On July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the US Navy and his retinue of 967 sailors and marines dropped anchor off the shore of Uraga. They came to Japan traveling in two sailing vessels and two steamers, all armed with cannons and a total of 61 guns. Uraga was located near Edo, the city where the Shogun or the “Barbarian quelling General” and his Bakufu or “field tent government” resided. Although the Bakufu authorities had some forewarning of the coming of Perry from Dutch merchants residing in Japan, the arrival of the Americans on huge, noisy, steam-belching “Black Ships” (Kurofune), as the Japanese called them, had created panic throughout their land, with families fleeing from their homes and people scurrying for shelter.1 Perry was on board the Mississippi, a coal-fueled, three-mast, iron-clad, steam-powered vessel with a displacement of 3,220 tons and armed with ten cannons.2 The ship had left a US naval base in Norfolk, Virginia on November 24, 1852 and arrived in Hong Kong Island on April 7, 1853. At Hong Kong Harbor, Perry’s ship was met by the US sailing vessels the Plymouth and Saratoga which had docked earlier and was awaiting Perry’s arrival. When the Susquehanna, a US steam-powered vessel with a displacement of 3,824 tons and armed with 15 cannons arrived in Hong Kong from Shanghai, Perry continued on his journey with his squadron of four ships reaching Shanghai, and finally making a stop at Naha, the capital of the Ryukyu island kingdom on Okinawa.3 ^
- International Relation
- Open Door
- Foreign Minister
- Open Door Policy
- Liaodong Peninsula
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Kawada, Minoru, Showa rikugun zenshi 1 (The History of the Showa Army), Kodansha, 2014, pp. 36–37, Nikkei Shimbun, Nicchu shototsu e no dokasen (The Fuse Leading to the Clash of Japan and China), November 10, 2013. The first wave of Japanese troops that were sent to Shandong were withdrawn after Chiang temporarily suspended the Northern Expedition in July 1927. The second wave of 5,000 troops were sent in April 1928 after the Northern Expedition re-commenced. During this second wave, the murder of 12 Japanese civilians and the subsequent looting of Japanese-owned shops by Nationalist troops sparked off a clash between Japanese and Nationalist troops in the Shandong district of Jinan in May which led to the deaths of approximately 3,600 Chinese (including non- combatants) and 57 Japanese (including 12 non-combatants). The so-called Jinan Incident inflamed Chinese public opinion and led to a widespread boycott of Japanese goods. While previously the target of Chinese nationalism had primarily been the British since the so-called Shanghai May 30th Incident, during which British consular police fired upon Chinese demonstrators, the Jinan Incident had the effect of directing the wrath of Chinese nationalism towards the Japanese. For the Chinese the Jinan Incident had been remembered as the May 3 Day of National Shame.
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Pash, Sydney, The Currents of War, University of Kentucky Press, 2014, pp. 61–69. Pash argues that while there were some attempts at maintaining the Washington Conference “spirit” among the three Powers of Japan, the US, and Britain, all three pursued unilateral policies of “ one-upmanship” for securing Chinese friendship that ultimately contributed to its collapse. Shidehara refused to join the other Powers in sending in troops to protect the nationals and property of the Powers that were being endangered by riots and disturbances inspired by Chinese nationalism. In its “Christmas Memorandum” of 1926, Britain unilaterally declared that the Powers should announce their willingness to engage with the Chinese in discussions for ending extraterritoriality as soon as a Chinese government emerged with the authority to conduct talks. In an attempt to win the goodwill of the Chinese people, the US on several occasions blocked US development loans to Japan destined for Manchuria and refused to cooperate with the Japanese despite their pleas for support in backing their treaty rights in the region that were being violated by Chinese nationalists. The US also expressed support for Chinese tariff autonomy and the elimination of extraterritorial rights without consulting the other Powers.
Suzuki, Tomin, Nachisu wa nihon ni koi o motsu ka (Do the Nazis like Japan), in Bando, Kazutoshi, ed., Bungeishunju ni yoru Showashi (The history of the Showa era according to Bungeishunju), Bungei Bunko, 1995, p. 262.
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Saito, Ryoe, Azamukareta rekishi (Deceptive History), Chuokoronsha, 2012, pp. 214–215. Saito, who was an advisor to Foreign Minister Matsuoka, believed that the need to shut down the southern supply routes to Chiang’s forces was nothing but an excuse by the Imperial Army to occupy the various regions in Southeast Asia. If the Army truly wanted these supply routes to be shut down, argued Saito, the Japanese government should have used normal diplomatic channels and negotiated accordingly with Britain and France. Indeed, Matsuoka did open negotiations with these governments to discuss this issue, only to be obstructed by the Army, who in a show of intimidation towards the French assembled its troops on Hainan Island. According to Saito, the Army leaders never wanted the negotiations to succeed, as success would mean putting a hold on their plans to take without opposition strategically important materials such as oil, rubber, and tin from the region.
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Ike, Nobutaka, Japan’s Decision for War: Records of the 1941 Policy Conferences, Stanford University Press, 1967, pp. 9–12.
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Kimura, Masato, Minohara, Tosh, ed., Tumultuous Decade, University of Toronto Press, 2013, p. 242.
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Trefousse, Hans L., Pearl Harbor: The Continuing Controversy, Robert Kriegler, 1982, p. 113.
Matsumoto, Shigeharu, Konoe Jidai (The Life and Times of Konoe), Volume II, Chukoshinsho, 1987, p. 161.
Togo, Shigenori, The Cause of Japan, Simon and Schuster, 1956, p. 188.
Ike, Japan’s Decision for War, p. 279, Minohara, Tosh, No Choice but to Rise, pp. 268–271, in Kimura, Masato, Minohara, Tosh, ed., Tumultuous Decade, University of Toronto Press, 2013. According to Minohara, Togo’s abrupt volte-face and decision to support the decision for going to war with the US instead of resigning that has long baffled historians can be explained by his extreme sense of disappointment and bitterness of not receiving Hull’s modus vivendi. Captured pre-war Japanese diplomatic records have shown that the Japanese were able to routinely read US, British, and Chinese diplomatic cables. Togo was aware of the modus vivendi through intercepts of diplomatic messages sent from Ambassador Hu Shih to Chiang Kai-shek in Chongqing and believed that Washington was finally taking a more flexible approach by putting together an acceptable counterproposal to Japan’s proposal B. With this modus vivendi Togo was confident that a settlement, however temporary, could be reached with the US. Unfortunately for Togo his sneak preview was taken at a time when the modus vivendi was still under consideration for submission. On November 26, to Togo’s consternation not only was there no modus vivendi from the US but there was also no mention about Togo’s proposal B in the Hull Note, which was tantamount to its outright rejection. Minohara argues that Togo was not only bitter about this but that he was also convinced that the US had decided upon going to war with Japan, given that the Hull Note was essentially a dismissal of the idea of sending a counterproposal to proposal B.
Butow, R.J.C., The John Does Associates, Stanford University Press, 1974, p. 315.
Ibid., Organski, A.F.K., World Politics, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1968, p. 374.
Kase, Toshikazu, Toshikazu, Nihon Gaikoshi, 23, Nichibei Kosho (Japanese Diplomatic History: Japan–US Negotiations), Kajimakenkyujo Shuppankai, 1970, p. 321.
© 2016 Ko Unoki
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Unoki, K. (2016). Japan-US Relations 1853–1941. In: International Relations and the Origins of the Pacific War. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-57202-8_3
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London
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Online ISBN: 978-1-137-57202-8