Cultural Diplomacy in U.S.-Japanese Relations, 1919-1941 by J. Davidann

By J. Davidann

The seeds of the Pacific conflict are available scattered through the interwar interval. This research of unofficial international relations from 1919-1941 illuminates motives deeply rooted and sometimes neglected in explaining the trail to struggle: cultural perceptions on either side, the pivotal position of public opinion, and the deterioration of Japanese-American family on either the person and the cultural degrees.

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In a January article for the Japanese journal Taiyo that was reprinted in The Japanese Student, Shibusawa discussed the issue. One of the most regrettable things which has been pressing upon my mind even before the late war was the fact that Japan, in spite of her rapidly ascending position in the comity of the nations, is still treated on bases decidedly inferior to other powers . . The differences in race and religion has also contributed to this situation. Such a situation as this however, cannot be silently overlooked by Japan.

As Tsurumi noted, even though the term Oriental covered the geographical space from the Middle East to East Asia, the peoples included were in fact quite different from one another and should not be lumped together. To the notion that the Japanese were inscrutable because they were quiet and did not like debate, Tsurumi patiently explained that the basis for Japanese culture was harmony. He also suggested that the Japanese loved abstraction and were highly emotional but strove to control their emotions.

Putnam Weale is the pen name of Bertram Lennox Simpson, an Englishman who worked in the political section of the office of the president of China. He worked in China under Sir Robert Hart who was the head of the trade and currency exchange section of the Chinese government. P. Bland discussed Japanese political and social modernization in a negative light as well in a book China, Japan and Korea published by the large New York press Scribner. 29 Generally, political protest and labor unrest—widespread in Japan in the years immediately after World War I—were interpreted as signs of the growth of a democratic mentality.

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