Libmonster ID: U.S.-1411
Author(s) of the publication: K. KUSAHARA
Educational Institution \ Organization: Takuseku University

Nitobe Inzo has never been to Russia. However, there is no denying that he played a significant role in Japanese-Russian relations through his book Bushido. This book was written by Nitobe in English in California at the end of 1899 and published in Philadelphia the following year. Her translations into German, Czech, Polish, Norwegian, French, Hungarian, Russian, Italian, Spanish and other languages soon followed. It has become a favorite read for foreigners who want to get to know the real Japan.

The word "bushido " means" code of the samurai " (busi), but in a book written for foreign readers, Nitobe interprets it somewhat more broadly. Working on it, he seemed to answer the questions that foreigners actually addressed to him. When he was studying in Germany, a Belgian asked him: "There is no religious education in Japan, but how did you manage to instill moral standards in the Japanese so successfully?" American Mary, who became Nitobe's wife, was constantly interested in: "Why do the Japanese think this way and not otherwise? Why do they behave like this?"

Nitobe saw the answer to these questions in Bushido's ethical system. To Westerners who regarded all non-Christians as pagan savages, he made it clear that in Japan, as in the West, there is a developed culture of the individual with high views on ethics and morality. Explaining this, including through constant reference to the past of the Western world, is one of the main features of the book "Bushido".

In February 1904, Japan entered the battle for its existence and declared war on Russia "for the sake of peace and order in the East and security in Korea." For Japan, this war was an act of resistance to the imperialist expansion of tsarist Russia to the south. Japan won, but at the cost of enormous effort.

The casualties were great: out of more than a million mobilized, two hundred thousand died. The war cost the country 1.7 billion yen. As a result of the initiative of US President Theodore Roosevelt, Japanese-Russian negotiations began in Portsmouth. Their result was the signing of a peace treaty, which was signed by plenipotentiary delegates Sergey Witte and Komura Jutaro.

When a meeting of the highest dignitaries of the empire decided to declare war on Russia, the chairman of the Privy Council, Ito Hirobumi, invited the former Minister of Justice Kaneko Kantaro and suggested that he immediately go to the United States as a special envoy to President Roosevelt, who was Kaneko's classmate at Harvard University, adding that in the future this channel could be used at the conclusion of peace. Ito persuaded Kaneko, saying, " If there is a critical moment, I am ready to take up arms myself." This shows the depth of insight of an outstanding Meiji leader, who at the time of the outbreak of the war was already thinking about how to end it. I must say that then very few people thought about it.

Just as Kaneko was visiting Roosevelt at the White House, the president was reading Bushido from the then Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Takahira. Under the influence of this book, Roosevelt's sympathies for Japan and the Japanese grew greatly. As you know, during the negotiations in Portsmouth, he played a significant role in removing Southern Manchuria from the sphere of influence of Russia.

However, this is not to say that America helped Japan become a great East Asian power. It itself had extensive plans to infiltrate East Asia and, in an effort to remove it as much as possible from Russian influence, used Japan as a means to do so. Immediately after the end of the Russo-Japanese war, the American "railway king" Harriman made a proposal to transfer the South Manchurian Railway under joint US-Japanese management. Using Japan, the United States wanted to open the doors of Manchuria and enter Chinese markets. This was the true nature of Harriman's plans. Japan, represented by Prime Minister Katsura, initially accepted his proposal, but Foreign Minister Komura, who had returned from Portsmouth, strongly opposed it. After his explanation, the government rejected Harriman's plan, which significantly complicated Japanese-American relations in general.

As for the Russo-Japanese war, one thing is certain: the United States did not want Japan to lose. They hoped that Japan would stop Russia's expansion to the south. Who knows, if Roosevelt hadn't read Bushido in time, he probably wouldn't have been so sympathetic to Japan and wouldn't have come out so strongly in support of it. So the role that Nitobe played in this war, I will venture to compare with the role of the high command. As a result, the entire history of the world, not to mention Japanese-Russian relations, has undergone very significant changes.

Nitobe, as I have already noted, was not directly in contact with Russia, but attached great importance to its existence. He was an agronomist by training and was the first person in Japan to receive a doctorate in this specialty. This led him to work for the Japanese administration in Taiwan, which was headed by Goto Simpei. Nitobe directly supervised the modernization of agriculture.-

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va of Taiwan. Later, on Goto's recommendation, he became a professor in the Department of Colonial Politics at Kyoto and then Tokyo Imperial University, becoming one of the founders of research in this area in our country. Highly appreciative of Nitobe's knowledge and work, Goto, a physician by training, served as Taiwan's civil governor for eight years, working alongside Governor-General Kodama Gent-aro, then served as the first president of the South Manchurian Railway Company, and as Minister of Railways, Interior and Foreign Affairs in several governments. He is also one of the pioneers of Japanese colonial policy. It is no coincidence that Nitobe and Goto have played such a prominent role in the history of Takusyoku University.

As a specialist in colonial politics, Nitobe considered the goal of colonization to be "the best possible development and use of natural resources and the development of human culture through the mutual cooperation of peoples who are differently gifted by Heaven." Therefore, he considered it absolutely necessary in the process of colonization to "take into account the interests of the indigenous population" and pay special attention to their traditions and customs.

Japan laid the economic and social foundations for the future development of Taiwan, Korea, and Manchuria by building railways, highways, ports, and irrigation systems there. If we talk about the education system, then it was also aimed at gradually raising the colonies to the level of the metropolis.

Thus, Japan's colonial policy was different from that of the European powers, which was focused solely on obtaining economic benefits. Of course, Japan also had to take care of its own security, especially in the face of intense expansion of other countries in Asia - as was the case with Korea. "Korea cannot maintain order on its territory, and this poses a threat to the security of Asia as a whole," Nitobe wrote, first articulating what has become the conviction of Japan's leaders. This is a very important point to keep in mind when analyzing Japanese colonial policy.

The disruption of the peace in East Asia, which was vital for Japan's security, was due first to the expansion of Britain, then to the advance of Russia to the south. To maintain stability in the region, a strong political power was needed, independent of external pressure. Therefore, Japan's policy towards Asia has always been shaped by the state of its relations with Russia.

Later, when the United States criticized Japan's policy in Manchuria and joined forces with Chinese nationalists, Nitobe wrote: "When Americans talk about the problem of Manchuria, they think about how to eliminate Russia from there. However, it is quite obvious that Manchuria is a problem of bilateral Japanese-Russian relations." Nitobe's mind's eye undoubtedly saw a map of the world, a large part of which is occupied by huge Russia. I think this should always be kept in mind in foreign policy matters.

After the events described, the story took many sharp turns. Japan has become an enemy of the United States. The Soviet Union declared war on it and subjugated half of the Korean Peninsula. With Soviet support, Mao Zedong defeated Chiang Kai-shek, aided by the United States, and established Communist rule over all of China. As a result, American policy in East Asia changed radically after the war.


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