Japan's First Modern War: Army and Society in the Conflict with China 1894-95 0333555546, 9780333555545

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Table of contents :
1 The Origins of War: Japan, the Army, and East Asia
2 Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity
3 The Soldier's Experience
4 The Home Front: Mobilising Support
5 The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss
6 Novice Imperialist: Occupation Policies in Korea and Manchuria
7 Discipline and Control: The Army as Civilisation
8 Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War
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Japan's First Modern War Army and Society in the Conflict with China, 1894-95 Stewart Lone Lecturer in History University of Nero South Wales

in association with King's College, L o n d o n

© Stewart L o n e 1994 All rights reserved. N o r e p r o d u c t i o n , copy o r transmission of this publication may be m a d e without written p e r m i s s i o n . N o p a r a g r a p h of this publication may be r e p r o d u c e d , c o p i e d o r t r a n s m i t t e d save with written permission o r in a c c o r d a n c e with t h e provisions of the Copyright, Designs a n d P a t e n t s Act 1988, o r u n d e r the terms of any licence p e r m i t t i n g limited copying issued by t h e Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 T o t t e n h a m C o u r t Road, L o n d o n W T P 9 H E . Any p e r s o n who does anv u n a u t h o r i s e d act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal p r o s e c u t i o n a n d civil claims for d a m a g e s . First published in Great Britain 1994 by T H E MACMILLAN PRESS LTD H o u n d m i l l s , Basingstoke, H a m p s h i r e RG21 2XS and London C o m p a n i e s a n d representatives t h r o u g h o u t the world This book is pi blished in Macmillan's Studies w Military and Slmlegi r ilislory G e n e r c\\ Editoi : Micliat4 Doc ki ill R e a d c r in War Studies, King's College, L o n d o n A catalogue record for this book is available from t h e British Library. ISBN 0 - 3 3 3 - 5 5 5 5 4 - 6 P r i n t e d in Great Britain by Ipswich Book Co Ltd, Ipswich, Suffolk

First published in the U n i t e d States of America 1994 by Scholarly a n d Reference Division, ST. MARTIN'S PRESS, INC., 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010 ISBN 0 - 3 1 2 - 1 2 2 7 7 - 2 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data L o n e , Stewart. Japan's first m o d e m war : Army a n d society in t h e conflict with C h i n a , 1894-95 / Stewart L o n e , p. c m . Includes bibliographical references a n d i n d e x . ISBN 0 - 3 1 2 - 1 2 2 7 7 - 2 1. C h i n e s e - J a p a n e s e War, 1894-1895. 2. Japan—Military relations —East Asia. 3. East Asia—Military relations—Japan. I. Title. DS765.L66 1994 9 5 2 . 0 3 ' 1—dc20 94-16292 CIP

Only in xoar will a nation truly become a nation Heinrich von Treitschke Even the most sublime creations of society carry within themselves the element of their own destruction Carl von Clausewitz

Contents viii

Acknowledgements Abbreviations







The Origins of War: Japan, the Army, and East Asia



Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity



The Soldier's Experience



The Home Front: Mobilising Support



The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


Novice Imperialist: Occupation Policies in Korea


and Manchuria



Discipline and Control: The Army as Civilisation



Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War











Acknowledgements T h e opportunity to t h a n k those people who have assisted a n d m a d e possible a research project may n o t occur many times in o n e lifetime. I take great pleasure, therefore, in listing a n u m b e r of individuals who have helped m e in o n e way or a n o t h e r over the past few years. Teachers who inspired m e to a b a n d o n the pursuit of riches for the dubious pleasures of spending every teaching break in some library d u n g e o n include those who first taught m e about J a p a n at Sheffield University, notably Graham Healey a n d Ms Mitsuko Sasaki; also Professor Patrick O'Neill, formerly of SOAS, University of L o n d o n , whose patience, courtesy, a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g were exemplary; a n d my former supervisors at the Australian National University, Drs Richard Mason, J o h n Caiger, a n d Andrew Fraser. Professor Ian Nish, also of the University of L o n d o n , has b e e n most kind a n d g e n e r o u s in his c o m m e n t s in m o r e recent times. Professor Marius J a n s e n of Princeton University likewise provided e n c o u r a g e m e n t at an early stage in this project. Professor Peter Dennis, o u r h e a d of chambers at University College, Australian Defence Force Academy, deserves a special m e n t i o n for unfailing support b o t h spiritual a n d from the d e p a r t m e n t ' s monetary resources. In J a p a n , I express grateful thanks to Professor Ito Takashi of Tokyo University; Dr Tanaka Hiromi of the J a p a n National Defence Academy; my old friend Dr Nagai Kazu of Ritsumeikan University a n d his wife Mari for r e p e a t e d kindness over the years; Mr Koike Seiichi of the Foreign Ministry Archives; a n d the staff of the Boei Kenkyujo Library, Tokyo. With outstanding generosity, the late Mr Kitane Yutaka, former h e a d of the Meiji Shimbun Zasshi Bunko, University of Tokyo, d o n a t e d several years' worth of microfilm for the Gifu Nichi Nichi newspaper, a n d this kindness was c o n t i n u e d by the invaluable Ms Fujii a n d her colleagues at the Meiji Shimbun Zasshi Bunko. O t h e r s to offer unstinting support include the staff of the Fukushima Prefectural Library, a n d my good friends at the Gifu Prefecture Historical Archives, Messrs Ito Katsushi a n d Usui Susumu. Finally, for rest, recuperation, a n d an idyll in the h e a r t of Vlll

A cknowledgements


Tsuchiura, Ibaragi prefecture, my deepest thanks to Dr Saga Junichi and his family. Ms Belinda Holdsworth was a most kind, generous and patient editor, and I must thank Dr Michael Dockrill for his own patience as series editor. Ms Helen Boxall provided most helpful assistance with research on the Japan Weekly Mail A special mention to my friend and colleague Garry Collins of the Australian National University for taking me to court (tennis) and away from my desk on a weekly basis - the sine qua non of research. For their friendship over many years, my profound thanks to David Pollard, Garry and Michiko Evans. In the end, I take responsibility for all errors and omissions in this work; anything that is good within it I attribute to my wife, Yimei, and to my parents.

Abbreviations Geibi NN

Geibi Nichi Nichi Shimbun


Gifu Nichi Nichi Shimbun


Japan Weekly Mail


Nakayama, ed., Shimbun Shusei Meiji Hennenshi


The Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95



O K Mukden yC^^ • L i a o y a n g y ^ ^ ~ \ ' f ! ^ > .Haich'eng J JYingk ou Antunghsien^' Chinchou ''•?• fWonsan PO SEA


r t

Arthur . j ^ ^ v o n g y a n g

Weihaiwer Inch'on

Seoul ¥


J Pusan ».





r Osaka Hiroshima


500 kilometres I



Introduction T h e war against the C h ' i n g dynasty of imperial China was the first overseas conflict fought by the m o d e r n Japanese state. T h e declaration of war was a n n o u n c e d in Tokyo on 1 August 1894 by the E m p e r o r Meiji (reigned 1868-1912) a n d hostilities were concluded about nine m o n t h s later by the peace treaty signed at Shimonoseki in western J a p a n on 17 April 1895. Land battles took place in Korea, a n d the n o r t h a n d eastern Chinese territories of Manchuria a n d Shantung; naval engagements were limited to the contiguous waters. T h e nominal source of contention was the i n d e p e n d e n c e of Korea, or rather, in the age of high imperialism, who was to d o m i n a t e affairs at Seoul. O n this question, China a n d J a p a n h a d b e e n at odds since the early 1880s. Almost as soon as the war e n d e d , however, diplomatic complications arose between J a p a n a n d Russia over spheres of interest in Manchuria and Korea, a n d ten years later a m u c h g r a n d e r conflict, the Russo-Japanese war of 1 9 0 4 - 5 , largely eclipsed the Sino-Japanese war from history. T h e war of 1 8 9 4 - 5 was incontestably provoked by Japan: China neither desired conflict n o r sought to p r o l o n g it once hostilities c o m m e n c e d . T h e reasons why J a p a n decided to challenge its gargantuan n e i g h b o u r at this time are n u m e r o u s a n d will be dealt with in d u e course. T h e o u t c o m e of the war, however, dictated the fate of East Asia well into the twentieth century. For China, it entailed the collapse of prestige a n d self-confidence, belated b u t far-reaching reforms in domestic politics a n d society which ultimately led to revolution a n d republicanism in 1911, a n d a new political ascendancy for the military which resulted in disastrous fragmentation u n d e r regional warlord rulers in the 1920s. For Japan, the victory brought a new self-confidence but also disturbed the West, an e x t e n d e d empire with the acquisition from China of Taiwan, a doubling of the a r m e d forces to deal with the real enemy, Russia, and, c o m m e n s u r a t e b o t h with this army-navy expansion a n d the new empire, a vastly greater role in J a p a n e s e politics a n d society for its own military. Despite the enormity of the war for m o d e r n East Asia, there has b e e n virtually n o research by Western scholars a n d surpris1


Japans First Modern War

ingly little by Japanese historians. With the exception of Fujimura Michio a n d the doyen of military historians, Matsushita Yoshio, scholars in J a p a n have virtually ignored the conflict w h e t h e r as a military, political, or cultural event. Instead, the general histories frequently condense the Sino-Japanese a n d Russo-Japanese wars into a single volume a n d skip over the former as an uncomplicated victory (as in a popular work by U n n o Fukuju from 1992). This is n o t to say there is complete disinterest in the war. Rather there is a peculiar purblindness a m o n g J a p a n e s e historians with the overwhelming focus of concern on J a p a n ' s prewar a n d wartime diplomacy, a n d especially the Machiavellian dealings of its foreign minister, Mutsu Munemitsu. In this, historians have generally sought to demolish the earlier official interpretation (one carried over to m o r e recent times, for example, in the mainstream film Tenno Kogo to Nis-Shin Senso, 1958, reissued on video in 1992 as Meiji Taitei to Nis-Shin Senso), that the war was fought to liberate Korea a n d defend J a p a n . Instead, they seek to confirm that h e r e was a war of aggression c o n d u c t e d by the Tennosei ( E m p e r o r system), a catch-all term employed by critics of the political a n d economic system prevailing in J a p a n u p to 1945. For o u r purposes, the T e n n o s e i may be defined as the u n i o n of military officers a n d bureaucrats dominating the imperial government, exploiting the increasingly powerful symbolism of the t h r o n e , a n d working in alliance with exploitative capitalism b o t h to oppress the people at h o m e a n d c o n d u c t wars of conquest against J a p a n ' s weaker neighbours. As for the causes of the war, J a p a n e s e historians generally emphasise the 'feudal' contradictions of Meiji J a p a n e s e society as the economy moved towards capitalism, b u t landowning, capital accumulation, a n d political representation all r e m a i n e d within the h a n d s of a tiny elite. T h e impact of u n e q u a l treaties signed with the Western powers from the 1850s deprived J a p a n of tariff autonomy, a n d thus led to increased exactions o n the predominantly rural population in o r d e r to finance the expansion of m o d e r n government, domestic infrastructure, a n d the first-ever national a r m e d forces. Consequently, they argue, the rise of class antagonisms at h o m e , symbolised by the volatile first parliaments or Diets from 1890, a n d the lust respectively for gold a n d glory of the major capitalists a n d military commanders, c o m b i n e d to push the aggression within J a p a n e s e


Introduction 1

society onto first Korea and then China. In this view, the timing of the war is directly related to the impact of Japan's first economic depression in 1890, and the opening of the Diet in the same year. In sum, therefore, the Japanese government in 1894 was actively seeking a pretext for war in order to seize the Korean market, satisfy Japanese capitalism, protect oligarchic control of government in Tokyo, and assure funding for additional military expansion. This basically Marxist interpretation has long dominated Japanese historiography. It is reductionist in seeking to explain Japan's international relations solely according to its domestic political economy. It is also highly tendentious, for a number of reasons, to argue that Japanese industrial capitalism brought about the war in order to seize the Korean market. For one thing, government policy was swayed less by the concerns of capitalists than by the army, and the army had a very7 jaundiced view of capitalism. Moreover, Japanese business was unwilling or simply unable to invest in Japan's new empire even after 1895: only with official guarantees of profits was Mitsui finally persuaded to invest in Taiwanese development, while, in colonial Korea between 1910 and 1920, Japanese business was restricted by the military. Up to 1894, the most vocal advocates of a forward policy against Korea were, in fact, the small concerns, which suffered in competition with larger Japanese businesses, but which lacked any political clout. Japanese industry itself had no real grounds in 1894 for sponsoring war over Korea: cheap Korean rice was useful in feeding Japan's industrial labour but, between 1886 and 1895, Korea constituted just 1.7 per cent of Japan's total exports and only 3 per cent of all imports. 2 No other power was deeply concerned with the tiny Korean market, leaving Japan free to dominate trade without expanding its political influence in Seoul. Indeed, Japanese exports to Korea increased dramatically from 1895 to 1899 despite a diplomatic retreat by Japan and the rise in Korean nationalist sentiment under the Independence Club. Finally, the most lucrative market for Japanese goods, especially silks and teas, was the West, while the greatest potential local market, already taking 21.5 per cent of total Japanese exports in 1892, was Japan's wartime enemy China, with whom trade relations were directly endangered by this alleged capitalist war for Korea.


Japan 9s First Modern War

While much of the Japanese scholarly interpretation of the war is contentious, it is rarely contested. Apart from the lightweight popular history by Unno, the two works of direct relevance appearing in 1992 were a book by Nakatsuka Akira returning once again to the diplomatic 'world' of Mutsu, and a coffee-table record of war photographs by Kamei Koreaki. One is left with the impression that all arguments except those on diplomacy and central politics are ended when, in fact, they have hardly begun. There are occasional exceptions but, in general, it is to the local histories that one must turn for any comment on the relationship between Japanese society and the war with China. Thus, we are left with only a surface understanding of this epochal event in which the bulk of Japanese society is given no more value or importance than a theatrical backcloth. Having indicated the basic facts and something of the historiographical understanding of the war, let us now define more clearly the aims of this book. First, all the things which it is not. It is not a study of so-called 'Mutsu diplomacy' and the standard works by Shinobu and Tabohashi from the 1940s are of little relevance here; Mutsu's own account may be read in the translation by Gordon Berger. Nor is it an indictment of Japanese aggression towards Korea or China in the manner of a recent work on the later Sino-Japanese war (1937-45) which opens with what I consider to be a most dangerous connection to the Holocaust in Europe. It would, however, be foolish to presume the other extreme, that I intend in any way to offer an apologia for Japanese actions. Nor do I consider at length the strategy or tactics of the Japanese army; highly detailed descriptions of each battle based on official sources are available in the contemporary histories by Eastlake and Yamada, 'Vladimir', and White. Instead, my concern is with modern Japan per se, and more particularly with the experiences of the people, whether ordinary troops at the battlefront or members of provincial society. Whatever the current state of modernisation theory, this was undoubtedly Japan's first modern war if we define 'modern' in this context as involving an army drawn from a statewide base through a process of centralised legal conscription, led by professionally trained commanders acting in concert with the aims of government and diplomacy, employing modern industrial technology in the form of armaments



a n d a scientific, or bureaucratic, form of military organisation (as well as co-ordinated m o v e m e n t ) , a n d with information o n the conflict widely available to the J a p a n e s e public t h r o u g h the print a n d o t h e r evolving media. In addition, by 1894 m o d e r n J a p a n possessed a domestic industrial base to supply the forces n o t only with arms b u t also the essential accoutrements of uniforms, blankets, dried or c a n n e d food, even tobacco, as well as a host of articles c o m m e m o r a t i n g the war for a rapidly developing c o n s u m e r public. All these features are part of the m o d e r n state, as is a code* of nationalism a n d organs such as a unified educational system for transmission of national ethics. What needs to be said at the outset, however, is that virtually all of these political or social structures, as well as the attitudes accompanying them, date only from the 1870s. It is for this reason that the Sino-Japanese war may be r e g a r d e d as the first test of J a p a n as a nation. In b r o a d terms, this study attempts to describe something of the nation's response. T h e book is arranged as follows. C h a p t e r 1 summarises the development of J a p a n , its foreign relations a n d its army, from the 1870s to the eve of the war. T h e emphasis h e r e is o n the weak social a n d political base of the military and, in explaining the specific origins of the war, o n the strategic considerations of the army c o m m a n d . Chapter 2 deals in brief with J a p a n ' s military a n d diplomatic policies in the first few m o n t h s of the war a n d notes the government's concerted effort to maintain unity of policy in o r d e r to protect J a p a n ' s uncertain international position. Chapter 3 uses the letters, diaries a n d memoirs of troops a n d civilians with the forces to outline the experience of m e n being sent to war. H e r e three aspects are treated at length: the impressions of the troops as they j o u r n e y e d towards their p o r t of d e p a r t u r e at Hiroshima; views of their 'fellow' Asians in Korea a n d China; a n d their attitudes towards service on the battlefront. Chapters 4 a n d 5 deal with contrasting aspects of the h o m e front, especially the role of the authorities in mobilising the population, a n d the experience of unofficial groups such as small businesses a n d organised religion. J a p a n ' s formal e m p i r e may be dated from its occupation of Taiwan in 1895, a n d so C h a p t e r 6 reviews the first instance ofJ a p a n e s e informal imperialism in Asia t h r o u g h a consideration of occupation policies in Korea a n d Manchuria. Chapter 7 investigates the question of indiscipline in the J a p a n e s e forces in this their first


Japan's First Modern War

overseas war, and reviews the controversial allegations surrounding the massacre of Chinese civilians at Port Arthur in November 1894. The penultimate chapter brings the military and diplomatic history to a close, while the conclusion assesses the various impacts of the war on post-bellum Japanese society. A word is in order about the materials used for this study. Diaries of combatants are few and far between, and given the general disinterest of Japanese scholars, no real attempt has been made to collect material for publication or preservation. The best explanation of the soldier's experience in Japan's modern wars has been that of Ohama Tetsuya, especially in Meiji no Bohyo which deals with the Sino-Japanese and RussoJapanese wars. The army's official history of the war is disappointing. An excessively detailed record of troop movements before and during battles, it rarely ventures beyond that narrow focus: an indication of its murky style may be gleaned from the partial translation by Major Ikemura and the Reverend Lloyd. For general reference to the military campaign, I have used the one-volume abridged version by Kuwada and Yamaoka. However, some of the reports written in preparing the staff history but ultimately omitted, for example, on crimes committed by Japanese in the field, have proved very useful. On the domestic front, I concentrate on the experience of Gifu prefecture, roughly the geographical centre of the Japanese islands, and the Gifu Nichi Nichi newspaper (hereafter GNN) is a mine of information. Not only does it report on local and national events, it also prints in full, as did other newspapers, many government and army documents relating to the war. The GNN is also valuable for its inclusion of letters written by local troops from the battlefront. In addition, official local histories of towns and villages in Gifu and other prefectures are often repositories of primary materials in the form of official statistics, documents and personal letters or diary fragments. The annals of the Emperor Meiji, Meiji Tenno Ki, is the official history of the imperial house but it goes far beyond the actions of the monarch and is filled with records from the army command and summaries of diplomatic contacts. The two good general histories of the war in Japanese are those by Matsushita Yoshio (1966), which deals expertly with the military campaign but also considers the impact of war on domestic commerce and



popular culture, and, secondly, by Fujimura Michio (1973), concentrating more exclusively on military and diplomatic affairs. Those who write (or read) history seek to impose order on chaos; rather like bleaching all colour from a painting by Jackson Pollock. This study has a wider ambition and that is to restore something of the 'chaos', or at least diversity, of Japanese society as its institutions and people responded in their different ways to this first modern war. The underlying aim is to explore the range of Japanese experiences and to open up one of the prevailing stereotypes about the Japanese army and Japanese society as a whole; the stereotype of the obedient mass, a singlethinking racial block, emotionally sanitised, lacking individuality, and predisposed to regimentation and militarism. As John Dower so eloquently phrased it in his study of racism in the Pacific war, 'Subhuman, inhuman, lesser human, superhuman - all that was lacking in the perception of the Japanese enemy was a human like oneself'.3 Despite the passing of war memories, the cartoon image of the Japanese people is alive and well and, in the late twentieth century, Japan has come to be seen as the epitome of the modern society, hyper-efficient, automated, densely populated, but essentially inhuman. One thinks in this context of the recurring scenes of disembodied Japanese faces in Ridley Scott's critically acclaimed cinematic dystopia Blade Runner, or the frequent use of corporate and technological Japanese terms to achieve an alienating effect in the 'cyberpunk' literature of William Gibson.4 Racial stereotypes may crumble before the cynicism of a 'postmodern' generation (though the experience of the 1990s suggests otherwise), but the important point is that Japanese propagandists over the past century are at least as responsible as anyone for cultivating and propagating both domestically and overseas this baneful caricature of racial purity, cultural superiority, and national homogeneity. Their goal appears to be the construction and maintenance of an hitherto non-existent degree of conformity within Japan in the midst of what is perceived as an antagonistic world. In other words, the image is a foundation stone in the bulwark of a garrison-state mentality but one which, in earlier times, has directly contributed to bringing about an actual siege of Japanese interests. The late twentieth century is also a period in


Japan's First Modern War

which antagonism between J a p a n a n d the West regularly erupts in sound a n d fury, a n d so any reconsideration of stereotypes of, or from, J a p a n necessarily has value. T h e militaristic image of the J a p a n e s e people has frequently b e e n attributed to the legacy of bushido a n d the carry-over of samurai political a n d cultural values into the m o d e r n age. Thus, whether as traditional samurai, imperial t r o o p e r or, in the postwar era, as foot-soldier in J a p a n ' s e c o n o m i c expansion, J a p a n e s e (including women) are often seen as functioning according to a c o m m u n a l culture of service, sacrifice a n d discipline, all the elements of a perfectly r e g i m e n t e d tribal unit. This was a view established with the Sino-Japanese war. As o n e of the most comprehensive early histories, written with official assistance, explained: We have written these [stories of 'Brave Deeds'] simply to show that the qualities of martial heroism, implicit soldierly obedience, unflinching sense of duty, noble unselfishness a n d deathless courage are to be found in this Empire of J a p a n . Withal there is o n e phase of bravery which seems peculiar to this country. It is this a n d this alone which we have tried to emphasize a n d thus bring to the notice of the world. 5 A m o r e i n d e p e n d e n t history written at the war's e n d took a similar position on J a p a n ' s military a n d social unity: T h e Japanese nation . . . presented a rare spectacle. T o a m a n , ay, to a woman, the whole people were for war to the knife. They scarcely knew, n o r did they greatly care, for what, but having b e e n without the luxury of a serious foreign war for two h u n d r e d or three h u n d r e d years, their military a n d patriotic spirits were raised over the invasion of Corea a n d the prospective conflict with China. Never was a stronger antithesis than that between J a p a n e s e a n d Chinese at the beginning of this conflict. It was the perfection of o r d e r a n d of precision against slovenliness a n d carelessness; the pitting of a trained athlete against a c o r p u l e n t brewer who h a t e d fighting.6 As we read on, we h e a r that J a p a n e s e mobilisation was so perfect that n o disruption was caused by the war to society or the economy, a n d that Japanese intelligence at h o m e a n d in



China was so excellent that 'a sparrow could hardly cross the road without its name and destination being recorded in the archives of the prefecture'. Perhaps, but rather unlikely. Of course, all societies have a prevailing self-image. In line with the socio-economic position of men, this is usually masculine in nature, for example, the British 'gentleman knight' or, as Richard Slotkin avers, America as the 'gunfighter nation'. Such images may be pleasantly self-romanticising but are clearly the products of myth and self-delusion. Their attraction, however, obviously grows as practical opportunities for the life of a chevalier or frontiersman disappear: this is evident in the resurrection of chivalry in nineteenth-century industrial Britain. The loss of such romantic possibilities is given by some scholars as one reason for the enthusiasm with which many intellectuals in Western Europe greeted war in 1914.7 In Japan, the irony is that the Tokugawa (1603-1867) period, during which the samurai developed as a class, was one of unbroken peace. This long peace was replaced from 1894 with a series of international conflicts during the short years to 1945. As we see in Chapter 1, some Japanese in 1894 also welcomed the coming of war as a chance for heroism and action. It was only from the 1890s, however, that the image of bushido came to be applied to Japanese society as a whole, and this image was strengthened, first by the defeat of imperial Russia in 1904-5, and later by the rapid takeover of Western colonial possessions in Southeast Asia between 1941 and 1942. In more recent years, Japanese scholars have tried to replace this militarised image with an equally caricatured picture of their people as natural members of the peasant village, group-oriented, reactive rather than active, uneasy with the unfamiliar. Whether, as in Victorian Britain, dissatisfaction with Japan's 'economic miracle', materialism, and the perceived loss of the village, will one day lead to the resurgence of military values is open to question. Personally, I expect it will. The fear of cultural weakness, of effeminacy if you will, is frequently to be found among the origins of wars, whether imperial Spain's seventeenth-century decision to reopen conflict with the Dutch, British popular support for war with Germany in 1914, or American perceptions of service in the Vietnam war. However, a fundamental difference between Japan in 1894 and 1994 is the situation on its borders; the Chinese army fields in excess of three million men, and there


Japan's First Modern War

are over a million highly trained soldiers in the Korean peninsula. Indeed, partly as a consequence ofJapan's expansion after 1894, there has been an historically unprecedented militarisation of the whole of East Asia. None the less, Japan's pre-1945 expansion still tends to be regarded as something peculiarly originating from the Japanese character rather than from a particular set of historical circumstances. Thus, we are told, many in Asia still fear the consequences of Japanese rearmament, and discussions in Tokyo on providing support to the United Nations effort in the 1991 Gulf war brought a storm of criticism, mainly from the Japanese public. Indeed, passage by the Japanese Diet in June 1992 of a bill authorising SelfDefence Force participation in peacekeeping (rather than peace-enforcing) activities of the UN was greeted with angry demonstrations at home. Such is the lack of self-confidence among Japanese about their own society that one commentator even likened the move to forcing whisky on a reformed alcoholic. One further caveat to make before proceeding is that I am concerned here with the affairs of Japan rather than C h i n a the Chinese side must be left to those better qualified to present it - and I limit discussion to the formal war against China under the Ch'ing dynasty. Implicit in this statement is a major qualification. That is, I have not included the Japanese campaign to subjugate Taiwan from May 1895. The reason for this is that Taiwan was formally ceded to Japan by the peace treaty of April 1895, and the enemy in this separate conflict was the newly formed Taiwanese republic fighting a guerrilla campaign in the island. Despite Japan's announcement in November 1895 that Taiwan had been pacified, the guerrilla war was to continue in succeeding years and ultimately cost more Japanese lives than were lost against the Ch'ing. However, the theatre of combat, the enemy, the Japanese forces, and the popular involvement of this latter campaign were quite different and are therefore excluded. One point to make, however, is that the Chinese army in the continental war against Japan was not a national but a regional army. The military practice of the Ch'ing dynasty was to give civilian officials responsibility for resolving conflicts in their region. In the case of the Sino Japanese war, the official responsible for the Chinese war effort was the governor-general of Chihli, Li Hung-chang, and it was his regional armed forces,



largely unassisted, which confronted the Japanese national armed forces. Having said this, the total force under Li's control numbered slightly less than one million. None the less, these included 600 000 untested new recruits, many of whom simply took no part in the war. There are suggestions that other regions of China were not only untouched but in varying degrees indifferent to the war with Japan. It is possible to argue, therefore, that Japan's impressive victory in 1895, as later against Russia, is far grander in appearance than reality. Such a reconsideration of Japan's battlefield prowess might also serve to defuse present-day tensions about a 'remilitarised' Japan.

1 The Origins of War: Japan, the Army, and East Asia In essence, all war is political theatre. Between 1868 and 1945, the modern Japanese state fought three major wars: indicative of its aspirations at the time the first two, against China and Russia, were performed for a Western audience, the last, against the United States and the Western imperial powers, was played to Asia. In each case, Japan attempted to win plaudits by virtue of its military strength, but also by the values it espoused in conducting the war, the text if you will to the dramatic action. The conflict with China in 1894-5 was intended in part to separate Japan from the rest of Asia and grant it Western approval for a new and more equitable relationship. The reason for this was Japan's fear of being drowned in what appeared to be the last tidal wave of Western imperialism. Victory over China was to establish a bulwark around Japan and elevate it to a drier plane in the global order. Thus, to understand the war, we must first summarise Japan's international relations to 1894.

JAPAN BETWEEN EAST AND WEST Japanese contacts with the West are almost entirely the product of the modern age. Missionaries and traders had made tentative inroads to Japan from the late sixteenth century but the Tokugawa government of Japan expelled virtually all Westerners from the 1630s. Only the Dutch, whose sole interest was business, were allowed a trading post but this was located outside Nagasaki at the southern extremity of the Japanese islands. The controlled presence of the Dutch served Japan indirectly by providing information on events beyond its seas. However, Japan's belated reintroduction to direct and varied intercourse with the West only came in the 1850s following the arrival of a US fleet under Commodore Matthew Perry. Acknowledging 12

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the technological superiority of the West with its steamships, cannon and rifles, the Tokugawa agreed to a succession of diplomatic and commercial treaties with the United States, Russia, Britain and others, from the late 1850s. As well as granting Western residents extraterritorial privileges, these deprived Japan of control over its tariff levels and with it the ability to protect its commerce against foreign imports. Obviously, this also weakened its ability to generate funds for military defences. The abolition of extraterritoriality and the restoration of tariff autonomy, therefore, were to dominate Japanese relations with the West over the following sixty years. In the interim, the government employed Western advisers in an effort to assimilate something of the West's superiority in military and political organisation. The number of foreign advisers in Japan leapt into the hundreds after the civil war in 1868 and the coming to power of the Meiji regime. They were placed in all fields of modernisation, including law, education, medicine, the military, agriculture, commerce and industry. The flood of new ideas and social experiments supported by the government in the 1870s and 1880s led to some cultural dislocation, but the overall impact of Western ways can easily be overstated; most Westerners were still limited by treaty to residence in the few open ports such as Yokohama and Kobe, and the greatest shifts took place in the cities; for the mass ofJapanese in the countryside, the two greatest changes from the 1870s were the introduction of compulsory schooling and of military sendee but it required time for both of these to take root. The Meiji government's intention in all this experimentation was to implement the slogan of 'rich nation, strong army'. This meant a nation in social, political and economic forms comparable with the industrialising West, and an army capable of holding back the spread of Western imperialism. Anyone glancing at a map in the 1860s would have acknowledged the reasonableness of Japanese fears: Britain had gone to war with China in 1840-2 and obtained Hong Kong as booty; Britain and France had repeated the process in 1856-60, after which Russia was rewarded by China for its goodwill with enormous territories in the Far East; and, from the same period, France had begun its creeping penetration of Indo-China. No evidence was on hand to suggest that Western expansion had reached its limits. In its early relations with the West, however, Meiji Japan was


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fortunate in two respects. First, the leading imperial power, Britain, was preoccupied in the wake of the 1857 Indian rising and its second war with China. The West as a whole was adapting to the situation of a united Germany and the aftermath of civil war in the United States. Mutual rivalries, and the pressure of new imperialists for what they euphemistically called 'a place in the sun', led to a more ordered and cautious expansion, one moderated by international agreement such as the division of Africa in the 1880s. However, this new caution was largely based on fear; Bismarck likened the Western powers to a group of passengers in a railway carriage, each waiting to see who would first draw his pistol; a Japanese view at the time was even harsher when it compared the powers to tigers waiting to pounce on any weakness. Thus, although the rise of Western imperialism in Japan's immediate environs was temporarily slowed, it seemed only one push of the levy was required to unleash a new and destructive wave of expansion. Waiting on hand were France in Indo-China, Russia east of Siberia, and the United States with its post-reconstruction ambitions in the Pacific. Secondly, there is a sense in which Western imperialism required a 'noble savage' or a 'good native' in its cultural pantheon: China and the fad for 'chinoiserie' had earlier served the purpose, but in the increasingly athletic and industrious West of the nineteenth century, Japan's warrior tradition and its long isolation from the West gave it an exoticism and a robustness which made it stand out from its neighbours. The vitality and colour of Japan were later emphasised by such as Gilbert and Sullivan, Van Gogh, Matisse and others, but the approving model of lotusland Japan with its race of warrior-poets was already imprinted on the Western consciousness by the first travellers in the 1850s. An equally frequent comparison in Western writings was the slovenliness and disorder of China. Western contempt for China, and premature obituaries for its collapse, were already in place before Japan re-entered the scene. If we accept that images and perceptions can play a vital role in international relations, then the challenge to Meiji Japan was to maintain and enhance the distinction between its samurai heritage and China's bureaucratic tradition; it was never in doubt among the Japanese leadership that the means to achieve this was a far greater militarisation of society. While Japan's relations with the West during the 1870s and

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1880s benefited from the latter's self-distraction, those with East Asia were more volatile than at any point in the preceding three centuries. The reason for this was Japan's uneasy attempt to construct a new relationship with its neighbours, China and Korea, after the near complete cessation of relations during the Tokugawa era. In 1871, Japan tried to masquerade as a great power and obtain from China treaty privileges equivalent to those enjoyed by the West. Failing at this, Japan resorted to a series of sniping diplomatic challenges. These included a brief, and excessively costly, punitive invasion of Taiwan in 1874, the imposition on Korea, traditionally a Chinese tributary, of a Western-style unequal treaty in 1876, and the annexation in 1879 of the Ryukyu islands despite Chinese claims of suzerainty. The efficacy of these diplomatic guerrilla tactics, however, was directly linked to China's preoccupation with its own socioeconomic reconstruction following the wars with Britain and France and the fifteen-year Taiping insurrection (1850-64). This was quietly acknowledged by Japanese generals who viewed the enormous forces available to China with some ambivalence; on the one hand, China itself might stem the flow of Western imperialism but, on the other, any Chinese aggression towards Japan would be hard to overcome. 1 Japan's military weakness, however, was publicly exposed in wranglings over Korea following civil disturbances in 1882 and again in 1884. Given its strategic position, Japan's interest was naturally greater in Korea than in Taiwan or the Ryukyus, and in the wake of the 1876 treaty it had placed advisers with the Korean government to foster its political influence at Seoul. The principle behind this was an early form of East Asian co-prosperity, although the villain of the piece was Chinese 'decadence' as much as Western imperialism. Korea's incorporation into the wider international society, however, led to urban inflation, inequalities in its armed forces, and resentment at the presence of foreign interests. Matters came to a head in the revolt of 1882 in which the Japanese legation and the family of the Korean queen were targeted. The revolt was suppressed but only after the Korean court obtained Chinese military assistance. The stationing of Chinese troops in Seoul exacerbated factional rivalries within the Korean elite and, late in 1884, a group of Koreans looking to Japan as a model for reform attempted a coup d'etat. The Japanese legation was involved in the coup but the authorities


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in Tokyo took a non-committal stance. This proved wise as the plot was swiftly crushed by the Chinese forces. In view of its poorly organised, virtually untested, a n d numerically tiny a r m e d forces, the Meiji g o v e r n m e n t rejected calls from its domestic o p p o n e n t s to dispatch troops a n d liberate Korea from China's yoke. Instead, it offered n o t h i n g m o r e t h a n a diplomatic protest at Beijing's interference. Negotiations over Korea subsequently led to the 1885 Tianjin treaty which b o u n d J a p a n a n d China to notify each o t h e r in the event that either of t h e m dispatched troops to Korea, a n d allowed the o t h e r party to send an equivalent force. It was u n d e r the terms of this a g r e e m e n t that J a p a n was able to foment war in 1894. U p to the 1890s, then, the two main diplomatic issues for Meiji J a p a n were the revision of u n e q u a l treaties with the industrialising West, a n d the status of Korea as the focus of SinoJ a p a n e s e rivalries a n d the centrepiece of J a p a n e s e military strategy. Behind each of these issues was the unanswered question of J a p a n ' s position in the world: if it was part of Asia, why h a d it alone developed a warrior class, why h a d its relations with its neighbours b e e n so t e n u o u s for so long, a n d why was n o o t h e r state in East Asia able to m a n a g e so effectively the process of modernising along Western lines? J a p a n e s e intellectuals were equally perplexed by the question a n d c o n t i n u e d to speak confusingly of J a p a n as part of, yet separate from, Asia. In the wake of the Korean c o u p a n d low-key response to China, the proposition from o n e of J a p a n ' s leading figures, editor Fukuzawa Yukichi, was to 'leave Asia'. Short of everyone packing their cases a n d emigrating to Hawaii, this was n o t entirely practical: what Fukuzawa i n t e n d e d rather was that J a p a n should behave towards its Asian neighbours in the m a n n e r of the Western powers. This failed to address, however, the strategically m o r e i m p o r t a n t question of J a p a n ' s behaviour towards the West, a question of increasing urgency as G e r m a n a n d American industrialisation t h r e a t e n e d to increase the pace of Western imperialism in the few areas of the globe still i n d e p e n d e n t . Simple geography offered J a p a n some temporary protection, placing it at the outer edges of expansion eastwards from E u r o p e a n d westwards from the United States. Equally, however, in the eyes ofJapanese strategists, the two waves converged directly o n East Asia, thus placing J a p a n within the ambit of Britain, France, Russia, the United States a n d others. It seemed clear, therefore,

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that bigger and better forces were needed both to deal with East Asia and to defend Japan from the West. If by dealing with Asia in an authoritative, or even authoritarian, manner Japan could win the West's respect and avoid a confrontation, then so be it; military expansion was still a prerequisite, and the Japanese government in the 1880s was clearly inclined more towards a 'strong army' than a 'rich nation'. This brings us to the development of Japan's first-ever national army. JAPAN'S NATIONAL ARMY If we say that modern war requires first an idea (in this case Western imperialism and its threat to Japan's independence), then an identifiable enemy (initially China), it also of course requires massive forces. One of the most public manifestations of modern society has been the ability to mobilise armies on a national scale. In Japan, this was brought about by the conscription law of 1873, a law introduced at the insistence of Yamagata Aritomo, then executive head of the armed forces and future commander of the 1st Army in the war against China. Universal male conscription was a revolutionary rather than evolutionary act in so far as it dispossessed the samurai of their monopoly of arms and with it their status as a closed elite. Given that the samurai never formed more than about 7 per cent of the population, and their cultural norms relied on the outdated weapons of sword and bow, they were simply inappropriate either in numbers or methods for the kind of military organisation required in modern war. The introduction of conscription, however, was resented not only by former warriors; there was violent resistance in provincial Japan and, long after its introduction, avoiding the draft remained commonplace. According to Ohama Tetsuya, guidebooks on how to escape military service were popular up to the eve of the China war; the official history of Tokyo explains that young students moving to the capital registered in wards where doctors would pass them physically unfit; and, in the far north of central Japan, there were even some who migrated to the undeveloped island of Hokkaido to escape.2 Modelled on the French system, however, there were many categories for exemption, including officials, those in higher education, eldest sons whose duty was to carry


Japan s First Modern War

on the family name, and those wealthy enough to pay the draft exemption charge. Consequently, the mainstay of the army was the 'excess' agrarian population, that is, the second and third sons of farm households. In 1883, a major revision of the system narrowed the categories for exemption, and adopted a threelevel structure of active service (three years), first reserve (four years), and second reserve (five years). The affluent, however, were the beneficiaries of a one-year volunteer system which allowed graduates of middle school and above to pay their own expenses while on service but to cut by two-thirds the amount of time spent in uniform. 3 The overall system, therefore, produced an army of inequalities and discontent, and one lacking the social respect given to a force with a developed tradition. The abridged army general staff history of the Sino-Japanese war blithely states that traditional feudal worship (suhai) of soldiers and officials was still strong in Japan on the eve of war, but this is far from convincing. Former samurai spoke derisively of the 'peasant camps' (or used more scatological terms), and new recruits heading from the provinces to Tokyo were so often tricked by unscrupulous 'landlords' that a former officer felt it necessary to establish a special lodging at Ueno station for their safety. Within the army, Ohama suggests that a further tightening of the conscription regulations in 1889, even taking in heads of families (as will be seen, this was to have a dramatic impact on the families of men taken to the battlefield), only worsened troop morale and army relations with society. More men were dragged into the ranks and, as the Sino-Japanese war approached, gloom and despondency increased; one manifestation of this was the rising incidence of soldiers on leave days found drunk and disorderly in public, especially in the entertainment quarter of Akasaka in Tokyo.4 The Gifu Nichi Nichi of 29 June 1894 noted somewhat belatedly, 'The martial spirit has greatly declined in our country of late and there are even those who would wish to miss out on the lottery or escape conscription!' The point here is less that the martial spirit of the common people had declined, but rather that it had never existed. They did not wish to be soldiers, they saw no value in being soldiers, and the organs of education and the media had yet to convince them otherwise. The militarisation of Japanese society was challenged with

The Origins of War: Japan, the Army, and East Asia


the opening of the first Diet in 1890. The elected members, broadly representing rural concerns, demanded the government remember that its slogan called first for a 'rich nation' and only secondly for a 'strong army'. To military commanders, this was tantamount to inviting materialism, self-aggrandisement, and social decay. Consequently, the creation of a national army by itself was insufficient; it had to be employed in battle if the values of service and sacrifice were to prevail over those of rural conservatism or urban capitalism. As John MacKenzie, the scholar of British imperialism, has stated: In an age which came to extol the state and subordinate citizenry to nation, war became the crucial determinant of national history. In the personification of that state, war constituted a coming of age, a means to maintain moral stature and physical integrity, an anodyne against racial, spiritual and organic degeneracy. 5 Men such as General Yamagata were entirely in agreement. For them, the reforms of the 1870s had been dictated by necessity but they remained constantly on the alert against internal weakness and division; the first test of Japanese patriotism was the war against China. For contrasting reasons, a number of Japanese intellectuals were also to greet the war in 1894. The extraordinary changes of the 1860s and 1870s had seemed to offer them a revolutionary society of opportunity and equality; by the 1890s, Japanese politics appeared to have congealed into an unexciting parlour-room squabble for power within an ageing oligarchy. The sense of disillusion and mounting discontent was evident among young journalists and writers. As novelist Tayama Katai put it in his 'Thirty Years in Tokyo', 'The shifts of the restoration, the destruction of classes, the fall of the samurai - the feeling of stagnation, of being incapable of action since these events, had lasted a long time. The sense of xenophobia which arose with the Sino-Japanese war was a beautiful thing [migoto].' 6 Thus, while Japanese historians ascribe the Sino-Japanese war to the rise of capitalism, the tensions between social classes, and avarice towards the so-called Korea market, the subsidiary role of intellectuals must also be noted in fostering the desire for change, for a grand disturbance to the existing order. If war was to be a mechanism to regenerate Japanese society,


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at least the inherent dangers were understood: early in 1894, a leading newspaper warned that European armies and defence costs had risen markedly in the years since 1870; the simple conclusion was that the West could not survive without some modification in this situation.7 Despite some ambitious plans floated during the war with China, however, it is questionable whether Japan in 1894 envisaged unlimited military expansion. Instead, it appeared possible (and preferable) that Japan could attain its goals of a foothold on the continent, enhanced respect from the West, and a new relationship with China, through a single war. Even after 1895, Japanese strategy continued to be defensive, if only because further expansion into China, or confrontation with the major powers such as Russia or Britain, appeared beyond its capacities. This, of course, was to change with the victory over Russia in 1905. Yet, even before that point, Japan was not above exploiting any opportunity for expansion the regional system might provide. Indeed, the very decision for war in 1894 was systemic in origin: at that point, China was weak and Western intervention against Japan could be delayed because of great power rivalries. Thus, while there are cogent domestic reasons why Japan might turn to imperialism late in the nineteenth century, the international system of the time both propelled and made possible military expansion by the relatively small and geographically marginal Japanese state. While the Japanese army worried about conscription and social values, it had also in the 1880s to obtain an appropriate system of military administration and organisation. Initially, the French instructors employed by the Tokugawa had been retained, as were their methods. The catalyst for a switch to the Prussian style, clearly more successful on the evidence of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1, was inefficiency in the campaign against rebellious samurai in 1877-8, and the recognition of military weakness during the Korean crisis of 1884. The push for army reform had gathered speed in the late 1870s with the ascendancy in army administration of a German-educated officer, Katsura Taro (to serve as commander of the 3rd Division in the war with China). Working under Yamagata's patronage, Katsura in 1878 helped establish a separate army general staff, thus breaking with the French system of a unified army administration and command. The army chief of staff was also

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given direct access to the e m p e r o r as commander-in-chief; this reinforced the sense that the military was separate a n d superior to the civilian government. Katsura also co-ordinated better intelligence gathering o n China, and, in 1884, arranged a tour to inspect E u r o p e a n armies led by Army Minister Oyama Iwao (2nd Army c o m m a n d e r in 1 8 9 4 - 5 ) . O n e result of this was the posting to J a p a n of a G e r m a n officer, Major Clemens Meckel, to advise J a p a n on its organisational restructuring. T h e decisive change came in 1888 when the existing garrison system, conceived originally as a domestic police force, was entirely rebuilt as a system of i n d e p e n d e n t divisions ready for overseas duty. It is from this point that J a p a n e s e historians consider military strategy shifted irrevocably from defence to offence; the discussion above, however, would suggest this offence was limited in scope a n d e x p a n d e d only with shifts in the regional situation. N o n e the less, by 1894, J a p a n possessed seven divisions; the Imperial Guards stationed in Tokyo, the 1st Division, also in Tokyo, a n d Divisions 2 to 6 based primarily along the heavily p o p u l a t e d eastern seaboard of H o n s h u , the central J a p a n e s e island. T h e navy, something of a tag-on in terms of Japanese strategic thinking (exemplified in the c o m m o n saying, 'army leads, navy follows') h a d lacked a political c h a m p i o n in governm e n t councils until the 1890s. This was finally rectified as war a p p r o a c h e d , with General Yamagata from 1893 throwing his considerable weight b e h i n d navy expansion. Given the relative backwardness of J a p a n e s e industry, however, the navy was heavily d e p e n d e n t o n overseas purchase of warships (late in 1894 it was to j u m p at the sale of vessels from South America). Its main bases were at Yokosuka, south-east of Tokyo; Kure, close to Hiroshima in western H o n s h u ; a n d Sasebo in the s o u t h e r n island of Kyushu. T h e forces as a whole were b e c o m i n g m o r e technically m i n d e d . During the 1880s, the army h a d b e g u n to consider the use of railways in times of war, several times intervening in the decisions of private rail companies c o n c e r n i n g the form a n d routeing of their tracks. 8 T h e first e x p e r i m e n t with railways as military transports occurred in 1891 at the time of the inaugural j o i n t army-navy trials. O n the eve of war, however, n o o n e could confidently predict the effectiveness of the a r m e d forces in battle. T o resolve this uncertainty may also be c o u n t e d o n e reason for going to war.


Japan's First Modern War

PARTISAN POLITICS While the international situation brought about unstable conditions in Japan's environs, and the development of the armed forces gave it the machinery for war, a related factor in the timing of Japan's conflict with China was the evolution of Japanese constitutional politics. In its first two decades, the Meiji government had been able to use the law, the police, and the army, to defuse any challenge to its authority. Already in the 1870s, however, political leaders such as Ito Hirobumi (prime minister during the China war) had recognised that the establishment of a parliament offered an alternative means to contain and control political disputes, and to impress the West with the pace of Japan's modernisation; this led to the first Diet of 1890. Elections, a parliament, and public opinion were all new to Japan and, mainly representing regional concerns, they were potentially in conflict with the nation-building and social efficiency programmes of government and armed forces. For this reason, the franchise was deliberately restricted to the wealthiest, and by implication the most conservative, 1 per cent of the population. There was never any doubt in the army, however, that the forces would come under fire as soon as the Diet opened; this was one reason for the urgency of army reforms in the late 1880s. As expected, and despite all the present-day rhetoric on social harmony and a supine Diet, Japanese politics between 1890 and 1893 were extremely volatile. The two major opposition parties, the Liberals (Jiyuto) under Itagaki Taisuke and the Progressives (Kaishinto) under Okuma Shigenobu, mounted a constant assault on the government and the defence budget, simultaneously arguing for a firm stand on treaty revision, a hard line against China over Korea, and reduction of military expenses in order to ease the tax burden on the population. Finding himself in a different sort of battlefield, the first prime minister to confront the Diet was General Yamagata. Reluctant to give the politicians anything beyond brief and indefinite answers to their questions, Yamagata did outline for their education the dangers of the world situation. He also subsequently argued the need for Japan to be prepared not only to defend its homeland, but also to expand its interests into its 'line of advantage' (a line which he defined as enclosing Korea). 9 This was not what the opposition parties wanted to

The Origins of War: Japan, the Army, and East Asia


hear and they used their majority to vote for a reduction in defence expenditure. The constitution, however, gave the Diet no power to impose such cuts and an unsatisfactory compromise was only achieved to prevent this first Diet ending in failure. Up to 1894, the gap between the Diet and the military appeared unbridgeable. In 1892 the parties changed tactics by trying to undercut the politically weaker navy. Once again they came up against Yamagata, who now realised the navy barely had the strength to defend Japan's own shoreline, let alone support the programme of expansion he envisaged for national survival. The importance of ocean defence was reinforced with the establishment in August 1892 of a Russian naval base at Vladivostok. Political attacks on the navy were also stifled in 1893 when the emperor made a large personal donation to defray naval expenses and ordered officials to sacrifice part of their pay to the same end. By this means, the authorities hoped to insert the throne between the Diet and themselves. The aim, in effect, was to remove the defence budget from the blazing fires of political dispute; this was not feasible over the long term, and use of the emperor only threatened the constitutional balance. However, the troubled birth of parliamentary politics in Japan did persuade Ito and others, although certainly not Yamagata, of the need to begin working towards an alliance with one of the opposition parties; such an arrangement was made easier by the fact that Itagaki and Okuma were both original members of the Meiji government and had intimate, if not always friendly, relations with those in power.10 No alliance, however, was properly established before the war and, in the absence of the naval question, the government continued to face a barrage of criticism over its diplomatic policies. The foreign minister, Mutsu Munemitsu, acted to suppress opposition newspapers and dissolve the fifth Diet in December 1893. This provided only a temporary respite: the third general election in March 1894 returned a parliamentary majority to the Progressives and diplomatic hard-liners and, at the opening of the sixth Diet in 1894, there were immediate calls for a vote of no confidence; again the cabinet chose to dissolve parliament. This occurred on 2 June 1894 and a further general election was scheduled for 1 September. In the meantime, the diplomatic hard-liners prepared themselves to mount direct


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pressure on individual members of government. 11 In this manner, the Meiji government found itself constantly on the defensive. CHINA AND RUSSIA In March 1894, Mutsu had written to Japan's representative in London arguing, 'If we don't have something to distract the people's attention, we won't be able to quieten this ferment . . . We can't start a war without reason . . . so the only thing at hand is treaty revision.'12 While Mutsu's intention was to hurry negotiations with Britain, partial treaty revision, for all the investment of public emotion, was not going to settle the issue central to Japanese politics - how to build a rich nation while also funding military expansion. To reconcile the dispute over these contradictory aims, Japan had either to renounce the kind of extended defence line proposed by the army, or persuade opponents that a larger army and navy were essential no matter what the cost to the taxpayer. Unbeknown to Mutsu as he wrote his letter, events in Korea were soon to offer a pretext for war, one fought with China but aimed ultimately at Russia. While Japan's general fear of the West, its struggle to militarise society, and parliamentary turmoil, all contributed to bringing about the Sino-Japanese war, the single direct cause was the construction from 1891 of Russia's hugely ambitious 6000 mile long Trans-Siberian railway. As Steven Marcs explains in The Road to Power (Ithaca 1991), the track from Moscow to Vladivostok was intended to affirm Russian control of Siberia, support Russian settlement in East Asia, and develop a new trade flow across the Pacific to the United States. As far as Japan was concerned, however, it presaged only one thing; Russian expansion, first in north China, then the takeover of Korea, and finally an invasion or slow strangulation of Japan. China's political and military weakness had repeatedly been exposed in conflicts with the West and it clearly was no match for Russia. Consequently, Japanese strategy called for an advance foothold on the Asian continent by replacing Chinese authority in Korea. Notwithstanding China's weakness, Japan was not militarily or economically well placed to fight two wars, one against China and another against Russia; this was to become

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obvious with the heavy foreign loans sought by Japan in 1904-5. Thus, the question of a SinoJapanese alliance remained under consideration by the Japanese army until 1893. Crucial in dissuading Yamagata from this idea were the reports of two Japanese officers. The first, by the vice-chief of staff, Kawakami Soroku, followed a three-month tour of China and Korea from April 1893; the second, by Lieutenant Fukushima Yasumasa, resulted from his lone horse ride from Berlin to Japan across Siberia and Manchuria. 13 In China, Kawakami had met with senior Chinese diplomatic and military officials, including Li Hung-chang who received him with great courtesy. He also observed Chinese troops and arms production, including the major arsenals at Tianjin and Shanghai. The conclusion drawn by Kawakami and Fukushima was that Chinese military reforms had only partially succeeded, that armaments and training remained inferior, and that widespread opium abuse had fatally undermined the Chinese army. This persuaded Yamagata against a Sino-Japanese alliance, and no doubt also convinced him that the Japanese army would have less difficulty than anticipated in establishing a continental foothold. Yet, control of Korea was not an end in itself; writing in October 1893, Yamagata offered the reminder, 'Neither China nor Korea is our enemy: it is Britain, France, Russia.'14 This was to be forgotten during the euphoria of war as Japanese politicians and press, indeed Yamagata himself, urged the armies on to Beijing. TO WAR Early in 1894, Korea was locked in a civil war between the poorly trained forces of the government and followers of the nativist religious movement, Tonghak (present-day Ch'ondogyo). The Tonghak were based in the agrarian heartland of Korea's southern provinces, and wits eclectic beliefs produced a membership drawn from a wide variety of classes. The aims of the uprising included freedom from official persecution, an end to exploitative taxes, limitations on the export of Korean rice, and the enforcement of treaty obligations on foreign merchants, restricting them to the international ports. Although only part of the Tonghak leadership resorted to arms, the combination of legitimate grievances, open fealty to the


Japan ys First Modern War

king, and good discipline on its march to Seoul, brought it many volunteers and repeated victories over the government forces. The Korean king, Kojong, failing to place confidence in the Tonghak's loyalty, officially sought Chinese military assistance on 4 June. Three days later, the Chinese legation in Tokyo fulfilled its obligations under the Tianjin treaty by informing Japan it was responding to this request and dispatching troops to Korea. The communication noted that, 'it is in harmony with our constant practice to protect our tributary states by sending our troops to assist them . . . [and our commander will] speedily suppress the disturbance in such manner as he may deem most convenient in order to restore the peace of our tributary state and to dispel the anxiety of the subjects of every nation residing in Korea for commercial purposes, and at the same time the General is commanded to return with the troops as soon as the desired object is attained.' 15 Despite the moderate and conciliatory tone, the language here simply ignored Japan's claim in its 1876 treaty that Korea was an independent state. This, and the charge that Korean progress was being impeded by its subordination, gave Japan a diplomatic cause with which to challenge China. The general concept of independence and reform of Korea was also likely to find favour with the West (so long as there were no implications for Western colonies). Even in advance of the Chinese note, the Japanese minister at Seoul had described the Tonghak uprising as a wonderful opportunity for Japanese strategy. The cabinet agreed and had already decided to prepare troops for immediate dispatch so as not to be overtaken by events.16 Consequently, on 5 June 1894, the imperial headquarters was established and the 5th Division (Hiroshima) mobilised. Exactly one week later, advance Japanese forces began landing at Inch'on, the port closest to Seoul, ostensibly to protect Japanese lives and property. The standard interpretation of Japan's first dispatch of troops is that the army vice-chief of staff, Kawakami Soroku, and Foreign Minister Mutsu, collaborated to deceive Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi into sending a much larger force than was implied in the official announcement (a mixed brigade of about 7000 men as opposed to a standard brigade of perhaps 2000). This deception was intended to heighten tensions with China and so push the cabinet into war.17 The theory of gekokujo, subordinates leading superiors, often recurs in modern Japanese

The Origins of War: Japan, the Army, and East Asia


history, b u t it fails adequately to explain cabinet decisions in J u n e 1894. T h e size of J a p a n ' s troop dispatch did n o t cause the war, n o r was it impossible for the g o v e r n m e n t to modify its d e m a n d of 16 J u n e that China accept a j o i n t Sino-Japanese commission to reform Korea. T h e Ito cabinet as a whole recognised the proposal would be rejected a n d they o p t e d for war with China. 1 8 By the time Japanese troops arrived at I n c h ' o n , however, the T o n g h a k rising h a d apparently b e e n defused by negotiations. J a p a n knew that further troop dispatches might provoke Western criticism b u t there was early evidence of p o o r military communication, or further deception, when, despite an o r d e r from the army minister, a n o t h e r battalion set sail for I n c h ' o n (much to the surprise of the local Japanese c o m m a n d e r who h a d n o accommodation ready a n d so o r d e r e d the arrivals to remain on ship). Indeed, the Western powers were openly critical of J a p a n ' s provocation a n d Britain, which h a d far greater interests in China than in J a p a n , momentarily seemed ready to defer signing its revised treaty with J a p a n . President Grover Cleveland also let it be known early in July that h e considered J a p a n responsible if Korea were to be involved in what h e t e r m e d an unjust war. 19 Ironically, therefore, J a p a n defied the Western powers in o r d e r to bring about a war partly designed to obtain their goodwill. N o n e the less, the willingness of J a p a n e s e leaders to gamble, so evident in the attack o n Pearl H a r b o r in later years, was successful in that neither Britain, the US, or Russia, moved beyond diplomatic protest. Thus, o n 16 July 1894, the historic revised Anglo-Japanese treaty was signed, bringing to an e n d o n e e p o c h of Japanese history just as its army was about to define a new o n e . J a p a n ' s war with China was also i n t e n d e d to unite domestic opinion b e h i n d the government. T h e Ito cabinet h a d convinced itself that any retreat in Korea would provoke a public backlash: in the wake of the 1877-8 samurai uprising, b o t h Ito a n d Yamagata h a d expressed fears about the former samurai's ability to mobilise r e s e n t m e n t against the government, a n d this fear was n o t entirely forgotten in 1894. A newspaper editorial of 11 July warned that the warriors of J a p a n , having e n d u r e d centuries of peace, were now anticipating war as a release from misery, a n d that their displeasure would be considerable if events in Korea e n d e d without the sound of c a n n o n a n d the spilling of blood. 2 0 T h e r e was less evidence of pressure, how-


Japan's First Modern War

ever, at the level of general provincial society. Taking the case of Gifu in central Japan, the public were closely informed by the press about events in Korea and the drift to wrar, but attention centred equally on domestic politics and business, both at local and national levels, and with the plight of farmers in July worried by the lack of rainfall and the fall in river levels. Late in June, the Gifu Nichi Nichi (June 26) newspaper had warned in bold headlines that China was preparing for war, but the press was not unwilling to exploit the situation in Korea for domestic purposes, likening Gifu itself to Korea and attacking its enemy, Governor Sogabe, as no better than the Korean government in sticking to old ways, ignoring progress, and providing favours to his cronies.21 The threat of war was undoubtedly in the local people's thoughts but they had more immediate concerns and did not appear determined on confrontation: responsibility for that decision lay with the government and the army. The ease with which Japan is seen as defeating China should not obscure the ambivalence of the Japanese people at the war's outset. Vice-Chief of Staff Kawakami was openly optimistic, suggesting the Chinese would scurry to the negotiating table at its first defeat. Other professional military observers also considered Japanese forces superior. A British lieutenantcolonel, E. G. Barrow, reported in mid-1894: I came to Japan expecting to see some miserable parody of a third-rate European soldier: instead, I find an army in every sense of the word admirably organised, splendidly equipped, thoroughly drilled, and strangest thing of all in an Oriental people, cheaply and honestly administered . . . the Japanese army bears comparison with the Chinese much in the same way as the forces of nineteenth century civilisation compare with those of medieval times.22 Praise from Caesar notwithstanding, the Japanese forces were undernourished, undersized (the average height of conscripts in the Azabu catchment area for Tokyo-fu in 1891 was just 154 centimetres), and largely untested. Moreover, in comparison with Western armies which had moved into the age of the repeating rifle during the 1880s, the mass of the Japanese infantry were left with the single-shot 1885 Murata rifle. Some Murata semi-repeating rifles were available, but these remained the preserve of the imperial guards and the 4th Division, both

The Origins of War: Japan, the Army, and East Asia


of which took n o part in the continental war with China; a m a c h i n e g u n unit a r m e d with the Maxim g u n was also formed b u t used only in Taiwan. 23 Most of J a p a n ' s field a n d m o u n t a i n guns were old-fashioned, a n d the Japanese navy consisted mainly of small cruisers a n d n o a r m o u r e d battleships. By a n d large, however, the Chinese forces on land a n d sea were n o better supplied. Yet, the bulk of Western opinion inclined, if anything, to a Chinese victory based o n simple numerical strength; the J a p a n e s e population was less than one-tenth that of China. T h e r e were two things in J a p a n ' s favour: the belief that this was a war for survival (whereas the same dramatic p r o n o u n c e m e n t was inappropriate for China - J a p a n directly could n o t h o p e to threaten China's existence, only start the collapse of prestige from which others would seize their opportunities), and, indeed, was to d e t e r m i n e the course of East Asian civilisation, if n o t that of the world; a n d J a p a n ' s m u c h greater centralisation of authority over the a r m e d forces c o m p a r e d to China's suicidally fragmented armies a n d navies. 24 T h e sheer extent of China, however, a n d the enormity of m o d e r n war, struck awe in many J a p a n e s e a n d t h e E m p e r o r Meiji's d e c l a r a t i o n of war o n 1 August was greeted by a collapse in the stocks of Tokyo a n d Osaka a n d in public b o n d s . Fukuzawa Yukichi s u m m e d u p the m o o d in his Jiji Shimpo editorial of 14 August: If by some chance we blunder, what then? T h e worry is u n b e a r a b l e . . . this is an overseas war, something u n k n o w n to o u r ancestors these three centuries a n d quite different to earlier internal disturbances. Whatever h a p p e n s , whatever the difficulties, o u r nation's forty millions are resolved n o t to withdraw o n e step until exhausted, and, whatever the cost, to prevail. 25 For those believing in o m e n s , a n d they still i n c l u d e d vast n u m b e r s of J a p a n e s e , t h e p o r t e n t s were n o t good: in the early afternoon of 20 J u n e , an earthquake rocked Tokyo a n d Yokohama, causing a n u m b e r of deaths, a n d severe damage to many g o v e r n m e n t buildings, a m o n g t h e m the ministries of finance, foreign affairs, a n d b o t h a r m e d forces.

2 Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity Japan's immediate goal was the defeat of China but its wider ambition was to build new relations with the West. The task of constructing battlefield strategy lay with the imperial headquarters and the military organisation of Meiji Japan did not allow civilian intrusion in strategic decisions; conflict between soldiers and diplomats was to be a recurrent feature of Japanese policy-making in later years. However, in 1894, the difficulties of fighting China without seeming to threaten Western interests were well recognised. The solution was a delicate balance of military and diplomatic policy worthy of Clausewitz in which diplomacy had to take precedence. Thus, one measure of the success or failure of Japan's first modern war was the degree to which the military and the foreign ministry, as well as the army and navy, managed to co-operate. As will be seen in this and the penultimate chapter, the fragile military-diplomatic alliance was badly damaged within the first half of the war and collapsed altogether in its last months.

GRAND STRATEGY From the very outset of war, Japan's overall strategy was predicated on the belief that Western intervention against Japan was inevitable and could only be postponed for so long. This belief was shared by Prime Minister Ito (who had first visited Europe in the 1860s and impressed British observers as a great drinker and a hawk with the ladies, a reputation he was assiduously to maintain), and by Foreign Minister Mutsu, Japan's representative at Washington DC in the late 1880s. There were two basic reasons for Western intrusion: the vast yet barely defensible commercial or territorial interests the West had established in China within recent years; and the question of race. 30

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity Ito had long argued that the West treated Japan in a discriminatory fashion and a strong, successful Japan would throw into confusion all the ideas of Western superiority still underpinning the international system. These two considerations made Japan's situation doubly precarious and the need for unity doubly important. The first months of war were devoted to improving Japan's battlefield position, and during this time the driving seat was occupied by the military while the diplomats sat uncomfortably in the rear. The initial challenge to civilian control of policy, however, had already appeared in August. At issue was General Yamagata's refusal, at the age of 56 and unlikely ever to see action again, to be denied command of the 1st Army spearheading Japan's assault. With his proteges throughout the military and bureaucracy, he was the single most powerful official in Japan at the time, and the fear of Ito and Mutsu was that, with Yamagata at the front, there would be no one at home with sufficient authority to restrain him in the event of a dispute over strategy. However, of all the Meiji oligarchs, Yamagata was perhaps the most devoutly respectful towards the throne. Ito tried to exploit this respect by quietly arranging for the emperor to issue a five-point warning against disunity on 30 August at the ceremony conferring Yamagata's field appointment: The grand strategy of the nation in arms requires cooperation and close liaison between the civilian and military authorities. With regard to military affairs, the respective powers of the imperial headquarters and commanders in the field must be clearly distinguished, but the essence of plans and strategy must be shared so as to avoid mistakes. Planning must be left to the two forces as the theatre of war is overseas but, in addition to respecting the orders of the imperial headquarters, they must take steps to ensure unity and so prevent any error or friction arising between them. As long as fighting takes place in Korea, field commanders and resident diplomats must take care not to exceed their respective offices. The overall success or failure of the nation does not rest on the battlefield alone. On occasion, we will be unable to



Japan s First Modern War avoid intervention by other nations, so caution is absolutely essential to avoid conflict in our diplomatic and military strategies if we are to fulfil our grand strategy.1

The language was somewhat vague but the assembled generals can have had little doubt to whom these instructions were directed. None the less, Ito wished to make absolutely sure and explained Japan's situation in more detail in a speech directly after the ceremony. In this, he outlined the cabinet's fear that Britain or Russia especially were merely biding their time before intervening against Japanese interests. The urgent priority, therefore, was to strike a dramatic blow against China so that Japan might present its peace demands at any moment. Ito omitted, however, to offer any definition of Japan's ultimate demands, or to suggest how a crushing defeat on China could be inflicted without threatening Beijing and thereby guaranteeing instant foreign intervention. The failure to address these issues was later to create an irreparable split in Japanese strategy. In the interim, to ensure military-diplomatic co-operation at the ground level, Mutsu arranged for Komura Jutaro, a Harvard law graduate and the most recent charge d'affaires at Beijing, to accompany Yamagata in the field. This was to have both short- and long-term consequences: Komura's rather undiplomatic irascibility quickly caused offence with the army in Manchuria, but he fared much better with the commander of the 3rd Division, Lieutenant-General Katsura Taro who, as premier in 1901, chose Komura as his foreign minister in what was to be a momentous decade for Japan. The actual military conduct of the war was controlled by the Imperial Headquarters (Dai Honei), nominally headed by the emperor in his capacity as supreme commander of the armed forces. On 17 July 1894, the day following signature of the Anglo-Japanese treaty, there had been the first meeting of the imperial headquarters within the palace; after 5 August all meetings were held there until the headquarters transferred to Hiroshima in mid-September. Meetings were scheduled twice weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays), with twelve members beside the emperor present: these included the army chief of staff, Prince Arisugawa no Miya Taruhito, and his deputy Kawakami Soroku; the army and navy ministers, Oyama Iwao and Saigo Judo; Navy Chief of Staff Kabayama Sukenori; Army Inspector Noda

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity


Hiromichi; and Army Surgeon-General Ishiguro Tadanori. In addition, General Yamagata, then Head of the Privy Council, obtained special leave to attend meetings; Prime Minister Ito demanded the same right from 27 July in order to ensure a civilian voice in military councils. The plan of attack presented by the army chief of staff on 5 August outlined two phases to the war. In the first, the navy was to seize control of the major waters, that is, the Yellow Sea between Korea's west and China's east coasts, and the Gulf of Chihli giving access to the Beijing region. This was to guarantee safe passage for Japanese troops onto the Asian mainland. In the meantime, the 5th Division was to restrain Chinese forces in Korea and other Japanese troops were to prepare for departure. Once control of the seas had been assured, and Japan had seized China's vital east-coast port of Weihaiwei, then several divisions were to be landed in Chihli and the war concluded by a decisive battle with China's main forces. Here, according to one scholar, was a bold offensive plan showing the influence of German strategy. An alternative was offered in view of the enormous naval superiority of the Chinese fleet: this conceded that Japan might be unable to control the Gulf of Chihli, in which case the army should merely assist Korea's independence by expelling Chinese troops from the peninsula. The worst scenario envisaged China taking control of the seas: in this case, Japan should try to help its troops in Korea, but concentrate more on securing its own coastal defences and preparing to repel the expected enemy invasion.2 The ordering of the alternatives makes it clear that, within the first week of war, Japan had already downgraded its professed intention of a limited campaign to strengthen Korea's independence. Instead, the war now aimed at the defeat of China in its political heartland. However, the timetable of this early strategy had to be revised in so far as China's Beiyang fleet stayed close to port at Weihaiwei, precluding any decision on mastery of the ocean, and leaving the Japanese fleet waiting impatiently on Korea's southern coast. Thus, from mid-August 1894, the Japanese command was left with no choice but to make plans for a winter war. This instantly magnified the monetary costs of the war and increased the likelihood of foreign intervention. It also created a degree of havoc within the army as the 3rd Division (Nagoya) was suddenly ordered to abandon


Japan's First Modern War

preparation for activity in Manchuria's Liaotung peninsula, and was sent instead to assist the 5th Division in the very different terrain of Korea.3 By 31 August, however, the imperial headquarters was ready with an outline winter strategy. This postponed the search for a decisive battle in Chihli until 1895 as the northern shores of the Gulf of Chihli were icebound between November and March, and heavy winds and waves impeded the landing of troops even if the ice abated. This meant the armies would have to wait for the spring thaw, and use the interval to improve their positions for the final battle. This entailed taking control of Korea as originally intended; seizing key points in the Liaotung peninsula from which troops could leap across to China's east coast; and striking north towards the Manchurian capital, Mukden, in order to distract Chinese forces from the Gulf of Chihli. The strategists were still unsure about Chinese resistance in Korea and proposed to split Japan's main strike force if the 1st Army by itself proved incapable of clearing the peninsula. Depending on conditions, the general staff also considered sending men to occupy Taiwan; this was to assume a far greater importance in later strategic discussions.4 THE CAMPAIGN Although Japan officially declared war on 1 August 1894, engagements on land and sea had already taken place. On 29 July, Japanese and Chinese troops, each numbering about 3000 to 4000, clashed in a five-hour battle at Songhwan, south of Seoul. Japan suffered eighty-two dead and wounded in the clash but managed to eject the Chinese from their position and claimed to have inflicted about 500 casualties. News ofJapan's victory in this small engagement, however, did not reach the imperial headquarters until the day after war was declared. 5 Even earlier, on 25 July, Japanese warships had engaged part of China's Beiyang fleet carrying reinforcements to Korea. It was on this occasion that the British merchant vessel, Kowshing, transporting over a thousand Chinese troops, was deliberately sunk by Togo Heihachiro (later to become world-famous for his part in the Russo-Japanese war). The attack undoubtedly helped the Japanese army gain first blood at Songhwan, but the peacetime

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity


assault on the British flag, and the alleged refusal by Togo to rescue survivors other than the British captain and his team, caused some outrage in the West. Thus, even before the formal start of war, Japan's military conduct threatened it with international recriminations. While the navy insisted the Chinese had fired first, British opinion was mollified more by Western legal scholars arguing in The Times that a de facto state of war already existed and therefore the attack was justified in international law.6 This incidentally confirmed the power of the press in modern war and Japan, both in this and subsequent conflicts, was to take pains to influence the Western media. Following the battle of Songhwan, the imperial headquarters sent the remainder of the 5th Division to Korea. Exercising great caution, these troops were landed between 2 and 6 August in the south at Pusan, safe from the risk of attack from the bruised Ch'ing fleet. The trek north to Seoul, however, was greatly slowed by the lack of sufficient coolies, the disrepair of the roads, the lack of water, and the appalling heat. Some units were shipped instead to Wonsan on the central east coast and marched across country to Seoul, but the conditions they encountered were equally exhausting. Thus, General Nozu's 5th Division, finally converging on Seoul about 19 August, was in a sorry state from disease and fatigue. Fortunately for Japan, excepting minor skirmishes, there was to be no further combat on land or sea until mid-September. In view of the immense difficulties in Korea of transport, track and heat, the imperial headquarters in late August decided to chance sending troops directly to Inch'on, the port closest to Seoul. Units of the 3rd Division, however, temporarily assigned to Nozu's command, continued to arrive at Wonsan up to mid-September. It was from this time that the battlefield war began in earnest. Yamagata as commander of the 1st Army landed at Inch'on on 12 September. He immediately approved Nozu's decision to strike fast, ignoring the inadequacies of supply and without waiting for further support from the 3rd Division. The target was the main Chinese base at P'yongyang, the former capital of Korea. In part, Nozu's haste was dictated by Japan's strategy for a rapid victory. From a narrower military point of view, he needed to prevent the Chinese further consolidating their position, and to limit the growing signs of antiJapanese sentiment among the Korean population. However,


Japan s First Modern War

in his haste, Nozu also ignored the weakness of Japanese intelligence, reliant on Koreans after two of his best scouts and two interpreters had been lost to Chinese guns in mid-August.7 In the event, the battle for P'yongyang on 15 September proved relatively brief but certainly hard-fought. Japanese war correspondents were on hand to record this first major clash, and the best informed was Kuroda Koshiro, formerly a student at the Army Officers School. He described something of his experience in the Tokyo Nichi Nichi of 1 October: As I arrived, our artillery had set up a gun emplacement about six to seven hundred metres to my rear and battle commenced between their guns and ours. Our shells came skimming only ten metres above my head, while those of the enemy passed no more than twenty to thirty metres above and occasionally landed around me. I took temporary refuge in a Korean graveyard but a couple of enemy shells landed there, hurling sand and earth into my face. There was no going forward or back. Whether they could see our artillerymen or not, the enemy turned all their guns on our emplacement, and the shells flew over like pouring rain . . . At this point, our Wonsan detachment had pushed as far as the right flank of our Sakunei detachment and the shouts of war were all around me. The Sakunei detachment finally seized the forward high ground and I used this as my opportunity to get away from the cemetery, going up to just behind the advance units. The men under Colonel Sato had already turned on the enemy's left wing fort, those under Major Tomita confronted the centre, and those under Major Yamaguchi the right wing fort. Our guns were placed as before and concentrated their fire on the central fortress. The enemy defended their posts with great strength . . .8 The writings of Kuroda and others suggest the Chinese army was not quite as cowardly or incompetent as historians believe. Moreover, the scale of Japan's victory depends on which of the various Japanese reports one accepts: Nozu's army is usually given at 12 000, while the Chinese are numbered either at 15 000, 20 000, or, in one 1943 version, at 50 000. Japan enjoyed a degree of superiority in artillery; Nozu had 44 mountain guns, the Chinese 28, although the Chinese did have four field guns as well as six machine guns. Figures for dead and wounded

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity also differ according to the source: Nozu initially calculated Japanese losses in dead and wounded at about 300, though casualties were officially given a fortnight after the battle as 162 dead (including eight officers) and 437 wounded (27 of whom were officers), with a further 33 troops lost, presumed dead; these figures were then revised upwards in the published army staff history to 180 dead and 506 wounded, with 12 missing.9 Approximate Japanese figures suggest over 2000 Chinese were killed and 600 captured. Details were not then fully available, however, ofjust how difficult the battle had been, with Japanese attacks being constantly repulsed, artillery fire failing to achieve sufficient results, troops close to exhausting their supplies of bullets (285 000 were expended according to the general staff), and men on the verge of collapse having had no time for food or water. Only by outflanking the Chinese and attacking from their unprotected rear had Japan seized the day. However, the very fact of victory brought a wave of relief in Japan and a new popular hero, Trooper Harada, one of the first to storm Pyongyang's gate and still the centre of attention in the 1958 cinematic recreation of the battle. The people of Hiroshima adorned their city with flags and lanterns, and in the imperial headquarters there was, appropriately, an extremely simple banquet. The importance of morale to overall victory is indisputable and, in this, Japan benefited from an immediate naval victory following on the news from P'yongyang. Losing patience with the fruitless search off Korea's coast, Admiral Ito had attempted early in August to challenge the Chinese fleet at its base of Weihaiwei. However, a British vessel moored nearby had fired a salute upon observing the approach of the Japanese flagship. This also gave the Chinese advance warning, and caused the Japanese public to question British neutrality. Despite this setback, and the belief that China's Beiyang fleet was deliberately avoiding an engagement, the Japanese continued to pursue enemy ships ferrying troops to northern Korea. They were rewarded on 17 September: using their superior manoeuvrability, the navy defeated a Chinese fleet, slightly larger in numbers but weaker in tonnage, speed and number of guns, off Korea's west coast in the Yellow Sea.10 The losses in ships either sunk or requiring extensive repairs cost China any real control over the seas between Korea and its own east coast, but some of the



Japan's First Modern War

Chinese vessels were able to shelter at Port Arthur and so deny Japan absolute naval domination. For this reason, Japan continued to hesitate about shipping troops north of P'yongyang. None the less, the army's seizure of P'yongyang and Japan's naval victory did open up sea transport from Inch'on to the mouth of the Taedong River, the river source for P'yongyang. The Taedong's extreme shallowness, however, meant that supplies for the city had at best to be transhipped to small steamers. General Nozu hoped these early victories would swing Korean loyalties to Japan and so improve army transport, but overland movement continued to be impeded by the shortage of local coolies and pack animals, a shortage arising both from lingering fear of the Japanese, and because many people had fled from the retreating Chinese. The dispersal of the civilian population only added to the supply problems of the Japanese forces. The Chinese pullback extended all the way to the Yalu River on Korea's border with Manchuria. Indeed, there seems to have been little attempt to disrupt Japan's advance. Reports reaching the 1st Army late in September indicated fresh Chinese forces massing on the Manchurian border but these were clearly not intended to retake Korea but rather halt a Japanese invasion of China. Consequently, Japan's northern advance, however uncomfortable in terms of poor supplies, was straight and uneventful and, by 23 October, the 1st Army was at the Yalu. The 3rd Division unit of Colonel Sato, the 'Devil Colonel', took the lead in secretly crossing the river to come round the back of the enemy. Japanese engineers working over the night of 24 October braved the freezing temperatures to erect a military bridge and the main crossing began before dawn on the following day. General Katsura's 3rd Division managed to cross to the Chinese side without serious delay, while the Oseko brigade seized high ground from which to pour heavy fire on the enemy. Having failed to erect adequate defences, the Chinese retreated a short distance north-west to the town of Chiuliench'eng. Japanese forces went in pursuit and camped outside the town on the 25th, withstanding a heavy Chinese barrage, and attacking the rear from three directions before dawn on the 26th.11 Chinese troops again abandoned their position and fled much deeper into Manchuria towards the town of Fenghuangch'eng. This site was also abandoned after being put to the torch, and thus fell to the Japanese on

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity


31 October without a shot being fired. One Japanese officer attributed the army's success to a difference in character; the Japanese striking hard and fast, the Chinese much slower and deliberate. However, after seizing Fenghuangch'eng, the impetus of the 1st Army's strike into Manchuria slowed for the winter. The 1st Army now consolidated its position in southern Manchuria. On 1 November, it established a civilian occupation office to deal with relations between soldiers and Chinese in the Antunghsien region. Heading the office was the diplomat Komura Jutaro. Within days of the appointment, however, Komura's relations with Colonel Sato Tadashi, named the Devil Colonel for his ferocity in battle, had collapsed to the point of physical violence (notwithstanding Komura's diminutive size, he was far from timid). Yamagata was forced to intervene by having Komura's status elevated, thus enhancing his authority over his military critics.12 At the end of November, the local crisis was defused when Komura was recalled to take up a new position in the foreign ministry and was replaced in Antunghsien by the popular officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Fukushima. The incident and its resolution, however, revealed the tension underlying battlefield co-operation between warriors and civilian officials. On a strategic level, early in November the 1st Army prepared to swing westwards in readiness for the expected drive south-west towards Beijing. The main difficulties remained those of transport and supply over the untramelled terrain, and the lingering threat posed by massive Chinese forces, still intact after refusing to engage in pitched battles. By this point, however, the main thrust of the Japanese attack had switched to the newly formed 2nd Army and its campaign centred on Port Arthur, the key fortress guarding the southern tip of the Liaotung peninsula and with it the ocean gateway towards Beijing. General Oyama, temporarily relieved of his duties as army minister, was appointed to command the 2nd Army on 25 September. His forces ultimately included the 1st (Tokyo) and 2nd (Sendai) Divisions plus part of the 6th (Kagoshima) Division: the 2nd and 6th Divisions, however, were only to sail for the battlefield in January 1895 to assist in the attack on Weihaiwei. Oyama's assault began early in November with his forces moving southwest through the narrow Liaotung peninsula. Occupation of


Japan's First Modern War

Chinchou and Talien was left to the 1st Division of LieutenantGeneral Yamaji Motoharu; with support from the navy, Yamaji took Chinchou on 6 November. The following day, the area around the port of Talien was also occupied against an enemy force of about 3000 which then fled towards Port Arthur. These were quick and easy victories against untrained troops and, at that point, it appeared that Japan had no enemy but time, the weather and itself: on 12 November, fire erupted in Hiroshima at an army camp nearby the imperial headquarters and brought much of the city population out either to watch or help quell the flames; more than sixty troops were killed or injured. Ten days later another fire erupted at dead of night in Hiroshima military stores, only serving to keep the city on tenterhooks. 13 THE YAMAGATA DISPUTE It was also from mid-November that the union between military and diplomatic policy began to unravel. Part of the problem, as earlier feared, was the independence from imperial headquarters of General Yamagata. More broadly, however, it was the belated recognition that Japan's grand strategy had somehow to exclude any threat to Beijing or face diplomatic suicide. The military and diplomatic shifts of late November to early December 1894 have generally been simplified by historians: the standard view is that Yamagata challenged the imperial headquarters by unilaterally altering winter strategy and that, in response, Prime Minister Ito arranged for him to be recalled on the pretext of ill health. 14 In its way, the affair is as controversial as Truman's recall of MacArthur in 1951, but to understand Japanese decisions and weigh the responsibility of military and civilian officials for the disruption, what we need to do is work through the chronology of events. On 3 November, Yamagata had offered the imperial headquarters three alternatives to resting his men over the winter and simply waiting for the enemy either to strengthen his defences or mount an attack. These were: land troops of the 2nd Army north of Beijing; join the 1st and 2nd Armies in the Liaotung peninsula and move the winter camp to its milder coast; send the 1st Army north to attack the Manchurian capital, Mukden. 15 There was nothing exceptional about these pro-

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity posals; only the timing rather than the ideas was at variance with agreed strategy. On 10 November, however, the imperial headquarters ordered the 1st Army to set up winter camp at its existing positions. Initially, Yamagata agreed and conveyed these instructions to the 3rd and 5th Divisions: on 16 November, he sent units to push the enemy back a safe distance and, after this was accomplished, he moved his command to settle at Antunghsien. Within a few days, however, news arrived of Port Arthur's collapse on 21 November. This suddenly accelerated the pace of the entire war. The very next day, the Chinese communicated their desire for negotiations through the American legation, and a German in their employ, Gustav Detring, arrived on 26 November to enquire about Japan's terms. Foreign Minister Mutsu also had reports from Europe that the West wanted an early end to hostilities: Britain had already tried to arrange an armistice early in October, finally prompting Mutsu to consider Japan's final objectives. The three suggestions he offered Prime Minister Ito at that time were a mix of guarantees on Korean independence, territorial concessions either in the Liaotung peninsula or Taiwan, an indemnity for war expenses, and a treaty granting Japan commercial rights equivalent to those of the West.16 Now, in November, it was imperative for Japan to agree on its final military goals and seek to implement these before finding itself pushed into an unsatisfactory settlement. Yamagata, upon hearing the news from Port Arthur, also chose to act. He considered it bad for morale to keep his men at rest for an extended period, but he also had reports of large Chinese forces massing to his north. Moreover, if the agreed strike south-west into Chihli and against Beijing was to take place, it was militarily sensible to protect the armies' rear against the forces still in Manchuria. For all these reasons, Yamagata ordered the 3rd Division on 25 November to occupy Haich'eng, a town of about 10 000, located north-west from his position at a vital point between the inland city of Liaoyang and the major international port of Yingk'ou. Yamagata's goal was moderate and reasonable; it did not immediately presage an attack on Beijing or force a revolution in Japan's strategic thinking, but it undoubtedly conflicted with his earlier orders from Japan. The decision to attack Haich'eng is said to have reached the imperial headquarters on 2 December. However, by 29 Novem-



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ber, Prime Minister Ito had already arranged for the emperor to recall Yamagata on the grounds both of ill health and the need to hear in person a report from the front; an imperial envoy had left the same day, carrying the emperor's message, and accompanied by an old friend of Yamagata to reconcile the general to this extraordinary humiliation. If the timing here is accurate, then the question of Haich'eng is less important to Yamagata's recall than shifts within the imperial headquarters. There, on 4 December, Ito won agreement for a complete change in strategy. Henceforth, there was to be no attack on Beijing as this would only ensure Western intervention. Instead, the 2nd Army was to land at Weihaiwei on the Shantung peninsula. This was comfortably far south of Beijing, but its occupation would finally neutralise the Beiyang fleet; this would improve Japan's military position and was obviously welcome to the Japanese navy. In addition, a second strike would be made against Taiwan, thus upgrading the island's importance from the passing mention made in the revised August strategy. Taiwan was attractive for two reasons: first, it would allow Japan to obtain some territory from the war without raising Western hackles; and it would further satisfy the navy which had nothing to gain by expansion into China and far more by extending Japan's empire into the southern seas.17 The change in Japanese strategy was likely to offend the army but, more especially, the public which had been led to believe nothing prevented Japan from taking Beijing. In September, the British minister had reported to London on Count Okuma, leader of the Progressive party: Speaking of the war and taking him as representative to a great degree ofJapanese public opinion, his language shows conclusively that. . . now their main and sole idea in the war is to humble China to the dust, and for Japan itself to rise on the ruins of that Empire. No peace, Count Okuma declares, must be thought of till the first end is attained, and then when it has been attained, there need be no limits to Japanese ambition for the future.18 The extent of these ambitions was suggested in a further British report just before the fall of Port Arthur: [T]he present tone of the press, and the freely expressed sentiments of respectable non-official Japanese, force the

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity belief that even [former peace] terms, severe as they were, would no longer be acceptable to the nation. Nothing less than the conquest and the absorption by Japan of the entire Chinese Empire is now freely spoken of . . . Why, it is often said, should Japan not conquer and retain China as part of her dominions precisely as England has done India?19 A new boldness and self-confidence was daily obvious in the Japanese press and, if popular opinion was so inflamed (Mutsu claimed anyone suggesting restraint would be branded a traitor and ostracised from society), then it was essential for the cabinet to bring Yamagata home and use his prestige to defend the new strategy both to the public and the army. This view, admittedly speculative, suggests a continuing nervousness within the government about its control of Japan's evolving society, and a reliance on the military to support its authority. It also suggests that, while the army is blamed for disrupting Japanese policy in the 1920s and 1930s, in 1894 it was the civilian government which failed to establish clear and practical objectives, and it was Ito, supported by the navy, who disrupted army organisation after belatedly recognising this failure. Moreover, the compromise of December still left unresolved the question of Japan's peace terms, and this was to cause only further disputes in the New Year. The recall of Yamagata and the shift in strategy had two immediate implications for the 1st Army; General Nozu took over as army commander, and the 3rd Division found itself isolated at Haich'eng. It is said Yamagata never forgave those responsible for his own plight; his anger may be imagined by the earlier statement that the day he first sailed to the front was the happiest of his life. Despite the reports of illness, he had remained fully active with his troops up to the time of being recalled and, as soon as he heard of the imperial envoy's arrival, had contacted the imperial headquarters reassuring them of his fitness. While reluctantly agreeing to transfer temporary command to Nozu, he was not told until after arriving in Japan that he had been appointed to the emperor's staff. However, he may have guessed at what was afoot: on the ship back to Japan, he repeated an earlier call for the emperor personally to lead the final assault, thus giving himself an opportunity to return to the battlefield; this proposal was to cause some embarrassment



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later.20 As for Katsura, the 3rd Division took Haich'eng with ease on 13 December, implying that Yamagata's original decision had merit. The value of Haich'eng was reaffirmed when the Chinese launched massive attacks throughout December and January aimed at retaking the town. While this assisted Japan by keeping Chinese forces preoccupied in the north (and so fulfilled one of the earlier strategic propositions), the army was now committed to preparing its assault on Weihaiwei, and Haich'eng was treated as a diversion; thus, despite repeated pleas for reinforcement, Katsura was given no support until January when men of the 1st Division led by MajorGeneral Nogi began venturing to his aid. To cover the gap this created, further troops from the 6th Division had to be sent from Japan. The chaos surrounding Haich'eng also caused some bad blood in the army, with criticism of Katsura both for his cries for assistance and the heavy losses (10 per cent of his men, the largest ratio of losses for any battle) he sustained at the battle of Kangwachai on 19 December. To recap the military situation at the end of 1894: the 1st Army was camped for the winter in southern Manchuria, but it had just lost its original commander, and its 3rd Division was besieged at Haich'eng; the 2nd Army had taken the key stronghold of Port Arthur with minimal casualties, but throughout December was to remain essentially inactive while readying itself for the attack on Weihaiwei in the New Year. Every battle to date had been won by Japan and there was a growing confidence in some unique fighting spirit, the Yamato tamashii. The Chinese army, however, retained a massive advantage in manpower and could afford several times the casualties of the Japanese. Yet, its lack of discipline and poverty in hand weapons meant that China's real hopes lay with the relatively efficient and up-to-date navy. If this could interrupt Japan's increasingly extended and already suspect supply system, then there was a chance of wearing down the assault and obtaining better peace terms. Stung by its defeat in September, however, the Beiyang fleet had clung to the dock at Weihaiwei. Part of the reason for this timidity was probably the fear of Li Hung-chang that if his navy were lost, then his own political position would be undermined by his domestic rivals whose military and naval forces were taking no part in the war. Therefore, if the Japanese could seize Weihaiwei and destroy the Beiyang fleet, Li would be

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity unable to continue, and the war was effectively won. Japanese public opinion, however, continued to anticipate the seizure of Beijing even though the West would never allow it.21 THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE Japan's victories in the war with China served to raise its international standing but also to complicate its existence. Soon after peace was restored, Foreign Minister Mutsu concluded: The effects of our military successes against the Chinese . . . enhanced our position and our influence in the eyes of our countrymen and observers abroad, and permanently disabused the Western powers of the degrading notion that Japan was little more than a superficial imitator of civilization. No longer did they conceive of Japan as simply a beautiful Oriental garden . . . we now commanded the world's respect [but] we had also become the object of some envy.22 In that sense, the history of Japan's dangerously ambivalent position in international society may be dated from 1895. One of the ironies of the war, however, is its impact on Japan's foreign relations. Notwithstanding the expectations of Mutsu and Ito that Britain or Russia would intervene, to the public the main enemy appeared to be Britain, and Russia, if anything, seemed well-intentioned towards Japan. This was equally true of Germany and France. None the less, at the war's end, it was Britain which remained neutral and, in 1902, was to join with Japan in the Anglo-Japanese alliance. By contrast, it was Germany, France and Russia which humiliated Japan at the peace negotiations with China, and much of the rhetoric behind Japan's post-war military expansion was based on the need to expunge this insult. Let us conclude this chapter, therefore, with a summary of Western attitudes towards Japan in the first months of war and, in view of the increasingly important role of public opinion, a note on the Japanese popular interpretation of Western views. Britain was the greatest of the imperial powers and had the largest interests in China, although, in achieving them, it had done more than any other to undermine the Ch'ing dynasty. Despite this, its acceptance of treaty revision with Japan in 1894



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and the conclusion of the later alliance has led some historians to assume a particularly favourable disposition towards Japan in the war.23 As Ian Nish puts it, however, 'On the whole, the Liberal ministers observed a narrowly nationalistic policy towards Japan, concerned only about maintaining British commerce.' 24 Indeed, commerce (and an eye on Russia) was central to British thinking on the war. Of all the Western powers, Britain was the most critical of Japan on the eve of hostilities, and the most determined subsequently to intervene in preventing a Chinese collapse: this was widely recognised in Japan and there were wartime rumours that Britain had actually formed a secret alliance with China.25 In a memorandum of 21 July 1894, the British government had warned the Ito cabinet it would consider Japan responsible if war erupted; when it became clear that Japan had opted for war regardless, Britain forced Tokyo reluctantly to promise it would exclude the Chinese port of Shanghai from all hostilities. As the centre of Western trade with China, and largely under Western administration, Shanghai was arguably more valuable to Britain than the whole of Japan. At the same time, however, Shanghai provided China its major source of maritime customs revenue and housed one of its most modern arsenals; Japan's acceptance of the British terms, therefore, potentially had serious consequences for the Japanese war effort and Mutsu attempted in August to escape his commitment by accusing China of using Shanghai as a war base. The British government was quite unmoved by these protestations and continued to hold Japan to its pledge. 26 Indeed, after the first dramatic victories by Japan on land and sea, Britain was ready to use its own naval force to prevent any Japanese move on Shanghai. Foreign Secretary Kimberley instructed his minister at Tokyo on 2 October 1894, 'You should inform Japanese government that H.M.G. think it right to let them know that the British Admiral [Fremantle] has orders to prevent any interference on their part with Shanghai and its approaches.' 27 Soon after, the British government unsuccessfully tried to engineer an armistice and prevent a Japanese invasion of central China, but it was never willing to impose peace by its own resources. None the less, its attitude towards Japan had done nothing to dispel Ito's suspicions and, in 1901, he laboured

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity hard to offer a Russo-Japanese alliance in preference to the negotiations then under way with Britain. If Britain acted rather like a stern and difficult headmaster (or perhaps bank manager), Russia was the schoolyard bully in the eyes of Mutsu. As he put it in his memoirs: We saw England as irresolute, and Russia as consumed by boundless ambition. The latter's intentions always seemed firm and unshakeable, while Britain appeared pliable and adaptable . . . While China and Japan were acting out their tragic drama, Russia was also one of the performers, but she remained virtually concealed in one corner of the stage. Britain, however, was never even a part of the play; her role at most was that of an interested spectator with a wealth of comments to make about the performance. 28 Although fear of Russian expansionism had been one of Japan's original motives for war, during the conflict Russia's attitude is best described as ambiguous. As with Britain, it had tried to prevent the war and been critical ofJapan at the end of June 1894. Yet, St Petersburg did not consider Korea of major concern and, so long as Japan's aims were restricted to the peninsula, it was not willing to use force to intervene. However, unlike Britain, the United States, Germany and others (excluding France), Russia did not declare itself neutral in the war, only promising not to act as long as no threat was made against its interests on the Korean border. Despite the implied coolness towards Japan, wartime relations between St Petersburg and Tokyo seemed altogether too genial for British diplomats: reports to London showed the Russian military and naval agents, Colonel Vogack and Lieutenant Schwank, constantly in touch with Japanese cabinet ministers or the army general staff, and staging a series of large dinners for Japanese officers to which no other foreigners beyond the French were invited.29 The origins of Russia's apparent goodwill lay in the belief that Japan was a potential ally in a future conflict with Britain. Consequently, it made no sense to allow disputes over Korea to interfere with that much larger strategic question. There were limits to Russia's indulgence, however, and not everyone was even agreed on Korea's relative unimportance. Where Russia did draw the line was at allowing any alienation of mainland



Japan's First Modern War

Chinese territory to Japan, but it chose to avoid offending Japan by directing its attention to other spoils. Thus, on 23 December 1894, Russia gave private assurances that a Japanese annexation of Taiwan would be met by no objection from St Petersburg. As further demonstration of its goodwill, Russia also suggested the two exchange views towards preventing interference from any great power (read Great Britain), and, in the event of any such interference, declared it would not be unwilling to offer Japan its support. 30 Russia reaffirmed its support for the annexation of Taiwan in mid-February 1895, at which time it also carefully noted that seizure of territory on the Chinese mainland would not be in Japan's best interests. We will return to Russo-Japanese relations in the penultimate chapter but, as Russia's main diplomatic and financial ally, the position of France on the war was of considerable interest in Japan. Along with Britain, France was the great imperial power of the nineteenth century, even if its dominant concern was always continental Europe, and the enthusiasm of the French public for its overseas empire was negligible. The question of Indo-China, and the ongoing global rivalry with Britain, however, were the two initial influences on French attitudes towards the Sino-Japanese war. French relations with China had long been troubled, for example, over the activities of French missionaries in rural China, and disputes over Indo-China had led to the Sino-French war in the mid-1880s. In 1894, the murder of French civilians by Chinese troops and bandits caused further diplomatic complications, and there were reports that France was sending warships to intimidate Beijing into paying compensation and perhaps also conceding a coaling station in Taiwan.31 Japan had no reason but to welcome China's difficulties, although the rumour about Taiwan may have contributed to the Japanese navy's desire for occupation of the island. French sympathies for Japan were strengthened by the obvious partiality of Britain for China. These sympathies were demonstrated on a number of occasions during the war. The French consul at Shanghai openly offered to use his troops to protect local Japanese residents; the French government also offered Japan use of the French naval hospital at Yokohama, an offer duplicated by the German government with respect to its naval hospital in the same port - both were gladly accepted by the Japanese army. French editorials were translated in the

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Questions of Unity Japanese press; these stressed the role of French military advisers in building the Japanese army, and, although the Japanese navy was British-trained, the editorials still managed a swipe at British shipbuilding, noting smugly that Chinese warships in the battle of the Yellow Sea were of British origin while the Japanese flagship, Matsushima, had been made in France. Others took a simpler line, directly warning that Britain was untrustworthy and its only intention was to obstruct Japan's legitimate goals.32 In this way, Japan found itself engaged in the rivalries of Europe much as it had in the sixteenth century with competing Christian missions. The impression that Western sympathy in general lay with Japan was reinforced by reports from other countries: in Germany, the army minister had granted as a mark of respect special permission for resident Japanese officers to wear German uniforms; affection for Japan and its culture in the United States was said to be at an unprecedented level; while reports from overseas Japanese legations, including Hong Kong, London and Berlin, showed queues of Westerners hoping to enlist in the Japanese forces. There was a barely concealed sense of triumph in the Japanese press that Westerners who, until the war, had appeared contemptuous ofJapan as just another small, puny, 'Mongol' nation, now recognised it as the single 'virile' power in East Asia. Generals Yamagata and Nozu were said to have been compared to Wellington and Moltke, and one British admiral, earlier describing the war as one between the Chinese whale and the Japanese minnow, was now effusive in his praise of the Japanese forces.33 A number of editorials, mainly from Russian and British newspapers, were quoted to show some disquiet in the West about Japan's intentions, but these were buried under the evidence of support. In this, the press was culpable of misleading the public about Japan's actual position and of failing to explain the often tenuous link between individual demonstrations of goodwill and official policy. Guided by the press, the Japanese approached the end of 1894 believing themselves successful on the battlefield and popular overseas. There were high expectations for the New Year when it was anticipated that Japan would take Beijing. A massive celebration for the victories to date was organised in Tokyo's Ueno Park on 9 December. The crown prince and other dignitaries made a brief visit to an agenda which included a mass



Japan's First Modern War

sword-fighting competition, a re-enactment of Japanese troops in action by the famous actor Kawakami Otojiro and others, and the spectacular demolition by fireworks of two enormous replicas of Chinese warships. Also on show were numerous trophies of war on loan from the Yasukuni Shrine. Estimates suggested that half the population of Tokyo attended the festivities which had been publicised widely in the press, and to which railway companies were offering discount tickets. Some citizens, however, were prevented from joining in: about 500 known pickpockets were apparently jailed or placed under house arrest, but another seventy turned up long enough to catch the policemen's eye. The chaotic and even carnivalesque exuberance of the occasion led to about fifty people either leaping or being hurled into the chilly waters of Shinobazu pond, but a more solemn note was struck by a mass requiem conducted by Buddhist priests.34 The event, as for the war as a whole, was thus a mix of emotions.

3 The Soldier's Experience In Japan during the 1980s, a relative flood of memoirs from former army and navy personnel signalled the twilight of the wartime generation of fifty years earlier. In due course, no doubt, these will be utilised to provide a more detailed record of the Japanese forces during their second war with China and in the Pacific conflict. Yet, there have been comparatively few personal records available in English from the Japanese side for any of its modern wars. For the years 1937-45, this was partially rectified with the publication in 1992 of Haru and Theodore Cook's Japan at War: An Oral History. In the main, however, the Japanese soldier has remained a caricature and, confirmed by silence, the various myths of his patriotism, efficiency and commitment to war, have been allowed to pass unchallenged. It is hardly surprising that the myth of the Japanese soldier should have started with the Sino-Japanese war. Contemporary reports in the domestic and Western press (the latter then faithfully reproduced in the Japanese newspapers to reinforce the myth) tended to shower praise on the discipline and martial qualities not only of the troops, but even of the coolies who accompanied them. These images were inherited by the histories published at home and overseas immediately after the war: the narrative by Eastlake and Yamada, for example, closes each battle account with a reverential list of individual heroics, often by common soldiers, such as ignoring severe wounds to continue fighting or expiring with a last valiant cry of 'Banzai for the emperor'. In attempting to explain the seemingly unusual discipline of the Japanese army, and with one eye towards its later reputation for brutality, a range of causes was offered by the military historian Tanaka Sogoro in 1954 (the year in which Japan's Self-Defence Forces were established). Principal among these was the residue of feudal relations carried over from the Tokugawa period and cemented in the army which, indisputably, is the most feudal of institutions in any modern society. With the historical legacy of this feudal sense, Tanaka argued, the humanity of the individual soldier or coolie was easily obliterated and merged into a well-ordered fighting unit. 1 This is a neat enough theory, and similar ideas of historical continuity 51


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and social conformity are often used to explain the economic success of Japan after 1945. The theory is less convincing, however, if one rejects the image of monolithicity and acknowledges the level of variety both within modern Japan in general and even within the armed forces. A diversity of experience and attitudes is apparent in the diaries and letters of ordinary troops in the war of 1894-5, and it is the aim of this chapter to explore some of these experiences, following the men on their passage to the battlefront, their encounters with Chinese and Koreans, and their activities as soldiers. En route, we will examine the discoveries they made, their responses as Japanese towards 'other' Asians, and, finally, something of the conduct of the troops in the daily business of war. In total, about 240 000 Japanese were mobilised for the war and about 174 000 of these were actually employed on the battlefield. The length and nature of their service in the field, however, differed greatly. For example, the 5th (Hiroshima) and 3rd (Nagoya) Divisions were in the thick of fighting from the first major battle at P'yongyang in September 1894 and remained so until the conclusion of peace; the 2nd (Sendai) Division from northern Japan only left Hiroshima for the battle front on 10 January 1895, while units of the Imperial Guards (Tokyo) and 4th Division (Osaka), though mobilised at the war's outset, arrived in Manchuria only between 12 and 18 April 1895. Thus, for communities in the Osaka-Kyoto region especially, the war seemed less personal and immediate than at other military centres, while preparations in Kyoto for two major events early in 1895 (the opening of an industrial exposition and construction of the massive Heian Shrine) competed with the war for public attention. In the case of Gifu prefecture, moreover, press reports of the war concentrated wherever possible on the activities of local men. For these reasons, it seems feasible to suggest that the depth of concern and understanding about the war, both at the troop and local level, varied according to circumstances. 2 The troops' experience of war began with their call up for military service. News of the call up was generally followed by a new community respect for the individual concerned and, by extension, to his relatives. They were made to feel special and privileged, and this attention was all the greater because of the relatively small numbers taken from each village. Celebrations

The Soldier's Experience


for the men off to war were arranged either by friends or local civic groups and, on the day of leaving for camp, an honour guard of local people usually accompanied the soldier to his departure point, the railway station if one were available. This farewell was organised by local authorities as an instruction from the village head of Naka in Gifu prefecture makes clear: To show our congratulations, on the coming 19th as the two men set off to join the 3rd Division, the entire village will cease work and fly the .national flag above every door. Also, those youths who took the conscription examination this year, those involved in the village administration, and all volunteers, will see the men off.3 After reaching the nearest railway halt, or simply continuing on foot if necessary, the soldier made his way to the division. Thereafter, the first few weeks of war for many troops were spent essentially inactive, either waiting for the order to entrain for Hiroshima, the jump-off point for all Japanese troops to the continent, or at Hiroshima itself waiting for a ship to the Asian continent. The army of 1894 was stocked by young men from rural Japan. For them, war was the antithesis of village existence. If mobility, social or geographical, is one of the defining characteristics of modern societies, then the appeal of war, notwithstanding its staccato rhythm, lies in movement and action. For this reason, the delay of troops either reaching the battlefield or actually engaging in combat, increased their desire for more movement, more action. In a wider sense, and much as the lure of travel and discovery is obvious in the recruitment campaigns of contemporary armed forces, the war functioned as a kind of tourism, pulling thousands of men out of their villages and exposing them to sights and experiences otherwise inaccessible. This was acknowledged by a Japanese war correspondent who felt that taking a group photograph before striking camp in Manchuria, each man carrying his souvenirs, was rather like visiting the famous Ise Shrine at home. 4 The same is true of the soldiers who, after their return, maintained their special status in the village by displaying their own souvenirs of war and by ostentatiously mixing in their speech the military argot of Japanese spattered with Chinese words and phrases. The bulk of the Japanese population was, as it remains today,


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crowded on the Pacific eastern coast. One of the first scenic discoveries, therefore, was of the Japan Sea between the cold west coast and southern Korea. For many, however, the roughness of the seas meant that violent seasickness was often their first and most abiding memory; as one diarist put it, 'troops aren't worth two cents at sea'. Others tried to distract their minds with relentless games of cards. Yet, in between, there were revelations to be had about the nature of the straits and its unique fish and bird life. The diary of Sergeant Hamamoto Risaburo conveys something of the wonder: 5 In the distance, we saw something that looked like smoke reaching up into the sky. All sorts of guesses were made but everyone was puzzled as to what it might be. Then we drew close and saw what it was - a whale shooting water from its spout. He was having a grand old time and came for a swim right up to our ship, no more than a stone's throw away. One soldier's rather mercenary response was to imagine setting up his own whaling company in the vicinity if he survived the war, but Hamamoto's comment was more apposite to the moment: 'We truly felt as though we were in an enchanted land'. The most stimulating form of troop movement, however, took place first within Japan and was provided by that most modern of contemporary machines - the train. It was the railways which from the mid-nineteenth century functioned globally as quite literally the arteries of nationalism in bringing communities together. Japan alone in East Asia had a functioning rail network at this time: railways were non-existent in Korea (until built by Japan for security purposes in the 1900s), and, in China, resistance within the Ch'ing government had stunted the laying of tracks. The Meiji government had committed itself from the 1870s to rail construction, primarily to link the military garrisons and foster internal movement of goods, but also implicitly to foster the process of nation-building. By 1894, a line ran along central eastern Japan as far south as the Hiroshima region; with exquisite timing the final stretch to Hiroshima had been completed on army orders only two months before the war started. It was along these tracks that tens of thousands ofJapanese troops were to pass en route to and from the war. For many soldiers, it was their first experience of the train

The Soldier's Experience


and the massive impact of a railway journey on the senses has been suggested by Wolfgang Schivelbusch.6 As the carriage thundered over what earlier had seemed vast distances, one's sense of space and time were altered, as was the act of perception with the rolling scenery passing the window as if in a preview of that revolutionary technology, the moving picture. The very pace of life was thus accelerated, indicating the growth of a modern consciousness of speed, distance, perspective, and the power of industrial machinery. Without the demands of war, however, it is unlikely that many of these men would ever have mounted the train or undertaken such an extended journey. In addition, the railway journey to Hiroshima was often the first encounter of rural troops with other regions ofJapan. The diary of Sagawa Kazusuke, a soldier with the 1st Division, is filled with minute accounts of the countryside along the route from Tokyo, the relative preponderance of wet or dry fields, whether the area was mountainous or flat, the density of habitation, and whether or not the dwellings suggested local prosperity. In the heavily populated regions between Tokyo and Hiroshima, the train passed through one village about every ten minutes: Sagawa noted them all. Others simply catalogued all the stations along the route. Of course, for some, the trip was simply long, tedious and uncomfortable, and stopping times did not always concur with the bodily convenience of the troops. However, this sense of discovery within and of Japan is an important aspect of war mobilisation and was to remain so in the later war against Russia.7 Moreover, it was not simply the troops or coolies who were brought to Hiroshima by the war. There were many visitors of one sort or another, from members of parliament to senior clergy, local government officials coming to express their support for the war, as well as traders looking for business with the forces; in total, Hiroshima railway station counted nearly half a million arrivals and departures between June 1894 and March 1895, and thus the war and the use of the train served to extend an awareness of the physical and cultural entity that is Japan. 8 The sense of an extended community was strengthened at Hiroshima as men from around Japan heard different dialects, became acquainted with Hiroshima delicacies, and observed different customs. The result was not always enhanced respect:


Japan's First Modern War

one army doctor considered the local use of foot warmers while sleeping made the people of Hiroshima physically effeminate.9 Extended separation from their own regions forced the men to develop a greater sense of native place, although this could easily work against the nation-building effort also strengthened by the war. To prevent this, the troops were constantly made to feel welcome as they journeyed to Hiroshima, and the most common site for these community receptions was the railway station. At points along the track, there were crowds of people waving and cheering but, at larger settlements, there was usually a civic reception of local dignitaries, Red Cross volunteers, and general well-wishers, all distributing small gifts of refreshments such as fruit, cakes, tobacco, and small hand towels. These civic groups invariably included local schoolchildren and teachers so that all the generations were represented. These receptions were also well organised: at Nagoya, one of the largest of Japanese cities, 300 local volunteers divided themselves into day and night shifts to ensure refreshments for all arriving troop trains, and a group of schoolchildren also rotated in one-hour shifts to clean and polish the uniforms of army officers.10 These railway meetings were brief affairs, timed against an impatient clock, and they quickly developed a set ritual which was to be repeated in future conflicts. It was typified by noise and a human mass. Sagawa's note for 25 September 1894 explains: Arrived Nagoya 4 p.m. The station was beautiful with flags and great lanterns. Red Cross members and many townspeople were there to greet us. We had dinner . . . [and] each of us was given a handtowel as a gift from the people of Nagoya. As our train set off, the Red Cross members, townspeople and schoolchildren all shouted banzai for the army, and the schoolchildren cheered us on our way, singing their school song. With equal spirit, we left them with an army tune sung at the top of our voices.11 Behind all this sound and movement, however, this brief passage catalogues an array of concepts only just evolving in Japan: from the 1870s alone, there was the railway and its station, the conscript army and its songs, and the new schools, then later, the Japan Red Cross, the national flag (first designed in the

The Soldier's Experience


1850s), and even the cry of 'banzai' (literally 'ten thousand years'), said to have been created in 1889 for the ceremony promulgatingjapan's first constitution. The railway station thus functioned as a conduit between the village as stability, symbolised by the Shinto shrine, and the mobility of the modern age, and it was common for troops setting off for war actually to proceed from shrine to station. In easing this psychological progress, however, it may have been fortunate that, with the exception of Kyoto and Shimbashi (Tokyo), most Japanese stations were actually little more than platforms, comfortably small and simple, lacking the deliberately and self-consciously church-like magnificence of the major stations in London, Paris and New York. The railways and their use by the armies had a further impact on Japanese society, one to which allusion has already been made; that is the understanding of time. It is well recognised that the spread of the train acted to unite North American societies each living according to a separate clock, and in Japan, the wartime use of the railways generated a wider understanding of modern, precise time. Thomas Smith has argued convincingly that pre-Meiji Japanese farmers already possessed what might be called a capitalist sense of time as something valuable and to be utilised.12 By this, however, he refers to the prevalence of long-range planning by farmers rather than the more concretely industrial sense of working and living every hour and even minute against a speeding clock. In our own age, the spread of organised sports pitting speed against time (for example, American football or basketball, or more obviously, track and motor racing) has heightened awareness of the second and millisecond. These sports, however, are mainly products of the twentieth century. In Japan, both mass industrialisation and mass sports developed from about the 1910s, but an industrial sensibility towards time was initially popularised through the school system and military service. The aim here was literally to regiment and synchronise society, and the advantages of this for a modern army are obvious. The replacement in 1872 of the traditional lunar calendar (with its day of twelve periods) by the solar calendar and a twenty-four hour day was the first catalyst to this temporal transformation of society. As in Europe, it was mainly in the urban centres that this modern sensibility took hold; cities established town clocks,


Japan's First Modern War

and pocket watches became the fashion among government officials during the 1870s. It was, however, the impact of war and the psychological acceleration of society which gave the first real boost to personal ownership of clocks and watches. Kojima Kenji, in his history of the Meiji timepiece industry, notes the impact of the 1877-8 civil war in the sale of imported watches, but confirms it was the Sino-Japanese war which first consolidated the native industry.13 Certainly, Tenshodo, one of the leading Japanese retailers of watches, sent an agent to Hiroshima during the war, and army officers appear to have owned pocket watches, as their diaries, themselves a digest of time spent, chart the railway journeys accurately to the minute; there is also at least one record of a reservist soldier receiving a pocket watch from his village at the time of his call-up. At the railway stations, the crowds of well-wishers were also exposed to modern precise time through the schedules of troop trains, and with official instructions warning residents to ensure refreshments were readied for the train's arrival so that no delay impede the movement of the army.14 Having said this, and while demobilised troops may well have expanded a modern sense of time in rural society, many Japanese villages in the 1890s still retained the traditional sense of day and month. The authorities accepted this temporary duality, but did try to use the war in pushing the spread of modern time; for example, by instructing villagers to cease work, visit the local shrine or temple, and fly the national flag as a mark of patriotism on the official New Year's Day for 1895.15

ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS? JAPANESE AND FELLOW ASIANS In the shift from wars of booty to wars of ideology, and from mercenary to national armies, there arose a greater need for some motivating idea to strengthen the nation-in-arms; the simple goal of survival had natural merit but even better was a war in defence of some principle or against some form of tyranny. In the case ofJapan's war with China, the principle was that of 'civilisation' versus 'barbarism', and the defence of the weak, in this case Korea, against despotism. In future years,

The Soldier's Experience


Japan's military expansion in Asia was also to be explained by defensive motives, first to protect China against communism, and finally, defence of Asia against Western imperialism. On each occasion, the official rationale was that of a racial responsibility to fellow Asians. The first mass contact between Japanese and other Asians, however, came only in the war of 1894-5. Some among the Japanese officers expected putative racial links with Koreans to assist Japan in its prosecution of the war and to cause its troops minimal discomfort fighting in what they presumed to be a relatively familiar environment. In an open letter to the Japanese public, reassuring them in the face of reports of heavy casualties from disease in Korea, the army's surgeon-general, Ishiguro, explained; 'Fortunately, Koreans, Chinese, and ourselves are from the same race, and there are similarities between our food and customs, so the damage has been exceptionally slight.'16 Some of the attempts to force this link strained credulity: the Gifu Nichi Nichi newspaper even suggested that residents of the P'yongyang region, known for their fighting qualities and with a domestic architecture vaguely similar to that in Japan but quite unlike any other in the Korean peninsula, might actually be remnants of the early Japanese race.17 This would not have found much support among the troops in 1894-5. Instead, two things leap out from their personal records: first, their immediate willingness to comment on the Chinese or Korean peoples, and to do so with absolute conviction that what they say is correct; and secondly, the equally strong conviction that both peoples are vastly different and quite inferior to the Japanese. It is perhaps inevitable that any force coming to defend another people, such as US troops in Vietnam during the 1960s, arrives with an attitude of disdain. In the case of Korea, the image of weakness had already taken hold in Japanese thinking long before the war. Fujimura Michio quotes from a speech by a leading politician in May 1893 merely restating the prevailing attitude: On the question of what is right for a country lacking in education, without courage, without patriotism, but strong in physique and docile, the answer is to be a vassal state: the only other question is which country will seize it - Russia, China, or Japan. 18


Japan's First Modern War

Despite this, the contempt shown by Japanese troops for the Koreans, the people for whom Japan was nominally at war, is virtually all-encompassing. On this point, the Japanese do appear to think as one. Sergeant Hamamoto, in civilian life a middle-school teacher, described his first impression upon landing at Wonsan in eastern Korea: Though we belong to the same East Asian race, the only thing in common is our yellow faces. Not a single custom or habit is the same . . . Their character is very mild but they are lazy and have no spirit for progress.19 It was this apparent absence of spirit which Japanese frequently used to distinguish themselves from their neighbours, Korean or Chinese, and the tendency was strengthened as Japan's victories over China became ascribed to a uniquely Japanese spirit, the 'Yamato tamashii'. The Koreans, by contrast, were increasingly seen as passive, irresponsible, and in many cases as lazy beggars, squabbling over the food and tobacco stubs left behind by Japanese troops. The overall image was typically imperial in presenting the Koreans almost literally as beasts of burden, but without even the capacity, accepted by some British and especially French imperialists in Africa or Asia, for education to remedy whatever deficiencies existed. This was particularly the case with military training: without the equivalent of the Yamato tamashii, as an official with the 3rd Division explained, the Koreans for all their superior size and build could never be good soldiers.20 The suggestion here was that nationalism and loyalty might be inculcated but spirit was a matter of birth: this attitude of predeterminism was to grow in later years and undermine all attempts by Japan at establishing a pan-Asian union during the Pacific war. In contrast to the prevailing view, however, we should note that Japanese officers commanding Korean troops in the Tonghak suppression campaign (late 1894 to early 1895) described them as fine soldiers, as brave and efficient as their Japanese counterparts, and quick to understand the orders given them in Japanese. 21 Such compliments, however, were rare. Indeed, about the only thing on which Japanese troops made neutral comments was the distinctive all-white costume of the Koreans, a form of dress unlike any other in East Asia. The one overwhelming Japanese impression of Korea was of

The Soldier's Experience


filth and disorder. Hamamoto, echoing any number of other reports, described the towns and villages as unimaginably filthy, excrement covering the street, pigs wandering at will, clouds of flies, and a stench which made him physically ill. The scene was no better at P'yongyang (notwithstanding the far-fetched genealogy of its inhabitants noted above). Instead, the ancient capital of Korea, a bustling city of about 100 000 people in 1894, took pride of place in his view among the dirtiest of Korea's cities. Troops were also amazed at the lack of drinking water: enduring summer temperatures fiercer than any in Japan, they even took to drinking muddy water from paddy fields and consequently suffered innumerable cases of dysentery. The prevalence of disease and the extremity of the climate made the experience of Japanese troops thoroughly uncomfortable, and they vented their anger in unbridled contempt. The depth of emotion is evident from the letter of a 3rd Division engineer late in September 1894. For him, Korean food was unpalatable, Korean wine was undrinkable, even Korean fruits were inferior to those in Japan, and as he put it, 'Hardship and deprivation are of course the lot of a soldier, but I have never heard of, nor seen, in Japan anything like the hopelessness and depression (shitsubo and rakutan) to be found here.' 22 Being an engineer, the narrow, befouled path to Seoul, which doubled as the central highway, was a particular affront and, he believed, spoke eloquently of the backwardness of Korea. In addition, the bridge he had come there to build relied exclusively on supplies of wood and nails from Japan; these were delayed in arrival and his letter exudes the wish merely to complete the job and get back to Japan. The presence of Japanese trading communities at Wonsan and Seoul, greeting the troops and providing them with delicacies of eggs, sashimi and eel, only reinforced the starkness of the contrast in culture. The Koreans with whom Japanese troops came most into contact were local officials and those employed as army coolies. Here were obviously two very different kinds of relationship: towards officials, Japanese troops were expected to behave respectfully in terms of wider Japanese-Korean relations and, on a more practical level, in order to improve their local stocks of food and other supplies; towards coolies, Japanese were clearly the paymasters and overlords, that is, as long as they could


Japan's First Modern War

retain the coolies' services. A recurrent problem for the Japanese army as it moved north through Korea was to find and keep local coolies; these were either in short supply as people fled the theatre of war, or those who were engaged often ran off at the first opportunity, frequently taking with them the army's pack animals and supplies. One early instance of desertion by Korean coolies, with consequent loss of vital supplies, so disrupted army transport and humiliated the Japanese officer in charge that he committed suicide. For those Japanese who did believe they were fighting in defence of Korea's interests as well as their own, the lack of support from Koreans caused only outrage. If any doubts remained that most locals did not welcome their would-be rescuers from the Chinese, these would have been dispelled following encounters with local officials. At the office of one provincial governor, Sergeant Hamamoto and his party were treated with such distaste, their request for food being dismissed out of hand, and even offers of large payments only finally wringing the concession of two to three sacks of rice, that Hamamoto confesses he was on the point of drawing his sword.23 Despite his personal restraint, bullying tactics and intimidation by sword-wielding Japanese (including teachers at primary schools in colonial Korea) were to become a feature of Japan's experience in Asia in later years. In fairness, however, the general poverty noted by Japanese troops in Korea was undoubtedly accurate and ordinary Koreans were generally incapable of supplying food to the Japanese without serious inconvenience to themselves. If the attitudes of Japanese troops were bitter towards the people they were expected to defend, one might expect no better towards their Chinese enemies. There was, however, an attempt by the Japanese authorities to distinguish between the armies of the Ch'ing court and the ordinary Chinese. Moreover, the Japanese army moved quickly through Korea, albeit leaving a sizeable force behind to guard the country and confront the Tonghak uprising of late 1894. The foreign experience of most troops, therefore, was longer in Manchuria, a far more affluent and commercial region than much of Korea, and they tended to find themselves, especially over the winter period, camped in relatively comfortable towns. This resulted in a generally more favourable impression of China and its people, but there remained harsh attitudes of derision and distaste.

The Soldier's Experience


Up to 1894, the prevailing Japanese image of China was one of elegance and grandeur. This was essentially a high culture image. Ubukata Toshiro in his memoirs recounts how, as a child, every object of art and beauty around his house emanated from China, and, aged nine or ten, his father began teaching him the ethics of Confucius and Mencius from the Chinese classics.24 The heroes of Japanese boys were also derived from Chinese literature and mythology, and it is no accident that the 'China activists', Japanese adventurers working from the 1880s to foster Sino-Japanese unity, should have seen themselves in terms of the heroes from the Chinese classic, All Men are Brothers. The Japanese view of China, therefore, was as romanticised as that of Europeans relying on Marco Polo and Coleridge's Kubla Khan. The contrast between this refined vision and the reality of village life in Manchuria or even the Shantung peninsula, the birthplace of Confucius, led to a dramatic shift among Japanese troops from respect to contempt. As in Korea, however, the vicissitudes of war meant that the first impression of China for many Japanese was an empty landscape. This gave them the freedom to consider the layout of the land, the look of the towns, the style of houses, and the quality of the food. Coming from the much more rugged and mountainous topography of Japan, the vast plains of Manchuria were literally awesome; there were some who dreamed of applying modern agricultural techniques and reaping the rewards to be had from the land but Japanese agrarian migration remained some years distant. In contrast to Korea, there was also obvious prosperity in Manchurian towns, and many troops commented on the large houses built of stone and brick. The contrasting image, however was of the appalling mess of the streets, although the typical reference was that the filth did not rival that in Korea. The temptation of all this space, therefore, was counterpointed by the disorderly manner in which the Chinese seemed to use it. In general, observers concluded that the appearance of wealth was only superficial, and that houses which appeared very grand from the outside, in fact, were unimaginably filthy within. The Japanese were also surprised to find that houses lacked proper floors, any equivalent of the Japanese tatami floor matting, or, most importantly in their eyes, a place to bathe. If the customs of the Chinese


Japan's First Modern War

regarding cleanliness and order were thus at variance with those in Japan, disparaging comments were also made against Chinese food. Some troops recoiled from its sight or taste and only forced themselves to eat when absolutely necessary. Obviously, there were culinary differences between the two peoples, as, indeed, there are vast differences between the regions of China. This difference was emphasised by one correspondent who claimed that local people in Manchuria were actually immigrants from Shantung province and had never before seen rice, the basic food ofJapan and central to much of its culture. Whatever the truth of this assertion, there could hardly be anything beyond language and food more guaranteed to highlight the feeling of alienness. Fears of unknown foods, or of poisoning, also contributed to Japanese wariness of Chinese dishes.25 Encounters with the people themselves tended to reinforce the growing sense of difference. The Chinese were frequently portrayed as unclean, unkempt, and foolish in appearance. The more extreme of these expressions, as with those about Koreans, sound rather as if animals are the objects of description. One of the blunter expressions of this general feeling (one not uncommon in Western writings on Africa) comes from the diary of a private with the 2nd Division: 'The faces of the people look human but their customs and spirit (seishin) are like those of apes. If you showed them in Japan, you could charge an admission fee.'26 Chinese customs and habits, such as the enthusiasm for arguing in public, were criticised, as was the medieval carnival atmosphere at public executions. In religion, many Chinese claimed to be Buddhists but appeared in Japanese eyes to lack any real belief, while the noise and bustle of Chinese funeral customs were described by one infantry sergeant as a kind of vaudeville farce.27 The underlying impression was that China remained locked in an earlier, more unruly time, and in a society which had yet to distinguish adequately between public and private behaviour. Few if any Japanese remembered how recent were the changes in their own country. What their writings aimed at, however, was to hammer at the cultural edifice of Chinese civilisation and reduce it just as China's armies were reduced on the battlefield. To this end, some tried to link the disparity in Chinese buildings between external grandeur and internal disorder and use this to reject

The Soldier's Experience


all of Chinese culture as merely facade without substance. Frequent reports showing the Chinese people as childishly ignorant strengthened this cultural reductionism. Yamamoto Tadasuke, a war correspondent with the 2nd Army, claimed that most Chinese were illiterate and no more than one or two in any village could even comprehend the notice in Chinese put up by the Japanese army advising them of its good intentions. Yet, it was not simply literacy, rather the very fact of the war seemed alien to Manchurian villagers. According to Yamamoto, 'The people here are extremely ignorant. They see our troops and ask which country they are from. Upon being told they are forces of the Japanese Empire, they still do not understand and ask where is this country Japan'. 28 However dirty and ignorant the Chinese may have appeared to Japanese observers, they gave little if any popular resistance to their occupiers. This was in distinct contrast to the armed Tonghak opposition in Korea. Whether this was because the Chinese did not understand the war, as suggested by Yamamoto, or simply did not wish to prolong hostilities, their very acquiesence was seen by the Japanese as indicative of a lack of patriotism and an historical willingness to kneel to the latest conqueror. Japan had never been occupied or forced to come to terms with an enemy on home soil; that experience was to come only in 1945. Consequently, although Japan received much useful military intelligence from Chinese civilians, there was a mixture of derision and amusement at the way that some locals referred to 'our Japanese troops'. The balance, however, was much more towards derision; one soldier likened Chinese sincerity to that of a whore, and remarked that were Britain to occupy China tomorrow then the Chinese would just as easily call themselves Britons. A more frequent description (although the nuance was equally contemptuous) was that the Chinese were merchants rather than soldiers, addicted to unmanly indulgence, characterised by an inability to co-operate, extraordinary selfishness (in one view, even to the point where they were ready to treat their own parents as enemies in the pursuit of gain), and loyalty to the market rather than the nation. Indeed, the Chinese were repeatedly condemned as possessing a country but lacking a nation and this accusation was to recur in future years. In Japanese writings, therefore, the 'mercantile' and effeminate Chinese were offered as a model of values to be


Japan's First Modern War

rejected, and the extent of China's military defeat used as a warning of the peril inherent in putting self or family over nation. None the less, while egoism was used to explain why the Chinese were easy to defeat on the battlefield, it brought its own problems to the occupation forces as prices in the areas under Japanese control suddenly jumped three- and four-fold; thus, the Japanese were made to pay heavily in coin for their victories.29 One contrast with the Japanese in Korea is that, in China, there was a far greater variety of experience and personal contact. For one thing, of course, Japanese troops were constantly brought up against the Chinese either in military engagements or in the search for supplies as they manoeuvred across country. Most of the comments in personal writings and in the Japanese press scoffed at the Chinese army's demonstrable excellence in running away; they were given about as much respect as the Spanish force in the Peninsular war so frightened by the blast of its own rifles that it dropped arms and scattered. According to a letter of 1 January 1895 from a Dr Kiyomizu Sadao, serving in the Haich'eng field hospital, 'It really is laughable; they fight for a moment then run a hundred miles so our real problem is chasing after them. From the position of our forces with their constant victories, there really is nothing so delightful as war and nothing so pleasant as trampling over enemy country.' 30 For many, the war also demonstrated the belief that victory was less a matter of weapons (the Chinese frequently had more or better arms) than of spirit. However, the battles were not as one-sided as the histories have indicated. The Chinese frequently fought well, if only in short bursts, and at least one Japanese tried to rationalise strong Chinese defence by concluding they must be under the orders of German military advisers. The surprise at Chinese resistance is obvious from the letter of a 3rd Division medical orderly following the battle of Kangwachai in mid-December:31 The 'pig-tails' in every battle were quick to take flight but this time they tried to make a firm stand . . . and stranger still was that the enemy's fire seemed to strike home and we took 336 dead and wounded. One of the major weaknesses of the Chinese army was the presence of large numbers of new recruits who simply gave no

The Soldier's Experience


resistance once battle commenced: it was in this manner that Japan so cheaply occupied the key Manchurian towns of Chinchou and Talien. Older and more experienced troops put up a hard fight and the level of resistance tended to increase as Japan entered deeper into Manchuria. Moreover, there were cases where Japanese were visibly impressed by their individual enemies. One correspondent tells of a Chinese cavalryman captured while on a secret mission. Adamantly refusing to divulge any information, he asked only to be executed and, when this was rejected, he attempted to commit suicide by dashing his head against a rock.32 Many Chinese at the battle of T'ienchuangt'ai in March 1895 also fought to the death. On the other hand, the diaries and letters ofJapanese troops also show a number of instances of genuine kindness received from Chinese civilians. Sometimes this was in response to damages or insults suffered earlier from the Chinese forces in retreat (Chinese Christians tended to welcome the Japanese and this was, of course, good for Japanese claims to be the defenders of 'civilisation'). On other occasions, it appears to have been nothing more than simple goodwill, and some Japanese troops attempted to build on this by cultivating Chinese friends during periods of extended occupation duty.33 In contrast to their experiences in Korea, the derision of the Japanese in China was softened by curiosity, and they were also more ready than in Korea to recognise beauty. One thing delighting troops and correspondents alike in occupied Port Arthur was the local Chinese opera. On the advice of his legal affairs adviser, Ariga Nagao, General Oyama made the opera troupe (which had survived the bloody take-over intact) the focus of a successful charitable collection.34 In return, the troupe offered plays specially chosen from the Chinese classics which were equally familiar in Japan. Though the words were incomprehensible, the troops easily followed the storyline and the vigorous actions. At ten sen for an ordinary seat, it appears to have been a cheap distraction from the tedium which became the main enemy for those who guarded Port Arthur or returned there after the Shantung campaign. The audience at the Sunhsien Theatre (or Shusen to give it its Japanese title) particularly delighted in the grace and agility of the performing youths who, in one account, were all aged between seven and fourteen.


Japan's First Modern War

If Japanese troops were impressed by the handsome youths of the stage, they were also persistently curious about Chinese women. The problem was that so few appeared, even when the streets of Port Arthur were once more overflowing with human commerce. This left the imagination free to wander and, much as with Western observers of China, it tended to dwell on what was seen as the barbaric treatment of women in China, especially the practice of binding a girl-child's foot to produce the aesthetically (and erotically) approved 'golden lilies', the tiny feet distorted to resemble a curved ballet dancer's hoof. This gave an element of chivalry to the Japanese war effort; in some eyes, their victories thus served also to defend Chinese women against brutality. In shocked tones, one reporter condemned the reputation of Chinese troops for rape, the lack of rights enjoyed by women and their subjugation as men's playthings, the custom of polygamy and concubinage, and especially the practice of foot binding which he deemed equal to the cruelties inflicted on Western women to produce a slim waist.35 The fleeting glimpses that were to be had of living, breathing Chinese women only seemed to enhance their allure. Nozawa Takesaburo decided on the slightest of evidence that Chinese women enjoyed a more pleasing lightness of colour than Japanese females and, from this, he concluded, 'the true Asian male is Japanese and the Asian beauty Chinese'. 36 This is in contrast to the monochrome image of Korea which failed to concede anything of value or grace. The cultural image of masculine Japan uniting with feminine China was to recur in Japanese pan-Asian propaganda from the 1930s. Despite the military victories, and the general mix of contempt and condescension, what is clear from the accounts of Japanese during the war is how little they understood of ordinary Chinese life. The system of underfloor heating in Chinese houses was a perpetual puzzle and, time and again, the troops either froze after having failed to stoke the fire sufficiently, or near burned themselves to death after having gone to the opposite extreme. The regular appearance in the morning of sooty faces was an indication of their failed attempts to interpret this foreign technology, as was the weariness of those who had been woken at night to find their room on fire.37 Chinese food and drink, as noted earlier, often bemused them, as did what they thought to be a novel utensil. In virtually every

The Soldier's Experience


Chinese house they inspected, they came across bowls which they subsequently employed for cooking. Only late in the war did a Chinese merchant explain these were a special part of a bride's dowry and used by her solely to wash the loins on her two or three baths annually. Thereafter, culinary use of the bowls was forbidden but the medical officer Nozawa, showing a rare degree of self-awareness, admitted, 'the Chinese seeing us would probably have been amazed and thought of the Japanese as a dirty people'. 38 Apart from cultural objects, the spoken language was also a problem, and Japanese interpreters found difficulties in making themselves understood. Despite the use of a few Chinese words or phrases after returning to Japan, few if any were able to communicate with Chinese in the war zone. One correspondent reproduced in the form of a dialogue a collection of phrases he had learned over half a year with the troops, and together they offer an ironic comment on Japan's wartime relationship with the Chinese: What is your name? / What is this place called? / Do you have pork? / Bring water! / I have chicken - fifteen sen / That's a little expensive / What do you think of Japanese troops? / They are all good people / Do you like Chinese troops? / No / Do you have teacups and chopsticks? / I do / Will you sell them to me? / I need no money; I will give them to you / Where are Chinese girls? / Please take a look at my daughter! 39 DUTY AND PATRIOTISM The Japanese army between 1894 and 1945 enjoyed a reputation for extraordinary patriotism. Its victories over China, Russia, and later the Western powers in Asia, also gave it an image of high efficiency, and the troops were regarded as excellent soldiers, uncomplaining and ready to fight to the death. The final part of this chapter will offer a few comments on the soldier's lot in this first overseas war. This was Japan's first war as a nation, and the main public heroes were taken from the common troops. Yet, the question of the ordinary troop's patriotism is a thorny one. Modern Japanese patriotism, especially in the army, was fixated on service to the emperor. Within the army of 1894-5, however, the


Japan's First Modern War

litany that all military victories were due to the emperor's majesty appears to have been largely restricted to the senior officer corps. Despite the constant emphasis in Japanese newspapers on the emperor's wartime role, the writings of common soldiers and junior officers, with a rare exception, make virtually no comment on the throne except to note in the simplest of terms when gifts of food, sake or tobacco, were received from the imperial house. 40 The emperor's birthday on 3 November was undoubtedly cause for celebration: the troops were massed for the ritual shout of banzai and the military salute to both the emperor and empress; each soldier made a paper flag which was then posted on every doorway; but of more immediate pleasure to the men was the distribution of liquor and pork. Some diarists copied in full the imperial edicts received during the war but without adding any comment of their own, either with respect to the emperor or the nation. A somewhat greater sense of patriotic attachment was aroused by the more abstract yet immediate symbols of the national and army flags. These were central to many of the battlefield ceremonies such as feast days, Shinto remembrance services, for which the troops also made their own flags, and individual regimental ceremonies to commemorate the imperial presentation of the regimental flag.41 Something of the troops' feeling towards the flag and to war is apparent in Sergeant Hamamoto's description of crossing the Yalu river: The enemy had already opened fire but the noise of the guns only made us bolder. Our artillery also responded, trading shots with the enemy one after the other in a compelling rhythm and further raising our spirits. Joy, joy, sound away, sound away!', I shouted without thinking. The pace of our advance increased and our bodies naturally pushed us forward. The captain laughed at us, saying, 'It's all interesting for you because this is your first real war!' About 5 a.m. we joined up with the main force on the left bank. Beneath our beloved regimental flag, we reencountered the officers and men with whom we had pledged to die.42 Others occasionally express the thrill of war, but the daily reality for many men was boredom or unease, especially over the winter when the troops were on extended guard duty. A war

The Soldier's Experience


correspondent reported his conversation with troops at Talien, one of the more comfortable spots to be during the Manchurian winter: Since coming here we have learned for the first time that money has no value. Even if we try to buy cigarettes, there is no-one to sell them. If we want a drink, there is no-one to send it to us. We sometimes get cigarettes sent on from Port Arthur but when these are divided up each man gets no more than one or two. If we give in and buy Chinese tobacco, our mouths are swollen after one or two puffs. Since coming to China, we haven't had a drop of plain sake, and I can't tell you how tough it is being on guard duty at night, here in this land we never knew before, facing temperatures we never knew before, and with not enough to protect us against the cold . . . . [But] even if we starve and freeze, we will not return alive to Japan without taking Beijing.43 Despite the newspaper's emphasis on the final sentence (it alone being printed in bold type), there is a sense in which it was a false ending to the list of mundane complaints. Indeed, while troops describe their battles factually and with pride in their victories, they show a remarkable lack of bombast, and a relatively low concern with the war as a whole or the activities of other units. In the single troop-letter chosen for inclusion in the official Hiroshima prefectural history, one soldier pointedly states that he prays daily for an early return home. There is also a not unnatural suggestion that the announcement of war had unnerved even the proud Imperial Guards.44 Once on the battlefield, however, the greater fear of the troops was to be left out of the fighting. There were two reasons for this. First, the celebrations upon their departure, the village support for their families, the sacrifices in money and goods, all demanded some form of recompense. These social pressures were reinforced by the media which spread information on the war across the country; a village which could boast a military hero could thus rise to national prominence, while the humiliation of those whose sons passed the war in silence was equally magnified. This social responsibility was illustrated by the letter of a woman accusing her son, a midshipman, of having shamed her by his failure to engage in any actions; 'Why did you go with the


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forces? Wasn't it to give up your life and repay the emperor? . . . Whenever I look at the faces of the people in the village, I am reminded of your cowardice and my heart breaks.' 45 This story was later used by the government in its elementary school language reader, thus fixing the idea of social duty in the minds of children. Other such instances, albeit less bluntly expressed, were printed in the newspapers and the pressure of the village community, especially coming from the mother (fathers virtually never occur in this context), was a powerful weapon in motivating the troops to fight. The second origin of the troops' fear, however, was only rarely expressed: that is, without battle experience and the chance of a medal, soldiers returning home were unlikely to gain any monetary benefit from the war and might well find themselves disadvantaged in civilian employment. These very real concerns are evident in the letter of a 2nd Division officer stuck on guard duty in Manchuria just after the war's end; Some say that soldiers have good prospects after the war but for men like us with no accomplishments to our name, this simply isn't so. My greatest worry is about what to do after I get home . . . The last post for heroes like Napoleon is St. Helena but what will be the end of the road for us?46 The patriotism of common soldiers was also undermined by incompetence or simple exploitation involving military supplies. Those troops on the initial cross-country march from Wonsan to Seoul were the first victims of the army's unpreparedness. As soon as the 1300 troops and coolies left Wonsan, they fell prey to the scorching heat, the lack of shade, and the appalling scarcity of drinking water. Sergeant Hamamoto recalled: At first, we were soaked in sweat but, as our drinking water ran out, we were unable to sweat and instead a yellow oil welled up from our entire bodies. The marching order gradually fell apart and the distance between units grew longer. The coolies and animals carrying food and other important baggage fell thick and fast, and a terrible sunstroke quickly broke out in the 8th Company. Even though we had medicine, it was useless without water.47

The Soldier's Experience


Arriving at Seoul, the exhausted soldiers gorged themselves on the food and alcohol supplies of the Japanese PX and one after another collapsed with dysentery. Lighter cases were treated at Seoul, but it was necessary to send some back to Japan for treatment. Inadequacies of supply continued to bedevil the troops well into the war. In his open letter to the Japanese public, Army Surgeon-General Ishiguro asserted that the troops received sufficient food and clothing, good care from medical staff both in the field hospitals and in Japan, and the ever-present concern for their welfare from the emperor and imperial family. The troops' daily diet, he explained, was typically about 1.1 litres of good quality rice and 150 grams of meat plus some vegetables. These remarks, however, were qualified by the admission that supplies were vulnerable to the vicissitudes of war and, with respect to food, there were occasions where the diet was nothing more than a little rice and some sour plums.48 This admission better described the daily reality for many men; one soldier of the 1st Division complained that late in December many men were without socks or boots, and the three principal requirements were food, clothes, and firewood for cooking.49 The situation of the 1st Army was even worse; some men, including members of Katsura's 3rd Division at the northernmost tip of the Japanese lines, were still in summer uniforms in December (even though average temperatures at Haich'eng in January were -8°C (25.7°F). In some cases, one blanket was said to be available for every three men, and while paper garments (kamizukuri no fukuro) were hastily produced in Japan to add an extra layer of warmth, the preparation and distribution of appropriate clothing was lamentable. In these circumstances, frozen and enduring a substandard diet, it is hardly surprising that the forces were riven by disease; by one count, some 15 000 troops were taken ill during the war in Manchuria.50 Rather than patriotism or service, the one constant and unremitting topic of interest to dominate the soldiers' letters and diaries was food. The comment of Lieutenant Nambu Kijiro is typical - 'The greatest pleasure in the battlefield is food' - and this was repeated verbatim by others. 51 An enormous amount of time and energy was devoted to the acquisition of food, and an equal amount of time was devoted to discussing food in the soldiers' writings. Nambu's own unit became intensely popular


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when they discovered about sixty head of cattle in a Manchurian valley and were besieged by their comrades seeking to barter whatever they had for a little beef. A real cause for troops to celebrate on New Year's Day was the distribution of some tangerines (until they opened the bags to discover the fruit had frozen - thus earning the nickname 'tangerine stones' - and had to be heated before they could be eaten). 52 In general, the greater productivity of the Liaotung peninsula, and direct transport by sea, meant that troops of the 2nd Army enjoyed better supplies in terms of meats and vegetables than the 1st Army. However, this can easily be overstated: the Imperial Guards arrived in the Liaotung peninsula during April 1895 but the main concerns of one guardsman remained the scarcity of food, foraging for chicken eggs, and hunting wild rabbits.53 The Japanese public constantly donated food, clothes, and other supplies to the forces but Sergeant Hamamoto's memoir explains angrily that no more than 20 per cent of these ever reached the front line, the rest being consumed by men at the rear, either those on guard duties, or non-combatants including coolies.54 In addition, there were exposes of malpractice by companies engaged in the production of military food and goods. Some of the vegetables sent to the troops were rotten, while beef sold to the army was shown to be generally poor in quality and sometimes inadequately cooked. Part of the problem was carelessness by the authorities over sub-contracting arrangements with the result that meat contracts in two noted cases went to a toymaker and an oil dealer, while some quilts sold to the army for 2 yen 50 sen apiece were found to be stuffed with cotton waste and sawdust. The attempt of businessmen to present themselves in a patriotic light was thus undermined, especially when some cans from the Okura Company, one of Japan's leading concerns and one which had come to prominence through supplying the army in earlier years, were found to contain stones. The dishonesty of official suppliers so outraged one man, Ota Minoru, head of the Asakusa Aquarium, that he personally organised a fleet of vessels to provide fresh fish to the troops. Even in the battle areas, however, Japanese merchants servicing the army PX were criticised for their failure to stock sufficient quantities of food and drink, and for charging outrageous prices for watered-down sake. One newspaper in December 1894 warned that Japanese troops after de-

The Soldier's Experience


feating the Chinese would return home for revenge on the merchants who put profit before patriotism.55 Before concluding these comments on the human experience of the battlefront, it is well to remember that soldiers were not the only Japanese recruited and sent overseas. In total, about 154 000 Japanese coolies were employed in the war and coolie contracting was evidently big business; the army required a bond of 500 yen from the contractor against the coolie either damaging army property or failing to complete his term of service. If figures for the 1st Division are representative, then the bulk of regional coolies were farmhands while those from the cities were mainly rickshaw pullers.56 Given the relatively high pay and the opportunity of guaranteed work, there were initially more applicants than required. Regulations formulated before the war stated that no one under 21 or over 50 would be accepted, nor would those with criminal records, while those employed by the forces were required to accept strict discipline, obey orders immediately, present themselves decently, avoid drunkenness or squabbles, never conceal any crime committed by their fellows, and avoid all violence towards Chinese civilians, especially Chinese women. The level of education and discipline among these men, however, was questionable and, probably for this reason, the army took on a number of former policemen as coolies: it seems likely they were given preference as overseers of the coolie sub-groups of 50 and 100 men. Wages for the time in Hiroshima were originally pegged at 40 sen per day for ordinary coolies, 75 sen for the heads of a 50-man group, and 1 yen for those in charge of 100 men. Rises of 10, 20 and 25 sen respectively were to be paid after departing for the front. Lodging was also provided throughout the duration of service, but food costs were only covered after leaving Hiroshima. In the event of a coolie falling ill or suffering injury while on duty, his medical expenses were defrayed and he continued to receive full pay; if the cause was outside his duties, then his pay was halved; but if he were incapacitated due to a quarrel or other prohibited action, then his pay ceased entirely.57 As for those who died while on service, the best they could hope for was either a makeshift burial, or cremation after which their ashes would be returned by parcel post! Coolies have left no obvious records of their experience in the war. Impressions from the army, however, suggest that,


Japan's First Modern War

while coolies were essential to army transport, they were treated with disdain as paid labour r a t h e r t h a n patriots: SurgeonGeneral Ishiguro stated, p e r h a p s rhetorically, that coolie wages were tenfold those of the troops and, if so, this would n o d o u b t have exacerbated the troops' disdain. T h e wages were n o t unearned; as well as being expected to haul arms a n d supplies for u p to twelve h o u r s daily, coolies were also given the m o r e unpleasant jobs such as burying the mountain of Chinese corpses at Port Arthur. Quite in contrast to the heroic picture of coolies offered by two French war correspondents, some m e n were so exhausted as final preparations to attack Port A r t h u r were u n d e r way that they were simply unwilling or u n a b l e to move despite entreaties from the officer in charge. Earlier, o n the m a r c h from Wonsan to Seoul in August, it is said a n o t h e r officer summarily executed a coolie in o r d e r to keep the rest from collapsing on the roadside. 5 8 Coolie b u r d e n s were exacerbated by the attrition o n J a p a n e s e pack animals; units of the 5th Division lost over three-quarters of its beasts o n the August m a r c h from Wonsan to Seoul, while in Manchuria the 1st Army lost about 5000 horses. 59 T h e inadequacy of the coolies in n u m b e r s a n d physical strength m e a n t that army transport was to a considerable degree reliant o n Koreans (who were credited with being twice as strong as their J a p a n e s e counterparts) a n d local Chinese. In some cases, this m e a n t giving foreign coolies higher wages b u t accepting p o o r e r c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d lower reliability. A stopgap measure was to recruit J a p a n e s e residents of Korean ports, but, late in the war, several h u n d r e d volunteers came from the m o r e assimilated sections of the Ainu people in J a p a n ' s n o r t h e r n m o s t island, Hokkaido. T h e climate of Hokkaido was seen as comparable to Manchuria so their contribution was welcomed, b u t they were too few a n d too late to make a substantial difference. 60 T h e J a p a n e s e authorities, recognising the weakness a n d unsuitability of the first coolies sent to Korea, c o n d u c t e d m o r e rigorous physical examinations from a b o u t O c t o b e r 1894. A g r o u p of Tokyo doctors also sponsored vaccinations for coolies before their d e p a r t u r e a n d a hospital in Hiroshima for sick returnees. N o n e the less, if the conditions of the troops were poor, those of the coolies were far worse; indeed, a r e p o r t in the Japan Weekly Mail of 15 D e c e m b e r 1894 stated that, for the m o n t h between landing in south Manchuria a n d seizing Port

The Soldier's Experience


Arthur, coolies with the 2nd Army had been forced to camp in the open air with just a single blanket. Ishiguro claimed the army magnanimously provided them with warm clothes and an extra blanket, but the benefits were not obvious: a sergeant with the 3rd Division noted in December 1894 that several hundred coolies just arrived from southern Japan were rendered almost immediately useless by sickness and frostbite.61 Late in January 1895, a male nurse (and member of the Ban Alcohol Society) wrote with barely concealed satisfaction from the Shantung peninsula that many coolies used drink to protect themselves against the cold, and five had recently frozen while in a drunken stupor, with one fatality.62 Postwar figures for Fukushima prefecture (albeit including the Taiwan conflict) show that 144 local coolies died in 1894-5 compared to 342 soldiers.63 In addition to the trials of labour, climate and terrain, the coolies may not even have benefited greatly from their wages. Despite the munificence of the emperor's donations, there was an apparent 'tobacco famine' in the occupied towns of Manchuria with an exorbitant 2 yen 50 sen being charged for a pound of cheap grade Japanese leaf. Faced with this level of inflation, coolie wages may no longer have seemed so generous. The dissatisfaction with their conditions of employment is also indicated in some heated post-war disputes between coolies and their contractors. 64

4 The Home Front: Mobilising Support The scale of modern war and the rise of sanctions against exploiting enemy non-combatants meant that victory or defeat came to depend heavily on support from home. During the later Pacific war, Japanese propaganda, gladly taken up and turned against it by the US and its allies, was of 'a nation with a heart beating as one' behind the armed forces. Similar images have persisted from the first Sino-Japanese war. This persistence, however, results from the dearth of research on wartime society. Frequently, the single comment of Japanese historians is that no one opposed the war, and, as evidence, they cite Uchimura Kanzo, a leading Christian intellectual who defended Japan at the time as the crusader of civilisation in East Asia.1 Deeper questions about the role of the emperor, local government, schools, the media, commerce and religion have, at best, received only perfunctory consideration. It is to these subjects that we turn in this and the following chapter. First, the structures for mobilising popular support: at their pinnacle was the emperor. THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF Emperor Meiji was the head of the constitutional polity, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and godhead of the nativist Shinto creed. He was the first Japanese monarch in almost a millennium to find himself thus at the centre of politics, defence and religion, and it was Meiji who set the precedents for his successors, especially Hirohito. The novelty of this cultural centrality, however, meant that time was required for the emperor to grow into his roles, and the gilded image of 'Meiji the Great', the principal icon of modern Japanese nationalism, was only fully established with the Sino-Japanese war. It was the wartime emergency that accelerated the definition of the monarch's proper role in society. Under the spotlight of this emergency, however, the throne appears rather like the Wizard of 78

The Home Front: Mobilising Support


Oz; awesome in the imagination, weak in reality. This contrast between the public and private emperor will be assessed below. First, however, it is useful to summarise the development of the monarchy to 1894. In its earliest form, the Japanese monarch combined the roles of law-giver and priest. By the twelfth century, however, a rising military aristocracy had seized political power and, despite an attempt to restore imperial authority, the throne diminished over the years to become little more than a figure in the Shinto pantheon. This was particularly the case under the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867) during which the emperor was confined to his palace at Kyoto, far removed from the political and military centre at Edo (Tokyo). Imperial duties were essentially to maintain Shinto rites and during these years, historians suggest, the emperor disappeared from the public consciousness.2 It seems at least debatable that the throne had never figured in a public consciousness outside of the elite. None the less, the Tokugawa system included occasional reminders that Japan was in fact a kingdom; public mourning was required on the death of emperors; the famous Ise Shrine, directly linked to the imperial house, was the main destination of the rising numbers of pilgrims (even if the pilgrim's object was a mix of prayers for good harvests and pleasure in the entertainments attached to the shrine); also, popular historical tales spread by the rise in literacy and theatre troupes could hardly exclude the throne. Yet, one of the first tasks of selfproclaimed imperial loyalists, who overthrew the Tokugawa in 1868, was to reacquaint the people and the emperor. This began with a series of provincial tours by Emperor Meiji in the 1870s, and was continued in the new systems of mass education and military conscription; the process was also assisted by the growth of visual and literary media, the latter expanding in tandem with education. Japanese nationalism was still under construction in 1894 but it was already fixated on the person of the emperor. In this sense, it did not quite follow Durkheim's description, a form of religion in which the community worships itself. Rather, it was peculiarly archaic in that the emperor was revered simultaneously as the constitutional representative of the state, but also quite literally as a Shinto god. In practical terms, the two faces of the emperor were contradictory and, in time, the divine


Japan's First Modern War

countenance was to overshadow the human, democratic, and lead to the cultural regression of the 1930s. Yet, their Janus-like existence illustrates the point of social transition, in this case from the pre-modern to the modern. During this transition, no rival object or symbol excepting the flag was allowed in the affections of nationalists, and, on a sentimental level, the image of an emperor both human and divine provided a clear and charismatic focus for Japanese loyalties; this is given as one reason for Japan's unusual level in later years of 'mechanical solidarity', that is, national unity and efficiency. We might pause to recall, however, the suggestion in Chapter 3 that the throne was not central to the ordinary soldier's experience in 1894-5. The development of what might better be called 'patriarchism', of turning every aspect of nationalism into reverence for the emperor as god and father of the nation, was then at an early stage; its genesis was to be aided immensely by the victory over China. Positioning the emperor at the centre of Japanese nationalism was a feat of physical reconstruction. His face and demeanour had to be reshaped and his confidence developed in roles for which he had no prior training. Through historical fortune, Emperor Meiji was a (relatively) malleable youth of sixteen in 1868, and this allowed the government to fit the maturing emperor to its requirements. In line with the slogan on building a 'rich nation, strong army', official photographs from the early years usually showed him in military uniform. 3 Unfortunately, until 1894, he was a commander without a campaign, except for the inglorious civil war of 1877-8. During the 1880s, he was also being politically marginalised as the government developed its own bases of strength and left his calendar filled more with the traditional emphasis on Shinto rites. The multifocal nature of the throne is evident in the three major imperial announcements between 1882 and 1890. Handing down Japan's first constitution in 1889, he was the head of state, defined in the constitution as sacred and inviolable, yet ruling only with the Diet's consent, and delegating actual government to his ministers; only at moments of political impasse, such as the Diet's opposition to naval expenses in 1893, was the emperor able to exercise a direct political role. In the 1890 imperial rescript on education, he was the focus of state morality, exhorting Japanese youth to unquestioning loyalty, service and

The Home Front: Mobilising Support


sacrifice; the implied sense of religious devotion was affirmed by the imperial portrait, distributed to schools in 1890, but generally hidden from view and so deepening the aura of esoteric yet omniscient power. Most importantly for our purposes, in the imperial rescript to soldiers and sailors in 1882, he was the warrior chief, binding the forces' allegiance to himself as supreme commander rather than to the state, and instructing service personnel to refrain from all political involvement. The untested nature of the armed forces, however, and the relative newness of the education and more especially the constitutional system, all meant that ambiguity remained about the proper location of the throne in modern Japan. The Sino-Japanese war abolished confusion and produced a clearer definition of the emperor. Now he was the commanderin-chief of the armed forces and his place was close to the battle (just how close was to become an issue at the war's end). Thus, from mid-September 1894 to May 1895, he was camped at the 5th Division's headquarters in Hiroshima which, consequently, became the imperial headquarters. There were various reasons for moving from Tokyo. Principally, it was to show the emperor in command although, as we shall see, this was a performance without substance. The idea that commanders needed to be closer to events, however, was entirely reasonable for staff officers who did control strategy. In connection with this, Tanaka Hiromi of the Japan National Defence Academy has argued a link between the shift to Hiroshima and the government's nervousness at Yamagata's departure for the front; this is supported by the speed with which the chief of staffs proposal (1 September) on moving to Hiroshima followed Yamagata's appointment (30 August). 4 A subsidiary reason was that it allowed the government to escape Western diplomats who remained behind in Tokyo. The resulting distance might prove useful ifJapan needed to buy time in its prosecution of the war. The emperor and government heads left Tokyo on the morning of 13 September 1894. There were official receptions along the route but, in the case of Gifu City, those local dignitaries, townspeople, and all the city's elementary schoolchildren assembled at the railway station, were treated to no more than three minutes' view of the imperial countenance. 5 Already, it seems, the emperor had become more of a symbol than a public figure. The train finally made its entrance at Hiroshima


Japan's First Modern War

in the early evening of 15 September. The transfer of military and government heads was both costly and inconvenient; the lack of facilities for an extensive military bureaucracy meant that, while the imperial headquarters was housed in the 5th Division compound, many of the individual offices such as the army and navy general staffs, supply command (heitan sokanbu), field post, and army relief office, were based in residential homes. This cost and inconvenience was not repeated in the Russo-Japanese war; at that time, the emperor and chiefs of staff remained in Tokyo. While this was obviously influenced by the spread of communications, after 1895 the emperor had no further need to demonstrate his command. The emperor existed as commander-in-chief on two planes: in the public consciousness and in the councils of the military. In both, he certainly looked the part, dressed always in uniform and medals, bearded, and undeniably 'manly'. During the war, this appearance was extended to the imperial household minister, keeper of the privy seal, grand chamberlain and others, all of whom donned a naval-style uniform. The military role was further emphasised by the emperor's separation from his wife (she remained alone in Tokyo until late March 1895) and by his refusal to allow female attendants at Hiroshima. War, it was implied, was man's business and a warrior did not want the distractions of women. Nor were other forms of comfort accepted: the simplicity of the imperial quarters was described in many writings: One room, of about twenty mats in size, was hastily selected in one of the local barracks: unfurnished, save for a table and a chair, without any pretension to ease or comfort. In this cheerless and narrow apartment His Majesty lived for several months, working with tireless indefatigability and a spirit that was as unselfish as it was noble. Rising early in the morning, His Majesty would don the uniform of the Commander-InChief, nor was this uniform removed until late at night, the whole day being spent in the perusal of despatches, giving of orders, and general arrangements of the movements of the troops afield.6 The public virtues of the wartime emperor were diligence and concern, working till midnight, indifferent to meals (somewhat in contrast to his troops), and taking almost no recreation

The Home Front: Mobilising Support


beyond listening to the army and navy bands and occasionally exercising his horse. The New Year's ceremonies for 1895 were cancelled, a simple audience with senior officials taking its place. The emperor also forbade heaters in the imperial headquarters despite the cold (and medical reports suggest the collapse and sudden death in January 1895 of Prince Taruhito, the chief of staff, was exacerbated by the cold, thus giving the Chinese a kind of victory).7 The war monopolised his activities: all Shinto rites were conducted by a proxy, and those ceremonies in which he did participate were all related to the war, either victory celebrations, or the symbolically important distribution of regimental flags.8 Further ceremonial links between the emperor and military were naturally in the postwar distribution of medals and awards of nobility. The public concern of the emperor centred on the plight of the armed forces, especially treatment of the wounded, the availability of medicines, and the supply of winter clothes. On a personal level, however, he was able only to provide them with a few comforts. According to draft figures drawn up by the army general staff, between the end of June 1894 (that is, the first dispatch of Japanese troops to Korea) and the end of April 1895, the emperor donated amongst other things, over five million cigarettes, 1590 casks of sake, and personal gifts of horses to the senior army commanders, while the empress was responsible for 17 000 bandages to the army hospitals and gifts of silk wadding for protection against the Manchurian winter.9 In a gift-giving society such as Japan, these presentations were important, and regular, reminders of the emperor-subject relation. The imperial family also made monetary gifts, ranging in size from 11 yen to 5000 yen, and totalling in all about 49 000 yen; of these, the emperor's personal donations amounted to just over 37 000 yen. The most frequent recipients of imperial monies were the army hospitals, but these payments were generally small (never more than 700 yen and usually closer to 200 yen) and were made, with a couple of early exceptions, almost entirely in the name of the empress: here the implicit distinction was that nursing in any form is woman's work. Despite his public image of concern, the emperor kept his distance from the ordinary troops; he is credited with asking to visit army hospitals immediately after arriving in Hiroshima


Japan's First Modern War

but, being advised against this in view of the threat of infection, he then made no further attempt to see the sick and wounded. This is in stark contrast to the empress who, arriving at Hiroshima on 19 March, made six visits to military hospitals in the Hiroshima region within the space of nine days.10 The emperor's personal remoteness, however, was compensated by the expansion of the religious, inspirational image as in this quote from Eastlake and Yamada: A reconnoitring party had had a long march and been for hours in the snow, while a piercing wind seemed to freeze the very marrow in their bones. Fainting with fatigue and numb and drowsy with cold, some one began to call out 'For the Emperor!' The words acted like an elixir: cold and fatigue, hunger and exposure, were at once completely forgotten. With renewed vigour they resumed their toilsome march, acquitted themselves of their task, and rejoined their comrades in safety.11 This religious authority was formalised in a memorial unanimously accepted by the Diet in its eighth session (1894-5), explicitly acknowledging the emperor's divine right to rule, and ascribing Japan's military success to 'the majestic spirit of past sovereigns and the divine martial virtues of the present Emperor', 12 Thus, while the wartime 'emperor as soldier' took precedence over the 'emperor as god', Japan's military successes and the growing belief in a unique Japanese spirit actually fused and strengthened the two roles so that, with respect to the emperor as well as the armed forces, the military and Shinto were henceforth to develop in tandem. In this sense, Fujimura misplaces his emphasis when he asserts that the war led to Meiji being 'no longer the ethereal (shimpiteki) aristocratic emperor hidden deep in his Kyoto palace, but the emperor as commander-in-chief leading his forces to victory after victory'.13 The all-consuming nature of the imperial myth required the emperor to be shown in personal command of the war. In reality, there was no place for him in military councils. His own warrior training appears to have consisted of some early lessons in riding, archery and wrestling, and direct involvement in the armed forces was left to imperial princes: of the three full generals on active service at the war's outset, two were imperial

The Home Front: Mobilising Support


princes (the other being Army Minister Oyama), and one of these, Taruhito, held the highest military office as chief of the army general staff; the commanders of the Imperial Guards and 4th Division were also princes. There is no evidence that the emperor ever originated or influenced a military decision during the war. In fact, the record of his private comments tends only to confirm his irrelevance in such matters. Here the question causing greatest excitement among Japanese scholars (albeit the excitement varies from a single sentence in Asukai's 1989 biography of Meiji to an entire article by Hiyama in 1993) concerns Meiji's personal views on the outbreak of war. The imperial household minister, Hijikata Hisamoto, claimed the emperor resented the idea of sending an imperial messenger to the Ise Shrine (to report the start of war to the Shinto gods) and exclaimed that he had not supported the war from the outset {'Konkai no senso wa chin moto yori fu-hon'i nari').14 Some have taken this sentence to imply the emperor was an advocate of peace manipulated by unscrupulous ministers; the parallel with some post-1945 interpretations of Emperor Hirohito is obvious. Others have agreed that Meiji was worried either by Britain's opposition to the war, or about Japan's chances of victory, and that, indeed, this was not the emperor's war, but that of his cabinet and more especially of Mutsu.15 What the incident actually shows is the ease with which the leadership ignored even 'Meiji the Great', and anger at this (there are other examples of imperial petulance) may in part account for his outburst. Moreover, a second incident on the eve of peace negotiations again shows the emperor at odds with his ministers, recognising the inappropriateness ofJapan's peace terms, but quite unable to enforce his views. As he admitted at the time, ' [the army] does have a tendency of being difficult to lead'. 16 This was to become even more obvious to his successors. CENTRAL POLITICS The rush of wartime emotion and the emphasis on the emperor as commander-in-chief fundamentally influenced Japanese constitutional politics. Although the emergency general election of 1 September 1894 produced little change in the composition of the Lower House, there was an undoubted sea change in its


Japan's First Modern War

attitude towards the government. Whereas pre-war sessions had been dominated by attacks on the authorities, the wartime Diets were effusive in their praise of the armed forces and paid special respect to the emperor in his role as supreme commander. This did not mean that inter-party rivalry was ended. On the eve of the September election, there were reports of shootings and stabbings between opposing candidates and, at the level of prefectural government, a number of assemblies were disrupted during the war by local rivalry and motions of no confidence; in these, local issues continued to take precedence although opponents were not above using the war as a rhetorical tool.17 The peculiarity of the first wartime Diet is that it followed the emperor to Hiroshima, thus being convened, for the first and only time, outside of Tokyo. This was not required by law: during September there had been rumours of a Hiroshima Diet but the press dismissed it as impractical and unlikely. Indeed, Hiroshima had been hit hard by an outbreak of dysentery and this was only just abating at the time. However, on 22 September, an imperial edict ordered an emergency session of the Diet to assemble at Hiroshima on 15 October and to complete its business within seven days: there was to be only one topic for debate - emergency military funding. Dragging the Diet to Hiroshima served several purposes. First, it reaffirmed the priority of defence over politics. In terms of the emperor, this confirmed his role as head of government but subordinated it, as the Diet was subordinated, to his military role which, in essence, was moral rather than political and made him a focus for unity as opposed to the disunity of partisan politics: in other words, the Hiroshima Diet was implicitly aimed at depoliticising the ongoing war. A related motive, as the imperial edict explained, was to use proximity to the war effort to increase the patriotism of the people's representatives. In so far as martial law was declared in Hiroshima shortly before the Diet opening, it also gave the government extra authority to deal with 'activists' (undosha), political troublemakers accompanying some parliamentarians; the danger of unrest is implied by the arrival just before the Diet of 14 sword-wielding members of the panAsianist Genyosha society.18 Relocating the Diet was an expensive business. Later reports calculate total expenses at about 80 000 yen: this was mainly for

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construction of a temporary Diet building (completed at about 32 000 yen), but also travel for representatives and officials.19 Built in about two weeks by some 1000 labourers, the temporary Diet was a fairly rough and ready structure; the roof was nothing more than tent canvassing and everything was on a reduced scale of that in Tokyo. The simplicity, however, may have been deliberate. In bringing the parliamentarians out to Hiroshima, the government deprived them of the comforts and luxuries of Tokyo: as they were warned, not only were suitable lodgings close to the Diet in short supply, but rickshaws were difficult to obtain, simple things such as pillows and blankets were shoddy, and daily items were both poor in quality and exorbitant in price; the Peers, unlike their perhaps less affluent Lower House colleagues, were advised to bring their own carriages. The siting of the building on an army training ground was also no doubt intended to reinforce the atmosphere of austerity, sacrifice and service to the nation-in-arms.20 Whether so much effort was necessary to ensure the Diet's support is open to doubt. However, it was clearly successful: not a single member of the Lower House was absent at the opening (this was unprecedented), and their response once the Diet commenced was unanimous support for the requested 150 million yen in military expenses. The Hiroshima Diet thus had made its point and obviated the need for repetition. After some uncertainty, the scheduled eighth Diet took place in Tokyo as usual even though the emperor remained at Hiroshima. Prime Minister Ito was on hand, but dealt curtly with the Lower House, arguing that military and diplomatic matters must take precedence over all other laws or economic questions, and with this, he quickly returned to Hiroshima. 21 In this way, the central government was able to exploit the war and the emperor in order to force docility on the hitherto obstreperous Diet.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT Without an efficient and unified local government structure, Japan would have been hard pressed to fight any of its modern wars. The system of prefectures created in the 1870s redrew Japan's political map, altering former domain borders and introducing new identities: Choshu domain became Yamaguchi


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prefecture, Mito became Ibaragi, and so on. There was some disaffection over this, and in some regions it continues into the 1990s. The new system, however, allowed the central government for the first time in history to penetrate every region directly to the village level and mobilise all resources for war. The organisational hierarchy from prefectural to village level was far stronger than the overstretched district magistracy of China and, unlike China, a professional police force ensured compliance with government demands; in addition, Japan's expanding newspapers indirectly aided local government through their power to expose and shame communities hesitant in support of the war. During the conflict, the principal duties of local government were: matters relating to the call up; donations of money and goods to the armed forces; purchase of war bonds; assistance to military families; public victory celebrations; public funerals for servicemen; and demobilization. It was also local government which from this time spread the custom in villages of flying the national flag.22 The two duties most integral to the war effort, however, were donations of money and goods, and purchase of war bonds. The army was in urgent need of a wide range of supplies and its relief office (Juppeibu), erected just before the war, published an extensive shopping list including rice, barley, fish, meat, soy sauce, miso soup, tea, tobacco, salt, sugar, gloves, socks, singlets and gaiters. Raising these and other public donations was the business of military affairs committees (heijikai) set up by local government. Once again, newspapers assisted by acting as collection points and giving an honourable mention to donors. The newspapers also employed a degree of emotional blackmail: in Gifu prefecture, local people read that troops so far from home were liable to depression and discontent if the homeland failed to show its support. 23 Officials sometimes scoured the countryside. The diary of Asuda Tsumoru, a villager in Ikeda County, Gifu Prefecture, records the appearance of three officials collecting donations on 6 August; the richest man in the village gave an impressive 20 yen, others a still considerable 3 yen, while some gave cotton or smaller amounts of money.24 More volunteers appeared in subsequent days; on the second occasion, Asuda gave some pickled plums (ume-boshi), a staple of the troops' diet and, with tobacco, perhaps the most common item donated to the forces. It was

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through such frequent, small-scale collections that the army's shopping list was fulfilled. The donations from towns and villages, however, were achieved by a combination of local government and civic groups. Of the two, it is probably fair to say the civic groups had more time, energy and local knowledge, and consequently were the more successful. The Ogaki Patriotic Society (Ogaki Hokoku Gikai), based in one of Gifu's largest towns, amassed over 7000 yen for the army and 945 yen for the navy, as well as 25 casks of ume-boshi, 50 000 cigarettes, 1000 pairs of socks, about 65 pounds of biscuit, and 130 hand towels.25 School and youth groups around the country were also active, either raising money or making things such as straw sandals which might be used by the troops. The Japan Red Cross contributed by arranging for gifts to be delivered free of charge to the forces; in Gifu, at least, the Red Cross and local government were linked by the governor, who was the head of the prefectural Red Cross, and his administration worked to increase its local membership. While local government was important in mobilising grassroots support, most villagers were hard pressed to donate a single yen (about four times the daily wage of a farmhand). Japan was still predominantly an agrarian society with only pockets of industry, and with much of its textile output, for example, dependent on cheap labour by unmarried young women. The gulf between rich and poor, however, was enormous and the contributions of ordinary Japanese pale in comparison with donations attributed to some of the elite. A newspaper report of 3 August 1894 lists the sums pledged by aristocrats and businessmen: about 500 000 yen each from the noble houses of Shimazu and Mori, as well as financial dynasts, Iwasaki and Mitsui; approximately 250 000 yen from the families of Maeda, Hosokawa, Nabeshima and others including the Meiji government's financial expert, Shibusawa Eiichi; and a relatively modest 100 000 yen each from new financiers and industrialists such as Yasuda Zenshiro and Okura Kihachiro.26 The persistent efforts of local government, civic groups and the newspapers, provided the army relief office by 15 November 1894 with a sum already in excess of 1.7 million yen, while its naval counterpart to 6 January 1895 received just over 480 000. Later reports show that donations of money and goods from Gifu Prefecture totalled 95 789 yen, making it the ninth largest


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contributor among Japan's prefectures, just behind the Kyoto area (100 000 yen). 27 Donations, however, were not always given gladly or even given at all. There were periods during the war when money became short or supplies of food and gifts were exhausted. The memoirs of Ubukata Toshiro show a growing fatigue in rural Japan with the repeated demands of government and volunteers, especially when it was believed that donations only went to enrich the major cities. Some people simply refused to help: the official Gifu prefectural history admits there were a number of such cases, and in one county the head of a village post office openly criticised volunteers requesting donations (the villagers subsequently tried to engineer his removal from office). Elsewhere, some farmers considered it inappropriate in view of the rare excellence of the rice crop to redirect money from the harvest festival to the forces. There were also instances of village officials impeding donations of goods, and of local organisers failing to pass on the donations previously arranged to help military families in distress.28 Of far greater importance, both to the overall war effort and to Japan's international image, was the funding from war bonds. Having observed the plight of states such as Egypt, Japan was determined to fight this war without relying on Western finance. Consequently, domestic purchase of war bonds became the critical test ofJapan's independence and a barometer of its national health. 29 For this reason, the home ministry sent its provincial officials on an even more insistent campaign to ensure local support for the two bond issues of September and November 1894. Officials from the governor down to city mayors, town and village heads toured their regions, meeting with men of influence, and emphasising the urgency of Japan's situation. County offices instructed town and village heads to arrange in advance the amounts to be purchased by their districts; in the case of Ena County, Gifu prefecture, the county head and his secretaries personally visited all town and village headmen. Village offices then passed on these instructions: Asuda records a note from the village headman pressing anyone with money to purchase bonds. In so far as the lowest unit was 50 yen, the other denominations being 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 yen, this was a massive undertaking for small communities. None the less, having contributed 3 yen on the first collection of donations, Asuda now bought 50 yen worth of

The Home Front: Mobilising Support


bonds and Okazaki, the richest man in his village, having donated 20 yen earlier, purchased bonds worth 1000 yen. Each was expected to contribute according to his station, and the former domain lord of Gifu, as well as donating 10 000 yen to the army, bought 30 000 yen worth of bonds. 30 Once again, however, there were some who resisted the official campaign. Continuing our examples from Gifu, some affluent townsmen were offended by Governor Sogabe, either for political reasons or because they resented his pressure; one person in Haguri county rebuffed the local council by saying he had no money for war bonds and, if he had, he would rather give it to a Buddhist sect; another man in Gifu city feared to apply for bonds in case the city realised his wealth and took more from him in municipal charges.31 There was discussion about a third bond issue late in the war, but this might have overtaxed the resources of rural Japan: according to historian Ohama Tetsuya, the bond issues led to a financial drought in the villages, which accounted for about 40 per cent of the total bond purchases. Citing Takahashi Korekiyo of the Bank of Japan, Ohama also claims there were many people borrowing at high interest from the banks in order to meet the social pressures to buy bonds. 32 The war bonds were heavily over-subscribed; the September issue of 30 million yen actually reaped 75 million yen. This undoubtedly reassured the government. However, the regions varied enormously in the monies at their disposal. The main urban centres were obviously the major sources, but Tokyo's application for 27 million yen was far ahead of Japan's second city, Osaka, at just over 8 million, and the international port of Yokohama at 6.6 million; by contrast, the response of Nagoya at 1.25 million and Kobe at 1.15 million yen appears rather weak. The disparity between these figures probably indicates the level of institutional purchase; under government pressure, prefectural banks were strong subscribers, but major banks and concerns in Tokyo and Yokohama bought heavily, while the Bank of Japan alone applied in the first issue for bonds worth 10 million yen, and doubled this figure in the second issue.33 The gap in wealth between provincial metropolitan and rural areas is evident in selected figures from Gifu prefecture for the second bond issue. Gifu city and Anpachi county (location of Gifu's second city, Ogaki) clearly dominate the total application of 1 372 050 yen:34


Japan's First Modern War Gifu city Anpachi county Atsumi/Kakami/Katagata counties Haguri-Nakajima counties Mugi county Fuwa county Yamagata county

272 100 228 100 86100 76 350 65 350 42 250 26 750

On balance, local government succeeded in mobilising popular support for the war; this was particularly important in the bond issues, but the constant demand for donations, even while it tested the patience of some, none the less served to maintain a link between domestic society and troops at the front. The local authorities were rather less successful, as we shall see in the next chapter, in assisting the distressed families of soldiers and sailors. This was left more to civic groups, without whom even the level of donations would have been considerably reduced. It is to such groups, and the manner in which patriotism was fostered in schools and the media, that we now turn. REFINING NATIONALISM: PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES, SCHOOLS, AND MEDIA One of domestic Japan's greatest strengths during the war with China was its network of communications, including an evolving school system and a range of central and provincial newspapers. Indeed, in 1894, Japan may already be termed a budding information society. For example, news of the naval victory late in July 1894 was received at home within the week and it spread rapidly; villagers at Sugata in Gifu prefecture stopped work from 31 July to 3 August to make offerings at the Shinto shrine; at Naegi, villagers unanimously approved a donation to the forces in Korea (of 1000 rolls of coarse toilet paper) .35 In their various ways, Japanese communities responded to the war but as a result of communications these responses were swift. The forms of patriotism, however, were modified through government instructions and approved images relayed by the newspapers, journals, books and other media, and through the schools.

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The earliest demonstrations of wartime patriotism were the volunteer militia established in towns and villages around Japan from about June 1894. The organisers were usually officials, nobles and former officers of the army or navy. To cite just a few examples: in Takatomi village, Gifu prefecture, a nobleman named Honda Masanao set up a 160-man patriotic volunteer force, or giyuhei, which he offered to the army minister for service in Korea on 1 July; in the village of Akutami, also in Gifu prefecture, a nobleman supported by the village head gathered first and second reservists* together late in July 1894 to serve as militia in the event of war and, in the meantime, to collect donations for the army; elsewhere, in Tochigi prefecture, the Great Japan Patriotic Volunteers were announced in June to provide militia forces and spread a 'healthy spirit' (genki) among the people. 36 About the same time, leading sumo wrestlers of the day such as Takasago, Nishi no Umi, Tamaryu and others, also volunteered their particular services to the army; to be battle-ready they were said to be practising long-distance walks on bare feet.37 In so far as militia organisers were often former samurai, Fujimura Michio in 1973 and again in 1992 has argued that ordinary Japanese were initially unconcerned (mukanshin) with the war.38 This is exaggerated. The common people were undoubtedly concerned because they were the ones either to fight as soldiers, or pay higher taxes and offer donations. That the war may initially have appeared to them confusing is no evidence of their indifference. Moreover, that former warriors should lead militia is unsurprising: they had both military training and often the social position to organise unofficial groups. In addition, they could hope to restore something of their former glory by engaging in war. It was precisely this element of turning back the clock which made popular militia uncomfortable partners for an increasingly modern, 'bureaucratised' and professional army. The militia were a throwback to an earlier, different kind of war and, thus, were unwelcome to the government and to the professional soldiery. Provincial governments were instructed early in July to dissuade militia from bothering the army, but their numbers and their disruption of local society forced the government to intervene. On 7 August 1894, an imperial edict warned subjects to leave war to the military and concentrate instead on maintaining production and stability:


Japan's First Modern War The formation by our subjects of patriotic militia in all regions is, I know, an expression of their loyalty and patriotism but, I consider in the state there is day to day administration and, among the people, day to day business. Excepting unusual requisitions, all subjects should attend diligently to their daily work; at home, to produce ever more and so develop the resources for our wealth and strength. That is my wish. Militia are not presently needed. 39

Thereafter, patriotic societies played a more orderly role, interpreting the war to local people and mobilising their support. The Patriotic Symposium (Aikoku Danwakai), in Fuwa County, Gifu, was set up in July 1894 and met once a month to hear lectures, study maps, show pictures of the troops, display weapons old and new, and generally keep the war in the forefront of the villagers' minds. This it apparently did with great success.40 Announcing the formation of a patriotic society in the Kobe region, one village headman noted, 'The strength of the nation is that of the military, and the strength or weakness of the military lies in spirit.'41 To cultivate this spirit, patriotic societies arranged for local groups to practice the martial arts. During the war, sword practice and sumo became especially popular and there were frequent sword meets, often held in the precincts of Shinto shrines; in Gifu, the town of Kasamatsu established a club in November 1894 and was recognised as the regional centre of sword practice. Many groups concentrated specifically on the young: the Youth Patriotic Society (Seinen Giyukai), set up at Ono County late in September 1894, arranged for over one hundred youths from nearby villages to practice with the sword, gun, and spear.42 In this way, the informal patriotic societies of 1894-5 presage the later mass organisations enjoying official support from the 1900s. The most important generation of 1894, however, was the schoolchildren: they were the ones to fight against Russia in 1904, and to send their children to the Pacific war. In the schools, the government had the perfect opportunity to use the war as a tool for nationalism; this it did relentlessly. Teachers in Hyogo prefecture, for example, were instructed in October 1894: 1. Explain the deep concern of His Majesty the Emperor with affairs of the nation in arms and thereby make pupils aware of his incomparable virtue.

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2. Explain the imperial declaration of war and use it to reveal the truth that this is a righteous war {gisen). 3. Explain that our fighting strength in this war is equal to that of any state in history. 4. Show that, in addition to modern weapons, a loyal and courageous spirit is superior to an ironclad. 43 Further regulations insisted that pupils also receive an explanation of the Japanese army-navy system, questions of military supply, types of weapon and shipping, a comparison of the opposing forces, the differences in their treatment of enemy civilians and POWs, and the principles of the Red Cross. Children were also expected to draw a map of the war and study place-names on the battlefield. As background to the war, they were to compare the history, political institutions, population and social customs of Japan, China, and Korea. In this way, schools applied the filter of war to a variety of subjects, including history, geography, current affairs and morals with, in the latter case, the emphasis we have already seen on spirit over technology. In addition, music lessons were filled with the new war songs such as 'Marching through the Snow' {Yuki no Shingun), said to be the favourite of General Oyama, 'On to Beijing' (Beijing Made), and Nagai Genshi's 'Genko' (The Mongol Invasion), written in 1892, and popular both at the time and again during the 1937-45 conflict. Collections were published by the government for classroom use, and Matsushita Yoshio, the great military historian and himself a child during the war, recalls the tremendous impact of these songs on young boys with their lyrics of heroism, sacrifice and victory.44 Schoolchildren were constantly exposed to the war. They were frequently marched to the local Shinto shrine to pray for victory, or taken to an exhibition of war trophies (in some cases school groups were admitted free of charge). School parties were regularly among the civic greetings for troop trains, and attended public funerals for the war dead. Teachers received letters from soldiers at the front and these made the children feel in touch with the war. As Yamakawa Hitoshi, a left-wing intellectual, later recalled, history lessons had previously been full of battles but now they came alive and war, far from seeming harsh and dangerous, appeared noble and heroic. 45 Indeed, it was the element of drama and play which made the war such fun and teachers utilised this in arranging elementary


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schools in great sham battles, sometimes on occasions such as the emperor's birthday and national foundation day. A detailed example is the day-long event staged by six elementary schools in Ogaki city on 1 December 1894. This began with an early morning visit by the 1600 participating children to the local war memorial shrine (Shokonsha). The male pupils were then divided into two armies, the Red Army of the morning sun flag (Japan) and the White Army with its yellow dragon flag (China). These were further subdivided into divisions, brigades, and so on, with the teachers acting as senior officers (thus quietly equating the authority of teacher with that of military command) . Female pupils were included as nurses of the Red Cross field hospital. Thereafter, battle commenced, and the local press described in detail as close as any frontline report the engagements and the retreat of the White Army till its last stand at Ogaki Castle (standing in for the palace at Beijing) and final surrender. The 'wounded' were carried by stretcher to the mercies of the waiting girls, while the victorious Red Army gave its rendition of the national anthem, and all in attendance bowed in the direction of the emperor. 46 With the exception of the White Army pupils (who no doubt were miserable at being expected to lose), the whole event was hugely enjoyable, as well as a grand public occasion, with several thousand people from the surrounding region said to have come to watch the performance. If the schools turned war into play, it had at least to ensure its children were able to participate. Contemporary Japanese were familiar with the social Darwinist idea of the survival of the fittest, and this meant not only a strong army but an army of strong men. The short stature and physical weakness of Japanese troops in 1894 was of major concern to the forces and it was in the schools that this concern could best be addressed. Peter Bailey has noted the connection in late Victorian England between the military and official sponsorship of games and physical exercise; a similar development may be seen in Japan. 47 The initial step was taken in September 1894 when outgoing Education Minister Inoue Kowashi (known to his opponents as the 'nervous minister' and shortly to die of ill health), ordered more physical exercise for elementary schoolchildren, and military-style exercise accompanied by the singing of war songs for higher-level elementary boys. Pupils were also to be encour-

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aged to lead a healthy lifestyle, and those in the towns who habitually took a carriage to school were to be advised to walk: as a child, the future Emperor Hirohito was to hear this same advice from his tutor, General Nogi.48 The new emphasis on physical strength was a reaction against what Inoue felt had earlier been an over-commitment to intellectual training, and it tied in nicely with the focus on spirit over technology. Indeed, one belief apparently deriving from the war is that a physical restructuring of the Japanese added to a new industrial sensibility - a combination of machines and mechanised bodies - was necessary to compete as a world power. That this competition would be military as well as industrial was never doubted: it was merely a case of who would be the enemy; as one officer wrote to some schoolchildren, 'Our duty is to fight the Ch'ing, but what will be your task? Russia? Britain? France?' 49 The Ogaki school battle reminds us that strengthening the troops was not by itself sufficient; modern war involved the entire able-bodied population, women included. The participation in any form of women in war is a recent and highly controversial phenomenon (the Japan National Defence Academy only began admitting female cadets from 1992). Even in the restricted capacity as field nurses, however, it is well to remember the opposition to Florence Nightingale in the Crimean war. The Japanese emperor might cut himself off from wife and maidservants, but in the war against China female nurses both in Hiroshima and in the field were sorely needed. The authorities thus implanted social respect for military nursing through a variety of means. Most notable were the activities of Princesses Komatsu no Miya and Kitashirakawa no Miya as secretary and vice-secretary respectively of the Red Cross Volunteer Nurse Society. Their appearance at the imperial headquarters during November 1894, wearing the uniform of the Red Cross nurse, and their busy schedule of visits while in Hiroshima to various military hospitals, gave nursing an undeniable kudos.50 Nursing was acceptable because it reinforced traditional female roles of nurturing, and thus directly approved male participation in the war; the popular war song Fujin no Jugunka (Song of Women with the Forces) added a rhapsodic note with its lyrics, 'nursing so tenderly, her heart the colour of the Red Cross'. There was a problem, however: sexuality. The inclusion of young women may have been happily exploited by war novelists in search of a


Japan's First Modern War

romantic sub-plot, but the wartime appearance of the term 'Red Cross nurses' for brothel 'waitresses', or the example of geisha in Ogaki dancing in a carnival dressed in nurses' uniform, showed that women could not be divorced from their sexuality. This was seen as a threat to military order, and there was obvious disapproval when the first case of an illicit liaison between a wounded cavalryman and a nurse in Hiroshima was discovered. There was also a sense, however, that no matter how carefully the behaviour of the women was observed, such liaisons were beyond prevention. 51 The new role offered to Japanese women by the war was thus greeted with ambivalence and as far as possible restricted; it was left to the schoolgirls of 1894 to achieve greater freedoms in the 1910s. POPULAR EDUCATION Late in the twentieth century it is fashionable to bemoan the cultural domination of images and lament the decline of reading: this completely overlooks the fact that popular understanding of the world has always been dominated by images and mass literacy is barely a century old. However, the Sino-Japanese war marks the transition in Japan to a mass media society and one with an increasingly literate population. The general public was educated about the war through a host of visual media, but also through newspapers, journals, and books for literate adults and children. The most immediate and impressive conveyors of information were the imaginative woodblock prints, equivalent to the modern cartoon, and the flickering images of the touring lantern shows. In the cities, there was also the theatre which instantly dramatised the war: Kawakami Otojiro's hugely successful Nis-Shin Senso (Sino-Japanese War) was staged in Tokyo from 31 August 1894, virtually before a shot had been fired. Donald Keene has already written eloquently on the literary, artistic and theatrical images of the war in 1894-5, so we will conclude this chapter with just a few comments on the newspapers and the impact of the first projected images in rural Japan. Newspapers in Japan date only from the 1860s. The effect of the school system in promoting literacy no doubt aided the

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growth of the press, but it was war, as with The Times of London, which provided an enormous catalyst to readership. According to a history of war reportage in Japan, a total of 114 correspondents, eleven artists, and four photographers were sent by sixtysix newspapers to cover the Sino-Japanese war.52 Virtually none had any understanding of war (the exception being Kuroda Koshiro quoted earlier in a Korean graveyard - happily not a long-term resident). None the less, the immediacy of their reports led to a boom in sales. The newspapers printed information from the government and from the front, but they also popularised existing war songs and sponsored competition for new ones (the prize in the case of the Yomiuri newspaper was a two-year subscription); they carried advertising which incorporated war themes or symbols; and it was usual for a work of serial fiction to appear daily, often, though not always, dealing with the war. Some of these stories were so popular that their authors were rewarded with a generous wage rise.53 The war also led to changes in newspaper organisation. In the cities, men selling the 'extra' editions became a recognised and specialist occupation while, in regional areas, it was often the newspapers which first informed local police stations which then displayed the news on their public notice boards. 54 From drafting to publication and distribution, war increased the newspapers' speed and efficiency; new papers and journals were brought into the market-place, and there were changes in the running of existing ones. The Yubin Hochi Shimbun, affiliated to the Progressive party, announced its conversion from partisanship to nationalism and political neutrality; signalling this change, the paper changed its title (merely dropping the word 'yubin), altered its organisation, format, and staff ofjournalists, and introduced more illustrations and text designed to appeal to all classes.55 Improvements were also made in provincial newspapers. Not only did the Gifu Nichi Nichi revise its format from late October 1894, increasing its word count to accommodate the greater mass of news, it also added supplements, including maps of the battle region, and, on New Year's Day 1895, provided its readers with a picture of the emperor (along with the commercially astute invitation to advertisers to hurry if they wished their names to appear in the special issue). The paper also introduced a service for its remote readership in Hidan


Japan's First Modern War

Takayama, forwarding telegrams about the war and major events to its local officer who then ensured that readers, but only readers, received the latest news before all others. 56 Despite the wartime rise in popularity, the business of newspapers was based on telling stories, and the literary rather than military qualifications of the correspondents may have caused some friction with the army. The generals appear to have treated the correspondents with respect but the diary of Nozawa Takesaburo, medical officer with the 2nd Division, recounts an incident in the Weihaiwei campaign early in 1895. In this, a correspondent openly criticised the Japanese forces and offered his advice on the war. Nozawa replied: 'Imbeciles like you follow along with the troops but you don't know about the army or army discipline, and so Japanese newspapers are full of mistakes. There isn't a soldier in the Japanese forces who'd give up his seat just because someone says "Mr. Journalist" is here.' In addition, the Nihon newspaper reported after the war that one general staff officer had accused the domestic press of undermining Japan's negotiating position in the peace settlement; the report also claimed that some in the army viewed all newspapers as ' hi-aikokushd, that is, non-patriots or even traitors.57 Having said that, wartime censorship of the press appears to have been very light compared to later years and, whatever their position on the foreign intervention against Japan at the war's end, the bulk of publications unconditionally supported the war; the only notable exception here is a journal entitled Fuhei (Discontent) but its first issue was banned in midAugust 1894 so that its content remains unknown. 58 One of the defining characteristics of the modern age is the impact of moving pictures. Within a few years of the SinoJapanese war, newsreel was to bring battle to life (if one may use the term), with a greater immediacy than was possible in photography. In 1894-5, however, it was photographers such as Kamei Koreaki who presented the 'real' images of war but these still had to compete with imaginative illustrations such as ukiyo-e woodblock prints or, in newspapers, simple line drawings. These illustrations reflected the makeup of the Japanese forces and tended to democratise heroism, featuring ordinary troops as much as generals or, indicating the shift to mass combat, showing groups of Japanese soldiers rather than individuals. An interim medium between still photographs and

The Home Front: Mobilising Support


moving pictures was the magic lantern, capable of casting images before a mass audience and so preparing the way for cinema (invented by the Lumiere brothers in 1894). The lantern show used illuminated photographs on glass depicting scenes from the war on land and sea and the faces of the most famous commanders. Despite the crude and often unreliable projection, and the discomfort of overcrowded audiences, the shows enjoyed enormous popularity: one report tells of a group of 13 female employees who so desperately wished to see the images that they paid in advance a fine imposed by their employer for leaving the dormitory. The impact of the slides could be extraordinary when accompanied by a skilful narrator, although the navy's report that one seaman went mad 'by undue excitement at seeing a magic lantern' perhaps overstates its impact.59 Village attendance regularly numbered in the hundreds and on occasion over a thousand. The slides were expensive but sometimes the owner toured local villages to reach different audiences, and lantern shows were often featured as part of a wider gathering; for example, schools and local educational societies arranged shows to accompany talks on the war. The appeal of the war and the suspended images of the magic lantern thus brought together these larger crowds and assisted in the process of nation building.

5 The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss In the previous chapter we looked mainly at the official structures for mobilising wartime support. The conflict with China may be termed modern in so far as a rational bureaucracy, universal education and evolving media existed to incorporate all levels of Japanese society into the war. However, the level of this involvement differed according to such factors as region, industry and occupation. This was not a total war in the sense that government invaded and controlled every aspect of society. Nationalism, the nation-state, and the nation-in-arms, were all in production, not finished products. Thus, to pursue our understanding of the development of modern Japan, let us now consider the diversity of responses to the war and the range of profit and loss, commercial or otherwise, incurred by small business, organised religion, and families of the troops. THE BUSINESS OF WAR Explanations of the Sino-Japanese war regularly point to industrial capitalism and suggest that the war was brought about either by major combines in Japan pressuring the government, rice or textile traders demanding greater control of the Korean market, or Japanese small businesses in Korea agitating for greater protection. On the other hand, as far as Foreign Minister Mutsu was concerned, it was the public, led by the Diet and the press, which pushed Japan to war in the first place and pressed it to continue hostilities beyond the point of diplomatic reason. Industry and popular opinion are obviously interconnected in the formation of mass society. Their gradual development may be charted in Meiji Japan but, until the end of the period, industry remained generally small and the Diet was elected by only 1 per cent of the population: 'public opinion' therefore is rather a grand term for such a small sector of the 102

The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


public. If reliable forums did not exist for the expression of a genuinely mass opinion, what about industry? No doubt some corporations and suppliers saw profits to be had from war. A Japanese victory, however, was by no means guaranteed and Japanese business is not noted for high-risk gambling. For the economy in general, it seems just as probable that, rather than spreading prosperity, war with China actually weakened smaller industries by wasting capital, diverting transport and reducing employment. Foreign trade, by contrast, either survived untouched or even increased. This had nothing to do with Japan's wartime control of Korea, the alleged goal of Japanese capitalists, but resulted from improved quality in tea exports, mainly for the West, and the continuation of trade with China through the port of Hong Kong.1 On balance, much more evidence is required before we believe those who blame industrial capitalists or a jingoistic public for starting or perpetuating the war. On the surface, there was an immense wave of commercial patriotism and the consumer public received constant reminders of the war. Daily foodstuffs were given martial names and one might purchase Medal Tobacco, or soaps, sake and canned foods under the brand name Great Victory; restaurants served Triumphal Return dishes; confectionery was emblazoned with the Japanese flag or scenes of Chinese troops in flight; the Imperial Badge Company worked day and night to supply the boom in wartime demand; women were offered Grand Victory clips for their obi belts, while new hairstyles for girls were called the Victory Style or the Honour and Glory Style; hairpins took the form of a tiny cavalry sabre; army and navy hats became the fashion in Tokyo, and children's swords, wooden rifles, military caps and flags were all popular. In the arena of adult amusement, the geisha world offered patriotic discounts to troops and incorporated new militarised terminology: requesting a geisha was termed the 'call up', looking over an establishment was known as 'reconnaissance', a group of dancing girls was known as an 'army band', and a 'waitress' became a 'member of the Red Cross'. The geisha themselves adopted new sobriquets for their clients such as 'soldier' or 'Northward ho, soldier'; favourite clients were dubbed 'General Yamagata' or 'General Oyama', while the unpleasant were reviled as a 'Li Hung-chang'. 2 All this froth and activity, however, is misleading. Service industries, fashion, toys and confectionery inevitably sought to


Japan's First Modern War

exploit the transient enthusiasm of victory. For business in general, however, war created uncertainty. This was reflected in the stock market on the eve of war and into its first weeks: even those concerns expecting military contracts such as railways, textiles and rice producers suffered a sharp loss in share prices. 3 Japan's victories may have restored some confidence but the direct benefits were limited to selected industries. Overall, small businesses were deprived of investment funds by the money drought caused by donations and war bonds, and financial institutions, also top-heavy with bond purchases and perhaps fearing a third issue, were hesitant to approve further loans.4 Wartime austerity also struck many service and retail industries; the entertainment business, luxury trades and wares were hit particularly hard. Few people had money left over from the varied demands of war; many theatres were empty and actors 'resting', jewellers were losing custom, flower sales collapsed, and lantern-makers lost out as monies usually devoted to celebrations and festivals went instead to the army. Businessmen and officials reduced their patronage of restaurants and singing girls and this may help explain the geisha discounts. New houses and constructions were deferred, leaving builders, plasterers, gardeners and related tradesmen virtually unemployed, while the decline in sales for non-war related goods meant an overall reduction in road and river traffic. The numbers of men involved in the transport industry were considerable: according to the Kokumin newspaper of 5 May 1895, there were 40 258 rickshaws in Tokyo alone, and underemployed rickshaw pullers became prime targets for recruitment as battlefield coolies. Many small businesses, rather than promoting or prolonging the war, were reckoning their losses: as one newspaper put it late in 1894, 'Every businessman is praying for the speediest resolution to the war.'5 Whatever patriotic enthusiasm was felt by ordinary Japanese was counterbalanced by the war's impact on prices and wages. As soon as hostilities commenced, the price of daily items such as pickled vegetables and bean paste leaped to unprecedented heights in Tokyo; this was true also of ume-boshi, one of the staples of the troops' diet, while in late August, tinned beef, the most expensive of all military foods, jumped from 6.5 yen for a dozen tins to 9.67 yen.6 Inflation came to everyone, wage rises to the few. Figures on wage trends over the war months, al-

The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


t h o u g h very patchy, are available for Hiroshima. These show n o increase in wages for stonemasons, joiners, a n d bricklayers; day labourers enjoyed a brief rise of 5 sen daily at the e n d of 1894 b u t d r o p p e d back to 30 sen per day by March 1895; farm day labourers r e m a i n e d on 25 sen. Wages soared about 25 per cent at the year's e n d for carpenters a n d plasterers b u t were in decline by March. T h e largest rises went to those employed in tinned goods: a male worker received 35 sen per day in August 1894 b u t 50 sen by October. By March 1895, however, the rate h a d collapsed to 27 sen: a similar rise a n d fall, u p from 10 to 15 t h e n down to 7 sen, was experienced by female workers in the same industry. 7 Yet Hiroshima was the city with the most dramatic wartime prosperity as the inflow of money, goods, a n d m e n generated custom for all kinds of industries, lucrative contracts for local suppliers, a n d full-time employment for those involved in haulage a n d road transport. Simultaneously, however, this b r o u g h t spiralling inflation with prices of some commodities exceeding the levels of metropolitan Tokyo a n d Osaka; with local wages overall showing little or n o i m p r o v e m e n t the result was to impoverish the many. 8 Moreover, what needs to be kept in m i n d is the general poverty of b o t h rural a n d u r b a n J a p a n . Only o n e day after the declaration of war, a mass of impoverished Osaka residents h a d stormed a rice dealer's store a n d t h r e a t e n e d to kill him if h e did n o t relinquish his m o n o poly. Poverty, or opportunism, may also be credited with an a p p a r e n t wartime rise in theft in Gifu prefecture, as well as various scams c o n n e c t e d to the war, including o n e r e p o r t e d from Tochigi prefecture: farmers h a d b e e n intimidated into selling their horses at below market prices after being warned the army would soon requisition them; the horses were then sold, presumably at inflated levels, to those whose stock h a d already b e e n requisitioned. 9 Patriotism, it would seem, was a luxury for those who could afford it. T o Japanese businessmen, however, patriotism was a valuable commodity. In traditional values, still strong on the eve of war, m e r c h a n t s had lain at the b o t t o m of the social hierarchy beh i n d warriors, farmers a n d artisans. Elevation in this hierarchy seemed initially possible u n d e r the Meiji slogan of 'rich nation, strong army', b u t the growing p r e c e d e n c e given to 'strong army' a n d the militarisation of values, placing service a n d sacrifice over materialism a n d personal accumulation, reinforced


Japan's First Modern War

social distaste for capitalism. The early Diet failed to support the political interests of business, concerning itself more with the rural sector. Consequently, as Byron Marshall has explained, capitalists turned to nationalism as a means to improve their standing and, in war, patriotism offered a new legitimacy for self-advertisement. Businessmen were prominent supporters of victory celebrations such as the mass public gathering in Tokyo in December 1894, and the Victory Arch erected for the emperor's return to Tokyo. Thus, even where the war did not directly profit them, there were indirect profits to be made. However, wealth brought with it social responsibilities. One of the wealthiest families in Japan was Mitsui, bankers to the Meiji government. In October 1894, having already donated immense sums to the forces, the family further demonstrated its patriotism with the offer to the army ministry to build and fit a new weapons factory at its own expense; construction began on 27 November at the port of Moji in northern Kyushu.10 However, business support for the war was qualified by self-interest. This is suggested by the experience of Mitsui, Fukuzawa Yukichi and others. On 1 August 1894, they established a patriotic support society, the Hokokukai, to raise donations from commerce and industry. Within three months, the society had collapsed as members used the pretext of war bond purchases to avoid paying further donations. 11 Of course, there were also direct profits to be had for the few. Okura Kihachiro provided the army with tinned goods and other supplies, while the Mitsubishi company was able to benefit greatly from the wartime and postwar expansion of domestic naval production. Where business concerns had to be careful was in avoiding the charge of profiteering. That people expected business to be exploitative rather than patriotic is implied by the actions of the Hiroshima prefectural government: even before the start of war, it warned officers of the local rice and cotton exchange that unreasonable profits would not be allowed; subsequent checks were also placed in Hiroshima on rickshaw businesses and regional food and drink shops. Some businessmen also called on their colleagues to forfeit excessive wartime profits and limit prices on military supplies.12 However, in Hiroshima and other cities, cases of bad faith were frequently exposed. Okura himself became the target of public criticism when some tins of food for the army were found to

The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


contain stones; this may have led the army ministry in June 1895 to announce plans for its own canning factory.13 The ascendancy of capitalism over patriotism, however, extended across the range of production. One of the boom commodities of the war was the national flag but a group of villages in Gifu deciding to use its funds to provide each house with a flag was sorely disappointed; not only were the flags more expensive than expected, the goods purchased from a Nagoya dealer proved unspeakably shabby and the village leaders were frightened to reveal them in public.14 Each instance of unfair dealing only served to nullify the patriotic activities of other businessmen. In passing, even more than the quality of the merchandise, the fact that villages were only now thinking of obtaining the national flag may tell us something of Japanese patriotism at the time. THE BUSINESS OF RELIGION At the risk of incurring eternal damnation, we might suggest that organised religion in the war against China had much in common with business; in both spheres of activity there were rival groups trying to increase their market-share and, to this end, dispatching representatives around the country, advertising their services in the press, and, in some cases, attempting to undermine the opposition. However, while the war brought a mix of profit and loss to business, the profits were more clearcut in the case of religion. This was due to the wartime demand for their specialist services and to the relatively few groups involved; in broad terms, these were the nativist religion of Shinto, the varied and mutually competing Buddhist sects, and a small but influential Christian presence. Curiously, with the exception of the military-administered Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japanese scholars have not shown great interest in the relationship between modern war and religion; this seems particularly true with respect to Buddhism. Yet religion and war are inseparable; the Christian soldier and the Islamic warrior are merely two cases in point (an even more extreme case being the Aztec). They are also bound up in nationalism (and imperialism) and the most potent of nationalist myths surround the cult of the fallen hero or the unknown warrior. That religion


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was also fundamental to modern Japanese nationalism and the armed forces is obvious in the cult of divinity surrounding not only the emperor as Shinto god and commander-in-chief, but also the official belief that Japan's war dead themselves became gods at the Yasukuni Shrine. However, rather than consider the theological relations between army and religion in the war, the following pages will comment on the wartime activities of institutional Shinto, Buddhism, and finally Christianity. In 1894-5, the Japanese map was dotted with arenas of religious worship. One estimate gave 193 242 Shinto shrines and 72 154 Buddhist temples.15 Japanese are renowned for an exceptional tolerance, some would say indiscrimination, towards religion which allows the individual to subscribe to more than one faith; this pluralist approach was not uncommon in ancient Europe. Religious organisations, on the other hand, did not always take such a complacent attitude. This was particularly so after 1868 when the Meiji government attempted to undermine the earlier supremacy of Buddhist temples and foster Shinto as a new state religion. This was not successful and Shinto hovered in political limbo from the 1880s. Buddhism, meanwhile, grew in efficiency and sophistication as it worked to recover its former position. From the 1870s, however, it was forced also to contend with Christianity, now legalised by the government to please the West. Protestantism found special favour among young Japanese of the former samurai class for its values of hard work and sacrifice. Also among those seeking explanations for the West's strength and Asia's weakness, Christianity had a distinct advantage over Buddhism. The war against China, however, and Japan's military success, offered new possibilities but also posed new questions to Japanese religions. Despite its organisational weakness and theological poverty, Shinto was the religion best placed in Japan to benefit from war. It is essentially an animist belief of agricultural productivity, of the fertility of the land, or, equally, a belief of virility. Shinto is also a purely Japanese belief and its uniqueness, at least up to 1945, was officially represented by the emperor as a living Shinto god. We have already seen that Emperor Meiji took no part in Shinto rites during the war: in fact, the presence or absence of the emperor, despite all the pre-1945 (and some post-1945) rhetoric, was ultimately immaterial; had he not existed, some corporeal symbol of Shinto would of necessity been

The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


invented. Rather, it was the uniquely and purely Japanese nature of Shinto which made it so valuable to modern nationalism, especially as the authorities sought reasons for Japan's peculiar success on the battlefield. Thus, the limbo of the 1880s was ended with the Sino-Japanese war and official support of Shinto expanded rapidly from the late 1890s. Before the war, Shinto existed on two levels: at the centre of the village or town, and at the national level centred on the emperor. There was, however, nothing solid in between: villagers may have travelled as pilgrims to certain imperial shrines but villages across the country were not united by shrines. Instead, the town or village shrine symbolised narrow, local loyalties, and attempts by the government in the 1900s to merge shrines were bitterly resented. The war with China closed the gap between the two levels of Shinto and enhanced its overall national character. In many communities, news of an imperial army or navy victory was followed immediately by a gathering at the local shrine; hearing of the fall of P'yongyang, prefectural, city and ward officials in Gifu city, as well as members of the chamber of commerce and Japan Red Cross, went directly to the city's Inaba Shrine to give thanks for the army's success. They were quickly followed by the city's elementary schoolchildren. 16 This was repeated with each new victory. Throughout Japan, the common site for the national flag (even if it was somewhat ragged) was atop the village shrine. Prayers for the imperial forces held over several days were frequently conducted in regional shrines and these were advertised in the press to attract a wider audience. Delegations were also sent from villages to offer prayers for victory at the major shrines; in the case of Gifu prefecture, groups of about one hundred were sent to the nearby Atsuda Shrine, and smaller delegations went to the central Shinto shrine at Ise. The greatest beneficiary of the war was the Yasukuni shrine for Japan's military dead. Newspaper reports claimed that provincial visitors to Tokyo were now as likely to call first at the Yasukuni as at the established entertainment centres of Asakusa and Ueno. 17 This probably had more to do with the display of war trophies at the Yushukan, the military gallery housed within the shrine, as crowds flocked to see the captured Chinese uniforms, banners and weapons. Some of these trophies were loaned to other celebrations with equal success, while relics of


Japan's First Modern War

the sixteenth-century Hideyoshi invasion of Korea were exhibited at a shrine near Hiroshima and viewed by some troops before their departure for the front. Around Japan, the symbolic role of the Yasukuni was taken by the provincial shrines for war dead (shokonsha) and these became a focal point of community celebrations for the war: for example, on 3 November 1894, the Anpachi society of the Japan Red Cross held a rally in front of the Ogaki city Shokonsha to celebrate both the emperor's birthday and the military victories to date (as well as using the date and the place to promote its own membership). 18 However, the impact of the war strengthened the military character of all Shinto institutions, less as sites of remembrance, and more as emblems of life, power and virility as demonstrated by Japan's victorious armed forces. Thus, Shinto was joined in the evolving triumvirate of nationalism, militarism and religion and, whereas it had been primarily an agrarian belief, it was henceforth increasingly the religion of the military. In this sense, the lack of doctrine and the concentration on ritual in Shinto made it a peculiarly useful tool for nationalism and the military. In contrast with the weak organisation of Shinto at national level, Buddhism was highly organised across Japan. The head temples were mainly based in Kyoto but affiliates were to be found in all regions. In October 1894, in its advertisement for a new insurance company (showing a decidedly modern and businesslike approach to salvation), the leading Shinshu sect claimed over 20 000 temples (ji-in) and more than two million households as believers.19 The far more intricate theology of Buddhism meant that it was divided into competing schools and, within those schools, into rival sects. During the conflict, however, all groups supported the war both on a theological and a practical level. Thus, much like churches in the West, Buddhist doctrine prohibited killing but state-approved murder was not only legal, it was morally justified. The wartime activities of the various sects centred on funeral rites for the war dead, raising funds for the military, and increasing the profile of Buddhism among the armed forces. On the battlefront, Buddhist priests officiated at funeral ceremonies and offered religious support to the troops. In a role to be developed in later years, the sects also cultivated links with Buddhist organ-

The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


isations in China and Korea in the interests of racial cooperation. The saying in Japan is 'born Shinto, die Buddhist'. As this implies, Shinto was equated with life and activity, Buddhism with death and stillness. The beauty of the war, however, was that it produced both victories and martyrs. The most important role of Buddhist organisations, therefore, was in conducting military funerals and prayers for victory or remembrance of the war dead. These prayer meetings often lasted for several days and included priests from a number of temples; major ceremonies of remembrance were performed by all sects at Hiroshima and Kure naval base in February 1895. The public frequently attended in their hundreds or sometimes thousands, and it was not unusual for the priests to add speeches calling for donations to the armed forces and to include a little selfpromotion by explaining the tenets of Buddhism.20 As the remains of war dead, mostly victims of illness, slowly returned to Japan, the number of public military burials also increased. Although there are recorded instances of Shinto burials, the overwhelming majority were conducted according to Buddhist rites. Public burials were unprecedented in their scale and the range of classes in attendance; this enhanced the prominence of Buddhism generally and links with the war dead strengthened its patriotic image. However, despite the benefits thus on offer, a discordant note is heard from one part of Gifu in which it is reported that military funerals were so long-winded and boring, with innumerable and extended eulogies, that only priests of the Rinzai sect were assiduous in their attendance. 21 Buddhist sects not only called on others to make patriotic donations, they contributed money and gifts from their own resources. Otani Koson, head priest of the Nishi Honganji, was an early visitor to Hiroshima in August 1894; he gave high quality sake to the army and dispatched a special envoy, Kato Esho, with several thousand Buddhist tracts for troops at the front. The famous Shinshoji temple at Narita gave over 1200 yen to the forces and, on a visit to the imperial headquarters and military hospitals at Hiroshima in December 1894, the head priest donated 175 yen in cash and 6000 paper charms (mamorifuda) for the troops' protection. Buddhist leaders were notable visitors to the military hospitals both in Hiroshima and


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around the country, while a women's group affiliated to the Otani sect was active in preparing bandages. Buddhist organisations were also heavily engaged in guaranteeing the success of the war bonds; on the eve of the first issue, one of the Honganji sects publicly announced its intention to buy 500 000 yen of war bonds. 22 However, while there was a leap in public attendance at temples and rising sales of protective charms, Buddhist resources were also limited: the Myoshinji sect, the most powerful of the Rinzai school, clashed with its Mappa sub-temples when it attempted to collect over 50 yen in temple contributions; with war bonds and gifts to the forces, such a sum was simply beyond reach and the Mappa temples of Aichi prefecture began looking to split from the main organisation. 23 Buddhist priests were also brought more directly into contact with troops both at home and on the battlefield. Accommodation either at divisional centres or in Hiroshima was overstretched by the wartime mobilisation and temples often served as temporary billets (army horses were also stabled in temple grounds, and in one case a temple in Hiroshima served briefly as an army hospital). Sometimes troops might remain at a temple for several weeks and their unease while waiting to enter the fray undoubtedly made them more than usually receptive to religious counsel. It was also a rare experience, of course, for ordinary men to stay any length of time at a temple, to see its workings and to appreciate its environment. An unsubstantiated press comment was that virtually all of the early troops sent to Korea in July 1894 were disciples of the Nishi Honganji sect, as were some 70 per cent of the Japanese resident in Seoul, Inch'on and Pusan. Whatever the merits of this claim, there is evidence that some troops previously indifferent to Buddhism were converted by the simplicity of the priest's lifestyle and the strength of his belief. In addition, Buddhist priests around Japan were active in raising support in money and goods for the families of soldiers while on duty, thus further improving the goodwill they enjoyed from the forces.24 At the outset of war, without making any firm distinction, the army called for Buddhist and Shinto priests to serve as battlefield chaplains. As at home, their principal duties were to officiate at military funerals, give comfort to the sick and wounded, and offer general support to the troops. Even more than at home, however, religion was given a mass audience and strong

The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


official support: the first memorial service, held at P'yongyang on 3 October 1894, was conducted by Buddhist priests of the Nichiren school and was attended by several hundred officers and men with General Yamagata himself leading the paying of respects. Later, at a grand and solemn Shinto ceremony for the war dead at Chinchou on 21 December 1894 there were perhaps twenty thousand troops, coolies, and local Chinese.25 It was not unusual for the armies to combine Shinto and Buddhist elements: on 24 March 1895, a Shinto service of remembrance was held in the Liaotung peninsula but with a Buddhist priest (Hiramatsu Riei) from the Otani group reading the sutra. Yet most funerals were conducted according to Buddhist rites. This gave Buddhism an important and ongoing role with the forces and all the various sects sent priests to the front. The indications are, however, that while an occasional priest had accompanied the forces early in the war, the first group of sixteen only left Japan late in December 1894; as late as 30 March 1895, the Buddhist newspaper, Kyoto Shimpo, notes that only seven priests had been dispatched by the main Shinshu sect though another two were due for departure. Equally minimal were the activities of priests with the navy: the very first priests to attend the navy, two men from the Soto sect, only began work at the end of March 1895.26 As of February 1895, the army made it easier for priests conscripted in the reserves to gain exemption and serve the forces in a religious capacity. However, outside of the mass funeral and remembrance ceremonies, it is questionable whether they were much comfort to the troops. The majority of priests arrived just as the war had entered its winter hibernation and the elements imposed severe restrictions on any form of activity. This is clear in the diary of a Shinshu priest, Ito Dogetsu, posted to the 2nd Army in Manchuria: (31 January 1895) This morning the cold is unprecedented. The window is buffeted by the snow and wind. Only the doctor has a sheet of glass in his window and it rattles, while the fine snow blows in through the folds of the curtain. The intense cold always cuts into the bones so today I ripped up a blanket and made my own body armour. This evening, soldiers from the neighbouring room came and built up the fire. I couldn't sleep at all. They were in an indescribable


Japan's First Modern War

state, their overcoats soaked right through by the snow. I heard news of Port Arthur and that the common troops are inclined to seek help from the Shinto and Buddhist gods. (1 February) . . . In the afternoon, I went to recite prayers at the military cemetery. On the way back, my face was badly swollen because of the cold wind. Back inside, a post carrier from Korea was cooking some millet; I took the heat from his cooking and gradually my cheeks returned to normal. 27 When the armies moved, so the priests moved, but they were untrained for war and no soldiers were available to look after them. Thus, on one occasion, Ito and his companion found themselves left behind and, though managing to locate a cart, the first men they encountered proved to be Chinese peasants whom they initially thought were out to murder them. Had this been so, they would have had little chance of survival. Where Buddhism had a distinct and important long-term role was in improving Japan's relations with its neighbours. Buddhism in Japan originated from China and Korea and the communion of scripture and belief offered prospects for regional co-operation simply unavailable (as Japanese colonists were later to discover) from the more parochial Shinto. As recognised by some Meiji leaders as early as 1871, Buddhist priests travelling to China or Korea might also act as useful gatherers of intelligence. The Honganji sects were the most active in supporting Japanese influence on the continent; the Higashi Honganji had established a branch at Shanghai in 1876 and, in the same year, had begun religious activities in Korea, developing language skills and establishing links with Korean Buddhists. 28 During the war, Japanese Buddhists regularly visited Chinese prisoners of war to offer them solace and, on the battlefront, Japanese and Chinese priests at Port Arthur jointly presided over a remembrance service for Chinese dead in January 1895; priests from various Japanese sects also conducted a service for Chinese war dead in the following May.29 In Korea, meanwhile, it was the influence of Japanese Buddhists which finally won repeal of the centuries-old prohibition on priests entering the capital. Acknowledging the potential to build on these links, the Nishi Honganji sect in 1895 established a Chinese and Korean language research centre in Japan.

The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


The mission of Japanese Buddhism as the agent of wider Asian unity and progress was one theme of a short story published during the war. In his Nis-Shin Gundan Isao Kagami, the author, Nagaike Gofu, explained that war against China had awakened Japanese to the fact that Buddhism was essential to civilisation; to his fictional character this realisation had come after hearing priests attached to the armies from the two Honganji sects. Buddhism, he argued, was also the basis of military success although, in support, he offered what can only be called a novel reading of two sixteenth-century warlords, Takeda Shingen, a devout Buddhist, and Oda Nobunaga (who annihilated Takeda's forces in 1575 and subsequently razed the most powerful of Buddhist temples), a confirmed enemy of Buddhist institutions. However, with popular acceptance of its importance to culture and military strength, Nagaike argued, the way was now open for Japan to use Buddhism to bring an understanding of loyalty and patriotism (chukun aikoku) to the peoples of China and Korea.30 There are some who argue that Christianity responded to the war more positively than any other religion, and Notto Thelle has written that Buddhist activities pale in comparison with those of Japanese Christians.31 This is overstated. A few Christian intellectuals such as Uchimura Kanzo wrote in defence of Japan's war but action on the ground was very small-scale. Japanese Christians were involved in arranging for donations to the forces, distributing some bibles to the troops, and in arranging for army nurses; there was an Anglican chapel at Hiroshima open to the soldiers; there were also overseas contributions from Britain, the US, Australia and elsewhere which were used to send priests to the front. However, it was not until after mid-February that the five Japanese Christian priests arrived in the theatre of war, and their effectiveness was undoubtedly greatest with those soldiers, perhaps several hundred, who were already practising Christians.32 Indeed, the dispatch of Christian chaplains provoked criticism: one Western correspondent asserted that Christianity had nothing to offer Japanese patriotism and, 'This is just the time for Christian workers to keep away from the camps of the Armies at the f r o n t . . . It is a meddlesome piece of business these men have undertaken.' 33 Buddhists agreed. The Jodo school newspaper, Meikyo Shinshi, argued on 2 February 1895:


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What profit is there in clergymen attending the armies? . . . what do they intend to do? This war is originally a conflict for civilization and we do not disapprove of Christian believers with the armies. It is merely to be hoped that they do not impair our fighting spirit; we remain skeptical as to whether Christianity can strengthen the military heart. Hostility towards Christianity's expansion under the shield of imperialism in Asia was a factor uniting Japanese and other Buddhists and this had been a key argument in the Honganji's initial approaches to Chinese and Koreans in the 1870s. Wartime arguments from Buddhists stressed the foreign origins of Christianity and implied that Christian Japanese were not to be trusted. This was supported, according to one unconfirmed report, by an imperial prince in the army who instructed any Christians in his division to renounce their faith.34 Christianity in wartime Japan was on trial; it needed to demonstrate its compatibility with Japanese nationalism. However, the alien origins of the faith meant that Christians were never fully accepted. They had to be nationalists first and Christians only a remote second; this was made more difficult in later years as Japan's relations with the West deteriorated. The difficulty, however, was already established in 1894-5 as Shinto and Buddhism came to define more clearly the religious aspect of modern Japanese nationalism, and ideas of Buddhist pan-Asianism against Christianity underscored Japan's evolving imperialism.

THE BURDEN OF MILITARY FAMILIES In what is considered a short and simple war, the frequent assumption is that Japanese offered their support en masse and that the unbroken run of military victories prevented hardship at home. As we have already seen, however, war bonds and donations to the services caused a severe drain on personal incomes, prices rose heavily on basic goods, many businesses faced a decline in custom and workers consequently suffered reduced employment. Wartime austerity also meant that local projects such as new schools and drainage had to be deferred: in Tottori prefecture, prewar flood devastation made water

The Home Front: Patriotism, Profit and Loss


control the top priority but the call-up of labour and the wartime rise in construction costs meant that no action had been taken when floods hit again in September 1894.35 Indeed, any Japanese popular support for militarism and overseas expansion, then or later, may well have been strengthened by the volatile natural environment. During the war, reports of victories in Korea and China were regularly interspersed with details of local catastrophes quite apart from the more than 35 000 deaths from dysentery by December 1894. Between late August and the end of October there had been storms, floods, or earthquakes in the prefectures of Akita, Oita, Shimane, Tottori and Yamagata, with a total dead or injured in excess of 1800, and more than 37 000 houses destroyed or damaged. Newspaper notices urging donations to help the victims temporarily displaced even calls for money to the forces. However, these dead and injured were not treated as patriotic martyrs; the central government, late in 1894, even warned earthquake victims in Yamagata prefecture that it could offer them no aid in view of the war.36 For tens of thousands of Japanese, therefore, considerations of the war were displaced by more immediate troubles and the response of their government can hardly have boosted their feelings of patriotism. The people hardest hit as a direct result of the war were the families of soldiers and sailors. It was recognised that troops were unlikely to fight well if they were distracted by troubles at home: the ideal that soldiers should think only of serving the emperor and Japan was far from a reality. Thus, counties, towns and villages were repeatedly urged to organise community support for military families in distress.37 In practice, however, central and prefectural governments themselves did little to coordinate or ensure family relief beyond issuing general instructions: in the case of Hiroshima, the prefectural authorities appear to have fixed only the level of subsidies to families of public officials, such as tax officers, policemen and schoolteachers, as well as workers of the Hiroshima mine, who were called up for active or reserve service.38 Obviously there were variations in the number of men taken from any village and the level of affluence enjoyed by families left behind, but the prefectural governors do not appear to have offered any clear guidance on the matter. The extent of hardship is indicated by reports from the


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Ogaki region in Gifu that families of one-third of the 45 noncommissioned officers called up for service were on the point of starvation even before war was actually declared. 39 A similar ratio later in the war is suggested by reports from other regions. A study commissioned by the Hiroshima prefectural government and presented early in October divided the families of soldiers into four categories: those with no means of support and in extreme difficulties; those only surviving with assistance from relatives or friends; those in difficulties but not requiring aid; and those experiencing no hardship. Of the 4116 families included in the report, 1295 were in the first or second categories.40 Within the region, Hiroshima city itself showed the widest variation with both the largest number of families in despair (86), and almost the largest number of those feeling no adverse effects (206 - one other county exceeding this figure by a single family). These extremes may have been influenced by the mixture of sudden prosperity and rapid inflation caused by the arrival of troops and coolies from all over Japan. Arranging support for the bulk of military families was left to the authorities at town and village level, and funding was provided either from local revenues or charitable donations. In Furukawa city, Ibaragi prefecture, for example, a 51-member military support committee was set up by the local government early in September 1894. Running costs were defrayed by the committee members, comprising the town and ward heads as well as local notables. Inevitably, their funds were limited and support for distressed families had to compete with all the other duties of such a committee; these included arranging an honour guard to the station and farewell gifts for all departing troops. In the case of the Ogaki Jitsugyo Seinenkai (Ogaki Business Youth Group), also set up at the inspiration of county and town heads, 400 yen was accumulated in donations and a scale of subsidies was established: this provided each family 1 yen 50 sen per month for a boy over 15; 1 yen 20 sen per month for a girl over 15; and 75 sen per month for any child under 15. In addition, for any man killed in battle or dying of illness, the bereaved family was to receive a further 3 yen. Of the 37 men from Ogaki in the war, 16 families were supported by this group alone.41 The lack of official co-ordination led to wide variations in the type and level of support for military dependents. In some

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areas, every household was expected to make a contribution; at Kasamatsu, the centre for sword practice in Gifu prefecture and presumably one of the better-organised towns, each house was asked to donate at least 5 sen and each military family was scheduled to receive a payment on average of 3 yen. The town of Godo, also in Gifu, decided on 1 September 1894 that the town was to bear the costs of subsidies ranging from 70 sen to 1 yen 50 sen per family per month. The village of Saka-nohigashi, meanwhile, pledged to give smaller sums, between 25 and 50 sen, for various sex and age groups of military families, but, in a somewhat macabre system of accountancy, to increase handsomely the reward for any soldier killed or wounded: 8 yen in the event of death, 5 yen where two limbs were lost or incapacitated, 4 yen for one limb, 5 yen for the loss of sanity, and 3 yen for any other wound.42 No doubt there were wives who seriously reckoned the profit and loss of a wounded husband as opposed to one insane! Elsewhere, there were some who argued against local government levies and proposed relying solely on donations. In Kanagawa prefecture, however, despite its proximity to Tokyo, there were local government fears early in 1895 over the inadequacy of support for military families and the gradual tiring of volunteers; one county in March 1895 warned of approaching starvation for some residents of desolate villages due to a lack of donations. Some villages simply made no real effort to address the problem until late in the war, while in others the burden was shifted more to family relatives; unfortunately, entrusting a wife and children to the parents of a soldier was not always an harmonious arrangement. 43 Either in place of, or in addition to, monetary support, some villages offered to help military families at harvest time until the man of the house returned. Some food was also donated by rice merchants or the better off; food donations, however, are noted both in August 1894 and again in February 1895, suggesting that families enjoyed no substantial improvement during the period. Benefits were available on various services: some doctors did not charge for medical care and the Japan Medicines Society gave free prescriptions; there were also photographers offering half-price photographs to be sent to relatives at the battlefront. Military families were admitted free to theatrical performances, there were some official banquets in their


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honour (at which donations were invited for the very poorest), and occasionally lantern shows were held as fund raisers. Despite some notable largesse - 10 000 yen from the former ruling family of Kagoshima and 5000 yen given by the former lord of Hiroshima, Marquis Asano - the elite do not appear to have made great contributions to the families. Even these grand sums had little impact when spread over an entire region: shared equally among the families of first and second reservists, the amount each received from Marquis Asano was less than IV2 yen. The regional association, Bisekai, established by Mori Motoaki and the former domain lords of Nagato and Suo (modern Yamaguchi prefecture) was unusual as an organisation of aristocrats deliberately aimed at assisting military families, providing them with monetary support in the event of a soldier's death (ranging from 100 yen for an officer to 20 yen for a common soldier), and promising a grand Shinto memorial for the war dead at Yamaguchi city upon the forces' return. 44 The cost, inefficiency, and ad hoc nature of the relief effort prompted moves to help military families help themselves; one proposal in Kanagawa early in 1895 was to provide them with seeds to grow their own food. A related exper iment was already under way in Yamaguchi prefecture where a group of wealthy farmers had put aside 20 000 yen to set up an organisation called the Nihon Shin'aisha; this was to provide work for those military families in distress and without jobs, or simply to provide money and rice to those too old or infirm for work.45 The trend towards self-sufficiency was even more pronounced in the later Russo-Japanese war when the Home Ministry announced: 'the utmost caution is taken to give relief by furnishing employment to those who need relief, so as to preserve and develop the spirit of independence and self-help in the heart of the relieved, and thus the abuses of giving out ready money are carefully avoided.'46 The demands of modern war on the male population thus gradually forced more women into wage labour, and the inability or refusal of the authorities to take responsibility for their welfare in times of war forced them to be more independent. This was especially true for those whose husbands were killed or maimed in the conflict. While the state was casual about providing relief for military families, it was intent on appropriating the funeral of soldiers

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for its goal of nation-building. The burial of soldiers was thus no longer a family or local community affair, it was the time and place at which the broader community combined. The government was very deliberate about this: documents from prefectural or county governments, for example, in Gifu, Hiroshima and Tochigi, show that all military dead were to be given public burials, that officials at county level and below were expected to attend, and that attendance by members of surrounding towns and villages was also to be encouraged. The home minister instructed prefectures to assist with funeral expenses for the war dead. In order to ensure the appropriate decorum for what was now a ceremony of state, lanterns, flags and flowers were also provided by local authorities. 47 In this way, military funerals and memorial stones came to play a vital role in nationalist ceremony similar to that identified by George Mosse for nineteenth-century Europe and the United States. The official history of Furukawa city in Ibaragi prefecture describes the funeral of a second-class infantryman buried at the Daisei-in in July 1895. Despite the low rank of the deceased, there were several thousand mourners. These included a representative of the county head, the local official in charge of conscription, the assembled heads of towns, villages and city wards, teachers and pupils of the Furukawa schools, members of the civic military support groups, and various Buddhist priests as well ordinary townspeople. At other funerals, police officials and members of the Red Cross were also commonly in attendance. In some areas, there may have been in all five to ten thousand mourners but this was naturally influenced by the concentration of population and the existence of communications: at military funerals in Gifu villages during 1894 the figure for attendance, still unprecedented for the region, was at most one thousand to fifteen hundred. 48 The crowds may have been motivated by the wartime rise in patriotism, the solemnity of the occasion with its wreaths and flags, or simply by social pressures; the memoirs of Ubukata Toshiro admit that some people felt resentment at being expected to lower themselves by attending the funeral of a soldier from the poorest level.49 The government's aim, however, was momentarily to abolish distinctions of wealth and class, distinctions reeking more of capitalism than nationalism, and, through the grandeur of the funeral, impart a special glory to death in


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the service of the state; this was further embellished by the establishment of imposing stone grave markers instead of the usual wooden tablets. Indeed, the state needed a certain number of war dead (not too many, of course) for what thus became its most powerful of nationalist rituals. In a morbid sense, therefore, the limited casualties of the Sino-Japanese war may even have been unsatisfactory and, perhaps to compensate, the funerals became increasingly ostentatious at the war's end. Showing that the citizen-subject had not entirely been subsumed in state thinking, however, officials in Tochigi in April 1895 instructed town and village heads to simplify burials and divert the monies saved to support the deceased's family.50

6 Novice Imperialist: Occupation Policies in Korea and Manchuria The Japanese empire before its utter collapse in 1945 was momentarily to cover much of East and Southeast Asia and extend deep into the Pacific. Its true origins, however, began with the Sino-Japanese war and the acquisition of Taiwan in 1895. During the war, Japan also took overriding political and military control of Korea and the occupied regions of Manchuria. It was these three territories, Taiwan, Korea and southern Manchuria, which were subsequently to develop longest under Japanese colonialism. Despite the relative brevity of Japan's formal empire, roughly contemporary with that of the US, it continues to determine attitudes towards Japan throughout its region: these attitudes range from benevolent memories in Taiwan to undiluted hostility among the majority of Koreans. Recognising this lingering impact, one historiographical trend in Japan in the 1990s is to reinterpret the country's modern history through its colonial relations. In so doing, one fact is inescapable; Japan was an anomaly among the late nineteenth-century imperial powers. This anomalous status is evident in two respects: first, Japan was the only non-Western power at the time actively expanding overseas, and secondly, unlike the Western empires, Japan's colonies were neither geographically nor, in broad terms, culturally remote. Rather, they were to be found in its immediate environs and shared certain features such as use of the Chinese script, an ethical and religious world-view based on Confucianism and, to a lesser degree, Buddhism and animism, and a social structure essentially geared towards rice production. This spatial and cultural proximity was later to distort Japanese colonialism, stretching it inexorably between the poles of Western-style imperialism and pan-Asian 'co-prosperity'. The basis of successful imperialism was self-confidence and knowledge about the territories under one's control; successful co-prosperity depended on the shared perception of mutual 123


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interests. The evidence of the Sino-Japanese war, however, especially with regard to Korea, was that Japan was largely ignorant of, and enjoyed no special bond with, its immediate neighbours: as England might say of Ireland or Russia of Poland, proximity made neither for successful imperialism nor co-prosperity. The ambivalence of Japan's international position also undermined its confidence in dealing with Korea or China: each policy had to be gauged against Western reactions, ending in a mix of policies ranging from virtual non-intervention in local affairs to gross over-intervention. In China, Japan had burdened itself with no grand 'civilising mission' and therefore was able to achieve its limited goals as well as maintain satisfactory relations both with local residents and Western interests. In Korea, however, Japan had committed itself to a Faustian pact in which it promised to modernise the peninsula in return for Western respect; hidden among the small print was the requirement that reforms take place with impossible speed and that any suggestion of Japan excluding Western interests in Korea, real or imagined, would be met with severe opposition. KOREA AND THE REFORM PROGRAMME Despite the conviction among Korean historians that Japan was planning annexation of the peninsula from the 1870s, the Japanese government had long fluctuated over Korea between interference and inaction. Only in 1894 did the Japanese authorities bring upon themselves the task of imposing reform on Korean society and no real thought had been given to the enormity of the task. Whereas the Meiji regime had achieved considerable success in altering its own society, this had been done over a period of years through trial and error, and had been violently challenged by the major samurai uprising in 1877-8. In Korea, the Japanese had no experience in dealing with the broader political system, no understanding of provincial society, few officials capable of speaking Korean, and no consolidated police or military presence. The Japanese population in Korea was of little help: it consisted mainly of poor labourers and petty traders long restricted to the few international ports, with the largest community of 4750 at Pusan in the

Novice Imperialist: Occupation Policies


deep south. However, Japan had defied Western opposition and gone to war nominally in defence of Korean interests; to head off further Western criticism, it was now essential to produce an instant improvement in Korean affairs. To achieve this, Japan attempted to rebuild Korea's polity and society by executive decree. The resulting confusion showed the Japanese either as foolishly over-confident or simply unrealistic, and also exposed the impossibility of transposing one state's experience onto another. At the start of war, the Japanese had not even considered why they should be in Korea beyond establishing a bulwark against Russian expansion. Korea had a limited, but highly emotive, value to Japan as a source of food and precious metals, but the market for Japanese goods was really too small to compare with that of China. As prime minister in 1890, General Yamagata had been the first to identify Korea as falling within Japan's strategic line of advantage, thus signalling the army's (but not navy's) readiness to go to war over the peninsula, and it was Yamagata who, in a memorandum from the battlefront in November 1894, provided the first real analysis of how to deal with Korea, maintain its independence from China without an extended Japanese garrison, and utilise it for Japan's long-term goals. In terms of preserving, or perhaps more accurately generating, long-term Korean support for Japan against China, Yamagata called for an influx of Japanese migrants, especially to northern Korea between P'yongyang and the border region of Uiju. Through their farming activities and the demonstration of Japan's superior civilisation, these migrants were intended to roll back Chinese influence among Koreans and perhaps also serve as a form of unofficial guard against foreign intruders. Similar ideas were later attempted in Manchuria in the 1930s with bands of young agrarian 'pioneers', but in Korea in the 1890s such migration was clearly optimistic: the north was difficult territory compared to the richer lands in the south, and Japanese agricultural settlers were to prove very few in number even after Japan finally admitted its own incompetence and annexed Korea in 1910. Yamagata, however, accepting contemporary wisdom about railway imperialism assumed that control of a track running through Korea to the Manchurian border would strengthen Japan's overall control of the region, promote local prosperity, and attract wider Japanese settle-


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ment. In August 1894, the Japanese government obtained the concession to build such a line between Pusan and Seoul. Korea, however, was already assuming in Yamagata's mind the subordinate position it was to take after Japan's 1905 seizure from Russia of the South Manchurian railway. While the peninsula was Japan's conduit to the vast Asian continent, a railway from Pusan and on to Uiju was to be merely the first stage in a Japanese route ultimately reaching to India, thus symbolically charting with it Japan's ascension to great-power status.1 From this and other evidence, it would appear the Japanese authorities expected control and development of Korea to be relatively straightforward. If so, they were greatly mistaken. The impatience of the Japanese and their lack of forethought became obvious in Seoul a few days before the start of war. Japanese troops brought about a clash with Korean guards on 23 July and used this as a pretext to occupy the Kyongbok palace. The queen and her children were taken to the Japanese legation and King Kojong was kept virtually a prisoner in his own capital. This treatment of the king was the clumsiest in a series of clumsy actions. As the British minister in Seoul, Walter Hillier, later noted: Patriotism in this country, in the true sense of the word, hardly exists, but there is a sort of veneration for the King as a sacred personage, and a feeling almost of horror at the indignities to which it is believed he has been subjected. At the present moment the authority of Japan does not extend beyond her line of sentries, and the Tonghaks, before regarded as rebels, are now looked upon as a loyal body of men pledged to rid the country of a hated invader.2 In this one-sided chess game, Japan was able to isolate the Korean king but not to hold him in check. In particular, it could not stop Kojong from seeing the Western representatives and to them he made it clear that he considered his life endangered; on one occasion, he even asked the British government for palace guards to protect him from Japan. 3 The Japanese failed to utilise the king's prestige as a positive force for reform, thus ignoring their own experience with the Emperor Meiji (they were not to make the same mistake in Manchukuo in the 1930s). In a settled pre-modern polity (as well as numerous modern systems), the person of the king was

Novice Imperialist: Occupation Policies


for better or worse the single, unchallenged symbol of the community's self-respect; Japan's rough handling of Kojong as some kind of petty chieftain immediately deprived it of popular support among the Koreans, allowing local officials instead to ignore instructions from Seoul on the grounds that these were not the king's orders but those of the Japanese or their 'puppets'. There were Korean statesmen, as there were later to be statesmen from China, the Philippines, India, Burma and elsewhere, who respected Japan's modernising success and hoped for a co-operative relationship to import the fruits of that experience. The key figure in Korea at the time was Kim Hong-jip, an experienced and progressive official who became prime minister of what may loosely be termed a pro-Japanese reform cabinet in July 1894; it was Kim who signed a treaty of alliance with Japan in the following month. Kim had first visited Japan on an official mission in mid-1880. Impressed by the dynamism of Meiji society, he returned to Seoul and proposed a wide variety of changes including new technology, trade and learning. At the time, Kojong had protected Kim against charges that he was merely a Japanese dupe or traitor, and attempted to implement some of his suggestions. Whether Kojong's enthusiasm for progress was diminished by the violence of the 1880s does not directly concern us. Kim, however, saw the arrival of Japanese troops and the receding coat-tails of Chinese forces as a chance finally to carry out reforms still pending from earlier years. As Japanese authorities later admitted, however, it was impossible in practical terms to establish a cabinet solely of Korean reformers. This would merely have isolated Japan's allies and made them a clearer target for their domestic opponents. In addition, Japanese expulsion of Korean conservatives would certainly have raised Western objections.4 Consequently, Japan tried to bring together * acceptable' conservatives, centrists and progressives, and channel reforms through the assault course of their conflicting opinions. This was the aim of the Deliberative Council (Kunguk Kimuch'o) established on 27 July 1894, the supreme state organ and overseer of Korean reform until its dissolution in December 1894. It was under this organ that the corpus of plans known as the Kabo reforms was issued. They are best described as plans because neither Japan nor the Earn


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administration had the power to enforce them. Indeed, they were not capable even of protecting Deliberative Council members, one of whom was cut to pieces in Seoul late in October 1894. The unrealistic nature of the council is best illustrated by the appointment as regent of the Taewon'gun, the king's father. This appointment had initially been proposed by Korean reformers and, despite his lifelong opposition to foreign influence, Japan chose to use the Taewon'gun's prestige to legitimise their reforms. The Taewon'gun, however, was never likely to be co-opted by Japan; instead, he used his position to assist the Chinese forces at P'yongyang and then later to aid the Tonghak in their armed struggle against the Japanese. Late in 1894, Japan finally decided to retire the Taewon'gun but was incapable of silencing him. Instead, the new Japanese minister at Seoul, Count Inoue Kaoru, attempted to strengthen the progressives in government by repatriating from exile in Japan two members of the failed 1884 coup. These men, Pak Yong-hyo and So Kwang-bom, were then appointed over Kojong's opposition as home and justice ministers respectively in the second Kim cabinet of December 1894. Japan, however, was never able to moderate political struggles among the Korean elite, leaving it with two choices; either withdraw or intervene in an even more drastic fashion. Pak Yong-hyo allegedly proposed the second alternative in 1895 either by suggesting or offering to arrange the assassination of the powerful queen. 5 Pak himself was to live long and prosper but his suggestion was ill-timed; whatever Inoue's personal views may have been, he was not about to undermine Japan's international reputation by implication in the murder of a supposedly friendly monarch. Pak soon found himself back in Japanese exile but the queen was indeed to be murdered late in 1895 by Japanese and Korean activists in co-operation with Inoue's successor at the Japanese legation. The exceptional brutality of the act notwithstanding, the murder merely highlighted once more the poverty of Japan's authority in Korea. On paper, the reform programme of the Deliberative Council acting under Japanese direction was immensely ambitious. It was also extremely hasty and poorly considered. Soon after its formation, the council was already announcing a complete renovation of Korea's political system: the royal house was sep-

Novice Imperialist: Occupation Policies


arated from government and eight modern ministries were created with the mission to reorder national finances, develop a more efficient legal and police system, improve welfare and public works, establish a new defence structure, and advance Korean agriculture, commerce and industry. In addition, work began on preparing textbooks in the native Korean script for use in a new school system based on the Japanese model. 6 This initial flurry of directives was later followed by a storm of other changes, among which social classes were abolished, the yangban elite given freedom to engage in commerce, the traditional civil service examination was revised, local government boundaries redrawn, slavery and child marriage prohibited, and widows freed to remarry. The proclamations on reform did nothing to convince Western observers that Japan was succeeding in its self-proclaimed task of improving Korea. Inoue, one of the most senior figures in the Japanese government and a former foreign minister, had taken over as Japan's minister at Seoul from October 1894 partly in response to these criticisms. There is some suggestion that he was himself under a cloud in 1894 due to rumours of corruption, but his arrival in Seoul was designed to achieve two goals. These were to utilise his status and abilities in hastening results in Korea and, as Foreign Minister Mutsu informed his overseas representatives, 'the presence in Korea of our military commander of highest rank necessitates the residence as minister of a personage of exalted rank and high prestige in order to keep up good relations between our civil and military authorities.' 7 Unlike diplomats in Manchuria, Inoue appears to have enjoyed comfortable relations with the Japanese army in Korea. This may well have been the result of his high status. Alternatively, it may have had something to do with the fact that Japan's main forces soon advanced into Manchuria or that Inoue himself was more preoccupied with local politics in Seoul. Inoue's policy in Korea, as he explained in a letter to Prime Minister Ito in December 1894, was modelled on Britain's experience in Egypt.8 Britain's unofficial proconsul, Lord Cromer, and his informal domination of the Egyptian kingdom was to be resurrected as a model by Ito himself as resident-general in Korea from 1906. Cromer, with typical imperial insouciance, frequently predicted it would take a hundred years before the Egyptians were ready once more to rule themselves. Inoue's


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more limited ambitions, however, were under a kind of foreign scrutiny with which Cromer never had to contend. Japanese policies in Korea, and perhaps especially the appointment of the two former coup plotters, brought condemnation from a variety of Westerners in Seoul. As the British minister explained: The sentiments expressed by my colleagues are echoed by every foreigner in this city. The American missionaries in particular, who were inclined at first to welcome the Japanese as the agents of providence for the regeneration of Korea, and to regard the war with China as a species of crusade, have now, almost without exception, completely changed their views.9 Following the example of British imperialism, Inoue hoped to bind Korean interests to Japan through large-scale loans secured on Korean tax revenue, and by the installation of numerous Japanese advisers in the Korean government. Moves on both of these fronts took place from December 1894. However, the advisers had only their own very different experience on which to base their advice and no power to implement their suggestions. Moreover, the weakness and timidity of Japanese finance was such that Inoue encountered long and arduous delays before he could even arrange a much smaller loan than the sum he felt was needed. 10 It would seem, as in later cases of Japanese imperialism, that where government or the military led, big business and finance were slow to follow. Even Japanese proposals on loan agreements and railway building, however, took place in an atmosphere divorced from reality. As the Korean foreign minister explained, the authority of the cabinet did not extend beyond a few miles from Seoul. Japan might thus dictate reform programmes and financial agreements at will, but it could not change Korea without first controlling the country. At a minimum, this would have required a second war, not over Korea, but with Korea. In fact, something similar was occurring even as Japan's armies settled into Manchuria late in 1894. THE TONGHAK WAR It is one of the ironies of the Sino-Japanese war that, while the

Novice Imperialist: Occupation Policies


Japanese forces enjoyed a good, businesslike relationship with civilians in areas of China, with the Koreans whom they claimed to defend, they were incessantly in conflict. Indeed, for much of the war with China, Japanese troops stationed in Korea found themselves under sporadic attack and, from October 1894 until the early months of 1895, engaged in an undeclared war with the civilian militia of the Tonghak. The Japanese army had initially tried to adopt a low profile in Korea. This was something of a vain attempt given its early attack on the king's guard. None the less, to limit the possibility for misunderstanding and conflict, the Imperial Headquarters and Foreign Minister Mutsu on 20 August 1894 ordered military and diplomatic officials in Korea to pursue harmonious relations with the Korean people and to remember that Korea was Japan's ally, not its enemy; infringements on Korean autonomy were to be avoided, and payment made for all supplies.11 Japan's efforts in this respect were acknowledged: the British minister noted in the fall of 1894 that the Japanese were anxious to refrain from using force and he personally had heard of no authenticated instance of Koreans being mistreated. 12 However, there were examples of extraordinary carelessness by the Japanese authorities. Copies of a history of Japan's sixteenth-century invasion of Korea were dispatched to increase the troops' fighting spirit but they were unlikely to promote respect for the Koreans, and one provincial newspaper noted the inevitable question asked by any literate Korean encountering the Japanese, 'Is it true the descendants of Hideyoshi are coming back to Korea?'13 This insensitivity to Korean feeling was reinforced by the Japanese army which issued exchange notes bearing the face of the third-century regent, Jingu, the mythical conqueror of Korea. The army had failed to stress Korean language training for its officers, instead providing them with the more prestigious but far less immediately practical skills of German, French, English and Russian. Relations with ordinary Koreans for the thousands of Japanese troops pouring through its ports and on through its countryside were barely helped by the dispatch of several thousand Japanese-Korean phrasebooks at the start of the war - on previous experience a typical passage might have been along the lines of 'Where is the Japanese legation?' Answer: 'It is the burning building over there.' 14 More serious problems erupted


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over the employment of Korean coolies. Tensions had already been heightened by those coolies who fled with army supplies, but there were also criticisms in Japan that Korean coolie wages were relatively too high and should be reduced. Early in September 1894, clashes broke out at Taegu in central southern Korea after the Japanese army lowered wages and caused the Koreans to divide into two groups; one willing to accept the cut and one adamantly opposed. The result was at least two Korean dead and ten injured.15 Attempts by the army and diplomats to soothe Korean feelings were also undermined by their failure to control Japanese traders entering Korea under cover of the war. The influx of carpet-baggers and the hubris of victory led in many cases to harsh dealings with Korean civilians; these were criticised by Japanese and neutral observers alike. As Count Inoue noted in the language of the time: The Japanese [in Korea] are not only impolite, but often insult the Koreans. They are rude in their treatment of Korean customers and when there is some slight misunderstanding they do not hesitate to appeal to fists, and even go so far as to throw Koreans into rivers or use weapons. . . . Those who are not merchants are still more rude and violent. They say they have made Korea independent, they have suppressed the Tonghaks, and those Koreans who dare oppose them, who dare disobey them, are ungrateful fellows.16 Whether framed in terms of imperialism or of co-prosperity, the view that Japan had sacrificed its men for the sake of Korea was to be a constant refrain of Japanese public and official discourse, and was to be used in future years to justify continued bullying of the Korean people. Pacification of unrest in Korea was the responsibility of the Japanese forces in alliance with the Korean army. The latter had been disarmed by Japan after seizure of the Kyongbok palace but the Korea-Japan treaty of 26 August 1894 restored it to nominal duty. Its activities during the war, however, remained severely limited. The Korean military supplied four officers and fifty men as guides to the Japanese army on its march north from Seoul in September 1894, and officials were also sent to dissuade the people from obstructing the Japanese advance. In March 1895, the Korean war minister was sent to

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the Japanese forces in Manchuria with gifts and words of goodwill from his king, but this was a symbolic gesture (and one most unwelcome to the minister concerned) intended merely to support the fiction that Japan enjoyed solidarity with the Korean government and people. 17 Attacks on Japanese troops in Korea had taken place since the start of war. A contemporary history recorded that two thousand Japanese troops leaving Pusan were assaulted by Korean guerrillas some time in September 1894 and suffered heavy casualties.18 In response, Japan was forced to send about two thousand fresh troops to guard the Pusan region merely to strengthen its base. Several thousand Korean troops, recruited by officials in the provinces of P'yongan and Hwanghae, were also said to have fought beside the Chinese at P'yongyang; this was borne out by the presence of 149 Koreans among Japan's prisoners of war.19 The military telegraph between Pusan and Seoul was repeatedly damaged between August and September, thus threatening Japan's flimsy communications. As Japan marched northward, Koreans accused of disrupting the line were dealt with brutally; on the road to P'yongyang in October 1894, Sergeant Hamamoto noted the decapitated heads of Koreans who had cut the telegraph and attempted to aid the Chinese forces. One Korean historian, Pak Chong-gun, asserts that war damage in the northern provinces of P'yongan and Hwanghae only increased the opposition to Japan: in support, however, he merely quotes isolated instances of ill-will, including the rather un threatening Asahi newspaper warning of 20 September that: 'there are frequently peasants looking for revenge against Japan and small groups travelling at night will be met by not a few Koreans throwing stones or blocking the road.' 20 The most serious and consolidated threat to Japan came from the Tonghak in the south. The core of Tonghak strength was the farmlands and the impact of a poor harvest in late 1894 created a climate of anger. The leaders of the Tonghak also had personal and patriotic reasons for mobilising their followers against Japan: the abortive first rising had been undertaken by a part of the Tonghak in defiance of the central leadership; opposition to Japan was thus a means to restore unity; also, the Tonghak were self-proclaimed loyalists - with the Korean army apparently powerless against Japan, it was left to them to defend


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the king and expel the interlopers. For these reasons, Japan's very presence in Korea was sufficient justification for armed resistance and any attempt by the Japanese to reduce friction was doomed to failure. Early in October 1894, Japanese military depots in the south were repeatedly attacked and a mass uprising of at least 20 000 Tonghak soon followed.21 In the ensuing months, the letters ofJapanese soldiers in Korea told of persistent assaults, often by as many as 5000 armed peasants. The Tonghak appear to have targeted small Japanese posts of perhaps forty to fifty men but the superior arms and training of the Japanese generally preserved them from serious loss in dead or wounded. 22 None the less, the Japanese were deprived of a secure base and forced instead to be constantly on the alert. Japanese army and Korean government records for late 1894 show a near daily catalogue of incidents between Japanese and Tonghak forces, with the inevitable list of innocent victims on both sides among Japanese merchants and Korean civilians.23 In response, the Japanese army dealt roughly with local Korean officials and civilians it believed in collusion with the Tonghak. However, Japan's lack of local knowledge rendered its troops inefficient in dealing with its opponents. Thus, as a company commander explained in midjanuary 1895, he was rarely able to exploit the reports of Tonghak in his vicinity despite taking some villagers as prisoners and burning those houses he believed were being used by the Tonghak. The sense of futility and aimless searches for the elusive Tonghak also permeates the records ofJapan's guard units at Wonsan on the east coast.24 Either through its reluctance or inability to engage the Tonghak en masse, the Japanese army found its activities impeded and the government at Seoul was left powerless to enforce its decrees. The economic strangulation of the capital intensified as tax revenues from the south were interdicted by the Tonghak. Thus, by the end of 1894, Japan was forced into a campaign of suppression in southern Korea. However, the anti-Tonghak army which took the field was deliberately a mixed force in which Japanese officers were posted to Korean units; effective control of the armies remained with the Japanese but the bulk of the common soldiery was provided by the Korean government. The total force sent against the insurgents is given at about 10 000 Korean troops plus one Japanese reserve battalion and three reserve companies assisted by the warship Tsukuba.

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The military effectiveness of the Koreans under Japanese direction produced quick results, and the offer of a reward brought about the capture in January 1895 of Tonghak leader, Chon Pong-jun; he was executed in April that year. The coalition of government and Japanese forces was also aided by Koreans who rejected the Tonghak; these included landlords and Confucian literati who were under threat from the Tonghak's egalitarian ethos. However, the Japanese and Korean government forces were unable to eradicate guerrilla resistance in its entirety. Tonghak forces dispersed* into the mountains and the northern provinces, and a long conflict of attrition continued into 1895. Thus, while the northern province of Hwanghae was temporarily pacified by early 1895, there was later a resurgence of violence which expanded into the regions of P'yongan and Kangwon.25 At no time during the Sino-Japanese war could the Japanese confidently claim that they controlled the peninsula or indeed that Korea was at peace. According to a leading Korean scholar, Lew Young Ick, Japan's wartime policies in Korea resulted in grave damage to the traditional authority of the ruling dynasty and destruction of the 'nascent grass-roots nationalism'. 26 Citing Mutsu's own memoirs, Koreans also assert that Japan never intended to reform Korea except for its own profit. Certainly, the Japanese government was concerned first and foremost with its own interests, and its treatment of the king and Tonghak was undoubtedly destructive. However, it is clear that Japan never fully understood what it wanted or was able to do in Korea; on the one hand, it supported a variety of quite revolutionary reforms yet, on the other, it maintained the arch-conservative Taewon'gun as regent until late in 1894. The authorities tried to minimise conflict with Korean civilians yet Japanese merchants were allowed to behave with impunity. The army presented itself as the defender of Korean interests yet it reminded its own soldiers of Japan's previous invasions of Korea. Despite all the rhetoric, it would appear that Japan had not decided whether to treat Korea as an ally or an enemy. Japan's political failure in Korea may be attributed to its lack of military control but also partly to its own ambivalent status as a conservative revolutionary. Within Japan itself since 1868, there had been extraordinary changes including the abolition of social classes and the extension of universal education, but the ultimate aim


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of these changes was to strengthen Japan's defence against possible Western aggression. Thus, social revolution was permissible under the rubric of nation-building. Similarly, in Korea during 1894-5, and in later Japanese colonialism, the changes which, if instituted, might have presaged a social revolution were nullified at the outset by Japan's overarching conservative goal of nation and empire-building. The contradiction between these two aims was never resolved. Japan's actions in Korea also betrayed its lack of self-confidence towards the West. Fear of Western intervention, especially from Russia, ultimately led Japan to abandon its position in Korea at the war's end. Following the long-feared Triple Intervention against Japan, Western protests mounted against Japanese domination of Korea and its attempt to monopolise key concessions. Such protests originated not only from St Petersburg, but Mutsu made it clear in a letter of 25 May 1895 that Russia was the source of the cabinet's gravest concern: on that same day, the Japanese government announced it would not unilaterally bear the burden of maintaining Korean independence but share this with all countries having interests in the peninsula. 27 In diplomatic language, Japan thus confessed the failure of its ill-planned attempt to cement its military and political presence in the Korean peninsula. MANCHURIA In Manchuria, Japan was protected by the limits of its own ambitions. As Ariga Nagao, legal adviser to General Oyama, explained in his postwar defence of Japan's policies, the actions of the army in Manchuria were geared to one end; easing the path to victory.28 All other considerations were extraneous: Japan did not have to think about political or legal reform, improvements to society, or developing local revenues. However, this did not mean that occupation was an uncomplicated process. Perhaps more quickly than anticipated, Manchuria became the main theatre of operations for the Japanese armies. Given the inefficiency of supply lines, it was thus essential to establish some form of orderly government in the region. This was achieved with the co-operation of local Chinese. The basis of Japanese official policies in the occupied regions was to

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distinguish between Chinese civilians a n d troops of the Ch'ing. This is reflected in the J a p a n e s e historiographical term for the war as a whole; Nis-Shin senso ( J a p a n - C h ' i n g war), in contrast to the standard term in China, Chung-Jih chan-cheng ( C h i n a J a p a n war). 2 9 A similar distinction between combatants a n d civilians was m a d e in wartime J a p a n itself: unlike the mass incarceration of J a p a n e s e Americans in the Pacific war, the Chinese in J a p a n d u r i n g 1 8 9 4 - 5 were g u a r a n t e e d against any mistreatment, although their activities were closely observed by the authorities. 3 0 As in Korea, o n e of the main impediments to the Japanese army's activities a n d the reason for its reliance o n Chinese officials was its lack of language skills. It was all very well for Lieutenant-General Yamaji, c o m m a n d e r of the 1st Division, to begin teaching himself Chinese in the winter of 1894, b u t it was of little use to the overall war effort. Interpreters were in exceptionally short supply: o n e newspaper r e p o r t e d in March 1895 that there were n o m o r e than a couple of dozen in the battle areas, a n d those with the 2nd Army were so precious that c o m m a n d e r s prohibited t h e m from venturing into danger. 3 1 Men with language skills were recruited wherever possible; o n e Buddhist priest of the Higashi Honganji sect arrived in Hiroshima merely to participate in a funeral ceremony but, as soon as his linguistic abilities were discovered, he was instantly requisitioned by the army. During the war a n u m b e r of language schools, often with elite support a n d stressing the Chinese a n d Korean languages, were to o p e n in J a p a n b u t these were incapable of training m e n for immediate military purposes. U p o n first arriving in Manchuria, the Japanese army found major towns almost entirely deserted. In the case of Antung, o n e of the principal cities of southern Manchuria a n d h o m e town of the Ching's leading general, the population of about 30 000 h a d fled before the Japanese advance. It was h e r e that o n 1 November 1894 General Yamagata established a civilian administration office (minseicho). T h e rationale for the office was quite simple. T h e J a p a n e s e n e e d e d a stable civilian society to provide t h e m with food, goods, a n d o t h e r services such as coolie labour for transport. They also n e e d e d to r e t u r n the local people to their h o m e s in o r d e r better to control t h e m a n d prevent attacks o n J a p a n e s e troop or supply lines. This was particularly necessary given the continuing shortage of


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Japanese military police in the occupied areas. Finally, the restoration of local society under Japanese occupation would serve as excellent propaganda in terms of emphasising the contrast in civilisation between the Ch'ing court and Japan. To prepare the ground for a return to normality, the 1st Army late in October distributed handbills explaining their intentions and inviting the Chinese back to their homes and businesses. On balance, the Chinese appear to have responded positively to this. The first head of the occupied region's civilian office was the diplomat Komura Jutaro. Similarly, when an equivalent office was established by the 2nd Army at Chinchou in the Liaotung peninsula, it was headed by another Japanese diplomat, Arakawa. The army made these appointments because of the complexity of dealing with legal, diplomatic, commercial and agricultural matters beyond its experience. However, it retained absolute military authority over the occupied territories and was extremely unwilling to relinquish any power within its area of operations. Indeed, documents from the Japanese foreign ministry suggest that the army offered no consultation before setting up its civilian administration; the deputy foreign minister, Hayashi Tadasu, appears first to have learned of the Antung office from the Japanese press. It may be for this among other more legitimate reasons that Hayashi dismissed Komura's request for certain diplomats to be sent in haste to Antung; in Hayashi's view, the area for occupation had yet to be fully determined, and it was not convenient to transfer the officials listed by Komura.32 Here was yet another example of poor cooperation between Japan's military and diplomatic forces. Moreover, as soon as the administrative system was up and running, both the 1st and 2nd Armies replaced the Japanese civilian administrators with military officers; LieutenantColonel Fukushima took over from Komura on 9 December, and by March 1895 all civilian administrative offices were headed by military personnel with the exception of the international open port of Yingk'ou. General Yamagata addressed an open letter to Chinese residents of the Antung region explaining the duties of the new office. Among these was the responsibility to prevent any harm caused them by the Japanese forces or coolies, to safeguard their lives and property, and to hear any complaints against

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Japanese actions. In order to ensure production of food and goods, Yamagata emphasised his guarantee of complete protection for Chinese farmers and businessmen. The real purpose of the Antung office, however, was to assist the Japanese army. The means to achieve this were by co-ordinating occupation activities and reducing Chinese grievances (any complaints against Japanese were merely to be passed on to the appropriate commander); and by obtaining Chinese labour, pack animals and other supplies as required by the forces.33 One of the most notable of Yamagata's occupation policies was to exempt all civilians in the occupied territory from that year's taxes. This was a clever move. First, it suggests that Japan did not anticipate an extended occupation of Manchuria and intended to leave the burden of fiscal exhaustion with the Ch'ing, rather than itself. By rejecting these revenues, Japan also avoided the arduous and potentially controversial task of trying to assess and collect taxes from the Chinese. It also, of course, won acclaim from the Chinese themselves and this may in part explain the positive manner in which they served the Japanese during the occupation; the claims that a number of Chinese wanted to become Japanese subjects is less surprising if they believed tax exemption the norm under Japanese military rule! In this sense, it was not money lost to Japan; rather, the profits were in terms of convenience for the troops and general goodwill.34 None the less, Yamagata's munificence caused some concern at home: it was argued that few armies bore the expenses of administering occupied territories, and that Japan's war was far from over. This perhaps better reflects the weakness of the Japanese economy and the drain on public resources than any assessment of battlefield realities. In the end, the Japanese administration of occupied Manchuria may not have proved very costly. Ono Giichi, writing in the 1920s, listed a figure of 200 244 yen for 'bureau of civil administration'. He does not date or break down this figure but its relative smallness may be gauged by saying that it is only just more than half the monies paid for what he lists simply as 'secret service funds'.35 Even the Japanese recognised that China, despite being a backward state, or so they believed, still had a well-developed system of village, town and city administration. It was largely a case of getting Chinese officials back to their posts. The Japanese armies established administrative branch


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offices a r o u n d the A n t u n g region a n d in the Liaotung peninsula, but the office at F e n g h u a n g c h ' e n g , for example, was staffed entirely by Chinese; on an inspection visit late in November, General Nozu rewarded two of its m e m b e r s to the t u n e of 100 a n d 150 yen, thus further demonstrating to observant Chinese the immediate, tangible benefits of serving their occupiers. 3 6 In the main b r a n c h at Antung, moreover, the J a p a n e s e h a d only a skeleton staff; apart from the h e a d of the office, the regulations allowed only for six secretaries a n d an unspecified n u m b e r of military a n d civilian police to c o n d u c t its activities. In fact, an official visitor arriving from J a p a n in November 1894 found just six Japanese police a n d three translators in addition to K o m u r a who d o u b l e d as his own receptionist. 3 7 It seems unlikely, therefore, that this was either an expensive or a particularly powerful organ. T h e administrators of the occupied territories were given very little guidance from J a p a n . T h e original draft of the army general staff history notes there was a c o m m a n d from the imperial headquarters in February 1895 but, apart from this, t h e r e was n o further legal regulation or o t h e r o r d e r o n dealing with peoples in the occupied regions. 3 8 In practice, however, the occupation appears to have fulfilled its duties with considerable efficiency. Inflation was a r e c u r r e n t p r o b l e m as Chinese traders constantly increased the prices for everyday goods: o n e of the duties of the C h i n c h o u office was to send military police to a few local shops to prevent disputes over exorbitant prices. However, the benefits to J a p a n of local p r o d u c t i o n a n d trade probably outweighed the costs. As Arakawa n o t e d from the C h i n c h o u office, the restoration of stability a n d c o m m e r c e , a n d the improvement of local health conditions, served the army a n d defended J a p a n from its Western critics. 39 Part of J a p a n ' s attempt to present itself as a force for stability a n d o r d e r was the introduction of a m o d e r n a p p r o a c h to health a n d sanitation. Prevention of disease was, of course, a major c o n c e r n for the army. In the C h i n c h o u region, J a p a n e s e administrators p r o v i d e d d e c e n t burials (as well as culturally i m p o r t a n t gravemarkers) for Chinese dead. They also organised Chinese residents to clean a n d repair roads, established a charity hospital, a n d introduced public conveniences. These efforts app e a r e d initially to have worked in the Liaotung peninsula. A

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letter from a Buddhist priest accompanying the 2 n d Army in March 1895 notes: T h e r e were 38 new cases of illness in o n e division alone just two days ago. This is the o n e enemy greatly troubling the expeditionary force so p r e c a u t i o n s are extremely strict. D u r i n g the invasion of S h a n t u n g , t h e r e were e n o r m o u s difficulties b u t h e r e in Port A r t h u r we have obtained all kinds of facilities a n d it is half-way to being like Japan. 4 0 In the spring of 1895, however, there were outbreaks of cholera in Korea a n d in the Liaotung peninsula. J a p a n e s e medical practitioners laboured to stop the disease from spreading a n d the occupation authorities offered Chinese residents 50 sen in payment for each corpse, h u m a n or animal, they b r o u g h t to be burned. 4 1 T r o o p s in the C h i n c h o u region were confined to quarters while others, such as the 1st Division, scheduled to r e t u r n to Chinchou, were kept from doing so. In the end, however, J a p a n e s e forces were to be stricken by illness a n d carry the contagion back to J a p a n with devastating results. In contrast to its self-proclaimed mission in Korea, J a p a n ' s policy in occupied China was to interfere as little as possible with existing Chinese laws, religion a n d customs. Whereas I n o u e h a d described his policy in Korea in terms of British Egypt, in fact the degree of social m e d d l i n g in Korean affairs was closer to the French imperial style; in China, the J a p a n e s e took a m o r e distinctly British a n d business-like attitude; they defined their ends clearly a n d pursued t h e m without distraction. H e r e the military were quite clearly in control, n o t only in terms of enjoying a m o r e stable authority over the territories for which they were responsible, b u t also in setting policy without reference to o t h e r bodies in J a p a n . T h e army may have used diplomats for its immediate purposes b u t the foreign ministry did n o t influence the decisions of Generals Yamagata or Oyama. Thus, w h e t h e r their decisions were right or wrong, at least they d e m o n s t r a t e d a unity of purpose. At the e n d of the war, however, the army t h r e a t e n e d to reverse its rational short-term utilisation of occupied China by suddenly asserting it must retain part of Manchuria in the peace settlement. This shift by the army only contributed to u n d e r m i n i n g all its victories o n the battlefield.

7 Discipline and Control: The Army as Civilisation It was the British statesman Lord Macaulay who in 1831 declared that, 'The essence of war is violence and moderation in war is imbecility.' However, in the nineteenth century, the civilising process described by Norbert Elias resulted in a greater codification and control of war, typified by the Geneva convention of 1864, while the expansion of literacy and mass society led to the rise of war correspondents and reportage from the battlefield. With this, the question of brutality in war and of military discipline became vastly more complex. This complexity was heightened as armies grew in size or were dispersed ever more widely by steamships and railways. It became increasingly incumbent upon belligerent forces either to focus and contain their violence, or to provide greater justification for excessive bloodshed: the most obvious means to achieve this was to dehumanise the enemy to the point where it seemed merely that a barbarous scourge, or what Theodore Roosevelt termed the 'encumberers of the earth', was being eradicated. This was easier to achieve where there was a clear racial difference between the two combatants; Western thinking expected brutality from the 'other' regions of the world, especially the 'Orient', and this legitimised a response in kind. For Japan in 1894, however, the war with China offered an opportunity to separate itself from this Western preconception and gain entry to international society as what might be called an honorary white nation. The means to achieve this was through a demonstration of self-control comparable to the best disciplined and most orderly of Western armies. In this sense, the subordinate position of Japan relative to the Western powers imposed further pressure on the army to maintain discipline; the removal of this pressure in the 1930s, and accumulated resentment towards Western arrogance, contributed to the brutality of Japanese forces in the Pacific war. Between 1895 and 1945, the international face of Japan was the military. In that period, the armed forces went from universal fame as 'the knights of bushido' to global infamy, renowned 142

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for their mistreatment of civilians and prisoners of war. The first occasion for a direct comparison between Japanese and Western troops was in 1900 with the invasion of China to quell the Boxer uprising and break the siege of the foreign legations. In this, Japan provided the bulk of allied forces and was notably absent in the general looting and violence upon seizure of the Chinese capital. During the Russo-Japanese war, the armies of Japan were again praised for their conduct and careful treatment of Russian prisoners of war. British observers at this time were so impressed, not only with the military, but with the apparent discipline and warrior spirit of the entire Japanese people, that they offered Japan as a model for Britain to renew its own 'national efficiency' in the wake of the Boer war.1 However, this very discipline and popular militarism came later to be used against Japan in the propaganda wars of the 1930s and 1940s, with their emphasis on incidents such as the massacre of Chinese civilians at Nanjing in 1937, and the murder in February 1942 of staff and patients at the Alexandra Hospital in Singapore. 2 Some Japanese historians argue that the years 1937-45 witnessed a decline in the quality of the forces compared to earlier wars. Others have tried to ignore the evidence of attacks on civilians: in the mid-1980s a particularly repellent attempt was made by Tanaka Masaaki to falsify records of the attack on Nanjing and downplay the number of civilian dead. Successive Japanese governments have also made less than subtle attempts to minimise school textbook mention of aggression by Japan during these years. If one accepts the image of extraordinary discipline among the Japanese forces in the wars of the 1890s and 1900s, then indeed one must account for the difference just a few decades later. However, long before Nanjing there was an earlier massacre on the records of the modern Japanese army, and one, according to some reports, equal to if not exceeding it in scale. This followed the seizure of Port Arthur, modern Lushun, on 21 November 1894. According to Japanese historian Fujimura Michio, up to 60 000 Chinese were murdered by the Japanese army, an estimate repeated in 1992 by Unno Fukuju in a popular history for Japanese readers. 3 The evidence for this claim, however, is highly suspect and requires more careful treatment than the cursory reading given by these authors. Consequently, the events of Port Arthur will dominate the latter


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part of this chapter. First, however, let us consider the measures taken by the Japanese authorities to ensure discipline, and the incidence and nature of more general infractions committed by soldiers and civilians attached to the armies. ARMY ORDERS AND GENERAL INDISCIPLINE In forcing the contrast between itself as 'civilisation' and China as 'oriental disorder', Japan benefited from a spate of outrages by Chinese troops early in the war. In August 1894, even before the military reverse of P'yongyang, a Chinese regiment terrorised the Manchurian city of Liaoyang, looting shops, destroying the local Christian chapel, and murdering the Reverend James Wylie.4 In Korea, a French missionary was killed by Chinese troops at the war's outset, while in southern China a French customs official was murdered and his family kidnapped by Chinese bandits. Foreigners in China were not unused to violence; Western missionaries in particular had suffered numerous attacks over the years and they were prominent among the foreign community in Manchuria. Their greater fear, therefore, was of Chinese soldiers in retreat rather than the advancing Japanese. Even the British government, more inclined than the French to support Chinese interests, expected its military attache would be murdered by his hosts if he accompanied the Chinese army.5 Reports that the Chinese authorities had offered a bounty for Japanese heads also offended Western sensibilities and reinforced the cultural difference between the two armies. This was emphasised by Japanese commanders, who warned their men that no prisoner taken by the Chinese could expect anything but the most brutal treatment, and by the Japanese press which harped on the primitiveness of the enemy, citing as evidence the torture of wounded and desecration of corpses, as well as attacks on Japan Red Cross hospitals at P'yongyang and Chinchou. One journalist voiced a more widespread sentiment when he insisted that, 'Our empire should apply to them the same laws of engagement as are applied to the savages of Africa.'6 This, however, was precisely the wrong attitude if Japan wished to impress the West. On the contrary, indiscipline and unnecessary bloodshed could only damage Japan's international standing.

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The process of ordering the Japanese army had gathered pace in the 1880s. One of the major thrusts of these reforms had been to strengthen military discipline. After all, the nascent conscript army had been shamed in the wake of the 1877-8 civil war when troops in Tokyo rioted over campaign rewards. Among the reforms, a military inspectorate was created in 1887 with Yamagata at its head. The central emphasis of its first instruction in 1889 was on absolute and unquestioning obedience to superiors: this obedience was to become ingrained in the troops through a combination of constant scrutiny of their behaviour and severe punishment for any infraction.7 Within the few years to 1894, however, few could confidently assume that a level of mechanical efficiency had been achieved by the untested forces. Consequently, as the armies prepared for battle, the troops were warned time and again to respect the norms of civilised warfare and uphold the international reputation ofJapan. General Yamagata in Seoul reminded his juniors that, as of June 1886, Japan was a signatory to the Geneva convention and that no maltreatment of the enemy or of civilians would be countenanced; this extended even to the treatment of enemy dead. General Oyama reiterated the point to his 2nd Army in mid-October: Our forces act according to what is right and we fight in accordance with civilisation. Our enemy is China's army, not individual Chinese. Those who surrender, who are captured, wounded, or offer us no resistance, must be treated gently. The utmost care must be used towards the ordinary Chinese people so that they are made to feel safe with us. No matter how slight, they must in no way be mistreated, but rather made to recognise our virtue. Each divisional commander must bear this in mind and caution those below him so that the majesty of our emperor and the chivalry of our army are demonstrated to the world.8 More specific instructions were issued by the divisional commanders. As an example, we may take Lieutenant-General Sakuma Samata, commander of the 2nd Division and later governor-general of Taiwan (at which time he was noted for his brutal suppression of Taiwanese montagnards), who warned his men on 24 October 1894:9


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That the present conflict is waged by our imperial forces as a righteous war [gisen] is recognised by the world. Moreover, as the most advanced country in the Far East, it is our duty to lead the unenlightened states. Therefore, whatever actions the enemy may take during this war, we must preserve international justice and at some future point enlighten their barbarous practices. At the same time, we must raise our nation's dignity in the world. As we set off for war, these regulations must strictly be obeyed. 1. Enemy civilians who offer no resistance to us must as far as possible be treated kindly. 2. There must be no insult to enemy wounded or those who surrender, nor theft of their clothes or assets. 3. There will be no mutilation of enemy corpses such as the slitting of noses or removing of eyes. 4. There will be no unnecessary setting of fires. 5. There will be no unnecessary violence towards enemy houses or fields. 6. Within the enemy's borders, there will be no rape or other abuse of women. 7. There will be no destruction of graves in the enemy state. 8. There will be no theft of the personal possessions of enemy civilians. 9. It is forbidden to use force in selling or purchase of goods. 10. Our enemy is the Chinese forces. Towards people of all other states, you will show deep goodwill [shin'ai] and there will be no insulting or aggressive behaviour. 11. In addition to all the above regulations, there will be no behaviour which damages the honour of our forces. The instructions of the army commanders highlighted the dual audience for Japan's military behaviour; Western residents who could influence international opinion, and Chinese civilians whose response dictated the Japanese army's freedom of movement and ability to obtain local supplies. Of the two, the most important overall was the numerically small Western community. Thus, as the armies moved into Manchuria, Japanese troops were repeatedly warned to avoid injury to any residence bearing the sign of the cross. General Katsura's 3rd Division was the northernmost force and, as he advanced, he sent messen-

Discipline and Control: The Army as Civilisation


gers ahead to protect local churches and to offer Western missionaries his guarantee for the safety of Christians and ordinary Chinese. This was obviously good politics and equally good tactics as Katsura received helpful reports from the foreign missionaries on Chinese troop movements.10 The missionaries were a particularly important group as they, more than any other, were the ones to explain Asia to the West through their books and lectures. As noted earlier, guarantees of safety were immediately offered also to residents of Korean and Manchurian towns, and administrative offices were established in occupied Manchuria to maintain order and good relations between soldiers and civilians. With these measures, the Japanese authorities were confident of their ability to maintain army discipline, and they openly invited all nations to dispatch military observers. To support their case in the media at home and overseas, noted Japanese photographer Kamei Koreaki was attached to the 2nd Army; photographs of wounded Chinese being tended by Japanese surgeons and Chinese prisoners of war enjoying the benefits of civilised internment were widely disseminated. The appeal to Western goodwill was continued after the war in the English-language history by Eastlake and Yamada: Throughout the campaign the Japanese troops acted with the utmost kindness and honesty to the natives of the occupied or conquered territory. There was never any looting nor the least suspicion of tyrannical or overbearing conduct. The troops always paid the full market-price of whatever they bought. And so it is not strange that the natives not only speedily became reconciled to the new regime but even loudly expressed their regret when the troops were ultimately withdrawn.11 This is obviously overstated but such comments were rarely if ever subjected to deeper scrutiny. Records compiled by the army on infractions of military and civil law were excluded from the official history of the war. It is these records which supply much of the following information. For Japan to demonstrate its superior discipline and order, it had literally to be seen in action. Despite his confidence in the Japanese soldier, General Yamagata had rather graver doubts about Japanese coolies who were, he declared, 'uneducated,


Japan's First Modern War

unused to discipline, and serve the armies only to obtain wages.' He feared that misbehaviour by coolies could be just as injurious as military indiscipline to Japan's reputation overseas and in the occupied areas. Consequently, upon entering Manchuria, he ordered that any infraction by coolies merit punishment not only for the individual concerned but also for his overseer.12 The Japanese forces, however, were in something of a dilemma: Korean coolies were considered unreliable and expensive; this resulted in extra pressure to bring over more Japanese even though they were physically weaker than Koreans, suffered more heavily from disease, and were, as Yamagata had argued, a potential threat to Japan's reputation. Indeed, in terms of individual crimes against Chinese or Korean civilians, Japanese coolies do appear to have played a major role. Some attempted to abandon their duties and flee to Wonsan in hopes of finding a ship for home: such offenders included one coolie guilty of murder and arson in Manchuria who managed to escape from the military police, but he, as with others, was captured by the Japanese guard at Wonsan.13 The most common problem with coolies was intimidation and theft. Intimidation, including threats of murder, appears to have been widespread among the forces and no effort is made to conceal it in accounts of army interrogation of POW's and civilian Chinese.14 Intimidation by coolies, however, presented a separate problem and it was not until January 1895 that the army finally attended to it. Although coolies had earlier been permitted to wear knives for self-defence, they were henceforth forbidden to carry any weapons.15 This may have ameliorated the situation, but the presence of Japanese armies in the background no doubt meant that coolies could continue to take things without being challenged except in the towns under established Japanese administration. Theft, however, was clearly not limited to army coolies. The inadequacies of frontline supply may in part account for the use of intimidation to obtain food or warm clothing, though not to seize trophies of war. The army strictly prohibited foraging by individual troops and the penalties if caught could be severe: two soldiers in Korea found guilty of stealing respectively goods and food (including killing one pig) were given three years hard labour and 13 years imprisonment. 16 The result, according to an NCO writing from Manchuria early in 1895, was that

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no one any longer committed such crimes. This is not supported by the diary of Nozawa Takesaburo, a medical officer with the 2nd Army. Nozawa implies that in war the shift from indemnification to seizure was inevitable and that, while the advance troops had originally paid for all their supplies, either through expediency or arrogance, they subsequently took at will. Describing the Shantung campaign in February 1895, he noted, 'The search parties enter every house and take all sorts of things, among which are some of enormous value. This is kept very very secret.'17 Ifideed, while the official records for trophies of war list standard items such as guns, swords, bullets and uniforms, there is no doubt that household items and personal possessions were commonly seized. Nozawa's reasoning was that the frontline troops were too busy fighting and staying alive to maintain the niceties of war and, by contrast, strict discipline could only be expected from those enjoying a more civilised existence at the rear. While theft may have been a common occurrence, and no doubt more often overlooked than punished, there seems to have been a low rate of sexual violence on the battlefront. This is worth considering given the renewed controversy in 1992 over the Japanese military's exploitation of 'comfort women' from Korea and other countries during 1937-45. Available materials, however, provide only the most allusive of details. The navy's medical department noted a wartime rise in cases of venereal disease but concluded this was probably the result of victory celebrations at the end of the war. In Hiroshima, newspaper reports accused army coolies of behaving so offensively that few local women were prepared to leave their homes at night (in this respect, coolies of the 3rd Division were seen as particularly reprehensible). The presence in Hiroshima of tens of thousands of troops, and just as many coolies looking forward to good and regular wages, attracted prostitutes from the surrounding areas and the local press carried at least one report of women sailing in to Ujina (and being given a seven-day prison sentence as a reward). Indeed, at that increasingly busy port, it was said that the things increasing most notably since the start of war were army stores, food and drink shops, and prostitutes. Sexual indiscipline caused a number of problems: early in November there was a clash at a Hiroshima brothel between troops and military police; sexual disease also increased


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rapidly due to the prevalence of what Nozawa calls 'illicit women' in and around Hiroshima. The army responded by ordering weekly medical examinations of 1800 men, with severe punishment for anyone either found to be diseased or seen entering a brothel; it may have been for this reason that troops were prevented from leaving their accommodation after 6 p.m.18 On the battlefield, Chinese posters warned of Japanese brutality and licentiousness, and claimed that soldiers burned Chinese corpses for fuel and raped any woman they encountered. However, there is no indication among Japanese records that accusations of rape or abuse are grounded in fact. Lieutenant Nambu is one of the few to note any mistreatment towards Chinese women but his description is too vague to be interpreted as rape rather than theft.19 Whereas in the second Sino-Japanese war, troops were accompanied by prostitutes with the aim of minimising disease and the threat of violence against civilian women, there does not seem to have been any such arrangement in 1894-5. In view of the contempt shown in Japan for Chinese commanders who were seen as carousing with singing-girls or accompanied by concubines, any women would have been kept well out of sight. The low incidence of sexual offences, if such it was, may partly be attributable to several factors. First, the exceptional sensitivity of commanding officers towards attacks on women. This by itself, of course, was far from sufficient: on the China front in 1940, the maximum penalty for a soldier found guilty of rape was execution but stories from that war do not suggest it was a successful deterrent. Ignorance on the part of troops may have helped the maintenance of discipline in 1894: army medical staff issued warnings that the Chinese were a promiscuous race and the country rife with syphilis; this may have made some men wary of local women. Sergeant Hamamoto, serving in the occupation of Yingk'ou in Manchuria late in the war, agreed the Chinese were a licentious people and he estimated (whether from personal or hearsay evidence he does not explain) about three thousand prostitutes in the city. He asserts, however, that those who tried to enter the Japanese camp, were immediately shooed away. Nozawa once again offers an alternative view, stating unequivocally that more and more troops took to purchasing sexual favours from Chinese women.20 Perhaps equally important, however, in explaining the low rate of

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sexual misconduct was the simple fact that most Korean and Chinese women had fled en masse before the arrival of Japanese forces, and only returned to their homes once a stable Japanese presence had been established. Indeed, in contrast to the official Japanese claims that Chinese residents settled quickly back to their normal routines, there is some evidence that women and children in the Liaotung peninsula continued to hide in mountain caves as late as April 1895.21 Finally, this was a relatively brief war and the drop to arctic temperatures in the battle areas from about November until the war's end may have, as it were, cooled the ardour of the Japanese; it certainly made first priority in their minds remaining close to warmth and shelter. The most concrete evidence of indiscipline is provided by the records of the military judicial machinery. During the war, this consisted of a military court martial (gunchu gunpo kaigi), a temporary army court martial (rinji rikugun gunpo kaigi), and temporary divisional courts martial (shikan gunpo kaigi): despite control of Port Arthur being quickly handed to the navy, regulations for a temporary naval court martial were only decided late in February 1895. Inevitably, the divisional courts martial handled the bulk of work and their case-load alone serves to indicate the nature of indiscipline in the war. Of the total 2874 men appearing before the divisional courts martial, by far the largest numbers (798 and 622 cases respectively) went to the courts of the 5th and 1st Divisions. Of those accused, 1906 men (including 1766 soldiers) were found guilty; 672 were still under investigation when the divisional courts martial were abolished; the remaining 296 were either found innocent, had their charges dismissed on legal grounds, or had their cases dropped following the death of the accused while under investigation.22 The records of the divisional courts martial divide the guilty according to their offence. Of those 1906 men whose crimes were proven, civilian laws had been contravened by 678, military laws by the other 1228 (approximately 64 per cent of the total). Most of the infractions of civilian law were minor crimes (651); these were mainly theft (302), gambling (79), and swindling (50). Nine men were convicted of major crimes including murder, theft with violence, and counterfeiting money. Our main concern, however, is with military law and here the largest number of offenders, totalling 616 men, were guilty of desertion, 258 had disobeyed orders, and only five were con-


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victed of violent offences. A significant 293 men, however, were found guilty of forming parties. From the very first army-navy regulations in 1871, service personnel were prohibited from engaging in political activities, and this was the real motivation for the imperial rescript to soldiers and sailors in 1882. Indeed, politicisation of the military was a constant fear of the army leadership. The ironic result of placing the military above rather than coexistent with politics, however, was precisely to give young officers in the 1930s the moral justification for repeated and violent intervention in the political system. Unfortunately for our purposes, army records from 1894-5 give no details on the orientation of these parties. Left-wing beliefs were the gravest threat as far as the commanders were concerned but outright socialism was surely premature, even though, in one account, urban labour had come to figure more heavily among the ranks by this time. Certainly, the recent tightening of the conscription law heightened the level of discontent within the ranks, but we can only speculate that any parties at this time would probably have shared the prewar views of the Liberals or Progressives in advocating a reduction of military expenditure and greater assistance to the rural community. Alternatively, of course, some may have backed the Progressives in their current demand for a harder line against China than was deemed politically acceptable by the government. If politics within the army was seen as a form of contagion, then disobedience towards superiors was cancerous. There are, however, glimmers of disaffection towards superiors scattered among the records. In an extreme instance on the very first day of war, a private in the Toyohashi 18th Infantry Regiment at Hiroshima attempted to murder his sergeant. The bullet passed through the intended victim's arm and struck another officer in the chest. The assailant then shot himself with rather more success.23 Even minor criticism, however, merited severe punishment in a system which stressed absolute hierarchy to the degree that junior officers preferred to walk into catastrophe rather than question their orders. 24 In the Russo-Japanese war, ordinary troops were to become known as 'human bullets' because they were so cheaply squandered by their officers, especially at the ill-fated siege of Port Arthur. A foretaste of that attitude is already apparent in 1894-5 but the relatively weaker Chinese resistance saved Japan from severe casualties. Given

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the threat of punishment, however, few men were openly willing to criticise their superiors. Once again, the medical officer Nozawa provides the exception with ringing attacks on the cowardice and incompetence of his battalion commander and his deputy. These criticisms, he declares, were widely shared amongst the battalion and relations between the commander and his troops appear permanently strained. Nozawa also condemns many officers of the 2nd Division as 'miserly', that is, begrudging their own lives at the expense of the ordinary men. Evidence from Nozawa additionally suggests that medical officers suffered abuse from their patients and, at a meeting he attended before leaving for the battlefront early in 1895, medical staff were warned to be more cautious in speech and action towards the sick or wounded. 25 As this was the army's first overseas war, it lacked judicial precedents. The system of courts martial worked in an ad hoc fashion and, as with so many other things, as the war started there were no special regulations on the application of justice in the field. There were instances of summary justice: even before the war started, a group deserted in mid-June and the four recaptured were instantly executed on the divisional training ground; three coolies with the 2nd Army were said to have been summarily executed for wounding civilian Chinese in Manchuria, and three Chinese were likewise executed for breaching Japanese sentry lines.26 Temporary detention centres were set up around Manchuria and Korea, with the busiest at Uiju on the Korean border. Divisions, however, were ordered to hold accused men in any suitable lodging. Those convicted for a prescribed period were given labour duties, while those servicemen or civilians in military employ either discharged or sentenced to extended terms, were dispatched to the rear and incarcerated in military or civilian jails as appropriate. 27 The records show a total of 441 men sent to the rear during the overall conflict: of these, 331 were sent from China, 86 from Korea, 14 from Hiroshima (sent directly to army or provincial jails), and 10 from Taiwan. In terms of status, they consisted of 267 civilians attached to the forces (gunzoku), 128 ordinary soldiers, 14 NCOs and 1 commissioned officer. The remainder are referred to as 'ordinary people' (jojin), presumably Japanese civilian nationals arrested either in Hiroshima or the battle areas.


Japan's First Modern War

If the crimes we have discussed thus far do not indicate a crisis in discipline - there were after all about 300 000 soldiers and coolies in the war zone - they do at least remove some of the gilding from the mythical image offered by Japanese propaganda and frequently accepted by Western observers. The gravest incidence of mass indiscipline, however, occurred with the 2nd Army at Port Arthur in November 1894. THE MASSACRE AT PORT ARTHUR The Manchurian fortress of Port Arthur was one of the strongest and most up-to-date in all Asia. Before the war, a French admiral had declared it would take a fleet of more than fifty good ships with an army of 100 000 crack troops to break the fort, and they would still need half a year to finish the job. 28 This estimate was not far wrong, but premature by a decade: in 1904, the Japanese siege of Port Arthur was to be an intensely bloody and drawn-out affray resulting in massive losses under the incompetent General Nogi. In 1894 also, the strategic importance and the strength of Port Arthur was well recognised in Japan. Unlike any other target, the public began preparing mass celebrations well in advance of its fall, as if to do so would somehow guarantee success. The army, however, expected severe casualties; General Yamaji, commander of the 1st Division leading the assault, openly anticipated losing over 1000 of his men. To everyone's surprise, Port Arthur fell in a single day. After an intensive barrage by siege, field and mountain guns, Japanese 2nd Army forces of about 18 000, assisted by naval protection, attacked from the port's weaker inland side and quickly overran feeble opposition from a Chinese force of perhaps 12 000. Total Japanese losses in dead and wounded were no more than about 280. This was an enormous victory, albeit one made possible by the weakness of the Chinese defenders not of their defences: a later study by the Japanese Army Officers School considered that three-quarters of the Chinese in uniform were new recruits, and that, with the exception of up to four emplacements, no real resistance was given.29 Such details were not allowed to obscure the triumph and Matsushita Yoshio suggests that the ease of this assault led to complacency in

Discipline and Control: The Army as Civilisation


1904.30 What concerns us here, however, is the actions of the Japanese army immediately following the seizure of Port Arthur. Troops entered the city district of Port Arthur at 2 p.m. on 21 November but did not take full control of the coastal forts until the morning of the following day. General Oyama's report on 24 November merely informed the imperial general staff that the port had fallen after what he considered extremely fierce resistance, although, of course, this resistance is not evident in the level of Japanese casualties. According to his report, Chinese casualties were still in the process of being calculated (perhaps more accurately, in the process of being accumulated) and the Chinese force was initially estimated at no less than 20 000. As always, such figures were at best approximate. 31 A number of Japanese soldiers and civilians have left written comments on the events at Port Arthur between 21 and 25 November. The diary of Okabe Makio, a trooper in the 1st Division, is one of the more detailed: As we entered the town of Port Arthur, we saw the head of a Japanese soldier displayed on a wooden stake. This filled us with rage and a desire to crush any Chinese soldier. Anyone we saw in the town, we killed. The streets were filled with corpses, so many they blocked our way. We killed people in their homes; by and large, there wasn't a single house without from three to six dead. Blood was flowing and the smell was awful. We sent out search parties. We shot some, hacked at others. The Chinese troops just dropped their arms and fled. Firing and slashing, it was unbounded joy. At this time, our artillery troops were at the rear, giving three cheers [banzai] for the emperor. 32 The diary of Sagawa Kazusuke, a soldier of the 1st Division, notes on 23 November: The corpses of enemy troops lie in mountainous piles and the harbour looks as though it is stuffed with fish - 1 think they are the bodies of Chinese men and women killed while trying to flee their homes because of the fierce fighting. The dead and wounded are incalculable.33 Unfortunately for the Japanese army, Western observers were also on hand, including James Creelman of the New York World,


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Frederick Villiers of the London Standard, and Cowan of The Times, and it was they who publicised the atrocities worldwide. Creelman's report was the first to appear and the one to make the most dramatic claims. In his view, the Japanese soldiers had run amok over several days, massacring up to 60 000 Chinese, including the entire remaining civilian population of the city with its women and children, and leaving only about 36 Chinese alive to serve as a burial detail: it is this report which Japanese historian Fujimura in 1973 and again in 1992 has accepted at face value. A private letter from Cowan, written from the Japanese port of Kobe, elaborated on the events of a few days earlier: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were spent by the soldiery in murder and pillage from dawn to dark, in mutilation, in every conceivable kind of nameless atrocity, until the town became a ghastly Inferno to be remembered with a fearsome shudder until one's dying day. I saw corpses of women and children, three or four in the streets, more in the water . . . Bodies of men strewed the streets in hundreds, perhaps thousands, for we could not count - some with not a limb unsevered, some with heads hacked, cross-cut, and split lengthwise, some ripped open, not by chance but with careful precision, down and across, disembowelled and dismembered, with occasionally a dagger or bayonet thrust in the private parts. I saw groups of prisoners tied together in a bunch with their hands behind their backs, riddled with bullets for five minutes and then hewn to pieces. I saw a junk stranded on the beach, filled with fugitives of either sex and of all ages, struck by volley after volley until - 1 can say no more. 34 That a massacre occurred at Port Arthur is not in question. That the aged, women, and children were included among its victims is also beyond doubt. In addition to Creelman and Cowan, it is confirmed by Japanese including Sagawa and others; a Japanese seaman, for example, landing immediately after the fall later recounted, 'Corpses were piled up . . . among them the old, women, and children. Those not yet dead were moaning and their voices still ring in my ears.' 35 The scale of the massacre, however, is harder to substantiate: Japanese soldiers often spoke of a mountain of corpses and a river of blood to

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describe the aftermath of pitched battles and, as Cowan himself noted, it was impossible to calculate whether the corpses numbered in the hundreds or the thousands. Contrary to other towns in Manchuria, some civilian residents may have chosen to remain in their homes, trusting in the strength of the fortress to protect them from the Japanese. This would account for a relatively greater number of accidental civilian casualties. That the entire city population was not massacred, however, is suggested by the speed with which Port Arthur's streets again filled after the Japanese occupation: had the civilian population been literally decimated or destroyed, it is unlikely that others would have ventured to trade and work under Japanese occupation. Yet, clearly a large number of Chinese soldiers and civilians were murdered by the Japanese army. The manner of the violence was absolutely in conflict with the norms of civilised warfare as accepted by the Japanese when they signed the Geneva convention, and equally in conflict with the repeated instructions of their own commanders. Now we have to ask ourselves why. The massacre at Port Arthur is either unknown or poorly understood in Japan or the West. With the exception of Trumbull White in 1895, the published histories then and later generally omitted it from all mention. Fujimura Michio in 1973 and Fujiwara Akira in 1978 merely cite the massacre as evidence of the underlying brutality of the Japanese army without investigating its specific causes.36 These may broadly be separated as follows: the impact of events immediately prior to the attack on 21 November; attitudes of racial arrogance and derision towards the Chinese; and the argument, preferred during and after the Pacific war, that Japanese society itself created an army of unusual brutality. At the time, Japanese explanations for the massacre generally emphasised an incident on 18 November in which a company of Japanese troops carelessly ran into a much larger force and, despite clumsy attempts at reinforcement, suffered a number of casualties. Some of those caught or killed were hideously mutilated by the Chinese. Long after the fact, Lieutenant Nambu Kijiro still remembered the stretchers carrying Japanese soldiers with all their limbs dismembered, ears and noses slashed, and eyes gouged out. He and others who either saw or heard of the desecrations then pledged to extract


Japan's First Modern War

revenge.37 They allege, however, that the Chinese commander at Port Arthur had armed all able-bodied males and ordered them to fire on the Japanese; also, that Chinese troops in the city had slipped off their uniforms and attempted to use their civilian appearance to ambush the incoming forces. In other words, as far as the Japanese were concerned, all Chinese males were made legitimate targets as a result of Chinese actions. Even allowing for the possibility that such an order was given by the Chinese commander, this version of events in no way excuses the murder of women and children. Other points must also be made. First, an account from the Army Officers School states that the battalion humiliated on 18 November was prohibited from entering the streets of Port Arthur as punishment for its carelessness, and that its total dead on 18 November had only numbered 13 with another 30 wounded. 38 These seem, if anything, rather light casualties to provoke such vengeance. Moreover, if the decision for revenge was taken before entering Port Arthur, the claims about Chinese orders or of troops hiding in civilian garb provide only a postjacto justification. In addition, the mutilation of Japanese troops was nothing new: Yamagata had warned his officers in mid-September of what might be expected at Chinese hands, and this was borne out by the decapitation and desecration of Japanese corpses prior to the seizure of P'yongyang.39 Despite this, the 1st Army had maintained general discipline, even if, according to an illustration of the battle, Chinese troops in flight had been annihilated by the Devil Colonel (Sato Tadashi) and his men. Indeed, notwithstanding the admonitions of Yamagata and Oyama to respect the Geneva convention, mercy was not often shown to the enemy: General Nogi reported that of 400 Chinese attempting to escape Chinchou, also on 21 November, only 38 succeeded while the remaining 362, in his words, were 'slaughtered'. 40 The impression that Japanese forces did not seek prisoners is reinforced by the diary of a soldier from an earlier battle at Chinchou; 'Chinese corpses were piled everywhere . . . Some enemy soldiers were found among those feigning death. Our litter corps found them and slashed or stabbed them to death.' 41 All the stories of Chinese troops being tended by Japanese doctors, or Chinese POWs preferring to stay in Japan after peace returned, should not obscure the fact that Japan fought

Discipline and Control: The Army as Civilisation


a bloody war. Japanese lapses from the Geneva convention were usually excused on the grounds that China did appear to outside observers almost on a par with 'African' tribes. Thus, even though the Japanese army failed to maintain discipline, it succeeded in the underlying aim to present itself as a notably more civilised force. None the less, what stands out are the allegations of mass troop participation and the extent of the violence at Port Arthur. We can only speculate on the reasons. Possibly, one factor was the expectations of the troops: Port Arthur was so daunting that many of'them expected to die in its capture; when they triumphed with so few losses, this may have ignited a combination of elation at survival and also contempt towards the Chinese defenders. This is implied by historians such as Ohama Tetsuya, who ascribes the massacre to the general unease of troops finding themselves overseas for the first time, drunk with the excess of victory, and contemptuous of the level of civilisation they observed in Korea and Manchuria. 42 When one bears in mind that many troops had not slept for several nights before the battle, either through the exhaustion of the march, the noise of Chinese guns, or simple fear, then nervous tension no doubt also played a part. In such circumstances, it may have taken only a handful of individuals to run amok before others joined en masse. From letters and diaries for this and other engagements, however, an even more simple explanation offers itself: killing was supremely pleasurable and satisfying. As Nozawa commented after the execution of a Chinese soldier caught in civilian dress later in the war, 'an early morning blood offering is very fine and shows the valour of the common troops.' 43 Japanese historians of the military generally agree in stressing the brutality of army life. The common trooper, they argue, was treated virtually as a slave, and the resulting pent-up aggression made him a fierce and unforgiving opponent. An alternative view was proposed by Ruth Benedict in her classic study of the Japanese during the Pacific War. Her contention was that the intense discipline of their own society was accepted as natural by Japanese but this very intensity made them feel peculiarly alienated and frustrated when they entered societies with differing rules of conduct. 44 In other words, the social discipline which so impressed early Western observers was, in fact, tinder for extraordinary indiscipline on the foreign battle-


Japan's First Modern War

field. We may wonder at this. It is possible to argue that Japanese social structures and forms of behaviour did not fundamentally alter between 1894 and 1945: movement and production accelerated, some new ideas infiltrated to various levels of society, but the underlying systems of family and community, and the nature of social interaction, were quite resilient. Indeed, in some senses they remain to the present. Yet, during the period 1895-1945, Japanese armies at war were neither uniformly disciplined nor uniformly brutal. Nor, as suggested by Chapter 3, were Japanese soldiers themselves cut from a single cloth. If Japanese society exacerbated army violence, it was probably more by the increasing emphasis on the exclusiveness of the Japanese race which thus prevented a greater understanding of, or sympathy with, the outside world. Before leaving Port Arthur, there are two questions still to consider. First, the picture of events given by the Japanese press; and secondly, the potentially catastrophic impact of the massacre on Japanese diplomacy. Fujimura Michio has stated that reports of the massacre were kept a tight secret within Japan. 45 This is not strictly true. Within days of the battle, the Japanese press reported with great jubilation and at great length on the capture of Port Arthur. Among these reports were clear statements that the army had murdered defenceless Chinese: one example was of a Chinese soldier who, having shaved his head and tried to pass himself off as a Buddhist priest, was discovered and immediately executed. Early estimates of enemy dead were also well above previous battles.46 Reports noted, moreover, that General Oyama had issued to those Chinese civilians who were 'without doubt good people' an identification band on which was written, 'do not kill this one'. There can be little doubt the Japanese public knew a massacre was taking place. They were, however, exposed to the same rationalisations concerning the earlier mutilation of Japanese, the mobilisation of civilians by the Chinese commander, and the attempt by Chinese troops to hide in civilian dress. The Japanese press also noted Creelman's published statements but attempted to cast doubt on his authority, and that of his colleagues, by claiming that three of the four Western correspondents at Port Arthur had never previously been witnesses to war. As counter-evidence, Japanese newspapers offered the testimony of an unidentified Western military attache

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(presumably the French) that there had been no killing of women, that the civilian population had fled the city in advance of the attack, that Ch'ing troops had indeed adopted civilian dress, and that the violence of the Japanese forces was no greater than that of any army after seeing its comrades mutilated. A rumour was later circulated that Creelman, having returned his journalist's permit to the Japanese army, had then sailed to Shanghai to work for the Chinese government. 47 Japanese newspapers did not hide the massacre at Port Arthur but they did attempt to explain it away. At home, they had a receptive public; the same was not guaranteed of the outside world. INDISCIPLINE AND DIPLOMACY If the tension between violence and control was implicit in any army, Japan's loss of control at Port Arthur threatened its international standing, and undermined the unity of strategy and diplomacy earlier agreed by civilian and military leaders. As a result of army actions, Japanese diplomats were forced on the defensive, a posture with which they were to become all too familiar in the 1920s and 1930s. At the time of the massacre, Japan could claim few friends in the international community; relations with Britain especially had been strained since the war began. However, the events at Port Arthur came at a particularly sensitive moment in dealings with the United States, the power most to influence Japan's fate in the twentieth century. On 22 November 1894, the revised Japan-US treaty was signed in Washington DC and was then scheduled for ratification by the Senate. Creelman's report, however, appeared prominently in the American press and some senators expressed doubts about Japan's fitness for equality in the 'civilised' community. Having spent much of the Meiji period in preparing treaty revision, it was essential for the Japanese government to allowr no obstacle at this stage. Consequently, Foreign Minister Mutsu, having personally interviewed Cowan of The Times, took the extraordinary step of writing an open letter to the New York World urging Americans not to prejudge the issue and promising an investigation. Mutsu's interpretation of the affair was given in a memorandum to foreign representatives at Tokyo on 19 December:


Japan's First Modern War

There is no question that more blood was shed at Port Arthur than at any other place. It is quite possible that even more was shed than was necessary, but the reports sent abroad by foreign correspondents, and more especially by the correspondent of the 'World', are, with a view to giving a sensational effect, not only highly coloured, but also highly exaggerated. When Port Arthur had fallen, the Chinese soldiers saw that open resistance was vain, wherefore they discarded their military uniforms, and disguised themselves in the garb of ordinary civilians. They then betook themselves to the houses left vacant by the real and peaceful citizens of the place, who had fled some days previous .. . but subsequently returned when peace and order were restored. The Chinese soldiers did this because they were frightened that, if they surrendered, the Japanese would treat them with no more mercy than they themselves had treated their Japanese prisoners. So they disguised themselves in all sorts of ways, taking care at the same time to arm themselves. When discovered by the Japanese they fought to the bitter end . . . The Japanese soldiers were greatly excited at the sight of the fearfully mutilated bodies of some of their comrades who had been taken prisoner by the Chinese. Some had been burnt alive, and some had been crucified. Notwithstanding this spectacle, the Japanese soldiers preserved discipline. None of those who peacefully surrendered were killed or maltreated. 48 The Russian and American ministers had warned Mutsu that Japan stood to lose further prestige unless it acted. However, as Prime Minister Ito admitted, any attempt to resolve the issue at the army's expense was loaded with danger: General Yamagata had only just been replaced as 1st Army commander, and any investigation into the 2nd Army could not have ended without some taint being attached to General Oyama.49 This was dangerous indeed in the middle of a successful war and with army popularity at home reaching unprecedented heights. The main diplomatic problem was with the US and Mutsu hoped his letter, and the activities of his minister in Washington in mobilising a counter opinion, would serve to quieten criticism over Port Arthur. This was successful in so far as the treaty was ultimately ratified by the Senate on 5 February 1895.

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The long-term success of Japan's diplomatic counteroffensive, however, is open to question. An article appearing in the June 1895 issue of the Fortnightly Review by the respected international legal scholar Thomas Holland repeated almost verbatim the accusations of Creelman. 50 Others shared the view that Japan was merely pretending at civilisation. As Creelman himself wrote: All attempts to justify the massacre of the wretched people of Port Arthur and the mutilation of their bodies, are mere afterthoughts. The evidence is clear and overwhelming that it was the sudden breaking down of Japanese civilization under the stress of conscious power. The tremendous facts revealed by the war so far are, that there is practically no Chinese army in existence; that Japan has been arraying herself in the outward garb of civilization, without having gone through the process of moral and intellectual development necessary to grasp the ideas upon which modern civilization is founded; that Japan at heart is a barbarous nation, not yet to be trusted with sovereign power over the lives and property of civilized men. . . . When Port Arthur fell, not even the presence of the horrified British and American military attaches and of foreign newspaper correspondents served to check the carnival of murder. . . . The sign of the Red Cross was jeered at, and in the midst of the orgies of blood and rapine, with troops tramping over the bodies of unarmed victims who lost their homes, the fat field marshall and his generals paced smiling, content at the sound of rifle shots mingling with the music of the national hymn and the clink of wine glasses.51 The view that Japan, beneath the surface Western garb, was no less alien and dangerous than any other 'Oriental' was to gain even greater currency after the war. It took strongest root in North America and underlay the wave of anti-Japanese immigration movements along the Pacific coast in the 1900s. In this way, a single dramatic lapse by the Japanese army not only exposed the fragile entente it shared with the foreign ministry, it also handed ammunition to its present and future enemies.

8 Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War The cliche ofJapanese wartime discourse was of gaining dominion over the entire 400 and more counties of China. The reality, however, was that up to January 1895 the Japanese military had encountered no more than a regional Chinese force, penetrated no further than the remote north-east, and left untouched the demographic heartlands of eastern and southern China. Indeed, it seems unlikely the war had interrupted the overall business of Chinese society. A British diplomatic report as late as April 1895, while perhaps exaggerated, declared that: Notwithstanding the number and magnitude of the reverses they have sustained, the Chinese consider the Japanese to be merely troublesome disturbers of the frontier, who are displaying a quite unlooked-for and somewhat annoying activity, but whose doings are on the whole beneath contempt. One of the staff of the Chang Shao Mission [of peace to Japan] was, on his return, asked for his opinion of the Japanese. 'Oh, the Japanese are a very enterprising people', was his answer . . .l The indifference may simply have been a pretence but it was hardly what the Japanese had expected when they drafted their military strategy in August 1894. This, as we may recall, involved a two-stage attack: the second stage involved the concentration of forces for a decisive battle in the Chihli region, home of the Chinese capital. In military terms, the logical approach was to attack Beijing in order to achieve absolute victory; at least until the end of 1894 this remained the expectation of Japanese soldiers and civilians alike. There were, however, two unresolved issues here. First, if Britain was willing to use its navy to prevent any Japanese approach on Shanghai, it was not going to accept the fall of Beijing. The same was true of other powers with interests in China: they might welcome stiff peace terms 164

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War


from the Japanese; these could force the Ch'ing to seek either finance or allies from the West with subsequent benefits for those willing to respond. The Japanese capture of Beijing and possible collapse of Ch'ing authority, however, directly threatened the concessions they had already obtained. Consequently, as Prime Minister Ito argued in December 1894, it was tantamount to diplomatic suicide for Japan to consider any such assault. Secondly, as the Japanese army was to discover in 1937, seizure of the Chinese capital (at that time Nanjing) did not automatically bring about a Chinese surrender; the Ch'ing themselves had found this upon first entering Beijing in the mid-seventeenth century with the outgoing Ming dynasty continuing to offer resistance from its new southern base. The limited value of Beijing was further evident during the warlord era of the 1920s when it remained the nominal capital but had little more than a ceremonial role to play in Chinese politics. As a general proposition, seizure of an enemy's capital is more likely to be militarily decisive when that city functions not only as the political but also the economic centre; this dual function may be apparent in the case of London or Paris but not in China. The irony here is that Japanese strategists in the 1900s recognised this fact and, more than twenty years before the second Sino-Japanese war, predicted with commendable accuracy that Japan could not defeat China even if it seized all the major cities; the country remained so vast that the Chinese would merely retreat into the hinterland and launch a guerrilla campaign against the over-extended Japanese lines. From this, however controversial it may be, we might suggest that Japan's military victory over China in 1895 was dependent on two factors: first, the reluctance of the Chinese from the very outset to engage in war; and, secondly, the role played by the West in setting finite limits to Japan's campaign, that is, forcing Japan itself to cease hostilities before marching on Beijing. In this sense, Japan's ambivalent relationship with the West actually served its interests by containing the war; such a beneficial limitation was to be less evident in 1937. THE LAST CAMPAIGNS Notwithstanding the recall of General Yamagata and the


Japan's First Modern War

political revision of strategy in December 1894, the army, navy and civilian authorities agreed that General Oyama's 2nd Army, in co-operation with the navy, should cross to central China, land in the Shantung peninsula well south of the Chihli plains, attack the key east coast port of Wreihaiwei, and nullify the Beiyang fleet. This assault began late in January 1895. Oyama had with him the 2nd Division and part of the 6th, both recently arrived from Japan, against an estimated 17 000 Chinese troops for the entire Shantung region. The Chinese had begun increasing their defences late in 1894 and news of a Japanese reconnaissance mission, sent to the landing zone late in December 1894, had alerted the Chinese to the coming invasion. There was, however, considerable urgency in the imperial headquarters generated by fear that the Chinese fleet could move south. At a minimum this would endanger Japan's lines of supply as troops crossed the sea from Manchuria; it could also prolong the war and increase the chance of Western intervention. Japanese ships arrived from the Liaotung peninsula on 20 January and landed troops in the eastern corner of Shantung. In a letter of the same date, General Oyama and Admiral Ito called on the Chinese fleet commander at Weihaiwei to surrender; this letter was conveyed by Admiral Fremantle of the Royal Navy's China station who conveniently happened to arrive in the Shantung peninsula at the time. 2 However, Admiral Ting of the Beiyang fleet made no reply and Oyama's forces began marching on the port from 26 January. Local conditions made carts unwieldy and forced the Japanese to rely on coolie labour for transport. Even so, the army train did not meet its schedules and troops were slowed by Chinese attacks. On 30 January, Oyama commenced the all-out assault on Weihaiwei, successfully overcoming its southern defences at the cost of 54 dead and 152 wounded; the Chinese dead numbered at least 700. Yet, conditions proved little better than in Manchuria with the cold and fatigue causing Japanese soldiers many problems. The Japanese were also unfamiliar with the layout of the land and local communications; some troops were able to join in a night attack only by following the Chinese searchlights!3 None the less, by 2 February, the army had full control of Weihaiwei on land. The Chinese fleet, however, remained undefeated in the bay and continued to shell Japanese positions. Once the heavy swells and snow ceased on

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War


3 February, the Japanese fleet entered the bay and discovered the situation. It then sent torpedo boats over several days to harry the Chinese ships and, finally, on 12 February, Admiral Ting, with his flagship severely damaged, conceded defeat. Shortly after negotiating his surrender, Admiral Ting committed suicide by poison, an act of responsibility that won him considerable respect in Japan. 4 The army general staff history claims that the seizure of Weihaiwei was intended to safeguard the Gulf of Chihli preparatory to Japan's march-towards Beijing and the long-awaited decisive battle. 5 Consequently, the 2nd Army's task was to destroy Weihaiwei's defences and return to the Liaotung peninsula before Chinese reinforcements could arrive in Shantung. This was achieved late in February and Oyama's forces were back at Port Arthur by 5 March. This appears a somewhat roundabout move; effectively, Oyama had taken the Japanese fleet and two divisions all the way to Weihaiwei merely to neutralise a port and a fleet which might easily have been bypassed or contained by the Japanese navy. While the attack had succeeded in removing Chinese opposition on the seas, it was perhaps more valuable in keeping the army away from Beijing. However, early in March, the 1st Army was ill-prepared to join in any decisive battle as it continued in Manchuria to deal with the aftermath of Yamagata's earlier order to occupy Haich'eng. Soon after taking Haich'eng in mid-December 1894, Lieutenant-General Katsura had asked for 2nd Army assistance to clear enemy forces from his west at Kaip'ing and so protect him on one of the three flanks from which the Chinese threatened his position. Despite being preoccupied with plans for the landing at Weihaiwei, General Oyama had been ready to send his 1st Division to assist the 3rd but awaited fresh orders from the imperial headquarters after receiving news that Katsura had already strengthened his westerly position. The imperial headquarters, however, was torn between two camps: on the one hand, Yamagata naturally supported the retention of Haich'eng and his successor, General Nozu, wanted to use it as a base from which to occupy the entire region westwards up to the Chinchou area, thus uniting the 1st and 2nd Armies; on the other hand, there was an argument that Japan's main priority was now Weihaiwei and, rather than commit extra forces to what essentially was a sideshow, it was better to pull back from Haich'eng.


Japan's First Modern War

Only on 29 December did the Yamagata camp prevail: on 3 January 1895, the brigade of Major-General Nogi was finally separated from the 1st Division and sent to Kaip'ing but after several weeks of frozen immobility the troops had lost something of their momentum. For one soldier, the battle of Kaip'ing on 10 January 1895 was the hardest since landing; over the four hours of combat, the Japanese lost about forty dead and nearly three hundred wounded to what the army general staff history conceded was extremely stubborn Chinese defence. 6 The belated decision to maintain control of Haich'eng only raised a further question. Ahead of the Japanese lines, Chinese troops in Manchuria had been massing in a broad arc across from the north-west port of Yingk'ou to the inland city of Liaoyang and, between December 1894 and 28 February 1895 (when it finally left Haich'eng), the 3rd Division was attacked by these forces on five separate occasions. In late January, a telegram from General Nozu to the imperial headquarters called for joint action between the armies to repulse the enemy from these positions and destroy its fighting capacity. This, Nozu believed, was essential to protect Japan's rear before sending the 3rd Division to Talien as part of the final invasion force. The imperial headquarters, however, rejected the proposal on the grounds that it would drag Japan even further in the opposite direction to its main attack. On 30 January, the day after receiving this rebuttal, Nozu asked the imperial headquarters to reconsider in so far as a concerted enemy attack appeared imminent at Haich'eng or Kaip'ing. Through persistence, Nozu obtained some concessions: his request of 6 February to send part of the 1st Division to support Major-General Nogi (who had first gone, of course, merely to support Lieutenant-General Katsura) was finally approved and the troops left on 10 February. However, Nozu was unable to convince his superiors to accept a deeper strike against Liaoyang; on 16 February, they agreed only to the much shorter attack against Chinese positions at Yingk'ou or Niuch'ang and on condition that Japanese forces disengage as soon as the objective had been achieved.7 In this way, disposition of the 1st Army and part of the 2nd Army had been left hanging for nearly two months as the field commanders and imperial headquarters pondered their northern defences. Under the compromise agreed by the imperial headquarters,

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War


the 3rd and 5th Divisions were to co-operate in clearing the region around Haich'eng and Niuch'ang, and then join with the 1st Division to head for the western coast of the Liaotung peninsula and attack Yingk'ou. The clearing mission, however, was harder than expected. Katsura's scouts presented a miserable picture of Chinese forces at Yingk'ou, cold, disconsolate and unable to supplement their dwindling food supplies because of the frozen Liao river and the rival needs of other Chinese armies stationed nearby. There were even suggestions that many Chinese actively hoped for a battle so they could abandon their weapons and merge into the peasantry.8 This was not the impression given by the Chinese commander, Sung, who attacked Haich'eng on 16, 21 and 27 February. The attacks were relatively unsustained and cost Japan only a handful of casualties but the point is that they forced Japan on to the defensive, a position it had not experienced hitherto. The final battles in Manchuria were also some of the toughest. Early in March, the 1st Army took the old town of Niuch'ang after a fierce street battle in which the Chinese, perhaps 10 000 strong, are credited with both courage and skill, losing heavily but also costing the Japanese over 500 in dead and wounded. 9 On 7 March, the 1st Division occupied Yingk'ou where special care was taken to avoid friction with Western residents; a guard was posted around the foreign settlement and Japanese troops strictly forbidden from entering it without reason.10 The process of consolidation culminated in the battle on 9 March of T'ienchuangt'ai, a town on the right bank of the Liao river north-west of Yingk'ou. Here the 1st, 3rd and 5th Divisions with about a hundred cannon combined for a three-pronged assault on more than 20 000 Chinese troops. It was thus one of the largest battles of the war. Anything from 1000 to more than 5000 Chinese were killed as Japanese troops were made to contest every street. Reports indicate that many Chinese fought to the death, but many others were given no chance to surrender, and the 1st Division was ruthless in destroying those who attempted to flee. Despite the severity of the fighting, Japan escaped with just 160 or so dead and wounded. 11 Having taken T'ienchuangt'ai, Nozu then razed it to the ground ostensibly to protect Japanese defences on the left bank of the Liao river and to prevent it falling again into Chinese hands. However, the war in Manchuria was now effectively ended. Chinese forces had


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retreated north and the Japanese concentrated on establishing order in Niuch'ang and Yingk'ou. There appeared to be no further obstacle to the long-awaited invasion of Chihli. For this reason, it was imperative for Japan's diplomats to proceed with peace negotiations and bring the war to a successful conclusion. At the same time, the order was given on 20 February for the navy, in conjunction with army forces, to occupy the Pescadores islands off Taiwan. The Taiwan campaign is beyond the scope of this study but suffice to say that Japanese troops were poorly trained and poorly supported. Cholera was the major enemy causing about 1000 deaths among the 4000-strong detachment. The health problems were exacerbated by the weakness of the medical staff; according to one colonel, he was forced to give rudimentary training in stretcher-bearing to 120 coolies because of the lack of medical orderlies.12 For a campaign which was primarily political, not military, the cost in troop deaths in this and the following years were to be enormous. With the war in the field coming to an end, a further problem arose in Hiroshima. It had been agreed to move the imperial headquarters to the front in order to direct the final assault. The question, however, was what to do with the Emperor Meiji. Yamagata, at the time of his recall from Manchuria, had reaffirmed his belief that the emperor himself should lead the final charge. While a simple victory might thus have redounded to the emperor's stature as a warrior-chief and greatly added to the capital of emperor-centred nationalism, the ramifications for the throne of any kind of reverse were incalculable. Moreover, the trend of the war had been for the imperial image to replace the person; physically taking the emperor to China across rough seas and into a far rougher winter was at best an uncertain proposition. There was also no urgent precedent for such a move; how many sovereigns in the nineteenth century (apart from Napoleon whose true occupation was soldiering) actually commanded their armies in the field? In the end, however, there appears to have been no serious consideration of Meiji leading the final assault. Instead, on the pretext of the emperor's poor health, his powers as commander-in-chief were delegated to the Prince Komatsu no Akihito (then army chief of staff following his predecessor's sudden demise) as head of a Generalissimo's Department (Sotokufu); this was established on

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War


16 March 1895.13 Here was an implicit acknowledgement that the emperor as an individual might literally be left behind by the army so long as his power was represented. On 13 April, the prince departed from Ujina accompanied by, among others, Lieutenant-General Kawakami, vice-chief of the army general staff; Vice-Admiral Kabayama, navy chief of staff; Major-General Terauchi, chief superintendent of communications and transport; and Army Surgeon-General Ishiguro. Their departure set the clock ticking on a peace settlement.

THE PEACE TREATY Until early 1895, the Japanese government had successfully resisted Chinese overtures and Western pressure for peace. Since the previous November, Chinese offers of an indemnity and respect for Korean independence had been conveyed through the US minister but Japan had been determined to improve its military position and maximise its gains at the negotiating table. At the end of January 1895, two Chinese envoys were received at Hiroshima but then rebuffed on the grounds that they lacked full authority to decide terms. While this may simply have been a delaying tactic as Japan's forces attacked Weihaiwei and readied to invade the Pescadores, Prime Minister Ito noted the dangers of China negotiating at arm's length: the Chinese could prevaricate by referring matters to Beijing, thus publicising Japan's terms and allowing the West a greater opportunity to interfere. For this reason, Ito let it be known that he hoped someone with the power to make immediate decisions, such as Li Hung-chang himself, would take over as China's plenipotentiary. 14 Here the threat that Japan might yet invade Chihli had diplomatic benefits and Li duly arrived as China's new negotiator on 19 March. However, only five days later, a lone Japanese attempted to assassinate Li, causing the aged statesman some injury. However, as Mutsu later recounted: Throughout Japan, there seemed to be less concern about the attack on Li than about the international criticism people feared it would occasion. A Nation which until yesterday had been nearly driven into delirium by the joys of military triumph now suddenly presented itself as plunged


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into the depths of grief. For popular sentiments to shift so abruptly was admittedly unavoidable; but I was still shocked by the abject posture taken by our people on this occasion.15 Discipline and control had been the watchwords of the army commanders. Now carelessness by the domestic authorities had further undermined Japan's claim for Western respect and weakened its position in negotiations. More with a view to mollifying Western critics than Chinese sensitivities, the Japanese abandoned their intransigence over a ceasefire and on 27 March agreed to halt all military actions on the Chinese continent. Belated efforts to forestall Western intervention, however, were to prove unavailing. x\t the beginning of the war, the emperor had outlined the necessity for close military-diplomatic co-operation in order to ensure Japan's victory. This instruction had not been well respected: the friction between army officers and diplomats in occupied Manchuria was a case in point, as was Mutsu's embarrassment following Western reports of the massacre at Port Arthur. The shift in strategy in December 1894 and Yamagata's consequent recall was perhaps the sharpest point of disunity. However, all previous difficulties were to be overshadowed by the failure of Japan to co-ordinate its peace terms early in 1895. The level of conflicting opinion is obvious in the records of an imperial conference held on 27 January 1895, just prior to the arrival of the first Chinese envoys. The fundamental split was between the army and navy: the army claimed the Liaotung peninsula as Japan's 'military lifeline' and demanded its cession in view of the casualties in taking the region and in order to extend the defence perimeter for Korea. The navy, however, saw less strategic value in Japanese expansion on the continent (which in political terms could only profit the army) and was more concerned with obtaining Taiwan. Senior Japanese diplomats were also divided: Nishi Tokujiro in St Petersburg confirmed his belief that Russia would obstruct any claim in Manchuria and proposed that Japan seek a larger indemnity instead; Aoki Shuzo in Berlin, well noted for his Russophobia, argued rather that Japan should guard itself against Russia precisely by taking much of southern Manchuria, a part of Chihli, plus a large indemnity. For Japanese financiers, a monetary return was more important than

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War


land and Matsukata Masayoshi, the leading financial expert in government circles, proposed a colossal indemnity, quite beyond China's means, equivalent roughly to 1.5 billion yen. Outside the government, the so-called 'diplomatic hard-line' faction, including the future darling of Japanese liberalism, Ozaki Yukio, wanted not only the cession of southern Manchuria and Taiwan, plus an indemnity of 300 million yen, but also the readiness on Japan's part to seize virtually the whole of China's coastal provinces if the Ch'ing proved unable to survive the political aftermath of war. Few echoed Tani Kanjo, former military hero and long-time opponent of military expansionism, when he warned that excessive demands would endanger Japan and impede the restoration of Sino-Japanese relations.16 A Sino-Japanese alliance against Russia had of course been mooted prewar and it was to become more imperative following international shifts soon after the war's conclusion. The conflicts within the Japanese leadership resulted in an attempt to satisfy all parties. Among the army, only General Katsura is credited with misgivings about Japan's ability to split its defences by expanding simultaneously north and south in Manchuria and Taiwan; after the peace treaty had been signed, Emperor Meiji also claimed to have been sceptical about the viability of Manchurian expansion. 17 By satisfying its domestic constituents, however, the Japanese government brought about the very crisis it had predicted from the first. Warnings of Western intervention were neither late in coming nor restricted to the reports of Japanese legations overseas. From the outset of war, there had been alarmist predictions in the Western media about Japanese ambitions: some believed that once it had defeated China, obtained Taiwan, and seized control of Korea, its next target would be the weakly controlled and unstable Spanish colony in the Philippines.18 The weakness of Western empires in the region thus made diplomatic intervention against Japan possible from a variety of sources. The main threat, however, appeared to come from Russia. Yet Russian diplomats had made it repeatedly and abundantly clear that St Petersburg would not interfere ifJapan obtained Taiwan but would have serious reservations about any claim on southern Manchuria. On 7 February 1895, The Times of London quoted Russian diplomatic orders to suggest that a joint intervention was being prepared with Britain, France and others to prevent


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Japan obtaining Chinese territory on the mainland. 19 Prompted by this, Foreign Minister Mutsu consulted the Russian minister to Tokyo on 14 February and was given substantially the same advice; Japan should satisfy itself with Taiwan. In addition, an unofficial caution from the German government early in March 1895 advised Japan to moderate its ambitions or face Western intervention. 20 With these multiple warnings, Japan's persistence in demanding the Liaotung peninsula would seem to indicate either the inability of its leaders to revise their position in the light of political realities, or a dangerous readiness to gamble the victories to date. An alternative perspective, however, is offered by a letter from General Yamagata to Foreign Minister Mutsu on 5 April. Notwithstanding the widespread fear of Russia, Yamagata appeared surprisingly sanguine about Russian intentions. While he noted Russian criticisms of the peace negotiations, Yamagata felt it more likely that Britain would exploit the situation for its own benefit. Russia and Japan, he argued, had common interests and he interpreted the visit to Japan by the then Crown Prince Nicholas in 1891 as an indication of Russian goodwill. If anything, amity had only been strengthened by recent trends and Japan should build on this by approaching St Petersburg to discuss the question of Siberian development. Yamagata acknowledged the seeds of a coalition againstjapan's peace terms but he felt a diplomatic revolution was possible by establishing a Russo-Japanese alliance against their mutual opponents by which, we may assume, he intended Britain.21 In return for such an alliance, Yamagata no doubt expected the Russians to drop their opposition to the Liaotung demand. Whether such a plan was ever feasible is open to debate, but the views of Yamagata at this time suggest that Ito was not alone in his suspicions of Britain and the subsequent Anglo-Japanese alliance might, in other circumstances, never have occurred. With Prime Minister Ito as its chief negotiator, Japan went into the peace talks at Shimonoseki with demands for cession of the Liaotung peninsula, Taiwan and the Pescadores islands; indemnity for Japan's war expenses; Chinese recognition of the full independence of Korea; and a commitment to negotiate separately a new Sino-Japanese commercial treaty, based on those existing between China and the Western powers, and giving Japan far greater access to the China market. The Chi-

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War


nese negotiator, Li, had attempted to moderate Japan's demands by repeating in essence the comments he had made to General Kawakami in China before the war. In his view, Japan and China were culturally and geographically related and both were under threat from the West: excessive demands by Japan would only weaken China and endanger them both; this was to prove prophetic. Li had been one of China's earliest and most forceful modernisers and, without necessarily being ironic, he also thanked Japan for waking China from its complacency. This sentiment (likened in the Japanese Buddhist newspaper, Kyoto Shimpo, of 30 March 1895 to Japan as a severe father rousing a stubborn child) was to be the basis of a new panAsianism in subsequent years. However, in view of the positions taken by Japan's army and navy, Ito had little room for real flexibility despite Li's warning that seizure of land was no basis for peace. A slight concession was made on the amount of southern Manchuria desired by Japan; the north-east corner was reduced so that the final border ran from the Yalu river up to Haich'eng and Yingk'ou. The Japanese also agreed to a smaller indemnity, down from 300 to 200 million Chinese taels (approximately 300 million yen). However, there was no compromise on the basic demands. With Ito warning the Chinese that he could not indefinitely restrain the army from attacking Beijing, the treaty of Shimonoseki was signed on 17 April 1895. Under its terms, Japan obtained all that it required. As surety for payment of the indemnity and ratification of the new trade treaty, it was also agreed that Japanese troops were temporarily to occupy Weihaiwei.22 Whatever celebrations may have been under way in Japan were cut short. Just as expected and as forewarned, no sooner were the demands made public than a triple intervention on 23 April from Germany, France and Russia forced the Japanese to consider abandoning claims on the Liaotung peninsula. Russia had the most legitimate concerns in north-east China and there had been a constant note of disquiet in the wartime Russian press aboutJapan closing the door in Manchuria. France was the least directly involved but the most passionate: as a Japanese military summary of French opinion noted, those Frenchmen supporting intervention were motivated by racism and either the fear that Japan's victory was but the first step in a Japanese-led alliance for Asian revenge against the West or,


Japan's First Modern War

alternatively, that Japan's takeover of Taiwan directly endangered French control of Indo-China. Some French critics also warned that if Japan gained the Liaotung peninsula and with it Port Arthur, Russia would be forced to increase its military presence in the Far East; this would weaken its European forces and seriously upset the Franco-Russian balance against Germany. A minority opinion in France noted logically that France's problems in the Far East were almost entirely with China and that Japan was regarded as a friend. Moreover, having seized Indo-China, France was neither in a moral nor a strategic position to prevent Japan from taking Chinese territory.23 The new player in East Asian politics was Germany. It hoped to ingratiate itself with Beijing and as reward for its intervention perhaps obtain a naval base of its own on China's coast. Germany was to play a further decisive role in the region when, disappointed by the extent of China's gratitude, it seized the Shantung peninsula in 1897 and thus gave Japan a new opening to restore SinoJapanese relations. While the precise form of the intervention may have surprised the Japanese government, the fact of intervention was of course long anticipated. Despite this, Japan had no way to respond: assistance was hurriedly sought from London and Washington but neither was likely to oppose three major powers on Japan's behalf and this was especially true given their original opposition to the war. The Japanese government attempted to negotiate a compromise but this was rejected by the three interventionists. Instead, France even tried to include retrocession of the Pescadores islands off Taiwan, suggesting these be declared a neutral zone. Fortunately for Japan, Berlin was unwilling to extend the issue at hand which was clearly that of Port Arthur. Faced with the implied threat of war by a Western coalition, Vice-Chief of Staff Kawakami claimed that Russia could send no more than a few thousand troops all the way east until the Trans-Siberian railway was complete. Given Japan's international isolation, however, as well as its financial weakness, the comment was reckless. The cabinet decision on 4 May was to abandon its claim on the Liaotung peninsula, accepting in its stead an extra 30 million taels from China.24 With that, the continental war was finally brought to a close. The return of the emperor and his generals to the capital on 30 May signalled a public end to the war against China. A cynic

Wartime Strategy and Diplomacy: Closing the War


might argue the only reason the emperor had been taken from Tokyo in the first place was to garner the laurels of the victor. The ceremony of return was marked by a parade of troops through a specially constructed Victory Arch commissioned by local businessmen and volunteers. Resembling a vast railway tunnel 100 m long, liberally decked with national flags, and with a central dome nearly 30 m high, it was a unique structure, a fact emphasised by the local newspapers.25 The celebrations soon over, and with a new conflict under way in Taiwan, the Japanese were left to assess just what had been gained from this first modern war.

Conclusion The Sino-Japanese war is typically viewed as an uncomplicated victory for Japan, achieved by the well-disciplined and wellmotivated Japanese forces, supported unhesitatingly by the mass of the Japanese people, and only spoilt at the end by the triple intervention. As we have attempted to show, however, matters are a good deal more complicated. There is evidence of unity and disunity, of patriotism and profiteering, of discipline and indiscipline; in other words, diversity. We began by suggesting the war has been undervalued as a political, military, or cultural event, so let us now conclude by assessing it in those terms. POLITICS: DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL In domestic Japanese politics, the campaigns on donations, war bonds, military funerals and celebration victories, had allowed the state even greater access to public life but this had only been achieved with the assistance of local civic groups. In prefectural politics, the war had been utilised as a rhetorical device but it did not inhibit local rivalries and prefectural elections were naturally fought on parochial issues. The impact of the war was most profound at the centre of politics. There was a distinct change in the attitude of the opposition parties and even General Yamagata, their most implacable opponent, was known to have praised their patriotic support for the war effort. The new accord between the government and the opposition led to a more stable system of politics in which successive cabinets, even that of Yamagata between 1898 and 1900, recognised at least a temporary need to ally themselves with one of the parties; this was particularly important in view of the massive new expenditures required for postwar military expansion. The new cosiness of central politics had two broad results. First, as Yasuda Hiroshi has noted, the Sino-Japanese war solved the political ambiguity of the throne and brought about a general recognition that the emperor ruled by divine right.1 This also placed the emperor metaphorically above the political clouds, thus further limiting his ability, as in 1893 and the 178



naval issue, to intervene in political discussions. The marginalisation of the emperor was also strengthened by the postwar system; the throne was no longer so necessary as a tool to break political deadlock as the government could protect itself with Liberal party support. Secondly, the wartime shift of the opposition from people's rights to patriotism led to greater scorn for the elected parliamentarians. The public may have supported the war but they were not prepared to do so unconditionally; the postwar tax increases for military expansion and the failure of the Diet to protect lower wage-earners brought some ringing condemnations. In 1899 Yokoyama Gennosuke attacked Diet men as no more than wage labourers, selfish, and indifferent to the public good; as evidence, he pointed to the failure of 57 Lower House members even to settle their food bill for the last Diet session. In view of the widening gulf between rich and poor, and the Diet's failure to represent oppressed workers and farmers, Yokoyama warned that Japan's next war would be fought between its own people. 2 Thus, within a few years of its birth, the Japanese Diet was already coming to be held in the kind of public contempt for which in the 1980s and early 1990s it was to become known world-wide. Based on what the leadership hoped to achieve internationally, the war is clearly a political failure. Korea's independence was guaranteed but Japan forfeited whatever support it enjoyed within Korea for its wartime activities, and was forced to lower its control over the Korean polity and economy following Western opposition at the war's end. Indeed, the heavy-handedness of Japanese during the war and its expulsion of the relatively benign Chinese influence only prompted Korean officials in 1896 to invite Russia to take a more active role in the peninsula. China had been defeated on the battlefield but the tangible gains to Japan were an indemnity to cover its war costs, the island of Taiwan (which was to prove a rather onerous burden of empire for the next few years), and, perhaps best of all, a new commercial treaty. At the same time, however, the war drove China into the arms of Russia and France in order to finance the indemnity payments; resulted in China giving Russia special railway rights in north China in return for an alliance against Japan; and saw China begin employing German military advisers to improve its defences. Japan had succeeded in impressing the West with the strength of its military and patriotism, but


Japan's First Modern War

the unwelcome corollary of this impression was that more voices in the West now warned of Japanese aggression and the pleasant image of lotus-land and samurai was replaced by one of a Japanese-led 'yellow peril'. These fears were held not only by the French in Indo-China or the Spanish in the Philippines. Early in 1895, wild rumours of a Japanese invasion were already brewing among white Australians, acutely sensitive to their own few numbers and remoteness from international aid: the response of one Japanese newspaper was to ask somewhat tartly who were the original residents of Australia.3 Moves in the US to annex Hawaii were fuelled by similar concerns about Japanese expansion and, in 1897, there was to be some aggressive talk on both sides of the Pacific. Among senior diplomats, Charles Denby in Beijing had claimed on hearing of Japan's shopping list of peace demands: Japan has been posing as the knight errant of civilization. She had intimated to the European powers that she intended to do many things for foreign commerce, and under cover of these intimations she has securely pursued her own aggrandizement and the Western powers gain practically nothing. 4 The image was thus fixed in 1895 that Japan was not to be trusted and, to a considerable degree, it has remained even to the present day. In Japan itself, there was equal ambivalence towards the West and the shift away from Western ideas and forms of socioeconomic organisation had already started before 1894. However, as Westerners noted during the war, Japan's military victories over China provided a degree of self-confidence which, hitherto, had lacked a clear foundation. According to the philosopher and critic Takayama Chogyu, writing in 1898, the Sino-Japanese war was the most important political event in Japanese history, teaching its people the true meaning of being a citizen of the state and broadening its horizons beyond the parochial and reclusive to the global and active. A typical comment on the new sense of self comes in December 1894 from the leading journalist and new convert to Japanese imperialism, Tokutomi Soho: 'Before we did not know ourselves, and the world did not yet know us. But now that we have tested our strength, we know ourselves and we are known by the world.' 5



The bombast, however, and all the emphasis on bushido and the unique Japanese spirit could not cloak the fact that Japan remained a minor, regional power; the takeover of Taiwan gave it no simple admission to any presumed imperial club. Thus, Japanese confidence towards the West may have been strengthened but was by no means assured. This is evident in some of the responses to the revised treaties of 1894-5 and the provision of greater freedom of movement and residence for Westerners in Japan. There were some who argued that Western residency outside the treaty ports would endanger Japanese culture: appropriating contemporary 'scientific' theories from the West, an intelligent man such as Inoue Tetsujiro could even warn that the larger heads of the Westerners (and thus larger brains) made it impossible for the Japanese to compete with them. 6 Others were ready to fight to prevent mixed residence; one such example is the Aikoku Eihokai (Patriotic Defence Society) based in Kyoto's Sanjo Teramachi - the comment of one newspaper was that the society's membership was composed solely of those who were 'slightly out of the ordinary'. 7 Overall, the war raised Japan's profile on the international stage but failed to stabilise Japan's political or cultural relations with the West. THE MILITARY The war was a success in terms of victories achieved at little human cost. Official figures in the Nihon newspaper for 5 July 1895 give total dead to 8 May as 2693; that is, 736 battle dead, 228 dead of wounds, 1658 dead of illness, 46 dead of other causes including suicide, and 25 lost presumed dead. 8 In addition, however, there is the uncounted cost in terms of the crippled, the traumatised, and the families who lost their vital means of support. There was also the impact of disease spread by the thousands of troops in close confines. Cholera, traced to the vessels leased by the government for military transport, erupted in Japan in May 1895 following the return of men from the China front. By the end of the year, there had been 55 000 domestic cases reported and, of these, 40 154 proved fatal.9 The strategic inconclusiveness of the war is demonstrated by the immediate postwar need to fund massive expansion in both


Japan's First Modern War

the navy and the army. As early as 14 April 1895, General Yamagata had drawn up a plan to strengthen Japan's forces to the point where they could control events in the Far East: these views were codified in an army general staff plan of September 1895 which called on Japan to abandon passiveness and instead push forward its line of defence. To this end, peacetime forces, supplemented by new siege and railway units, were to be doubled to 164 500 and wartime forces raised from 216 000 to 545 000.10 In September 1895, the navy puts in its bid for a tenyear plan costing about 213 million yen. The goal here was nothing if not ambitious: to build a fleet able to overcome either Britain or Russia in alliance with France! The quadrupling of army expenses alone in the postwar years forced it to rely more heavily on the government, but the experience of the war had shown the cabinet ready to ally itself with the navy against army strategy; this alliance was to resurface in later years, especially between 1908 and 1912 as conflict between the army and navy over scarce budget resources built to a political crescendo. Continuing discord between the services was also evident from late 1896 as the chiefs of staff quarrelled over the question of a unified mobilisation plan (drafted by the army) as opposed to separate plans to be merged upon wartime establishment of the imperial headquarters. 11 The disunity was further apparent in the navy's first strategic plan in 1902, emphasising defence of the homelands rather than expansion on the continent as favoured by the army. There was to be no significant improvement in army-navy co-operation for the rest of their joint existence. At the troop level, the victories of 1894-5 had generally been easily won and, with the exception of Port Arthur, the men were credited with discipline and efficiency. As suggested by the British officer's report on the eve of war, however, the praise from Western observers had much to do with expectations; the Japanese were not expected to be anything more than a parody of a modern army. There were, however, cases of desertion and other infractions, and the patriotism of the troops was not always unqualified by personal interests. While this is not unusual, it has too often been overlooked in the histories of the Japanese army. The army supply system, moreover, had been lamentable, leaving troops in Manchuria kitted in summer uniform as winter took hold, and failing to deliver adequate food



to the front. Army intelligence, especially in the field of language training, had been another major weakness. The myth of the Japanese army has undoubtedly been inflated, both by its domestic propagandists and foreign observers. In 1894-5, China's political leadership did not desire conflict, it had no national force, its fleet in central and southern China took no part in the war, the troops were largely untrained, and their weapons a mix of different types. In addition, Japan's victories were not always gained against superior numbers; frequently, the opponents were roughly equal or Japan had the advantage in men or armaments. The generals were less convinced than the historians that the war had brought about a lasting patriotism in Japan. Victories were all very well in generating a carnival atmosphere and bringing the army and society together. The restoration of peace, however, could well see a return to apathy and indiscipline. This was the thrust of General Katsura's warning to his staff officers as they returned to Japan. For Katsura, the 3rd Division's success in Manchuria had been the result of each man knowing his station and working together to maintain order and discipline. The superior education and military training of Japanese officers had been important in their victories, but the crucial factor, he believed, was spirit. As he explained, 'If two armies equal in numbers, organisation, arms and training meet on the battlefield, victory goes to the one with greater spirit.' The danger for Japan was that postwar society was habitually inclined to relax and grow complacent, thus causing a serious decline in the military spirit. In other words, victory itself was an enticement to corruption and the only way to combat this was through constant vigilance: Katsura stopped short at warning his men against excessive victory banquets or arrogant behaviour but, implicit in his comments, was the view that the real defence against luxuriousness was the maintenance of a garrison-state atmosphere and, indeed, a continuing resort to war.12 CULTURE The Japanese public did not respond in a single fashion to the war or its aftermath. We have earlier seen patriotic support


Japan's First Modern War

groups and massive donations of money and goods, but also a considerable level of crime and commercial misdealing. A mix of responses also greeted the postwar expansion of the military as new regiments were created in towns around the country; sometimes these were welcomed, other times they were not. As in the Tokugawa period, the presence of an essentially unproductive but captive consumer group of troops stimulated trade in food, drink and fuels, as well as places of entertainment catering to those off duty. At Hirosaki city in the extreme north of Japan, base of the new 8th Division soon after the war, and Tottori city, which housed the 40th infantry regiment from 1896, the influx of troops was credited with bringing renewed commercial prosperity and, in the case of Tottori, reversing the decline in its population. In mid-1896, however, villagers in the Kyoto region launched a bitter protest against the stationing of a new regiment as local land was already in short supply.13 In general, the euphoria of the war undoubtedly improved the social position of the military and there was a postwar increase in the level of enlistment. The authorities were also able to use the victories and materials associated with the war to perpetuate a militant nationalism. Trophies of war were exhibited in the provinces and certain items (more especially those with no military value such as outdated Chinese rifles, swords, spears and uniforms) were donated to prefectural governments, temples, shrines and schools. These trophies not only symbolised Japan's victory but also confirmed the wartime image of Japan's superior modernity. 14 Graves ofJapan's battle dead and memorial stones were literally concrete reminders of the war, and the wartime spread of the national flag meant that national ceremonies henceforth evoked memories of the conflict. In this respect, however, there is one caveat to make. Even more than victory, a military defeat or reverse is actually more potent in generating the emotions of patriotism; this is clear when we think of the charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean war, Custer's last stand, or the Australian action at Gallipoli in World War I. As William James once noted, 'the possibility of violent death [is] the soul of all romance'. 15 The bedrock of patriotism is precisely the romance of tragedy, and in that sense the SinoJapanese war appeared if anything too easy. In compensation, a young bugler killed in the first army action in Korea was eulo-



gised in prints and poetry and became one of the main heroes in official retellings of the war. Giving credence to Katsura's fears, there was an apparent relaxation of discipline in postwar society based on increased affluence. This was influenced by the Chinese indemnity which annually inflamed the Japanese economy. Middle and lowerclass incomes were on the rise, but there were even greater increases in some commodity prices: taking 1893 as an index of 100, one survey reveals that wages in 1898 had risen to 147 but the cost of rice had leaped to 193.16 The government provided a major injection of funds to the economy, especially to exportoriented industries and communications. Companies engaged in transport more than doubled between 1896 and 1903 while the tonnage of merchant shipping increased even more dramatically, rising in 1893 from 136 447 tons to 618 190 tons in 1900. In terms of social change and the expansion of a modern consciousness, however, the greatest change was the boom in use of the railways as the economy expanded but also the recognition by the military of the vital role of railways in a future conflict. Between 1893 and 1900, the rail network expanded from a total mileage of 1939 to 3855 miles, and the number of passengers carried on state and private lines jumped from about 32 million to 113 million.17 If war is essentially about movement, then postwar Japan remained a society on the move. Along with rapid expansion of industry and communications came social dislocation. This was reflected in what critics saw as the growth of the 'yellow press', regaling the newly transplanted population of urban labourers with tales of scandal and gossip, exposing fake religions, the peccadilloes of politicians and the rich, and dwelling on stormy romances or crime; also a literature excelling in lurid sex and violence, and novels dealing with a modern angst through stories of disfigurement, depravity, and disillusion. The period 1895-1904 is regarded by some as the height ofJapanese romanticism with a new confidence in the format and content of the literary arts, sometimes directly employing materials from the Sinojapanese war, and, under the guidance of such as Okakura Kakuzo, a new discovery of Japanese aesthetics. Romanticism, however, as in Europe at the same time, had a darker, more decadent offshoot: Takayama Chogyu, for example, having extolled the impact of the war and


Japan's First Modern War

the rise of the state in 1898, shocked educators and moralists in 1901 by writing that the goal of life was individual happiness and this could only be achieved by satisfying the erotic desires.18 Sensuality and individualism, however, were in direct conflict with the values of sacrifice and service espoused by the army. The authorities attempted to insulate the army and the future generation of soldiers from these urban trends. Even before the war, army camps had tried to relocate and escape the centre of towns but where this was not physically possible, the troops were made to think of themselves as bearers of the rural spirit. A similar philosophy was cultivated in the elite schools: during the war there was a call for the aristocratic Gakushuin to move from Tokyo to the more gentrified Kamakura in order to protect the physical and spiritual health of the young nobles.19 The partial victory over China, however, promoted industrialisation and with it the decline of rural society; in the same way, the armed forces were in the vanguard of technological improvement even while their traditions and ethos harked back to a pre-industrial world. In time, the emphasis on spirit in the army as an attempt to hold back the waves of change was to undercut the imput of technology and the efficiency of the troops. The rise of youth education and political awareness is one of the most significant changes in late nineteenth-century capitalist societies. In Japan, the wartime moves to militarise school life and control youth were continued with even greater cohesion after 1895. Physical training and military-style exercise were expanded, and at least one entrepreneur was advertising wooden versions of the Murata rifle for school use almost as soon as the peace treaty had been signed.20 The war songs and toys, the mock battles, press and journal stories from the front, troop receptions at railway stations, and military funerals, had all fired the imaginations of Japanese children, and it is perhaps in them that the Sino-Japanese war had its greatest impact. As we saw, the education authorities deliberately used the war as a means to explain history, geography and morals, and emphasise the wisdom of the emperor, the justness of Japan's cause, and the heroism of the troops. Outside the classroom, the rise of patriotic youth groups carried on the instruction and conditioning of young minds. The use of the war in patriotic education was particularly



notable in Okinawa, the newest and least assimilated territory in the Japanese empire outside of Taiwan. In view of historical links with China, a segment of the population had hoped for a Ch'ing victory but Japan's triumph accelerated the adoption of Japanese ways. This was particularly true in the schools where children were fed stories of the first Okinawan officer, Sergeant Yabu Kenyu, and his exhortation to Okinawan teachers that 'military education and citizens' education are intimately related'.21 In other words, children were to be schooled to be soldiers in times of crisis. Indeed, as a result of the war, conscription was introduced to Okinawa in 1898, and one author asserts that the departure of hitherto completely isolated young islanders for military service on the Japanese mainland became the most important event of their lives, while returned servicemen served to import modern ways and weaken established customs.22 Wartime and postwar patriotic mobilisation, however, could not eradicate a variety of opinion. A survey of schoolchildren in wartime Gifu prefecture showed a degree of unanimity over who to despise (the Chinese soldiery) but considerable variation over all other feelings of love, fear and patriotism. For some of those Okinawan primary schoolchildren questioned soon after the war, their happiest memory was indeed of victory celebrations for troops (in this case, presumably returning from Taiwan). Few, however, wished to become soldiers or sailors themselves, being enthused more with the middle-class ambitions of a career in teaching or medicine, or following their parents as farmers. Less than 1 per cent considered the emperor the person they should love the most, reserving that category for their parents and kin. One of the more charming instances of diversity concerned the thing the children most wished to see: while the majority agreed they would like to see the emperor more than anything, two preferred to see a whale!23 Thus, despite all the panoply of a modern centralised government, education, conscription and media, a military-centred patriotism was not able, then or later, to destroy curiosity and imagination.

Notes INTRODUCTION 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7.

For a discussion of Japanese interpretations of the war, Uno 1970, pp. 24-9; Jansen et al. 1979; and Nakamura 1991, pp. 165-6. Trade percentages from Sugiyama 1984, p. 17; on Japanese businesses in Korea before the war, and the trade relationship between Japan's major ports and Korea, see Yamada 1979. Dower 1986, p. 9. After these lines were written, a useful article appeared which assesses Japan's image in the West, David Morley/Kevin Robins, 'TechnoOrientalism: Futures, Foreigners and Phobias', New Formations, 16,1992, especially pp. 154-5, where they assert, 'Within the political and cultural unconscious of the West, Japan has come to exist as the figure of empty dehumanized technological power. It represents as an "ideal type" the alienated and dystopian image of capitalist progress.' Eastlake/Yamada 1897, p. iii. White 1895, p. 458. See for example Michael Adams, The Great Crusade: Masculine Desire and the Coming of the Great War, Bloomington 1990; also Roland Stromberg, Redemption by War: The Intellectuals and 1914, Lawrence 1982.

CHAPTER 1: THE ORIGINS OF WAR 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

For the Japanese army's assessment of Chinese forces in the early 1880s, see General Yamagata's memorandum in Oyama 1966, pp. 91-9. Ohama 1990, p. 25; Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai 1979, p. 232; Hirosaki Shishi Hensan Iinkai 1964, p. 258. The development of the system is explained in Ogawa 1921. Ohama 1990, p. 30. The army general staff view is in Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, p. 37. MacKenzie 1992, p. 2. Quoted in Muneta 1974, pp. 58-9. Kokumin Shimbun, 1 April 1894, in SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 49. Harada 1991, pp. 44-5. On Yamagata's views of February-March 1891, Oyama 1966, pp. 196-201, 204-7. See the proposal by Inoue Kowashi to Prime Minister Ito, August 1892, excerpted in Nakamura 1991, p. 173. Groups of two to four men, including Oi Kentaro, Motoda Hajime, Inukai Tsuyoshi, Ozaki Yukio, and Tokutomi Soho, were mobilised for private discussions with government and political authorities including



12. 13.

14. 15. 16. 17.

18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24.



General Yamagata, Matsukata Masayoshi, Shinagawa Yajiro, Kabayama Sukenori and others. Details in GNN, 28 June 1894. Mutsu to Aoki Shuzo, 27 March 1894, quoted in Shinobu 1974, vol. 1, p. 166. Kawakami's tour is recorded in detail in Tokutomi 1942, pp. 112-23; Fukushima's mission is summarised in Ian Nish, 'Japanese Intelligence and the Approach of the Russo-Japanese War', Christopher Andrew/ David Dilks, eds, The Missing Dimension, London 1984. Yamagata's opinions are summarised in Oka 1958, p. 56. Uno 1970, p. 27. Chinese minister to Tokyo, 7 June 1894, translated in Eastlake/Yamada 1897, p. 3. Uno 1970, p. 38. Tokutomi 1942, p. 127, quotes a conversation between Ito and Kawakami after the cabinet decided to send troops to Korea. In this, Ito asked Kawakami how many troops were to be sent; Kawakami replied, 'one brigade'. Ito insisted the numbers be kept as low as possible, to which Kawakami replied that the cabinet having decided to dispatch forces should leave the military question of troop numbers to the chief of staff. Kawakami is also credited with manipulating Yamagata who before the war remained anxious about China's military strength and wanted to have China open hostilities, see Matsushita 1969, pp. 241-2, and the quotation from Tokutomi in Maebara Shozo, Meiji no Genkun-tachi, Tokyo 1967, p. 52. Mutsu (Berger) 1982, pp. 21-6. Cleveland instructed Secretary of State Walter Gresham on 7 July to inform the Japanese government 'that the President will be painfully disappointed should Japan visit upon her feeble and defenseless neighbour [Korea] the horror of an unjust war', quoted in Dorwart 1975, p. 24, also Lee 1976, p. 86. 'Heiwa to Gunjin', editorial in GNN, 11 July 1894. See also the warning of a popular backlash given to Ito on 12 July by former prime minister Matsukata Masayoshi, Kunaicho 1973, pp. 455-6. GNN, 21 July 1894. British Foreign Office, FO 881/6594, British Army Directorate of Military Intelligence to Foreign Office, 16 July 1894. Iguchi 1985, p. 87. Kunikida 1965, vol. 7, p. 210, entry for 13 September 1894, records the view of leading journalist Tokutomi Soho that the war influenced the whole of world history; Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, pp. 62-5, presents the Japanese army's analysis of Chinese forces during the war. Ito 1943, p. 143.


Kunaicho 1973, pp. 495-6; Watanabe 1936, pp. 241-4; Kaneko 1940, vol. 3, pp. 85-6.

190 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7. 8. 9.

10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15. 16. 17.


19. 20.

Japan's First Modern War Document in Kunaicho 1973, pp. 476-7; also Inoue 1987, pp. 714-15. Comparison with Germany, Tanaka 1954, p. 206. The hasty reformulation of the 3rd Division is noted in Kuwada/Yamaoka 1966, p. 125. Kunaicho 1973, pp. 498-9. Details of the Songhwan battle in Kuwada/Yamaoka 1966, pp. 100-9. Araki 1976, vol. 2, p. 36-7, Kokumin Shimbun, 7 August 1894, describes the Toyoshima engagement. The Kowshing had been brought to a halt by the Japanese fleet but the report explains that Chinese troops then attempted to wrest control from the British captain and reopen hostilities. Details also in Kuwada/Yamaoka 1966, pp. 110-15. Kuwada/Yamaoka 1966, p. 120. See also Kuwada/Yamaoka 1966, pp. 133-50. Varying totals for Japanese dead and wounded are taken from Hata 1943, p. 69, which reproduces Nozu's telegram of 16 September; GNN, 29 September 1894, for the early official version; Kuwada/Yamaoka 1966, p. 149, for the later army version; also Kunaicho 1973, p. 516. Kuwada/Yamaoka 1966, pp. 150-61. Details from the official report of General Nozu to the Imperial Headquarters, 26 October 1894, as printed in GNN, 31 October 1894; also Kuwada/Yamaoka 1966, pp. 174-83. Gaimusho 1953, vol. 1, pp. 58-61. Hata 1943, p. 154. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 12, entry for 22 November 1894, notes that the commander of the 11th infantry regiment, in whose camp the second fire occurred, marched his troops several miles away from the blaze to a place called Enami and that, subsequently, the local people referred jokingly to this as 'the occupation of Enami'. Fujimura 1973, p. 130; Matsushita, 1969, pp. 128-30. Tokutomi 1933, vol. 3, p. 176. Mutsu (Berger) 1982, p. 131. For Ito's memorandum of 4 December, see Kaneko 1940, vol. 3, pp. 134-8; Fujimura 1973, pp. 144-5; Chen 1977, pp. 66-7. Imperial order recalling Yamagata, Kunaicho 1973, p. 601. Date of Yamagata's report on Haich'eng reaching the imperial headquarters, Tokutomi 1933, vol. 3, p. 179. Details also in Kuwada and Yamaoka 1966, pp. 234-43. British Foreign Office, FO 881/6605, Trench to Foreign Secretary Kimberley, 7 September 1894, reporting on an interview with Okuma published in the Kokumin Shimbun. Trench went on to comment, 'All such utterances, especially when coming from a great statesman, tend to show that this war is more the outcome of national vanity and of the insatiable craving of the Japanese to pose conspicuously, and assert themselves in the face of the whole world. By belief in the invincibility ofJapan's arms the people are raised to such a pitch of expectation that they are not prepared to meet reverses with equanimity, nor disaster with fortitude.' British Foreign Office, FO 262/697, Mr French (Tokyo) to Foreign Secretary Kimberley, 16 November 1894. Yamagata's shipboard memorandum is quoted in Hata 1943, p. 188; for



22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

33. 34.


his assurances to the imperial headquarters on his ability to stay in command, Kunaicho 1973, pp. 601-2. The resolution of the Progressive Party convention at Tokyo in midDecember 1894 was that Japanese forces must at all accounts proceed to Beijing, that if a ceasefire was accepted by Japan a precondition must be that Japanese troops move up to Beijing, and that any outside intervention bringing about a conclusion of hostilities must be adamantly rejected. Party resolution printed in GNN, 19 December 1894. Mutsu (Berger) 1982, p. 111. Inoue 1968, p. 17. Ian Nish, 'British Foreign Secretaries and Japan, 1892-1905', B. J. C. McKercher/D. J. Moss, eds, Shadow and Substance in British Foreign Policy, 1895-1939, Edmonton 1984, p. 59. Geibi NN, 16 November 1894. Kunaicho 1973, pp. 463-4 for the British memorandum of 21 July 1894 and the surrounding Anglo-Japanese correspondence; also Mutsu 1982, pp. 46-51. Kajima 1976, p. 82 for Kimberley's note of 21 July. Details on the Shanghai matter are to be found in the collection of British foreign office documents under the general date 29 October 1894, FO 8 8 1 / 6527, see especially Kimberley to Mr Paget (Tokyo), 22 July 1894, for the original British demand; Le Poer Trench (Tokyo) to Kimberley, 21 August 1894, for the Japanese complaint that Shanghai was being utilised by China for its war effort; and Kimberley to Trench, 18 September 1894, rejecting the Japanese complaint with the instruction, 'Warn the Japanese Government that until we release them from their unconditional engagement to us we hold them to it.' Summary of agreement also in Kunaicho 1973, p. 465. FO 881/6527, Kimberley to Trench (Tokyo), 2 October 1894. Mutsu (Berger) 1982, p. 53. FO 881/6605, Le Poer Trench (Tokyo) to Foreign Secretary Kimberley, 13 September 1894. Kunaicho 1973, p. 618. The matter is further explored in Chen 1977, pp. 69-70. GNN reports, 7, 10 October 1894. French offer of hospital facilities, Gaimusho 1953, pp. 602-3, Mutsu to Japanese army and navy ministers, 29 September 1894, Mutsu to French minister at Tokyo, 9 October 1894; German offer, as above, pp. 603-4, Mutsu to Japanese army and navy ministers, 27 October 1894, Mutsu to German minister at Tokyo, 27 October 1894. French versus Britishmade warships, GNN, 15 December 1894; French claims of British illwill, GNN, 1 January 1895. A selection of examples is reported in the GNN, 23, 24 September, 2, 5 October, 3 November 1894. For the German army ministry offer, GNN, 11 December 1894. The organisation and conduct of the celebration is recorded in detail by its sponsors in Tokyo-shi Shukusho Taikai 1895, especially pp. 84-6 for illustrations of the model Chinese vessels, and pp. 88-9 for the importance of the trophies-of-war borrowed from the Yushukan, Yasukuni Shrine. An English-language report of the celebrations appears in JWM, 15 December 1894.


Japan's First Modern War



4. 5.

6. 7.

8. 9.



Tanaka 1954, p. 212. The differing levels of battlefield involvement for the divisions were reflected in the number of fatalities suffered according to prefectural origin; thus, up to the beginning of February 1895, Hiroshima prefecture, home of the 5th Division, had suffered the most troop deaths (173) followed by Aichi prefecture, base of the 3rd Division (103). The Tokyo area, by contrast, recorded only 34 dead to that point. Figures from GNN, 17 February 1895. Yokoyama Tsuneo family papers, notice from Naka village headman, Tokuyama Hidetomi, 14 December 1894. Ogi 1975, pp. 412-13, quotes from the diary of a landlord in Kanagawa prefecture to describe the mass village farewell to troops catching the train from Hachioji to Tokyo. Amano 1929, p. 14, entry for 2 November 1894. Hamamoto 1972, pp. 3 0 - 1 ; also Ohama 1978 (Katayanagi diary), pp. 89-90, entry for 19 October 1894. The beauty and fascination of the East China sea is the topic of a letter dated 7 October 1895 by Eta Takero, a soldier of the 2nd Division en route for Taiwan, in Watanabe 1982, p. 41. Wolfgang Schivelbusch, The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the Nineteenth Century, London 1986. Also Michael Adas, Machines as the Measures of Men, Ithaca 1988. Zama-shi 1988 (Sagawa diary); Kobayashi (undated/unpaginated); Ohama 1978 (Katayanagi diary), p. 102, entry for 27 May 1895; Hatori 1974, pp. 8-9, entries for 31 October-2 November 1894; Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai 1979, p. 253. Tatsuno Shishi 1985, p. 278, quotes from soldiers' letters during the Russo-Japanese war indicating a similar sense of discovery on their own first railway trip as they proceeded to Hiroshima. The exact figures for Hiroshima railway station are 309 672 arrivals and 170 187 departures, Geibi NN, 9 September 1895, in Hiroshima-ken 1973, pp. 786-9. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 10, entry for 3 November 1894. The novelty of Hiroshima is also obvious in the letter of 1st Division soldier Katayanagi Koinosuke to his parents, 5 October 1894, quoted in Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai 1979, p. 253. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 9, entry for 1 November 1894. Such goodwill was curiously absent on the final stage of Nozawa's journey, p. 9, entry for 2 November 1894, 'West of Kobe, there was no-one to welcome us and at Hiroshima [arriving just before midnight] there wasn't a soul about'. In some places, the troops were guided to the grounds of a local shrine to enjoy their refreshments and improve their patriotic spirits: at Kobe, the shrine dedicated to a famous loyalist of fourteenth-century Japan was deliberately chosen to this end, Japan Weekly Mail, 6 October 1894, 'Letters from Hiroshima'. The famous loyalist was Kusunoki Masashige. Zama-shi 1988 (Sagawa diary), p. 22. See also Watanabe 1990, p. 63,


12. 13. 14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25.



entry for 31 October 1894, and Kobayashi Heiji, diary entry for 26 March 1895, which specifically notes the contribution of Red Cross volunteers in thus raising 'ten-fold' the spirits of the troops as they proceeded to Hiroshima. Thomas C. Smith, 'Peasant Time and Factory Time in Japan', Past and Present, 111, 1986. Kojima 1988, pp. 23-4. The centre ofJapan's timepiece industry was to become Nagoya, the headquarters of the 3rd Division. Instructions from Takayama Town Office, in GNN, 9 November 1894. Gift of pocket watch to reservist soldier, GNN, 8 February 1895. Yokoyama Tsuneo family papers, instruction on behalf of Naka village head, Tokuyama Hidetomi, 29 December 1894. On the persistence of the old calendar in rural Ibaragi prefecture, see also the newspaper Ibaragi 29 December 1895, in Ibaragi-ken 1990, pp. 452-3. A selfproclaimed literatus such as Kunikida Doppo could spend the first days of the war completely silent in his diary about the conflict, instead agonising on the plebs' indifference to time's passage as they lived in a timeless ever-present, Kunikida 1965, vol. 7, pp. 182-90, especially entries for 7, 15, 17, 18 August 1894. Ishiguro letter, undated, GNN, 6 January 1895. GNN, 7 September 1894. Fujimura 1973, p. 24, speech by Shimada Saburo. Hamamoto 1972, pp. 32-3. Mitani Tojiro, 23 November 1894, in GNN, 20 December 1894. GNN, 23 January 1895. Letter from an unidentified reserve engineer in Kyongsang-do, 25 September 1894, in GNN, 7 October 1894. See also Hashikawa 1970 (Nambu memoirs), pp. 62-3; Mitani letter, 23 November 1894, GNN, 20 December 1894. Hamamoto 1972, pp. 42-4. Ubukata (Hashikawa) 1970, pp. 22-3. On impressions of Chinese towns, houses, and food, see for example, Nis-Shin Jugun Ki, vol. 1, pp. 2-3, Yamamoto Tadasuke report, 26 October 1894; Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), pp. 44, 82, 84-6, entries for 21 January, 3 and 4 February 1895; Watanabe 1982, pp. 17-19, letters of Kuzumi Utaro, 1 March 1895, and Sergeant Washio Kenji, 7 May 1895; GNN, 22 December 1894, letters from 3rd Division transport officer, Mitani Tojiro, 23 November 1894, also letter from unidentified NCO in GNN, 9 February 1895; report on prospects for Manchurian salt business by Inoue Kantaro, GNN, 1 May 1895; Yokoyama Tsuneo family papers, letters of 3rd Division infantry7 soldier, Kitagawa Shotaro, 25 November 1894 and 31 March 1895; Amano 1929, p. 96. See also Amano, p. 16, entry for 3 November 1894, for the assertion that rice was unfamiliar to many Manchurian residents. Zama-shi 1988 (Sagawa diary), p. 37, entry for 11 November 1894, notes that three Japanese soldiers had died after receiving tea from Chinese civilians. Watanabe 1990, p. 66, entry for 5 April 1895. Also Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 28, entry for 16 January 1895.

194 27. 28. 29.

30. 31.


33. 34.

Japan's First Modern War Letter of 2nd Army medical orderly, Kikuchi Saburo, 26 January 1895, in GNN, 2 February 1895; Hamamoto 1972, p. 181, for a contemptuous description of Chinese funerals. Nis-Shin Jugun Ki, vol. 1, p. 3, Yamamoto Tadasuke report, 26 October 1894. On Chinese responsiveness to the occupation forces, see report of two 1st Army officers, November 1894, in GNN, 15 November 1894; also GNN, 27 November 1894; Chinese profiteering, Amano 1929, pp. 61, 84; also unidentified letter from Chinchou, 17 November 1894, GNN, 30 November 1894. Chinese allegiance to whomsoever occupied their land at the time, Watanabe 1990, p. 69; use of Chinese as spies for the Japanese army, letter from Second Lieutenant Akabori Umataro, undated, GNN, 15 February 1895. A typical example of alleged Chinese selfishness was the report that a merchant in Tianjin was buying up all local rice in expectation of a Japanese invasion and the profits to be obtained of selling to the invaders, GNN, 27 October 1894. The report suggested this was indicative of Chinese 'patriotism'. See also Hamamoto 1972, p. 177. The letter from one telegraph engineer posted to assist the 2nd Army reinforces the impressions of China and the Chinese given in the letters and diaries of soldiers, see GNN, 26 December 1894, letter from Horikoshi Gorohiko, 7 December 1894. The good doctor's personal delight was in gaining valuable experience in treating bullet wounds - one wonders whether his patients shared his enthusiasm. Quote from letter of Tanaka Mantaro at Haich'eng, 25 December 1894, in GNN, 5 February 1895. The extent of Japanese losses at Kangwachai is emphasised by the army letter to a bereaved family explaining that of the 143 men in the company taking part in the battle, fully 69 were dead or wounded, GNN, 6 February 1895. Contempt for the Chinese army is clear in the letter of an unidentified captain explaining the seizure of Talien and Chinchou, Geibi NN, 26 November 1894. Comments on superiority of spirit over arms, Nis-Shin Jugun Ki, vol. 1, p. 6, Yamamoto Tadasuke report, 11 November 1894. Allegation of German advisers, Mitani letter, 23 November 1894, GNN, 23 December 1894. Nis-Shin Jugun Ki, vol. 1, pp. 4 - 6 , Yamamoto reports of 2 November 1894 for the difference in military styles (Chinese forces slow and deliberate, Japanese hard and fast), 7 November on Chinese cavalryman, 11 November, on weakness of new recruits. The reason given by the Japanese officer why he could not grant the Chinese cavalryman's request was that needlessly killing an enemy soldier would bring international shame to Japan. Strength of Chinese resistance noted in Hamamoto 1972, pp. 88-9, 112; also Ginan-cho 1984, pp. 798-9, letter of Sergeant Horiuchi Hokosaburo, 3rd Division, 26 December 1894. Zama-shi 1988, pp. 35, 56-8, entries for 3 November 1894, 3, 20, 21, 23 February 1895; Nambu (Hashikawa) 1970, pp. 76-7. Donations, GNN, 11 December 1894. Oyama himself donated 50 yen to the actors and 100 yen to the Red Cross and field hospitals. The fullest description of the Chinese theatre in Port Arthur and of the pleasure taken in it by Japanese troops comes from Miyazaki, pp. 37-9. See also


35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46.

47. 48. 49. 50. 51.



Amano 1929, pp. 45, 49, 54, entries for 25, 28-29 November 1894; also Nambu (Hashikawa) 1970, pp. 76-7, and Kobayashi Heiji Jugun Nikki, entry for 17 April 1895. Miyazaki, pp. 120-1. On Chinese footbinding, see also Watanabe 1990, p. 64, entry for 14 February 1895. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 62, entry for 29 January 1895. Repeated examples of such incidents occur in Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), pp. 46, 55, 57, entries for 22, 26, 27 January 1895; Hamamoto 1972, p. 85; Watanabe 1990, p. 64, entry for 14 February 1895. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), pp. 48-9, entry for 23 January 1895. Miyazaki, p. 123. Returned servicemen's use of Chinese, Ubukata (Hashikawa) 1970, pp. 31, 44. Exceptions are the letters from members of the 19th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division, carried in the GNN, 7 February 1895, from Sergeant Kawai Takejiro, and GNN, 15 February 1895, from First Lieutenant Inamura Shinroku. Zama-shi 1988 (Sagawa diary), pp. 49-50, entry for 23 December 1894, describes in detail a flag ceremony held in the Liaotung peninsula. Hamamoto 1972, p. 75. Tokyo Nichi Nichi correspondent's report, printed in GNN, 28 December 1894. Hiroshima-ken 1973, p. 785, letter of Kunichika Kotaro, 22 September 1894; fear among Imperial Guards, Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai 1979, p. 239. Minami Nihon Shimbunsha 1967, p. 523. Watanabe 1982, pp. 27-31, letter of EtaTakero, 31 July 1895. As the war commenced in earnest from mid-September, the government clarified the rewards for outstanding military service. The pre-eminent medal was that of the Golden Kite; 900 yen per annum was awarded those obtaining the medal first class, 650 yen for a second class award, down to 90 yen for a sixth class and 65 yen for a seventh class recipient. Payments for one year after the recipient's death were also guaranteed to his immediate family. Details in Kobunkan 1894, vol. 3, p. 44. Hamamoto 1972, p. 35. The difficulties of the route from Wonsan are also detailed in Kawasaki 1896, vol. 2, pp. 206-7. Ishiguro letter in GNN, 6 January 1895; also/WM, 12 January 1895. Letter of 21 December 1894, printed in GNN, 10 January 1895. Kawasaki 1896, vol. 4, p. 136. Blankets and winter clothes, GNN, 8 December 1894. Nambu (Hashikawa) 1970, pp. 65-70; Nis-Shin Jugun Ki, vol. 1, p. 4, Yamamoto Tadasuke report, 2 November 1894. Another route to paradise for the troops in the field was a bath: Nambu's company in Manchuria found a large vat which they improvised as a bath but this cracked after being used by the company officers. As Nambu put it, T thought I should never forget the despondent faces of the troops'. One of the commercial success stories of the war was a Japanese entrepreneur who toured the battle areas with a portable bath, Nambu, p. 65; Matsushita 1966, p. 304. GNN, 15 February 1895.

196 53. 54. 55. 56.



59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64.

Japan's First Modern War Kobayashi Heiji Jugun Nikki, entries for 22 April-1 May 1895. Hamamoto 1972, p. 149. JWM, 22 December 1894, 5 January 1895. On troop anger towards Japanese merchants at the PX, Hamamoto 1972, p. 150. See also GNN, 9 January 1895. Note on Ota Minoru, courtesy of Dr Andrew Fraser. Contractor bonds, Hiroshima Kencho 1899, p. 13. The Geibi NN, 6 November 1894, notes the arrival in Hiroshima of 800 coolies of the Arima Group (Arima-gumi) which might indicate the large-scale nature of the recruitment business. Aggressive rivalry between one contractor and the Okura Group led to a scuffle in Hiroshima after the contractor tried to convince coolies they could expect only delayed wages and excessive burdens if they signed with Okura, Geibi NN, 8 November 1894. Background of coolies, Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai 1979, p. 245. Hiroshima Kencho 1899, pp. 13-19, 43, on regulations for coolie service. The occupational background of leaders of 5th Division coolie subgroups, including many policemen, is reported in Geibi NN, 15 November 1894. The French correspondents' roseate picture appeared in Hochi Shimbun, 28 February 1895, and is quoted at length in Tanaka 1954, pp. 209-10. Hamamoto 1972, pp. 37, 67 respectively on the execution of a coolie in Korea and the exhaustion of coolies at Port Arthur. Hamamoto 1972, p. 37; Kawasaki 1896, vol. 4, p. 136. Araki 1976, vol. 2, p. 47, report from Hochi Shimbun, 5 January 1895. Ginan-cho 1984, pp. 798-9, letter of Sergeant Horiuchi Hokosaburo, 26 December 1894. Letter of 2nd Army medical orderly, Kikuchi Saburo, 26 January 1895, in GNN, 2 February 1895. Fukushima Ken 1968, p. 1019. Coolie protests, SSMHS, vol. 9, pp. 263, 273, Kokumin Shimbun, 14 June 1895, Mainichi Shimbun, 7 July 1895; tobacco costs, JWM, 12 January 1895.


2. 3. 4.

For example, Unno 1992, p. 74. Uchimura's defence of Japan's righteous war was first published in English in the Japan Weekly Mail, 11 August 1894 and subsequently in Japanese in Kokumin no Tomo, 3 September 1894. It is briefly discussed in Ohama 1990, pp. 50-2; Fujimura 1973, p. 109; Keene 1971, pp. 127-8. Uchimura's contention was that, 'Japan's victory shall mean free government, free religion, free education, and free commerce for 600,000,000 souls that live on this side of the globe.' Oe 1984, pp. 63-5; Jansen 1977, p. 613; Gluck 1985, p. 74. On the Japanese monarchy up to 1868, see also Bolitho 1985 and Hall 1968. Taki 1988, p. 115. Just before the war, the emperor had considered moving to Kyoto,



Sasaki Takayuki diary, 24 June 1894, quoted in Tanaka 1954, p. 195. On reasons for move to Hiroshima, Kunaicho 1973, p. 501; Tanaka 1990, pp. 96-7. 5. GNN, 15 September 1894. 6. Eastlake/Yamada 1897, p. 407. An almost identical description appears in GNN, 7 October 1894, and in Kimura 1945, pp. 129-32. In fact, the photograph of the emperor's quarters printed by the Jiji Shimpo, 19 September 1894, in SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 139, shows a rather pleasant if simple room. 7. Sambo Hombu draft, Sato Bunko S223.6/S/5-7, pp. 24-9; Eastlake/ Yamada 1897, pp. 408-9. 8. Description of flag-giving Ceremonies in the palace and at the imperial headquarters in Hiroshima is given in Kunaicho 1973, pp. 506, 607. 9. Compiled from Sambo Hombu (Army General Staff) draft, Sato Bunko S223.6/S/5-7, pp. 19-24. Some of the figures are open to question and the totals should be treated as approximations. 10. Kunaicho 1973, pp. 728-42, entries for 22-30 March 1895; Watanabe 1936, pp. 245-7. 11. Eastlake/Yamada 1897, p. 411. 12. Yasuda 1990, p. 51. 13. . Fujimura 1992, p. 12. 14. Kunaicho 1973, pp. 481-2, entry for 11 August 1894; Asukai 1989, p. 241; Hiyama 1993, pp. 57-75. See also Inoue 1987, p. 715. 15. Hiyama 1993, p. 71. 16. Kunaicho 1973, pp. 810-11. 17. Notable among the prefectures disrupted by local politics were Ishikawa, Ibaragi, and Gifu, the latter experiencing its first prefectural assembly dissolution and a general election in January 1895. The Gifu election was fought clearly on local issues but candidates were not above employing the war for rhetorical purposes with the opposition comparing the local government to Chinese barbarians and itself as the defender of right against avarice. Gifu-ken 1972, pp. 322-6; GNN, 30 January 1895. 18. Imperial edict, Kunaicho 1973, pp. 524-5. See also the Kokumin Shimbun explanation of the government's use of martial law, reproduced in GNN, 12 October 1894. Arrivals at Ujina, Geibi NN, 2 October 1894. 19. Cost of temporary Diet, Hiroshima Kencho 1899, p. 235. The costs of holding the Houses of Representatives and Peers in Hiroshima were estimated respectively at about 26 000 and 25 000 yen, GNN, 2 October 1894. 20. Geibi NN, 29 September 1894; Hata 1943, pp. 111-12. An illustration of the temporary Diet appears in Geibi NN, 8 October 1894 and Hiroshima Kencho 1899, p. 236. Instructions to members of the Houses of Peers and Representatives, printed in GNN, 6 October 1894. 21. Kunaicho 1973, p. 632. 22. For example, Furusato Kasamatsu Henshu Iinkai 1983, p. 502; also the village headman's instruction quoted in Chapter 3 on the departure of conscripts from the village. 23. GNN, 21 and 31 July 1894; Juppeibu instructions, GNN, 19 July 1894.

198 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

31. 32. 33.

34. 35. 36.

37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

Japan's First Modern War Asuda Family Papers, Asuda Tsumoru Diary, Gifu Rekishi Shiryokan. Ogaki-shi 1968, p. 52. GNN, 3 August 1894. Figures for cumulative donations to the armed forces, GNN, 9, 12, 19 January 1895. Total from Gifu prefecture, Gifu-ken 1972, p. 330. Ubukata (Hashikawa) 1970, p. 33; Gifu-ken 1972, p. 330; GNN, 11, 12, 23 September 1894. Matsukata opinion, Geibi NN, 16 September 1894. Evidence of the activities of prefectural governors, city mayors, and county heads in promoting bond purchases is in GNN, 2, 8 December 1894. Asuda Tsumoru Diary, 9 September 1894; Tochigi Kenshi Hensan Iinkai 1977, p. 341; Ogaki-shi 1968, p. 52 on the former domain lord. The activities of the Ibaragi prefectural and county government are noted in Ibaragi Nippo, 26 August 1894. Resentment towards Governor Sogabe, GNN, 8 September 1894; resistance of Haguri county resident, GNN, 11 January 1895. Ohama 1990, pp. 64-6. Figures on applications from Tokyo, Osaka, and other urban centres, GNN, 16 September 1894. Gifu prefecture applied for bonds to the value of 1 079 650 yen or roughly the equivalent of the application from Nagoya city. In the second issue, the Dai-Jugo Bank applied for bonds worth 15 million yen, the imperial house 5 million, the Specie Bank 2 million, the Japan Steamship Company (NYK) and Japan Railway Company 300 000 yen each, GNN, 2, 7 December 1894; Gifu prefecture and city, GNN, 4, 8 December 1894. GNN, 12 January 1895. GNN, 4 August 1894. GNN, 3 and 24 July 1894. Where the founders of other Giyukai are identified at this time, their status appears generally to be that of nobility (shizoku), former officers, or local officials, e.g. the group of more than 260 shizoku of the former Mito domain (modern Ibaragi) in June 1894, recorded in Jiji Shimpo, 29 June 1894, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 90, and a similar group in the former domain of Hizen (modern Nagasaki) recorded in the Kokumin Shimbun, 18 August 1894, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 119. The shizoku lead in Tokushima is suggested by the Tokushima Shimbun, 11 October 1894. My thanks to Dr Andrew Fraser for this reference. Tochigi Kenshi Hensan Iinkai 1977, p. 341; Kanagawa-ken Kenminbu Kenshi Henshushitsu 1980, p. 670; report of sumo volunteers, GNN, 1 August 1894. See also Jiji Shimpo, 26 June 1894, in SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 90. Fujimura 1973, p. 108, 1992, p. 10. Hiroshima Kencho 1899, p. 75; Kobunsha 1894-95, vol. 1, pp. 110-11. The earlier instruction from the home ministry appears in Hiroshima Kencho 1899, p. 36. Gifu-ken 1972, p. 328; GNN, 28 September 1894. Tatsuno Shishi 1985, p. 273. The popularity of sword practice since the start of war is noted in GNN, 25 November 1894. Instruction from Hyogo Prefectural Education Society, GNN, 28 October 1894.

Notes 44.



47. 48.

49. 50. 51.

52. 53. 54. 55. 56.



Matsushita 1966, pp. 246-54, lists some of the most popular songs. Hata 1943, p. 382, notes the renewed popularity of Genko in the 1930s. The army chief of staff had new songs written for the troops in Korea and then had these printed for distribution to every company. Under the title War Songs for Crushing the Ch 'ing (To-Shin Gunka) they were also sold to the public at 1 sen apiece, see advertisement in GNN, 14 September 1894. A singular example of war song lyrics is provided by Keene 1971, p. 267; 'Ladies and gentlemen / What is rolling / Before the prince's horse? / That is the pumpkin-head / Of a Chinaman, don't you know?' The emperor also composed some war songs, but the titles were mundane - 'The Great Victory of P'yongyang' being typical - and the lyrics were unimaginatively heroic, see Kunaicho 1973, pp. 528-9. Yamakawa quoted in Ohama 1990, pp. 61-2. Use of troop letters in schools, Hiroshima Kencho 1899, pp. 398-9, for a letter from General Nozu, December 1894, and p. 403, for the governor's instruction that it be used in local schools to inspire the children. GNN, 4 December, 1894. Other examples are noted in JWM, 20 October 1894; GNN, 3 February 1895 (in which a local temple doubled for P'yongyang castle in a village school recreation of the battle of September 1894); GNN, 11 February 1895; Gifu-ken 1972, p. 331. Peter Bailey, Leisure and Class in Victorian England: Rational Recreation and the Contest for Control, 1830-1885, London 1978, pp. 125-6. Education ministry order no. 6, printed in GNN, 4 September 1894. Nogi's advice to Hirohito quoted in Stephen S. Large, Emperor Hirohito and Showa Japan, London 1992, p. 16. Some teachers were unsure how to promote the new activism among their pupils; one suggestion was to remove all forms of heat from the winter playground. Letter from 7th Infantry regiment, printed in GNN, 25 October 1894. The activities of the princesses in Hiroshima are recorded in Hiroshima Kencho 1899, pp. 338-40, 355-6, entries for 19, 20, 25 November 1894. Liaison between nurse and soldier, Geibi NN, 2 November 1894. Ogaki geisha appearance as Red Cross nurses, GNN, 12 December 1894. Use of'Red Cross nurse' as brothel term, SSMHS, vol. 9, pp. 153-4, Mainichi • Shimbun, 18 October 1894. Lyrics of Fujin no Jugunka, Yonen Zasshi, no. 22, 15 November 1894; also Kokumin Shimbun, 22 September 1894. The sensual appeal of the Red Cross nurse was exacerbated by the traditional use in Japan of the colour red to signify eroticism. Zen Nihon Shimbun Renmei 1976, p. 186. Donald Keene, Landscapes and Portraits, Tokyo 1971, p. 265. Ubukata (Hashikawa) 1970, p. 25. SSMHS, vol. 9, pp. 164, 181, Yorozu Choho, 15 November 1894, Hochi Shimbun, 27 December 1894. GNN, 11 October 1894. Despite the improvements, the GAflVheld its price at 1 sen per day or 23 sen per month. The Geibi Nichi Nichi in Hiroshima, however, increased its monthly subscription in October 1894 from 25 to 30 sen. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), pp. 75-6, entry for 1 February 1895; SSMHS vol. 9, p. 300, Nihon Shimbun, 1 October 1895. Goodwill shown to correspondents by the 2nd Army is noted by Amano 1929, pp. 12, 45.

200 58. 59.

Japan's First Modern War Note on Fuhei ban, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 117, Yomiuri Shimbun, 16 August 1894. Saneyoshi 1901, p. 480. Examples of the popularity of lantern shows, GNN, 22 September, 14,16,17, 23 October, 26 December 1894. Ubukata 1970, p. 29, recounts the discomfort of an overcrowded lantern show held in a textile factory. The slides were available in large or small sizes but the cheapest according to one Tokyo advertiser was 2 V2 yen for a group of 20 small slides, with the larger size double the price, see advertisement in GNN, 14 September 1894.




4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.


A report on foreign trade appears in GNN, 9 November 1894, showing a 10-15 per cent rise in 1894 in the volume of overseas trade at the Japanese ports of Yokohama, Kobe, Nagasaki and Hakone, with only Osaka below the level of previous years. GNN, 28 October 1894; SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 152, Kokumin Shimbun, 14 October 1894; Geibi NN, 21 September, 2 November 1894, advertisements for Kimura Shoten distributor of W. D. & H. O. Wills cigarettes, and Zensho (Complete Victory) brand sake; Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai 1979, p. 274; Suzuki 1977, pp. 104-9. On the Tokyo and Osaka Stock Market falls, see Jiji Shimpo, 3 August 1894 and Nihon Shimbun, 4 August 1894, in SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 110. Examples of the falls between 1 May and 1 August are: Japan Railway Company 102.5 to 94.5 yen; Kansai Railway Company 58.4 to 45.8 yen; NYK (Shipping) 68.3 to 66 yen; Tokyo Cereals 28 to 26 yen; Kanefuchi Spinning 66 to 42 yen. JWM, 8 September 1894. Matsushita 1966, pp. 298-9. The same quote appears in Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai 1979, p. 247. Rise in food prices, Kokumin Shimbun, 28 July 1894, Jiji Shimpo, 15 August 1894, Kokumin Shimbun, 8 September 1894, in SSMHS, vol. 9, pp. 106, 116-17, 133. Geibi NN, 27 September 1895; Hiroshima-ken 1972, p. 304. Hiroshima Shogyo Kaigisho Jiho, no. 10, quoted in Hiroshima-ken 1973, p. 781. Osaka riot, Jiji Shimpo, 3 August 1894, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 110; GNN, 8 December 1894, records 164 cases of theft in the Gifu Police District for November 1894 alone; Tochigi scam, Tochigi Kenshi Hensan Iinkai 1977, pp. 343-4, county report of 24 September 1894. GNN, 4 December 1894, actually shows nationwide a 10 per cent decrease in prison occupancy during the war (the central Gifu prefectural jail held 1057 men and 99 women at that time) but this may equally be related to the greater demands on police time by war-related activities. Mitsui family letter to Army Minister Saigo, as printed in GNN, 28 October 1894, and Tokyo Asahi Shimbun, 30 October 1894. On sub-




13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.



23. 24.


sequent details, see Geibi NN, 6 November 1894; SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 167; Jiji Shimpo, 27 November 1894; GNN, 7 December 1894. Fuzoku Gakuho, 28 October 1894, quoted in Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai 1979, p. 275. The official history of Tokyo concludes that businessmen were only concerned with the profits of war and purchased bonds largely because of government pressure. Official warnings in Hiroshima, Hiroshima Kencho 1899, pp. 33-5, 99, entries for 29 June, 25 August 1894. Calls for businessmen to restrict prices, Maeda Masana, 'Senran to No-ko-sho'; Geibi NN, 12 October 1894; and Minami Nihon Shimbunsha 1967, p. 522. Okura controversy, Matsushita 1966, p. 307; army ministry decision, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 266, Jiji Shimpo, 20 June 1895. GNN, 18 January 1895. The flags were sold from Nagoya at 16 sen for ordinary quality and 25 sen for superior. JWM, 2 March 1895. GNN, 18 September 1894. SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 155; Kokumin Shimbun, 24 October 1894. GNN, 1 November, 2 December 1894. Advertisement for the Shinshu Life Insurance Company, GNN, 12 October 1894. In the case of a five-day prayer meeting held early in October by the Otani group of Shinshu Buddhists in Hishu Ono County, Gifu prefecture, invitations were sent to about 150 officials and men in public affairs. A large attendance was recorded on each day, GNN, 10 October 1894. Attendance at another Otani group prayer meeting for the war dead at which attendance was numbered in the thousands took place at Tarui-machi in Fuha County on 24/25 October, GNN, 28 October 1894. For one Buddhist service attracting several hundred in Hiroshima prefecture, see Geibi NN, 29 September 1894. Hiroshima and Kure services by all sects in February 1895 noted in Yoshida 1964, p. 294. GNN, 10 February 1895. One instance of a Shinto burial in Ena County, Gifu prefecture, is recorded in GNN, 5 February 1895. The guests included the former domain lord, Viscount Toyama, the county head, police chief, all the local town and village heads, plus several hundred mourners. Nishi Honganji, dispatch of envoy to Korea, GNN, 31 July 1894, and Kashiwara 1990, p. 65; Honganji bond application, GNN, 7 September 1894. Shinshoji activities, Narita Shishi Hensan Iinkai 1986, pp. 265-71 (on the significance of Shinshoji generally, see Ian Reader, Religion in Contemporary Japan, London 1991, pp. 143-5). Women's Buddhist group, Yoshida 1964, p. 294. GNN, 12 December 1894. Claim of troop adherence to Nishi Honganji, GNN, 31 July 1894. Attraction of Buddhism to troops accommodated in temples, Meikyo Shinshi, 2 February 1895, citing the example of some fifty troops of the Imperial Guards housed in a Tokyo temple between October 1894 to February 1895. Hiroshima Kencho 1899, pp. 76, 98, 109, 111, for army use of local temples. The benefits of troop accommodation may have extended to shops and restaurants around temples and thus even further


25. 26.

27. 28.

29. 30. 31. 32.

33. 34. 35. 36.

37. 38.

Japan's First Modern War strengthened the social position of Buddhism in local society. Buddhist aid to military families, Yoshida 1964, p. 295. P'yongyang ceremony decribed in GNN, 25 October 1894. The Shinto ceremony at Chinchou is described in Ohama 1978 (Katayanagi diary), p. 94, entry for 21 December 1894. Priests at the battlefront, Meikyo Shinshi, 16 January 1895. The names of ten men from the Shingon, Rinzai, and Tendai schools sent to the Liaotung peninsula in December are listed in GNN, 28 December 1894. Yoshida 1964, p. 291, notes an application from the various schools in December 1894 to send 16 priests to the front. Priests with the navy, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 228, Mainichi, 30 March 1895. Diary excerpt in Kyoto Shimpo, 24 March 1895. On use of priests for intelligence purposes, see letter of Minister Eto Shimpei, March 1871, quoted in Sato 1965, pp. 3-4. Kashiwara 1990, pp. 63-4 on Honganji links in China and Korea; Keijo Irumindan Yakusho 1912, pp. 367-72, on wider Honganji activities in Korea. The other major Buddhist sects in Korea were the Nichiren and Jodo: the Nichiren began activity in Korea from 1890 and entered Seoul from 1897, while the Jodo followed in 1898. Kashiwara 1990, p. 163. See especially the sections in GNN, 16, 18 December 1894. Ohama 1990, p. 55, suggests that Christians more than any others in Japan argued the legitimacy of the war. Christian activities during the war are summarised in JWM, 16 February 1895; the names and background of the five Japanese chaplains are given in JWM, 9 February 1895; estimate of Japanese Christians among the armies, JWM, 2 March 1895, letter of Theodosius S. Tyng, dated 23 February 1895. Letter from 'X', 22 February 1895, in JWM, 2 March 1895. JWM, 20 October 1894. The accusation came from one Reverend J. L. Atkinson of Kobe. Tottori-ken 1969, vol. 2, p. 265. The worst hit regions were Akita and Yamagata. Storms hit towns and villages throughout Akita prefecture in late August leaving over three hundred people dead, while about 28 000 homes are said to have been damaged or destroyed; a major earthquake in Yamagata in late October killed some seven hundred and caused the destruction of about 3000 houses. Kunaicho 1973, vol. 6, pp. 504, 527, 567, reports the extent of damage and the emperor's donations of 2000 and 4000 yen to the prefectures of Akita and Yamagata respectively. GNN, 1 December 1894, notes the government's unwillingness to offer aid. For example, Hiroshima Kencho 1899, pp. 76-7, entry for 8 August 1894. The prefectural government divided the families of public servants into three categories: those with no other means of support than the husband's salary; those with relatives or friends to offer financial aid; those with existing means of income separate to the husband's salary. The first two groups were to receive assistance monthly, the third group a one-off payment. The rate of monthly government aid in September 1894 was fixed at one-hundredth of the salary, between October 1894 to


39. 40. 41. 42.


44. 45. 46. 47.


49. 50.


February 1895 at one-fiftieth, and between March to May 1895 at threethousandths. Details in Hiroshima Kencho 1899, pp. 86-90, entry for 17 August 1894. Gifu-ken 1972, p. 329. Hiroshima Kencho 1899, p. 232, entry for 12 October 1894. The precise totals for the four categories were: 737; 558; 1044; 1777. Ogaki-shi 1968, p. 52. GNN, 9 and 19 September 1894; Godo-machi 1969, p. 179 (Godo is in Anpachi county). For examples elsewhere, see Kanagawa-ken Kenminbu Kenshi Henshushitsu 1980, pp. 670-1; Fukushima-ken 1968, pp. 101617. Reliance on donations, GNN, 12 October 1894. Situation in Kanagawa, Kanagawa-ken Kenminbu Kenshi Henshushitsu 1980, p. 671. Village indifference to the war in general and to support for its military families, GNN, 7 February 1895; the late start in mounting support for families is also noted in GNN, 25 November 1894. Disputes within military families, GNN, 7 September 1894. Biseikai, GNN, 11 November 1894. Minami Shimbunsha 1967, p. 523, on Prince Shimazu of Kagoshima; Hiroshima Kencho 1899, p. 230, entry for 11 October 1894, on Marquis Asano. The association took an office in Hiroshima and began operations from 4 November 1894, Geibi NN, 2 November 1894. On Kanagawa, Kanagawa-ken Kenminbu Kenshi Henshushitsu 1980, p. 671. Quoted in Sharon H. Nolte/Sally Ann Hastings, 'The Meiji State's Policy Towards Women, 1890-1910', in Gail Lee Bernstein, ed., Recreating Japanese Women, 1600-1945, Berkeley 1991, p. 162. GNN, 4 October 1894; Hiroshima Kencho 1899, pp. 290-2, 311, for prefectural government instructions, 29 October 1894, and home ministry instructions, 8 November 1894; Tochigi Kenshi Hensan Iinkai 1977, p. 346, instruction dated 22 December 1894. See also GNN, 3, 9 November 1894 on official and police attendance at public burials. Funeral at Daisei-in, Furukawa Hensan Iinkai 1988, p. 693. Attendance of 5000-10000, Nishikawa 1984, p. 156. Gifu funerals, GNN, 1, 2 December 1894, describing military funerals in Unuma village, Kakami county, Shikihara village, Fuwa county, and Nakanoyo village, Ena county. Ubukata (Hashikawa) 1970, p. 32. Tochigi Kenshi Hensan Iinkai 1977, p. 348, instruction dated 5 April 1894.


Kunaicho 1973, p. 577. FO 881/6605, Hillier to Minister O'Conor (Beijing), 29 September 1894. FO 881/6605, Korean Foreign Minister to GB Minister O'Conor (Beijing), enclosed in O'Conor to Foreign Secretary Kimberley, 17 September 1894. Ichikawa 1966, p. 384, Minister Inoue (Seoul) to Foreign Minister Mutsu, 23 May 1895.

204 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.


18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

Japan's First Modern War According to US Minister John Sill (Seoul) to Secretary of State, 9 July 1895, in Palmer 1963, pp. 262-4. Kuksa P'yonpchan Wiwonhoe 1969, vol. 3, pp. 496-507, describes the new ministries and their duties. Lew 1984, p. 152, quoting from Gaimusho 1953 vol. 27-2, p. 2, Mutsu letter 15 October 1894. Kaneko 1940, vol. 1, p. 271; Moriyama 1987, p. 30. FO 881/6665, Hillier to O'Conor (Beijing), 14 December 1894. Beasley 1987, pp. 51-2, explains the discussions in Tokyo. Inoue originally believed a loan of 5 million yen essential. This was to be paid in bullion, repayable within eight years, and secured on the revenue of Korea's three southern provinces. In the end, he was forced to accept the loan agreement of 30 March 1895 which offered Korea 3 million yen, half in paper, half in silver, repayable within five years at 6 per cent interest, and secured on the central government's tax revenue. The order is in Kunaicho 1973, p. 489. FO 881/6665, Hillier to O'Conor, 25 October 1894. GNN, 17, 18 July, 6 September 1894. GNN, 7 Sep. 1894. The heroic presentation of this ancient invader of Korea also appears in the first issue of a youth journal, Shonen Sekai (Youth World), in January 1895. GNN, 18 September 1894. Inoue's comments from The Korean Repository, August 1895, quoting in turn from Japan Gazette, 29 June 1895. FO 881/6665, Hillier to O'Conor, 14 December 1894, wrote that hundreds of Japanese merchants had established themselves at P'yongyang and, 'under pretext of military exigencies, have turned the native residents out of their houses without compensation, the buildings being converted into shops. The natives, it is said, are no longer treated with the scrupulous consideration that characterised the conduct of the army on its journey northwards, and complaints of ill-usage are not infrequent.' Before departure, the Korean war minister asked the British representative at Seoul for the loan of a British marine officer's tunic and helmet on the grounds that he admired the style; a colleague of the minister, however, quietly explained that the real reason was fear of being shot by the Chinese if he appeared in Korean dress, and his belief that a British uniform would offer greater protection, FO 881/6706, Hillier to O'Conor (Beijing), 13 March 1895. White 1895, p. 508. GNN, 20, 21 September 1894. Pak 1975, p. 34. Ibid. For example, the letter from Second Lieutenant Suzuki, undated, on battle of 23 December 1894 at Haeju in Hwanghae-do, in GNN, 8 January 1895. See also GNN, 27 December 1894. For example, Kuksa P'yonchan Wiwonhoe 1969, pp. 617, 622, 624, 628-9, 631. Arrest of villagers and burning local houses, report of Captain Suzuki, Cholla-do, south-west Korea, GNN, 10 February 1895. Wonsan guard report in Dai Honei Fukukan, Wonsan Shubitaicho Hokoku.

Notes 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.


34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

40. 41.


Details in Pak 1975, and in the reports of the Japanese company commander at Wonsan, Dai Honei Fukukan, Wonsan Shubitaicho Hokoku. Lew 1984, p. 145. Han 1970, p. 423, takes a similarly critical approach to the 1894-5 reform programme. Mutsu letter to Nabeshima, 25 May 1895, and Japanese cabinet announcement 25 May 1895, in Ichikawa 1966, p. 386. Ariga 1896, pp. 231-3. See the seven-volume compilation published under that title in Shanghai in 1956. It seems probable that Communist China prefers this term as it links the two wars of aggression by Japan in 1894-95 and 1937-45. For example, the county official orders in Ibaragi prefecture, 30 July and 13 August 1894, in ibaragi Kenritsu Rekishikan 1990, p. 204. Honzanjimu Hokokusho, November 1894, on army requisition of Priest Shirao Yoshio; SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 220, Mainichi Shimbun, 14 March 1895, on 2nd Army's protectiveness towards its interpreters. Gaimusho Gaiko Shiryokan, Hayashi instruction to Nabeshima (Hiroshima), 6 November 1894, demanding confirmation of press report; Komura's request to Mutsu for diplomats and interpreters, 1 November 1894; and Hayashi's rejection of this request, 7 November 1894. My thanks to Mr Koike Seiichi of the Foreign Ministry Archives for providing copies of these instructions. Antung Civil Administration Office regulations, printed in GNN, 16 November 1894, also Ibaragi Nippo, 17 November 1894; Yamagata's notice to Chinese civilians is printed in GNN, 8 November 1894; also Geibi NN, 9 November 1894; Ariga 1896, p. 237; and Kawasaki 1896, vol. 2, pp. 267-8. Regulations governing the activities of the later Chinchou Civil Administration Office appear in GNN, 25 November 1894, and Kobunkan, vol. 4, pp. 58-9. Ariga 1896, pp. 232-3. Ono 1922, p. 40. GNN, 4 December 1894. GNN, 28 November 1894. Sambo Hombu (Army General Staff) draft history of the Sino-Japanese war, Sato Bunko S223.6 S 4-15 (unpaginated). Arakawa's explanation of his duties at Chinchou and the benefits to Japan appears in GNN, 18 December 1894. The problem of inflation and Arakawa's response is noted in his report printed in GNN, 19 December 1894. Yuminami Meitetsu letter, 6 March 1895, in Kyoto Shimpo, 24 March 1895. Kyoto Shimpo, 28 March 1895, letter of Yuminami Meitetsu, 1 March 1895.


A notable example is General Sir Ian Hamilton, British observer with the Japanese forces against Russia, in A Staff Officer's Scrap Book, London 1906, especially pp. 10-15.

206 2.

3. 4. 5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10. 11.

12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Japan's First Modern War The most balanced recent assessment of the Nanjing massacre is Hata Ikuhiko, Nanjin Gyakusatsu, Tokyo 1986. The Alexandra Hospital murders are recounted by a patient at the time, Lieutenant S. E. Bell, in a manuscript held at the Imperial War Museum, London, item 8 8 / 6 3 / 1 . Fujimura 1973, p. 132; Unno 1992, p. 77. Christie 1914, p. 87; also Geibi NN, 20 September 1894, for reports of attacks on French and German civilians in China as well as the murder of Reverend Wylie. FO 881/6605, Bertie (Foreign Office) to War Office, 24 October 1894. GNN, 3 October 1894. The accusation that Chinese brutality and cruelty exceeded even that of central African 'barbarians' was made in Amano 1929, p. 48, entry for 27 November 1894. On Chinese troop indiscipline, see also Jiji Shimpo, 24 November and 4 December 1894, SSMHS vol. 9, pp. 166 and 170. Fujiwara 1978, pp. 86-7, considers the aim was to eliminate the humanity of the individual soldier and literally to develop a slavish mentality towards superiors. Oyama order, 15 October 1894, in Kunaicho 1973, p. 546, also p. 510, entry for 14 September 1894, for the equivalent order by Yamagata to the 1st Army. In the same vein, see Oyama's general instructions as army minister in GNN, 21 September 1894, and WTiite 1895, pp. 514-15; also Nis-Shin Seneki Meisho Bunsho 1899, pp. 20-5, for orders of 2nd Division commander Lieutenant-General Sakuma, 2 October 1894, and 4th Division commander Lieutenant-General Yamazawa, March 1895. Lieutenant-General Sakuma command, printed separately in GNN and Geibi NN, 6 November 1894. Katsura's letters and the reply of a French missionary at Niuchang in December 1894 are in Tokutomi 1917, vol. 1, pp. 672-8; also GNN, 9 February 1895. Eastlake/Yamada 1897, p. 424. James Scarth Gale, a Canadian missionary in Korea, noted the obvious propaganda use of Japanese mercy, writing, 'These acts were so widely heralded and so skilfully published in the Western world, that some were inclined to question the genuineness of the sympathy expressed', Gale 1898, p. 203. Yamagata order, 24 October 1894, Nis-Shin Seneki Meisho Bunsho 1899, pp. 38-40. Dai Honei Fukukan, Wonsan Shubitaicho Hokokusho, September 1894-October 1895. For example, the army interrogation of prisoners involving threats of murder recorded by one journalist at Chinchou in mid-November 1894, Nis-Shin Jugunki, vol. 1, pp. 8-9. SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 175, Jiji Shimpo, 14 December 1894; GNN, 16 January 1895. GNN, 11 September 1894. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 83, entry for 3 February 1895. The assertion that individual foraging had been eradicated was made in an undated, unsigned letter by an NCO printed in GNN, 9 February 1895. Navy report on increased cases of disease, Saneyoshi 1901, p. 495. Note



19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.




on coolie harassment of women, Geibi NN, 16 September 1894; on prostitutes sailing into Hiroshima and the rise in numbers at Ujina, Geibi NN, 6 and 8 November 1894. Clash with military police, Geibi NN, 8 November 1894. Inspection of troops, Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 12, entry for 15 November 1894. Curfew noted in JWM, 12 January 1895. Nambu (Hashikawa) 1970, p. 65. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), pp. 17-18, entry for 4 January 1895 on conditions in Hiroshima, p. 48 for relations in China. Prostitutes in Yingk'ou, Hamamoto 1972, p. 178. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 112, entry for 3 April 1895. All figures on civilian and military crimes are taken from Sambo Hombu (Army General Staff) draft history, Sato Bunko s223.6/s/4-15 GNN, 4 August 1894. Hamamoto 1972, pp. 110-12, describes a case in which a second lieutenant begged a captain to halt in so far as their destination was occupied by a mass of enemy troops. The captain's reply was, 'It's an order! We are ordered to that location and so we shall proceed. We must continue until we collide with the enemy. It's our duty.' The captain maintained this attitude despite coming under withering fire from the Chinese and despite further entreaties from his subordinates. Examples of Nozawa's criticism of the battalion commander and his subordinate appear in Hatori 1974, pp. 50, 52-53, 59, 60, 79, 9 0 - 1 . These criticisms broadly divide into attacks on the officers' cowardice, carelessness and haughtiness towards the men. Comment on the 2nd Division as a whole, p. 50, entry for 24 January 1895; abuse towards medical staff, pp. 17-18, entry for 4 January 1895. GNN, 20 June 1894, on execution of deserters. Thirteen infantry reserves with the 2nd Division were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from three months to three years, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 241, Nihon, 25 April 1895. Geibi NN, 12 November 1894, on execution of coolies and Chinese. Sambo Hombu (Army General Staff), draft history, Sato Bunko s223.6/ s/4-15. The number of prisoners held in detention at Uiju was 207 at the end of March 1895. The number at Hiroshima peaked at 103 at the end of December 1894. The figures for total numbers in detention and army prison are: Sep. 1894 Dec. 1894 March 1895 June 1895 Sep. 1895


Detention centre 28 275 417 96 106

Army prison 420 654 832 419 124

A Japanese artillery sergeant's appraisal of Port Arthur appears in Ohama 1978 (Katayanagi diary), p. 92, entry for 25 November 1894, quoted also in Ohama 1990, p. 38. The opinion of the French admiral is given in Matsushita 1966, p. 242. However, if we assume this was


29. 30. 31. 32.

33. 34.


36. 37.

38. 39.



Japan's First Modern War Admiral Courbet, his view as cited in 'Vladimir' 1896, p. 224, is that a strong fleet and only 20 000 men would be required to break Port Arthur. Kaikosha (undated), p. 29. Matsushita 1966, p. 245. Oyama telegram in Hata 1943, p. 161. Ohama 1990, p. 39, diary quote from Okabe Makio, ed., Tchi Heishi no Mita Nis-Shin Senso: Kubota Chuzo no Jugun Nikki'. Okamoto 1983, p. 37, also translates part of this diary entry. See also the letters from two soldiers of the 1st Division both speaking of a mountain of corpses and a river of blood (as well as unsurpassed joy on their part), quoted in Katsuda Shishi Hensan Iinkai 1979, p. 443. Zama-shi 1988 (Sagawa diary), p. 8. Reports of Cowan and Creelman quoted from White 1895, pp. 596-604; see also the record of conversations by Mr Villiers at the British legation in Tokyo, in Trench to Foreign Secretary Kimberley, 24 December 1894, FO 881/6665. James Allan, Under the Dragon Flag, London 1898, repr. 1973, pp. 76-96, claims to describe the massacre from firsthand observation but the explanation of his experiences at Port Arthur is highly suspicious. As recounted to Nozawa Takesaburo on 17 January 1895, see Hatori 1974, p. 30. The diary of Private Kubota Chuzo, quoted in Okamoto 1983, p. 37, explains, 'According to later investigations, we had killed more than forty women. We couldn't differentiate in the dark. We were so enraged by the Chinese barbarism we had seen earlier.' Fujimura 1973, p. 132; Fujiwara 1978, p. 99. Nambu (Hashikawa) 1970, pp. 66-9. On vows for revenge, see also NisShin Jugunki, vol. 1, Yamamoto report, p. 9, and Amano 1929, p. 71. The diary of Sergeant Katayanagi Koinosuke records hearing about the dead and wounded and that he saw one Japanese corpse but there is no mention of any desire for vengeance, Ohama 1978 (Katayanagi diary), p. 91, entry for 19 November 1894. Kaikosha (undated), p. 24. FO 881/6605, Consul-General Walter Hillier (Seoul) to Minister O'Conor (Beijing), 3 October 1894, reports the comments of New York Herald correspondent, de Guerville, that at P'yongyang he saw the mutilated heads and other organs of captured Japanese either nailed to the city gates or lying in the streets. Nogi report in Nis-Shin Jugunki, vol. 1, p. 11. Sergeant Harada Naokichi, 1st infantry regiment, letter of 16 December 1894, printed in GNN, 6 January 1895, also describes the road between Chinchou and Port Arthur as littered with corpses. On the streets of Port Arthur itself, the correspondent Amano still saw piles of corpses as late as 24 November. Okabe Makio diary, quoted in Okamoto 1983, p. 35. The Japan Weekly Mail of 27 April 1895 quoted one of the first Western correspondents at the battle of T'ienchuangt'ai in March to suggest the Japanese had taken almost literally no prisoners and that a number of Chinese corpses bore signs of bayonet wounds after having been shot. At the same time, however, the report indicates the ambivalence between war and civilisation:


42. 43.

44. 45. 46. 47.



50. 51.


In this kind of warfare, the soldiers' blood is soon up, and it becomes almost impossible to restrain them. They treat their wounded enemies as a man treats a wounded snake, killing it before he gives it a chance to strike. The Japanese must not be judged too harshly if they have not in all cases been able to attain the high ideal they set before themselves in the conduct of the present war. Ohama 1990, p. 39. Hatori 1974 (Nozawa diary), p. 74, entry for 1 February 1895. In an earlier skirmish, Nozawa and his colleagues had killed two Chinese. Observing the corpses, Nozawa writes, 'We all shouted "banzai" and there was nothing to compare with the joy!', p. 69, entrv for 30 January 1895. Benedict 1946, p. 158. Fujimura 1992, pp. 14-15. GNN, 1 December 1894. GNN, 4,6,23 December 1894. Something of the French military attache's observations of Port Arthur is reported in Trench to Foreign Secretary Kimberley, 20 December 1894, FO 881/6665. Rumour of Creelman joining the Ch'ing, GNN, 15 January 1895. Contained in Trench to Foreign Secretary Kimberley, 20 December 1894, FO 881/6665. On 28 December 1894, the same memorandum was dispatched to Japanese ministers in Britain, the US, Russia, France, Germany and Italy, for conveyance to their host governments, see Gaimusho 1953, vol. 27, pp. 611-13. Gaimusho 1953, vol. 27, p. 609, Mutsu to Nabeshima (Hiroshima), 15 December 1894, on Russian minister's warning, and pp. 609-10, Nabeshima to Mutsu, 15 December 1894, on Ito's inability to censure the army. Also Fujimura 1973, pp. 132-3. Gaimusho 1953, vol. 27, p. 610, Mutsu to Kurino, 16 December 1894. Holland's article is excerpted in Mutsu (Berger) 1982, p. 75. White 1895, p. 602. Reverend James Gale at Wonsan in Korea took a similar view of Japan's 'civilisation', Gale 1898, p. 203, T take pleasure in recording here that we felt safe in the hands of the Japanese. They were less given to drunkenness and disorder than Western soldiers, and in nine cases out often acted as an enlightened nation; but in the tenth and test case they showed the old spots of the leopard with the varnish off.'


FO 881/6706, memorandum of J. Jamieson contained in O'Conor (Beijing) to Foreign Secretary Kimberley, 10 April 1895. Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, pp. 289-95. Nambu (Hashikawa) 1970, pp. 71-2. Weihaiwei campaign, Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, pp. 295-311. Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, p. 310. Imperial headquarters debate, Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, pp. 256-7.


7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

Japan's First Modern War Kaip'ing battle, Zama-shi 1988 (Sagawa diary), pp. 53-5, entry for 10 January 1895; Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, pp. 260-2. Sagawa gives figures of 50 dead and over 300 wounded. The army general staff history figures are 36 dead and 298 wounded. Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, pp. 271-2; Kunaicho 1973, pp. 677-8. Hohei Dai-Roku Rentai, pp. 141-2, report of 3 January 1895. White 1895, pp. 648-9. Eastlake/Yamada 1897, p. 367 give Japanese dead/wounded at 242. Oyama telegram to imperial headquarters, 9 March 1895, in Tokyo Nichi Nichi, 10 March 1895. Details of T'ienchuangt'ai battle, Kunaicho 1973, pp. 709-11, entry for 9 March 1895; Zama-shi 1988, (Sagawa diary), p. 61, entry for 8 March 1895. Eastlake/Yamada 1897, p. 393, gives Chinese losses of over 2000, with Japanese dead and wounded at 126. Tokutomi 1917, vol. 1, pp. 654-5, notes an element of tension among the Japanese commanders. General Yamaji of the 1st Division was said to have been angered that Katsura's 3rd Division originally sailed for the front in advance of his force. Consequently, to prevent any ill-feeling during the battle, Katsura sent a messenger to Yamaji's camp the night before to smoothe things over. Fujiwara 1978, pp. 64-5. Brief details of the initial invasion are in Kuwada/Yamaoka 1976, pp. 312-16. Sambo Hombu (Army General Staff), Draft, Sato Bunko, S223.6/S/ 5-7, p. 36. Mutsu (Berger) 1982, pp. 153-60. Mutsu (Berger) 1982, p. 175. Kunaicho 1973, vol. 8, pp. 649-51; Geibi NN, 26 November 1894, shows Ozaki and others in the hard-line faction already calling on the government to ensure at all costs territorial gains in Manchuria and Taiwan; Hirao 1935, p. 700, for a fuller explanation of Tani's view. Kunaicho 1973, pp. 810-11. Yubin Hochi Shimbun, 30 August 1894, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 125; also GNN, 11 December 1894. Mutsu (Berger) 1982, pp. 164-5; Kunaicho 1973, p. 667; Fujimura 1973, p. 152. Kaikosha (undated), p. 83; Kunaicho 1973, p. 708, entry for 8 March 1895 on the warning from the German minister at Tokyo. Yamagata to Mutsu, 5 April 1895, in Kunaicho 1973, pp. 746-7. Full details of the peace negotiations and the text of the peace treaty are given in Kajima 1976, pp. 195-280. Details also in Mutsu (Berger) 1982, pp. 164-202. Summary in Fujimura 1973, pp. 162-71. Russian and French press opinion in Kaikosha (undated), pp. 84, 91-8; Japanese understanding of German, French and Russian motives, Kunaicho 1973, pp. 783-96. Triple intervention, Mutsu (Berger) 1982, pp. 203-54; Kajima 1976, 293-385. A description and drawing of the Triumph Arcade is given in SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 254, Tokyo Nichi Nichi, 21 May 1895.



CONCLUSION 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.



Yasuda 1990, p. 51. Cited in Morimatsu 1969, pp. 115-20. Other attacks on the corrupt nature of party politicians include Kotoku Shusui's diatribe 'Hiseijiron' (Anti-politics), in 1899. SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 236, Kokumin Shimbun, 14 April 1895. Quoted in Michael Hunt, Frontier Defence and the Open Door Policy, New Haven 1973, p. 24; and Akira Iriye, Across the Pacific, New York 1967, p. 63. Quoted in Pierson 1980, p. 236. On Takayama, see Shibusawa 1955, p. 104. Gluck 1985, p. 136. GNN, 3 May 1894. SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 272. Note that the figure given in Fujimura 1973, p. 183, confuses the figures for the dead from other causes (which he gives as 25) and those unaccounted for, and omits the latter category from his calculations. The severity of the Taiwan campaign, by contrast, can be seen when we give the total for the war as a whole; 17 282, with disease the grimmest of reapers, accounting for 11 894 of the dead. Saneyoshi 1901, pp. 429-33. Yamagata's original views are in Oyama 1966, pp. 228-40. Morimatsu 1980, pp. 95-7. Katsura order, undated, Sambo Hombu (Army General Staff), draft history of the Sino-Japanese war, Sato Bunko S223.6/S/5-7, pp. 14-15. Kyoto-shi 1975, p. 90, for the village protest against the stationing of new troops; Tottori-ken 1969, vol. 3, p. 26, and Hirosaki Shishi Hensan Iinkai 1964, pp. 263-4, for the economic benefits. Suzuki/Mizuno 1988, p. 76. Quoted in John Fraser, America and the Patterns of Chivalry, Cambridge 1982, p. 33. Yokoyama Gennosuke 1899, cited in Morimatsu 1969, p. 121. Details on postwar prices and incomes are also in Ono 1922, especially pp. 27984. The Chinese indemnity did help prepare the way for Japan's change to the gold standard, a move seen by the leading economic minds in the government as essential to Japan's claim of parity with the civilised West. It also allowed for the establishment in 1897 of a currency law to stabilise prices, increase economic confidence at home and in the eyes of foreign traders and investors. These two moves improved Japan's foreign relations and prepared the way for Japan to enter into serious economic competition with the West. Details in Yamamoto 1980, p. 72; Nakamura 1985, pp. 80-4. Ono 1922, pp. 256-67, on postwar expansion of the rail network and increase in passengers carried. The commitment to greater and faster mobility, however, was not universally shared: Kanagawa prefecture in July 1895 banned cycling at night on pain of fines between 5 and 50 senl Jiji Shimpo, 24 July 1895, SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 281. On Takayama and Okakura, see Tsuji 1953, pp. 152-61. Takayama later

Japan's First Modern War turned to Nichiren Buddhism for more satisfying answers to the modern condition. On the rise of decadent literature in the late Meiji era, see Rubin 1984. SSMHS, vol. 9, p. 194, Mainichi Shimbun, 19 January 1895. Advertisement in GNN, 4 May 1895. Shinyashiki 1971, pp. 402-16. Shinyashiki 1971, pp. 420-1. Ryukyu Seifu 1966, vol. 4-3 (Kyoiku), pp. 353-65.

Bibliography UNPUBLISHED MATERIALS Asuda Tsumoru Family Papers, Gifu Rekishi Shiryokan British Foreign Office records, FO 262/697, 881/6594, 881/6605, 881/6665, 881/6706, 881/6764, 881/6809, 881/6817 Dai Honei Fukukan, Wonsan Shubitaicho Hokoku, Boei Kenkyujo Dai Ichi-Gun Heitan Kantoku-bu, Chinchu Nisshi, Boei Kenkyujo Dai San-Shidan Sento Shoho, Boei Kenkyujo Kobayashi Heiji Jugun Nikki, Boei Kenkyujo Nis-Shin Seneki Jugun Nisshi, Boei Kenkyujo Nis-Shin Seneki ni okeru Senryochi Shisei Ikken, Gaimusho Shiryokan Sambo Hombu, Nis-Shin Senso, draft, Sato Bunko, Fukushima Kenritsu Toshokan Yokoyama Tsuneo Family Papers, Gifu Rekishi Shiryokan

NEWSPAPERS AND JOURNALS Geibi Nichi Nichi Shimbun Gifu Nichi Nichi Shimbun Honzanjimu Hokokusho Ibaragi Nippo Japan Weekly Mail Kaikosha Kiji Kenchiku Zasshi Kyoto Shimpo Meikyo Shinshi Yonen Zasshi

OFFICIAL LOCAL HISTORIES Fukushima-ken, ed., Fukushima Kenshi, vol. 15-1: Seiji 1, Fukushima 1968 Fukushima Kenshi, vol. 4, Tsushi-hen 4: Kindai 1, Fukushima 1971 Furukawa Shishi Hensan Iinkai, ed., Furukawa Shishi: Tsushi-hen, Furukawa 1988 Furusato to Kasamatsu Henshi Iinkai, ed., Furusato to Kasamatsu, Gifu 1983 Gifu-ken, ed., Gifu Kenshi: Tsushi Kindai 2, Tokyo 1972 Ginan-machi, ed., Ginan Choshi: Tsushi-hen, Gifu 1984 Godo-machi, ed., Godo Choshi, Ogaki 1969 Hirosaki Shishi Hensan Iinkai, ed., Hirosaki Shishi: Meiji Taisho Showa-hen, Hirosaki 1964



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Hiroshima-ken, ed., Hiroshima Kenshi: Kindai 1, Hiroshima 1980 Hiroshima Kenshi: Kindai Gendai Shiryo 1, Hiroshima 1973 Hiroshima Kenshi: Kindai Gendai Shiryo 2, Hiroshima 1975 Ibaragi-ken Henshu Iinkai, ed., Ibaragi-ken Shiryo: Kindai Seiji Shakai-hen, vol. 4, Mito 1990 Ibaragi Kenshi: Kingendai-hen, Mito 1984 Ikeda-machi, Ikeda Choshi, Gifu 1974 Kakamigahara-shi Kyoiku Iinkai, Kakamigahara Shishi: Tsushi-hen: Kinsei Kindai Gendai, Tokyo 1987 Kanagawa-ken Kenminbu Kenshi Henshushitsu, ed., Kanagawa Kenshi: Tsushihen 4 - Kindai Gendai 1, Yokohama 1980 Katsuda Shishi Hensan Iinkai, ed., Katsuda Shishi: Kindai Gendai-hen 1, Katsuda 1979 Kyoto-shi, ed., Kyoto no Rekishi 8: Koto no Kindai, Kyoto 1975 Minami Nihon Shimbunsha, ed., Kagoshima Hyakunen, vol. 2: Meiji-hen, Tokyo 1967 Narita-shi Hensan Iinkai, ed., Narita Shishi: Kingendai-hen, Narita 1986 Ogaki-shi, ed., Shinshu Ogaki Shishi: Tsushi-hen 2, Ogaki 1968 Ryukyu Seifu, ed., Okinawa Kenshi 4: Kakuron 3, Naha 1966 Okinawa Kenshi 4-3: Kyoiku, Naha 1966 Sanekabe Choshi Hensan Iinkai, ed., Sanekabe-cho Shiryo: Kingendai-hen 1, Sanekabe 1984 Tajima Choshi Henshu Iinkai, ed., Tajima Choshi, vol. 3: Tsushi 3 Kindai, Tajima 1991 Tajimi-shi, ed., Tajimi-shi: Tsushi-hen, vol. 2, Tokyo 1987 Takahagi Shishi Hensan Iinkai, ed., Takahagi Shishi, Takahagi 1969 Tatsuno Shishi Hensan Senmon Iinkai, ed., Tatsuno-shi, vol. 3, Tatsuno 1985 Teramoto Kosaku, ed., Kumamoto Kenshi: Kindai-hen 2, Kumamoto 1962 Tochigi Kenshi Hensan Iinkai, ed., Tochigi Kenshi: Shiryo-hen; Kingendai 2, Tokyo 1977 Tokyo Hyakunenshi Henshu Iinkai, ed., Tokyo Hyakunenshi, Tokyo 1979 Tottori-ken, Tottori Kenshi: Kindai 2, Seiji-hen, Tottori 1969 Tottori Kenshi: Kindai 3, Keizai-hen, Tottori 1969 Toyama-ken, ed., Toyama Kenshi: Tsushi-hen 5 Kindai 1, Toyama 1981

OTHER PUBLICATIONS Araki, Masayasu, ed., Shimbun Ga Kataru Meiji-shi, 2 vols, Tokyo 1976 Ariga, Nagao, Nis-Shin Seneki Kokusai Ho-ron, Tokyo 1896 Ariizumi, Sadao, 'Meiji kokka to shukusaibi', Rekishigaku Kenkyu, no. 341, Oct. 1968 Asukai, Masamichi, Meiji Taitei, Tokyo 1989 Azuma, Tosaku, Nis-Shin Nichi-Ro Senji no Nogyo Seisaku, Tokyo 1938 Beasley, W.G., Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945, Oxford 1987 Benedict, Ruth, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Boston 1946 Bolitho, Harold, Japanese kingship', Mabbett, Ian, ed., Patterns of Kingship and Authority in Traditional Asia, London 1985



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Kajima, Morinosuke, The Diplomacy of Japan 1894-1922: vol. 1 - Sino-Japanese War and Triple Intervention, Tokyo 1976 Kamei, Koreaki, Nis-Shin Senso Jugun Shashincho, Tokyo 1992 Kaminuma, Hachiro, Izawa Shuji, Tokyo 1962 Kaneko, Kentaro, ed., Ito Hirobumi-den, 3 vols, Tokyo 1940 Kashiwara, Yusen, Nihon Bukkyo-shi: Kindai, Tokyo 1990 Katayanagi, Koinosuke, 'Ensei nisshi', Ohama edn 1978 Kawamura, Kazuo, 'Nis-Shin senso to Mutsu gaiko', Gunji Shigaku, no. 112, March 1993, pp. 39-46 Kawasaki, Saburo, Nis-Shin Senshi, 7 vols, Tokyo 1896-7 Keene, Donald, 'The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and its Cultural Effects in Japan', Shively, Donald H., ed., Tradition and Modernization in Japanese Culture, Princeton 1971 Keijo Irumindan Yakusho, ed., Keijo Hattatsushi, Seoul 1912 Kimura, Ki, Dai Honei, Tokyo 1945 Kobayashi, Ushisaburo, Military Industries of Japan, New York 1922 Kobunsha, Nis-Shin Senso, 10 vols, Tokyo 1894-95 Komatsu, Midori, Meiji Gaiko no Hiwa, repr. Tokyo 1976 Kuksa P'yonchan Wiwonhoe, eds, Kojong Sidaesa, vol. 3, Seoul 1969 Kunaicho, ed., Meiji Tenno Ki, vol. 8, Tokyo 1973 Kunikida Doppo Zenshu Hensan Iinkai, ed., Kunikida Doppo Zenshu, vols 5, 7, Tokyo 1965-6 Kuwada, Etsu and Maebara, Toru, eds, Nihon no Senso: Zukai to Deta, Tokyo 1982 Kuwada, Tadaoya and Yamaoka Sohachi, eds, Nihon no Senshi 9: Nis-Shin Senso, Tokyo 1966 Lee, Yur Bok, 'American policy toward Korea during the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895', Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, no. 43, June 1976, pp. 81-97 Lone, Stewart, General Katsura Taro and the Japanese Empire in East Asia 1874-1913, unpublished doctoral thesis, The Australian National University 1989 MacKenzie, John, ed., Popular Imperialism and the Military, Manchester 1992 Matsushita, Yoshio, Nihon no Gumbatsu Zo, Tokyo 1969 Nis-Shin Senso, Tokyo 1966 Meiji Nyusu Jiten Hensan Iinkai, ed., Meiji Nyusujiten, Tokyo 1985 Minami, Tokuko, 'Nis-Shin senso to Chosen boeki', Rekishigaku Kenkyu, 149, January 1951 Miyazaki, Kohachiro, ed., Waga Tomo, (undated, Sato Bunko S229-M2) Morimatsu, Toshio, Dai Honei, Tokyo 1980 Morimatsu, Yoshiaki, et al., Seikatsushi, vol. 3, Tokyo 1969 Moriyama, Shigenori, Kindai Nik-Kan Kankeishi Kenkyu, Tokyo 1987 Muneta, Hiroshi, Heitai Nihonshi: Nis-Shin Nichi-Ro Senso-hen, Tokyo 1974 Murakami, Shunsuke and Sakada, Yoshio, eds, Meiji Bunkashi 3: Kyoiku Dotokuhen, Tokyo 1961 Mutsu, Munemitsu (Berger, Gordon, ed./trans.), Kenkenroku: A Diplomatic Record of the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895, Princeton 1982 Myers, Ramon and Peattie, Mark, eds, TheJapanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945, Princeton 1984



N a k a m u r a , Naoyoshi, Meiji Kokka no Keisei to Ajia, Tokyo 1991 N a k a m u r a , Takafusa, Meiji Taisho-ki no Keizai, Tokyo 1985 Nakayama, Yasumasa, ed., Shimbun Shusei Meiji Hennenshi, 15 vols, Tokyo 1936 N a m b u , Kijiro, 'Aru heiki h a t s u m e i k a n o issho,' Hashikawa, ed. 1970. N i h o n D e n s h i n Denwa Kosha D e n s h i n Denwa Jigyoshi H e n s h u Iinkai, ed., Denshin Denwa Jigyoshi, Tokyo 1959 Nishikawa, Hiroshi, Rappashu no Saigo: Senso no Naka no Minshu, Tokyo 1984 Nis-Shin Jugun-ki, 2 vols ( u n d a t e d ) Nis-Shin Seneki Meisho Bunshu, Tokyo 1899 O e , S h i n o b u , Yasukuni Jinja, Tokyo 1984 Ogawa, Isshin, Nis-Shin Senso Shashinzu, 2 vols, Tokyo 1895 Ogi, Shinzo, 'Aizawa Kikutaro n o keizai seikatsu to Nis-Shin Nichi-Ro senso', in Wakamori T a r o Sensei Kanreki Kinen R o m b u n s h u H e n s h u Iinkai, ed., Meiji Kokka no Tenkai to Minshu Seikatsu, Tokyo 1975 O h , B o n n i e B., ' T h e Kabo kaengjang of 1894 in Korea a n d t h e policy of Mutsu M u n e m i t s u ' , Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 44, D e c e m b e r 1976, p p . 8 5 - 1 0 3 O h a m a , Tetsuya, Tenno no Guntai, Tokyo 1976 Meiji no Bohyo, Tokyo 1990 ' G u n t a i Seikatsu', Kimbara, S a m o n , ed., Chiho Bunka no Nihonshi 9: Chiho Demokurashii to Senso, Tokyo 1978 ed., Kindai Minshu no Kiroku 8: Heishi, Tokyo 1978 Oka, Yoshitake, Yamagata Aritomo, Tokyo 1958 O k a m o t o , S h u m p e i , ed., Impressions of the Front: Woodcuts of the Sino-Japanese War 1894-95, Philadelphia 1983 'A phase of Meiji J a p a n ' s attitude towards China: t h e case of K o m u r a J u t a r o ' , Modern Asian Studies, vol. 13, 1979 O n o , Giichi, Expenditures of the Sino-Japanese War, New York 1922 Owada, Tateki, ed., Nis-Shin Senxoa Gunjin Kikan, 2 vols, Tokyo 1895 Oyama, Azusa, 'Nis-Shin senso to seniyochi gyosei' ( p a m p h l e t held at Boei Kenkyujo) Pak, C h o n g - g u n , Nis-Shin Senso to Chosen, Tokyo 1982 ' C h o s e n ni o k e r u 1 8 9 4 - 5 n e n n o Kim Hongjip seiken (kaikaha seiken) n o kosatsu, Rekishigaku Kenkyu, 417, February 1975 Pierson, J o h n D., Tokutomi Soho 1863-1957: A Journalist for Modern Japan, P r i n c e t o n 1980 Reader, Ian, Religion in Contemporary Japan, H o n o l u l u 1991 Rubin, Jay, Injurious to Public Morals: Writers and the Meiji State, Seattle 1984 Sakurai, Tadaatsu, ed., Ruishu DenkiDai Nihon-shi, vol. 14: Rikugun-hen, Tokyo 1935 S a m b o H o m b u , ed., Meiji Niju Shichi Hachi-nen Nis-Shin Senshi, 5 vols, Tokyo 1907 (A partial translation of this general staff history is by Major I k e m u r a a n d Revd A r t h u r Lloyd, History of the War Between Japan and China: Compiled by the Imperial General Staff, vol. 1, Tokyo 1904.) Saneyoshi, Y., ed., The Surgical and Medical History of the Naval War between Japan and China during 1894-95, Tokyo 1901 Sato, Saburo, 'Nis-Shin senso izen ni o k e r u Nit-Chu ryokoku n o sogo kokujo teisatsu ni tsuite', Gunji Shigaku, n o . 1, May 1965 Sato, Seijiro, Antoken oyobi Shin-Gishu, Seoul 1917


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Shibusawa, Keizo, ed., Meiji Bunkashi: vol. 11, Shakai Keizai-hen, Tokyo 1955 Shinobu, Seizaburo, ed., Nihon Gaiko-shi, 2 vols, Tokyo 1974 Shinyashiki, Yukishige, Shinko Okinawa Issennen-shi, Tokyo 1971 Shiroda, Noboru, et al., Mitsubishi Gunjusho, Tokyo 1971 Sugimoto, Katsujiro, ed., Sei-Shin Bukokan, 10 vols, Tokyo 1895-7 Sugiyama, Shinya, 'Japan's trade with Korea, 1876-1895 as reflected in British sources', Nish, Ian, ed., Aspects of Anglo-Korean Relations, Part Two (International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines, London School of Economics) London 1984 Suzuki, Norio and Mizuno, Akira, 'Seiganji shozo shingun 'sen'i' no kenkyu', Nihonshi Kenkyu, no. 312, August 1988 Taki, Koji, Tenno no Shozo, Tokyo 1988 Tanaka, Hiromi, 'Nis-Shin senso: Hiroshima Dai Honei to Dai Gensui', Bessalsu Rekishi Dokuhon, April 1990, pp. 89-103 Tanaka, Sogoro, Nihon Guntai-shi, Tokyo 1954 Thelle, Notto, Buddhism and Christianity in Japan: From Conflict to Dialogue 1854-1899, Honolulu 1987 Titus, David, Palace and Politics in Prewar Japan, New York 1974 Tokutomi, Iichiro (Soho), Koshaku Katsura Taro-den, 2 vols, Tokyo 1917 Rikugun Taisho Kawakami Soroku, Tokyo 1942 Koshaku Yamagata Aritomo-den, 3 vols, Tokyo 1933 Tokyo-shi Shukusho Taikai, ed., Tokyo-shi Shukusho Taikai, Tokyo 1895 Tsuji, Zennosuke, Nihon Bunkashi, vol. 7, Tokyo 1950 Tsumura, Akira, 'Nis-Shin senso no Meiji bungaku ni ataeta eikyo', Rekishi Kagaku, vols. 2-4, 1933 Unno, Fukuju, Nis-Shin Nichi-Ro Senso, Tokyo 1992 Uno, Shunichi, 'Nis-Shin senso', Rekishigaku Kenkyukai and Nihonshi Kenkyukai, eds, Koza Nihonshi, vol. 6 - Nihon Teikokushugi no Keisei, Tokyo 1970 'Vladimir', The China-Japan War, London 1896 Watanabe, Hiroyoshi, 'Nis-Shin senso jugun heishi no nikki', Bulletin of General Education, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, no. 13, 1990 Watanabe, Ikujiro, Meiji Tenno to Gunji, Tokyo 1946 Meiji Tenno to Hohitsu no Hitobito, Tokyo 1936 Watanabe, Keiji, Fude no Hakobi wa Tsutanai ga, Niigata 1982 White, Trumbull, The War in the East, Philadelphia 1895 Yamada, Shoji, 'Meiji zenki no Nit-Cho boeki', lenaga Saburo Kyoju Tokyo Daigaku Taikan Kinen Ronshu, Tokyo 1979 Yamamoto, Hirofumi, et al., Kindai Nihon Keizashi, Tokyo 1980 Yasuda, Hiroshi, 'The modern emperor system as it took shape before and after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5', Acta Asiatica, no. 59, October 1990 Yokoyama, Masao, 'Nis-Shin seneki gaisen butai no keneki', Dai Nihon Shiritsu Eiseikai Zasshi, no. 380, December 1914, pp. 723-8 Yoshida, Hisaichi, Nihon Kindai Bukkyo Shakaishi Kenkyu, Tokyo 1964 Zama Shiritsu Toshokan, ed. (Sagawa Kazusuke), Nis-Shin Senso Jugun-ki, Zama 1988 Zen Nihon Shimbun Renmei, ed., Nihon Hodo Hyakunenshi, Tokyo 1976

Index advertising, 99, 110 Ainu people, 76 Akihito, Prince, 170 alcohol, 70, 73, 77, 83 Aoki, Shuzo, 172 architecture, Chinese, 63; Japanese, 177 Ariga, Nagao, 67, 136 aristocracy, Japan, 84, 89, 91, 97, 120, 186 armaments, Chinese, 36; Japanese, 28-9, 36, 106 army, Chinese, 10, 25, 29, 34, 36, 38, 39, 44, 66-7 army, Japanese, 3, 5, 15, 20, 22, 26-7, 35, 39, 41-2, 51-3, 96, 97-8, 100, 106, 107, 112, 118, 129, 131-4, 138, 141, 162, 166, 172, 175, 181-3, 186, 190n, 195n; combat, 34, 36-9, 44, 66, 134, 154, 157-8, 166-9; discipline, 18, 51, , 142-63, 183, 207n; justice, 148, 151, 153, 207n; organisation, 17-18, 20-1, 30, 49, 93, 145, 151, 170-1; popular attitudes to, 17-18, 52-3, 56, 71, 74, 86, 88-92, 95, 100-1, 103, 111, 184, 187, 192-3n; postwar expansion, 178-9, 182, 184; relations with Emperor Meiji, 21, 80-5, 170-1; 'spirit', 51, 60, 66, 69-74, 84, 94, 117, 183, 186; Western impressions of, 8, 49, 51, 143, 156, 159, 209n Ban Alcohol Society, 77 banks, Japanese, 91, 198n Beijing, Japanese strategy towards, 32-3, 40-2, 164-5, 167, 175, 191n Beiyang fleet, China, 33, 34, 37, 42, 44, 166 Benedict, Ruth, 159 bonds, Japanese government, 88, 90-2, 104, 106, 112, 178, 201n Boxer uprising, 143 Britain, 14,20,41,97, 115, 182; attitudes towards Japan, 27, 34-5, 37, 45-8, 126, 161, 164, 173-4, 176 brutality, 133-4, 142-4, 150, 155-63, 169, 208-9n Buddhism, 64, 107, 110-16, 201n, 202n casualties, military, 34, 37, 44, 154-5,

166, 168-70, 181, 192n, 194n, 210n, 211n celebrations, wartime Japanese, 49-50, 83, 88, 106, 109, 154, 178, 187 China, 54, 88, 95, 164; army, 10, 25, 29, 34, 36, 38-9, 44, 144, 150, 154, 158, 161-2, 168-9; customs, 63-9; navy, 33, 34, 37, 42, 166-7; relations with Japan, 3, 15-16, 24-7, 103, 111, 116, 136-41, 164, 171-6, 179; relations with Korea, 15, 26; relations with West, 13-14, 24, 45-6, 165, 179 Chon, Pong-jun, 135 Christianity, 67, 107-8, 144, 146-7; Japanese opposition to, 115-16 Cleveland, Grover, 27, 189n commerce, 3, 103-7, 185 conscription, 13, 17-18, 79, 187 coolies, discipline, 51, 75-6, 147-8; Japanese army, 35, 72, 75-7, 104, 137, 138, 149, 153, 196n; Korean, 38, 61-2, 76, 132, 148; wages, 75-7, 132 corruption, 74, 105-7 Creelman, fames, 155-6, 160-1, 163 crime, 105,' 146, 148-52, 153 Cromer, Lord, 129-30 Denby, Charles, 180 desertion, Japanese military, 151, 153 Detring, Gustav, 41 Diet (Japanese parliament), 18-19, 22-3, 84, 86-7, 102, 106, 179 disasters, natural (Japan), 116-17, 202n discipline, Japanese military, 18, 138, 143 disease, 73, 77, 86, 111, 117, 140-1, 149-50, 170, 181 donations, Japanese popular, 74, 88-90, 104, 106, 111, 115, 118, 178 education, 13, 72, 79-81, 129, 186-7 elections, 85, 197n employment, 104-5 empress, Japanese, 82-4 fashion, 103 fiction, 185; war fiction, 99 finance, 90-2, 130, 200n




First Army, Japan, 31, 35, 38-9, 43-4, 74, 76, 138, 158, 167-8 flags, 53, 56, 58, 70, 80, 83, 88, 103, 107, 109, 184, 201n food, 59, 64, 68, 73-4, 104 France, 13-14, 47, 97, 182; attitudes towards China, 48, 176; attitudes towards Japan, 45, 48-9, 173, 175-6 Fujimura, Michio, 2, 7, 59, 84, 93, 143, 156-7, 160 Fujiwara, Akira, 157 Fukushima, Yasumasa, 25, 39, 138 Fukuzawa, Yukichi, 16, 29, 106 funerals, Chinese, 64, 114, 140; Japanese, 88, 95, 110-14, 120-2, 178, 186 Gakushuin, 186 geisha, 98, 103-4 Geneva convention, 142, 145, 159 Genyosha, 86 Germany, 14, 47, 179; attitudes towards Japan, 45, 48-9, 174-6 Gibson, William, 7 Gifu prefecture, 6, 28, 52, 81, 88-92, 93-4, 99-100, 105, 107, 109, 111, 118,121, 197n, 198n Gifu Nichi Nichi Shimbun, 6, 18, 28, 59, 99 Great Japan Patriotic Volunteers, 93 Haich'eng, battles of, 41, 44, 167-9 Hamamoto, Risaburo, 54, 60-2, 70, 72, 74, 133, 150 Hawaii, US annexation of, 180 Hayashi, Tadasu, 138 Hideyoshi, Toyotomi, 110, 131 Hijikata, Hisamoto, 85 Hillier, Walter, 126 Hiramatsu, Riei, 113 Hiroshima, 53-6, 81, 86, 105-6, 110, 118, 149, 152; Diet, 86-7 Holland, Thomas, 163 Hong Kong, 103 Imo rising (Korea), 15 Imperial Headquarters (Japan), 26, 32-3, 40-3, 81, 97, 131, 140, 167-8, 170 imperialism, Japanese, 116, 123-6, 129-30; Western, 12-14, 16, 59, 116 indiscipline, Chinese military, 25, 144, 150, 157; Japanese military, 18, 145, 148-63, 183, 208-9n

Indo-China, 176, 180 Inoue, Kaoru, 128-30, 132 Inoue, Kowashi, 96 Inoue, Tetsujiro, 181 Ishiguro, Tadanori, 33, 59, 73, 76-7, 171 Itagaki, Taisuke, 22-3 Ito, Hirobumi, 22-3, 26, 3 0 - 3 , 41-3, 45-6, 87, 129, 162, 165, 171, 174-5, 189n Japan, attitudes towards China, 15, 24-5, 28, 59, 62-9, 123-4, 136-41, 150, 157, 171-6, 179; attitudes towards Korea, 3, 59, 60-2, 111, 114, 116, 123-36, 179; government, 13, 22-3, 54, 58, 80, 82, 95, 108-9, 135, 143, 178-9; local government, 86, 87-9, 90-2, 93, 117-19, 121-2, 178, 197n; nationalism, 5, 54, 58, 78-81, 92, 9 4 - 5 , 183-4, 186-7; relations with Britain, 27, 32, 37, 45-8, 126, 161, 164, 173-4, 176, 190n; relations with France, 45, 48-9, 173, 175-6; relations with Germany, 45, 48-9, 174-6; relations with Russia, 24-5, 32, 45, 47-9, 136, 162, 172-6, 182 Japan National Defence Academy, 97 Kamei, Koreaki, 4, 100, 147 Kangwachai, battle of, 44, 66 Kapsin rising (Korea), 15 Katsura, Taro, 20-1, 32, 38, 44, 146-7, 167-9, 173, 183, 21 On Kawakami, Otojiro, 50, 98 Kawakami, Soroku, 25-6, 28, 32, 171, 176, 189n Kim, Hong-jip, 127 Kimberley, Lord, 46, 191n Kitashirakawa, Princess, 97 Kojong, King of Korea, 26, 126-8 Komatsu, Princess, 97 Komura, Jutaro, 32, 39, 138, 140 Korea, 25-7, 95, 141, 144; army, 15, 26, 60, 132-5; attitudes towards Japan, 15, 35, 38, 62, 127-8, 131-5, 179; customs, 59, 60-2, 129; Japanese attitudes towards, 15, 59, 60-2, 111, 114, 116, 123-36, 179; Japanese commercial interest, 3; government, 127-30, 134; railways, 54, 125-6; reforms, 27, 124, 126-30, 204n; relations with China, 15, 26, 128, 133, 204n

Index Kuroda, Koshiro, 36, 99 Kyoto Shimpo, 113, 175 language, Chinese, 114; Japanese troops' use of, 53, 69, 137; Korean, 131 law, Japanese military, 148, 151, 153 Li, Hung-chang, 10, 25, 44, 103, 171, 175 Liaotung peninsula (China), 34, 39, 41, 138-41, 151, 172, 174, 176 looting, Japanese military, 146-9 Macaulay, Lord, 142 'magic lantern' shows, 101, 120 Manchuria, Japanese occupation of, 66, 136-41, 147, 151, 157 materialism, 9, 19, 65, 105, 183 Matsukata, Masayoshi, 173, 189n Matsushita, Yoshio, 2, 6, 95, 154 Meckel, Clemens, 21 Meiji, Emperor, 6, 23, 31, 41-3, 70, 73, 87, 93-4, 96, 108, 173, 178-9, 187, 202n; donations to forces, 70, 83; wartime roles, 78-86, 170-1, 172, 176-7 Meikyo Shinshi, 115 militarism, 7-9, 14, 18, 94, 105, 110, 143, 184 militia, 93-4 missionaries, Western, 48, 130, 144, 147 Mitsubishi, 106 Mitsui, 3, 89, 106 Mukden, 34, 40 Mutsu, Munemitsu, 2, 23-4, 26, 30-2, 41, 45-7, 85, 102, 129, 131, 135-6, 161-2, 171-2, 174 Nagai, Genshi, 95 Nagaike, Gofu, 115 Nambu, Kijiro, 73-4, 150, 157 nationalism, 5, 8, 78-81, 92, 94-5, 99, 101, 107, 109-10, 116, 121-2, 184 navy, Japanese, 21, 23, 29, 34, 37, 42, 48, 49, 89, 106, 134, 151, 166-7, 170, 172, 175, 182 New York World, 155, 161 newspapers, Japanese, 23, 71-2, 88, 92, 160-1, 185; wartime impact on, 98-100, 199n Nishi, Tokujiro, 172 Niuch'ang, battle of, 169 Nogi, Maresuke, 44, 97, 154, 158, 168 Nozawa, Takesaburo, 68-9, 100, 149, 153, 159, 192n


Nozu, Michitsura, 35, 38, 43, 49, 140, 167-9 nurses; 96-8, 115; authorities' fear of, 96-7; growing status in Japan, 97 Ogaki Patriotic Society, 89 Ohama, Tetsuya, 6, 17, 91, 159 Okabe, Makio, 155 Okakura, Kakuzo, 185 Okinawa, 187 Okuma, Shigenobu, 22-3, 42 Okura, Kihachiro, 89, 106 opera, Chinese, at Port Arthur, 67 Otani, Koson, 111 Otani sect, 112, 201n Oyama, Iwao, 21, 32, 39, 67, 85, 95, 103, 141, 145, 160, 162-3, 166-7, 194n Ozaki, Yukio, 173, 188n Pak, Yong-hyo, 128 pan-Asianism, 15, 60, 68, 114-16, 123, 175, 180 Patriotic Defence Society, 181 Patriotic Symposium, 94 patriotism, 8, 65, 69-73, 76, 86, 93-6, 100, 103-7, 111, 115, 117, 180, 183-4, 186-7 peace negotiations, 170-6 Philippines, 173, 180 photography, 99-100, 119 physical education, 96-7, 186 Port Arthur, 37, 39, 67, 141; battle of, 41, 154-5, 158, 176; massacre, 143, 155-63, 208n prices, commodity, 104-6, 140, 185 priests, Japanese; with the armies, 110, 112-16, 137; with the navy, 113 prisoners of war, 95, 114, 133, 143-8, 156, 158, 162 P'yongyang, 38, 59, 61; battle of, 35-7, 133, 158 racial attitudes, held by Japanese, 7, 59-69, 144, 150, 159-60, 181; towards Japan, 7, 14, 49, 159, 163, 175, 180, 188n railways, 21, 104, 182, 185; cultural impact, 54-8 Red Cross, Japan, 56, 89, 95, 96-8, 109-10, 121, 144 religion, 57, 64, 80-1, 84, 107-16, 184 Roosevelt, Theodore, 142



Russia, 13-14, 20, 23-5, 97, 179; relations with Japan, 45, 47-9, 136, 162, 172-6, 182 Russojapanese war, 1-2, 9, 11, 12, 120, 143, 152 Sagawa, Kazusuke, 55-6, 155 Saigo, Judo, 32 Sakuma, Samata, 145 samurai, 9, 14, 17, 27, 93 sanitation, 140 Sato, Tadashi, 36, 38, 39, 158 schools, Japanese, 56, 72, 81, 89, 92, 94-7, 109, 121, 129, 184, 186-7 Second Army, Japan, 39, 44, 74, 137-8, 154, 162, 166-8 sex, 97-8, 103; diseases, 149-50; offences, 68, 149-51 Shanghai, 48, 114; arsenal, 25, 46; British concern, 46 Shibusawa, Eiichi, 89 Shimonoseki, treaty of, 175 Shinto, 57, 79-80, 84, 94, 95-6, 107-12, 113, 114 Songhwan, battle of, 34 songs, war, 56, 95-6, 97, 99, 186, 199n sports, 57, 94, 96 strategy, Japanese military, 20, 24-5, 30-4, 39, 40-2, 44, 164-8 suicide, military, 62 sumo, 93, 94 supplies, Japanese military, 35, 38, 72-4, 88, 104, 106, 131, 136, 139-40, 148, 182 Taewon'gun, 128, 135 Taip'ing rebellion (China), 15 Taiwan, 5, 15, 41, 48, 172-4, 176, 179; campaign of, 10, 29, 34, 42, 170 Takahashi, Korekiyo, 91 Takayama, Chogyu, 180, 185 Tanaka, Hiromi, 81 Tani, Kanjo, 173 Taruhito, Prince, 32, 83, 85 Tayama, Katai, 19 Tenno Kogo to Nis-Shin Senso, 2 Tenshodo, 58 Terauchi, Masatake, 171 The Times (London), 35, 156, 161, 173 Tianjin, treaty of, 16, 26 T'ienchuangt'ai, battle of, 67, 169 time, perceptions of, 55, 57-8, 193n Ting, Admiral, 166-7

Togo, Heihachiro, 34-5 Tokugawa era, 9, 12-13, 15, 79 Tokutomi, lichiro (Soho), 180, 188-9n Tonghak (Korea), 25-7, 126; clashes with Japanese, 60, 128,131-5 transport, 104-5, 185; Japanese army, 21, 35, 39, 76 Trans-Siberian railway, 24, 176 Triple intervention, 136, 173, 175-6 trophies of war, 109, 148-9, 184 Ubukata, Toshiro, 63, 90, 121 Uchimura, Kanzo, 78, 115, 196n uniforms, 73, 82 United States of America, 12-14, 47, 115; attitudes towards Japan, 27, 130, 161-3, 176, 180 Victory Arch, Tokyo, 106, 177 Villiers, Frederick, 156 volunteers, Japanese military, 9 3 - 4 wages, 89, 104-5, 185 war correspondents, Japanese, 36, 65, 69, 99-100; Western, 76, 155-6, 160-3 Weihaiwei, battle of, 42, 166-7 welfare, Japanese military families, 90, 117-22 White, Trumbull, 157 women, Chinese, 68, 75, 146, 150-1, 155-6, 208n; Japanese, 8, 82-4, 89, 96-8, 105, 112, 120, 149-50 Wylie, James, 144 Yabu, Kenyu, 187 Yamagata, Aritomo, 17, 20, 21-3, 25, 31-3, 35, 39, 49, 103, 113, 125-6, 137-9, 141, 145, 147, 162, 165, 167, 178, 182, 189n; recall, 40-3, 172; support for Russojapanese agreement, 174 Yamaji, Motoharu, 40, 137, 154, 210n Yamakawa, Hitoshi, 95 Yasuda, Hiroshi, 178 Yasuda, Zenshiro, 89 Yasukuni Shrine, 50, 107-10 Yingk'ou, 138, 168-9, 175 Yokoyama, Gennosuke, 179 youth groups, 94, 186 Youth Patriotic Society, 94 Yubin Hochi Shimbun, 99