Nitobe Inazô: Japan's Bridge across the Pacific

By John F. Howes | Go to book overview

4
Japann Watchers:
1903-1931

A. Hamish Ion

[T]he sudden revulsion of feeling has come when those who, not a generation ago, were thought of as pretty, interesting, artistic, little dolls or children, fantastic and whimsical, unsettled in purpose and loose in morals, dishonest in business, and cruel if you scratched through the skin, "great in little things and little in great things," have come out on the broad stage of the world.

-- Bishop William Awdry of South Tokyo, "The Character of the Japanese People," London Times, October 2, 1905.

During the years from 1905 to 1931, Western images of Japan and the Japanese underwent several dramatic changes almost as radical as those of the preceding half-century. The cultic attitude, whose undiluted praise characterized Western public opinion in the decade following Japan's defeat of Russia, grew until the World War I and then shifted to an increasingly negative perception which culminated with the invasion of Manchuria in 1931. As one of the leading propagandists for things Japanese, the ubiquitous Nitobe Inazô played an influential role in the creation of a positive image of Japan in the West prior to 1914, but in subsequent years he failed to convince many Westerners of the continued need to cultivate "a sympathetic understanding between peoples trained at opposite poles of tradition." 1 His inability should not surprise us, for Western images of Japan depended on the perception of Japan's significance to the West. By 1931 this significance differed profoundly from that in the years immediately following the Treaty of Portsmouth. As a self-appointed "cultural bridge" between Japan and the West, Nitobe's rise and fall depended in large part on Western perceptions of the Japanese rather than Japanese perceptions of themselves. Nitobe rose to fame on the crest of a craze for Japan in the West. His influence abroad after the World War I also foundered on the ebb-tide of Western interest in his Japan. Western authors on contempo-

-79-

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Nitobe Inazô: Japan's Bridge across the Pacific
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • About the Contributors xv
  • Editorial Conventions xvii
  • One - Introduction 1
  • 1 - Who Was Nitobe? 3
  • Two - Maturation 25
  • 2 - Roots 27
  • 3 - Graduate Student and Quaker 71
  • Three - Cultural Identity 77
  • 4 - Japann Watchers: 1903-1931 79
  • 5 - Bushido: Its Admirers and Critics 117
  • 6 - Philippine Bushido 130
  • 7 - Toward Remaking Manliness 155
  • Four - Japan in the World 157
  • 8 - Colonial Theories and Practices in Prewar Japan 159
  • Notes 174
  • 9 - The Geneva Spirit 209
  • Five - Evaluation 215
  • 10 - Journalism: the Last Bridge 217
  • 12 - The End: 1929-1933 272
  • 13 - Darkened Lanterns in a Distant Garden 301
  • 14 - Conclusion 315
  • About the Book and Editor 317
  • Index 319
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