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Lecture: "World War I and East Asia"

Nov 24, 2017 04:30 pm to 06:00 pm


Prof. Sochi Naraoka (Faculty of Law, Kyoto University)


The First World War and Japan: from a new perspective

In the West the First World War has been regarded as starting point of the Modern Age. While the dominant narrative is that the War had little to do with East Asia, recent studies reveal that the War had a very significant impact on the region. How did the First World War spread to East Asia? What impact did the War have on international relations in the area? Based on recent historiography, this lecture examines the East Asian dimensions of the War, which have been neglected until recently.
Firstly, this lecture analyzes the process of Japan’s entry into the War. It also examines the subsequent Japanese expansion into the Chinese continent; mainly focusing on the occupation of Qingdao, the Japanese presentation of the notorious Twenty-One Demands to China in 1915 and its part in the Siberian intervention from 1918.
Secondly, this lecture introduces what the Japanese in Europe did and witnessed at the outbreak of the War. There were around 600 Japanese living in Germany in August 1914. Upon Japan’s declaration of war against Germany, these people had to evacuate to other European countries. Nearly 570 succeeded in evacuating, but about 130 were interned in Germany for up to 3 months. This lecture mainly analyses their experiences.
Thirdly, Japanese Naval operations in Malta will be discussed. Japan sent an escort squadron consisting of one cruiser and twelve destroyers to the Mediterranean, in order to gain the Allied Power’s approval of the interests that Japan acquired in East Asia during the war. The operations of the Japanese Navy as “guardians of the Mediterranean” contributed to the Allied victory. This lecture analyses these operations and their effect on Japanese foreign policy and introducing memoirs and photographs recorded by the staff of the squadron.


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