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General Katsura Taro and the Japanese Empire in East Asia, 1874-1913

Lone, Stewart

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General Katsura Tarö was a key figure in the development of Japan’s first national army, acted as colonial governor-general in Taiwan, developed what is now Takushoku University as a school for Japanese overseas administrators and businessmen, and, as prime minister for most of the period 1901-1913, took his country to alliance with Britain, war with Russia, and finally annexation of Korea. He was a political general who made the transition to full statesman. Ironically, however, on the...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorLone, Stewart
dc.date.accessioned2017-02-06T22:37:19Z
dc.date.available2017-02-06T22:37:19Z
dc.date.copyright1989
dc.identifier.otherb1752637
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/112113
dc.description.abstractGeneral Katsura Tarö was a key figure in the development of Japan’s first national army, acted as colonial governor-general in Taiwan, developed what is now Takushoku University as a school for Japanese overseas administrators and businessmen, and, as prime minister for most of the period 1901-1913, took his country to alliance with Britain, war with Russia, and finally annexation of Korea. He was a political general who made the transition to full statesman. Ironically, however, on the point of introducing his own political party, he was crippled by the public’s intolerance of continuing military intrusion in Japanese politics. This thesis borrows Katsura’s life in order to investigate the relationship between Japan’s army, society, and empire in a period of extremely rapid change. The focus is on Japan’s overseas expansion, viewed a a kind of "social imperialism"; that is, that the creation of a conscript army was intended to regiment the people and prevent disorder, and that the employment of this army in overseas expansion was further designed to maintain domestic economic progress and divert outwards potentially disruptive social tensions. It is argued, however, that the inherent weaknesses of imperialism, involving expanded military force to defend overseas interests, heated competition between the army and navy for limited budgetary resources, and rising international discord, ultimately exacerbated the domestic pressures such expansion was intended to assuage, and that Katsura was unusual among army leaders in sufficiently perceiving this concertina relationship to adopt a revised approach to foreign policy. He came to emphasise economic development of overseas possessions over and above the military factor, and adopted a British-style business attitude towards imperialism. This is evident in his establishment of the Oriental Development Company in Korea, his willingness to consider joint American-Japanese development in Manchuria, his frequent rejection of inflationary army expansion after 1905, and his assumption of the office of finance minister in his own second cabinet (1908-1911). This study examines Japan’s military and foreign policies in the Meiji period, giving particular attention to China, Korea and Taiwan. It investigates the position of the army within Meiji society, and the changing relationship between the army and nascent political parties after the introduction of constitutional government in 1890. It also charts the rivalry between the Japanese army and navy, and within the army itself. It suggests, in conclusion, that Katsura Tarö was something of the "adaptable general" posited, but not realised, by Clausewitz, a general capable of balancing military and political requirements. However, this balance was ultimately impossible given the extraordinary stresses, nationally and internationally, of the late imperial age, and a viable policy of "economics first" had to wait on Japan’s utter military defeat in 1945.
dc.format.extent243 p
dc.language.isoen
dc.subject.lcshKatsura, Tar{u014D}, 1847-1913
dc.subject.lcshJapan History Meiji period, 1868-1912
dc.titleGeneral Katsura Taro and the Japanese Empire in East Asia, 1874-1913
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
dcterms.valid1989
local.description.notesThis thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued1989-11
dc.date.updated2017-02-03T00:06:04Z
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