Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period

Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period

Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period

Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period


This comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of Japanese policy between the two world wars utilizes both English and Japanese sources to present Japan as an independent agent, not a state whose policy was determined by the actions of other countries. Beginning with Japan's disappointment with the Versailles Peace Treaty in 1919, Nish examines the roots of Japanese discontent and feelings that ambitions in China were being unreasonably restrained. He explains British and American policies in the region as reactive, but concludes that their responses helped to determine which factions would dominate Japan's political arena. This non-partisan account is even-handed in apportioning responsibility for the events leading to the Second World War.


Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume, labuntur anni nec pietas moram rugis et instanti senectae afferet indomitaeque morti.

Alas, the fleeting years are slipping by, Postumus. Nor will prayers to the gods cause them to linger.

(Adapted from Horace, Odes, 2.14)

This volume is the product of over ten fleeting years. I hope that it reflects the conclusions, over the last decade, of researchers in the field to whom I am very grateful. In order to undertake this research, I received an emeritus travel grant from the Leverhulme Foundation, London, which enabled me to visit Japan. I have also benefitted from the facilities both of the Suntory Centre for Japanese Studies, LSE, and of the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1992 to the present.

I wish to acknowledge the support and helpfulness of libraries and librarians, particularly the International House of Japan, Tokyo; the Law Faculty, University of Tokyo; but most especially the archives of the Diplomatic Record Office (Nihon Gaiko Bunshoshitsu), Azabudai, Tokyo. My research has been greatly assisted by the East Asian collections of the British Library of Political and Economic Science and by the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

May I also thank a generation of Japanese historians who have been so generous in supporting my research interests by giving me copies of their works over the years. I only hope that my efforts have matched the material they have presented to me. I am particularly grateful to the members of the Anglo-Japanese History Project with which I have been associated since its inception in 1995, especially Professors Hosoya Chihiro, Tanaka Takahiko, and Kibata Yoichi of the Japanese committee. I am similarly

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