Baron Suematsu in Europe during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) His Battle with Yellow Peril
eBook (PDF), 239 Pages
A companion volume to 'Baron Kaneko and the Russo-Japanese War' (Lulu Press, 2009), this book relates the story of Baron Suematsu's one-man campaign in Europe using the spoken and written word against the dangerous bogey of Yellow Peril which fueled European paranoia about China and Japan. Kaneko and Suematsu had similar missions, though Kaneko who was sent to the United States was also tasked with persuading President Theodore Roosevelt to broker a peace settlement in due course, while Suematsu was more directly involved in the fight against Yellow Peril which originated in Europe, and with strengthening the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Kaneko was a lawyer with a knowledge of economics, while Suematsu was a historian with a literary bent who produced the first ever English translation of 'Genji Monogatari'. Both men were also politicians and close to the Meiji oligarch Ito Hirobumi. They were the two prongs of Japan's first ever public diplomacy initiative, and both succeeded to a... More > considerable degree.< Less
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Mar 5, 2013Translator's comments: Baron Kencho Suematsu (Suematsu Kencho in Japanese) is a little-known figure but quite an important one in the history of Anglo-Japanese relations. An early introducer of Japanese culture to a Western audience, he was also the first translator of 'Genji Monogatari'. This book helps to give some background about him and his upbringing, first in Kyushu then Tokyo and finally at Cambridge University. I felt it was important to translate this book in order to help make his name more widely known and to underline that there were some Japanese students at Cambridge University in the 19th century. (See my previous translation 'Japanese Students at Cambridge University in the Meiji Era, 1868-1912: Pioneers for the Modernization of Japan'.) I also wanted to make the story of his London-based campaign on behalf of Japan in Europe during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) better known to English readers. This is the centrepiece of Professor Masayoshi Matsumura's excellent... More > and highly evaluated book. His campaign was more literary and academic than the similar one conducted by Baron Kaneko who was based in New York City and given almost identical instructions. (Professor Matsumura's account of Kaneko's tour of the United States I have previously translated as 'Baron Kaneko and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05): A Study in the Public Diplomacy of Japan'.) We also learn in this book that the idea of an unofficial public diplomacy campaign giving Japan's reasons for war was first proposed by Suematsu himself in a letter he wrote to the elder statesmen Ito and Yamagata dated January 11, 1904. In fact he envisaged completing this 'sacred mission' (as he described it) singlehandedly, but the elders judged wisely that two men were needed for the work. Anyway Suematsu made sure to call on President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hay on his way from Japan to Europe. Taken together, these two books reveal a great deal about Japan's first efforts at public diplomacy in the modern era based mainly on Japanese Foreign Office archives. They should interest diplomatic historians and Russo-Japanese War experts as well as the general reader.< Less
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- Ian Ruxton (Standard Copyright License)
- January 31, 2013
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- 11.03 MB
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