly unprepared for this crippling one-two blow.

It was an awkward situation for the Russians. They had only one drydock at Port Arthur capable of handling their largest vessels, so repairs had to be tackled serially, meaning their powerful fleet remained out of action for months. Meantime the harbor would be filled with grounded warships, canted at grotesque angles on the mudflats inside the Tiger’s Tail, awaiting their turn in drydock: reminders of the Port’s vulnerability to this superbly well-prepared enemy. In addition to the two battleships cited above, the Poltava was shelled at the waterline; the cruisers Pallada and Diana were seriously damaged by torpedoes; the cruiser Novik was damaged by shellfire; the 5-funnel Askold also suffered minor damage from Japanese shells. The Japanese suffered no losses in these initial raids.
Battle of Chemulpo
Also caught out as hostilities commenced were the Russian protected cruiser Varyag (built by Cramps in Philadelphia) and gunboat Koriets, in the Korean port of Chemulpo (Inchon). When a squadron of Japanese cruisers and destroyers arrived in the bay to ensure unopposed landings for Japanese troops on Feb. 8, the four-funneled Varyag sortied to meet her doom, her band playing the Russian nationl anthem as she stood down the harbor past warships of many nations. After an hour’s bloody affray, the cruiser limped back into the harbor to die; damaged, ountnumbered, and cornered, she was fired and scuttled by her own crew after the wounded had been taken off. The Koriets was blown up by her crew; the survivors escaped capture and many were taken aboard the French cruiser Pascal in port. They enjoyed international fame for their heroic (and well-publicized) fight. The heavily damaged Varyag was salvaged after the War and taken into the Mikado’s fleet, but was one of a number of ex-Russian vessels returned to the Tsar’s Navy in 1916. Click here for a full account of the action.

When Stepan O. Makaroff arrived in Port Arthur later in February, he took over as naval Commander-in-Chief there, immediately bringing energetic leadership and technical competence to the problems confronting the Pacific Squadron. Makaroff arrived on a train loaded with spare parts and shipbuilding tools and immediately set about repairing the damaged warships in situ by means of cofferdams built around damaged portions of their hulls. This greatly speeded their return to action. Makaroff, too, set an example of being ready to go at a moment’s notice. He was willing to leap onto a destroyer’s deck and join the chase at once, as opposed to waiting hours for grander ships to raise steam. That impetuosity of character later was to cost him dearly, but at the beginning it helped to stir up the lethargic Russian navy in the Far East.

Russian cruisers raiding commerce
Cruisers Rossiya and Gromoboy sink an unarmed Japanese merchantman, Feb. 11, 1904.

Russia’s second squadron in the Far East consisted of four large armored cruisers based at Vladivostok, on the other side of the Korean Peninsula. These vessels were ordered to sea to retaliate by raiding Japanese commerce in the Sea of Japan. In the one incident of note, the four cruisers encountered a wallowing 1,000-ton freighter, the Nakanoura Maru, built in 1865 and a smaller vessel, Zensuko Maru, only 9 years old and of 319 tons. The smaller of the two made good her escape while all 4 cruisers ganged up on the old cargo ship, sending her to the bottom (above) after taking her crew prisoner. This seems a peculiar strategy, and one contrary to the rules of cruiser warfare, which would have stopped at taking the vessel as a prize of war and paroling her crew. On a separate sortie, Gromoboi sank the Japanese troopship Hitachi Maru with great loss of life. These were the only exploits of the Vladivostok squadron, however. When Adm. Kamimura showed up with a battleship, six cruisers and a TB flotilla to bombard Vladivostok in revenge, the homeported fleet cowered inside the Golden Horn and would not be lured out. Though damage to the town was minimal, the bombardment noticeably dampened the residents’ morale. The Vladivostok Squadron was later defeated in battle with Kamimura’s cruisers off the southern coast of Korea in the action known as the Battle off Ulsan, Aug. 14, 1904.

PETROPAVLOVSK exploding after hitting a mineWith that, the Japanese had asserted strategic command of the sea and placed the Russians in a defensive mode from which they never truly recovered. The two Russian fleets never managed to link up. The Japanese Navy continued to harass the blockaded Russians, depleting their fleet with mines and torpedo attacks, bombarding the town and port of Port Arthur from long range, and inviting fleet action by sending weak squadrons to cruise close offshore, within sight of the harbor, while their battleship division lurked just over the horizon, ready to swoop down on unwary Russians. One of the signal Japanese successes was to lure out the Russians’ charismatic and inspiring commander, Admiral Stefan Makaroff, and lead him over a freshly laid minefield. Makaroff’s flagship, the battleship Petropavlovsk, detonated two mines and dissolved in a puff of grey-brown smoke (right), sinking in mere minutes with all hands. This catastrophe left the Russian navy bereft of its most capable and daring commander, as became apparent when the remaining Port Arthur fleet, attempting a breakout for Vladivostok, clashed with the Japanese in the Battle of the Yellow Sea, August 10, 1904. While Tsesarevich and Askold escaped with a severe mauling, Adm. Witgeft was killed in the battle and the remaining Russian ships retreated to Port Arthur, where they remained bottled up for the rest of the war, their battle damage unrepaired: a highly visible premonition of doom.

The remaining Russian warships in the East being in no condition to sortie, the Tsar determined to break the siege of Port Arthur. He scraped together his entire remaining strength in warships — indeed, a motley collection, since most of his best ships had been deployed to Port Arthur — and sent them off around the globe from the Baltic. The story of this gargantuan undertaking is well told in Richard Hough’s The Fleet That Had to Die, in Constantine Plekhanov’s The Tsar’s Last Armada, and in more abbreviated form on our Battle of Tsushima page. The Russians were refitting while halfway to the East, when they received news that Port Arthur had fallen in one of the greatest sieges of modern times; this time the fortress would remain in Japanese hands. Sunk by plunging shellfire from Japanese siege guns, the Russian warships caught at Port Arthur would all be salvaged, reconditioned, and see service under the Rising Sun — all but one. And following Port Arthur’s capitulation came an even greater defeat on land, as Gen. Alexei Kuropotkin (the Russian C.-in-C.) was dislodged from his heavily fortified position at Mukden, in what was the greatest pre-WWI land battle, involving more than 600,000 troops. Though the Russian armies outnumbered the Japanese almost 2:1, it ended in a Russian rout, with the Japanese driving their defeated enemy northwards along the high road and parallel railroad line, running them out of Manchuria. They did not return until 1945.

The war climaxed in a colossal naval defeat for the Russians when their Baltic Fleet, renamed the Second Pacific Squadron, reached the theater of war in late May 1905 after a long and trying passage of more than 19,000 nautical miles. At the Battle of Tsushima, one of the greatest naval victories of all time was won. This thrilling event is fully documented in our suite of pages relating to it. This naval win capped a sweep of all war objectives by Japan and set the stage for the peace negotiations, thoroughly documented in linked Web resources above. Once again, what was won on the battlefield was partially withdrawn at the peace table. In a little-remembered episode of Japanese-American friction, resentment over the perceived anti-Japanese bias of President Theodore Roosevelt, who brokered the peace deal, led to anti-U.S. riots across Japan when the terms of the treaty were published. Japanese resentment over the incident burned long: it was cited among the provocations justifying the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Russian battleships break out at the Battle of the Yellow Sea

A faithful view of the Russian fleet sortieing from Port Arthur en route to the Battle of the Yellow Sea, August 10, 1904. Prominent here are the American-built battleship Retvizan (left) and the five-funnel cruiser Askold (right).

Browse the pages above for a more detailed photo history of the campaigns of this, the greatest naval conflict of the Pre-Dreadnought Era, and the greatest land war prior to World War I. Examine the roots of the conflict — and its racial dimension — in our Sino-Japanese War page. Follow our hot links to the abundant material available on the World Wide Web. Or just browse through the pictorially rich histories of individual ships involved. It’s all just a mouse-click away at the Big, Bad Battleships Russo-Japanese War site.

Japanese TBs attacking Russian fleet, 1905
In a contemporary woodblock print, Japanese TBs attack Russian vessels at Tsushima, 1905

The Fleets Contrasted

Barbette and 12-in guns on replica of Chinese battleship DING YUEN, museum ship in Weihaiwei.But in the 1890s, Japan was still buying its ironclad warships overseas. Nor had China neglected modernization, though in that vast realm, adopting western ways was fraught with more difficulties and contradictions than in Japan. China had been deeply hurt and humiliated time and again at the hands of the western “barbarians”; these continual losses of face, coupled with the increasing internal troubles in China, had fanned the flames of xenophobia and resistance to all things western. It was thus something of a coup that reformer Li Hongzhang (together with Prince Kung and other progressive-minded officials) had been able to bring forth a modern naval establishment: A steam battle fleet, together with the shipyards and arsenals to supply it, located in Shanghai. By 1888, China fielded a fleet of some 78 steel warships, mostly built in England, Germany, and Italy, with several smaller vessels produced by the new Kiangnan and Fuzhou shipyards. The échelon battleship Chen Yuen and her sister Ding Yuen (right), mounting four 12-inch guns apiece, were built at Vulcan Werft in Stettin, Germany in 1882-5 for the Beiyang (northern) fleet. A large number of steel cruisers mounting 6-inch and 8-inch guns, mostly built at Armstrongs or Vulcan, made China’s navy the biggest in Asia; a large number of Rendel gunboats and Rendel cruisers performed river and coast patrol duties and could augment the cruiser navy in an emergency. On paper the Chinese fleet outnumbered the Japanese almost 4:1, and was rated eighth best in the world. Many of the officers were experienced Europeans acting as mercenaries in the Qing dynasty’s service; Adm. Ting’s flagship co-captain was an American, Philo McGiffen, USN (ret.); Ting’s chief military advisor was a German, Major von Hanneken, assisted by a Brit, W.F. Tyler, RNR.

The Japanese fleet, commanded by Vice Adm. Ito Sukeyuki, was under the influence of French 1880s doctrine, with a short-lived affiliation with the French navy cemented by the residence of naval architect Émile Bertin, who later rose to become Chief Constructor for the Marine Nationale Française. Bertin designed the protected cruisers Matsushima and Itsukushima, each mounting a single 12.6″ Canet gun and a dozen 4.9″ weapons, and both built in France. The jeune école philosophy had swayed Japanese naval purchases and strategy, especially after France’s lopsided victory over China in the Sino-French War of 1883-85. Following the naval rout at Fuzhou, Vietnam and present-day Cambodia and Laos were annexed to the French Empire in a union that would last until 1956. Otherwise the IJN was largely British-built, ranging from the Izumi (ex-Esmeralda, purchased from Chile), a 4,300-ton Elswick cruiser armed with two 10″ and six 6″ breech-loading guns, to the old Fuso, a central battery ship built in Britain in 1878 and modernized in the early 1890s for the war that was by then imminent. On paper there was narrow Chinese superiority, with two battleships, seven cruisers, a corvette, two gunboats, and two TBs confronting the Japanese force of one old battleship, eight protected cruisers, a corvette, a gunboat, and a converted liner; or 8 large and 4 small warships (China) versus 10 large and 2 small warships (Japan). Paper didn’t tell the whole story, though. Administrative control of the Chinese fleets lay with regional mandarins. These local fiefdoms were not accustomed to coöperating and making rapid decisions in the national interest. So when the Beiyang (Northern Division) fleet went to meet the Japanese, though it was only the largest of China’s four regional fleets, it did so with no backup from the other 53 warships in the Imperial Chinese Navy. Japan benefited from central control and clear lines of authority, running directly from the Emperor, who was revered as divine.

Moreover, the Chinese fleet had been in decline since 1889 due to a lack of interest in naval matters at the palace. The Dowager Empress Cixi, well along in her seemingly endless career of misrule, commandeered the moneys appropriated for maintaining the Navy and spent them instead on luxuries for herself, including a lavish landscape garden at the Summer Palace outside Beijing. The scenic lakes of this garden included pavilions in the shape of carved stone boats — a pointed slap at the Prince and the reformers. Morale in the fleet had slipped since funds for training and operations started being siphoned off. At the time the war began, there had been no target practice in the Beiyang fleet for months. The ships were in indifferent repair and discipline was slack. Guns were used (in one case) for storing pickles; in another, the ship’s officers had stripped the armament and sold it on the black market for ready cash. Just as in the earlier wars with the British, corruption in contracting ate away at the military effectiveness of the Chinese Navy: Many shells were found to be filled with flour or cement powder rather than explosives. Finally, the entire fleet had been inspected recently, so the ships were freshly coated with flammable paints and varnishes inside and out. By contrast, the Japanese navy was a taut, disciplined instrument of war, poised for combat at a moment’s notice.


The Battle of the Yalu

Sinking of Chinese battleship CHIH YUEN at the Battle of the Yalu.As hostilities began, the Japanese occupied the Korean peninsula on the pretext of preserving its independence. Having coerced cooperation from the decadent Korean dynasty, they invested the city of Pyongyang in August 1894; their fleet methodically destroyed all Chinese ships they found in harbor. Japanese Marshal Yamagata surrounded the city and defeated the defenders under Gen. Tso, who was killed in the battle, Sept. 15-16, 1894. The following day the 25 ships of the Beiyang Fleet sailed into Korea Bay to cover a troop landing at the mouth of the Yalu. There they met the 21 ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy in what became known as the Battle of the Yalu (right). Adm. Ting Zhuqang in the Ding Yuen — a cavalry officer recently assigned to command the Beiyang Fleet — opened fire prematurely with his guns pointed dead ahead, destroying his own flying bridge and inflicting blast damage and perforated eardrums on himself and his staff; he was in the sick bay for most of the fight. Although the Chinese fought stoutly in most cases, they did so without their commander. Their ships were older and slower than the Japanese (15 kts versus as fast as 23), and, dare one say, handled with less finesse. And their defective ammunition failed to explode on impact time and again. The war of mobility advocated by the jeune école now served the Japanese well. They clearly had caught on to using speed and maneverability to advantage in action, enveloping the Chinese in a near-complete ring of fire and disabling eight of Adm. Ting’s best ironclads, including the cruiser Chih Yuen: sinking five, killing some 850 Chinese sailors, wounding a further 500. The Chinese battleships were largely unharmed. With one direct hit on the flagship, the Chinese caused serious damage to four of the Japanese vessels and casualties of 90 killed and about 200 wounded, but withdrew on Ting’s order as daylight faded and their ammunition ran out. Meantime on land, Gen. Yamagata routed Chinese forces and marched to the Yalu, the traditional border between Korea and Manchuria (well remembered from the more recent Korean War of 1950-53). In November, Marshal Oyama laid siege to Lüshun (Port Arthur), taking the fortress by storm on the 20th-21st as Ito’s torpedo boats rushed the harbor entrance and turned their machine-guns on the garrison once inside. And once within the town walls, the Japanese troops massacred the defenders to a man, then fell to looting the town to avenge supposed ill-treatment of Japanese POWs, in an incident that quickly got out of hand. The three days’ riot that ensued was sensationalized further by the international press, and is remembered to this day in China; a vast monument to the victims now occupies a prominent hilltop in Lüshun.


The Siege of Weihaiwei & the End Game

Having captured the Liaodong Peninsula, Oyama and Adm. Ito continued wreaking havoc on Chinese fortifications in the Shandong Peninsula on the opposite side of the Gulf of Chihli (or Bohai Gulf). Adm. Ting’s forces had retreated to their fortified base at Liukung Island in Weihaiwei Harbor. During the 23-day siege, they suffered further attrition defending against the bombardment of Weihaiwei, with Chen Yuen running hard aground and halving Chinese battleship strength (she was later refloated and taken into the Japanese fleet). In a battle fought in -26-degree cold (-32° C), 20,000 Japanese crossed the frozen harbor to storm Weihaiwei. On Feb. 12, 1895 Ting bowed to the inevitable and surrendered the remnant of his fleet and the great forts guarding the approaches to Beijing. Already damaged by a Japanese torpedo attack, his flagship was defiantly blown up by her crew to deny her to the Japanese. Japan thus picked up one recent ironclad and a half-dozen serviceable cruisers — in need of some repair, it is true, but at a nominal cost. In a tragic sequel, Adm. Ting refused Adm. Ito’s offer of asylum in Japan; Ting and the greater part of his staff all committed suicide instead. Apparently the cult of seppuku was not unique to the Japanese military class; certainly the shame of defeat is universal. How much greater that shame must be for the servants of an ancient Power, a leader in civilization for over 2,500 years, now clearly going to the dogs.

 


The Treaty of Shimonoseki

The Chen Yuen in drydock at ShanghaiThe Japanese were now in a most advantageous position as the Chinese delegation under Li Hongzhang sued for peace in March 1895. An extremely punitive peace, along the lines of the treaty that concluded the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, was hammered out at Shimonoseki, overlooking the straits between Kyushu and Honshu — looking towards the great Yawata Steelworks then under construction at Fukuoka. As was common practice in those days, Japan’s occupation of Port Arthur and the Liaodong territory was euphemistically called a “lease” (the U.S. presence on Cuban soil at Guantánamo is so designated to this day). Japan’s primacy in Korea was recognized (Japan annexed the territory in 1910). China was assessed an indemnity of £25 million, equal to 15% of Japan’s GNP — and they couldn’t very well say no. Japan also swallowed what remained of the Chinese imperial fleet — to make it that much easier the next time she had a go at China, one supposes. With her newfound wealth, Japan hastened to order a half-dozen of the latest pre-dreadnought battleships from British yards — and settled in for a lengthy occupation of Weihaiwei to guarantee the indemnity would be paid on schedule. So far things seemed quite satisfactory from the Japanese point of view. At left, the Chen Yuen in drydock at Shanghai (enlarge). She and her sister Ding Yuen, Ting’s flagship, were China’s most advanced warships present at the Yalu, having been delivered in 1885.

Specifications for the pair:
Dimensions: 308′ x 59′ x 20′ Displacement: 7,430 tons std; 7,670 tons deep laden. Armament: four 12″/25 en barbette, with all-round 3.5″ gun shield; two 5.9″ in single turrets; six 37mm Hotchkiss machine guns; three torpedo tubes. Armor: Compound type. 14″ citadel, 12″ barbette, 3½” shields, 3″ secondary turrets & deck; 8″ CT. Fuel capacity: 700 tons of coal, normal; 1,000 tons maximum. Propulsion: 8 coal-fired cylindrical boilers; (2) 3-cyl horizontal trunk engines developing 7,200 IHP, twin screw. Speed: 15.7 kts. Tactical radius: 4,500 nm. Crew: 363. Cost: 6.2 million gold marks (US $1.5 million).

Metric specs:
Dimensions: 94m x 18m x 6.1m Displacement: 7,430 tons std; 7,670 tons deep laden. Armament: four 305 mm/25 en barbette, with all-round shield; two 150mm in single turrets; six 37mm Hotchkiss machine guns; three torpedo tubes. Armor: Compound type. 356 mm citadel, 305 mm barbette, 89 mm main gun shields, 76 mm secondary turrets & deck; 254 mm CT. Fuel capacity: 700 tons of coal, normal; 1,000 tons maximum. Propulsion: 8 coal-fired cylindrical boilers; (2) 3-cyl horizontal trunk engines developing 5,369 kW, twin screw. Speed: 29 km/hr. Tactical radius: 8,334 km. Crew: 363.


The Tripartite Intervention

Replica of battleship DING YUENBut some members of the imperialist “club” were not at all pleased at the prospect of their would-be new member. As nonwhite applicants to country clubs can attest, becoming the first person of color to stroll the links can be fraught with controversy; so much more so with becoming a member of the most exclusive club of all. The principal troublemaker was Russia, the avaricious presence in our old cartoon at the top of the page; coveting the very territories Japan had won by force of arms, with willing compliance from the Kaiser and more reluctant complicity by the French. In what became known as the Tripartite Intervention, the three Powers demanded that Japan relent and give the territories back to China “to guarantee China’s sovereignty.” In a display of unvarnished hypocrisy that would remain unequaled until the Soviet-Nazi Pact of 1939, the continental Powers backed up the demand with a massive naval and troop buildup in the Bohai Gulf, threatening joint action against Japan if she did not comply; and Japan had no choice but to knuckle under. No sooner had Japan backed down than Russia coerced these very same territorial rights for herself that she had so recently denounced Japan for getting. The difference, of course, was that Japan had won these privileges on the battlefield, while Russia merely exacted them by blackmail. This was only too typical of Russia’s behavior in the Far East all through the period.

Naturally enough, this incident and the monumental bad faith of Russia spawned bitterness and outrage in Japan. The continuing belittling behavior and offhanded attitude of the Tsar’s servants — particularly Viceroy Alexeiev at Port Arthur — rubbed ever more salt into Japan’s wounds. By 1898 Russia had moved into Port Arthur and begun to transform it into a formidable fortress and naval base from which the Tsar could base economic exploitation of Manchuria, railroad building, and further military adventures aimed at Japan and China, and indirectly at Britain and other imperial rivals. Half of Japan’s hard-won war gains had been given to a dangerous, treacherous rival, one new to a region that was old familiar turf for Japan. And it had been a great loss of face to submit to the Tripartite sabre-rattling. Japan was seething.


The Rise of the “Yellow Peril” Myth

Racist anti-Japanese cartoon of 1905One aspect that particularly rankled the Japanese was the blatant way Russia and her henchmen in the Intervention played the race card. It may not have been coincidental that right at this time, a great deal of literature about the “Yellow Peril” found its way into print. Partly used as an excuse to limit immigration to the U.S., part as a means of chastising Europeans for being too slack and luxury-loving and exhorting them to become more militaristic, the literature was a new branch of the jingoistic fiction of empire so much in vogue, from The Boys’ Own Paper to Rudyard Kipling‘s Barrack Room Ballads. Hitherto the racism of these writings had been aimed primarily at East Indians, Black Africans, and Native Americans; now “Orientals” started getting hit thick and hard.

The Germans were among the most active and inventive purveyors of the Yellow Peril myth; the term “Yellow Peril” was coined by Kaiser Wilhelm himself, in fact; governing several million Chinese in his Shandong colony, he was apparently feeling the heat from the new Power active in that neighborhood (note on map that Weihaiwei is only 200 km, or 124 mi., from Qingdao as the gull flies). The Kaiser’s feelings on race are on record and consistent; he also bandied about the terms “Black Peril” (black Africans) and “Slav Peril” to undergird the theory that the Reich was encircled by enemies, justifying ever-greater military expenditures. Many anecdotes center around his despatch of a 30,000-man force to wreak bloody vengeance on China after the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows, and in the wake of Russia’s duplicity in the Tripartite Intervention, Great Britain reached out to Japan. Japan’s capital ships had been built in Britain and many of her leading naval commanders studied in British naval academies and served with the British fleet. So it was that in 1902 Britain signed her first ever foreign alliance: the Anglo-Japanese Pact of 1902. This was certainly aimed at Russia, Britain’s rival in the “Great Game” wherein Britain sought to secure the Khyber Pass region and protect her Indian Empire.

Dragon Figurehead of CHEN YUENBritain continued arming and training Japan in hopes she would fight a proxy war against Russia and win. Few other European Powers took the Japanese seriously; perhaps knowing the capabilities of her military minds at first hand, the British were more respectful of the disciplined Sons of Nippon. (Japan was also an excellent customer of Armstrong, Vickers, John Brown et al. as she raced to build up her predreadnought fleet to fight the Russians.) Thus it was that when Japan and Russia came to blows in 1904 — fighting a much longer and more costly war over the same ground Japan had won from China ten years earlier — the Japanese burned to prove themselves with an even more sweeping victory. In 1905 Japan did get to keep the territories she won by force of arms; but she was once again forced to abandon some of her broader war aims, ones which would give her legitimate membership in the “club.” Once again she was blackballed, denied a large indemnity for what had been a much longer, harder, more expensive war. Now that she had defeated a proper Caucasian Great Power fair and square, the hysterical racism reached an even louder pitch than when she had triumphed over China. For a full analysis, read our history of the Russo-Japanese War.


A Sino-Japanese War Picture Gallery

Japanese cruisers sink Chinese merchant shipping at Pyongyang, provoking confrontation with China.

A view of the Battle of the Yalu, one of several by Kobayashi Kiyuchika, a Japanese artist who documented the entire conflict superbly — from the Japanese point of view. Here the flagship Matsushima breaks the enemy line, blasting Chinese warships to port and to starboard. Enlarge

Another, more distant view of the Battle of the Yalu by Kobayashi. An officer surveys the action as the Chinese fleet burns a short distance across the waves.    Enlarge

Another triumphalist woodblock print by Kobayashi, treats the sinking of a Chinese vessel with considerable imagination. Where are the ghosts? Maybe you can see them when you click to enlarge.

Adm. Ting's surrender (1895): Woodblock print by Kobayashi Kiyuchika

Adm. Ting and staff (including European captains) surrender what is left of the Beiyang Fleet after the naval battle and bombardment of Weihaiwei, Feb. 1895. Contemporary woodblock print by Migita Toshihide. The Chinese navy did not adopt western-style uniforms until 1909. Enlarge

The Chinese emissaries, including Li Hongzhang, meet with their Japanese counterparts to negotiate the Treaty of Shimonoseki, April 1895.

 

The 4,150-ton Elswick cruiser Yoshino was built by Armstrong’s in Britain, had a 2½” protective deck and mounted six 6″ guns. At 23 kts. she was the swiftest in the Japanese fleet in 1894-5. Ship was sunk in a collision with the Kasuga in 1904.

HIJMS Itsukushima firing a salute

The heaviest units in the Japanese fleet were a sort of hybrid protected cruiser/battleship built in France. They were custom designed for the IJN by Louis Émile Bertin, later to be Chief Constructor of the French Navy. These three ships each carried one 12.6″ Canet gun each en barbette and a dozen 4.7″ on broadside. The Itsukushima (shown), completed 1889, carried the big gun forward (schematic); her sister-ship Hashidate was built to the same design in Japan, completing 1891. The Matsushima of 1890 cleverly rearranged the same elements, mounting the gun aft, and actually proved a faster and handier ship (schematic) and was Ito’s flagship at the Yalu and later. But over all these were not successful ships; they were certainly not beautiful. The Canet guns were beset by technical failures so extreme they could only fire one round per hour. At the Yalu, the flagship suffered a 12″ hit which caused numerous casualties. After the peace, as soon as the Chinese indemnity payments started rolling in, Japan went shopping at British shipyards. Ten years later Japan’s British-built battle fleet annihilated a largely French-built (or at least French-influenced) Russian armada, validating Japan’s switch of providers.

The 220-foot, 3,700-ton central battery ship Fusô, built in Britain in 1878, was one of the oldest ironclads in the Japanese battle fleet in 1894-5. Protected by a 4½” belt of obsolete wrought-iron armor, she carried six 9.5″ (240mm) RML and 8 MG. At the Yalu she took 8 direct hits, killing 2 crewmen and wounding 12. Fusô was scrapped in 1910 after a long and distingished career.

The Tsi Yuen, like many of the Chinese cruisers of her generation (1884), was built at Vulcan Werft in Stettin, Germany. Shown here after her capture by Japan, she was typical of the protected cruisers in Ting’s fleet. At 2,300 tons, she mounted two 8.2″ Krupp BLR and one 5.9″, steamed at 15 knots on her twin compound engines, and carried a 3″ armored deck and 10″ compound armor on the barbettes. Delivery of the four cruisers and two battleships completing at Vulcan was delayed ten months so that they would not influence the outcome of the Sino-French War. After capture, Tsi Yuen sailed under the Rising Sun ensign for more than nine years. She was sunk by a mine during the Russo-Japanese War. Her guns are on display today at Lüshun and Liukung.

The Chen Yuen taken into Japanese service as the Chin En (the Japanese pronunciation of her name, written with the identical Chinese characters). She was later in the fleet that fought the Russians at Tsushima in 1905. Enlarge

After Port Arthur surrendered, Japanese troops butchered the remaining garrison and ransacked the town. The American and world press exaggerated this misbehavior, using the incident to push the “yellow peril” button. No such outcry went up 5 years later when the allied western nations pillaged Beijing in the wake of the Boxer Rebellion.

Touching painting of the toll of war on Chinese civiliansWar is never easy on civilians. In an age before photojournalism came of age, the combat correspondent artist depicted the scenes of struggle and suffering, often with remarkable clinical precision. Here on-the-scene artist H.W. Korkworth has rendered the despair of one unfairly despoiled civilian family in Manchuria (click here to see the fine detail). They sit in the street next to their ruined home, their butchered pony lying in the snow and their few undamaged possessions heaped in the roadway. The mother buries her face in her hands in despair as her young son tries to comfort her; Cossacks ride off into the snowy night, he gazes after them. Will he grow up determined to avenge this moment, hating the soldiers who did this to his family and the country that sent them? One wonders.

As a result of colonial conflicts, generations of Asians knew little but war and hardship in the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the twentieth. Korea and Manchuria were seats of conflict that did not pause until the Korean Armistice of 1953 — proof of the adage that mineral riches are often a curse rather than a blessing to the natives.

The elite members of the Imperial Club show little enthusiasm for their new member. The cartoonist pokes fun at the Japanese’s inappropriate mix of old and new attire: full western frock coat combined with traditional wooden geta on his feet, umbrella held awkwardly under the arm; buck-toothed grin and slitted eyes are easily identifiable racist stereotypes.

This British “chromo” cartoon of 1901 lampoons the situation after the Boxer Rebellion was quelled: The imperial powers cluster around the prostrate carcass of the golden dragon, China, to claim their share. Newcomers Japan (sabre-toothed tiger, with samurai short sword in mouth), Italy (toothy dog in carabinieri garb) and U.S. (one of 3 eagles) are just as aggressive, though not as large, as the Russian bear and British lion. France is seen here as a rooster, Austria the two-headed eagle. In truth, economic decline and social instability had wracked China since the 1860s. Even so, by 1900 signs of imminent collapse were appearing — a collapse greatly hastened by the dynasty’s siding with the Boxers. The several years of foreign occupation and looting that ensued destabilized Chinese society and resulted in increased foreign control and further deligitimization of the dynasty. In 1902, when order was restored, it had barely 10 years to live. The toothless Republic that succeeded it never established broad national control. In less time than it takes to tell, China broke down into chaos, civil war, and warlordism — when combined with the 8-year Japanese invasion and occupation, a dark tunnel of horrors from which the population did not emerge until 1950. This fine drawing may serve as a metaphor for the squabble of the imperial powers over how best to dismember the defunct Chinese Empire

 

Although the empire is commonly referred to as “the Japanese Empire” or “Imperial Japan” in English, the literal translation from Japanese is Greater Japanese Empire (Dai Nippon Teikoku). The nomenclature Empire of Japan had existed since the feudal anti-shogunate domains, Satsuma and Chōshū, which founded their new government during the Meiji Restoration, with the intention of forming a modern state to resist western domination.

 

After two centuries, the seclusion policy, or Sakoku, under the shoguns of the Edo period came to an end when the country was forced open to trade by the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. The following years had seen increased foreign trade and interaction, commercial treaties between the Tokugawa Shogunate and Western countries were signed. In large part due to the humiliating terms of these Unequal Treaties, the Shogunate soon faced internal hostility, which materialized into a radical, xenophobic movement, the sonnō jōi (literally “Revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians”).[1]

In March 1863 the “Order to expel barbarians” issued. Although the Shogunate had no intention of enforcing the order, it nevertheless inspired attacks against the Shogunate itself and against foreigners in Japan. The Namamugi Incident during 1862 led to the murder of an Englishman, Charles Lennox Richardson by a party of samurai from Satsuma. The British demanded reparations and responded by bombarding the port of Kagoshima in 1863, for his death the Tokugawa government agreed to pay an indemnity.[2] Shelling of foreign shipping in Shimonoseki and attacks against foreign property led to the Bombardment of Shimonoseki by a multinational force in 1864.[3] The Chōshū clan also carried out the failed Hamaguri Rebellion. The Satsuma-Chōshū alliance was established in 1866 to combine their efforts to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu. In early 1867, Emperor Komei died of smallpox and was replaced by his son Mutsuhito(Meiji).

On November 9, 1867 Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned his post and authorities to the emperor, agreeing to “be the instrument for carrying out” imperial orders.[4]The Tokugawa Shogunate had ended.[5] However, while Yoshinobu’s resignation had created a nominal void at the highest level of government, his apparatus of state continued to exist. Moreover, the shogunal government, the Tokugawa family in particular, would remain a prominent force in the evolving political order and would retain many executive powers,[6]a prospect hard-liners from Satsuma and Chōshū found intolerable.[7]

On January 3, 1868, Satsuma-Chōshū forces seized the imperial palace in Kyoto, and the following day had the fifteen-year-old Emperor Meiji declare his own restoration to full power. Although the majority of the imperial consultative assembly was happy with the formal declaration of direct rule by the court and tended to support a continued collaboration with the Tokugawa, Saigō Takamori threatened the assembly into abolishing the title “shogun” and order the confiscation of Yoshinobu’s lands.[8]

On January 17, 1868, Yoshinobu declared “that he would not be bound by the proclamation of the Restoration and called on the court to rescind it.” [9] On January 24, Yoshinobu decided to prepare an attack on Kyoto, occupied by Satsuma and Chōshū forces. This decision was prompted by his learning of a series of arsons in Edo, starting with the burning of the outworks of Edo Castle, the main Tokugawa residence.

 

Main article: Boshin War
Campaign map of the Boshin War (1868–1869). The Southern domains of Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa (in red) joined forces to defeat the Shogunate forces at Toba-Fushimi, and then progressively took control of the rest of Japan until the final stand-off in the northern island of Hokkaidō

Campaign map of the Boshin War (1868–1869). The Southern domains of Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa (in red) joined forces to defeat the Shogunate forces at Toba-Fushimi, and then progressively took control of the rest of Japan until the final stand-off in the northern island of Hokkaidō

The Boshin War (戊辰戦争, Boshin Sensō?, “War of the Year of the Dragon”) fought between January 1868 and May 1869. The alliance of southern samurai and court officials had now secured the cooperation of the young Emperor Meiji who dissolved the two-hundred-year-old Shogunate. Violence committed by pro-imperial forces in Edo led Tokugawa Yoshinobu to launch a military campaign to seize the emperor’s court at Kyoto. However, the tide rapidly turned in favor of the smaller but relatively modernized imperial faction and resulted in defections of Daimyos to the Imperial side; the Battle of Toba-Fushimi being a decisive victory — in which a combined army from Chōshū, Tosa and Satsuma defeated Yoshinobu’s army. A series of battles were then fought in pursuit of supporters of Yoshinobu; Edo surrendered to the Imperial forces and afterwards Yoshinobu personally surrendered. Yoshinobu was stripped of all his power by new Emperor Meiji, most of Japan now accepted the emperor’s rule.

The remnants pro-Tokugawa forces(led by Hijikata Toshizo), however, then retreated to northern Honshū and later to Ezo(present day Hokkaidō), where they established the breakaway Republic of Ezo. An Expeditionary force was despatched by the new government and the Ezo forces were overwhelmed. The siege of Hakodate came to an early end in May 1869 and the remaining forces surrendered. Imperial rule was supreme throughout the whole of Japan; all defiance to the emperor and his rule ended.

 

Main article: Charter Oath

The Charter Oath was made public at the enthronement of Emperor Meiji of Japan on April 7, 1868. The Oath outlined the main aims and the course of action to be followed during Emperor Meiji’s reign, setting the legal stage for Japan’s modernization and can also be considered the first constitution of modern Japan.[10]

The aims of the Meiji leaders were also to boost morale and win financial support for the new government. Its five provisions consisted of:

  • Establishment of deliberative assemblies
  • Involvement of all classes in carrying out state affairs
  • The revocation of sumptuary laws and class restrictions on employment
  • Replacement of “evil customs” with the “just laws of nature”
  • An international search for knowledge to strengthen the foundations of imperial rule.

 

Main article: Meiji period
Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of the Empire of Japan (1867–1912)

Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of the Empire of Japan (1867–1912)

Merchant Thomas Blake Glover received second highest order of Japan, Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Star (2nd class) from Emperor Meiji in recognition of his contributions to Japan and its industrialization

Merchant Thomas Blake Glover received second highest order of Japan, Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Star (2nd class) from Emperor Meiji in recognition of his contributions to Japan and its industrialization

Several prominent writers under the constant threat of assassination from their political foes, such as Fukuzawa Yukichi were influential in convincing Japanese people for westernization. For instance some of his works that were well known were “Conditions in the West”, “Leaving Asia“, and “An Outline of a Theory of Civilization” that detailed Western society and his own philosophies. In the Meiji Restoration period, military and economic power was well emphasized. Military strength became the means for national development and stability. Imperial Japan became the only non-Western world power and a major force in east and southeast Asia in less than 30-50 years as a result of industrialization and economic development.

As one writer Albrecht Furst von Urach comments in his booklet “The Secret of Japan’s Strength,”

The rise of Japan to a world power during the past 80 years is the greatest miracle in world history. The mighty empires of antiquity, the major political institutions of the Middle Ages and the early modern era, the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, all needed centuries to achieve their full strength. Japan’s rise has been meteoric. After only 80 years, it is one of the few great powers that determine the fate of the world.

[11]

HIH Princess Kaneko Higashi-fushimi in western clothing

HIH Princess Kaneko Higashi-fushimi in western clothing

The sudden and fast westernization once adopted changed almost all arenas of Japanese society ranging from language, etiquette, judicial and political system, armaments, arts, etc. Japanese government sent students to Western countries to observe and learn their practices as well as paying foreign scholars to Japan to educate the populace, the so called “foreign advisors” coming in from variety of studies. For instance the judicial system and constitution were largely modeled on that of Germany. It also outlawed customs linked to Japan’s feudal such as displaying and wearing katana in the public and top knot both of which were characteristic of the samurai class, which were abolished all together with the caste system. This would later bring the Meiji government into conflict with the Samurai.(Satsuma Rebellion)

Moreover the Meiji government brought numerous armaments, ships and such that to build their conscription based national army (Imperial Japanese Army) and navy (Imperial Japanese Navy).

 

上諭—"The Emperor's words" parts of constitution

上諭—”The Emperor’s words” parts of constitution

The constitution also recognized the aforementioned acknowledgment of a need for change and modernization after removal of the shogunate:

We, the Successor to the prosperous Throne of Our Predecessors, do humbly and solemnly swear to the Imperial Founder of Our House and to Our other Imperial Ancestors that, in pursuance of a great policy co-extensive with the Heavens and with the Earth, We shall maintain and secure from decline the ancient form of government…In consideration of the progressive tendency of the course of human affairs and in parallel with the advance of civilization, We deem it expedient, in order to give clearness and distinctness to the instructions bequeathed by the Imperial Founder of Our House and by Our other Imperial Ancestors, to establish fundamental laws….

Imperial Japan was founded, de jure, after the 1889 signing of Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The constitution formalized much of its political structure and gave many responsibilities and powers to the Emperor.

Article 4. The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution.

Article 6. The Emperor gives sanction to laws, and orders them to be promulgated and executed.

Article 11. The Emperor has the supreme command of the Army and Navy.[12]

Although it was in this constitution that the title Empire of Japan was officially used for the first time, it was not until 1936 that this title was legalized. Until then, the names “Nippon” (日本; Japan), “Dai-Nippon” (大日本; Greater Japan), “Dai-Nippon/-Nihon Koku” (日本國; State of Japan), “Nihon Teikoku” (日本帝國; Empire of Japan) were all used.

 

1 yen convertible silver note issued in 1885

1 yen convertible silver note issued in 1885

The process of modernization was closely monitored and heavily subsidized by the Meiji government, enhancing the power of the great zaibatsu firms such as Mitsui and Mitsubishi. Hand in hand, the zaibatsu and government guided the nation, borrowing technology from the West. Japan gradually took control of much of Asia’s market for manufactured goods, beginning with textiles. The economic structure became very mercantilistic, importing raw materials and exporting finished products — a reflection of Japan’s relative scarcity of raw materials.

Economic reforms included a unified modern currency based on the yen, banking, commercial and tax laws, stock exchanges, and a communications network. Establishment of a modern institutional framework conducive to an advanced capitalist economy took time but was completed by the 1890s. By this time, the government had largely relinquished direct control of the modernization process, primarily for budgetary reasons. Many of the former daimyo, whose pensions had been paid in a lump sum, benefited greatly through investments they made in emerging industries.

The government was initially involved in economic modernization, providing a number of “model factories” to facilitate the transition to the modern period. After the first twenty years of the Meiji period, the industrial economy expanded rapidly until about 1920 with inputs of advanced Western technology and large private investments.

Japan emerged from the Tokugawa-Meiji transition as the first Asian industrialized nation. From the onset, the Meiji rulers embraced the concept of a market economy and adopted British and North American forms of free enterprise capitalism. Rapid growth and structural change characterized Japan’s two periods of economic development after 1868. Initially, the economy grew only moderately and relied heavily on traditional Japanese agriculture to finance modern industrial infrastructure. By the time the Russo-Japanese War began in 1904, 65% of employment and 38% of the gross domestic product (GDP) was still based on agriculture, but modern industry had begun to expand substantially. By the late 1920s, manufacturing and mining contributed to 23% of GDP, compared with the 21% for all of agriculture. Transportation and communications developed to sustain heavy industrial development.

From 1894, Japan built an extensive empire that included Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, and parts of northern China. The Japanese regarded this sphere of influence as a political and economic necessity, preventing foreign states from strangling Japan by blocking its access to raw materials and crucial sea-lanes. Japan’s large military force was regarded as essential to the empire’s defense and prosperity through obtaining natural resources, which the Japanese islands were lacking in.

 

First Sino-Japanese War, major battles and troop movements

First Sino-Japanese War, major battles and troop movements

Fleet Admiral Marquis Togo Heihachiro commander during First Sino-Japanese War

Fleet Admiral Marquis Togo Heihachiro commander during First Sino-Japanese War

Prior to its engagement in the First World War, the Empire of Japan fought in two significant wars after its establishment following the Meiji Revolution. The first was the First Sino-Japanese War, fought between 1894 and 1895. The war revolved around the issue of control and influence over Korea under the rule of the Joseon Dynasty. A peasant rebellion led to a request by the Korean government for China to send troops in to stabilize the region. The Empire of Japan responded by sending their own force to Korea and installing a puppet government in Seoul. China objected and war ensued. In a brief affair with Japanese ground troops routing Chinese forces on the Liaodong Peninsula, and the near destruction of the Chinese navy in the Battle of the Yalu River. China was forced to sign the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ceded parts of Manchuria and the island of Formosa to Japan (see Taiwan under Japanese rule and Japanese Invasion of Taiwan (1895)). After this war, regional dominance shifted from China to Japan.

 

Main article: Russo-Japanese War
Greater Manchuria, Russian (outer) Manchuria is region to upper right in lighter Red; Liaodong Peninsula is the wedge extending into the Yellow Sea.

Greater Manchuria, Russian (outer) Manchuria is region to upper right in lighter Red; Liaodong Peninsula is the wedge extending into the Yellow Sea.

Fleet Admiral Baron Goro Ijuin

Fleet Admiral Baron Goro Ijuin

The Russo-Japanese War was a conflict for control of Korea and parts of Manchuria by the Russian Empire and Empire of Japan that took place from 1904 to 1905. The war is significant as the first modern war where an Asian country defeated a European power. The victory greatly raised Japan’s measure in the world of global politics. The war is marked by the Japanese rebuff of Russian interests in Korea, Manchuria, and China, notably, the Liaodong Peninsula, controlled by the city of Port Arthur.

Originally, in the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Port Arthur had been given to Japan. This part of the treaty was overruled by Western powers, which gave the port to the Russian Empire, furthering Russian interests in the region. These interests came into conflict with Japanese interests. The war began with a surprise attack on the Russian Eastern fleet stationed at Port Arthur, which was followed by the Battle of Port Arthur. Those elements that attempted escape were defeated by the Japanese navy under Admiral Togo Heihachiro at the Battle of the Yellow Sea. A year later, the Russian Baltic fleet arrived only to be annihilated in the Battle of Tsushima. While the ground war did not fare as poorly for the Russians, the Japanese army was significantly more aggressive than their Russian counterparts and gained a political advantage that accumulated with the Treaty of Portsmouth negotiated in the United States by the American president Theodore Roosevelt. As a result, Russia lost the part of Sakhalin Island south of 50 degrees North latitude (which became the Karafuto Prefecture), as well as many mineral rights in Manchuria. In addition, Russia’s defeat cleared the way for Japan to annex Korea outright in 1910.

 

Main article: Taishō era

 

Map of Tsingtao, 1912, prior to the Battle of Tsingtao.

Map of Tsingtao, 1912, prior to the Battle of Tsingtao.

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Taishō, the second emperor of the Empire of Japan

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Taishō, the second emperor of the Empire of Japan

Japan entered World War I in 1914, seizing the opportunity of Germany‘s distraction with the European War and wanting to expand its sphere of influence in China. Japan declared war on Germany in August 23, 1914 and quickly occupied German-leased territories in China’s Shandong Province and the Marianas, Caroline, and Marshall Islands in the Pacific which were part of German New Guinea. The siege of Tsingtao, a swift invasion in the German colony of Jiaozhou (Kiautschou) proved successful and the colonial troops surrendered on 7 November 1914.

With Japan’s Western allies, notably the United Kingdom, heavily involved in the war in Europe, it sought further to consolidate its position in China by presenting the Twenty-One Demands to China in January 1915. Besides expanding its control over the German holdings, Manchuria, and Inner Mongolia, Japan also sought joint ownership of a major mining and metallurgical complex in central China, prohibitions on China’s ceding or leasing any coastal areas to a third power, and miscellaneous other political, economic, and military controls, which, if achieved, would have reduced China to a Japanese protectorate. In the face of slow negotiations with the Chinese government, widespread anti-Japanese sentiment in China, and international condemnation, Japan withdrew the final group of demands, and treaties were signed in May 1915.

 

Main article: Siberian Intervention

After the fall of the Tsarist regime and then provisional regime in 1917, the new Bolshevik signed a separate peace with Germany. In 1918, the allies agreed to send an expeditionary force to Siberia to support pro-Tsarist White Russians and rescue the trapped Czech Legion.

In July 1918, President Wilson asked the Japanese government to supply 7000 troops as part of an international coalition of 25,000 troops planned to support the American Expeditionary Force Siberia. Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake agreed to send 12,000 troops, but under the Japanese command rather than as part of an international coalition. The Japanese had several hidden motives for the venture, one was an intense hostility and fear of communism, second a determination to recoup historical losses to Russia and lastly the perceived opportunity to settle the “northern problem” in Japan’s security by either creating a buffer state, or through outright territorial acquisition.

By November 1918, more than 70,000 Japanese troops under Chief of Staff Yui Mitsue had occupied all ports and major towns in the Russian Maritime Provinces and eastern Siberia.

In June 1920, America and its allied coalition partners withdrew from Vladivostok after the capture and execution of White Army leader Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak by the Red Army. However, the Japanese decided to stay, primarily due to fears of the spread of communism so close to Japan, and Japanese controlled Korea and Manchuria. The Japanese army provided military support to the Japanese-backed Provisional Priamur Government based in Vladivostok against the Moscow-backed Far Eastern Republic.

The continued Japanese presence concerned the United States, which suspected that Japan had territorial designs on Siberia and the Russian Far East. Subjected to intense diplomatic pressure by the United States and Great Britain, and facing increasing domestic opposition due to the economic and human cost, the administration of Prime Minister Kato Tomosaburo withdrew the Japanese forces in October 1922. Casualties and expenses from the expedition were 5000 dead from combat or illness and over 900 million yen.

 

The election of Kato Komei as Prime Minister of Japan continued democratic reforms that had been advocated by influential individuals on the left. This culminated in the passage of universal male suffrage in March 1925. This bill gave all male subjects over the age of 25 the right to vote, provided they had lived in their electoral districts for at least one year and were not homeless. The electorate thereby greatly increased from 3.3 million to 12.5 million.[13]

 

Main article: Shōwa era

 

Main articles: Tokkou keisatu, Kempeitai, and Tokeitai
 This short section requires expansion.

Important institutional links existed between the Party in Government (Kodoha) and Military and Political Organizations like the Imperial Young Federation, and the “Political Department” of the Kempeitai; Amongst the himitsu kessha (secret societies), the Kokuryu-kai (Black Dragon Society), and Kokka Shakai Shugi Gakumei (the National Socialist League) also had close ties to the government. The Tonarigumi (residents committee) groups, the Nation Service Society (national government trade union) and Imperial Farmers Association were all allied as well. See more:List of Japanese institutions (1930 – 1945)

Other organizations and groups related with the government in wartime were: Double Leaf Society, Toseiha, Kodaha, Kokuhonsha, Taisei Yokusankai, Imperial Youth Corps, League of Diet Members Believing the Objectives of the Holy War, Tokko,Tokeitai, Keishicho (to 1945), Shintoist Rites Research Council, Treaty Faction, Fleet Faction and Imperial Volunteer Corps

 

General Sadao Araki

General Sadao Araki

Sadao Araki was an important figurehead and founder of the Army party and the most important right-wing thinker in that time; his first ideological works date from his leadership of the Kodaha (Imperial Benevolent Rule or Action Group), opposed by the Toseiha (Control Group) led by General Kazushige Ugaki. He linked the ancient (bushido code) and contemporary local and European fascist ideals (see Japanese fascism), to form the ideological basis of the movement (Shōwa nationalism).

From September 1932, the Japanese were becoming more locked into the course that would lead them into the Second World War, with Araki leading the way. Totalitarianism, militarism and expansionism were to become the rule, with fewer voices able to speak against it. In a September 23 news conference, Araki first mentioned the philosophy of “Kodoha” (The Imperial Way Faction). The concept of Kodo linked the Emperor, the people, land and morality as indivisible. This led to the creation of a “new” Shinto and increased Emperor worship.

Emperor Shōwa, the third emperor of the Empire of Japan

Emperor Shōwa, the third emperor of the Empire of Japan

The state was being transformed to serve the Army and the Emperor. Symbolic katana swords came back into fashion as the martial embodiment of these beliefs, and the Nambu pistol became its contemporary equivalent, with the implicit message that the Army doctrine of close combat would prevail. The final objective, as envisioned by Army thinkers and right-wing line followers, was a return to the old Shogunate system, but in the form of a contemporary Military Shogunate. In such a government the Emperor would once more be a figurehead (as in the Edo period). Real power would fall to a leader very similar to a Führer or Duce, though with the power less nakedly held. On the other hand, the traditionalist Navy militarists defended the Emperor and a constitutional monarchy with a significant religious aspect.

A third point of view was supported by Prince Chichibu, a brother of Emperor Shōwa, who repeatedly counseled him to implement a direct imperial rule, even if that meant suspending the constitution. [14] In time Japan would turn to a form of government that resembled Totalitarism. However, although this unique style of government was very similar to Fascism there were many significant differences between the two and therefore could be termed Japanese nationalism.

 

At same time, the zaibatsu capitalist groups (principally Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Sumitomo, and Yasuda) looked toward great future expansion. Their main concern was a shortage of raw materials. Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye combined social concerns with the needs of capital, and planned for expansion.

Poster of Manchukuo promoting harmony between Japanese, Han Chinese and Manchu. The caption says: "With the help of Japan, China, and Manchukuo, the world can be in peace."

Poster of Manchukuo promoting harmony between Japanese, Han Chinese and Manchu. The caption says: “With the help of Japan, China, and Manchukuo, the world can be in peace.”

The economic seeds of World War II were planted in the mid 19th century. The main goals of this expansionism were acquisition and protection of spheres of influence, maintenance of territorial integrity, acquisition of raw materials, and access to Asian markets. Western nations, notably Great Britain, France, and the United States, had for long exhibited great interest in the commercial opportunities in China and other parts of Asia. These opportunities had attracted Western investment because of the availability of raw materials for both domestic production and re-export to Asia. Japan desired these opportunities in planning the development of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

IJN Yamato, the largest battleship in history (1941)

IJN Yamato, the largest battleship in history (1941)

The Great Depression, just in many other countries, had hindered Japan’s economic growth. The Japanese Empire’s main problem lay in that rapid industrial expansion had turned the country into a major manufacturing and industrial power that required raw materials, however these could only be obtained overseas as there was a critical lack of natural resources on its home islands.

In the 1920s and 1930s Japan needed to import raw materials such as iron, rubber and oil to maintain strong economic growth. Most of these resources, however came from the United States. The Japanese felt that acquiring resource-rich territories would establish economic self-sufficiency and independence, they also hoped to jump-start the nation’s economy in the midst of the depression. As a result Japan set its sights on East Asia, specifically Manchuria with its many resources, Japan needed these resources to continue its economic development and maintain national integrity.

Once outright war began, the Domei Tsushin Press Agency celebrated the quality of Japan’s armaments, stating that Mitsubishi and the others had taken the measure of the “white barbarians”.

 

 

 

Main article: Invasion of Manchuria
Japanese troops entering Shenyang, China during Mukden Incident.

Japanese troops entering Shenyang, China during Mukden Incident.

With little resistance, Japan invaded and conquered Manchuria in 1931. Japan claimed that this invasion was a liberation of the Manchus from the Chinese, although the majority of the population were Han Chinese. Japan then established a puppet regime called Manchukuo, and installed the former Emperor of China, Puyi, as the official head of state. Jehol, a Chinese territory bordering Manchuria, was also taken in 1933. This puppet regime had to carry on a protracted pacification campaign against the Anti-Japanese Volunteer Armies in Manchuria. In 1936, Japan created a similar Mongolian puppet state in Inner Mongolia named Mengjiang (Chinese:yup) which was again predominantly Chinese.

 

Japan invaded China in 1937, creating what was essentially a three-way war between Japan, Mao Zedong‘s communists, and Chiang Kai-shek‘s nationalists. On 13 December that same year, the Nationalist capital of Nanking fell to Japanese troops. In the event known as the Rape of Nanking, Japanese troops massacred a large number of city’s population. It is estimated that nearly 300,000 people, almost entirely civilians, were killed. In total, 20 million Chinese, mostly civilians, would be killed during World War II. A puppet state was also set up in China quickly afterwards, headed by Wang Jingwei. The second Sino-Japanese war would continue into World War II with the Communists and Nationalists in a temporary and uneasy alliance against the Japanese.

 

Main article: Battle of Lake Khasan
Main article: Battle of Halhin-Gol

The Battle of Lake Khasan was an attempted military incursion of the Japanese 19th Division into the territory claimed by the Soviet Union. This incursion was founded in the belief of the Japanese that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the Treaty of Peking between Imperial Russia and Manchu China (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation), and furthermore, that the demarcation markers were tampered with.

The following year, Nomonhan Incident(Battle of Halhin-Gol) occurred on 11 May 1939, when a Mongolian cavalry unit of some 70 to 90 men entered the disputed area in search of grazing for their horses, and encountered Manchukuoan cavalry who drove them out of the disputed territory. Two days later the Mongolian force returned and the Manchukoans were unable to evict them.

The Japanese IJA 23rd Division and other units of the Kwantung Army then became involved. Joseph Stalin ordered STAVKA, the Red Army‘s high command, to develop a plan for a counterstrike against the Japanese. Georgy Zhukov, led a devastating offensive employing encircling tactics making skillful use of their superior artillery, armor and air forces in late August that nearly annihilated the 23rd Division and decimated the IJA 7th Division. On September 15 an armistice was arranged. Nearly two years later, on April 13, 1941, the parties signed a Neutrality Pact, in which they agreed to abide by the existing border.

 

Imperial Japan in 1942 after the conquested territories

Imperial Japan in 1942 after the conquested territories

Main articles: Tripartite Pact and Axis Powers

The Second Sino-Japanese War had seen tensions rise between Imperial Japan and the United States, events such as the Panay incident and the ‘Rape of Nanking’ turned American public opinion against Japan. With the occupation of French Indochina in the years of 1940/41 and the continuing war in China, the United States embargoed strategic materials such as scrap metal and oil to Japan, which were vitally needed for their war effort. The Japanese were faced with the option of either withdrawing from China and losing face or seizing and securing new sources of raw materials in the resource rich, European controlled colonies of South East Asia — specifically British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies

On September 27, 1940, Imperial Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, their objectives to “establish and maintain a new order of things” in their respective world regions and spheres of influence. With Nazi Germany in Europe, Imperial Japan in Asia and Fascist Italy in North Africa. The signatories of this alliance become known as the Axis Powers. The pact also called for mutual protection—if any one of the member powers were attacked by a country not already at war, excluding the Soviet Union, and for technological and economic cooperation between the signatories.

On 31 December 1940, Matsuoka Yosuke told a group of Jewish businessmen that he was “the man responsible for the alliance with Hitler, but nowhere have I promised that we would carry out his anti-Semitic policies in Japan. This is not simply my personal opinion, it is the opinion of Japan, and I have no compunction about announcing it to the world.”

 

Main article: Pacific War

 

USS Arizona sinking.

USS Arizona sinking.

After facing an oil embargo by the United States and its own reserve oil supply about to run short, the Japanese government decided to take action and execute a plan developed by the military branch largely lead by Osami Nagano and Isoroku Yamamoto to bomb the United States naval base in Hawaii, thereby bringing the United States to World War II on the side of Allies. On 4 September 1941, the Japanese Cabinet met to consider the war plans prepared by Imperial General Headquarters, and decided:

Our Empire, for the purpose of self-defence and self-preservation, will complete preparations for war … [and is] … resolved to go to war with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands if necessary. Our Empire will concurrently take all possible diplomatic measures vis-a-vis the United States and Great Britain, and thereby endeavor to obtain our objectives … In the event that there is no prospect of our demands being met by the first ten days of October through the diplomatic negotiations mentioned above, we will immediately decide to commence hostilities against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.

The Imperial Japanese Navy made its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, on the Sunday morning of December 7, 1941. The Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces sustained significant losses. The primary objective of the attack was to incapacitate the United States long enough for Japan to establish its long-planned Southeast Asian empire and defensible buffer zones. The U.S. public saw the attack as a treacherous act and rallied against the Empire of Japan. The United States entered the European Theatre and Pacific Theater in full force. Four days later Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany declared war on the United States bringing the separate conflicts into a cohesive conflict.

 

Victorious Army troops march through Singapore (Photo from Imperial War Museum)

Victorious Army troops march through Singapore (Photo from Imperial War Museum)

On December 8, 1941 British Malaya was invaded by Japanese 25th Army under general Tomoyuki Yamashita. Defending Malalya was a Commonwealth army comprised of British, Indian, and Australian forces plus Malays from the Federated Malay States. Imperial Japanese Army was able to quickly advance down the Malayan peninsula, forcing the Commonwealth forces to retreat towards Singapore. The British lacked aircover and tanks, the Japanese had total air superiority. The sinking of H.M.S Prince of Wales and H.M.S Repulse on December 10, 1941 led to the east coast of Malaya being exposed to Japanese landings and the elimination of British naval power in the area. On January 31, 1942, the last Allied forces crossed the straight of Johore and into Singapore.

On February 7, 1942 the Japanese invaded the island of Singapore, despite determined resistance and fierce fighting they were able to push back the Commonwealth forces. On February 15, 1942 Singapore fell to the Japanese, resulting in the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. About 80,000 Indian, Australian and British troops became prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken in the Japanese invasion of Malaya.

 

Main article: Burma Campaign

 

 

Japanese armored units at Bataan

Japanese armored units at Bataan

Japan launched air raids on US military positions in the Philippines following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941, and Japanese troops landed in the Philippines on December 10, initiating the invasion of the Philippines. During this Campaign, the Japanese pushed the combined Filipino-American force towards the Bataan peninsula and later the island of Corregidor. By January of 1942 General Douglas MacArthur and President Manuel Quezon were forced to flee in the face of Japanese advances.

This marked among one of the worst defeats suffered by the Americans, leaving over 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war in the custody of the Japanese. Ten thousand of these prisoners later died on the Bataan Death March, known as Batān Shi no Kōshin by the Japanese. Japanese military rule lasted for over two years, the result being the resistance of several guerrilla armies and the incredible sufferings endured by the Philippine population.

 

Main article: Battle for Australia
Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, commander of bombing of Darwin and Pearl Harbor

Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, commander of bombing of Darwin and Pearl Harbor

The two Japanese air raids on Darwin, on February 19, 1942 were by far the biggest ever attack by a foreign power against the Australian mainland. They were also a significant action in the Pacific campaign of World War II and represented a major psychological blow to the Australian population, several weeks after hostilities with Japan had begun. The raids were the first of about 100 air raids against Australia during 1942 and 1943.

 

Main article: Japanese war crimes

Many political and military Japanese leaders were convicted for war crimes before the Tokyo tribunal and other allies tribunals in Asia. However, all members of the imperial family implicated in the war, such as emperor Showa and his brothers, cousins and uncles such as Prince Chichibu, Prince Hiroyasu Fushimi and Prince Asaka, were exonerated from criminal prosecutions by Douglas MacArthur.

 

Main article: Unit 731

Unit 731 was a covert medical experiment unit of the Imperial Japanese Army, researching biological warfare through human experiments during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 to 1945) and World War II. Disguised as a water purification unit, it was based in the Pingfang district of the northeast Chinese city of Harbin, part of the puppet state of Manchukuo. Unit 731 was officially known as the “Kempeitai Political Department and Epidemic Prevention Research Laboratory”.

As many as ten thousand people, both civilian and military, of Chinese, Mongol, and Soviet origin were subjects of experimentation by Unit 731. Some Allied prisoners of war also died at the hands of Unit 731. In addition, Unit 731’s biological weapons research resulted in tens of thousands of deaths in China – possibly as many as 200,000 casualties by some estimates.

Unit 731 was one of many units used by the Japanese to research biological warfare; other units include Unit 516 (Qiqihar), Unit 543 (Hailar), Unit 773 (Songo unit), Unit 100 (Changchun), Unit 1644 (Nanjing), Unit 1855 (Beijing), Unit 8604 (Guangzhou), Unit 200 (Manchuria) and Unit 9420 (Singapore).

Many of the scientists involved in Unit 731 went on to prominent careers in politics, academia and business. Some were arrested by Soviet forces and tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials; those who surrendered to the Americans, were granted amnesty in exchange for the data collected.

Because of the nature of their experiments and practices, Unit 731’s actions are considered war crimes.

 

Main article: Nanking Massacre

The Nanking Massacre, commonly known as “The Rape of Nanking“, refers to the most infamous of the war crimes committed by the Japanese military during World War II—acts carried out by Japanese troops in and around Nanjing (then known in English as Nanking), China, after it fell to the Imperial Japanese Army on December 13, 1937. The duration of the massacre is not clearly defined, although the period of carnage lasted well into the next six weeks, until early February 1938.

The extent of the atrocities is debated, with numbers ranging from the claim of the Japanese army at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East that the death toll was military in nature and that “no such atrocities ever occurred”, to the Chinese claim of a non-combatant death toll of 300,000. The West has generally tended to adopt the Chinese point-of-view, with many Western sources now quoting 300,000 dead. This is partly due to the commercial success of Iris Chang‘s “The Rape of Nanking“, which set the stage for the debate of the issue in the West; and the existence of extensive photographic records of the mutilated bodies of women and children.

 

Main article: Sook Ching massacre

When the Japanese occupied Singapore, the Japanese military authorities became concerned about the local Chinese population. The Japanese Imperial Army had become aware that the ethnic Chinese had strong loyalties to either the United Kingdom or China, with wealthy Chinese financing Chiang Kai-Shek‘s effort in the Second Sino-Japanese War, after Japan had invaded China on July 1937, with other charity drives. The military authorities, led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita, decided on a policy of “eliminating” the anti-Japanese elements.

Soon after the fall of Singapore, Lieutenant-Colonel Masayuki Oishi, commander of No. 2 Field Kempeitai, took over the offices of the Supreme Court building. Singapore was broken up into sectors, each placed under the control of a Kempeitai officer. The Japanese set up designated “screening centers” all over the colony. The blueprint was to gather and screen all Chinese males between 18 to 50 years old, and eliminate those thought to be anti-Japanese. The ones who passed the “screening” would receive a piece of paper with “Examined” written on it, or have a square ink mark on their arms and shirts. Those who did not pass the “screening” would be stamped with triangular marks. There were trucks near these screening centers to send those anti-Japanese elements to their deaths. The Japanese Army chose remote sites such as Changi, Punggol, Blakang Mati and Bedok to perform the executions, with the victims thrown overboard off boats or machine-gunned to death off the harbour.

 

Japanese: 慰安婦 The term “comfort women” pertains to women and girls who served as prostitutes during the Imperial Era of Japan. Many historians believe that an estimated 200,000 women were taken as comfort women during the reign.[15] Most of the women were believed to be from Korea, with the a good percentage also from China and also other populations in the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. Some Japanese historians debated the fact that Japan had actually forced or kidnapped women from other nations into sexual slavery. Evidence that disputes that comes in forms of personal testimonies of living former sex slaves, witnesses, and actual former Imperial Soldiers. While historians and politicians such as Abe dispute that there was an actual coercion of foreign women into slavery, Japanese documents in 1992 and 2007 were found supporting the coercion of women into sexual slavery.[16]

 

 

The Mikuma shortly before sinking during Battle of Midway.

The Mikuma shortly before sinking during Battle of Midway.

Japanese military strategists were keenly aware of the unfavorable discrepancy between the industrial potential of the Japanese Empire and that of the United States. Because of this they reasoned that Japanese success hinged on their ability to extend the strategic advantage gained at Pearl Harbor with additional strategic victories. Only decisive destruction of the United States’ Pacific Fleet and conquest of its remote outposts would insure that the Japanese Empire was not overwhelmed by America’s industrial might. In May of 1942, failure to decisively defeat the Allies at the Battle of Coral Sea in spite of Japanese numerical superiority equated to a strategic defeat for Imperial Japan. This setback was followed in June of 1942 by the catastrophic loss of a four carrier task force at the Battle of Midway. Midway was a decisive defeat for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and proved the turning point for the war. Further defeats by the Allies at Guadalcanal in September 1942, and New Guinea in 1943 put the Empire of Japan on the defensive for the remainder of the war. The US Sixth Army led by General MacArthur landed on Leyte on 19 October 1944, in the subsequent months(Philippines campaign of 1944–1945) American troops together with guerrilla forces liberated much of the Philipines. By 1944 the Allies had seized or bypassed and neutralized many of Japan’s strategic bases through amphibious landings and bombardment. This, coupled with the losses inflicted by allied submarines on Japanese shipping routes began to strangle Japan’s economy and undermine its ability to supply its army. By early 1945 the US Marines had wrested control of the Ogasawa Islands in several hard-fought battles such as the Battle of Iwo Jima, marking the beginning of the fall of the islands of Japan.

 

Main article: Kamikaze
USS Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikazes on May 11, 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa. Out of a crew of 2,600, 372 were killed.

USS Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikazes on May 11, 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa. Out of a crew of 2,600, 372 were killed.

During 1943 and 1944, Allied forces, backed by the industrial might and rich resources of the United States, were advancing steadily towards Japan. Commander Asaiki Tamai asked a group of 23 talented student pilots, whom he had personally trained, to volunteer for the special attack force. All of the pilots raised both of their hands, thereby volunteering to join the operation. Later, Tamai asked Lieutenant Yukio Seki to command the special attack force. Seki is said to have closed his eyes, lowered his head and thought for ten seconds, before asking Tamai: “please let me do that”. Seki thereby became the 24th kamikaze or suicide pilot to be chosen.

 

Nuclear weapon attack by the US is commonly cited as ending the war sooner against the Empire of Japan.

Nuclear weapon attack by the US is commonly cited as ending the war sooner against the Empire of Japan.

After securing airfields in Saipan and Guam in the summer of 1944, the United States undertook an aggressive campaign of carpet bombing Japanese cities in an effort to pulverize Japan’s industry and shatter its morale. While these campaigns led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians they did not succeed in persuading the Japanese to surrender. In the summer of 1945, the United States dropped two nuclear weapons on Japan. The atomic bombing was the first and last used against another nation. These bombs killed around 100,000 to 200,000 people in a matter of minutes, and many more people died as a result of nuclear radiation in the following weeks, months, and years.

 

The commander of the Japanese 18th Army in New Guinea surrenders his sword to the commander of the Australian 6th Division.

The commander of the Japanese 18th Army in New Guinea surrenders his sword to the commander of the Australian 6th Division.

Having ignored (mokusatsu) the Potsdam Declaration, the Empire of Japan surrendered and ended World War 2, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a declaration of war by the Soviet Union. In a national radio address of 15th August, emperor Showa announced the surrender to the Japanese people.

 

Main article: Occupied Japan

A period known as Occupied Japan followed after the war largely spearheaded by United States General of the Army Douglas McArthur to revize the Japanese constitution and de-militarize Japan. The American occupation, with economic and political assistance, continued well into the 1950s. After the dissolution of the Empire of Japan, Japan adopted a parliamentary-based political system, with the Emperor changed to symbolic status.

American General of the Army Douglas MacArthur later commended the new Japanese government that he helped established and the new Japanese period when he was about to send the American forces to the Korean War:

The Japanese people, since the war, have undergone the greatest reformation recorded in modern history. With a commendable will, eagerness to learn, and marked capacity to understand, they have, from the ashes left in war’s wake, erected in Japan an edifice dedicated to the supremacy of individual liberty and personal dignity; and in the ensuing process there has been created a truly representative government committed to the advance of political morality, freedom of economic enterprise, and social justice. Politically, economically, and socially Japan is now abreast of many free nations of the earth and will not again fail the universal trust… I sent all four of our occupation divisions to the Korean battlefront without the slightest qualms as to the effect of the resulting power vacuum upon Japan. The results fully justified my faith. I know of no nation more serene, orderly, and industrious, nor in which higher hopes can be entertained for future constructive service in the advance of the human race.

For historian John W. Dower, however, «In retrospect, apart from the military officer corps, the purge of alleged militarists and ultranationalists that was conducted under the Occupation had relatively small impact on the long-term composition of men of influence in the public and private sectors. The purge initially brought new blood into the political parties, but this was offset by the return of huge numbers of formaly purged conservative politicians to national as well as local politics in the early 1950s. In the bureaucracy, the purge was negligible from the outset (…) In the economic sector, the purge similarly was only mildly disruptive, affecting less than sixteen hundred individuals spread among some four hundred companies. Everywhere one looks, the corridors of power in postwar Japan are crowded with men whose talents had already been recognized during the war years, and who found the same talents highly prized in the “new” Japan.» [17]

 This short section requires expansion.

 

 

In the administration of Japan dominated by the Army political movement during World War II, the civil central government was under the management of military men and their right-wing civilian allies, along with members of the nobility and Imperial Family.

The Emperor was in the center of this power structure as supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Armed Forces, head of state, representative of the “Imperial Sun Lineage” for State Shinto, and chief of the Imperial Household.

Other important institutions linking to the government were the National Youth Association and the “political sections” of the Kempeitai and Tokeitai. These secret societies were a source of loyalists. Other allied groups included residents’ committees, the government trade union, local farmers associations, and the state religious and educational systems. Imperial Armed Forces political sections supported the formation of similar right-wing movements in all the occupied lands of the early Pacific War.

The rivalties between the Army and Navy became the principal right-wing political movement in the Empire of Japan in the 1930s, the two factions emerged as leaders among many similar groups and secret societies.

His Imperial Highness Prince Yorihito Higashi-Fushimi

His Imperial Highness Prince Yorihito Higashi-Fushimi

Prime Minister General Kuniaki Koiso

Prime Minister General Kuniaki Koiso

Fleet Admiral Viscount Inoue Yoshika

Fleet Admiral Viscount Inoue Yoshika

 

The military of Imperial Japan was divided into two main branches under Imperial General Headquarters responsible for the overall conduct of operations including prominent military leaders and commanders:

  • Prominent generals and leaders:

 

 

Posthumous name1 Given name² Childhood name³ Period of Reigns Era name4
Meiji Tennō
(明治天皇)
Mutsuhito
(睦仁)
Sachi-no-miya
(祐宮)
1867–1912
(1890-1912)5
Meiji
Taishō Tennō
(大正天皇)
Yoshihito
(嘉仁)
Haru-no-miya
(明宮)
1912–1926 Taishō
Shōwa Tennō
(昭和天皇)
Hirohito
(裕仁)
Michi-no-miya
(迪宮)
1926–1989
(1926–1947)6
Shōwa
1 Each posthumous name was given after the respective era names as Ming and Qing Dynasties of China.
2 The Japanese imperial family name has no surname or dynastic name.
3 The Meiji Emperor was known only by the appellation Sachi-no-miya from his birth until 11 November 1860, when he was proclaimed heir apparent to Emperor Kōmei and received the personal name Mutsuhito .
4 No multiple era names were given for each reign after Meiji Emperor.
5 Constitutionally.
6 Constitutionally. The reign of the Shōwa Emperor in fact continued until 1989 since he did not abdicate after World War II.

 

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