الرئيسية The American Historical Review :Pan-Asianism and Japan's War, 1931–1945. (The Palgrave Macmillan Series in...
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Asia ERI HOTTA. Pan-Asianism and Japan’s War, 1931–1945. (The Palgrave Macmillan Series in Transnational History.) New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2007. Pp. xiv, 290. $79.95. The earlier post-World War II judgment about PanAsianism, which was inspired by the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal’s view of history, argued for its role as an insincere cover for imperial expansion. However, since the 1960s, many scholars in and outside Japan have suggested a somewhat constructivist interpretation of the role of Pan-Asianism in international history: ideas, identity, feelings, historical memory, beliefs, perceptions, and insecurities matter in foreign policy and international relations, and in that spirit Japan’s Asian identity, the historical memory of Western colonialism, or an Asianist perception of world affairs somehow shaped the decision making leading to the Pacific War. Eri Hotta’s book is a good example of this growing body of literature, which suggests that Pan-Asianism was much more than an after-the-fact explanation for Japan’s imperial designs and argues instead that it was a vision of world order or even an internationalist ideology with significant political results. More impor- AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW tantly, Hotta offers the best and most comprehensive discussion of this constructivist argument, as she shows how Pan-Asianism as an ideology, and sometimes as an identity, played a crucial role in Japan’s international relations, becoming integral in making and prolonging the Fifteen Years’ War from 1931 to 1945. For Hotta, the role of Pan-Asianism in developments from the Manchurian Incident to Pearl Harbor and full mobilization during World War II goes beyond the rhetorical legitimization of imperial expansion with its discourse of liberation; thus, Pan-Asian ideology has to be taken seriously in order to grasp Japan’s foreign policy. Hotta describes different varieties of Pan-Asianism in twentieth-century Japan, which she suitably divides into three categories. First is the more egalitarian, anticoloni; al, and idealist school of Okakura Tenshin, which she calls the Teaist school of Asianism. Second is the Sinic idea of solidarity with China, based on the idea of common cultural heritage of East Asia and represented by Konoe Atsumaro. Third is the more expansionist and geopolitics-based Meishuron (Japanese leadership in Asia) thesis of Ishiwara Kanji. Hotta shows very well how these disparate themes appeared, sometimes in contradictory fashion, in the works of most Japanese intellectuals of the 1930s. Despite their differences in emphasis and ideology, “Pan-Asianists of different shades and colors were of one mind on the question of why they were Pan-Asianists, which was that ‘Asia is one’ and ‘Asia was weak’ . . . As a result, they concurred that something had to be done about it and that it ultimately had to be done by Japan, who was in a relatively better-off position than the rest” (p. 49). After presenting this useful categorization, Hotta takes the story of Pan-Asianism from the late-nineteenth century to the end of World War II in seven beautifully written chapters. Hotta’s strong insistence on defining Pan-Asianism as an ideology, however, raises one important caveat: almost every educated person in the world, including in Japan, in the first half of the twentieth century believed that a weak Asia existed in relation to an imperialist West. If we define Asian identity as an ideology as broadly as Hotta does, it would be hard to find any Japanese intellectual who was not a Pan-Asianist at this time. Yet, many of those who believed in their Asian identity were also strong advocates of cooperation with Western empires and could be vehemently opposed to Pan-Asianism as an ideology during the 1910s and 1920s. Take Uchida Yasuya, for example, a diplomat who headed the Japanese foreign ministry during parts of the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s and shaped Japan’s intransigent policies during the Manchurian Incident. As we know from a recent study by Rustin Gates (“Defending the Empire: Uchida Yasuya and Japanese Foreign Policy, 1865–1936,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, 2007), Uchida’s writings during the 1890s were clearly Pan-Asianist. Yet Uchida came to be a staunch defender of the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902, of which mainstream Pan-Asianists were extremely critical. After years of pragmatic, pro-Western JUNE 2009 Downloaded from http://ahr.oxfordjournals.org/ at RMIT University Library on July 6, 2015 directions for the nation. Although this phenomenon is prevalent in Tokyo today, Burkman has opened up a new avenue of research, subtly adding depth to the discussion of Japan’s pre-1945 democratic impulses. For this, as well as for plentiful and useful pedagogical insights, teachers of modern Japanese political theory and history might find that Burkman’s account makes for excellent pairing with political scientist Richard J. Samuels’s Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia (2007). Like Samuels, Burkman repeatedly stresses the rational and pragmatic ways that Japanese thinkers approached the whole question and existence of the League. For those outside the field of Japanese studies, the need to prove the sheer activity involved in political decision making may seem surprising, yet it remains a frustrating reality for those in the field. Taken together, therefore, Burkman’s excellent historical account and Samuels’s study of more contemporary dynamics make clear this enduring and fundamental flaw of modern international history and political theory: the failure to incorporate Japan, the Japanese empire, and the Japanese postempire in their respective calculations. Burkman’s study will continue to gain appreciation within the field of Japanese studies and especially so when read alongside other recent texts of racial and empire theory. Burkman’s specificity and care in bringing to light the nuances of a wide range of Japanese opinion makers related to Japan’s involvement with the League of Nations substantiates Tokyo’s first serious attempt at being an international player. Given Japan’s aspirations in the world today, Burkman’s study deserves broad reaching and serious consideration. ALEXIS DUDDEN University of Connecticut 741 742 Reviews of Books AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW sential reading for both undergraduate and graduatelevel courses on international affairs and Asian politics, as well as histories of imperialism and decolonization. CEMIL AYDIN University of North Carolina, Charlotte KIRK W. LARSEN. Tradition, Treaties, and Trade: Qing Imperialism and Chosŏn Korea, 1850–1910. (Harvard East Asian Monographs, number 295.) Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center. 2008. Pp. xi, 328. $39.95. A common impulse among historians has been to view China’s relations with its neighboring states through the framework of a highly institutionalized tributary system predicated on fealty and Confucian ritual. Kirk W. Larsen’s book represents a fundamental reassessment of Sino-Korean relations during the late nineteenth century. Challenging the longstanding image of the late Qing Empire (1850–1910) as the passive victim of foreign imperialism, he argues that its expansionist activities mirrored those of other imperialist powers. The Qing were “modern imperialists” who sought to defend their informal empire and commercial interests abroad by aggressively utilizing treaties, international law, gunboats, and other mechanisms of modern imperialism. The book investigates the extent to which the Qing transformed their relations with Korea through a hybrid system of “multilateral imperialism” and a traditional suzerain-vassal relationship. The book consists of nine chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter, “Pre-Nineteenth-Century Sino-Korean Relations,” provides the background to Sino-Korean relations—the specific features and tangible benefits of the tributary system. This meant the “willingness of the Qing to grant Korea dependent-yet-autonomous status,” while securing their geopolitical and commercial interests with minimal commitment and costs (p. 40). Chapter two, “Nineteenth-Century Challenges and Changes,” examines both internal and external events which transformed how the Qing interacted with Korea. Larsen contrasts the competing agendas of the Purist Party (qingliudang ) and a new generation of intellectuals like Li Hongzhang who sought to strengthen the Qing Empire through Western technology as a means to counter Japan’s “monopolistic imperialism” (p. 63). Chapter three, “Treaties and Troops: Bringing Multilateral Imperialism to Korea,” addresses the direct intervention by the Qing in Korean affairs through the mediation of treaties with Western powers. Especially enlightening is a discussion about the mutiny of Korean soldiers in the summer of 1882 and the involvement of Qing troops, which Larsen identifies as a “irrevocable break with past practices” (p. 85). In chapter four, “Soldiers, Diplomats, and Merchants: Establishing a Qing Presence in Korea,” Larsen examines Qing efforts to assist Korea’s “self-strengthening” movement while actively encouraging Chinese merchants to migrate to Korea. Here too, the author shows how Li Hongzhang JUNE 2009 Downloaded from http://ahr.oxfordjournals.org/ at RMIT University Library on July 6, 2015 diplomatic service, as foreign minister of Japan Uchida led his country out of the League of Nations in 1933, due to Japan’s creation of Manchukuo. There is continuity between Uchida’s view in the 1890s of a weak Asia unfairly colonized by the West and his actions in the early 1930s. But how could Asianism explain Uchida’s pro-Western policy of imperial cooperation during the 1910s and the 1920s? It would have been useful if Hotta had made a distinction between Pan-Asian ideology and Pan-Asian discourses of identity and perceptions of world politics. Hotta’s argument for a broader definition of Asianism could explain the change in direction of Japan’s international policies after the 1930s: all the major intellectuals and political leaders in Japan, from Nitobe Inazo to Royama Masamichi, must have had something Pan-Asianist below the surface of their liberalism, pragmatism, or pro-Western diplomacy, because after the Manchurian Incident they were the ones who reformulated and repackaged Pan-Asianism as the guiding vision for Japanese foreign policy. This is one of several original contributions of Hotta’s book. Hotta’s arguments teach us that it was not only those who advocated the clash of civilizations, but actually those liberals who believed in the synthesis, dialogue, or harmony of civilizations that ended up taking Japan into the Pacific War. Hotta’s story of Pan-Asianism contains a lesson for more recent attempts to create a dialogue of civilization against the ideologies advocating clash of civilizations, implying that both of these seemingly opposing views share the same epistemological foundations. Hotta compares Pan-Asianism to Pan-Arab thought, and she offers interesting insights based on this comparison. But comparisons with Pan-Islamism and PanAfricanism might be more intriguing, as these ideologies emerged around the same time as Pan-Asianism, during the last quarter of the nineteenth century in the context of global debates on the legitimacy and future of the imperial world order. Moreover, given Japan’s status as a well-established empire, portions of PanAsian internationalist thought can also be compared to that of British imperial internationalists such as Alfred Zimmern and Jan Smuts, who both believed in peaceful, prosperous international solidarity under the benevolent rule of a third British Empire, while supporting institutions such as the League of Nations partly as efforts to save Western civilization and the white race from a perceived decline in their world power. Pan-Asianist ideas in Japan were also developed by well-educated imperial theorists and internationalists with similar concerns; in fact, some of the Japanese internationalists who formulated Asianist ideas were well aware of the trends among British imperial internationalists. Hotta’s book on Japanese Pan-Asianism offers the most comprehensive treatment of this topic in English. It provides an original interpretation in response to existing historiographical debates and is mindful of all the available sources on this topic. It is written with amazing clarity and persuasiveness. This book should be es-