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HIST242: Modern Northeast Asia

Unit 4: Redrawing the Map: The Changing Balance of Power in Northeast Asia   *This unit examines the rise of Japan as the dominant economic and military power in the region from the late nineteenth century until World War II. We will look at why Japan engaged in imperialist expansion and how its expansionist efforts brought it into conflict over territory and resources with existing Asian powers (China) and rising ones (Russia and the US).  We will also examine domestic developments in Japan from the late Meiji through the Taish? period and into the early Sh?wa period (until the mid-1930s), and the ways in which they not only shaped Japanese society, but also supported its foreign exploits. (See Unit 6 for details of Japanese colonial rule.)

As you work through the primary source materials, pay particular attention to the ways in which Japan couched its demands of Korea, China and Russia (the type of language it used), and try to identify some of the arguments and ideas that were deployed to legitimize Japanese imperialism.*

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 10 hours to complete.
☐    Subunit 4.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 20 minutes

☐    Subunit 4.3:

☐    Subunit 4.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.6:

☐    Subunit 4.7:

☐    Subunit 4.8: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.9: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 4.10:

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain how Japan usurped Imperial China as the major regional power. - Describe how Japan came first to compete with and then to defeat European interests in the region. - Analyze why Japan was so successful in its rapid rise to power. - Account for the failure of civilian leaders to retain control over policy-making from the early 1930s onwards.

4.1 Japan Becomes an Imperialist Power   - Reading: Fordham University: Paul Halsall’s version of “Okuma: from Fifty Years of New Japan” Link: Fordham University: Paul Halsall’s version of “Okuma: from Fifty Years of New Japan” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This primary source document provides a summary of a Japanese view of the half-century since Japan’s forced “opening” to the West. What does the writer regard as the catalyst for Japan’s rapid development? What does he mean when he says Japan is both “conservative” and “progressive”? Why do you think the comparison with “the Anglo-Saxon” race is drawn?
 
The reading and questions should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Taiwan Documents Project’s “Engagement between Japan and China Respecting Formosa” 1874 Link: Taiwan Documents Project’s “Engagement between Japan and China Respecting Formosa” 1874 (HTML)
     
    Instructions: What does this document tell us about China’s and Japan’s attitudes towards “ownership” of Taiwan (Formosa) and to sovereignty issues more broadly? This is a primary source document.
     
    The reading and questions should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
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4.1.1 Japan Eyes Korea   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.1.

4.1.2 The Sino-Japanese War   - Reading: MIT Visualizing Cultures: John Dower’s “Throwing off Asia II” Link: MIT Visualizing Cultures: John Dower’s “Throwing off Asia II” (HTML, PDF)
 
Instructions: Select either the html or pdf version of the essay at the right. Read all sections of the essay, paying particular attention to the ways in which Japan used images of the war to reconfigure its relationship with China. Also, note the ideas and concepts borrowed from the West that Japan used to legitimize its self-assertion as an imperialist power.
 
Optional reading/viewing: More detailed analyses of the images are given in the section on “Visual Narratives.”
 
Reading the text and viewing the images should take approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
 
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4.1.2.1 Causes of the War   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.1.

4.1.2.2 Outcome of the War: Treaty of Shimonoseki, Cession of Taiwan   - Reading: Taiwan Documents Project’s “Treaty of Shimonoseki” 1895 Link: Taiwan Documents Project’s “Treaty of Shimonoseki,” 1895 (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the terms of the treaty. Compare the terms here to those of the Treaty of Nanjing signed with Britain fifty years earlier.
 
This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
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4.2 Russian interests in Northeast Asia and Conflict with Japan   4.2.1 Russia in Manchuria   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.2.

4.2.2 Russia in Korea   - Reading: Fordham University:Paul Halsall’s Version of Prince Ukhtomskii’s “Russia’s Imperial Destiny, 1891” Link: Fordham University: Paul Halsall’s Version of Prince Ukhtomskii’s “Russia’s Imperial Destiny, 1891” (HTML)
 
Instructions: How does Ukhtomskii view the future of Asia? What role does he envisage Russia playing? Why do you think he does not perceive a threat from Japan? Compare his view to those of the Japanese who supported Japan’s imperial expansion in the region.
 
Note that this primary source document was written more than a decade before the Russo-Japanese War.
 
This reading should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
 
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4.3 Anglo-Japanese Treaty   4.4 The Russo-Japanese War   - Reading: MIT Visualizing Cultures: John Dower’s “Asia Rising” Link: MIT Visualizing Cultures: John Dower’s “Asia Rising” (HTML, PDF)
 
Instructions: Select the html version of the essay (the pdf is not currently available) at the right of the screen. Read the essay, then return to the main page and select “Visual Narratives” for a more in-depth look at the images.
 
How does the representation of the Russo-Japanese War differ from that of the Sino-Japanese War 10 years earlier? Do you think the fact that the first was a war with a (weak) Asian power and the second a war with an expanding European power affected the depiction?
 
This reading should take approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Fordham University: Paul Halsall’s Version of Lt. Tadayoshi Sakurai ‘The Attack upon Port Arthur” Link: Fordham University: Paul Halsall’s Version of Lt. Tadayoshi Sakurai ‘The Attack upon Port Arthur” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this eyewitness account of a battle during the Russo-Japanese War. To what extent do you think the writer is motivated by patriotism?
     
    This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
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4.5 Japan and Russia Scramble over Mongolia and Manchuria   - Reading: Hathi Trust’s “Documents regarding the negotiations between Japan and China” Link: Hathi Trust’s “Documents regarding the negotiations between Japan and China” (PDF)
 
Instructions: The link takes you to the first page of this primary source reading. Read the treaty terms on pages 38-40, and the discussion of further dealings on pages 45-55.
 
What rights and privileges does Japan gain by the treaty? How does this treaty compare to “unequal treaties” signed between China and foreign powers? To what do you attribute any differences? Why do you think the respective Ministers repeat the contents of the correspondence verbatim in their replies to one another?
 
The reading and questions should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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4.6 Japan Annexes Korea   4.6.1 China and Russia Ousted   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.6.

4.6.2 Japan Asserts ‘Protectorate’ 1905   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.6.

4.6.3 De Facto Control 1907   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.6.

4.6.4 Formal Annexation 1910   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.6.

4.7 Mongolia Seeks Independence   4.7.1 1911 Xinhai (Republican) Revolution in China Ousts Qing   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.7.

4.7.2 Multiple Regions Declare Independence, Including Tibet and Mongolia (Khalkha)   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.7.

4.8 Japan Pressures China   - Reading: Hathi Trust: Secretary of the Eastanian, Yu Ledbetter Lee’s “Japan and China: A Study of the Recent Problems between Japan and China” (1918) Link: Hathi Trust: Secretary of the Eastanian, Yu Ledbetter Lee’s “Japan and China: A Study of the Recent Problems between Japan and China” (1918)  (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the document from pages 3-22. Note the author’s perspective on Sino-Japanese relations. What is his view of Japanese intentions toward China? From what does he believe they stem? How does this contrast with the intentions of other powers? How do you think his view and the kind of language he uses here is influenced by China having become a Republic in 1911?
 
Note the full text of the infamous “Twenty-One Demands” is included in this text.
 
This reading and questions should take approximately 1 hour.
 
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4.8.1 Japan and WWI   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.8.

4.8.2 Japan Seizes Shandong   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.8.

4.8.3 Twenty-one Demands of China   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 4.8.

4.9 Developments in the Japanese Home Islands   - Reading: MIT Visualizing Cultures: Andrew Gordon’s “Social Protest in Imperial Japan: The Hibiya Riot of 1905” Link: MIT Visualizing Cultures: Andrew Gordon’s “Social Protest in Imperial Japan: The Hibiya Riot of 1905” (HTML, PDF)
 
Instructions: Select either the html or pdf version of the essay at the right of the screen. This text relates to one particular incident, but note the general points Gordon makes about the emergence of social protest movements, and the ways in which foreign exploits could influence or be influenced by domestic popular opinion. Examine the table at the end of the first section, “Making News Graphic,” that documents other protests that took place during the late Meiji-early Taisho periods.
 
Be sure to examine the images as well as reading the text.
 
Reading/viewing should take approximately 1.5 hours.
 
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  • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ Okuma Shigenobu’s “Illusions of the White Race” (1921) Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators’ Okuma Shigenobu’s “Illusions of the White Race” (1921) (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the introduction and the longer excerpt on pages 3-4. Then answer the questions given on page 2. This is a primary source document.
     
    This reading and questions should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
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  • Reading: Marxists.org: Katayama Sen’s “Foreign Policy of Japan” Link: Marxists.org: Katayama Sen’s “Foreign Policy of Japan” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the document and answer the following questions.
     
    What is Katayama’s view of Japan’s foreign policy? Does he support it? How does he view the balance of power between military and civilian leaders and their influence on Japanese domestic and foreign policies?
     
    This reading and questions should take approximately 30 minutes to complete
     
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4.9.1 Taish? Democracy   - Reading: Lecture and Reading: University of Nottingham: Susan Townsend’s “War and Society” Link: University of Nottingham: Susan Townsend’s “War and Society” (PowerPoint Presentation)
 
Instructions: Select “Example Lectures” from the menu at the left. Then, click the links to download the PowerPoint slides and lecture notes for “War and Society.”
 
Read the lecture notes as you work through the slides.
 
This should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
 
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4.9.2 Labor Movements and Communism in Japan   4.9.3 The Rise of the Military   4.10 Japan Annexes Manchuria