Chapter 10: Significance of Global Contribution Made by Great Imperial Japan

The “Age of Explorations” have introduced to the world great shifts and currents which has forced changes of global scale. Various civilizations that has developed independently around the globe began to decline, self-destruct, or destroyed, or became a tributary civilization of the European civilization. (p.289)

It can be said by mid-19th Century, at the time of opening of Japan, the “conquer, divide and distribute” process of the world was almost complete. In the East Asia continent China-centric order began to crumble following endless path towards a demise, at the same time Russian, Germany, France and Britain sub-divided China, and China was brought into the world order guided by international law; The Osman Empire, once a threat to the West, was relegated to nothing but a small flame in blowing wind; The Mughal Empire of India has fallen to become a colony of Britain. At the time of the opening Japan was not defined as an independent country by the prevailing international law of the West, thus had Japan failed in its opening or in the Meiji Restoration unquestionably Japan too would have become a Western colony. (p.290)

But, endowed with exceptional vision, decisiveness, and philosophical flexibility Japan was able to prudently guide its course, and with victory in the Sino Japanese War and the Russo Japanese War, it gained recognition as one of the global power, and was able to successfully transform itself from a nation of Eastern culture to that of Western culture. (P.290)

At the time of Meiji Restoration the Korean Peninsula was the stage for a conflict between the dynastic rule of Empress Myeongseong who wanted to conserve pro-China regime and the independence movement who sought to break away from China and create a modern nation. Japan gave its intellectual and financial support to the independence seeking factions.  Also, in the “100 Day Reform”(Wuxu Reform) Qing China tried to emulate the Japanese Meiji Restoration, and tried to develop a constitutional Republic. (p.291)

Kukurit Puramot, the former Chief Editor of “Siam Rath” newspaper who ultimately became the Prime Minister of Thailand stated in 1955 “ Thanks to Japan nations of all gained their independence.  ‘Mother’ of these nations, Japan, died in the difficult strains of giving birth to these nations, but these children are all growing vibrantly now”, “To whom must we express our gratitude for the  fact that these various Southeast Asian nations can speak with nations like the US in equal terms? It must be expressed to a ‘mother’ called Japan who virtuously and unselfishly sacrificed her body”.  Since then more than 200 nations globally have gained their independence, and brought to an end when a handful of Western nations divided the world for themselves.  (P.292)

Japanese victory in the Russo Japanese War in 1905, a war where yellow race nation beat a white race nation, eradicated the prevailing notion of white supremacy.    As the result of this victory thousands of Chinese students came to study in Japan, and inspired independence and revolutionary movements in India, Vietnam, Philippines, Burma, et al.   In India in 1905 public independence movement began to proliferate with Gandhi as its leader.   Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India later stated “When a small nation of Japan defeated the giant nation of Russia deep inspiration spread throughout India.  If Japan can defeat a powerful European nation, then why could India not do the same?”” Thus, Japan’s victory was a great wake-up call for Asia.  It eradicated the long felt sense of inferiority we have held as Indians”. Sun Yat-sen also stated “Because we now have in Asia a nation called Japan the white people can no longer look condescendingly to the Asian people. The international status of the Asians have risen.” (P.293)

The leader of provisional Indian Government Chandra Bose upon arrival to Japan stated the following message to the Japanese; “Forty years ago an Asian ethnic nation fought and defeated a almighty Russia and defeated it.  When this news reached India a wave of excitement spread throughout our nation, and people rejoiced to hear tales about Battle of Port Arthur and  Sea of Japan, and children worshipped Admiral Togo and General Mogi” .(p. 294)  In Burma, the first Prime Minister Ba Maw stated that Japan’s victory in the Russo Japanese War was “ the awakening moment for Asia, it was the starting point for Asia”. (p. 294)

The victory in the Russo Japanese War stimulated the movement towards constitutional governance in China by the reformist and revolutionaries who advocated a creation of a new Republic, versus those who tried to preserve the autocratic monarchy. The researchers were sent to Japan to study the Japanese constitutional governance and those who returned advocated “Japanese constitution should be the model for the Chinese constitution”, some would even say “implement the Japanese constitution as is”. Needless to say up to this point the pro-autocratic monarchist opposed the change towards the constitutional governance because it would limit the powers of the Imperial court and the bureaucrats. However, the reports from researchers impressed the faction close to Empress Dowager Cixi and in l906 she ordered a preparation to begin towards constitutional governance.   Thus, the Japanese victory in the Russo Japanese War had a significant impact to the governance structure of China which had prevailed for thousands of years.   In September 1908 the foundation of the constitution modeled after the Japanese constitution was announced and in 1910 the first constitutional congress convened.  Influenced by Japan similar movements towards constitutional government began to emerge in the Middle East in Persia, Turkey and Egypt. (P.295)

In the August 1912 issue of a leading magazine in Persia “Habl al-Matin” the following eulogy appeared at the passing Meiji Emperor; “ The Emperor of Japan after defeating Russia proliferated the concept of constitutional governance throughout all of Asia. Persia was the first nation to follow Japan then Turkey followed and then China after that. It was impossible for these three nation to implement constitutional governance because we all received threats and intimidation from the autocratic monarchy of Russia. Therefore, it can be unequivocally stated that the Emperor of Japan is the God of Emancipation for all of Asia, truly a virtuous benefactor of Asia.”(p. 296)

Needless to say in the post-World War II period thinking along these lines, that Japan was the leader who provided the conceptual foundation for the modernization of Asia, has gathered criticism, deeming it as nothing but an exhibition of arrogance of Japan, a hidden flea to camouflage the aggressive intent to take over all of Asia.  But, this will leave the question; who then would have taken the leadership to emancipate Asia?  Clearly, there were no other nation in East Asia or Southeast Asia who modernized its national governance and its ethnic populace prior to Japan.  In the period when Japan felt the Western colonization of Asia, awoke to modern nationalism the rest of Asian ethnic groups were all still sleeping.  During l9th Century nearly all of Southeast Asia, ex-Japan, were colonies of the Western nations, who gained their independence only after the Greater Asia War (World War II).  All of these nations were in the process of creating their national identity.   There were some anti-colonial activities prior to their independence, but it is meaningless to discuss national or ethnic identity before that.  A sense of national ethnic identity and national body simply did not exist.  (p.297)

In the current educational platform of China, Korea and Taiwan students are taught about how they fought against the Japanese, Americans and colonialists, but such teachings are fabrications. In reality, however, these entries by foreign entries were often welcomed as emancipators.  In Korea the Mongols, Manchus, and Japanese were actually welcomed and the resistance by the so-called ‘militia’ was rare.   Generally, the populace of an autocratic societies possess disdain for the exploitive suppression of autocracy and deeply held desire for a regime change.  (p. 298)

On the other hand, in Japan a sense of inevitability of the diametric conflict between the East versus West, the Yellow race versus the White race, the Yellow Peril versus the White Peril versus Yellow Peril and the notion of “Dai Asia Shugi” (Great Pan Asia-ism) proliferated.  In the Age of Western colonization, small Asiatic concept would have been ineffective. The “Dai Asia Shugi” (Great Asia-ims) was a concept that was borne out of sense of existential threat felt by the small country of Japan.  In this period there were no other nation that could be considered a leader besides Japan as there were no ethnic group that held a sense of independent identity.  This ‘Dai Asia Shugi’ accentuated by the victory by Japan in the Russo Japanese War and initial victories of the Greater Asia War that raised resonance of cheers which became the catalyst to the independence of Asia. (p. 298)

Burma gained its independence in l943; Philippines in August l942; The Provisional Government of India arose in Exile in October, l943 in Singapore with Chandra Bose as its leader; Indonesia was promised their independence in September of l944 by the Japanese and in August 17, 1945 actualized it.  The Japanese military emancipated various ethnic populace who up to the point enslaved by under white regime, and helped nurture and train the personnel of these newly independent nations. (p. 299)

Japan chose to live and die along with the Asians.  Since the Meiji Restoration enormous number of Japanese, starting with Tsuyoshi Inukai, Michiru Atamayama, dedicated their personal wealth and finances for the cause of various Asian revolution and independence.  Such transcendental supra-national and supra-ethnic spirit of dedication was unique in the world. (p.301)

The nurturing of nationalism in India and Malaysia is the greatest contribution to these countries.  In India Chandra Bose is ranked equally with Gandhi and Nehru as the heroes of their independence from Britain, but because Bose worked closely with the Japanese to enact the resistance against the British he is viewed in askance and not well-known or regarded as a puppet of Japan, which is a perverse distortion of history. In l944 the Indian National Army (Indian resistance army organized by Chandra Bose) fought together with the Japanese against the British in the Battle of Imphal in north east corner of India.    The officers of defeated INA were tried by the British military tribunal, but the Indian public were outraged and led to  huge up rises which ultimately led to the Indian Independence.  The defense attorney Rabai Desai for the INA officers stated at this military tribunal; “ the INA soldiers are patriots who fought for the Indian independence, thus should be acquitted and set free immediately.   India will gain its independence soon.  Thanks to the Japanese Indian independence will be attained 30 years earlier, and this will also apply to all East Asia ethnic groups.  Indian citizens should deeply embrace this in their hearts, and cooperate with the resurrection of Japan with no reservations. (p.303)

Joyce C. Lebra writes in her book “Liberation of Southeast Asia; An Inheritance from Japan” Under the occupation of Japan, the British and the Dutch have learned that  ethnic nationalism and independence movements reached the point of no return, and further writes what the Japanese left behind for Asian ethnic groups are not what is generally believed in Japan or in China, i.e. “suffering and from colonization and war” as often said in China and in post-war Japan;  it was  “ courage as an Asian”, as per Professor Lebra asserts.  No one can deny that this courage became the impetus for the independence and development of Asia.  America promised independence to the Philippines three times since the Spanish American War of 1898 but never actualized their promise until the end of the Greater Asia War (World War II). Britain also promised independence for India, but never delivered on their promise on their own will. After the Greater Asia War America occupied South Korea but did not offer independence for three years.  Comparatively, the degree of Japan’s “self-less” and “self-sacrifice” spirit is very evident.  If Japan had not lost the war and the development of Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere had proceeded uninterrupted, one can imagine the great modernization and economic development of Southeast Asia, as we have seen in Taiwan, Korea and in Manchuria.  In Southeast Asia, like those three nations, the economic development have been rapid, and have formed the foundation for a modern society. The British historian,  H. G. Wells,  stated immediately after the war “The Great Asian War put an end to the great era of colonization, brought equality between the white and non-white races, and created the foundation for world federation.” ; this is nothing but the historical legacy of the ideals of  Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.  (p.305)

The French philosopher, religious theorist Paul Richard who lived in Japan for 4 years wrote a 7 point poem titled “To the Japanese Children”;

1.To the people of one nation who never lost her independence, your country should be the deliverer of freedom to Asia.

2.To the people of nation never enslaved by another nation, to stand up for those nations enslaved should be the nation of your nation.

3.To the people of undefeated nation, to destroy the enemy of the happiness of these people is your duty.

4.To the people who have unified and embraced the new science, ancient wisdom, European thinking with Asian spirit, to unify these two world is your duty.

5.To the people of a nation who possess religion that never saw bloodshed,  you will be the unifier of all religion to create the new truth.

6.To the people who eternally respect  the Emperor since the founding of the nation, you were created to teach to tens of thousands of nations that  all people  are children of the Heaven, and a nation should be created where the Heaven is regarded as its sovereign leader.

  1. To the people with unity who are kind to tens of thousands of nations, you were created to achieve unity in the future, as well as a soldier to promote peace of humanity.

This poem is rich in expressing the following :what Japan is, who the Japanese are, what meaning does the progress of Great Imperial Japan to the world, what role had Japan achieved, what was expected of Japan. (p.306)


The historian Arnold J. Toynbee states “ The legacy the Japanese had left in history is that the Europeans, who have conquered Asia and Africa, are proven not to be invincible demi-gods.  The British, the French, the Americans, all fell like dominos.   Only the Americans were able to maintain their military superiority, the other nations suffered disgraceful defeat. (The Observer, October 28th, l956).  This summarizes the global impact of the Meiji Restoration.(p.306)

Japan became the model for modernization of non-Western nations.  What were the reasons of the Japan’s post war success?  Some would say; the new industrial infrastructure and technology, as the old infrastructure and technology was annihilated during the war; the loss of the foreign colonies and territories brought easier fiscal burdens to Japan; benefited from free trade as the world economy recovered; lack of defense burden, as Japan was under the security umbrella of the US; existence of well-educated low cost labor, etc.   However, looking with macro vision, fundamentally it is the well-functioning new cultural system that developed after the Meiji Restoration.  In another words, it is a system that tries to cultivate small un-endowed territory to bring growth to the society. It is not just an economic system that centers on industrial technologies, but it is a cultural system that includes political governance, society, and culture, the historical resultant of development from the Age of Isolation. (p.307)

Much of the  world, like the Islamic civilization which has heavy religious undertones, and the Chinese civilization with strong cultural foundations, developed in one dimensionally; both tended to be self-contained microcosms, and exclusionary of the outside world,   versus this, the “Japanese Civilization” which is an open system.   Japan is a rarity in the world that is most comprehensive, harmoniously compatible, and aggressively absorptive of the foreign culture, yet upholds and develops its own culture. The basic model for the economic development of Japan was developed early in the Jomon and Yayoi Era (14500 BC to 250 AD), followed by embracing of Chinese culture in the Tenpei and Hei An Era (794 to 1185 AD), followed by the period of embracing of the Western civilization after the opening of Japan,  further followed by the post war absorption of the Americanism. (p. 307)

The waves of modernization that continues to overturn Asia included secularization.  The secularization of religious institutions was one of the factors that brought the modernization in Europe. Furthermore, the rise of individualism-i.e. the rise of individual freedom and  social consciousness- and rationalism-the rise of science and technology- along with the Crusades –which brought Islamic influence-, the ensuing Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, were all factors that stimulated European modernization.  The four foundations of modern societies were capitalism, democracy, individualism, and ethnic nationalism; capitalism was essential for the modernization of economy, the modern ‘rule of law’ was essential for modern political and social governance, and ethnic nationalism was necessary for development of modern culture.(p.310)

Then why was Japan the only nation of modernize in East Asia?  One reason must be the high social stability Japan enjoyed since the Edo Era (1603-1868). Unless the society is stable there can never be any economic development.(p. 310)

Comparatively speaking, in the l9th Century, everywhere besides Japan-China, Manchuria, Korea, Taiwan- was basically overrun by unruly marauding bandits.   The monarchy was ineffective and powerless everywhere with the military themselves becoming unruly marauders and thieves. Furthermore, and above these marauding thieves -the governing officials-were corrupt culprits themselves.  Under this corrupt order of military and officials who levied and collected inordinate amount taxes from the public, far more draconian than the marauding thieves, created a social environment where the populace were never saved from poverty, famine, and disease.  It is important to focus on these facts when discussing the history of East Asia.  If this is neglected, one cannot properly comprehend the stagnant nature of East Asian economic history. (p.310)

What eradicated this historic East Asian economic stagnation to initiate the modernization was the infrastructure build-out program by Japan,  by creating an ultra-stable society and industrial foundation in these nations.   What Japan did first in these nations to develop social infrastructure was to bring “rule of law” and stabilize the society.   In Taiwan capture and containment of  the marauding bandits to stabilize the society;  in Korea similarly eradicate the nomadic thieves and corrupt taxing governors; in Manchuria similarly eradicate the nomadic thieves and warlords.  In the post-war environment these activities are often regarded as “ excessive brutality under colonial rule” by the Chinese, Korean and some progressive Japanese academics, but in reality these voices are completely ignoring the fact that they are applauding the enemy of the public were being policed and controlled by the Japanese military, thus are completely distorting the history.  (p. 310)

The management of Taiwan and Korea was different from the Western colonial governance; it  was a  “internal growth oriented” management model.   Therefore, the modernization under Japan in Taiwan and Korea was the 2nd and 3rd cultural renaissance, replicas of Japan’s restoration.  There was a direct transfer of Japanese capital and technology to these nations.  (p.310)

The modernization of Taiwan can be construed as a “Japanization” of Taiwan.  Under the governance of Japan Taiwan experienced modernization of the following: land management, census record management, national land development plan, rail road construction, road construction, harbor construction, airport construction, sewerage system, electric utility, dams, water system, forestry and mountain preservation, agricultural management, agricultural land reform, agricultural product quality improvement, advancement of agricultural technology, merchandising of agricultural products and marketing, modern financial development,  adoption of modern government fiscal and tax management, establishment of banks, modern economic policy development, modern industrial development, establishment of agricultural and industrial oversight groups, modern city construction, modernization of individual and public health management, elimination of marauding bandits, establishment for system ‘rule of law’, modernization of education, establishment of mass media system, establish entities to research national geography, topography, geology, plant eco system, traditional societies, modern Taiwan language, modern Taiwan sociology, natural science, modern thoughts and philosophy, literature, arts,  etc.  None of the above could have been achieved without the help of the Japanese.   Thanks to these modernization efforts, Taiwan was able to make a big transition into an industrial nation since the l930’s.  The impact that Japanese brought to Taiwan were these indispensable physical and mental foundational changes for the construction of modern nation by the Taiwanese. (p.316)

Similar modernization was executed in Korea to bring their “Industrial Revolution”.  In Korea there were awareness by the foreigners and Koreans about the existence rich mineral resources in this nation, but Korea never attempted to create a mining industry.   The reason for their reluctance for the development was the likelihood of expropriation of the mined minerals leading toward annexation by China.  The Japanese Government invested enormous amount of capital and began to mine the resources.  In the post war period Korea accuses Japan of pillaging their natural resources, but it should be viewed as a contribution to Korea as the large scale capital investment, input of modern technology, employment of workers, all benefited the Korea and the lives of Korean people.  Japanese contributed very significantly in the creation of numerous large scale electric power generation plants in Korea, which helped to dramatically raise the industrial output of the nation. (p. 317)

At the end of 19th  century Manchuria was rampant with marauding nomadic bandits and thieves.  The farmers, if their livelihood became difficult would join these bands of outlaws and attack other farmers.   Police assistance simply were too far or too little to be effective, or there were no difference between the bandits and the law enforcement agents; the bandits were those who would steal at night and police were those who  would steal during the broad daylight. Bandits would be called into the government to serve in the military, and retired military men would become bandits.  (p.319)

At the end of l9th century when large number of Han Chinese began to immigrate to Manchuria, it was the warlords, nomadic bandits, and other bandit groups that who ruled these lawless societies where theft, corruption, exploitation ran rampant.  It was the Japanese military police system who developed an infrastructure for modern social governance, foundation for an industrial development. The achievement of exterminating such lawless rule by the warlords and bandits and establishing a modern social governance structure is should be heralded by as a miracle in history.  In l937 at the time of China incident these bandits were said to be numbered more than 100,000, but after the establishment of the police system by the Japanese Manchuria was virtually free of these lawless bands of warlords and bandits. Japan wanted to see a rapid development of a modern society in Manchuria, as the military wanted to quickly build a defense line against the Russians.   The most important process to take first was the establishment of governance and legal system, and the spirit of respect for the law. (p.320)

The biggest difference between the new Manchuria governed by laws and the old Manchuria under the rule of warlords is the degree to which the government expended its energy for the development of the nation, versus the amount of the energy expended to steal from the nation. Under the rule of warlords, fiscal expenditures were spent almost entire in military goods, and there were almost no investments made in the infrastructure of the society.  The only infrastructure build during the era of the warlord Zhang Xueliang was just several dance halls.   On the other hand the Japanese built railroad, roads, ports, airports and other transportation infrastructures, along with the fresh water/sewerage system, mountain and water resources management system, public electric utility system, and  other city and social infrastructures.  Manchuria after just 13.5 years was annexed by China, but in that period it became one gigantic industrial nation capable of building autos to airplanes. It was nothing short of magnificent crystallization of energy and technology of newly emerging nation of Japan, inspired by their success of executing the 2nd restoration in Taiwan and 3rd restoration in Korea. (p.321)

After the War, Naoki Hoshino, the former Japanese Viceroy of Manchuria, stated “Not just the Japanese at the leadership positions but all of young Japanese people came to Manchuria, to work together with other ethnic Asians, to develop a new nation and share fruits of its development with other ethnic groups.  The How Man Dam, completed in 1943, can be regarded as a symbol of the passion the Japanese embraced for the development of Manchuria. This was a dam one of the largest dame in East Asia that was used to prevent flooding, irrigation, used for drinking water, used for industrial water, water transportation, and electric utility.  The Philippines Foreign Minister who visited the dam stated “Philippines have been under Spanish colonial rule for 350 years and 40 years under the rule of the United States.   But, they have built nothing that would benefit the livelihood of the people.  Manchuria built this in just 10 years after its inception”.   These words accurately describe the difference between the occupation policies of Manchuria by the Japanese and the colonial occupation policies of the Western nations.   Japan not only modernized Manchuria, but also modernized Taiwan and Korea in the same way.   Previously mentioned Hoshino, the former Viceroy of Manchuria, stated “With the lifespan of only 13 years Manchuria ended as a dream that never saw its completion.  But, the effort and perseverance expressed by the young Japanese should be held proudly in the hearts of Japanese people, I confidently believe”.   Japan converted the raw land first into a foundation for a modern nation, made it into a livable land, took an agricultural society which could barely make metal to make pots and converted it into a gigantic industrial center, created a safe society the Chinese could only dream about; created a defense barrier Asia against the southern expansion of the Russians, and industrial foundation for the post war China. (p.322)

As the result of being included into Japan they experienced a proliferation of civility. Manchuria also transformed into a modern nation as result of becoming a part of Japan.  Qing China as well at its final years attempted to move in the direction of cultural renaissance and modernization modeling after Japan.   This is something that is generally mentioned in a standard text book, but from the end of the Sino-Japanese War (1895) to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty (1911) was a period sometimes termed as the “Japan-ization of China”.  Japan, a nation that was subject to the same threats to open itself as Qing China, but was able to westernize its culture and modernize, and defeat Qing China and Russia in less than 40 years since its inception as a new nation,  caught the eyes of the intellectuals and leaders of Qing China.   They have always viewed this small nation in the eastern sea condescendingly until then,  but that condescension have not turned into respect, and began to model its modernization after Japan.  This was nothing but a comprehensive revolution within the 2000 years of Imperial Chinese history. (p.323)

Firstly, immediately after the Sino Japanese War a direct replica of Meiji Restoration was tested in China in the Wuxu Revolution (1898), but it failed in 100 days due to opposition from the reactionary elements led by the Empress Dowager.  However, after the Japanese victory in the Russo Japanese War the Empress Dowager herself began to support Japan like reform and began the serious reform China. American historian Douglas R. Reynolds states in his “China’s New Political Reform and Japan”  “in the ten year period from 1898 Wuxu Revolution to the passing of Empress Dowager in 1907 is now regarded as the “Lost 10 Years” in the history of close ties between China and Japan, as China earnestly considered to try to “Learn from Japan”, as China deemed such movement “qualifies to be considered as one of the peaceful revolution”.   Thus, in 1901 began the education reform, construct schools, develop industries, reorganize and modernize the military, reform the legal system, develop a police system and the judiciary system, and began to study Japan’s reforms in earnest.  (p. 323)

This was nothing but a direct repudiation of China-centric order.  The “Japanese Impact” was so powerful and eye opening that it blew off the concept of the endeared ancient Chinese order that lasted thousands of years, arrogant attitudes that remained unyielding even as the nation suffered a defacing defeat in the Opium War and territorial encroachments of Western nations.  These bureaucrats began to engage in an earnest effort to reform China, which was in itself, epoch making. (p. 324)

In l903 Japan focus movement became a boom.  The regional and central government officials were sent to Japan to study about Japan and they studied earnestly and passionately to save their county.  One such official in l902 stated “Our nation (China) is in a similar predicament Japan was at about the moment of the start of the Meiji Restoration.  Why has Japan been able to continue its “long legged” advancements?  How the people with isolationistic mind were mind able to reconstruct their thinking; how were they able to change the thinking of its entire citizenry? More you research and analyze more questions emerge”.  Another Chinese observer official in the same year who came to Japan to study agriculture stated “Japanese rice paddies and farm lands are plotted like an organized chart; man and woman were working diligently; schools were everywhere; railroads were everywhere; everyone was learning; all aspects and subjects of academia are studied; Efforts are channeled toward commerce, artisan ship, military industries, policing, forestry, mining, expeditiously.  The achievement of being able to stand shoulder to shoulder to the Western Powers just within 40 years was not accidental occurrence. “.  There were endless applause for the modernization of Japan.   This observer from China astonished to learn that the key to the success of agricultural production in Japan was the careful fertilization and cultivation of earth, and not just a natural phenomenon. (p.324)

All of Japan-the Emperor, government bureaucrats, leaders from various aspects of society, economy, commerce, public and private, whole-heartedly welcomed the arrival of Chinese observers, who wanted to create friendly ties with the Chinese in trade.  Many lectures and gatherings were held to welcome the Chinese, which helped to enhance the relationship. (p. 325)

Also, the need for close alliance between China as Japan was explained to the observers, as they knew the inevitability of Russo Japanese War.  One military attaché explained to the visiting Chinese observers “Japan would like to see China quickly reform its military and form an alliance with Japan.  Once the Siberian Railroad is connected, it will be too late.”. “ Construction of schools and modernization of the military are important, but as the merits of school forthcoming in the long term, thus all efforts should be placed in military development.  The advancement of Russia into Dalian and Liaodong Peninsula is an embarrassment to Asia.  If China does not become strong Japan will have to fight by itself, thus if China demands it Japan will fully support China’s efforts”.  (p. 325)

Although the widely held concept if joint Japan-China Defense Alliance since the opening of Japan never was actualized due to misunderstanding by China about Japan, or influence by the prevailing politics at the time, but within the “Golden 10 Years” (“Lost 10 Years” ) there were legitimate advancements made towards those goals. (p.326)

Voices were raised by Chinese observers returning from Japan to implement a new constitution in China, thus in January l906 the Empress Dowager orders a study group be formed to study Japanese and western constitution. On the first visit of the study group to Japan they were welcomed by the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister of Army, and the Emperor.  (p.328)

They were given 12 lectures by various authorities, including Hirobumi Ito (chairman of the committee to draft the original Meiji Constitution, and Prime Minister ), on the subject of Japanese constitution.   Questions were raised from the observers “has the ‘kokutai’ order (sovereign order of Japan with the Emperor at the top) changed due to the introduction of the constitution” to which the response was “the “kokutai” is a product of historical evolution.  Japan now has a constitution and a Diet, but it has not obstructed the relation to the Imperial “kokutai” order.  Ito also elaborated “within the purview of the constitution there is constitutional monarchy and democratic constitutional republic.  Our nation is an Imperial monarchy with several thousand years of history, so very similar to China.  Thus, you should model your constitution to Japan’s.  The biggest difference between an autocracy and constitutional monarchy is that in a constitutional monarchy the laws must be passed by the legislative body, The Diet.  The laws must be uniformly enforced through the entire nation”.  The observer group advocated modeling the Chinese constitution to the Japanese model upon returning to China. (p.328)

The reform of the governance in China was primarily led by the observer group to Japan. In 1907  Department of Foreign Affairs, Public Affairs Department was formed;  Department of Land Management was changed to Department of Finance; Department of soldiers became Department of Military; a new Constitutional Drafting Department with the observer group to Japan as its nucleus was formed.   The time schedule for the promulgation of the new constitution would be 9 years.  During this period reforms in central and local governments, judiciary system, legislative process, other legal reforms, public education reform,  and on the 9th year constitutional reform, Imperial household reform, legislative reform, election reform for the lower and upper house, budgetary process reform, execution of central and local government reform, and raise the literacy rate of the Chinese public to 5%.  This was literally modeled after the Japan’s modernization plans.   In July 1911 the first Chinese Constitution was completed.   However, due to the start of the Republican Revolution of October 1911 this constitution was eternally left in oblivion.  (p. 329)

The western nations, particularly the Russians and the Germans,  feared the training of the Chinese military by Japan, as the Japanese Department of Defense was very focused on training the visiting Chinese students.  One German officer commented “Japanese officers are providing military training in China and bringing big results.  Many Chinese have gone to Tokyo as a student, and there they are changing into uniforms.   Young students will attend military schools for the young along with Japanese students.  These small number of Chinese would become the unifying nucleus with the yellow race people.   And if the yellow people succeed and prosper then they will turn against Russia and the rest of the western nations will receive damage”.   (p. 330)

Chinese students began to arrive in Japan in large numbers since the Sino Japanese War in 1896, and by l906 about 13,000 students came to Japan every year.  They wanted to learn the secrets behind successful modernization strategy of Japan after the Meiji Restoration and the industry and military strengthening strategy that defeated China. Also, impressed by the patriotism and national unity during the Russo Japanese War, when they returned to China they all became proponents of anti-Qing dynasty revolution.  What Japan wanted to see in China was an “awakening’, and the development of human resources for that awakening who will defend Asia along with Japan against the encroachment into Asia. (p.333)

The Japanese emissary fleets, the  “Kenzui shi, Kentai shi” fleets (618-907 AD) , brought from China to Japan new ideas about the Chinese civilization,  governance and culture which were  shocking  to Japan and changed Japan from its foundation, as the Western influence has changed Japan in a similar wary after the Meiji Restoration.  However, although not generally discussed, similar shock waves were sent to China from Japan.  Just as modern western civilization was imported into Japan, China imported the modern western civilization from Japan and executed its own cultural revolution.  It was the “learn from Japan” movement that stimulated the modernization of late-Qing period, the Republican Revolution, and the founding of the Republic of China. (p. 334)

The Chinese students who arrived to Japan, once in Japan they spoke bitterly about the prevailing deep and ubiquitous corruptions of their home country and became the nucleus of the Republican Revolution movement.  As a result the Republican Revolution brought an end to the Qing Dynastic regime.  For Qing sending these students to Japan was same as nurturing revolutionaries.  What was waiting for them in Japan were the new governance model for China called Japan, Japanese nationals who supported their revolutionary movement.  Thus, the Chinese revolutionary movement like Chuugoku Doo Mei Kai (Chinese Alliance Group) were founded in Japan. It was the Japanese military that was the target of their interest in their dream of creating strong industrial and military foundation for China. But, their interest to learn also extended beyond just military but also to patriotism, national defense policies, sense of unity, self-sacrificing public spirit.  Today’s Chinese have a distorted view that Japanese military consultants and educators only wanted to use these new military allies in their effort to perpetrate aggression into China, and they seem incapable of understanding the passion and desire for humans to help other in need. (p. 338)

Qing Dynasty was toppled by former Chinese students who were educated in Japan who aimed to create a modern nation.  A large percentage of people who took over the leadership positions of the new Republic of China were also former students of Japan; In December l911, of the 45 member representatives from 17 provinces who attended the Republic of China Nanking Temporary Government Insurrection Conference majority were former students of Japan; In January, l912 Republic of China Nanking Temporary Government Insurrection Conference of the 18 representatives 50% were former students in Japan, etc. (p. 340)

Since the opening, the biggest threat to Japan was the threat from Russia and later Soviet Union, regarded as the “Red Peril” from the Soviet Union and Com-Intern. Mao Tse Tung thought “After the Russian Revolution would be the Chinese Revolution, then the Japanese Revolution”.   Russia advanced east to conquer Siberia, nearing Alaska; then expanded southward towards Sea of Japan seeking an outlet to the Pacific Ocean; then advanced the southward expansion into Manchuria; After the Sino Japanese War the Russians colluded in the “Three Nation Intervention” with Germany and France to impede Japan’s expansion into the Asian continent; annexed Manchuria in North China Incident; and began an expansion into the Korean Peninsula.  Then lost the Russo-Japanese War, thus their southward expansion was stopped, but Russia became a greater threat to Japan after the October Russian Communist Revolution in l917.(p.341)

About l935 in Asia there were some improvement in the relationship between Japan and China; the common denominator between the two nations was “anti-communism’.  Against this posture, what the Soviets desired was a conflict between China and Japan. Both Chiang Kai Shek and Japan were both impediments to the Soviet advancement into the Far East, thus for these two nations to engage in a fight was the most desirable scenario.  (p. 342)

The Chinese Communist August l935 declared a cease fire against the Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist military.   For Chiang Kai Shek, who prioritized the defeat of the Communist over the defeat of the Japanese, did not comply, but the Communist took Chiang Kai Shek hostage (Xian Incident) and fostered a cease fire between the Nationalist and the Communist, then under the orders from Stalin began to fight the Japanese.  The Marco Polo Bridge incident triggered the Second Sino Japanese War; It is well known now that it was neither the Chinese Nationalist or Japanese bullet, but a Communist bullet that triggered the Second Sino Japanese War; curiously, the Communist had and transmitted detailed information about the shooting long before any of the Nationalists or the Japanese central headquarters had any information. (p.342)

Japan absolutely did never deemed the escalation of the scale of 2nd Sino Japanese War, or the Great East Asia War (World War II), as good national strategy.   That is because it was aware that it simply did not have national resources to beat the United States, but because it knew that the true enemy was not China nor the United States, but Russia.  Japan needed to be the defense wall in the northern front, a barrier wall versus the encroaching Russian communism.  And that threat became true.  As soon as the Soviets ascertained the defeat of Japan in the war it violated the Japan Soviet Non-Aggression Treaty and entered Manchuria. It is said that United States decided to enter the war against Japan after the China Incident, but this nation, the US, did not realize at the time Japan was fulfilling the duty to act as a barrier against Communism in the Asia, Pacific region. (p. 342)

After the war, the person who spoke about Japan fighting in China being a battle to counter Communism, and asserted the legitimacy of Japan to fight in the war was General  Douglas MacArthur, the Commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific during the World War II, who fought the Communist in the Korean War. (p.343)

Japan was a nation that continued to fight a difficult war in order to prevent the southward advancements of Soviet Union. Thus, when the Japanese forces were stationed within China it was able to avoid colonization by Russia, and communist takeover by the Soviets. Efforts by Chiang Kai Shek to avoid war with Japan and efforts by Wang Jingwei to collaborate with the Japanese were done with the knowledge that Japan’s presence was necessary for China.  And, when the Great Imperial Japan lost the war China fell into the hands of the Communist. The Great Imperial Japan was the only nation in Asia who defended Asia against the proliferation and destruction of Communism. (p. 343)

Asian expansion by Japanese militarism and colonialism has been well vilified. It is unfortunate that the miracle Japan was able to achieve in the name of emancipation of Asian people is misunderstood in world history. I would like to emphasize, repeatedly time after time, that Asians could not even dream about being emancipated from Western imperialism prior to being liberated by the Japanese. Furthermore, the achievement of independence by the Asian nations led to the independence of Africa and other regions, was unimaginable to the world. (P.344)

The World War II “brought an end to the age of colonialism, and brought equality between the white and people of color.” (p.344)

Another revolutionary achievement by Japan was to bring modernization to East Asia and turned it into a “livable” civilized world.   In Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria’s birthrate, population, life expectancy, grew dramatically thanks to the modernization of these societies by the Japanese.  Also, same phenomenon occurred in China and Southeast Asia until the defeat of Japan in the war.  We should never forget that Japan not only contributed to the “Emancipation of Southeast Asia” but also to “Peace and Stability of Southeast Asia”, thus created the foundation for the civilization of East Asia. (p. 334)

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