North Korea: The Really Serious Options on the Table

By Pepe Escobar

March 23, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The National People’s Congress in Beijing made it clear that China in the 21st century as led by Xi Jinping now relies, as a state, on the  “core” leader’s “four comprehensives” as the letter of the law.

The “four comprehensives” are to build a moderately prosperous society; deepen economic reform; advance the law-based governance of China; and strengthen the Communist Party’s self-governance.

No foreign-policy adventure/disaster should be allowed to interfere with the “four comprehensives,” which, extrapolated, are also linked to the imperative success of the New Silk Roads (One Belt, One Road), China’s ambitious outreach across Eurasia.

But then there’s supremely unpredictable North Korea. And the notorious Lenin line resurfaces: “What is to be done?”

Pyongyang has successfully tested land-based, mobile, solid-fueled intermediate-range ballistic missiles. When operational, this development translates into a North Korean first-strike capability difficult to track, as well as the means to absorb an initial foreign attack and retaliate with – nuclear-tipped? – missiles.

Four North Korean missiles recently – and deliberately – aimed at the Sea of Japan constitute a clear message: We are able to hit US military forces in Japan and we can defeat any missile defense deployed or to be deployed by the US, Japan and South Korea.

Patience or bust

US Secretary of State “T Rex” Tillerson has officially proclaimed that the era of US “strategic patience” concerning North Korea is over, and “all options are on the table.” Yet this does not necessarily mean a new war in the Korean Peninsula led by President Donald Trump, which would be an absolute folly with horrific consequences, and all for nothing. Pyongyang carefully protects its crack team of engineers, who would put a nuclear program back on track in no time.

Team Trump knows very well that Seoul – extremely vulnerable to the North’s military machine – would veto military strikes against North Korea, as would Beijing.

It’s significant that Chinese media have chosen to emphasize Tillerson’s “moderate” tone on North Korea – while duly signaling the failure, once again, of trademark US sanctions policy.

Every major world actor knows that the abandonment of “strategic patience” plus a deluge of additional sanctions will inevitably lead to Pyongyang, in a flash, selling fissile material in the global black market for ready cash.

And overwhelming pressure on North Korea may lead to the lethal counterpunch of that country accumulating up to 50 nuclear weapons capable of hitting anywhere in South Korea and Japan by 2022.

So the only reasonable option is what for Washington, so far, has been anathema: to sit down at the negotiating table with Pyongyang and hammer out a definitive peace treaty to replace the current armistice that suspended, but did not officially end, the Korean War. That is what I heard over and over again when I visited North Korea for Asia Times.

And it should be crystal clear: peace treaty first; then the end of sanctions; then North Korea ending its nuclear-weapons program. That also happens to be what the Chinese government wants; Beijing is terrified of a war sooner or later disturbing the currently frozen – albeit dissolving – status quo.

The problem is that Team Trump – just like the previous US administration of Barack Obama – assumes that Pyongyang, under pressure, must relinquish its nuclear-weapons program before the negotiations start. Wishful thinking, as anyone who has been to North Korea knows. North Korea is for all practical purposes a nuclear power. The only way it might get on the road to becoming a “normal” nuclear power, like for instance Pakistan, is for the Korean War to be finally over.

The ‘invisible’ Tokyo-Beijing gamble

But then there’s a fascinating parallel development, as relayed by European Union diplomats directly dealing with Asia. Japanese industrialists mostly don’t buy Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative old-guard xenophobia concerning China. Japanese exports to China are actually rising compared with Japanese exports to the US.

Former minister Ichiro Ozawa, aka “Shadow Shogun,” president of the Liberal Party and former leader of several opposition parties, is plotting to unseat Abe in the next general election. He is calling for the merger of his Liberal Party, the Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party, saying, quite rightly, “We can’t win if we fight separately,” adding that the three parties “can unite on basic policies” as they all call for shutting down nuclear plants, scrapping the new national-security laws and rejecting the next increase in the consumption tax.

As important, the LP, DPJ and SDP strongly favor Tokyo-Beijing rapprochement, and Ozawa’s pedigree as a “friend of China” is well established.

In December 2009, when he was secretary general of the ruling DPJ, Ozawa famously led a group of 600 Democratic parliamentarians and businessmen to China. At the beginning of his political career as a Liberal Democratic Party member of parliament, Ozawa was the closest political ally of prime minister Kakuei Tanaka, who is most remembered for normalizing Japanese relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1972. It is from “Kaku-san” that Ozawa inherited the title of “Shadow Shogun,” and it is to this day that Ozawa believes that his mentor was scapegoated for the Lockheed scandal and driven out of office because he saw close China-Japan relations as as key to East Asian peace and prosperity.

Meanwhile in South Korea, after the debacle over the impeachment of conservative president Park Geun-hye, there are considerable forces warming up to Beijing. A political majority in South Korea favors economic cooperation with China – for instance, in the aeronautics industry – coupled with an Asian entente to solve the North Korea problem.

The most probable winner of the next presidential election to be held on May 9 is Moon Jae-in, a firm supporter of the Sunshine Policy of closer contacts and economic cooperation with Pyongyang and no revival of the military pressure inaugurated by former president Kim Dae-jung and pursued by Seoul from 1998 to 2008.

Facts on the geopolitical ground spell out massive unpopularity of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system possibly to be deployed by the end of next month in South Korea.

When Tillerson urged Beijing to refrain from creating economic policies that could hinder the deployment of THAAD, that could have been coded language acknowledging that Beijing has moved heavy electronic-warfare jammers up to positions where THAAD may be rendered useless against a possible North Korean response.

And that ties in perfectly with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently describing Beijing and Pyongyang as being as close as “lips and teeth” – though, of course, teeth can sometimes bloody lips, and China has also called on North Korea to suspend nuclear and missile activities in exchange for a halt in US and South Korean military exercises. “The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming towards each other,” Wang said on the sidelines of the recently concluded National People’s Congress in Beijing, defining it as China’s task to “apply brakes on both trains”.

Doing it the Asian way

Beijing could possibly deliver calibrated economic pressure on North Korea (suspension of coal imports) and at the same time imprint on Washington the necessity of dialogue, eventually bringing both parties to the table.

At the Obama-Xi Sunnylands summit in 2013, Xi stressed a “new type of relations between major powers,” based on “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation”. It hasn’t happened – yet.

But absent a torrent of off-message late-night tweets, the Trump-Xi summit at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, next month might well deliver a compromise.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo-Beijing track, invisible to the Trump-Xi track, could be laid with Abe out of power.

The first major consequence of a Tokyo-Beijing rapprochement might be a negotiated solution for North Korea that would include a “soft” end of the Kim dynasty.

However it happens, South Korea would likely refuse a lightning-quick reunification, German-style. North Korea would remain as the same state for at least another decade, with Chinese cadres, including influential members/associates of the Politburo, helping remaining technocrats in the North to step beyond the Kim dynasty.

Under this optimistic scenario, after one century of hardcore conflict, Japan and China might aim for some sort of reconciliation – call it a historical compromise – very much aligned to Xi Jinping’s ideas, now that he’s finalizing being completely in charge of the People’s Liberation Army and totally in control of the Communist Party machine.

A mix of Japan’s high technology and China’s industrial solidity would mean a quick overtaking of the US, an economic-policy convergence beyond the short-term profitability of financial speculation, stressing economic balance, with the priority being job preservation and solidarity-based social policies.

Talk about a major intellectual advance of the East over the West. But first, gotta talk to Pyongyang.

Pepe Escobar is correspondent-at-large at Asia Times

This article was first published at Asia Times

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

F. William Engdahl – What is happening in the world?

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Jewish terrorism comes to Japan

Jewish terrorist caught in Japan for Arson

Israeli arrested in Japan railway arson case

Anti-nuclear activist, who is grandson of former Israeli ambassador to Japan, arrested on and admits to one of seven suspected Tokyo train arson charges.

Tokyo police have recently arrested an Israeli-Japanese musician, Izaya Noda, over a series of suspected arson incidents on Tokyo’s train lines. Noda, 42, is a resident of Musashino, and the grandson of Moshe Barter, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Japan in1966-1972.

Tokyo police charged suspect Noda with setting seven fires along the city’s railways. In at least three of the incidents, the fires caused disruptions, affecting 150,000 passengers.

According to Tokyo police, Noda admitted his involvement in an August 23 arson, but denied involvement in the other incidents. Investigators quoted him as saying he “could not tolerate Japan Railways for consuming massive amounts of electricity.”

Japanese media outlets published a photo of Noda’s Israeli ID card, which was issued in Kfar Saba in 2002. According to the ID, Noda has an Israeli mother named Dorit, and a Japanese father named Tatsuya.

Japanese media also reported that Noda had penned a song including the chorus, “Hide until the time comes to attack,” and, “Burn! Burn! Burn!” The reports also mentioned that Noda posted a photo on Instagram showing a plastic bottle wrapped in white object. Police suspect that bottle was used to set one of the fires.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to comment, “We won’t comment on the issue for privacy reasons.”

ISIS Barbarians at the Gates, While NATO Hypes ‘Russian Threat’

Posted on June 29, 2015 by Alexandra Valiente

As ISIS terror erupts across the globe, Western governments are busy making plans to establish a rapid reaction force in Eastern Europe to ‘contain Russia’, thus qualifying them for an annual ‘you couldn’t make it up’ award.

It calls to mind one of Britain’s worst military defeats, suffered at the hands of the Japanese, when 100,000 troops and sailors were marched into captivity after the fall of Singapore on February 15, 1942. Winston Churchill called it “the largest capitulation in British history.” Many of the British troops never even fired a shot before surrendering, thus adding to the humiliation and ignominy of their defeat at the hands of a much smaller force. The British commander responsible for the surrender, Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, earned himself a cold place in history as a consequence.

A major reason for the defeat and surrender of an island that was considered a key and strategically vital part of the British Empire was that the guns of the British defenders were pointed in the wrong direction; they’d been expecting the Japanese attack to come from the sea rather than through the jungle and swamps of the Malay Peninsula behind them.

Today, in 2015, British guns are not only pointed in the wrong direction they are pointed at the wrong enemy. The most recent terrorist atrocity, carried out last week against tourists in Tunisia, has resulted in the most British victims since the 7/7 attacks in London which ended in the deaths of 52 innocent civilians. On the same day as the Tunisian attack, a terrorist atrocity was carried out in France, while in Kuwait a suicide bomber attacked a Shia mosque.

Meanwhile, in Iraq and Syria, the so-called Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) and other Salafist terror groups continue to kill, slaughter, and butcher men, women, and children. All this is happening while the West continues to make a virtue of impotence, more concerned with directing its ire against a country, Russia that has been at the forefront of resisting terrorism at home and abroad.

Yes, without doubt, you couldn’t make it up.

Every day that IS exists it grows stronger; its vile ideology becomes more entrenched and grows more attractive to ever more young disaffected Muslim men across the world. They are not attracted to the group’s religious doctrine so much as the opportunity to join a cause that allows them to feel powerful as opposed to the powerlessness of their current predicament in a world underpinned by the anarchy of a free market that breeds poverty, despair, and injustice.

As such, the West is both the handmaiden and victim of radicalization. Every terrorist attack confirms the collapse of Western foreign policy and its alignment with some of the most reactionary states on the planet – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, etc. – not to mention ultra nationalists in Kiev and across Eastern Europe. It constitutes unimpeachable evidence of the sham that is Western democracy, and how it rests upon foundations of hypocrisy and mendacity.

The crisis and chaos that has engulfed the Middle East as a direct result of the West’s role in the region increasingly threatens civilians everywhere, including Russia, which is why it remains unconscionable that the West remains intent on treating Moscow as an enemy rather than a partner in a struggle against one of the gravest threats to modernity and civilization the world has faced. Furthermore, this cognitive dissonance, this departure from reality, informs an air campaign that has failed utterly in its stated objective of degrading the power of IS and stemming its advance. When it suffers a reverse in one part of Syria or Iraq, it advances in another, butchering civilians wherever it appears.

The question needs to be asked: Where is the 30-40,000 strong rapid reaction force to counter the barbarism of ISIS? Where is the determination to contain a state – the so-called Islamic State – that violates every moral and ethical principle of humanity in its treatment of minorities, women, children, and natural justice?

There is no more grievous indictment of the policy being undertaken by the West than the fact that a large swathe of the world is now a no-go area for tourists and visitors. The impact of the attack in Tunisia, for example, will be measured in a loss of a tourism industry that is vital to that country’s ability to maintain a nascent democracy that is balanced precariously on the edge of sustainability, thus making the growth of extremism and terrorism there more rather than less likely.

This lamentable state of affairs is even more grotesque when we consider that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. This was a war that saw the West and the Soviet Union unite against a common enemy, fascism, in the interests of humanity. Those who fought and sacrificed and suffered immeasurably in that war would be well within their rights to judge the current generation of leaders harshly over their lack of statesmanship and foresight in understanding who and what the real enemy is, and where the real threat to global peace and stability resides.

The barbarians are at the gates and it’s time to wake up, else we’re going to have a bloody disaster on our hands.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian 


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Skipping Victory Day in Moscow West Unwillingly Made Russia and China Get Much Closer

Dmitry MININ | 20.05.2015 | 10:46

The news that Western leaders skipped the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on May 9 hit the radar screen. Chinese leader Xi Jinping was at the top of the guest list. Did they pull a boner? It has become the most frequently asked question in the United States and Europe. 

Claire de Morsier of French Le Temps wrote that ignoring the Moscow festivities was tactless and even dangerous. 

According to her, the attempts to humiliate Russia only strengthen anti-Western and nationalist feelings in the country. In its comments on the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the military parade Newsweekwrote that it was the event «some analysts have described as a “Nixon Goes to China” moment in reverse». Benny Avni of the New York Post  wrote, «…our Western European allies, who stayed away from the parade. Chinese President Xi Jinping, however, did not. He was seated quite comfortably right next to Putin. Xi waxed poetically about the historical Russian-Chinese alliance since fighting together in WWII.» To sum things up he added, «Politicians periodically talk of a «new American century.» Let’s hope the 21st won’t turn into the Sino-Russian century instead».

There is ground for coming to this kind of conclusions. The West does its best to confirm the fact. Educated people in the West have heard at least something about the role of the Soviet Union. But they know nothing about the China’s contribution into the Second World War. Americans and Europeans are dead sure that the United States fully shouldered the burden of war against Japan. In reality the Soviet Union was the country that bore the brunt of war effort against the countries of «axis» in Europe. The contribution of China and the USSR was decisive in the effort to achieve victory in Asia. The striving for historic veracity is one of the things that unite Russia and China. 

There is no doubt Russian President Vladimir Putin will be the main guest at the Victory Day celebrations to be staged in Beijing on September 3. Western leaders are expected to be there too. Putin will pay tribute to great contribution of Chinese people into the victory. 

The Second Sino-Japanese War was fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1941. There had been smaller scale combat actions before the full-blown war started. In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria. Leaving the prejudices spread among Europeans aside, it would be logical to backtrack the events to those dates instead of Hitler’s attack against Poland. By that time Japan had joined the Anti-Comintern Pact along with Germany and Italy and stepped on the path of struggle for global dominance.

The previous military expeditions of Italy in Africa had no relation to the activities of the «axis» alliance. They were rather part of traditional colonial policy implemented by Italy. Unlike China, Africa was not considered to be a major theater of future war. In 1937 it became clear that the world conflict was inevitable. It really matters. 

This approach makes possible to see the events followed after the Japan’s intervention against China in different light. Those days diplomatic activities mainly boiled down to seeking allies, neutralizing potential enemies and forming coalitions. The war had already been started before the Munich collusion of 1938 and the non-aggression pact concluded between the Soviet Union and Germany in the August of 1939. Those events should be viewed through this prism. When Germany and Poland divvied up Czechoslovakia they committed an act of outright aggression to become belligerent states. It was logical to surmise that Poland would do the same when Germany attacked the Soviet Union. That’s why the Soviet-German non-aggression pact did not unleash the war but rather prevented the formation of more powerful coalitions in the east and the west. The three million strong Polish military armed with German weapons could make a serious contribution into making the German Wehrmacht even stronger. 

Munich-style collusion took place in the Far East too. China was fighting Japan alone since 1937 to 1941. Anglo-American allies were engaged in appeasement efforts actually satisfying the appetites of aggressor at the expense of others. They joined the war only when Japan attacked them. Today Washington and London want to belittle this fact. They are not ready to admit that the Second World War began in 1937 when Japan attacked China. Rana Mitter is a British historian who specializes in the history of republican China. He is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the Institute for Chinese Studies at Oxford University and a Fellow of St. Cross College. In 2013 he wrote the book called China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival about the Second Sino-Japanese War. According to him, politicians hid the historic facts that people have a right to know. Over one million and a half of Japanese soldiers lost lives in China since 1931 till 1945. It accounts for 70% of all Japanese casualties in WWII. 64% of Japan’s ground forces were concentrated in China. 

Professor Atsushi Koketsu, the vice president of Japan’s Yamaguchi University and a distinguished historian, made calculations that enabled him conclude that Japan sent more troops to fight in China than to confront the United States. Besides, the war against China lasted three times longer than the war against America. Japan spent more money to fund its war effort in China in comparison with what it had to allocate for the hostilities against the United States. The puppet regimes of Manchukuo and other quasi-states lost 1, 18 million soldiers in the war against China. By the end of war Chinese forces took prisoner 1, 28 million Japanese soldiers and 1, 46 million servicemen of puppet states’ armies. The Kuomintang military was 3, 6 million strong. The China People’s Liberation Army had a strength over one million. From the point of view of the scale of operations the Sino-Japanese war could be compared only with the battles that took place at the Eastern Front in Europe where the Soviet Union confronted the Wehrmacht. 

According to Japanese archives, the strong resistance offered by China made Tokyo review its plans to occupy Australia and India, as well as join the German forces in the Persian Gulf making Great Britain and the United States face the consequences. China paid dearly for victory. According to the results of thorough research, the Chinese people lost 35 million of their compatriots during World War II. The cost of war exceeded $560 billion. The Japanese military deployed in China were often as brutal as Germans in Europe. The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking or Rape of Nanjing, was an episode of mass murder and mass rape by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (then spelled Nanking), the capital of the Republic of China. Soldiers of the Imperial Army murdered 200,000 Chinese civilians and disarmed combatants, and perpetrated widespread rape and looting. 

General Kenji Doihara, a leading intelligence officer, was behind the plans of the country’s destabilization and disintegration of the traditional structure of the Chinese society in order to diminish reaction to the Japanese plans using highly unconventional methods. He became the mastermind of the Manchurian drug trade. The General wanted to turn China into the largest opium producer and consumer to deprive the population of will to resist. It brings to mind the events of the XIX century – the Anglo-French opium monopoly in China. After the end of World War II, Doihara was prosecuted for war crimes in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Trials or the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal was convened in 1946 to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for war crimes). Opium dens appeared everywhere. They had posters informing people that they were was under Japanese control. Chinese opium growers had perks. They were freed from land taxes and military service. Normally they got certificates of honor and were appointed village headmen. According to official data, every third citizen of Manchukuo was an opium addict. The revenue from drug business was used to fund the war effort. That’s how Japan planned to find «the final solution» to the China’s problem. Today it brings to mind the situation in Afghanistan, the country that has become the main source of drug trafficking threatening Russia and China. 

Russia and China have an experience of being comrades in arms. Together they shed blood fighting the one million strong Kwantung Army – the most capable and well-armed Japanese force deployed in the northern part of China at the Soviet border. The place of deployment happened to be a strategic trap. On the one hand, the Army could not launch an offensive against the Soviet Union because of the risk to be attacked by Chinese forces in the rear. On the other hand, the Kwantung Army could not advance deep into the Chinese territory leaving behind the powerful Red Army force deployed to the Far East. This historic experience should not be forgotten. There is a lesson to draw. As the old Chinese stratagem says, «Make friends to avoid war and keep the enemy wondering!» 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!



NOVEMBER 26, 2014

by Ezaki Michio, Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact

Asia invaded by the Allied Nations after World War II

Did peace come true in Asia in August, 1945, after Japan’s losing in the Greater East Asia War? A junior high school history textbook in use in Japan reads:

“World War II … was over in August, 1945 by Japan’s surrender. Peoples of Korea and Taiwan formerly colonized by Japan, in addition to China and other Southeast Asian nations occupied by the Japanese Army were greatly jubilant, celebrating liberty.” (History for Junior High School Students, published by Teikoku Shoin in January, 2007)

“Japan decided to surrender, accepting the Potsdam Declaration …, World War II was over. Southeast Asian nations occupied by Japan and former Japanese colonies like Korea and Taiwan were liberated and headed for independence.”(New Social Study; History, published by Tokyo Shoseki in February, 2006)

These descriptions, however, do not refer to the vital historical facts.

What were the Allied Nations, while condemning Japan for the “crime against peace” (crime of waging an aggressive war) in the Tokyo Trials (formally, the IMTFE or International Military Tribunal for the Far East) doing? Did they help Asia in the postwar recovery efforts? The answer is “No”. They waged “wars of aggression” against Asian nations and crushed their independence. Taiwan was occupied by the Chiang Kai-shek led Chinese Nationalist Party (the Kuomintang Party)and tens of thousands of people were massacred (the 2-28 Incident).

On the Chinese mainland, civil war between the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party (the CCP) continued to rage and eventually resulted in the establishment of a dictatorship by the Chinese Communist Party. Even now, the Chinese people are still suffering from oppression. As for the rest of the Asian countries, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia were invaded once again by French forces. Worst of all, Vietnam was obliged to fight a war for independence for nearly 15 years, totally wreaking the land totally ruined. Indonesia was unilaterally attacked by the British Army and then by Dutch forces. The three and a half year-long war for independence cost the lives of about eight hundred thousand people. Tibet and Uygur were invaded after the end of the War by the Chinese Communist government and lose their independence. Mongolia was effectively put under Soviet rule. Korea was divided into north and south by the U.S. and USSR, and the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950.

This is the reality that took place in Asia during the postwar years while the Tokyo Trials were held.

Why, then, did many Asian nations have to suffer from invasions by the Allied Nations after Japan’s defeat? The reason is clear. The Japanese Army was no longer there, which had been functioning as a shield against invasions by European and American colonial governments.

During the Greater East Asia War, Japan defeated European and American colonial governments then ruling Asia, one after another. Seeing genuine window of opportunity, one Asian leader after another declared independence.

On August 1, 1943, Ba Maw of Burma (presently Myanmar) declared independence. On October 14, President Jose Laurel proclaimed an independent Republic of the Philippines. On October 21, Chandra Bose established an interim liberated Indian government. On August 17, 1945, Sukarno proclaimed an independent Indonesia.

However, after the Japanese Army was defeated, these newborn independent nations had to cope on their own with renewed invasive attempts by Europe and America. Victorious Allied Nations—Britain, the Netherlands and France—had no intention whatsoever of abandoning their former colonies. The European and American Allied Nations took it for granted that Asian nations would eventually fall under the control of Western military powers once the Japanese Army, a powerful supporter of their independence, was defeated.

Quite contrary to Western expectation, new Asian nations had no intention of simply abandoning their hard-won independence. Consequently, wars broke out between the Allied Nations and Asian peoples.

The Allied Nations adopted logical reasoning to justify their aggressive wars against Asia in the postwar years, which formed the basis of their historical overview which, in turn, was presented at the Tokyo Trials. The Western Allied Nations maintained that Asian leaders proclaimed independence in cooperation with Japan, the aggressor, and so they were also militarists like Japan and, therefore, their “independence” was unacceptable.

In fact, using the Tokyo Trials’ historical view, the Allied Nations crushed the Wang Jing-wei government in China and the Laurel government in the Philippines.

However, there were nations that did not succumb to the Allied logic: They were India and Indonesia.

Chandra Bose of India founded the Indian National Army (INA) in Singapore and then established the Provisional Government of Free India, fighting together with the Japanese Army for the liberation of India at Imphal, India, against the British Army. For this reason, after the War, following the Tokyo Trials, Britain attempted to try twenty thousand officers and soldiers of the Indian National Army for treason against their colonial master, the King of Great Britain,. The Indian people resented such a trial and ardently protested, claiming that the Indian National Army were not “war criminals who committed treason against Britain, in cooperation with the aggressor Japan,” but rather “heroes of Indian independence.”

Succumbing to the surge of protests, Britain abandoned the trial for war criminals, and India won independence on August 15, 1947.

The Netherlands denied Indonesian Independence

The country that suffered a harder time than India was Indonesia. It was in 1602 that Holland began a full-scale invasion of Indonesia. At that time, eastern Indonesia was called the “Spice Islands” and the biggest supplier of pepper and spices, which Europe most dearly coveted. In order to monopolize the precious spices, the Netherlands invaded and subdued one sultan after another throughout Indonesia and put them under Dutch rule. In conquered lands, the Netherlands forced the indigenous rice farmers to raise coffee and sugar. As a result, the inhabitants were unable to produce enough food stuff for themselves and had to buy expensive food from the Dutch, which rendered them deeply in debt–eventually their meager estates and lands were totally usurped by the Dutch.

The method of exploitation became more and more ingenious as time moved into the 19th century, and it is said that profits from Indonesia accounted for one-third of the total Dutch national budget. On the other hand, according to one source, the average life-span of the poverty-stricken Indonesian population dropped to 35 years.

Against rigorous Dutch rule, Indonesia continuously endeavored to struggle for independence, only to be subdued each time. So, expectation for the Japanese Army, after it had defeated their long-held enemy, the Dutch, in just over seven days during the Greater East Asia War, was high among the frantic Indonesians. Not a few Indonesians expected to achieve their independence in no time at all, but for the Japanese Army, it was not so easy to grant Indonesia immediate independence amid the on-going, strenuous fighting against the powerful European nations and America.

General Imamura Hitoshi, commander of the Japanese 16th Army, asked independence movement leader Sukarno for his cooperation in the war effort, in exchange for help in preparing for future independence. After deliberation, Sukarno accepted the offer. He actually provided logistics and labor for the Japanese Army, and in exchange for services, and with the assistance of the Japanese Army, sure and steady progress was made in founding an army consisting of Indonesians (PETA), training government officials and implementing laws and an educational system. Finally, on August 17, 1945, just two days after the Japanese Army was defeated, first Indonesian President Sukarno declared independence.

However, at the end of September, Acting Governor–General Hubertus Johannes van Mook of the Royal Dutch East Indies Government landed in the Indonesian port of Surabaya with the British Army, ignoring the “Declaration of Independence.” He thought, “The Indonesians are an extremely obedient people. Now that the Japanese Army has surrendered, if we land in Indonesia, the Indonesians are sure to immediately be as submissive as before.”

On the contrary, the people waiting for the arrival of the British Army were not at all obedient Indonesians. Trained by the Japanese Army and equipped with Japanese Army weapons, the Indonesian people’s army attacked the British Army and immediately destroyed an entire British division. The Dutch were horrified at the changes the Indonesians had achieved, thinking “Thanks to the Japanese Army, sheep have turned into tigers.” In the end, the British Army took one hundred days to occupy City of Surabaya alone and had to give up subduing Indonesia by force of arms, obliging them to turn to peaceful negotiations. As soon as a temporary agreement was reached between the Netherlands and Indonesia in November 1946, the British withdrew its Army from the country. For that matter, Britain gave neither an apology nor compensation for torching the city of Surabaya and depriving nearly twenty thousand Indonesians of their lives in the Surabaya war.

Although the British Army had withdrawn, the Netherlands did not give up its attempt to colonize Indonesia once again. Loudly claiming that “Sukarno, who declared Indonesian independence, is nothing but a puppet of the Japanese Army (therefore, the authentic government of Indonesia is the Dutch East Indies Government), the Netherlands launched full-scale military assaults, calling them “police actions,” on July 20, 1947. At that time, at the Tokyo Trials, the Netherlands, one of the winners of the war, was in the midst of judging Japanese leaders, who had supported Indonesian independence, for the crime of waging an aggressive war.

The Royal Dutch Army had roughly one hundred thousand men equipped with modern tanks, airplanes and heavy machine guns. Up against wide-ranging air and ground campaigns, the Indonesian Republican Army had two million or so soldiers with weapons which had been secretly delivered by the Japanese Army—about forty thousand small arms. Thus, most were armed with nothing more than bamboo spears. Indonesians were obliged to beat one retreat after another, while the Royal Dutch Army promptly captured most of Java and the vital industrial areas including the Sumatra oil fields.

However, this “war of aggression” by the Netherlands became the target of harsh criticism from all over the world and on August l, 1947, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding “an immediate cessation of belligerent actions on the part of the Dutch” and “a solution through peaceful measures.” Accepting this resolution, the Netherlands appeared to agree to a cease-fire, but Dutch forces refused to retreat from the occupied areas.

As the diplomatic negotiations came to a deadlock and regional battles went on, in the early hours of December 20, 1948, the Netherlands launched a second “police action.” Under attacks by Dutch airborne troops, Indonesian could do nothing and militarily, Holland scored a victory. Once again, however, international opinions were fierily against the Netherlands for indiscriminately bombarding Indonesian cities. Above all, India and other Asian countries criticized the Dutch, and the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on January 28, 1949, demanding that the Netherlands remove its army from Indonesia. The most decisive of all were voices raised in the US Congress, suggesting that the Marshall Plan (US economic aid for the recovery of Europe) as applied to the Netherlands be cut off if Dutch forces continued in its military actions. Finally, the Netherlands succumbed to international pressure and agreed to hold the Round-Table Conference in The Hague, beginning in August 1949, and lasting for two months, and to participate in peaceful negotiations on the premise of granting Indonesia total independence.

The Netherlands did not apologize

During the three and a half years of the war for independence against the Netherlands, Indonesia paid a dear, steep price. The lives of eight hundred thousand people, including children and women, were lost and over ten million were injured. The total loss, of property, valuables and homes, due to indiscriminate bombardment was too huge to calculate. Much to everyone’s consternation, at The Hague Round-Table Conference, far from apologizing to Indonesian victims, the Netherlands raised an astounding demand to Indonesia.

After the war of independence, it was in 1949 that the final peace treaty was reached between the Netherlands and our country. At that time, Indonesia did not ask for either an apology or compensation. That was because we were still in danger. It was the Netherlands that asked for money during the talks concerning the four years. Speaking of the huge sum of military scrip issued by the Dutch East Indies Government, the Netherlands demanded that if we want independence, we should settle in hard currency the scrip that was issued during that time. We had no choice but to promise to pay the sum.

Thus testified Sayidiman Suryohadiprojo, Senior Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the time. Military scrip was issued to pay for war expenses and other expenditures spent by the Dutch East Indies government in their efforts to extinguish the Republic of Indonesia. The total amount was said to reach six billion dollars. Far from paying compensation, the Netherlands asked instead to be compensated for war expenses. No words can express the dismay evoked by the Netherlands’ imprudent demand.

It was not war expenses alone that the Netherlands demanded during the peace talks. Their demands ranged far and wide, from the payment of pensions for Dutch officials of the Dutch East Indies government, recognition of property rights of Indonesian real estate owned by the Dutch to payment of the cost of developing the North Sumatra oil field. In order to have their independence granted, the Indonesians had to accept all these unreasonable requests from the Dutch, albeit most unwillingly and reluctantly. It was not until 1963 that Indonesia publicly denounced the Dutch demands, after they had acquired complete independence and fear of another Dutch invasion had dissipated. Then Foreign Minister Ruslan Abdulgani said in an interview with this author in 1994 as follows:

Finally, after we acquired sufficient national power as a state, we tore to pieces all the promises we had had to make with the Netherlands, in the light of day with the whole world watching. In order to fight against colonialism, you have to be strong enough. Strength to fight against the Dutch, in other words, military ability was given to us by Japan during the War. We owe Japan so much for achieving our independence.

It was in 2005 that the Dutch government officially recognized the Declaration of Independence by Sukarno. It took as long as sixty years for Indonesia to persuade the Netherlands to finally come around, which previously insisted that they would never recognize independence declared by Sukarno, who cooperated with Japan.

To Indonesia, burdened with such a severe history, the historical view presented at the Tokyo Trials is hardly worth supporting, for that view clearly regards the Allied Powers including the Netherlands as “just” and Japan as the “aggressor.”

Roosevelt’s blueprint for postwar peace came to nothing

As we have seen the history of Asia, aggressions committed by the Allied powers so far, it is very clear that the historical view presented at the Tokyo Trials makes no sense at all, for it claims that only Japan is responsible as the aggressor who threatened the peace in Asia.

However, anti-Japanese powers of the former Allied Nations and left-wing liberals cooperating with the Chinese Communist Party invented political propaganda so that Japanese people would not notice the “senselessness of the view.”

Article 11 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which took effect in April 1952, states, “Japan accepts the judgments of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and of other Allied War Crimes Courts both within and outside Japan, and will carry out the sentences imposed thereby upon Japanese nationals imprisoned in Japan.” Based on Article 11, they asserted that Japan was able to re-enter the international community by accepting the judgment of the Tokyo Trials, namely, the historical view of the Tokyo Trials.
I will not re-argue the misconceptions that are apparent in Article 11 here, since Professor Sato Kazuo, a scholar of international laws, has fully discussed this issue with reference to global trends at the time in academic societies of international law in his book entitled Tokyo Trials Judged by the World (published by Meiseisha).

What I want to make clear here is whether the United States asked Japan to accept the Tokyo Trials’ historical view upon signing the peace treaty.

In fact, the Tokyo Trials were held as a part of U.S. global strategy.
Let’s go back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s concept of the postwar political process. What kind of international political scheme would be the best to prevent another world war? After much deliberation, President Roosevelt thought of establishing a system to manage international conflicts utilizing “global policemen,” composed of four countries, the U.S., Britain, the USSR and China (with France being added later). These countries are presently the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The gist of the idea is that America, militarily and economically the most powerful, should govern the entire world in cooperation with the Soviets, China and Britain. In realizing this idea, it was essential to thoroughly weaken the three nations of Japan, Germany and Italy, which could pose a threat and challenge to the American-led international order.

In the background of Roosevelt’s global strategy existed the view of Japan defined by the thinking that “Asian conflicts were caused by militarist Japan.” The point is that “strong Japan kept breaking the peace in Asia,” and so if Japan is made weak, then peace in Asia will be secured. This is called the “Weak Japan” policy. How, then, can Japan be weakened? President Roosevelt stated the following at the Casablanca Conference held in Morocco in January 1943:

The elimination of German, Japanese, and Italian war power means the unconditional surrender by Germany, Italy, and Japan. That means a reasonable assurance of future world peace. It does not mean the destruction of the population of Germany, Italy, or Japan, but it does mean the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.

President Roosevelt thought that in order to weaken Japan, Japan should be made to surrender unconditionally, and not just simply disarmed, but also the Japanese national philosophy itself should be “annihilated.” How was this to be achieved? By implementing a “war guilt information program,” to insinuate the sins and evils of Japanese war crimes into the Japanese minds, thereby depriving the Japanese people of their national dignity and pride.

Further, in order to justify the “information plan,” the Tokyo Trials were actually held. Moreover, to ensure that the political system will never again enable Japan to fight back against America, they changed the constitution and basic educational laws for the worse, purged approximately two hundred some thousand then-leaders of Japan from public offices, who were charged of being “militarists”, and instead supported labor unions and recruited socialists and communists into the political and scholarly spheres. For the time being, President Truman’s Democratic administration intended to put Japan unarmed under the surveillance of the Allied Nations for at least 25 years.

However, President Roosevelt’s prospect of keeping peace in Asia through the cooperation of the three nations of the U.S., the Soviet Union and China by defeating and weakening Japan did not come true. In the postwar years, the U.S. and the Soviets were constantly in conflict over the issue of Eastern Europe and on the Chinese mainland, a violent civil war broke out between the Nationalist Party and the Communist Party.

George Kennan, who criticized the Tokyo Trials, and the course reversal

Other voices were raised in America, fearing that as the Cold War era dawned, the policy of disarming and weakening Japan then in progress might eventually fall Asia to communism. One of them was William H. Draper Jr., U.S. undersecretary of the Army, and he changed Japan’s status from “hateful enemy” to “breakwater against communism” and started to shift toward the policy of “Strong Japan,” meaning “strong Japan brings stability to Asia.” This is the so called “course reversal. ”

The theoretical supporter of this course reversal was George Kennan, the first director of the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. State Department, who became famous for creating a plan to contain the Soviets. He came to Japan in 1948 and upon observing Japan under occupation with its demobilized Army and a malfunctioning Ministry of Home Affairs (the administrative organ in charge of the police and domestic security management), stated, “At first glance, the nature of the occupation policy implemented until now by General MacArthur’s Headquarters looked like nothing but preparations solely on making Japanese society weaker so that communist may take over.” Naturally, he harshly criticized the Tokyo Trials as well.

There is really no law on which such judicial procedure can be founded…there is no crime of an international nature involved in the services which an individual renders to his own state as a public servant. The state, as such, stands responsible for its own policies; the vicissitudes of peace or war are its trial.

And in the case of Japan, the judgment is now being enacted through the disaster which has befallen the entire country in consequence of the loss of the war. This is not to say that the victor does not have the right to punish individual leaders of the defeated nation. But the punishment should take place as an act of war, not of justice; and it should not be surrounded with the hocus-pocus of a judicial procedure.

Kennan pointed out: now that the global strategy of making Japan weak in order to secure peace in Asia is no longer appropriate with the occurrence of the Cold War and the Chinese Civil War, it makes no sense at all to continue the Tokyo Trials, fabricated as they were with dubious legal procedures, which was launched in the first place in order to make Japan weak. In only four months after Kennan made this statement, on February 24, 1949, the Allied Nations Far East Committee decided that the Tokyo Trials would no longer take place, and the Tokyo Trials were closed.

And in October of the same year, the Chinese Nationalist Party led by Chiang Kai-shek retreated in defeat and Chinese Communist Party government esatablished on mainland China. The United States had been enthusiastically supporting Chiang Kai-shek so that he might establish a democratic Christian nation on the Chinese continent; a witch-hunt began immediately for those who were to blame for Chiang Kai-shek’s defeat.

Constantly opposing President Truman’s Democratic administration, Republican Party leader Senator Robert F. Taft stated that the reason Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government lost in the civil war against the Communist Party was not due to a fault of the Nationalist government, but because the Truman administration did not give enough support to Chiang Kai-shek.

From the beginning, Senator Taft, “Mr. Republican” as he was called, was critical about President Roosevelt’s pro-Soviet and anti-Japan diplomatic stance all along even before the War started.

President Roosevelt concluded a secret pact with Soviet leader Stalin at the Soviet city of Yalta in February 1945. (It is called the Yalta Agreement.) The agreement stated that: As a reward for the Soviets agreeing to the idea of founding the United Nations, it is acknowledged that Poland and the three Baltic States would be incorporated into the Soviet bloc and in exchange for the Soviet’s entering the war with Japan, interests in Manchuria, South Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands should be given to the Soviets.

Learning of this, Senator Taft, in the mid-term election of 1946, stated: “President Roosevelt and President Truman], at Tehran, at Yalta, at Potsdam, and at Moscow pursued a policy of appeasing Russia, which has sacrificed throughout Eastern Europe and Asia the freedom of many nations and of millions of people.” According to Senator Taft, the immediate crisis of Asia falling to communism should be attributed to the diplomatic mistakes made by President Roosevelt’s administration as it acted hand-in-hand with the Soviets. (In May 2005, President George Bush, Jr. made the same accusation.)

As a natural consequence, Senator Taft was skeptical about trying Germany and Japan, which fought against Soviet Communism, in war crimes courts. On October 5, 1946, during a lecture given at Kenyon College, Taft flatly condemned the Tokyo Trials, confidently saying, “Trials of the loser by the winner can never be just, however judicially it may be dressed. The execution of the twelve German war criminals will forever remain a stigma in American history.” He added, “I sincerely pray that the same mistake will be never again repeated. Unlike Germany, any pretext for vengeance to Japan will hardly be valid.”

In October 1949, the birth of the Communist Chinese government made it widely known that President Roosevelt’s policy of “Weak Japan,” the premise that a weak Japan would secure peace in Asia, was a sheer mistake. With the support of American public opinion, Senator Taft and others asked for a shift in the U.S. policy towards Japan. President Truman’s Democratic administration accepted this request and in April 1950, it appointed Republican John Foster Dulles as top adviser to the State Department and on May 18, decided to assign Dulles to the task of concluding the peace treaty with Japan.

At that time the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist administration were against the rearmament of Japan. The Australian government also asked that some restrictions be imposed on Japan’s rearmament. Some countries insisted that restricting Japanese commercial activities and maintaining plans for reform (namely, the “Weak Japan” policy) being prosecuted during the occupation period be clearly stated in the articles of the peace treaty. However, Dulles persuaded those countries with concerns that a peace treaty could be concluded in the direction of acknowledging Japan’s rearmament, arguing “Under the present circumstances weak Japan might lead to Red Asia.”

Thus, the punitive occupation policy was modified by Kennan, Taft and others, who criticized the Tokyo Trials, which were held as part of the “Weak Japan” policy. Under the peace treaty, which does not restrict the rearmament of Japan in any way, Japan came back to the international community.

Asian leaders who sympathized with the Greater East Asian War
There is one more thing we should not overlook in the trend of international politics. That is the fact that those who ardently supported Japan’s return to the international community were leaders of Asian countries who highly valued the Greater East Asia War.

In September 1951, at the San Francisco Peace Conference, Finance Minister J.R. Jayewardene, representing Ceylon (presently Sri Lanka), made the following speech:

Why is it that the peoples of Asia are anxious that Japan should be free ? It is because of our age-long connections with her, and because of the high regard the subject peoples of Asia have for Japan when she alone, among the Asian nations, was strong and free and we looked up to her as a guardian and friend. I can recall incidents that occurred during the last war, when the co-prosperity slogan for Asia had its appeal to subject peoples, and some of the leaders of Burma, India, and Indonesia joined the Japanese in the hope that thereby their beloved countries may be liberated.

Therefore, Ceylon did not ask for compensation from Japan, said Jayewardene.

India refused to participate in the San Francisco Peace Conference partly because India was against the article demanding compensation from Japan. On May 24, 1957, former “Class A war criminal” Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke was warmly welcomed by a mass rally on his visit to India. Amid crowds of nearly thirty thousand welcoming people, India’s founding hero Prime Minister Nehru mentioned how profoundly the Indian movement for independence was affected by the victories of Japan in the Russo-Japanese War, then adding “India did not dare to join in the San Francisco Treaty. And we have rescinded the right to compensation. This is simply because India makes much more of friendship than monetary demand.”

Besides India, with the sentiment of comradeship that “Japan fought for Asia,” Laos and Cambodia also voluntarily rescinded the right to ask for compensation.

Even in the cases where Japan did pay compensation, leaders who deeply sympathized with the ideal of the Greater East Asia War put down sums that were at the very low end.

Foreign Minister U Nu of the Ba Maw Administration of Burma, which declared independence in August of 1943 with the help of Japan, became Prime Minister after the War and concluded, prior to any other countries, a peace treaty with Japan as well as an agreement for economic cooperation, holding out for only a paltry amount of compensation.

The Philippines was put under American influence after the War, and became strongly anti-Japanese. Though negotiations over compensation often came to a deadlock, it was President Jose Laurel, who declared Philippine independence on October 14, 1943, in cooperation with the Japanese Army, contributed greatly to solving this deadlock. He exiled himself to Japan after the Philippines was invaded by the U.S. Army toward the end of the War and immediately after the War, he was detained at Sugamo Prison by GHQ. Later on, he was sent back to the Philippines and was charged with treason. He was pardoned by the Amnesty Proclamation and was elected Senator in 1951. In 1954, he accepted the post of chief plenipotentiary in the negotiations dealing with the Japanese compensation issue.

Asian countries also paid high regard in deciding how to spend the reparations each country had received from Japan. Ex-Foreign Minister of Malaysia Ghazali Shafie, who was awarded the United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Prize for his great contribution to the establishment of ASEAN said as follows:

Although the Japanese people may not be aware of this, some of the recipients of the compensation—newly independent countries who were once victims of the Japanese occupation—tried their best to avoid the payment of reparations stirring up anti-Japanese sentiment as money paid in exchange for the bloody cost and sacrifice and rather helped Japan by spending the compensation in ways so that the Japanese reparations might become worthy of admiration. For example, in Malaysia, the compensation was used to start up a jointly-undertaken international shipping company, which now results in spread of the business and has become a symbol of cooperation between Japan and Malaysia.

Moreover, ex-Foreign Minister Ghazali Shafie pointed out: “Soon after Malaysia became independent, a plan was discussed to impose traffic tax on tankers passing through the Straits of Malacca, but upon further consideration, if the taxation was implemented, Japanese trade would be hit hard and the plan was soon dropped.” Ex-Foreign Minister Ghazali Shafie deeply sympathized with the ideal of the Greater East Asia War.

Postwar Japan supported by the legacy of the Greater East Asia War
Japan became independent following the conclusion of the Peace Treaty and in order to be economically prosperous, Japan needed a new economic market replacing the booming business of special procurements brought on by the Korean War. Japan could hardly expect to achieve economic prosperity with the loss of huge markets such as the Chinese Continent and the Korean Peninsula. Afraid of the situation, Secretary of State Dulles of the Republican Eisenhower Administration focused on the Southeast Asian market.

Again, it was Asian leaders sympathizing with the “ideal of the Greater East Asia War” that supported Secretary Dulles’s economic policy and indirectly backed up Japanese enterprises entering Southeast Asia.

The Oil Shock broke out beginning in autumn of 1973 and continued to the following year. OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) reduced the supply of oil to oil-consuming countries in order to take advantage of the ongoing Middle East War, and Japanese industry, heavily dependent on oil, was hit hard by the incident. The Japanese government issued two oil-related decrees and asked enterprises to reduce use of oil and electricity by 20% as well as a reduction in energy use among the general public. Bright neon signs in cities were gone, gas stations were closed on Sundays and holidays. The price of goods in January of the following year frantically shot up by more than 20% over the same month of the previous year.

When the Japanese government confidentially tried to ask King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, leader of OAPEC, to increase oil exports to Japan, those who mediated the negotiations with King Faisal were none other than Indonesian leaders such former Coordinating Minister for Public Welfare of Indonesia H. Alamsjah Ratu Perwiranegara and former Prime Minister Mohammad Natsir, who always held the opinion “Without the Greater East Asia War, there would not have been an independent and free Asia.” They ardently persuaded King Faisal, stating that “It was Japan that saved Islam (90% of the Indonesian population are Muslims who were subject to Christians (the Dutch)) through the Greater East Asia War and supported us in our independence. Japan is a true supporter of Islam.” (With gratitude for his efforts in this matter, the Japanese government presented Mr. H. Alamsjah with Grand Cordon of the Order.)

When then Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei visited Indonesia in January 1979, a large-scale anti-Japanese demonstration took place in the capital city of Jakarta. The people were repulsed by corruption, such as repeated bribery committed by Japanese enterprises entering Southeast Asia and teaming exclusively with Chinese merchants.

On the other hand, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir played a leading role as the flag-bearer, welcoming Japanese enterprises into Southeast Asia. Around 1980 and onwards, he adopted the policy of “Look East (Learn from Japan and Korea)” and launched a campaign of admiring Japan. One of the devisers of this policy was vice-president of Malaya University Unk Adis, who had studied in Japan during the War as a special foreign student from South Asia.
Thanks to leaders of many Asian countries who sympathized with the ideal of the Greater East Asia War, Japan was not only able to escape from the burdens of harsh postwar reparations, but also able to receive support from them in entering lucrative Southeast Asian markets, which laid the foundation for present-day economic prosperity. Indeed, Japan has been supported by the spiritual legacy of the Greater East Asia War.

In the broader perspective, while Japanese national interests have been constantly threatened by China, Russia, South and North Korea and their sympathizers who obstinately stick to the historical view as dictated by the Tokyo Trials, people who are critical about the Tokyo Trials view, including American conservatives and Asian leaders, have supported and helped Japan return to the international community and contributed in creating the prosperous Japan of today. It is very important that we should rightly understand the structure of the international politics surrounding the Tokyo Trials.


imperial japan flag

NOVEMBER 24, 2014

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Salute to brother Joshua Blakeney for tipping me off to this wonderful piece of information. All in all, it’s an absolutely fascinating and groundbreaking work that shatters the mainstream narrative on Japan’s motivations during World War II within the first few paragraphs. However, Professor Aydin still used the phrases “Japanese imperialism” and “Japan’s colonial subjects” throughout. And I just am not convinced that this language reflects historical accuracy. If there was support for Japan’s Pan-Asianism and these Asian nations welcomed Japan into their lands as a defense against the very real threat of Western-Jewish colonialism, then that is quite the opposite of imperialism, isn’t it?

What we seem to have in Japan’s case is akin to Hizbullah intervening in Syria to defend its ally or covertly entering Palestine to train the Palestinian Resistance; Iran going into Iraq to help Iraqis fight the US-Zionist occupation or now, ISIS; Cuba sending doctors, teachers and other professionals into Venezuela to build up the latter’s social structure; Nasser sending Egyptian forces into South Yemen to fight the US-Zionist-Saudi project; Putin’s Russia taking back Crimea at the Crimean people’s behest to stop NATO expansionism and aiding the United Armed Forces of Novorossiya against the illegal Kiev coup regime; etc, etc, etc. Japan’s like-similar actions are exactly what they appear to be: Defensive, anti-colonialist Pan-Asianism. The next step in the process of registering the redemption of WW2-Japan — a glorious civilizational entity to say the least — in the minds of the globe’s awakened ones, is to find out, in-depth, how the nations Japan entered felt about its entry.

If the answers are what we think they are after reading this piece and a plethora of other works, then the story of “Japanese imperialism” and “Japanese colonialism” is a pernicious historical myth as Jewish as the “Nazi gas chambers”. ~ Jonathan Azaziah)

by Professor Cemil AydinJapan Focus

One of the most striking aspects of the international history of the 1930s is the revival and official endorsement of a pan-Asian vision of regional world order in Japan. The pan-Asian discourse of East-West civilizational difference and comparison was influential in various intellectual circles in Asia. But during the 1920s, as a political project of Asian solidarity, it was irrelevant for Japan’s foreign policy, and it did not have any international momentum or movement. The period after the Manchurian Incident in 1931, however, witnessed a process by which pan-Asianist ideas and projects became part of Japan’s official foreign policy rhetoric. [1] After 1933 Japan’s pan-Asian internationalism began to overshadow liberal internationalism, gradually becoming the mainstream vision of an alternative world order. This process culminated in the declaration of the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere in 1940, a project that relied heavily on the rhetoric of pan-Asian internationalism. In 1943, seventeen years after the ineffectual 1926 Nagasaki pan-Asiatic conference that was ridiculed by official and liberal circles in Japan, the Japanese government itself hosted a Greater East Asia Conference to which it invited the leaders of the Philippines, Burma, the provincial government of India, the Nanking government of China, Manchukuo, and Thailand.

Given that pan-Asianist activists had regularly expressed strong opposition to Japan’s foreign policy up to the 1930s, and aware of the lack of political clout of Asianist circles during the 1920s, Japan’s apparent endorsement of pan-Asianism in its official “return to Asia” after 1933 raises a major question. How can we understand the predominance of pan-Asianist discourses in Japanese intellectuals circles in the 1930s? Why would Japan’s political elite, with its proven record of cooperation with Western powers based on a realistic assessment of the trends of the time, choose to endorse an anti-Western discourse of Asianism as its official policy during the late 1930s?

Explaining Japan’s Official “Return to Asia”

In the literature, the process of transition from a policy of pro-Western capitalist internationalism in the 1920s to a very different policy aiming to create a regional order in East Asia has been attributed to a complex set of interrelated factors, both contingent and structural. For the sake of clarity, I categorize the explanations of the previous historiography into two groups, which are distinct but not necessarily in conflict: those that emphasize domestic political causes of the change and those that stress changes in the international environment.

According to domestic policy–driven explanations, Asianism was the foreign policy ideology espoused by the expansionist, militarist, and conservative segments of Japanese society. Frederick Dickinson has traced back to the period of World War I (WWI) the origins of two distinct agendas for Japan’s diplomacy and national mission, one liberal and pro-British and the other characterized by pro-German, anti-liberal, and Asianist tendencies. The Asianist and conservative group, mostly clustered around Yamagata Aritomo, could not implement its policy visions during the 1910s because the liberal group prevailed in domestic politics. By identifying two distinct visions of Japan’s national identity and two corresponding international policies in response to the opportunities presented by WWI, Dickinson’s study successfully demonstrates that foreign policy decisions should not be regarded as automatic responses to international trends and immediate external challenges but rather be seen as results of the balance of power in domestic politics among groups that have competing visions of their national identity and mission. According to Dickinson, pan-Asianism was one such grand vision, which aimed to establish Japan’s leadership in Asia by excluding Western powers from the region in the name of racial solidarity and civilizational harmony.[2]

Other studies on the 1920s have argued that members of the conservative antiliberal political camp, often identified with pan-Asianist inclinations, continued to agitate for an expansionist policy at a time when their voices were overshadowed by the liberalism of the Taishô democracy and the capitalist internationalism of Shidehara diplomacy. According to Richard Storry’s early work, which offers a history of Japanese ultranationalism based on the materials of the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, the persistence and violence displayed by right-wing groups was able to weaken and eventually to overturn the prevailing atmosphere of Taishô democracy and liberal diplomacy. For Storry, for example, pan-Asianist thinker Ôkawa Shûmei was one of the Asianist “double patriots” who influenced young military officers and played a great role in the transition to the expansionist 1930s.[3] Christopher Szpilman strengthened this argument in his study of Kokuhonsha, the main conservative organization of interwar Japan, noting that anti-Western and antiliberal trends in Japan had high-ranking supporters and strong organizational solidarity during the 1920s and thus were able to exert disproportionate influence as a result of their popularity among the bureaucratic and military elite.[4] In his research on the House of Peers, Genzo Yamamoto further demonstrated the appeal and predominance of what he described as an “illiberal” agenda among Japan’s top political elite from the 1920s to the late 1930s, leading to their final triumph in domestic politics paralleling the adoption of an aggressive China policy.[5]

This focus on the domestic political components of the transition to the pan-Asianist policies of the 1930s has obvious merit. Asianism, however, could not always be uniquely identified as the expansionist ideology of conservative antiliberals, as Japan’s liberals also envisioned a special role for Japan in Asia, whether as the disseminator of a higher civilization to backward areas or as the leading force in economic development and political cooperation in the region. Moreover, an aggressive policy in Manchuria was not the monopoly of Japanese Asianists. As demonstrated by Louise Young, there existed within Japanese society an overwhelming consensus concerning policy in Manchuria, which cut across the lines dividing liberals and conservatives.[6] The majority of Japan’s political and intellectual elite, including the pro-Western internationalists, supported the new orientation in foreign policy symbolized by the withdrawal from the League of Nations. For example, Nitobe Inazô, reputed for his liberal internationalism, was willing to defend Japan’s policy in China that led to the Manchurian Incident, even to the point of accepting Japan’s withdrawal in 1932 from the League of Nations, in which he had served for so many years.[7] Another liberal internationalist, Zumoto Motosada, went on lecture tours in 1931 to Europe and the United States in an attempt to explain Japan’s position on the Manchurian Incident. During his speeches, Motosada often referred to the idea of a Japan-led regional order in East Asia separate from the European-based league system. Just five years before the Manchurian Incident, Zumoto had affirmed Japan’s pro-League internationalism in his critique of the Nagasaki pan-Asiatic conference of 1926. Japan’s liberal internationalists apparently turned to pan-Asianism when they saw a tension between Japanese national interests and the decisions of the League of Nations.[8]

Nitobe Inazô at the League of Nations

The Asianist discourse of Japan’s transnational identity had many different versions, ranging from a doctrine of regional solidarity to anti-Western visions of civilizational revival, and it was not limited to conservative circles. For example, during the 1930s, many Japanese intellectuals who had no previous connection with conservative radical nationalist groups, such as the members of the Kyoto School of Philosophy or the semiofficial think tank Shôwa Kenkyûkai, also utilized anti-Western rhetoric and advocated the revival of Japan’s Asian identity.[9] This indicates an area of overlap in the worldviews of liberals and antiliberals with respect to Japan’s Asian identity and its international mission in Asia, as well as their shared diagnosis of the international system during the 1920s. It also shows that the theories of the clash of civilizations and Japan’s mission in Asia were part of a common vocabulary, which would then have different political connotations depending on the intellectual climate. For example, those promoting U.S.-Japan friendship would frame their efforts as a dialogue of harmony among the different civilizations of East and West, thus confirming a vision of the world as divided into different race and civilization groups beyond the nations. In that sense, many leading Japanese intellectuals who had no ties to the conservative radical nationalist groups ended up contributing to the legitimacy of the pan-Asianist program in some way, either through their theories on overcoming modernity and Eurocentrism or through their search for an alternative modernity in the Japanese and Asian cultural traditions.[10]

The second major approach to the question of Japan’s adoption of Asianist rhetoric in foreign policy emphasizes that the structural transformations in the international system in East Asia complemented changes in the domestic power configurations to create a situation that led to the triumph of antiliberal and Asianist projects. Akira Iriye and James Crowley have argued that Japanese policies during the 1930s were largely a response to changes in the trends of the times as perceived by the Japanese elite. A perceived sense of an international legitimacy crisis and Japan’s isolation after the Manchurian Incident was accelerated by the impact of changed world conditions. Regionalism became the trend of the time, making the creation of a regional order in East Asia a more feasible policy, in harmony with the flow of world opinion. As Iriye noted, “by 1931 all indications seem to suggest that the neo-mercantilist world-view of Matsuoka was more realistic than Shidehara’s rational, laissez-faire image, which had apparently failed to produce tangible results.”[11] The capitalist internationalism of the 1920s was not only denied altogether by Fascist Germany and Socialist Russia but also half-abandoned in the concept of the pan-American trade bloc and economic nationalism of the United States and the idea of the sterling trade bloc in England.[12] In short, Japan’s policy shift from liberal internationalism to Asian regionalism could be considered a function just as much of other powers’ policies in the changing international system of the late 1930s as of Japan’s own domestic politics.

The end of the party cabinet system in 1932 and the increasing power of the military in political decisions created a discontinuity in the history of Japan’s domestic political order in terms of democratic participation and popular expression. Japan continued to be a constitutional state, however, with normally functioning domestic politics in accordance with the intricacies of the Meiji Constitution.[13] In his study on the 1930s, Crowley refutes the idea of a conservative or right-wing takeover of the Japanese leadership by focusing on continuity in the “official mind” and the “decision-making process.” Crowley shows that all the policy decisions of the Japanese government during the 1930s were made by responsible political and military leaders in the interest of national defense and national policy.[14]

The historiography that focuses on Japan’s response to changes in the international environment attributes an important role to ideology and culture in shaping Japanese perceptions of world events, without limiting focus to right-wing or militarist groups. It is in this context that an Asianist worldview about world cultures and international order becomes relevant for determining the perceptions and decisions of Japanese leaders. Iriye has discussed the role of key notions such as isolation and self-sufficiency in the psychology of Japanese decision makers, showing how the perception that Japan stood uneasily between East and West influenced the policy-making mood.

In this view, the notions that the elite held concerning the threats and opportunities presented to Japan by the new global developments should thus be regarded as more significant than the impact of antiliberal right-wing movements associated with pan-Asianism. A similar approach attributes Japan’s turn to anti-Westernism not to the influence of pan-Asianist groups in particular but rather to the general characteristics of Japanese nationalism. Hayashi Fusao’s controversial assertion that the “Pacific War was one phase of an Asian Hundred Years’ War to drive out the Occidental invader” presents a generalized formulation that portrays Asianist ideas as a permanent part of mainstream Japanese nationalism.[15] This emphasis on the anti-Western historical memory of Japanese nationalism depicts Asianism as a widely held conception about Japan’s transnational identity rather than an exclusively radical ideology monopolized by ultranationalists or conservatives. Mark Peattie and James Crowley concur with Hayashi’s assessment of the importance of anti-Western historical memory embedded in Japanese nationalism as an ideological factor, although they do not share his revisionist agenda.[16]

Since we know, however, that mainstream nationalism in Japan had changing perceptions of the West, it would be inaccurate to characterize anti-Westernism as a single constant position in the history of Japanese nationalism from the Opium War to the Greater East Asia War. Moreover, the Japanese intellectual elite remained closely linked to trends and ideas in Europe and the United States. During the 1930s, there was no new expansion of the West in Asia to which the surge in Japanese nationalism might be attributed; on the contrary, the West was perceived to be in a phase of global decline and retreat.[17] Thus the very assumption that there was a constant association between Japanese nationalism and resistance to Western expansion reflects the influence of the official pan-Asianist discourse of wartime Japan rather than accurately characterizing how images of the West and civilizational identity interacted with Japanese foreign policy.

Withdrawal from the League of Nations as a Turning Point

There had been pan-Asianists in Japan since the turn of the twentieth century, and some continued to work for the cause they believed in especially from 1905 to the 1930s, especially under the umbrella of patriotic Asianist organizations such as Kokuryûkai and Genyosha. These patriotic Asianists represented a minority, if not a marginal opinion, in shaping Japanese foreign policy. They often complained about the neglect to which they had been subjected by the Japanese elite. In the aftermath of the Manchurian Incident of 1931 and Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations the following year, however, traditional Asianists found a very receptive audience for their ideas among Japanese bureaucrats and army officers.

The story told by Wakabayashi Han, a Kokuryûkai Asianist who specialized in the Islamic world, is very telling in this regard. Wakabayashi became interested in the Muslim world after a visit to India with the Burmese Buddhist monk and anticolonial nationalist U. Ottama in 1912.[18] His discovery of Indian Muslims led him to undertake further research about Islam in Asia.[19] For twenty years, he worked closely with a small circle of Islam experts within Kokuryûkai led by Tanaka Ippei, arguing that if Japan could develop closer ties with the colonized Muslims of Asia, its efforts to become the leader of an awakening and independent Asia could benefit from Muslim support.[20] According to Wakabayashi, however, his small group neither achieved any result nor received any support from the government, and he became pessimistic about its future success.[21] Then in 1932 Tôyama Mitsuru and Uchida Ryôhei sent Wakabayashi to observe the meeting of the League of Nations in Geneva that addressed the question of recognizing the state of Manchukuo. There, Wakabayashi witnessed the decision of Japanese diplomats to withdraw from the league upon its refusal to recognize Manchukuo. It was only during his trip back to Japan, Wakabayashi notes, that he recognized a change of attitude toward his group’s Asianist ideas on the part of Japanese military officers. In the long trip from Europe to Japan, he explained to Isogai Rensuke, a lieutenant colonel in the Japanese army the benefits that attention to the Muslim world could bring to Japan’s East Asian policy. Isogai later contacted Wakabayashi and introduced him to Army Minister Araki Sadao.[22] Wakabayashi’s story of what followed is a narrative of triumph, as the Japanese army began to implement a pan-Asianist Islam policy in China and supported the activities of the Kokuryûkai. It is clear from his story that Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations was a turning point in the Japanese government’s attitude to the pan-Asianist ideas of Japan’s cooperation with Muslim nationalities against the Western colonial presence. Autobiographical anecdotes of other pan-Asianist activists exhibit a similar pattern. The most influential pan-Asianist, Ôkawa Shûmei, had the similar experience of finding a surprising shift in Japanese official policy and intellectual life toward positions more to his liking in the mid-1930s, more than two decades after his initial commitment of the cause of Asianism.

Ôkawa Shûmei’s biography during the 1930s took an ironic turn, as he was put on trial and imprisoned for his involvement in a failed military coup to change Japan’s domestic politics at the very time his Asianist projects were receiving the support of the Japanese government. As head of the East Asia Economic Research Bureau of the Manchurian Railway Company after 1929, Ôkawa naturally was familiar with Japanese interests in Manchuria. Frequently visiting Manchuria and China, he came to know the leading military figures of the Kwantung Army personally. From 1929 onward, Ôkawa argued that a solution to the Manchurian problem was essential for both Asian revival and the reconstruction of Japan. In 1928 Ôkawa met with the Manchurian warlord Chang Hsüeh-liang in an effort to convince him to form a stronger political union with Japan based on “Confucian political values.”[23] Both a respected scholar of colonial studies and a radical nationalist, Ôkawa once gave a lecture on the necessity of creating an independent Manchuria-Mongolia to an audience that included top military officers of the 1930s, most notably, Itagaki Seishirô, Nagata Tetsuzan, and Tôjô Hideki.[24] He went on a lecture tour in Japan before and after the Manchurian Incident, expressing his conviction that Manchuria was not only a legitimate economic and security sphere for Japan but actually represented the lifeline of Japan’s national policy.

Like so many other Japanese intellectuals and leaders, Ôkawa was outspoken about the importance of protecting Japanese interests in Manchuria, and he favored radical action to secure these interests against the claims of Chinese nationalism. For Ôkawa, Japan’s “sacrifice” in the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars created the historical legitimacy for its treaty privileges in Manchuria. Criticizing the anti-Japanese movement in China, Ôkawa argued that if Japan did not act to protect its rights in Manchuria, it would endanger its position in Korea and Taiwan as well. He condemned the Japanese leaders of the late 1920s for not being able to show the courage and determination necessary to find a long-term solution to the Manchurian problem because of their submissive commitment to international cooperation with the Western powers. His arguments can clearly be construed as offering encouragement for the radical actions orchestrated by the Kwantung Army.[25] Citing these facts, the prosecution at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal argued that there was a link between Ôkawa’s pan-Asianist ideas and the Manchurian Incident, a key step in constructing the ideological background of the tribunal’s thesis about the long-term Japanese conspiracy to invade Asia.[26]

Okawa Shumei (left) and Ishihara Kanji

It is impossible to attribute the Manchurian Incident or post–Manchurian Incident Japanese policies specifically to the ideology of the pan-Asianists. The fact that pan-Asianist Ôkawa Shûmei had lectured on the issue of Manchuria and had known some of the military leaders did not necessarily make him an ideologue of the Manchurian Incident, since there were many others, including those identified as liberals at the time, who advocated a similarly radical policy in Manchuria.[27] It is helpful to compare Ôkawa’s arguments on Manchuria with the writings of Rôyama Masamichi (1895–1980), a liberal intellectual of the time who was well respected internationally and influential in Japanese policy circles. Rôyama, who presented his analysis of Japan’s relations with Manchuria to an international audience affiliated with the Institute of Pacific Relations two years before the Manchurian Incident, held that Japan’s established interests in Manchuria deserved international approval.[28] In a later policy report on Manchuria, Rôyama placed blame for the Manchurian Incident on the existing international peace structures and the refusal to acknowledge the special relations between China and Japan, not on the actions of the Kwantung Army. Ôkawa’s writings about the need to defend Japanese rights in Manchuria against Chinese nationalist demands did not differ substantially from Rôyama’s insistence on the protection of Japan’s vital interests.[29]

Royama Masamichi

The nature of the pan-Asianist approach to the Manchurian Incident became apparent only after the incident, when intellectuals like Ôkawa formulated laudatory characterizations of the establishment of Manchukuo both as a victory against the corruption of business conglomerates (zaibatsu) and political parties at home, and as a brave defense of Japan’s continental policy against American, British, and Soviet opposition.[30] Ôkawa retroactively offered a moral justification for the Manchurian Incident within the framework of a pan-Asianist critique of Japan’s foreign policy between 1905 and 1931. His interpretation of the incident as a correction of the misguided course of pro-Western diplomacy, especially since the Russo-Japanese War, differed significantly from Rôyama Masamichi’s justification of the Manchurian Incident as a practical response to the changing conditions of the region. Ôkawa wrote:

Our victory over Russia inspired hope and courage in the countries exploited under the pressure of the Caucasian colonialists. But, before long, Japan gave in to the Franco-Japanese Agreement and the revised Anglo-Japanese Alliance, actions that shattered the hopes of noble Vietnamese and Indian patriots who sought independence for their countries. . . . However, the mistakes in Japanese policy were later rectified decisively by the foundation of Manchukuo. Japan abandoned cooperation with the Anglo-Americans, the chief instigators suppressing the Asian people. The foundation of Manchukuo was the first step in achieving a great “renascent Asia.”[31]

Ôkawa similarly applauded Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations.[32] As shown in the previous chapter, Ôkawa had always regarded the league as an instrument of Western colonial powers and often urged the Japanese government to create a League of Asian Nations as an alternative.[33]After Japan’s withdrawal from the league in 1933, Ôkawa’s ideas seemed in harmony with the policies of the Japanese government for the first time in the history of his Asianist activism, dating back to 1913.

League of Nations Assembly, 1932

As the foreign policy Ôkawa had envisioned began to be implemented, he was put on trial for his involvement in the May 15, 1932, assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi.[34] After his arrest on June 15, 1932, the court found Ôkawa guilty of providing guns and money to conspirators during the planning stage of the assassination. In February 1934, he received a fifteen-year prison sentence, however, between appeals and paroles he spent less than two years in prison, between June 1936 and October 1937.[35] Between 1931 to 1935, the dominant visions of Japanese foreign policy and domestic politics changed so dramatically that, by early 1935, Ôkawa no longer needed to work through secretive radical organizations to achieve his ideological goals. In February 1935, he marked the end of his career as an activist promoting the Shôwa Restoration in domestic politics and pan-Asianism in foreign policy by disbanding the last organization he established, Jinmukai.[36] Japan itself was approaching the state of military mobilization while endorsing an Asianist foreign policy agenda, making radical activism for the same purpose pointless.

Inukai Tsuyoshi

Although his image had been tarnished by his involvement in the May 15 assassination, shortly after his release from prison, Ôkawa was appointed to head the continental campus of Hôsei University. In May 1938, he was reinstated to his position as director of the East Asia Economic Research Bureau in Tokyo. Back in his position of managing one of the largest research institutes in Japan, he actively promoted a pan-Asianist agenda with the journal he edited, entitled Shin Ajia (New Asia). His position as editor allowed him to observe, comment on, and influence Japan’s Asia policy in the period following the official declaration of the “New Order in East Asia” in November 1938.[37] In his first editorial, published just a month before the German invasion of Poland, Ôkawa predicted that the outbreak of war in Europe would usher in a new era in which nationalist movements in Asia would find their chance to achieve independence. He also urged the Japanese government to support these anticolonial movements with the goal of accelerating their process of national liberation and simultaneously creating future allies for Japan. Pointing out that Japan’s mission in Asia was gaining greater urgency, Ôkawa expressed his hope that the Japanese public, which was not knowledgeable even about the recent developments in China, would become better informed about the conditions and peoples of Asia in general.[38]

As the Japanese government began to use the slogan “New Order in East Asia” to describe its foreign policy, Ôkawa became concerned about the Japanese public’s lack of preparedness, in terms of their knowledge about Asian societies and cultures, for a serious pan-Asian policy. In order to educate young Japanese about the culture and politics of Asia and prepare them for positions in the service of Japan, Ôkawa received government funds to establish a special school offering instruction in Asian studies. The two-year professional school, the most concrete product of Ôkawa’s Asianist vision, was established in May 1938 as a teaching institute affiliated with the East Asian Economic Research Bureau in Tokyo, with funds from the Manchurian Railway Company, the army, and the Foreign Ministry. All expenses of the admitted students were paid by the school, which was widely known as the Ôkawa Juku (Ôkawa School), although it was named the Shôwa Gogaku Kenkyûjo (Shôwa Language Research Institute). In return for receiving tuition and a stipend for two years, the students were obligated to work for the Japanese government in overseas regions such as Southeast Asia for approximately ten years. Each year, the school recruited twenty students around the age of seventeen. In their first year, students had to learn either English or French as their primary foreign language, along with an additional language to be selected from among Hindu, Urdu, Thai, and Malay. After the second year of the school, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish were added to the elective language course offerings.

The Ôkawa Juku represented a practical implementation of Ôkawa Shûmei’s long-held pan-Asianist vision of merging a colonial cultural policy with anticolonial ideology. He aimed to educate a body of Japanese bureaucrats who could understand the culture and language of Asian peoples and take a position of leadership among them. According to his students, Ôkawa often noted the apparent unreadiness of the Japanese Empire for a great pan-Asian cause, underlining the urgency he perceived in his teaching mission. He encouraged students to form personal friendship with Asian peoples and establish bonds of solidarity that would last even if Japan lost the war.[39]

A retrospective assessment of Japan’s wartime cultural policies in newly occupied Southeast Asia shows that, with a few exceptions, cultural policies were in fact developed ad hoc by administrators faced with the reality of ruling a large population they knew little about.[40] Ôkawa Juku complemented the other Asianist program that brought students from Southeast Asia to Japan for training. Most of the graduating students of Ôkawa Juku did find employment in the military administration of the Southeast Asian region during the era of the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere.[41]

The content of pan-Asianist education at Ôkawa Juku reflected a synthesis between the scholarly-idealistic vision of Asian liberation and pragmatic goals of Japan’s wartime military expansion. Ôkawa himself taught classes on colonial history, the “Japanese spirit,” Islam, and Oriental history. His lecture notes for the classes entitled “History of Modern European Colonialism” and “Introduction to Islam” later became the basis for books with these titles. Students praised Ôkawa as a dedicated educator, citing his informative and clear lectures, his hard work, and his close relationship with students.[42] From time to time, high-ranking army generals such as Doihara Kenji, Itagaki Seishirô, Matsui Iwane, Tôjô Hideki, and Okamura Seiji would visit the Ôkawa Juku and lecture students on Japan’s Asia policy.[43] Indian nationalist Rash Behari Bose and Muslim immigrant from Russia Qurban Ali were among the part-time language and history instructors of the school, giving students a firsthand encounter with the anticolonial nationalist thinking of Asian exiles in Japan. It was during this time that Ôkawa pioneered Japan’s rapidly growing field of Islamic studies not only through his own writings but also by supporting young scholars and purchasing library collections on Islamic studies from Europe in his capacity as director of the East Asia Economic Research Institute.[44]

Qurban Ali (standing, second left) with Inukai Tsuyoshi (seated, second left) and Toyama Mitsuru (seated, second right).

It would be mistaken to assume that, before Pearl Harbor, Japan’s Asianists advocated war with the United States based on their vision of East-West conflict. From the time of the Manchurian Incident in July 1937 to the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941, for example, Ôkawa Shûmei cautioned against entering into conflict with the United States while advocating a southern advance by Japan that would target the colonies of Britain, France, and the Netherlands in Southeast Asia. With this goal in mind, he urged a quick resolution to the Sino-Japanese conflict. Particularly as pan-Asianists became aware of an approaching war in Europe, with all the implications that such a war carried for the colonized areas in Asia, they found renewed faith in Asia’s ultimate rise to independence; destiny seemed to have presented Japan with an ideal opportunity to lead the liberation of Asia from Western colonialism. For pan-Asianists, a southern advance was as much a practical opportunity as it was a moral imperative, since neither the British nor the Dutch were in a position to resist Japanese military pressure, particularly if Japan could act in cooperation with native nationalist movements in Southeast Asia. It is in this spirit that Ôkawa Shûmei proposed the creation of a Southeast [Asian] Common Cooperative Region (Tônan Kyôdôken) to secure the political and economic unity of liberated Southeast Asia with Japan. With this historical opportunity, there could emerge a new world order based on three regional blocs, Euro-Africa, America, and East-Southeast Asia.[45] Meanwhile, realizing the danger that cooperation between Europe and America could present to Japan, Ôkawa Shûmei advocated a policy of keeping the United States neutral.[46] He refrained from making anti-American statements in his editorials and urged the improvement of economic ties, especially with joint projects in Manchuria and China, in a bid to secure U.S. neutrality in the event of a future British-Japanese conflict.

Thus, from 1938 up until the Pearl Harbor attack, Ôkawa Shûmei was involved in a project of developing trade ties between Japan and the United States. There had been an economic diplomacy toward the United States that aimed at cooperation in the industrialization of Manchuria between 1937 and 1940.[47] Endorsing Ishiwara Kanji’s vision of the creation of a self-sufficient military industry in Manchukuo, but recognizing the insufficiency of the machine tool industry in the region, military and industrial leaders in Manchuria aimed to attract a higher level of U.S. investment and technology. In fact, Manchuria became more heavily dependent on American capital and technology than it was on European investments. Beyond the goal of industrializing Manchuria, Ayukawa Yoshisuke, the president of the Manchurian Industrial Development Corporation and the founder of the Nissan conglomerate, also hoped to avoid war between the United States and Japan by fostering mutual economic ties.

Ôkawa Shûmei’s personal commitment to the improvement of economic relations with the United States stemmed more from his interest in U.S. neutrality than from considerations of economic rationality. He believed it was possible for Japan to avoid U.S. intervention in its confrontation with the Chinese Nationalist government and the European colonial powers. It was Ôkawa’s expectation that the strong trade relationships and joint investments they shared with Japan in Manchuria would lead the Americans to withdraw their support from the Nationalist government of China. In making these policy suggestions, Ôkawa relied on his assumptions about the American national character as being concerned primarily with business interests rather than principled foreign policies. He also considered that the United States had less to lose by giving up its support for the government of Chiang Kai-shek than Britain did.[48] With these assessments and goals, Ôkawa became personally involved in an effort by the Pan-Pacific Trading and Navigation Company to barter mineral ores from China for gasoline from the United States. His project failed as a result of difficulties with the intricacies of U.S. trade regulations. Nevertheless, Ôkawa’s desire to insulate the U.S from Japan’s war in China, in addition to his willingness to make use of U.S. trade in the development of Manchuria, should be noted as an indication that he was not, at least where practical policy matters were concerned, a consistent advocate of an inevitable war between the United States and Japan.[49]

Once the fighting between the United States and Japan began, however, Ôkawa Shûmei immediately took on the task of offering a historical justification for the war as Japan’s response to a century of Anglo-American aggression in East Asia. He preferred the term “Anglo-American aggression” to “Western aggression,” a contemporary expression that allowed pan-Asianist thinkers to exclude Germany from their anti-Western rhetoric. Even so, when Ôkawa discussed the historical and philosophical basis of the Greater East Asia War, he again spoke about the confrontation of East and West as if China did not belong to the East or Germany to the West. It was during his radio lectures on this topic delivered between December 14 and December 25 of 1941, that Ôkawa credited himself for the prophecy he had made back in 1924 in his book “Asia, Europe and Japan” of an inevitable war between Eastern and Western civilizations, represented by Japan and the United States. He described the books purposes as follows:


first, to let the pacifists reconsider their wrong attitude by clarifying the historical significance of war; second, to show that world history, in its true sense of the word, is nothing but a chronicle of antagonism, struggle and unification between the Orient and the Occident; third, to reveal the cultural characteristics of the East and the West which had been blended into the history of the world; fourth, to give a logical foundation to Pan-Asianism; last, but not least, to point out that a war is inevitable between the East and the Anglo-American powers for the establishment of a new world. Moreover, I tried to clarify the sublime mission of Japan in the coming world war. I concluded the book as follows: “Now, East and West have respectively attained their ultimate goals. . . . As history fully proves, in creating a new world, a life-and-death struggle between the champion of the East and that of the West is inevitable. This logic proved true when America challenged Japan.” My prediction proved correct after the passage of 16 years.[50]

Such self-promoting references to his prediction of Japan’s war with the United States led to Ôkawa’s indictment at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal.[51] During the trial, he pointed out that his writings in 1924 did not necessarily constitute a plan for a Japanese attack, as he was merely commenting on the inevitability of war between civilizations based on the ideas of the Russian philosopher Soloviev.[52] In fact, he offered a more historical reinterpretation of his 1924 clash of civilization thesis while under U.S. interrogation. Albeit for opportunistic reasons, pan-Asianists opposed war with the United States before 1941. Moreover, in the aftermath of the Immigration Act of 1924, theories of a clash between the USA and Japan was a popular topic beyond Asianist circles. Yet the easy transition by the pan-Asianists to clash of civilization theories to justify the war with the United States in the immediate aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack also signifies the flexible utilization of the ideas of Eastern and Western civilization, and the historical memory of Western colonialism, for the ends of Japan’s own imperial expansion.
Asianist Journals and Organizations

From the Manchurian Incident in 1931 to the end of WWII, Ôkawa Shûmei was only one of the many intellectual voices trying to clarify the content and goals of the ambivalent notion of Asian solidarity and Japan’s Asian mission. Especially after Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations, activities related to the ideals and discourse of pan-Asianism gained momentum as support from the government, the military, and business circles increased. There was a significant gap, however, between the discourse of civilization reducing all global conflicts to a question of clashes between distinct races or major civilizations and the reality of the state of international affairs. Around the time of the Russo-Japanese War, a vision of racial solidarity and civilizational alliance seemed to be an appealing international strategy for the political projects of the rising nationalist movements, which perceived a united policy in the West of imperialism toward their Asian colonies. During the late 1930s, however, the Western world no longer seemed such a unified front as a result of sharp political and ideological divisions in Europe. And Japan’s challenge to the international order was not based on racial divisions, either. Within East Asia, the major conflict was not between East and West but between Japanese imperialism, on the one hand, and Chinese and Korean nationalism, on the other.

From 1933 onward, there was a dramatic increase in the number of Asianist organizations, publications, and events. They aimed not only at demonstrating the sincerity of Japan’s “return to Asia” but also at guarding against a perceived state of international isolation for Japan after its withdrawal from the League of Nations. Asianist publications and events also aimed at convincing both the Japanese public and Asian nationalists that civilizational and racial distinctions were in fact to be regarded as the primary consideration in international relations. But the empty repetition of slogans about the conflict between civilizations and races did not succeed in creating any substantial ideology able to account for the complex global politics of the 1930s. Instead, Asianism became less and less credible in the face of Japan’s full-scale war against Chinese nationalism. Realizing this, Asianists pursued ideological credibility by attempting to revive and reinvent the legacy of the early Asian internationalism dating back to the period from 1905 to 1914. At the same time, liberal and socialist converts to Asianism during the late 1930s infused new content and vigor into the nearly exhausted concept of Asian community and solidarity.

The reinvention of pan-Asianist ideology following the Manchurian Incident can best be seen in the sudden increase in the number of Asianist journals and organizations supported by military, political, and business authorities. In 1933, the same year Japan left the League of Nations, Rash Behari Bose and Qurban Ali, two Asianist exiles who had lived in Japan during the 1920s, began to receive funding for the purpose of publishing journals addressed to India and the Muslim World. Rash Behari Bose published The New Asia–Shin Ajia, a monthly periodical in a dual English- and Japanese-language format.[53] The government of India banned the entry and sale of The New Asia within the territories it controlled.[54] The journal seemed to have supporters in Southeast Asia, as evidenced by the contact between Indonesian nationalist leader Muhammed Hatta and Rash Behari Bose.[55]

Almost half the journal was devoted to coverage of news about the Indian independence movement, taking a tone sympathetic to the radical wing led by Subhas Chandra Bose.[56] Neither Japanese pan-Asianism nor The New Asia, however, received support from such prominent leaders of the Indian national movement as Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore, and Subhas Chandra Bose, all of whom were very critical of Japanese aggression in China. Despite the absence of interest in a Japan-centered pan-Asianist vision among Indian nationalists, the journal referred to the pro-Japanese statement by Tagore back in 1916, even though Tagore had radically changed his views of Japan by the 1930s.[57] Even Taraknath Das, the one Indian nationalist who bestowed great hopes on Japan’s leadership of Asian nationalism during WWI, wrote to The New Asia that Japan had done nothing to improve Indo-Japanese relations for about two decades, expressing skepticism over the motivations behind Japan’s attempt to “return to Asia” after such a long period of indifference to nationalist movements.[58]

The New Asia included international news from the perspective of the East-West conflict and domestic news on the activities of various Asianist associations in Japan, such as the visits to Tokyo of Asian or African American figures of repute, or the awarding of scholarships to students from Asia.[59] The journal refrained from publishing any news or articles critical of the creation of Manchukuo and maintained silence on the subject of Chinese nationalism. After discussing the Sino-Japanese conflict in a tone of regret, Rash Behari Bose suggested that India should mediate between the two nations to reach a peaceful settlement.[60] With regard to the clash of civilizations and races, articles in The New Asia emphasized that what Asians wanted was national liberation, with the possibility of a racial conflict thus depending entirely on the attitude that the Western powers chose to assume toward the independence movements:[61]

The non-white peoples are now conscious of the distressing fact that they have hitherto been mercilessly exploited and inhumanly humiliated. The intensity of this consciousness is the measure of their challenge to the white man. One thing is certain, and that is that the East and the West cannot coalesce, unless the West fully realizes its immeasurable folly of race-superiority consciousness, completely abandons its mischievous policy of exploitation, and immediately makes ample amends for the untold wrongs it has inflicted on the non-white peoples of the earth.[62]

In The New Asia’s editorials on Japanese foreign policy, Rash Behari Bose urged the Japanese government to cooperate with the United States, China, and the Soviet Union in a move to eliminate British colonial control in Asia. For him, Britain was the root of all problems in the region, including Japan’s isolation in the international community. As early as 1934, Behari Bose warned that Japan needed to maintain good relations with the United States, as only Britain would benefit from a conflict between that country and Japan: “Britain is not able to fight Japan singly and therefore waiting for her opportunity, when Japan may be involved in a war with America. . . . An American-Japanese War will weaken these two great powers who are serious rivals of Great Britain. Those Americans and Japanese who are real patriots should do their best to promote American-Japanese friendship.”[63]

While Rash Behari Bose edited a journal addressing primarily India, Qurban Ali was publishing Yani Yapon Muhbiri (New Japan journal), which aimed its message at the Muslim world.[64] Although the journal was in Turkish, the cover page of the magazine included a Japanese subtitle, describing it as “the only journal that introduces Japan to the Muslim world.” Several Japanese companies provided support to the small Muslim community in Tokyo for their efforts in the publication of Yani Yapon Muhbiri, which was seen as an effective means for the creation of an information network linking Japan and the Muslim world. In spite of the journal’s limited circulation, the very fact that Tokyo was hosting a magazine published by Muslims was expected to have propaganda value in cultivating pro-Japanese sentiments within a Muslim audience.

Around the same time that Yani Yapon Muhbiri began publication in 1933, several other attempts at networking with the Muslim world were promoted with the support of the Japanese army in Manchuria. These new attempts benefited from the contacts Kokuryûkai had established in the Muslim world and the Turkish Tatar diaspora network in East Asia. In a daring experiment in 1933, a prince from the abolished Ottoman dynasty, Abdül Kerim Efendi (1904–1935) was invited to Japan, presumably to consider his potential contribution to Japan’s policy toward the Muslims of Central Asia in case of a conflict with the Soviet Union. Although the plan was soon abandoned, it exemplified the reckless and unrealistic projects that Asianists were willing to consider at the expense of jeopardizing Japan’s diplomatic relations with the Turkish Republic.[65] In the same year, AbdurreÅŸid Ä°brahim, the famous pan-Islamist whose travel memoirs more than two decades earlier had popularized a pro-Japanese image in the Muslim world, currently leading an isolated and uneventful life in Turkey, received an invitation to visit Tokyo. Ä°brahim collaborated with the Asianist projects reaching out to the Muslim world until his death in 1944 in Tokyo.[66]

It was also in 1933 that several high-level military and civilian leaders established the Greater Asia Association (Dai Ajia Kyôkai).[67] The Greater Asia Association not only promoted regional unity in East Asia but also advocated solidarity among West and Southeast Asian societies. Konoe Fumimaro, General Matsui Iwane, and General Ishiwara Kanji were among its prominent members.[68] The Greater Asia Association published a monthly journal titled Dai Ajia Shugi (Greater Asianism), which became the most important pan-Asianist journal during that period, offering a wide range of news and opinion articles covering all of Asia, including Muslim West Asia, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia. Ôkawa Shûmei, Nakatani Takeyo,[69] Rash Behari Bose and many Asianist figures in the military frequently wrote for this journal. The content and discourse of Dai Ajia Shugi became an influential source in shaping the official language of pan-Asianism during the late 1930s, influencing the “New Order in East Asia” proclamation of the Konoe Fumimaro cabinet in 1938.[70]

Toyama Mitsuru honors Rash Behari Bose

The discourse of Asian identity represented in Dai Ajia Shugi was perfectly in harmony with the broader Asia view of Ôkawa Shûmei’s ideology, as it seemed to regard India and the Muslim world as just as important as East and Southeast Asia. Taking this continental Asia perspective, Dai Ajia Kyôkai made an important contribution to Asianist thought with its introduction of news and information about the political, economic, and social trends of the entire Asian world, from China and India to Iran and Turkey.[71] In foreign policy, Dai Ajia Shugi was highly anti-British and, strikingly, not anti-American. Discussions of the conflict and clash of interests between England and Japan started as early as 1933,[72] and gradually the journal’s call for a new world order turned to a more radical rejection of European hegemony in Asia. The journal, however, did not carry any vision of conflict with the United States that could have indicated the path to war. Beginning in 1938, it actively promoted the concept of “New Asia,” offering enthusiastic intellectual support for the government’s declaration of the “New Order in East Asia.”[73]

Despite the journal’s endorsement of cooperation among Asian nations, there was no genuine dialogue with Asian intellectuals and nationalist movements in the pages of Dai Ajia Shugi. When it claimed to present an Asian perspective, the journal always consulted the same small group of exiled nationalists in Japan.[74] This artificial perspective tended to give the journal a self-congratulatory tone, which became typical of Japanese pan-Asianism during the late 1930s; Japanese readers received the impression that Asian nationalists eagerly looked to Japan for leadership. In reality, expectation of Japanese leadership against Western colonialism was much weaker among the nationalist movements of the 1930s compared to the period in the aftermath of 1905. Still, the journal tried to convince the Japanese public that pan-Asianism could be a plausible and positive alternative to the declining Eurocentric world order in Asia.[75]

In addition to the boom of journals and organizations, an increasing degree of networking with different Asian countries took place, primarily involving students and intellectuals. When one of Indonesia’s most prominent nationalist leaders, Muhammad Hatta, visited Japan in 1933, he was showered with media attention and received an enthusiastic welcome from the Greater Asia Association as the “Gandhi of the Netherlands East Indies.” Hatta had previously expressed criticism of Japanese imperialism in China following the Manchurian Incident; however, after his trip, he moderated his position on the Japanese “return to Asia” and advocated Indonesian cooperation with the liberal, progressive, and idealistic segments of Japanese society, suggesting that Indonesian nationalists should challenge the Japanese to be sincere in their pan-Asianist rhetoric. During his visit to Japan in the fall of 1935, Ahmad Subardjo, another Indonesian nationalist leader, expressed his belief that Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations and the revival of the pan-Asianist discourse represented a very positive turning point in Asian history. It is important to note that, despite their cautious approach to Japan’s official Asianism, neither Hatta nor Subardjo had anything positive to say about the League of Nations.[76] Meanwhile, various Asianist organizations tried to increase the number of Indonesian students attending Japanese universities, with most of these students becoming members of pan-Asianist organizations during their stays in Japan.

In 1934 the Japanese government established a semiofficial agency, Kokusai Bunka Shinkôkai (Society for International Cultural Relations), with the purpose of introducing Japanese culture to other parts of the world and improving cultural ties with European, American, and Asian societies.[77] Although the initial focus of the organization emphasized Europe and the United States, Kokusai Bunka Shinkôkai gradually expanded the funding it devoted to cultural interactions with Asian societies.[78]

As the number of cultural and political associations, journals, and books focusing on Asia grew dramatically after 1933, the Japanese public’s interpretation of international events began to be shaped more by their consciousness of racial difference and Asian identity. The best example of the power that an internationalist race identity held over the Japanese imagination was the popular reaction to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, when strong pro-Ethiopian sentiments caused problems for Japan’s diplomatic relations with Italy. The mainstream Japanese media was full of anti-Italian and pro-Ethiopian commentaries, with references to the conflict as another instance of the struggle between the white race and colored races.[79] Such overwhelming sympathy for the Ethiopian resistance caused diplomatic tension between Japan and Italy, despite the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s policy of keeping good relations with Italy.[80] Meanwhile, the highly pro-Ethiopian public response to the Ethiopian crisis attracted the attention of African American intellectuals, prompting a visit to Japan by W. E. B. Du Bois. The warm reception Du Bois met during his 1936 visit to Manchuria and Japan, combined with his perception of a genuine Japanese public interest in the struggle of Africans and African Americans, convinced him of the sincerity behind Japan’s claim for leadership of the colored races. Du Bois continued to write about the legitimacy of Japan’s actions in Asia in the framework of the importance of race in international affairs, even in the face of Japanese atrocities in China. Predictably, pro-Japanese comments by Du Bois received great coverage in Japanese papers in a self-righteous affirmation of Japanese policies.[81]

Du Bois in Japan

Overall, the small group of Japan’s Asian collaborators, together with the Asian and African American intellectuals who expressed support for Japan’s Asianist projects, were very important in allowing Japanese intellectuals to convince themselves that their ideas of the New Order in East Asia and the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere were different from Western imperialism. As Naoki Sakai has pointed out, the ideologues of Japan’s official pan-Asianism manifested a kind of “narcissism” that impelled them repeatedly to quote those individuals who praised the Japanese or who hoped to receive support from Japan against Western colonial rule.[82] Through magnification of these manifestations of pro-Japanese expressions, many of which dated back to the decade after the Russo-Japanese War, Japanese leaders depicted the Japanese Empire as a Coprosperity Sphere that purported to represent the will of all its colonial subjects.

When Japan first began the process of colonizing Taiwan and Korea and received rights in Manchuria, its policies could be justified in international law through references to the ideals of progress and development favored by other colonial powers. In the starkly different international climate of the 1930s, the vocabulary of benevolent colonialism had to be replaced by the discourse of pan-Asian solidarity to justify Japanese imperialism. By 1940 there were many Japanese, especially in the young generation, who believed in their Asian identity and the discourses of Asian liberation propagated by multiple sources within Japan.[83]

Asianist Ideology of the 1930s

Pan-Asianism did not have a defined ideology or a systematic doctrine. Formulating an ideology that was both realistic and intellectually appealing proved to be the greatest challenge faced by official Asianism in the 1930s. Early pan-Asianism derived its appeal from its opposition to the intellectual foundations of the Eurocentric international order while claiming to be in harmony with Japan’s national interest through the idea of regional leadership in the project of an Asian Monroe Doctrine. In the 1930s, when pan-Asianist ideology took on a more assertive challenge to the Eurocentric world order, a new generation of intellectuals struggled to inject a degree of international legitimacy and realism into the idea of Asianism by modifying the content of the racial conflict thesis with reference to regionalism and geopolitics. Moreover, a strong tide of intellectual critiques of Western modernity during the 1930s ended up strengthening the anti-Western discourse of pan-Asianism.

The charter of Dai Ajia Kyôkai, promulgated in 1933 after Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations, was a far cry from the cautious language of the early Asian Monroe Doctrine developed during the 1910s:

In culture, politics, economics, geography, and race, Asia is a body of common destiny. The true peace, prosperity, and development of Asian peoples are feasible only on the basis of their consciousness of Asia as one entity and an organic union thereof. . . . The heavy responsibility for reconstruction and ordering of Asia rests upon the shoulders of Imperial Japan. . . . now is the time for Japan to concentrate all its cultural, political, economic, and organizational power to take one step toward the reconstruction and union in Asia. . . . The formulation of the Greater Asia Federation is the historical mission facing the Japanese people today.[84]

In the early stages after Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations, scholars of international relations such as Kamikawa Hikomatsu and Rôyama Masamichi criticized the idea of Great Asianism advocated by Dai Ajia Kyôkai, calling it both unrealistic and anachronistic. They suggested that instead of pursuing an anti-Western vision of Asian solidarity, Japan should create a Far Eastern League using the League of Nations as its model. This plan was based on a liberal internationalist agenda without any emphasis on the primacy of race and civilization.[85] At that stage, scholars like Rôyama Masamichi were maintaining their resistance to an increasingly pervasive Asianist tendency to analyze and reorder Japan’s relations with the rest of the world in terms of racial and civilizational blocs and conflicts among them. Rôyama noted that he deliberately decided “not to give a leading position to the question of race and culture” in his writings and policy suggestions.[86] In the end, however, Rôyama capitulated to this convention, offering realpolitik substance to the slogans of official pan-Asianism. He incorporated the idea of a distinct East Asian culture in his elaborate support of the New Order in East Asia, although it is true that the core of his arguments relied more on the concepts of regionalism.[87] Japan’s liberal intellectuals could redefine the idea of East Asian community (kyôdôtai) as a form of regionalism that would bring about a rationalization of economic and social interaction in the region.[88]

Because of harsh critiques from leading Asian nationalists, such as Gandhi and Nehru, of Japanese policies in China during the 1930s, official Asianism was based on highly repetitive references to the events and ideas of the Asian internationalism of the 1905–1914 period, when there was an interest in Japanese leadership in different parts of Asia. One of the best examples of this attempt to overcome the emptiness of an imposed notion of Asian unity through references to early Asianism can be seen in the response Ôkawa Shûmei offered to the condemnation of Japanese Asianism by leaders of the Indian National Congress. Even at the time when Japan was sponsoring the Indian National Army’s fight against British rule, both Gandhi and Nehru denounced Japanese colonialism. In an open letter to them, Ôkawa recounted his experiences during WWI in joining Indian nationalists to campaign for the liberation of India, regardless of Japan’s pro-Western policy at the time of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. For Ôkawa, this historical background of Indian-Japanese collaboration showed that the ideals of official pan-Asianism during the Greater East Asia War had altruistic historical roots, reflecting a genuine interest in aiding the decolonization of Asia.[89] It was during such a search for the historical roots of Asianism that Okakura Tenshin was made an icon of pan-Asian thought. All of Okakura’s works, including a previously unpublished manuscript from his 1901 trip to India called Awakening of the East, were published in both English and Japanese editions between 1938 and 1945.[90] In the same quest to reinvent early Asian internationalism, books by Ôkawa Shûmei, Paul Richard, and Taraknath Das from the period of WWI were reprinted after more than twenty years.[91]

Okakura Tenshin

It was the presence of new converts from the socialist and liberal intellectual traditions, however, that injected new energy and vitality to Asianism. In the writings of Miki Kiyoshi, a leading member of the Shôwa Kenkyûkai, we can see the Asianist discourse of civilization in its most sophisticated formulation, polished with the German tradition of the philosophy of history.[92] According to Miki, the over-Westernization of world cultures and the Eurocentric character of the social sciences posed a global political problem. Borrowing the self-critique of European thought during the interwar period, Miki expressed the conviction that Western civilization was in the process of self-destruction and could no longer dominate the fate of Asia. From this observation, he proceeded to the conclusion that Japan should uphold its civilizational mission to facilitate Asian unity and cooperation and eliminate Western colonialism. For Miki, Asian cooperation under Japanese leadership would serve the interests of peace and harmony, as well as liberation and racial equality.[93]

Miki Kiyoshi (second left) at a meeting of the Shôwa Kenkyûkai

Miki’s arguments drew on reflections on modernity and Eurocentrism in the writings of the interwar era in both Europe and Japan. Ultimately, however, they resembled the ideas of Okakura Tenshin and Ôkawa Shûmei in their basic tenet, namely, belief in the collapse of the Eurocentric world order and the corresponding necessity to offer an alternative order based on Asian values and political solidarity. Other converts to Asianism, such as the famous socialists Sano Manabu, Nabeyama Sadachika, and Akamatsu Katsumaro, offered their own interpretations of the content of pan-Asianist thought.[94] These former socialists described their perception of the world in terms of a division into a proletarian East and a bourgeois West. It was their belief that the fusion between the West, “reorganized by the proletariat,” and the East, “awakened through the influence of Pan-Asianism,” would create a new world order that would finally establish world peace and unity.[95] Their retreat from Comintern socialism was accompanied by a shift in allegiance to Asian internationalism.

What united the ideology of such diverse groups and figures as the Greater Asia Association, Ôkawa Shûmei, and the new converts to Asianism such as Miki Kiyoshi, was the discourse of civilization central to all their arguments. Victor Koschmann have accounted for the differences among these pan-Asianist visions by making a distinction between esoteric and exoteric versions of Asianism. According to Koschmann, popular organizations such as the Greater Asia Association presented the exoteric Asianism that had the power to appeal to Japanese public opinion, while Shôwa Research Institute intellectuals such as Miki Kiyoshi produced an esoteric version of Asianism that was more relevant to rational policy making and legitimization in the eyes of the presumed world public opinion. East-West civilization discourse, however, united both the more sophisticated scholarly elaborations of Asianism and those that appealed to the broader domestic public opinion. This explains the striking similarities between the pan-Asianist ideas of Ôkawa Shûmei and Miki Kiyoshi, despite their dramatically different intellectual and political backgrounds. Very much like Ôkawa Shûmei, Miki Kiyoshi based his argument on the conviction that Eurocentrism or Western civilization had to be overcome, while the civilizational legacy of Asia could become the basis for an alternative. Gradually, these ideas turned into well-known slogans, frequently repeated if not always clearly defined. The following ambiguous formulation by the Greater Asia Association summed up the slogans that were common to all versions of Asianism: “It goes without saying that the cultures of Europe are incapable of rescuing themselves any more, much less the world at large. The new potential power lies with the third civilization. It makes both Eastern and Western civilizations come alive through ‘musubi’ or harmonious combination. This is what can produce a new order in China, and Japan may rightfully serve as a catalyst for this combination.”[96]

The central tension in world politics, according to this Asianist discourse of civilization, was between East and West, and thus Asianism helped serve to reduce all world conflicts to this reductionist framework. Once the war between Japan and the United States started, such rhetoric served a very useful political purpose by placing the focus on the conflict with the Western powers and covering up the sense of guilt some Japanese may otherwise have felt about their country’s aggression in China. Thus a great number of Japanese intellectuals may have felt relieved after the outbreak of war with the USA. They could mobilize their ideas for the glorification and justification of the Pacific War in the name of overcoming modernity and East-West confrontation. For example, the participants in the famous wartime conference “Overcoming Modernity” utilized a wide array of philosophies and theories to link Japan’s military conflict with the intellectual attempts to overcome the problems of Eurocentric modernity.[97] It was thus the intellectual legacy of early Asianism in the form of a discourse of Asian civilization that created similarities between the ideology of old-time Asianists such as Ôkawa Shûmei and that of the new converts to Asianism during the 1930s, whose disparate beliefs converged in their obsessive and constant blaming of the imagined West for the problems of the international order.

Wartime Asian Internationalism and Its Postwar Legacy

Throughout the Pacific War, pan-Asianists like Ôkawa Shûmei devoted all their energies to the service of the Japanese state and the project of the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere. In addition to publishing books and journals advocating the ideals of Asianism, Ôkawa continued to head the administration of the East Asian Economic Research Institute and to run his professional school.[98] Among these efforts, he saw it as particularly important to clarify Japan’s war aims and explain the origins and goals of the Greater East Asia War. The main Asianist project Ôkawa closely followed during the war was the establishment of the Indian National Army, an event that gave a sense of final achievement to Ôkawa after three decades of advocating Japanese support for Indian independence.
The creation of the Indian National Army (INA) in 1942, with its ranks composed of Indian soldiers from the surrendered British troops in Singapore, became the most memorable project to embody pan-Asianist slogans. The INA was intended to fight alongside the Japanese army against the British forces at the Burmese-Indian border. It is now clear that the initial success of the Japanese plans for the creation of an Indian army can be attributed more to the contributions of idealistic Japanese figures on the ground than to any planning in Tokyo.[99] Major Fujiwara Iwaichi (1908–1986) gained the trust of Indian officers mainly through his own sincere commitment to the project of Indian independence. In fact, upon Fujiwara’s departure, INA commander Mohan Singh soon clashed with the new liaison officer and attempted to disband the 40,000-man army he had created.[100] The objection of Mohan Singh and other Indian officers to the appointment of Rash Behari Bose to the top position in the newly created army marked another point of crisis, one that shows the agency of Indian collaborators in the whole project.[101]

Subhas Chandra Bose’s willingness to cooperate with Japan, followed by his secret submarine trip from Germany to Japan in 1942, saved the Indian National Army project, when it faced a crisis provoked by disagreement between the Japanese and Indian sides. Chandra Bose was a well-respected leader of the Indian nationalist movement who could both gain the loyalty of the Indian officers and assert authority over the Japanese liaison officers. For a long time, he had advocated cooperation with anti-British powers in order to win independence for India, in contrast to the policy of passive resistance advocated by Gandhi. He saw a great opportunity in German and Japanese support for the liberation of India and willingly collaborated with both powers. Soon after his arrival in Singapore, Chandra Bose took over the leadership of the INA and formed the Provisional Government of Free India. Although the actual engagement between the Indian National Army and their British enemies at Imphal resulted in defeat for the Indian side, the mere existence of a provisional government and an army had a positive psychological impact on the Indian nationalist movement as a whole.[102]

From his arrival at Singapore until his death in a plane crash at the end of the Pacific War, Subhas Chandra Bose visited Tokyo several times during the war. The speech he made as the leader of the Provisional Government of Free India at the Greater East Asia Conference in 1943 to the heads of state of six nations of the Coprosperity Sphere (Japan, China, Manchuria, the Philippines, Burma, and Thailand, all recognized as independent by Japan) demonstrated the links between the failure of the League of Nations system and the New Order in East Asia that Japan had declared its intention to establish in the context of its war aims. Bose began his speech by recalling his frustration with the League of Nations: ”My thoughts also went back to the Assembly of the League of Nations, that League of Nations along whose corridors and lobbies I spent many a day, knocking at one door after another, in the vain attempt to obtain a hearing for the cause of Indian freedom.” [103] According to Bose, the Greater East Asia Conference organized by the Japanese government as an alternative to the League of Nations was receptive to nationalist voices in Asia in a way none of the European-centered international organizations had ever been. Meanwhile, he gave several radio speeches and lectured to the Japanese public, helping to enhance the popular Japanese confidence in the liberation mission of the Pacific War.

Subhas Chandra Bose in a Tokyo speech in 1945

What pan-Asianists like Ôkawa Shûmei never realized was that, for nationalist leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose, pan-Asianism was merely one of the means to reach national independence, not a goal in itself.[104] In one of his conversations with Ôkawa Shûmei about the future of the Indian national movement, Subhas Chandra Bose talked about the possibility of receiving Soviet support against the British Empire if Germany was defeated on the European front. Ôkawa was surprised that Bose could think of cooperating with the Soviets and asked him why he would collaborate with the Soviet Union if he was against Communism. In response, Bose pointed out that he was prepared “to shake hands even with Satan himself to drive out the British from India.”[105] It did not occur to Ôkawa that Japan might well be one Satan with whom Chandra Bose had to cooperate. In fact, Chandra Bose saw Japan as a different ally from Russia or Germany because of the Asian identity common to both India and Japan. In the end, however, Bose’s nationalist agenda was the main motive for collaboration, rather than a vision of Asian regionalism under Japanese leadership. In a sense, the legitimacy of wartime pan-Asianism intimately depended on the idea of national self-determination.

For Ôkawa Shûmei, on the other hand, Asian decolonization was unthinkable in the absence of Japan’s unique mission to lead the free Asia. He refrained, however, from stating specifically what kind Asian federation would replace the old order. Unsurprisingly, Ôkawa’s vision of the future Asia was ambiguous, and his wartime writings focused more on the history and ideology of Asianism. The Japanese government, on the other hand, had to clarify its war aims and postwar visions much more clearly than Ôkawa did, especially in response to the appeal of the Atlantic Charter. Initially, Japanese leaders defined the first stage of the new world order they envisioned for Asia—namely, the expulsion of Western hegemony and the elimination of Western interests—without specifying clearly what would happen after the Western powers were gone. They assumed that, once Western exploitation was over and trade between Asian nations was established, Asia would develop very fast. They also hoped that the new Asia would cooperate with a German-dominated Europe to create a world order based on regional economic blocs.[106] As Japanese leaders soughtthe further cooperation of local nationalist movements during the later stages of the war, they eventually clarified their own war aims as an alternative to the Atlantic Charter.[107]

As the declarations of the 1926 Nagasaki pan-Asiatic conference had looked similar to the principles of the League of Nations, so the Greater East Asia Conference declaration also looked like a modification of the Atlantic Charter, with slight alterations affording sensitivity to the cultural traditions of non-Western societies. For example, the principles declared on November 7, 1943, in Tokyo affirmed the national self-determination of Asian societies, with the only major difference from the Atlantic Charter being a call for the “abolition of racial discrimination” and the cultivation of Asian cultural heritages.[108] During the Greater East Asia War, the fierce competition between the Allied Powers and Japan in propaganda battles and psychological warfare had accelerated the pace of decolonization. Not only did Japan feel the need to respond to the Atlantic Charter, but the Allied Powers also had to respond to the pan-Asianist challenge to the interwar colonial order. For instance, U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) reports on psychological warfare in Southeast Asia held that Japan’s Asianist propaganda was generally very successful. In response, the OSS suggested that the vision of a United Nations organization and a new world order should be emphasized, taking care not to make any reference to the continuation of the British, French, and Dutch empires.[109] More important, there was a growing awareness among U.S. wartime leaders, including President Roosevelt, that they had to counter the widespread pan-Asian notions of solidarity spread by Japan by offering a new vision of a postwar order that at least recognized the national demands of India and China. There was also a second concern beyond the competition with Japan: how to assure the support of China and later India in the postwar international order. These concerns led to recognition that the pre-WWII colonial discourses of racial inferiority and the reality of the colonial subjugation of India and China should not continue, even if Japan were punished by a national-racial isolation.[110] It is against the background of this concern with pan-Asianism that Roosevelt recommended that Churchill give India more self-government in order to improve the war efforts against Japan.[111]

As a matter of fact, after the end of the Greater East Asia War, the prewar imperial order would not be reestablished. When Ôkawa Shûmei listened to the emperor’s radio announcement of Japan’s surrender, on August 15, 1945, he thought that four decades of his work “toward the revival of Asia [had] disappeared like a soap bubble.”[112] Yet, although it was true that Japanese pan-Asianism as a political movement would disappear, the decolonization of Asia would be completed by the 1950s. More important, the Asianist discourse of an East-West civilizational conflict would likewise survive the post-WWII period.

The period immediately after WWII witnessed nationalist revolutions from Indonesia to Vietnam fighting against the returning Dutch and French colonialism. Even in India, despite Chandra Bose’s death in a plane crash and the dissolution of his army at the end of WWII, the Indian national movement rushed to the moral and legal defense of the officers of the Japanese-sponsored Indian National Army, who were indicted for treason against the British Empire. As Tilak Raj Sareen wrote, the trial of the INA officers revitalized the nationalist movement in India, actually creating a new turning point in the Indian national movement, demoralized after WWII.[113] Meanwhile, at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, the legacy of the prewar Asian discourse of civilization would be played out in full in the conflict of opinion between the Indian Radhabinod Pal and the other judges.

Ôkawa Shûmei was indicted as a Class A war criminal by the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal based on his role as an ideologue of right-wing pan-Asianism. Both the prosecution and the final verdict used Ôkawa’s writings extensively in the construction of their case charging the accused Japanese leaders with conspiracy to commit aggression, even though charges against Ôkawa himself were dropped when he was diagnosed with brain syphilis in the early stages of the tribunal. While the majority of judges found the accused Japanese leaders guilty of the charges, Judge Radhabinod Pal wrote a long dissenting opinion asserting that Japanese decision making leading up to the Pacific War did not constitute a crime in international law. It is a testimony to Radhabinod Pal’s expertise in international law and his sharp political and legal acumen that his long dissenting opinion is now as well remembered as the Tokyo Tribunal itself. The substance of Pal’s dissenting judgment derived from his ideas of international law and his commitment to a just trial untainted by the politics of “victor’s justice.” It is also evident that Pal’s background in colonial Bengal and his sympathies for the Indian National Army under the leadership of Subhas Chandra Bose had an impact on the content of his dissenting judgment. This background may have also influenced his failure to speak out against the use of his dissenting judgment by Japanese right-wing revisionists.

Monument to Radhabinod Pal in Japan

Richard Minear and John Dower have agreed with many of Pal’s legal arguments in their discussion of the neocolonial context of the Tokyo Tribunal and their critique of the negative impact of the Tokyo trial on both international justice and Japan’s acceptance of responsibility for the Pacific War.[114] As Timothy Brook has demonstrated, however, Justice Pal’s anticolonial sensibilities led him to refrain from making any meaningful judgment on Japan’s responsibility for the Nanking Massacre.[115] Pal’s anticolonial stance led him to withhold comment on Japan’s war crimes against Chinese civilians in Nanking and elsewhere. The majority of the judges, on the other hand, condemned Japanese imperialism in the name of international justice at the same time that Western powers were trying to reestablish their colonial hegemony.[116] Thus, in a sense, the color lines that pan-Asianism emphasized were acted out on the benches of the Tokyo Tribunal, indicating one of the many ways the legacies of the pan-Asianist discourse of civilization and race survived in the postwar period, shaping the perception of both the cold war and decolonization in contemporary history.


Japanese pan-Asianism gained unprecedented official support among the elites of the Japanese Empire in the aftermath of the Manchurian Incident and Japan’s decision to withdraw from the League of Nations. The Japanese government declared its “return to Asia” by appropriating an already existing pan-Asianist alternative to the Eurocentric world order only when its empire was challenged internally by nationalist movements and externally by the other great powers. The very fact that Japan’s elites saw something practical and useful in the pan-Asian slogans and networks to help justify the multiethnic Asian empire of Japan indicates both the continuing intellectual vitality of Asianist critiques of the interwar-era world order and the potential appeal of the Asianist slogans of East-West relations and racial identity to broader Japanese public opinion. Pan-Asianism allowed the Japanese Empire to implement more rigorous and inclusive assimilation policies and exhibit a high level of international confidence and self-righteousness in an era when imperialism was globally delegitimized. Yet it was partly a nostalgic and narcissistic ideology, making frequent references to the post-1905 Asian nationalist admiration of Japan without recognizing the fact that both the nature of nationalism and the image of Japan had changed dramatically from 1905 to the late 1930s.

Japanese pan-Asianists saw a great opportunity in the unexpected patronage of their ideas by the Japanese government and military authorities after 1933. Throughout the 1930s, the radical anti-Western tradition within Asianism was focused on the end of European empires in Asia, especially on the weakness of British Empire, without advocating or recommending any Japanese challenge to the United States. Pearl Harbor was thus an undesirable development for pan-Asianists in Japan, even though they rushed to glorify and justify it via a discourse of East-West civilizational or yellow-white racial conflicts. Meanwhile, new converts to Asianism from different segments of Japanese intellectual life added practical and policy-oriented content to the ambivalent slogans of Asian solidarity via social science theories of regional cooperation and multiethnic communities. Despite its internal paradoxes and its tensions with the logic of Japanese imperialism, pan-Asianism nevertheless allowed Japan to conduct a relatively successful propaganda campaign against Western imperialism in Southeast Asia while motivating numerous idealist Japanese activists and their collaborators. Pan-Asianist propaganda, accompanied by Japan’s own imperial expansion during WWII, did contribute to the end of Western empires, partly by forcing the Allied powers to formulate and promise a more inclusive and nonimperialistic world order at the end of WWII, and partly by stimulating anti-colonial thought and confidence in the possibility of defeating European colonizers among colonized Asian nations.

This article is developed from Cemil Aydin, The Politics of Anti-Westernism in Asia: Visions of World Order in Pan-Islamic and Pan-Asian Thought (New York: Columbia University Press 2007) pp: 161-189. For more information about the book, please see. Posted at Japan Focus on March 12, 2008.

Cemil Aydin is assistant professor of history, University of North Carolina, Charlotte and a post-doctoral Fellow at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department in 2007-08. Recent publications include “Beyond Eurocentrism? Japan’s Islamic Studies during the Era of the Greater East Asia War (1937-1945),” in Renee Worringer, ed., Princeton Papers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Volume XIV: The Islamic Middle East and Japan: Perceptions, Aspirations, and the Birth of Intra-Asian Modernity, January 2007.


[1]. The Manchurian Incident of 1931 initiated a process that led to the establishment of a Japanese-controlled puppet government in Manchuria and Japan’s withdrawal from the League of Nations. Japan’s Kwantung army guarding the South Manchurian Railways bombed parts of the railway in Mukden to create a pretext to occupy Manchuria with the ostensible purpose of providing security against Chinese nationalists in September 1931. Instead of withdrawing from the occupied territories, the Japanese government created the puppet state Manchukuo in February 1932. Nonrecognition of this state by the League of Nations became the reason for Japanese withdrawal from the league in 1933.
[2]. Frederick Dickinson, War and National Reinvention: Japan in the Great War, 1914–1919 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).
[3]. Richard Storry, The Double Patriots: A Study of Japanese Nationalism (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957).
[4]. Christopher Szpilman, “Conservatism and Its Enemies in Prewar Japan: The Case of Hiranuma Kiichirô and the Kokuhonsha,” Hitotsubashi Journal of Social Studies 30, no. 2 (December 1998): 101–133.
[5]. Genzo Yamamoto, “Defending Japan’s Civilization and Civilizing Mission in Asia: The Resilience and Triumph of Illiberalism in the House of Peers, 1919–1934” (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1999). See also Arima Tatsuo, The Failure of Freedom: A Portrait of Modern Japanese Intellectuals (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969). For a previous work on this topic that focuses more on the failure of the liberals to fight the antiliberals, see Toru Takemoto, The Failure of Liberalism in Japan: Shidehara Kijuro’s Encounter with Anti-Liberals (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1978).
[6]. Louise Young, Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).
[7] For Nitobe Inazô’s arguments justifying Japan’s Manchuria policy, see Thomas W. Burkman, “The Geneva Spirit,” in John F. Howes, ed., Nitobe Inazô: Japan’s Bridge Across the Pacific (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1995), 204–209. See also George Oshiro, “The End: 1929–1933,” in Howes, Nitobe Inazô, 255–258.
[8]. For Zumoto’s defense of the Manchurian Incident before international audiences in the United States and Europe, see Zumoto Motosada, The Origin and History of the Anti-Japanese Movement in China (Tokyo: Herald, 1932); and idem, Japan in Manchuria and Mongolia (Tokyo: Herald, 1931). For Nitobe Inazô’s opinion on the Manchurian Incident, see Nitobe Inazô, “Japan and the League of Nations,” in The Works of Nitobe Inazô (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1972), 4:234–239; and idem, “The Manchurian Question and Sino-American Relations,” in The Works of Nitobe Inazô, 4:221–233.
[9]. For a discussion of Shôwa Kenkyûkai, see J. Victor Koschmann, “Asianism’s Ambivalent Legacy,” in Peter J. Katzenstein and Takashi Shiraishi, eds., Network Power: Japan and Asia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), 90–94. Shôwa Kenkyûkai (1933–1940) was labeled in the popular press as Konoe Fumimaro’s brain trust. Especially during Konoe’s tenure as prime minister (1937–1939, 1940–1941), Shôwa Kenkyûkai was preoccupied with formulating the East Asian Cooperative Body and the New Order Movement. The membership of the association included scholars and journalists from different ideological backgrounds. For the anti-Western ideas of the Kyoto School philosophers, see John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon, 1986), 227.
[10]. Harry Harootunian, Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture, and Community in Interwar Japan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); Stefan Tanaka, Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Kevin Doak, Dreams of Difference: The Japan Romantic School and the Crisis of Modernity (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1994). There is an ongoing debate about the relationship of the pro-war nature of the Kyoto School philosophy and its vision of overcoming modernity. See Ueda Shizuteru, “Nishida, Nationalism, and the War in Question,” in James Heisig and John Moraldo, eds., Rude Awakenings: Zen, the Kyoto School, and the Question of Nationalism (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1995), 77–106; Yusa Michiko, “Nishida and Totalitarianism: A Philosopher’s Resistance,” in Heisig and Moraldo, Rude Awakenings, 107–131; and Andrew Feenberg, “The Problem of Modernity in the Philosophy of Nishida,” in Heisig and Moraldo, Rude Awakenings, 151–173.
[11]. Akira Iriye, “The Failure of Economic Expansionism: 1918–1931,” in Bernard S. Silberman and H. D. Harootunian, eds., Japan in Crises: Essays on Taishô Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), 265.
[12]. James B. Crowley, “A New Asian Order: Some Notes on Prewar Japanese Nationalism,” in Silberman and Harootunian, Japan in Crises, 273.
[13]. This continuity in change was theorized by Andrew Gordon as the transition from imperial democracy to imperial fascism. See Andrew Gordon, Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991).
[14]. “Confronted by a formidable cluster of diplomatic, economic, and military problems, the Imperial government [of Japan] resorted to a series of potential solutions: Manchukuo, a Japanese Monroe Doctrine, Hirota’s three principles, an advance to the South Seas, a national defense state, and the rejuvenation of China” (James B. Crowley, “Intellectuals as Visionaries of the New Asian Order,” in James W. Morley, ed., Dilemmas of Growth in Prewar Japan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), 395). Similarly, Ben-Ami Shillony has demonstrated that, even at the peak of the Pacific War, Japan did not deviate from the normal functioning of the Meiji Constitution. See Ben-Ami Shillony, Politics and Culture in Wartime Japan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981).
[15]. Hayashi Fusao, Daitôa Sensô Kôteiron, 2 vols. (Tokyo: Banchô Shobô, 1964–1965), cited in Crowley, “A New Asian Order,” 297–298.
[16] For example, Mark Peattie has argued that Ishiwara Kanji’s views “were part of this surging anti-Western nationalism during the interwar period, and his concept of a Final War must be seen as a reinvigoration of a persistent, if long-muted, theme of challenge to the West throughout Japan’s modern history to 1945” (Mark R. Peattie, Ishiwara Kanji and Japan’s Confrontation with the West [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975], 368).
[17]. For a good example of the perception of Western retreat from Asia, see No-Yong Park, Retreat of the West: The White Man’s Adventure in Eastern Asia (Boston: Hale, Cushman, and Flint, 1937).
[18]. U. Ottama (1879–1939) was an influential figure in Burmese nationalism. Influenced by both the Indian National Congress and the Japanese model, Ottama denounced British colonial rule. He was imprisoned by the British authorities for a very long time, ultimately dying in prison. For Ôkawa’s praise of Ottama, see Ôkawa Shûmei, “Ottama Hôshi o Omou,” in Ôkawa Shûmei Zenshû, 7 vols., ed. Ôkawa Shûmei Zenshû Kankôkai (Tokyo: Ôkawa Shûmei Zenshû Kankôkai, 1961–1974), 2:913–915.
[19] Selçuk Esenbel, “Japanese Interest in the Ottoman Empire,” in Bert Edstrom, ed., The Japanese and Europe: Images and Perceptions (Richmond, Surrey, U.K.: Curzon, 2000), 112–120; El-Mostafa Rezrazi, “Pan-Asianism and the Japanese Islam: Hatano Uhô. From Espionage to Pan-Islamist Activity,” Annals of the Japan Association for Middle East Studies, no. 12 (1997): 89–112.
[20]. Tanaka Ippei was a scholar of China and Buddhism. He converted to Islam and performed pilgrimages to Mecca in 1925 and 1933. Wakabayashi describes Tanaka Ippei as a fighter for “Sonnô Yûkoku,” meaning “Revere the Emperor, and be a Patriot,” despite the fact that Tanaka became a Muslim and adopted the name Haji Nur Muhammad in 1918.
[21]. His brother, Wakabayashi Kyûman, worked for the same cause, operating undercover as a merchant among Chinese Muslims until he died in Changsha in 1924. For Wakabayashi’s reflections on the history of the Kokuryûkai circle of Islam policy advocates, see Wakabayashi Han, Kaikyô Sekai to Nihon (Tokyo: Wakabayashi Han, 1937), 1–3.
[22]. Wakabayashi, Kaikyô Sekai to Nihon, 3–7. Araki Sadao (1877–1966) was a leader in the Imperial Way faction of the army.
[23]. Ôkawa Shûmei, “Cho Gakuryo Shi o Tazuneru no Ki” (November 1928), in Ôkawa Shûmei Zenshû, 4:591.
[24]. Christopher Szpilman, “The Dream of One Asia: Ôkawa Shûmei and Japanese Pan-Asianism,” in H. Fuess, ed., The Japanese Empire in East Asia and Its Postwar Legacy (Munich: German Institute of Japanese Studies, 1998), 51.
[25]. Ôkawa Shûmei, “Manmô Mondai no Kôsatsu,” Gekkan Nihon, no. 75 (June 1931), reprinted in Ôkawa Shûmei Zenshû, 2:649–683.
[26]. See Awaya Kentaro and Yoshida Yutada, eds., International Prosecution Section (IPS) (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1980), 23:396–398. During the interrogation, Ôkawa conceded that he knew something would happen but noted that many others at that time had the same knowledge and it was not a secret.
[27]. For instance, as the biography of Ishiwara Kanji, the military brain of the Manchurian Incident, confirms, ideas about a final war and East-West confrontation, which were very important in Ôkawa Shûmei’s pan-Asianism, were commonly shared by other European, American, and Japanese thinkers, and Ôkawa was not the main inspiration for Ishiwara’s plans. See Peattie, Ishiwara Kanji, 27–86.
[28]. William Miles Fletcher, The Search for a New Order: Intellectuals and Fascism in Prewar Japan (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982), 29–30. For the detailed arguments of Rôyama on the issue of Manchuria policy, see also Rôyama Masamichi, Japan’s Position in Manchuria (Tokyo: Institute of Pacific Relations–Japan Council, 1929).
[29]. Even in June 1931, shortly before the Manchurian Incident, when Ôkawa warned that a war could break out between China and Japan at a slight provocation and suggested the necessity of a radical change in policy in Manchuria, his ideas still were not exceptional enough to single him out as an instigator of Kwantung Army officers. See Ôkawa, “Manmô Mondai no Kôsatsu,” 679–682.
[30]. Ôkawa Shûmei, “Nijyû no Nankyoku ni tai suru Kakugo,” Gekkan Nihon, May 1932, reprinted in Ôkawa Shûmei Zenshû, 4:629–631; and idem, “Manshu Shin Kokka no Kensetsu,” Gekkan Nihon, July 1932, in Ôkawa Shûmei Kankei Monjo, ed. Ôkawa Shûmei Kankei Monjo Kankôkai (Tokyo: Fuyô Shohô Shuppan, 1998), 244–248.
[31]. Ôkawa Shûmei, “Daitô Kyôeiken no Rekishiteki Konkyo,” in Dai Nippon Genron Hôkokukai, ed., Kokka to Bunka (Tokyo: Dômei Tsûshinsha, 1943), 29–43.
[32]. For Ôkawa Shûmei’s main article on the withdrawal from the League of Nations, see “Kokusai Renmei to Nihon,” Tôyô, May 1932, reprinted in Ôkawa Shûmei Kankei Monjo, 232.
[33]. For Ôkawa’s advocacy of the withdrawal from the league before the Manchurian Incident, see Ôkawa Shûmei, “Nihon no Kokusai Chii O Kokoromiru,” Daitô Bunka, May 1929, reprinted in Ôkawa Shûmei Kankei Monjo, 234–243.
[34]. Inukai was assassinated by a group of radical nationalist army cadets and naval officers. Ôkawa Shûmei was indicted, and found guilty, of providing material assistance to this group. It is ironic that he ended up contributing to Inukai Tsuyoshi’s assasination, as pan-Asianists usually viewed Inukai positively, and the 1926 Nagasaki pan-Asiatic conference honored him as one of the Asian politicians who aided the cause of Asian people’s awakening.
[35]. The fifteen-year prison sentence Ôkawa received on February 3, 1934, was reduced to five years on October 24, 1935. Because of health problems, he was allowed to postpone his prison term until June 16, 1936. He was finally paroled on October 13, 1937. See Ôtsuka Takehiro, Ôkawa Shûmei to Kindai Nihon (Tokyo: Mokutakusha, 1990), 220.
[36]. In the aftermath of the Manchurian Incident, Ôkawa established Jinmukai (Society of Jinmu) as a new nationalist organization in the aftermath of the Manchurian Incident, with hopes of reaching a larger audience and creating a broader popular base for his radical nationalist and Asianist movement. Ôkawa Shûmei’s trial and imprisonment must have played a role in his decision to disband the group. Moreover, after the coup of February 26, 1936, an event that led to the execution of Kita Ikki as the civilian ideologue of the military conspirators, the authorities began to show less tolerance for radical nationalist organizations.
[37]. The journal was published by Mantetsu Tôa Keizai Chôsakyoku in Tokyo from August 1939 to February 1944.
[38]. Ôkawa Shûmei, editorial, Shin Ajia 1, no. 1 (August 1939): 2–3.
[39]. Tazawa Takuya, Musurimu Nippon (Tokyo: Sho Gakkan, 1998), 145–146.
[40]. See Grant K. Goodman, ed., Japanese Cultural Policies in Southeast Asia During World War 2 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1991), 2–5.
[41]. Gotô Ken’ichi, “ ‘Bright Legacy’ or ‘Abortive Flower’: Indonesian Students in Japan During World War 2,” in Goodman, Japanese Cultural Policies in Southeast Asia During World War 2, 7–35. See also Grant K. Goodman, An Experiment in Wartime Inter-Cultural Relations: Philippine Students in Japan, 1943–1945 (Ithaca: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1962).
[42]. Students of Ôkawa were the leading figures in Ôkawa Shûmei Kenshôkai and organized the publication of his collected works and other related materials. See Harada Kôkichi, Ôkawa Shûmei Hakushi no shôgai (Yamagata-ken Sakata-shi: Ôkawa Shûmei Kenshôkai, 1982).
[43]. For a personal account of the Ôkawa Juku from the memoirs of students, see Tazawa, Musurimu Nippon, 129–142.
[44]. For the evaluation of Ôkawa’s Islamic studies, see Takeuchi Yoshimi, “Ôkawa Shûmei no Ajia Kenkyû,” in Hashikawa Bunsô, ed., Ôkawa Shûmei Shû; (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobô, 1975), 391–394.
[45]. See Ôkawa Shûmei, “Taisen no Zento to Ajia no Shorai o Kataru Zadankai,” Shin Ajia 2, no. 3 (August 1940): 126. See also Ôkawa Shûmei, “Nanhô Mondai,” in Yoshioka Nagayoshi, ed., Sekai no Dôkô to Tôa Mondai (Tokyo: Zenrin Kyôkai, 1941), 384–385.
[46]. Ôkawa, editorial, Shin Ajia 1, no. 1 (August 1939): 3.
[47]. Haruo Iguchi, Unfinished Business: Ayukawa Yoshisuke and U.S.-Japan Relations, 1937–1953 (Cambridge: Harvard East Asia Monographs, 2001).
[48]. See Ôtsuka Takehiro, Ôkawa Shûmei: Aru Fukkô Kakushin Shugisha no Shisô (Tokyo:, Chûô Kôronsha, 1995), 160–170; Kusunoki Seiichirô, “Ôkawa Shûmei no tai-Bei Seisaku,” Nihon Rekishi, no. 474 (November 1987): 54–70.
[49]. See Ôtsuka Takehiro, “Shôwa Jyunendai no Ôkawa Shûmei,” in Ôkawa Shûmei to Kindai Nihon, 227–252.
[50]. Ôkawa Shûmei, A History of Anglo-American Aggression in East Asia, trans. Yoshio Ogawa and P. B. Clarke (Tokyo: Daitôa Shuppan Kabushiki Kaisha, 1944), 1–3.
[51] For the way the prosecution used this reference, see Awaya and Yoshida, International Prosecution Section (IPS), 23:319.
[52]. Ibid., 23:303–306.
[53]. The New Asia, edited by Rash Behari Bose in Tokyo from 1933 to 1937).
[54]. The content of The New Asia included many of the arguments expounded by Ôkawa Shûmei, unsurprisingly, given the close ties that had existed between Ôkawa and Bose since 1915. For example, the content in The New Asia, nos. 5–6 (September–October 1933): 1, is very similar to the writings of Ôkawa in Fukkô Ajia no Shomondai and Ajia, Yoroppa, Nihon.
[55]. For news about Muhammad Hatta, see The New Asia, nos. 13–14 (May–June 1934): 4.
[56]. The New Asia, nos. 17–18 (September–October 1934), contains extensive coverage of Chandra Bose’s ideas.
[57]. The New Asia, nos. 5–6 (September–October 1933): 3. For Tagore’s critique of Japan during the late 1930s, see Zeljko Cipris, “Seduced by Nationalism: Yone Noguchi’s ‘Terrible Mistake’. Debating the China-Japan War With Tagore” Japan Focus.
[58]. The New Asia, nos. 7–8 (November–December 1933): 3.
[59]. News about the visit to Japan of the African American poet Langston Hughes was accompanied by information about the issue of white discrimination against blacks in the United States; see Shin Ajia, no. 4 (August 1933): 2. In another instance, the Pan-Asiatic Cultural Association declared its goal to invite students from Turkey, Afghanistan, Persia, India, and East Asian and Southeast Asian regions to Japan. See Shin Ajia, nos. 7–8 (November–December 1933): 4.
[60]. Shin Ajia, nos. 5–6 (September–October 1933): 2.
[61]. For a lengthy commentary on the rise of the colored and decline of the white races, see Shin Ajia, no. 17–18 (September-October 1934): 1.
[62]. The New Asia, nos. 7–8 (November–December 1933): 2. Indicating his color-blind loyalty to universal principles, Bose wrote about his admiration for Abraham Lincoln, describing him as the leader who taught the world the meaning of liberation. See The New Asia, nos. 23–24 (March–April 1935): 2.
[63]. The New Asia, nos. 13–14 (May–June 1934): 3. See also nos. 17–18 (September–October 1934): 4.
[64]. Yani Yapon Muhbiri was edited by Qurban Ali in Tokyo from 1933 to 1938. The journal often contained didactic articles about the history, economy, and culture of Japan, as well as carrying news about the Tatar Turkish diaspora living within the boundaries of the Japanese Empire. Since there was a large Tatar Muslim community in Manchuria, the journal included news about Manchukuo, the Manchu dynasty, and developments in China as well.
[65]. For the background of Abdül Kerim Efendi incident and other Muslim activists who visited Japan after 1933, see Selçuk Esenbel, “Japan’s Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900–1945,” American Historical Review 109, no. 4 (October 2004): 1159–1162.
[66]. AbdurreÅŸid Ä°brahim looked to Japanese expansion in the north against the Soviet Union with the hope that this would allow the Muslim regions of Central Asia to achieve independence. Initially, this idea had many supporters within the Japanese army as well. However, clashes between Japanese and Soviet forces in Nomonhan, Mongolia, during the summer of 1939 convinced the military authorities of Japan that Soviet military power could not be easily challenged, strengthening the southern advance theory. For the relationship between Kokuryûkai and AbdurreÅŸid Ä°brahim, see Selçuk Esenbel, “Japanese Interest in the Ottoman Empire,” in Edstrom, The Japanese and Europe, 95–124; see also Selçuk Esenbel, Nadir Ozbek, Ä°smail TürkoÄŸlu, François Georgeon, and Ahmet Ucar, “Ozel Dosya: Abdurresid Ibrahim (2),” Toplumsal Tarih 4, no. 20 (August 1995): 6–23.
[67]. See Storry, The Double Patriots, 149.
[68]. In fact, General Ishiwara Kanji’s Tôa Renmei Kyôkai (East Asia League Association), founded in 1939, was based on ideas also advocated by Dai Ajia Kyôkai. See Peattie, Ishiwara Kanji and Japan’s Confrontation with the West, 281–282.
[69]. Nakatani Takeyô became a prolific writer in Asianist publications of the 1930s. Nakatani was influenced by Ôkawa Shûmei during his student years at Tokyo University and later became a member of several organizations led by Ôkawa. He took a leading position in both Dai Ajia Kyôkai and its journals. For his memoirs, see Nakatani Takeyô, Shôwa Dôranki no Kaisô—Nakatani Takeyô Kaikoroku, 2 vols. (Tokyo: Tairyûsha, 1989).
[70]. Koschmann, “Asianism’s Ambivalent Legacy,” 89–90.
[71]. For example see, Okubô Kôji, “Shinkô Toruko No Kokumin Shugi Hyôshiki,” Dai Ajia Shugi 5, no. 5 (May 1937): 5–10. By late 1934, the news section was divided into five parts, devoted to Manchuria, China, India, Southeast Asia, and West Asia.
[72]. See “Nichi Ei Shôtotsu no Hitsuyôsei,” Dai Ajia Shugi 1, no. 12 (December 1933): 33–38.
[73]. See “Shin Ajia Kensetsu No Shin ShinNen,” Dai Ajia Shugi 6, no. 1 (January 1938): 2–19. Both Ôkawa and Rash Behari Bose used the same “New Asia” as titles of their journals.
[74]. In a roundtable discussion on nationalist movements in Asia, four Indians (including Behari Bose), two Annamese, two Indonesians, and one Manchurian nationalist offered contributions. Naitô Chishû, Mitsukawa Kametarô, and Nakatani Takeyô, all three close to Ôkawa Shûmei, were among the ten participants representing the Japanese side of the organization. See “Ajia Minzoku Undo: Zadankai,” Dai Ajia Shugi 3, no. 3 (March 1935): 51–62.
[75]. It was only during the Pacific War that the same circle of Japanese Asianists began to publish an English-language magazine in Shanghai, Asiatic Asia, in order to reach a larger non-Japanese readership with more participation from non-Japanese Asian intellectuals. Publication began in January 1941 and continued for at least five monthly issues.
[76]. Gotô Ken’ichi, “The Indonesian Perspective,” in Akira Iriye, ed., Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War (Boston: Bedford and St. Martin’s, 1999), 207–219.
[77]. Akira Iriye, Cultural Internationalism and World Order (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 119–122; Robert S. Schwantes, “Japan’s Cultural Foreign Policies,” in James Morley, ed., Japan’s Foreign Policy, 1868–1941: A Research Guide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), 179–180.
[78]. Shibasaki Atsushi, Kindai Nihon no Kokusai Bunka Kôryû: Kokusai Bunka Shinkôkai no Sôsetsu to Tenkai, 1934–1945 (Tokyo: Yûshindô Kôbunsha, 1999). For example, it was through the support of Kokusai Bunka Shinkôkai that two Muslim intellectuals, Amir Lahiri and Mian Abdul Aziz, were able to visit Japan to prepare books advocating Asian solidarity: Mian Abdul Aziz (former president of the All-India Moslem League), The Crescent in the Land of the Rising Sun (London: Blades, 1941); and Amar Lahiri, Japanese Modernism (Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1939); idem, Mikado’s Mission (Tokyo: Japan Times, 1940).
[79]. For example, the journal Dai Ajia Shugi printed articles on the Italian-Ethiopian conflict with a pro-Ethiopian character, including those sent by Japanese correspondents from Addis Ababa, in each of the twelve months of 1935. There was also regular news on Ethiopia in the section devoted to West Asia. For example, see the five articles on Ethiopia in Dai Ajia Shugi 3, no. 8 (August 1935): 32–53.
[80]. J. Calvitt Clarke III, “Japan and Italy Squabble Over Ethiopia: The Sugimura Affair of July 1935,” in Selected Annual Proceedings of the Florida Conference of Historians 6 (December 1999): 9–20.
[81]. Takemoto Yuko, “W. E. B. Dubois to Nihon,” Shien 54, no. 2 (March 1994): 79–96. Also see Marc Gallicchio, Black Internationalism in Asia, 1895–1945: The African American Encounter with Japan and China (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 74–75.
[82]. Naoki Sakai, “Tôyô no Jiritsu to daitô-A kyôeiken,” Jokyo, no. 48 (December 1994): 13.
[83]. For a good example of a Japanese who combined the liberation vision of pan-Asian identity, sometimes with highly critical views on the policies of the Japanese state, see Mariko Asano Tamanoi, “Pan-Asianism in the Diary of Morisaku Minato (1924–1945) and the Suicide of Mishima Yukio (1925–1970),” in Mariko Asano Tamanoi, ed., Crossed Histories: Manchuria in the Age of Empire (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005), 184–206.
[84]. Quoted in Thomas W. Burkman, “Nitobe Inazô: From World Order to Regional Order,” in J. Thomas Rimer, ed., Culture and Identity: Japanese Intellectuals During the Interwar Years (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 211.
[85]. Ibid., 212–213. Burkman discusses an article by Kamikawa Hikomatsu, “Asia Rengô ka Kyokutô Renmei ka?” Kokka Gakkai Zasshi 47, no. 7 (July 1933): 90–100.
[86]. Rôyama Masamichi, Tô-A to Sekai (Tokyo: Kaizôsha, 1941), 141–142, quoted in Miwa Kimitada, “Japanese Policies and Concepts for a Regional Order in Asia, 1938–1940,” in J. White, M. Umegaki, and T. Havens, eds., The Ambivalence of Nationalism: Modern Japan Between East and West (New York: University Press of America, 1990), 149.
[87]. Rôyama Masamichi, Foreign Policy of Japan, 1914–1939 (Tokyo: Institute of Pacific Relations–Japanese Council, 1941).
[88]. For an argument that shows the proto-Asianist views of Japanese liberals during the 1920s, see Han Jung-Sun, “Rationalizing the Orient: The ‘East Asia Cooperative Community’ in Prewar Japan,” Monumenta Nipponica 60, no. 4 (Winter 2005), 481–514.
[89]. Ôkawa Shûmei, “Gandhi wo Tô Shite Indojin ni Atau” and “Nehru o Tô Shite Indojin ni Atau” (1942), in Shin Ajia Shôron (Tokyo: Nihon Hyôronsha, 1944), reprinted in Ôkawa Shûmei Zenshû, 2:925–938.
[90]. For some examples of the flood of publications on Okakura, see Kiyomi Rokurô, Okakura Tenshin den, (Tokyo: Keizôsha, 1938); Okakura Kakuzô, Okakura Tenshin Zenshû (Tokyo: Rikugeisha, 1939); and Kiyomi Rokurô, Senkakusha Okakura Tenshin (Tokyo: Atoriesha, 1942). See also Okakura Kakuzô, Japan’s Innate Virility: Selections from Okakura and Nitobe (Tokyo: Hokuseido, 1943).
[91]. For examples of the publication and republication of the books of Das, Paul Richard, and Ôkawa after the post-1937 Japan-China war, see Taraknath Das, Indo Dokuritsu Ron (Tokyo: Hakubunkan, 1944); and [Paul] Risharu, Tsugu Nihon Koku, trans. Ôkawa Shûmei (Tokyo: Seinen Shobô, 1941).
[92]. For a recent assessment of Miki Kiyoshi’s Asianist ideas, see Harootunian, Overcome by Modernity, 394–399. See also Koschmann, “Asianism’s Ambivalent Legacy,” 90–94.
[93]. Crowley, ““A New Asian Order,” 278–279.
[94]. Germaine Hoston’s study of the writings of post-tenko Sano Manabu shows the importance of her interest in Eastern spirituality and intellectual tradition, as well as her belief in Japanese exceptionalism, in leading her to search for a Japanese context for adopting certain core ideals of Marxism. See Germaine A. Hoston, “Ikkoku Shakai-Shugi: Sano Manabu and the Limits of Marxism as Cultural Criticism,” in Rimer, Culture and Identity, 168–190.
[95]. George Beckmann, “The Radical Left and the Failure of Communism,” in Morley, Dilemmas of Growth in Prewar Japan, 170.
[96]. From Miwa, “Japanese Policies and Concepts for a Regional Order in Asia,” 142.
[97]. Minamoto Ryôen, “Symposium on ‘Overcoming Modernity,’ ” in Heisig and Moraldo, Rude Awakenings, 197–229.
[98]. All the books Ôkawa published during the wartime years attempted to define the ideology of the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere and Japan’s war aims. See Ôkawa Shûmei, Dai Tôa Chitsujyo Kensetsu (Tokyo: Dai Ichi Shobô, 1943); idem, Shin Ajia Shôron; and idem, Shin Tôyô Seishin (Tokyo: Shinkyô Shuppan Kabushiki Kaisha, 1945).
[99]. For a description of the ideas of Asian solidarity as they functioned in Japanese collaboration with Indian and Burmese nationalists, see Louis M. Allen, “Fujiwara and Suzuki: Patterns of Asian Liberation,” in William H. Newell, ed., Japan in Asia (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1981), 83–103.
[100]. A similar idealist Asianism can be seen in the Japanese cooperation with the nationalist leadership of Burma. As Louis Allen has shown, a conflict emerged among Japanese officers involved in the Burmese government when Officer Suzuki Keiji from Minami Kikan took the side of Burmese nationalism and asked for immediate independence, while General Ishii objected to this on the grounds of military interest. See Allen, “Fujiwara and Suzuki.”
[101]. Objection to the leadership of Rash Behari Bose is another indication of the ineffectiveness of Japanese pan-Asianists’ political networks. Although Japan’s Asianist circles had always presented Behari Bose as the representative voice of Indian nationalism, it became apparent that he did not have a reputation sufficient to play a role in the project of the Indian National Army. See Tilak Raj Sareen, Japan and the Indian National Army (New Delhi: Mounto, 1996), 35–82. See also Fujiwara Iwaichi, Japanese Army Intelligence Operations in South East Asia During World War II (Singapore: Select, 1983).
[102]. Sareen, Japan and the Indian National Army, 228–236.
[103]. Quoted in Joyce Lebra, “Bose’s Influence on the Formulation of Japanese Policy toward India and the INA,” in International Netaji Seminar (Calcutta: Netaji Research Bureau, 1975), 361.
[104]. Ôkawa Shûmei, “Bosu-shi no Raichô,” Shin Ajia 5, no. 7 (1943): 1.
[105]. Quoted in Lebra, “Bose’s Influence on the Formulation of Japanese Policy,” 368.
[106]. Akira Iriye, “Wartime Japanese Planning for Postwar Asia,” in Ian Nish, ed., Anglo-Japanese Alienation, 1919–1952 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982): 77–91.
[107]. The best description of Japanese war aims remains Akira Iriye, Power and Culture: The Japanese American War, 1941–1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981).
[108]. The Greater East Asia conference did not allow for any representation from not-yet-independent regions under Japanese occupation, such as Indonesia and Vietnam. Similar contradictions existed in the Atlantic Charter Alliance, which likewise had not been prepared to envision a fully decolonized Asia. In fact, immediately after the end of the war, the French, British, and Dutch governments rushed to reclaim their colonial possessions in Asia.
[109]. One report made the following suggestion as a means to win support for the Allied cause: “Play up American and United Nations war aims; play down our association with Great Britain in the East. . . . Do not refer to British Malaya since many inhabitants of Malaya will not wish to see Malaya revert to its old status under British control” (Office of Strategic Services, Research and Analysis Branch, “Japanese Attempts at Indoctrination of Youth in Occupied Areas,” March 23, 1943, microfilm, 10).
[110]. Christopher Thorne, Allies of a Kind: The United States, Britain and the War Against Japan, 1941–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 157–159.
[111]. Ibid., 242–243.
[112]. Ôkawa Shûmei, entry for August 15, 1945, Ôkawa Shûmei Nikki (Tokyo: Iwasaki Gakujitsu Shuppansha, 1986), 391.
[113]. Sareen, Japan and the Indian National Army, 234–236.
[114]. Richard Minear, Victor’s Justice: The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971); John Dower, Embracing Defeat (New York: Norton, 1999), 443–484.
[115]. Timothy Brook, “The Tokyo Judgment and the Rape of Nanking,” Journal of Asian Studies 60, no. 3 (August 2001): 693.
[116]. Radhabinod Pal became the hero of the revisionist right in Japan in the postwar period. He himself revealed his long-lasting sympathies to Japan during his celebrated visit to Japan in 1966 upon the invitation of Japanese right-wing revisionist groups. Justice Pal declared how he had admired Japan since his youth because Japan had “consistently stood up against the West” with “the spirit of independence that can say ‘no.’ ” Then, he urged the Japanese people once again to resist the “flood of Westernization” with inspiration from Eastern civilization. For Pal’s speeches during his 1966 visit to Japan, see Radhabinod Pal, Ai Rabu Japan: Paru Hakase Genkôroku, ed. Paru Hakase Kangei Jimukyoju (Tokyo: Tôkyô Saiban Kankôkai, 1966)

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Thank you , Japan Donates nearly Half a Million for Ramallah Projects



The Representative of Japan to the Palestinian Authority, Junya Matsuura, signed contracts with Representatives of four local authorities, on Thursday, to support projects in Ramallah.


Matsuura, Ambassador for the Palestinian Affairs, signed contracts with mayors of four Palestinian municipalities and local councils to implement four news projects, with funds made available through the Government of Japan and Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
The signing ceremony was held at the Japan Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
Details at WAFA, via link below.

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