Japan's Imperial Diplomacy
Consuls, Treaty Ports and War in China, 18951938
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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I am indebted to a senior generation of scholars for the initial concept and guidance for this book. Marius Jansen has been a patient and attentive supporter from start to finish; I consider it one of my greatest fortunes to have been among his students. Although the project began at his suggestion, a few years later, Kurihara Ken, the senior scholar of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, shared his vision of the project with me in a conversation at the...
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On November 2, 1937, diplomat Ishii Itarō, head of the Bureau of Asiatic Affairs of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, noted in exasperation in his diary, “It seems that Fascism is happening here not by means of people but through institutions.”1 Ishii summed up trends he witnessed in the Japanese bureaucracy, although the immediate impetus for his remark was Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro’s announcement of the decision to create the Supreme...
1 The Rise of Kasumigaseki Diplomacy: The Struggle for Autonomy
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The ordinances (shokuinrei) that set up Japan’s new imperial government in 1869 provided for the establishment of a foreign ministry. Within two years, the leading statesman Iwakura Tomomi assumed the post of foreign minister, in all likelihood to better assert the Foreign Ministry’s status as “first among the six ministries.”1 Because of the importance of foreign relations and treaty...
2 The Development of the Career Diplomat: Nurturing China Expertise
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While many leading Meiji diplomats, including Yanagihara Sakimitsu (1850–1894), who as first Japanese ambassador to China presented diplomatic credentials on November 30, 1874, were broadly active statesmen, by the turn of the century the dominance of the career diplomat at all levels of the Foreign Ministry was becoming evident. Even though in the prewar period the post of foreign...
3 The Japanese Consul in China
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Japan’s advance to imperialist power status began in the late Meiji, partly fueled by competition with Western Great Powers in Asia and stimulated by the models of imperialism set by these same powers. But Japan’s drive for expansion, at least in terms of China, soon exceeded the model set by the extraterritorial rights of Western nations, indicating other forces internal to Japan at...
4 The Gaimushō’s Loss in the Manchurian Incident
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While the Gaimushō played a major role in enabling consular offices to be used as tools for Japanese imperialism in East Asia, the ministry also steadfastly maintained its identity as a diplomatic bureaucracy. Indeed, the Gaimushō’s insistence on perpetuating a consular function sanctioned by the international legal system precluded it from responding effectively to administrative changes in...
5 The Path to War: The Gaimushō’s Continuing Loss of Control in China Affairs
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The reduction in Gaimushō authority in affairs in the Northeast did not end with the Manchurian Incident nor did competition in Tokyo for authority in China affairs. The subsequent ongoing decline of Gaimushō legitimacy and influence in the 1930s had its basis in several trends. First, the pressure continued from outside agencies, particularly the army, to encroach further into Gaimushō...
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In its early years, the Japanese Foreign Ministry occupied a premiere position among Japan’s new government institutions, in part because it was the chief agency responsible for the relations with the West that were so central to both the domestic and foreign goals of the Meiji state. The institution and its mainstream bureaucrats came to be Western-oriented, founding the tradition of...
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Publication Year: 2000