By Theodore Shoebat
Donald Trump praised the US-Japanese alliance yesterday, calling Japan a “important, steadfast ally.” Trump also thanked Japan for “hosting” the U.S. military and exalted “the bond between our two nations and the friendship between our two peoples runs very, very deep.”
The commitment between Japan and the United States, no matter how strong it may seem, is part of a perception that has been being projected ever since the peace that was made at the end of the Second World War. What I am trying to say is that the agreements and the diplomacy made between the US and Japan, does not guarantee peace between the two countries. Before the Second World War, the US and Japan made an agreement with each other on naval disarmament, and there was supposedly good faith between them. This friendship was part of a utopian policy that aimed at preventing another world war.
Within Japanese politics there is a heavy ideological conflict between the militarists and the pacifists, with each side containing politicians and citizens alike. Some could argue that there are a substantial amount of people in Japan who don’t want to see a revival of Japanese militarism, and they would be right. There are many Japanese people who hate militarism and dread to see the day of Japan ever going on the warpath again. But, the same could have been said for Japan prior to the Second World War.
Japan was even an ally of the US and the Entente in WW1, but of course their involvement was done out of the interest of Japanese expansionism. Japan entered the war for the specific purpose of taking Chinese territory that was being occupied by Germany. Japan had its eyes on the Shandong region of China, which was at that time being controlled by Germany. On November 7th, 1914, German troops in the Siege of Tsingtao in Shandong surrendered to Japanese and British forces.
The Japanese, in this situation, were an ally to the Entente, and I doubt that many people were expecting that someday the world would witness the Japanese Samurai sword hacking and slicing Allied troops in East Asia. This was the very Japan that, just nine years before the First World War, were slaughtering tens of thousands of Russian troops in China, in that devastating Russo-Japanese War that lasted from 1904 to 1905.
Russia was defending Korea and China, and ultimately all of Asia, from Japanese domination. The United States, fearful of Russia rising up to power in East Asia, supported the Japanese against the Russians, the Chinese and the Koreans. In the Battle of Tsushima, only a one day naval battle (May 27-28, 1905), 6000 Russian fighters were martyred, while the Japanese had only 600 causalities. (1) President Theodore Roosevelt praised the Japanese for their slaughter of the Russians, and at the same time expressed his contempt for the Chinese:
Bad as the Chinese are, no human beings, black, yellow or white, could be quite as untruthful, as insincere, arrogant — in short as untrustworthy in every way — as the Russians under their present system. I was pro-Japanese before, but after my experience with the peace commissioners I am far stronger pro-Japanese than ever. (2)
This trust in Japan was so strong that the United States would help Japan, though unknowingly, become the powerful adversary it would fight against in WW2. Roosevelt practically gave Korea to Japan with the full intent of having the Japanese rule over the Koreans, saying,
Korea should be entirely within Japan’s sphere of interest.
Foreknowing that Japan was going to invade, the king of Korea, Gojong, asked the United States for protection, but as is typical of how America treats its allies, the Americans ordered all of their troops to pull from Korea, and convinced the Western powers to withdraw theirs forces as well. Korea was a helpless victim. The Japanese swallowed all of Korea, completely deprived it of independence, and threw the king out. Within a very short time, the Japanese hung thousands of Korean nationalists from the gallows. (3)
When American troops had to face the vicious forces of Japan, they were essentially fighting the Frankenstein that the United States had been creating since the mid 19th century, when the Americans forced the Japanese to adopt Western technology. In 1852, US President Millard Fillmore was very frustrated with Japan’s refusal to conform with the expansion of Western technology. He commissioned Commander Matthew Perry to push the Japanese into acquiescence. After assiduously studying Japanese history, Perry determined that the most effective means to getting the Japanese submit to Japanese demands, would be to scare them into submission.
In July 1853, Perry sent two giant American ships right into the Japanese coast. The people of Japan witnessed these machines, it was unlike anything that they had ever seen; with their black smoke flooding the air, and their imposing size, the people were terrified. The Tokugawa aristocracy, horrified of the spectacle, initially was determined to prepare to fight the Americans. But, realizing that a victory against an unassailable opponent was utterly imprudent, the Tokugawa decided to conform to American demands.
By this one encounter alone, Matthew Perry broke down the doors of Japanese isolationism and enabled trade between the US — alongside Britain, France, Germany and Russia — and Japan. (4) This acquiescence to the demands to the US left a sense of strong bitterness amongst prestigious members of Japan’s elite. Some of them wanted to go to war against the Americans, but others of a more prudent judgement determined that the best rout to take would be to learn and adapt to Western technology, and then once the Japanese people were strong enough, to strike. “We are not the equals of foreigners in the mechanical arts,” they said, “let us have intercourse with foreign countries, learn their drill and tactics, and when we have made the [Japanese] nations as united as one family, we shall be able to go abroad and give lands in foreign countries to those who have distinguished themselves in battle; the soldiers will vie with one another in displaying their intrepidity, and it will not be too late then to declare war.” (5)
The party of blatant militarism, seeing the Tokugawa as outright appeasers to the Americans, revolted against the aristocracy. A civil war ensued, between those of honest aggression and those of elusive and patient aggression. In the end, in 1868, the rebels took the victory. Once they were in power, they commenced the Meiji era of Japan, under the Emperor Meiji, in which they would unite Japan into one nation, not under feudal lords, but under a government controlled by the Emperor. In the Meiji Restoration, the solar cult of Shintoism was elevated into the religion of Japan, and the Samurai code of ethics was brought aloft as the collective code of ethics for all Japanese people.
This reformation of Japan utilized a form of fanatic nativism that was no anomaly to the nation. “Revere the Emperor! Expel the barbarians!” and “Rich country, strong army!” became common slogans throughout Japan. (6) This hatred, intertwined with a strong will to create a technologically advanced nation, was a very dangerous combination — as allied forces would later find out. The new Japanese government of the Meiji era, in order to transform Japan into a super power, sent its best students to Western Universities to educate themselves in Western science. The Japanese government also meticulously studied the war cultures of the United States and Europe. Out of all the military cultures that they had studied, the Japanese favored above all German militarism. (7)
In wanting to create an empire, the Japanese went on the warpath with its desire for expansionism and superiority, when in 1876 they forced the Koreans to begin commerce with Japan. The Japanese, emulating what the Americans did to them, sent two gunboats to Korea, scaring them into submission, and thus the Koreans agreed to conduct commerce with the Japanese. The Chinese, fearing Japanese dominance over Korea, clashed with Japan. But, in 1885, the two countries agreed that Korea would become a protectorate of both China and Japan. However, this peace was broken by Japanese nationalists. These jingoists from Japan fomented a revolt amongst Koreans. When the Chinese tried to stop the rebellion, the Japanese intervened, and war between Japan and China was declared. The Japanese used the rebellion that was started by Japanese ultra-nationalists to justify war against China.
In September of 1894, six weeks after war was declared, the Japanese captured Pyongyang and utterly vanquished the Chinese northern fleet at sea. The Chinese were then forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Shimonoseki, in which they were forced to pay to the Japanese 200 million taels, and to cede to Japan the lands of Taiwan, the Pescadores, the Liaodong region of Manchuria, alongside more treaty ports. This was the end of what would be known as the First Sino-Japanese War. (8) It was victories like this, and like that witnessed in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, that won the support of the Americans who would then look up to the Japanese as a balancer in East Asia against China and Russia. This American perspective never really went away, and still remains to this day.
Notice how Japan used a revolution caused by Japanese nationalists to justify war against China; the Japanese also used the Boxer Rebellion which broke out in 1901, to send troops into China. I believe that this same strategy will be utilized by the Japanese in the future. They will use some perceived threat to deploy troops in East Asia, and this will commence some great conflict between the superpowers of East Asia, Japan against China and the Koreas, and Russia as well.
But most people today see the prospect of another war with Japan as nonsensical and illogical. Why would Japan go back to militarism when it has already made peace with US and agreed to disarmament? To this I would respond, that the same type of talk of peace that has been taking place since the end of the Second World War was happening before WW2 and it made absolutely no difference. Peace talks are merely a show, they are a means by which Japan appears peaceful, while behind the curtains it prepares for war. After the First World War, Japan played the game of appearing peaceful and renouncing militarism. The Japanese statesman, Makino Nobuaki, reflected this awareness of the need to conform to the trend of pacifism after WW1 when he said:
“The respect for peace and rejection of high handedness are trends of the world today”
If Japan was to be a superpower amongst the Americans and the British, it needed to discontinue its policy of militarism in the face of “Americanism” which was “being propounded across the earth” as Makino would say. (9)
After the First World War, there was a very significant peace meeting in Versailles in which it was heatedly debated whether or not to give Japan the Shandong region of China, which the Japanese took from the Germans during the war in 1914. The Chinese were filled with consternation of the idea of Japan occupying such a substantial region of China, while the Japanese were just anxious to take Shandong. The British and the French had already conceded to Japan’s claims to the Shandong in 1917 (before the war had even ended), because they wanted Japanese naval support in the Mediterranean Sea. (10)
But in Versailles, the Western Powers were hesitant to just give up Shandong to the Japanese. They instead desired to “internationalize” Shandong, that is, they wanted it to be ruled under the League of Nations, as opposed to it being under solely Japanese domination. (11) But in the end, the Versailles Treaty had concluded that Shandong had to be given to Japan. When news of this had reached China on May 4th, 1919, the anger amongst the Chinese masses was so great that is sparked major revolts and riots. The slogan amongst the protestors was: “externally, let us struggle for sovereignty; internally throw out the traitors”. Rioters attacked the home of Cao Rulin, China’s Finance Chancellor who received loans from Japan, and burned it to the ground. Over a thousand protestors were detained.
In the midst of all of this, ultranationalism remained high within elitist circles in Japan. The Japanese general, Ugaki Kazushige, said:
“Britain and America seek, through the League of Nations, to tie down the military power of other nation whilst nibbling away at them through the use of their long suit, capitalism. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between military conquest and capitalist nibbling.” (12)
The Japanese, at this point, were looking to Germany — the very enemy that the US had just fought — as their inspiration for military power and imperialism. The concept of Total War against global powers, contrived by the German General Ludendorff, became one of the most attractive ideas to Japanese militarists. In October of 1921, three Japanese military officers travelled to Baden-Baden, Germany, to discuss what they could learn from Germany, as far as military culture went. Of course, they were inspired by Ludendorff’s concept of Total War. Amongst the military officers inspired by this idea, was Tojo Hideki, the general who would be known as the mastermind behind the Pearl Harbor attacks. Tojo saw German militarism as a model under which Japan would lead a struggle against the Western Powers, just as Germany had done. The military officers also envisioned Japan ruling China with absolute despotic power, and having an army of Samurai warriors united under the ideology of Bushido which was heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism, and depicted “the way of the warrior (bushido) as the search for death.”
But even though there was this strong spirit of Japanese supremacism and desire for world empire, such fanatic ideas were not the majority opinion, not even amongst nationalist politicians. (13) The older generation generally did not want to see Japan on the warpath (or least thats what they claimed), but the younger generation — that of Tojo — lingered, waiting for the moment of power by which to strike. The politicians understood that for the sake of a thriving Japan, peace had to be preached, and good relations with the West needed to be maintained. The anti-militarist sentiment amongst Japanese politicians was, in fact, overwhelming.
In July of 1921 the liberal Kokuminto Party, adopted the strategy that Japan should replace militarism with industrialism. Ozaki Yukio, a member of the house of representatives who is known now as the “father of the Japanese constitution,” commenced a nationwide campaign against the “ruinous costs of military spending.” Ozaki’s exhortations against militarism, alongside those of thousands of others, were received positively. In 1922, Japan was spending 65.4% of its money on the military, but between 1923 and 1927, this was reduced to 40%.
The hysterical perception that arose in the West, that the First World War was “the war to end all wars,” was reflected in the idea that to prevent another world war from occurring was to reduce the naval capacities of the three global naval powers: The United States, Great Britain and Japan. This policy was pushed in the Washington Conference of 1921. Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, rose up and declared that the United States must end its construction of battleships; that it must scrap thousands of tons of capital ships; that the same must be done by Britain and Japan. The United States would dispose of 846,000 tons of naval shipping, leaving it with a remainder of 501,000 tons. Britain would dispose of 583,000 tons of naval shipping, while Japan got rid of 449,000 tons, leaving it with only 300,000 tons.
The press was shocked as to how willing the three major naval powers of the earth complied so well with Evans’ demands. One journalist recounted that while the opening session of the Washington Conference “was expected to consist only of formal addresses”, it rather was driven by a “dynamic intensity such as had never been previously experienced at an international diplomatic gathering … The unprecedented clarity, definiteness and comprehensiveness of the concrete plan for naval disarmament… marked a new chapter in diplomatic history…” (14)
The Prime Minister of Japan, Takahashi Korekiyo, expressed firm commitment to cooperation with the West, and stated that Japan must establish itself in the world through economic and financial strength rather than militarism. In the summer of 1921, Admiral Kato Kanji, affirmed that any future world war was “unthinkable,” and gave his full support for disarmament. Kanji even hoped, as he told a British representative, that financial constraints on the military budget in Japan would overpower and silence the militant side of Japanese politics.
By complying with Western demands of disarmament, Japan maintained its position of prestige as one of the three naval powers of the world. As the historian Adam Tooze notes: “Japan had everything to gain from accepting a world order in which America and Britain acknowledged it as a third world power.” (15)
Surely, this was an era that cried out ‘Peace, peace, peace in our times.’ But to this was there a most clear response from the prophet: “Peace, peace: when there was no peace.” (Jeremiah 8:11) All of these agreements of peace, and it meant absolutely nothing. Such talk of peace had, in the words of Ezekiel, “seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace” (Ezekiel 13:10).
In 1931, just ten years after the Washington Conference, Japan attacked China in the eruption of the Second World War. The talk of peace, meant nothing. And so today, it means nothing. Japan had a war with China in the late 1800s, in the Sino-Japanese War, and then it had a war with Russia in 1904, in the Russo-Japanese War. Both wars were over domination of East Asia. Today, Japan and Russia have a territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. As long as this disagreement exists, conflict is still possible. Japan and China have a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands. In Trump’s meeting with Shinzo Abe, he affirmed that the United States is committed to defending the Senkaku. This will be done as part of the American policy that has been being maintained from Theodore Roosevelt to now: to keep China in check. Make no mistake about it, its not just about land, its about power, its about who dominates East Asia. As long as China and Japan have animosity towards each other, the prospect of war will be there.
Before the eruption of the Second World War, what needed to be maintained in order to keep the peace, was stability in the relation between China and Japan. No talk of peace will ever truly prevent war, the hatred that lingers within Asia goes beyond the physical realm of economy, it is metaphysical. The Japanese Buddhist priest, Inoue Enryo, once said: “Russia is not only the enemy of our country, it is also the enemy of the Buddha. In Russia state and religion are one, and there is no religious freedom. Thus, religion is used as a chain in order to unify the [Russian] people. Therefore, when they [the Russian people] see Orientals, they are told that the latter are the bitter enemies of their religion [Christianity]. It is for this reason that on the one hand this is a war of politics and on the other hand it is a war of religion. …If theirs is the army of God, then ours is the army of the Buddha. It is in this way that Russia is not only the enemy of our country but of the Buddha as well.”
Wars begin with desires for land, but these are merely justifications for war for the cause of religion. The world is about to erupt into a global war, and it will end with Christendom as the victor, with the Holy Cross above the diabolical images of the false religions. This is why I spent almost six years working on a book about the reality of Christian warfare and militancy. Because I, tired of the soft and flabby religion of the dry church industry, wanted to show people the truth of the Christian Faith, that it is here not to compromise, but to win the war against evil. This book is entitled, Christianity Is At War, because the Faith truly is warfare, a continual warfare against the forces of darkness. This book is the most exhaustive study ever done on the subject of Christian militancy. After reading it, you will never see the world, nor Christianity, the same again, and that is a promise.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE BOOK, CHRISTIANITY IS AT WAR, AND PREPARE YOUR SOUL FOR THE GREAT WORLD WAR THAT IS TO COME.
(1) See James Bradley, Flyboys, ch. 3, p. 31
(2) H.W. Brands, T.R.: The Last Romantic, ch. 20, p. 540
(3) See Bradley, Flyboys, ch. 3, p. 31
(4) See Chang, Rape of Nanking, p. 21
(5) See Chang, Rape of Nanking, p. 22
(6) See Chang, Rape of Nanking, p. 23
(7) See Chang, Rape of Nanking, p. 23
(8) See Chang, Rape of Nanking, pp. 23-24
(9) See Tooze, The Deluge, ch. 13, p. 259
(10) Tooze, The Deluge, ch. 17, p. 323
(11) Tooze, The Deluge, ch. 17, pp. 326-327
(12) See Tooze, The Deluge, ch. 17, p. 329
(13) See Tooze, The Deluge, ch. 17, pp. 329-330
(14) See Tooze, The Deluge, ch. 21, p. 397
(15) Tooze, The Deluge, ch. 21, p. 399