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Reviews 409 Harumi Goto-Shibata. fapan and Britain in Shanghai, 1925-1931. London: Macmillan; NewYork: St. Martin's Press, 1996. xvi, 196 pp. Hardcover $59-95» isbn 0-312-12743-x. In the past decade or so, there has been a virtual explosion ofpublications about Shanghai's past by both foreign and Chinese scholars. Students, workers, mercantile and business elites, and foreign communities have all been examined in some detail, particularly in the years from the May Fourth Movement to the coming of Communist power in 1949. Harumi Goto-Shibata has made a valuable contribution to this body ofknowledge, for her book is the first—at least in a Western language—to look specifically at the Japanese colony, which by the 1920s had become the largest, ifnot the most influential, foreign community in the city. She does tiiis by comparing the Japanese with the British, the oldest and in many ways the most important group of foreigners, examining the ways they responded to the changes in Chinese politics and polity between 1925 and the outbreak offighting between China and Japan in early 1932. As is well known, the shooting of Chinese demonstrators on Nanjing Road on May 30, 1925, and the even greater loss of life in the Shamian massacre a month later were the occasion for an eruption ofradical Chinese nationalism directed primarily against Great Britain. By mid-1928, however, particularly after the clash between Japanese forces and the troops of the Northern Expedition in Jinan diat May, Japan had supplanted Britain as the chieftarget of Chinese wrath—even as Japanese textiles had supplanted those of Great Britain in the Shanghai trade—and Japan's activities in Manchuria and North China thenceforth would maintain it in that position until 1945. As Goto-Shibata shows, in the period from the May Thirtieth Movement to the Nationalist capture of Shanghai in 1927, the British, finding themselves increasingly isolated, had turned to other nations, including Japan, for support. Here they met widi no great success, and were upset by Japan's unilateral setdement , in the late summer of1925, ofthe issues arising out ofMay Thirtieth (p. 26), and were even more disappointed, in early 1927, at Japan's refusal to contribute troops to the Shanghai Defence Force that London hastily assembled as the Nationalist armies advanced on the city. Yet Tokyo's response, Goto-Shibata argues , was perfecdy rational and appropriate, and came less from the desire of Japanese traders and businessmen in Shanghai to profit from Britain's problems tiian from Foreign Minister Shidehara's pacific approach to the Chinese question,© 1997 fey University and from an unwillingness to share with Britain the position oftarget of Chinese ofHawaii Pressanger (pp. 47-48). Within a year and a half, however, the roles were reversed (chapter 4), and after the Jinan incident ofMay 1928 and the assassination of 410 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997 Zhang Zuolin a month later, it was now Britain who found itself reluctant to be dragged into the wave of anti-Japanese sentiment washing over the country—particularly since British trade was beginning to show a modest revival after the great setbacks of the mid-twenties. Of course there was a good deal of disagreement between various groups and various individuals; Japanese businessmen with Chinese interests, both at home and in Shanghai, became increasingly disillusioned with what they saw as the ineffectiveness of Shidehara's China policy, and welcomed the stronger measures that Tanaka's Seiyukai government seemed to promise when it assumed power in April 1927. Goto-Shibata points also to differences between Shanghai's Japanese, particularly between the "Native faction" of small tradesmen—whose entire economic stake lay in Shanghai, their standard ofliving no better than that of the Chinese, and who were denied a vote in the Settiement's affairs—and the far smaller "Company faction," made up of those who worked for the big trading companies, cotton mills, and banks (pp. 6-7). Though the paucity of sources makes it difficult to generalize about the former, she concludes that on the whole they were more bellicose, more inclined to an activist policy than were the members of the Company faction, who took...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 409-412
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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