this day in 1915, Japan issued its
‘Twenty-One Demands’ to the Republic of China. This came during a period
of Japanese expansion in East Asia, as the country aimed to increase
its power in the region. Japan’s imperial desires followed the nation’s
forcible opening to international trade by American
Commodore Perry in the mid-nineteeth-century, ending hundreds years of
the sakoku policy of isolation. The demands were drafted under Prime Minister Ōkuma
Shigenobu and were presented to China’s General Yuan Shikai as an
ultimatum, threatening China with war if they failed to comply. They
included expanding Japan’s influence in southern Manchuria, the right of
extraterritoriality, disallowing China from giving any land to
countries other than Japan, and, lastly, the introduction of Japanese
advisers to the Chinese government to essentially manage the whole
economy. China objected to the last section and the Japanese
revised the demands, presenting them again to China, who accepted
the ultimatum in May 1915. Japan’s actions distanced the nation from
its allies in Britain and the United States, who opposed this
imperialist diplomacy. The Demands contributed to a growing anger
towards Japan among Chinese people, giving rise to an incipient
nationalism. At the Washington Conference in 1921-1922, Japan agreed to
withdraw troops from China and restore the nation’s sovereignty, thus
essentially nullifying the Twenty-One Demands.
Designed by Kumazo Hino and produced by Tomijiro Komuro in Japan. .32ACP 8-round removable box magazine, proprietary blow forward semi-automatic action. A weird early pistol design if there are any, the Hino 1908 was cocked by pulling the barrel forward - all the while praying to avoid blowing your palm off - which would load a round. Afterward pulling the trigger - and grip safety - will release the barrel which would slam the cartridge backward onto the firing pin, with predictable effects.
The Yamato manuevers to avoid aerial attacks, already on fire and listing heavily. Her speed dropped to ten knots when the order was finally given to abandon ship right as the fires reached the magazines and detonated. The resulting mushroom cloud was seen over a hundred miles away, and out of a crew of 3,332, only 168 survived.
Seventy-five years ago on 10 December 1941, three days after the Empire of Japan struck the United States Naval Station of Pearl Harbor, Japanese aircraft launched 49 torpedoes against two British warships in the South China Sea. At approximately 12:30 midday, the battlecruiser Repulse which had dodged 19 torpedoes so far, rolled over, within six minutes of three simultaneous hits.
At the same time the relatively new battleship Prince of Wales also took three torpedoes, leaving her in a dire situation. With a torpedo having already taken out two shafts earlier in the attack, she was now left with just one. Between this and somewhere north of 10,000 tonnes of seawater on-board, her speed was massively reduced. However, not yet slain her crew took up the fight with high level bombers as she clawed her way home. From that final wave of attackers, one lone 500lb bomb fell as the final nail. Slowly rolling over to port, she settled by the head and sank at 13:18.
Repulse and Prince of Wales were the first capital ships actively defending themselves at sea to be sunk by aircraft alone. Any doubts which remained after Pearl Harbor were killed that day - aircraft and aircraft carriers ruled supreme in naval combat. When a major British fleet returned to the Pacific three years later it revolved around six armoured fleet carriers, escorted by two sisters of Prince of Wales.
‘In all the war, I never received a more direct shock… As I turned over and twisted in bed the full horror of the news sank in upon me. There were no British or American ships in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific except the American survivors of Pearl Harbor, who were hastening back to California. Over all this vast expanse of waters Japan was supreme, and we everywhere were weak and naked.’ - Winston Churchill.
there is nothing progressive or anti-colonial about the Empire of Japan’s occupation of Asia. the Japanese invasion of Asia was itself a brilliant example of colonialism. in many ways, Nazi Germany was not just an ally but a mirror for what they were doing to parts of Asia they occupied. not exactly the same situation indeed, but there was a similar thread of how both countries felt aggrieved and victimised and this grew into a hideously racist form of militant ethnic nationalism.
i do not believe “POC” solidarity exists outside of the Western context, because oppressor and oppressed are often both “POC”. things like Chinese imperialism are longer and older than European imperialism. the very fact that Japan did what it did during WW2. there are entire systems of racism in Asia that predate the modern construct of whiteness and have little to do with white people or Europeans in general. glossing over hideous atrocities committed by Asian empires or any other non-European empires, just because they inadvertently helped to end colonial rule, amounts to centering Western race politics on the non-Western context. this is an inherently imperialistic lens.
let me be clear- from the standpoint of historical analysis, Japan helping to damage the European empires was absolutely instrumental to ending European colonial rule, among other factors. but it was not out of solidarity or desire to recognise our right to self-determination- we would just have traded one master for another if Japan hadn’t been defeated.
when you open a history textbook, “colonialism” and “imperialism” doesn’t say “Europeans Only”.