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Sun Yat-sen and the Japanese: 1914–16

  • Albert A. Altman (a1) and Harold Z. Schiffrin (a1)

The First World War changed the pattern of international relations in East Asia. What had previously been another arena for the European power struggle became the cockpit for two regional forces, Japanese expansionism and incipient Chinese nationalism. The confrontation between the two, which was to last for a quarter of a century, began as a most unequal contest. Great power rivalry had enabled China to balance off her enemies and to maintain her status as a sovereign entity. But with Europe distracted, China was helpless, and Japan had a unique opportunity to pursue an independent expansionist policy. Instead of cooperating with England and the other powers in order to get a fair share of the China spoils, after 1914 Japan could make her bid for the grand prize, exclusive access to China's resources. Thus the European powers’ pre-occupation with mutual slaughter exposed China to extreme danger, greater than that which she had faced during the heyday of classical imperialism.1 But Japan was not alone in welcoming the European retreat. Japan’s opportunity was also Sun Yat-sen's opportunity.

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1 Hudson, G. F., The Far East in World Politics (Oxford, 1937), pp. 172–6.

2 Ch'en, Jerome, Yuan Shih-k'ai (Stanford, 1961), pp. 166–77.

3 Yu, George T., Party Politics in Republican China (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1966), pp. 117–32.

4 Hsüeh, Chün-tu, Huang Hsing and the Chinese Revolution (Stanford, 1961), pp. 160, 167–8.

5 Jansen, Marius B., The Japanese and Sun Yat-sen (Cambridge, Mass., 1954), pp. 158–9; and Yüeh-lun, Sung, Tsung-li tsai Jih-pen chih ko-ming huo-tung [Sun Yat-sen's Revolutionary Activities in Japan] (Taipei, 1953), pp. 54–5. According to Sung, Akiyama Teisuke, who introduced Sun to Katsura, wanted to break Sun's ties with Inukai and Toyama, who were among Katsura's political enemies.

6 Kuo-fu nien-p'u [Chronological Biography of Sun Yat-sen] (Rev. ed., Taipei, 1969), I, 496.

7 Sun's speech to Chinese students in Tokyo on 23 February 1913, in Kuo-fu ch'üan-chi [Collected Works of Sun Yat-sen] (abbreviated hereafter as KFCC) (Taipei, 1957), III, 119–20.

8 From Sun's speech in Nagasaki on 21 March 1913; quoted in Kuofu nien-p'u, I, 503.

9 Gowen, Herbert H. and Hall, Josef W., An Outline History of China (New York, 1929), p. 369; and Jansen, Sun Yat-sen, p. 169.

13 Jansen, , Sun Yat-sen, pp. 188–9.

11 Hsüeh, Huang Hsing, p. 177; and Yu, Party Politics, pp. 137–8.

12 Yu, , Party Politics, p. 123.

13 Jansen, , Sun Yat-sen, pp. 192–3.

14 Reinsch, Paul S., An American Diplomat in China (New York, 1922), p. 130. See also San-shui Liang Yen-sun hsien-sheng nien-p'u [Chronological Biography of Liang Shih-i] (Reprinted, Taipei, 1962), I, 225; and Jansen, Sun Yat-sen, p. 189.

15 Morrison Papers (The Mitchell Library, Sydney), Item 136. Kung's letter is dated 3 April 1915. We are grateful to Professor Ernest P. Young for sending us a copy of the letter.

16 SeeJansen, , Sun Yat-sen, p. 191; and Chow Tse-tsung, The May Fourth Movement (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), p.23.

17 Sun's letter to Teng Tse-ju, 1 September 1914, in KFCC, V, 178.

18 See Manifesto, Ko-ming-tang, 1 09 1914, in Kuo-fu nien p'u, I, 559; and KFCC, V, 182, 205.

19 KFCC, V, 211.

21 Chien-nung, Li, The Political History of China, 1840–1928. Translated and edited by Teng, Ssu-yu and Ingalls, Jeremy (Princeton, 1956), p. 326.

22 Ibid., and Kuo-fu nien-p'u, I, 612–14.

23 Li, , Political History, pp. 327–9.

24 Jansen, , Sun Yat-sen, p. 194.

25 Chronological biography of Liang Shih-i, I, 221.

26 LaFargue, Thomas E., China and the World War (Stanford, 1937), pp. 83–4.

27 Chi, Madeleine, China Diplomacy, 1914–1918 (Harvard East Asian Monographs, No. 31, 1970), p. 76.

28 Griswold, A. Whitney, The Far Eastern Policy of the United States (New York, 1938), p. 198.

29 The British and the Russians reluctantly joined the Japanese on this occasion. France and Italy followed suit a few days later. See Yim, Kwanha, ‘Yuan Shih-k'ai and the Japanese’, Journal of Asian Studies, XXIV, (11, 1964), pp. 65–6. However, as early as August, Japan let Britain know of her reservations concerning the monarchy. See Dōbunkai, Tōa (ed.), Taishi Kaikoroku [Memoirs of Relations with China] (Reprinted, Tokyo, 1968), I, 762; and Chi, China Diplomacy, p. 65.

30 Jansen, , Sun Yat-sen, pp. 186–7, 194.

31 Yim, , ‘Yuan Shih-k'ai’, pp. 68–70.

32 KFCC, IV, 237.

33 Yim, , ‘Yuan Shih-k'ai’, p. 70.

35 Ch'en, , Yuan Shih-k'ai, p. 225.

36 On Kuhara, see among others Morris, Ivan I., Nationalism and the Right Wing in Japan (Oxford, 1960), pp. 444, 76, n. 4; Allen, G. C., A Short Economic History of Modern Japan (London, 1946), p. 75;Tanin, O. and Yohan, E., Militarism and Fascism in Japan (London, 1934), pp. 51, 257, 269, 274, 279, 294;Shillony, Ben-Ami, ‘The February 26 Affair: Politics of a Military Insurrection’, in Wilson, George M. (ed.), Crisis Politics in Prewar Japan (Tokyo, 1970), p. 32;Scalapino, Robert A., Democracy and the Party Movement in Pre-war Japan (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1953), pp. 238, 287–8, 368, 379;Morley, James W., The Japanese Thrust into Siberia, 1918 (New York, 1957), pp. 98–9;Nihon Kindaishi Jiten [Encyclopedia of Modern Japanese History] (Tokyo, 1958), p. 135;Japan Biographical Encyclopaedia and Who's Who, 1964–1965 (Third ed., Tokyo, n.d.), p. 2254.

37 H. Z. Schiffrin's interview with Mr Kuhara in Tokyo, 5 December 1963. The first loan is also recorded in Japanese Foreign Ministry (ed.), Nihon Gaikō Nenpyō narabi ni Shuyō Bunsho, 1840–1945 [A Chronology and Major Documents of Japanese Foreign Relations, 1840–1945] (Reprinted, Tokyo, 1965), I, p. 210. See also Shōzō, Fujii, ‘Dai ichiji taisenchū Son Bun to Nihon’ [Sun Yat-sen and Japan During World War I], Rekishi Kyōiku, VIII, No. 2 (1960), 31.

38 Interview with Kuhara.

39 This and other receipts in Kuhara's possession were seen by H. Z. Schifflrin.

40 Fu-luan, Huang, Hua-ch'iao yü Chung-kuo ko-ming [The Overseas Chinese and the Chinese Revolution] (Hong Kong, 1954), p. 216.

41 Yim, , ‘Yuan Shih-k'ai’, pp. 70–1. The text of the cabinet decision appears in Nihon Gaikō Nenpyō, I, 418–19. Implementation was coordinated by Tanaka and Koike Chōzō, chief of the Foreign Ministry's Political Affairs Bureau, 1913–16. Koike, a kobun of Katō Takaaki, whom he had served as private secretary, had considerable experience in China affairs. Thes Kokuryōkai history praises him for his ‘hard line’ on China. He had been Consul General in Mukden in 1908–11, and had drafted the text of the Twenty-one Demands. He became head of the Political Affairs Bureau when Katō, who had just received the Foreign Affairs portfolio in the ōkuma Cabinet, transferred him from London to Tokyo. In 1916, he left the Foreign Ministry, and became a director of the Kuhara interests. See Kokuryūkai, , (ed.), Tōa Senkaku Shishi Kiden [East Asian Ronin Pioneers: A History and Biographies] (Tokyo, 19331936), III, 546–7; and Morley, , Japanese Thrust, p. 13.

42 Receipt in Mr Kuhara's possession.

43 Nihon Gaikō Nenpyō, I, 211.

44 Tetsuichi, Takakura, Tanaka Gi'ichi Denki [Biography of Tanaka Gi'ichi] (Tokyo, 1958), I, 634;Kiyoshi, Inoue (ed.), Taishōki no seiji to shakai [Politics and Society in the Taishō Period] (Tokyo, 1969), p. 378, n. 1. Conflicting rumours circulated in Tokyo concerning the covert aid being extended to the anti-Yuan Chinese. Thus Hara Satoshi made a diary entry for 13 March stating that he had heard that the Bank of Taiwan had been secretly instructed to lend five hundred thousand yen to the Revolutionary Party (Keiichirō, Hara (ed.), Hara Satoshi Nikki, (Tokyo, 19501952), VI, 387). On 4 April he wrote that Miura Gōrō had told him that ōkura, Kuhara and Yasukawa Keiichirō were also to lend funds to the revolutionaries (Ibid., VI, 397). According to the Kokuryūkai history, the sum of two million yen was made available to the Manchu independence movement. See Jansen, , Sun Yat-sen, pp. 196, 262, n. 59.

45 Takakura, , Tanaka, I, 629, 633.

46 Ibid.., I, 633–4; Yukio, Kobayashi, ‘Teikokushugi to minponshugi’ [Imperialism and democracy] in Iwanami Kōza Nihon Rekishi [Iwanami Lectures on Japanese History] (1963), (Modern period, vol. II), p. 74.

47 A Japanese officer, and former teacher of the rebel general, Ts'ai O, joined the insurgents in Yünnan in January. In March the Japanese established a consulate there. See Chi, , China Diplomacy, p. 80. On 3 March 1916, Hara recorded in his diary that Tanaka had informed him that the Yünnan rebels were low in funds, weapons and ammunition, and that it appeared that they might be wiped out in a week. See Hara Nikki, VI, 383.

48 Takakura, , Tanaka, I, 630, 634.

49 Letter to Hu Wei-hsün, 10 April 1916 in KFCC, V, 225.

50 Telegram to Shanghai, 26 March 1916, in ibid., IV, 243.

51 Letter to Teng Tse-ju, 10 April 1916, in ibid., V, 226.

52 Telegram to Chü Cheng, 1 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 247; Telegram to Shanghai, 7 April 1916, ibid., IV, 249.

53 On Yamada's role, see Junsaburō, Yamada, ‘Shina kakumei to Son Bun no Chūnichi remmei’ [The Chinese Revolution and Sun Yat-sen's Sino-Japanese Alliance], in Ryūichi, Kaji (ed.), Dai ichi nin sha no kotoba [Words of the Number-one Men] (Tokyo, 1961), p. 274. Both he and Kayano are mentioned in Sun's telegrams to Shanghai and Tsingtao during this period. These Japanese friends were especially important at a time when influential Kuomintang leaders rejected Sun's leadership. In March 1916, for example, Sun suggested using Kayano to ‘remove’ Po Wen-wei in Tsingtao if the latter refused to obey him. See letter to Chü Cheng in KFCC, V, 223–4.

54 Telegram to Swatow, 4 April 1916, in KFCC, IV, 248; telegram to Hankow, 14 April, in ibid., 252.

55 See, for example, ibid., 239, 241, 242, 246, 249, 253.

56 Kuo-fu nien-p'u, I, 607, 611.

57 Telegram to Chü Cheng, 15 April 1916, in KFCC, IV, 253.

58 Letter to Chü Cheng, 4 April 1916, in ibid., V, 224; telegram to Swatow, 7 April, in ibid.., IV, 248.

59 Letter to Teng Tse-ju, 10 April 1916, in ibid., V, 227.

60 Telegrams to San Francisco, 21 March and 9 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 240–1, 250.

61 Telegram to Chü Cheng, 29 March 1916, in ibid., IV, 245.

62 Telegram to Ch'en Ch'i-mei, 11 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 250.

63 Telegrams to Ch'en Ch'i-mei, 25 March and 11 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 242–3, 250.

64 Telegram to Chü Cheng, 20 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 255.

65 Additional telegram to Chü in ibid.

66 Telegram to Shanghai, 24 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 257.

67 Telegram to Shanghai, 13 April, in ibid., IV, 251–2.

68 Telegram to Chü Cheng, 22 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 256.

69 Telegram to Shanghai, 21 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 255.

70 Telegram to Shanghai, 26 April 1916, in ibid., IV, 258. Aoki's aide, Lieutenant Colonel Matsui, served as a bodyguard for Sun when the latter arrived in Shanghai. (Twenty years later Matsui commanded Japan's Shanghai Expeditionary Army in the Sino-Japanese War.) See Tōa Senkaku, II, 611; and Johnson, Chalmers A., Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power (Stanford, 1962), p. 35.

71 Telegram to Chü Cheng, 30 April, in ibid.

72 Ibid., IV, 16–19. While in Shanghai, Sun stayed at the home of Murai Keijirō, head of the local office of the South Manchurian Railway Company. See Yamada, ‘Shina Kakumei’, p. 274.

73 Ibid., IV, 259–60.

74 Ibid., 259.

75 Kuo-fu nien-p'u, II, 639–40.

76 Ibid., 642–3.

77 Yim, , ‘Yuan Shih-k'ai’, pp. 72–3.

78 Ch'en, , Yuan Shih-k'ai, pp. 169, 197–9; and Li, , Political History, pp. 320–1.

79 See Levenson, Joseph R., ‘The Suggestiveness of Vestiges: Confucianism and Monarchy at the Last’, in Nivison, David S. and Wright, Arthur F., (eds.), Confucianism in Action (Stanford, 1959), pp. 244–67.

80 See Chow, , May Fourth Movement, pp. 20–5.

81 Fass, J., ‘Sun Yat-sen and the World War I’, Archiv Orientalni, No. 35 (1967), pp. 111–20.

82 See Brandt, Conrad, Stalin's Failure in China, 1924–27 (Cambridge, Mass; 1958), and especially Chapter II.

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Modern Asian Studies
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