When Japan Fights

When Japan Fights

When Japan Fights

When Japan Fights


It was the hallowed canon of Meiji faith, the birthday star of the Japan reborn in 1868. Japanese diplomats and statesmen, wherever I found them, in Europe, America, or Asia, always maintained the same thought. The Foreign Minister, as placid and sure as if holding it sufficed to resolve all perplexities of this autumn of 1937, repeated it again.

"Friendship for China," he said. "Yes, and friendship for all the world which has sincere friendship to give us."

Through the open windows of the Tokyo mansion where we were drinking iced ceremonial tea and eating tomato sandwiches came the jingling of clusters of little brass bells. Somewhere lithe-legged men in loose blue denim happi marked with a newspaper's sign were shouting, "Gogai!" I knew what the extra was about. It was another Japanese advance in China. Fighting, more killing. Bombs and destruction.

"Gunpowder friendship!" I thought, and said so.

Koki Hirota smiled indulgently. "My ancestors were more open to conviction. Or was Commodore Perry's gunpowder of a different odor?" he said.

"You mean America forced friendship on you in 1853? . . ."

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