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Tumultuous Decade

Tumultuous Decade: Empire, Society, and Diplomacy in 1930s Japan

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Tumultuous Decade
    Book Description:

    Featuring an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars,Tumultuous Decadeexamines Japanese domestic and foreign affairs between 1931 and 1941.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9805-5
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Akira Iriye
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Masato Kimura and Tosh Minohara
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxiv)

    This book analyses the pivotal decade of 1931–41 from the distinct vantage points of Japan’s empire, society, and diplomacy, to shed new light on and to provide new insight into that “tumultuous decade.” Specifically, the times are examined through a multi-disciplinary lens based on an international history approach. The broad scope of the book can be seen in the wide range of topics, encompassing politics, diplomacy, economy, sociology, technology, philosophy, psychology, eugenics, and cultural studies, to name a few. By applying this framework, it is possible to revise the commonly accepted image of the ten years from 1931 until...

  6. Part One: Economics, Culture, Society, and Identity

    • 1 The Zaikai’s Perception of and Orientation towards the United States in the 1930s
      (pp. 3-16)

      The purpose of this chapter is to introduce and shed light on the changing perception of the United States by Japan’s business elite, theZakai(literally, business circle), in the 1930s, based on the reports of travellers and senior officers who had dealings with the United States and the British Empire. I focus on examples from Tokyo and Osaka, areas representative of almost all major Japanese industries at the time.¹

      The termZaikaihas broad meaning. Ogata Sadako writes that theZaikai“are generally regarded as a power elite who represented the interests of the business community as a whole...

    • 2 Cultural Internationalism and Japan’s Wartime Empire: The Turns of the Kokusai Bunka Shinkōkai
      (pp. 17-43)

      In February 1933 the Japanese representative to the League of Nations, Matsuoka Yosuke, stood and led his delegation out of the hall of the General Assembly. This dramatic moment, a protest against the League’s decision on the Manchurian dispute and a prelude to Japan’s official withdrawal, appeared to mark a reversal of the Japanese government’s policies of international cooperation. But neither withdrawal from the League nor the expansion of empire and escalation of war completely expunged internationalist principles from either the practice or the rhetoric of Japan’s foreign policy. Foreign affairs specialists continued to view multilateral cooperation as essential to...

    • 3 Japanese Pan-Asianism through the Mirror of Pan-Islamism
      (pp. 44-68)

      The revival and official endorsement of a pan-Asian vision of regional world order in Japan is one of the most striking aspects of the international history of the 1930s. Pan-Asianism, as a generic term for trends criticizing the intellectual legitimacy of Western hegemony and advocating Asian solidarity to end the Eurocentric world order, has been an important part of Japanese discourse on the West and international order since the 1880s. Aspects of pan-Asianism as a discourse on weak Asia, despite its rich civilizational legacy and achievements, unjustly dominated by the West, has been an important theme in all intellectual currents...

    • 4 Emperor, Family, and Modernity: The Passage of the 1940 National Eugenics Law
      (pp. 69-100)

      In his analysis of jazz culture in Japan, historian Taylor Atkins summarizes many of the internal and external challenges Japan faced in the tumultuous decade from 1931 to 1941: “Japan versus the West, authentic traditionalism versus inauthentic modernism, group-ism versus individualism and spirituality versus sensuality. These are the polarized discursive categories that shaped Japanese conceptualizations of jazz and set the conditions by which the music was embraced or rejected.”¹ In a similar vein, historian Carol Gluck has illuminated the coexistence of the pre-war orthodox ideology – which united modern Japan through such symbols as emperor, loyalty, village, and family state – and...

  7. Part Two: The Empire and Imperial Concerns

    • 5 Strengthening and Expanding Japan through Social Work in Colonial Taiwan
      (pp. 103-129)

      In 1940, while the Second Sino-Japanese War dragged on, a Japanese official within the Taiwan Government-General published a 1,200 page tome on the history of social work in Taiwan. The weighty volume culminated in a section describing how Japan altered the nature and method of these undertakings after it had liberated and reformed (kairei) the island. A vice-minister of the Imperial Household, Baron Shirane Matsusuke juxtaposed social work with the war in China and the establishment of ashin chitsujo(new order) throughout East Asia. In his introduction to the volume, he wrote that the system of social work in...

    • 6 Between Collaboration and Conflict: State and Society in Wartime Korea
      (pp. 130-160)

      The concept “colonial totalitarianism,”¹ as Gregory Henderson once described the Japanese Empire in Korea, might strike one as redundant. Colonialism by its nature is characterized by excess – authoritarian governance, a penchant for control, and reliance on coercion. To be sure, the empire was never static. Although essentially a military regime backed by vast a bureaucracy and police, the colonial authority in Korea refashioned itself as “enlightened” cultural rule after the March First Movement of 1919, and further evolved into a corporatist state linked to multiple levels of society following the Manchurian Incident of 1931. Nonetheless, in contrast to most European...

    • 7 The Thought War: Public Diplomacy by Japan’s Immigrants in the United States
      (pp. 161-186)

      From the conclusion of the Pacific War to this day, Japan has received scant support from Japanese Americans on major issues in US-Japan relations, as was particularly poignant during the trade friction of the 1980s. This lack of support is in stark contrast to that of other major immigrant ethnic groups in the United States that maintain a strong bond with the country of their ancestors and lobby Congress in support of it.²

      But Japanese Americans were not always so aloof. During the pre–Second World War period, the Japanese government enjoyed a “special relationship” with immigrants in the United...

  8. Part Three: High Diplomacy and the Statesmen

    • 8 Meiji Diplomacy in the Early 1930s: Uchida Kōsai, Manchuria, and Post-withdrawal Foreign Policy
      (pp. 189-214)

      On 25 August 1932 Japanese foreign minister Uchida Kōsai (Yasuya) declared to the Imperial Diet that Japan would recognize the new state of Manchukuo, even if it meant reducing the country to “scorched earth.” Uchida followed this blustery statement seven months later with his notice to withdraw Japan from the League of Nations. As contemporary observers noted, Japan’s days of cooperative diplomacy were over, replaced by Uchida’s brand ofjishu gaikō(autonomous diplomacy), which would continue until Japan’s defeat in the Pacific War.

      Although strongly worded, Uchida’s statement might not have raised the world’s eyebrows had it not come from...

    • 9 Japan’s Diplomatic Gamble for Autonomy: Rethinking Matsuoka Yōsuke’s Diplomacy
      (pp. 215-233)

      The diplomacy that began with the Manchurian Incident and the “scorched earth diplomacy” of Foreign Minister Uchida Kōsai (Yasuya) reached its zenith with the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Although the war did not inevitably follow the Manchurian Incident, the economic and political conditions it created fuelled the outbreak of the Pacific War.

      The Pacific War came about because Japan failed to settle its war with China. From the end of 1938, the leaders of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA), confronted by their inability to force China’s capitulation, decided on an alliance with Germany to bolster Japan’s strategic...

    • 10 Dissembling Diplomatist: Admiral Toyoda Teijirō and the Politics of Japanese Security
      (pp. 234-257)

      Admiral Toyoda Teijirō was by any standard an anomalous figure in Japan’s pre–Pearl Harbor challenge to the international system. He served as vice navy minister from 6 September 1940 to 4 April 1941, and then as foreign minister from 18 July to 18 October 1941. In the former position, Toyoda led in overturning the navy’s long-standing opposition to an alliance with Nazi Germany, an alliance which was, as a contemporary noted with more than a hint of apprehension, “a treaty of alliance with the United States as its target.”¹ He secured the latter position by convincing Prime Minister Konoe...

    • 11 “No choice but to rise”: Tōgō Shigenori and Japan’s Decision for War
      (pp. 258-276)

      The memoirs of Tōgō Shigenori vividly reveal the immensity of the blow that struck the foreign minister upon reading the diplomatic cable that arrived from the Japanese ambassador in Washington, Admiral Nomura Kichisaburo. Attached to the telegram was a note from US Secretary of State Cordell Hull flatly rejecting the latest Japanese proposal –Otsuan, or Plan B² – to attempt to resolve the ongoing US-Japanese impasse. The message of the so-called Hull Note³ was unmistakable: Japan needed to initiate the first step and withdraw its troops from China⁴ before Washington would even begin to consider lifting its stifling embargo. It was,...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 277-282)
  10. Index
    (pp. 283-298)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 299-299)