Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact


SDHF Newsletter No.373 THE ROAD TO THE GREATER EAST ASIAN WAR Part 9: Chapter 3: The Russo-Japanese War-2

Nakamura Akira, Dokkyo University Professor Emeritus
(English Translation: Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact)
Part 9: Chapter 3: The Russo-Japanese War-2

American interest in the Pacific Ocean began in 1872, when it is was revealed that
Honolulu harbor (Peal Harbor) possessed great military value. Then America asked the
Hawaiian government to cede Pearl Harbor to the US, but the negotiations ended in
failure when vigorous opposition was expressed by the Hawaiian people. Nevertheless,
The US kept the pressure on Hawaii by means of Reciprocity Treaty of 1975, the
Americans gained the use of Pearl Harbor.
In March 1881 Kalakaua, the king of Hawaii, happened to visit Japan, one of the destinations on
an unofficial world tour. The King met Emperor Meiji.
King Kalakaua lamented the fact that in recent years the Polynesian population of Hawaii was
decreasing in number, while the number of Caucasians was on the rise. Moreover, the whites were
gaining more power in Hawaii as well. He was worried that the Hawaiian royal line would die out.
The king made the following request for Emperor Meiji: “I have no choice but to seek the help of a
powerful nation such as the Japanese empire. Hawaii is well suited to the cultivation of sugar cane. I
am certain that if we invite Japanese people to settle in Hawaii, they will assimilate easily. They would
be ideal for other reasons as well. With their guidance, industry will thrive, and a Japanese presence
will help prevent the Polynesian population from declining and the white race from taking over.
Moreover he proposed an Asian federation, Japan taking initiative..
He even proposed that his successor to be Kaiurani get married to Prince Yamashina Sadamaro.
However, considering the situation surrounding Japan at that time, it was too difficult
for Japan to challenge those ideas. So, Emperor Meiji sent his declining reply to the King
Kalakaua later. In 1893, Hawaii was annexed by the US.
In 1899 US Secretary of State John Hay sent a note (referred to as the First Open Door Note) to six nations: the UK, Germany, Russia, Japan, Italy, and France. It was a declaration, whose main points were: (1) European powers with concessions and leases in China should not interfere with treaty ports or other nations’ vested interests, and (2) no nation should receive unfavorable treatment with regard to tariffs and railroad charges in another nation’s sphere of interest.
However, American interpretations of the Open Door Policy expanded to complete
territorial and administrative integrity in all of China. It supplied grounds for Secretary
Henry Stimson’s “non-recognition” argument when the Manchurian Incident occurred in
1931,it became an excuse for US condemnation of Japan when the 2nd Sino-Japan War
broke out and it was incorporated into the America’s rigid insistence on respect for
principles during negotiations with US Secretary of State Cordell Hull in 1941. In other
words, the expanded policy became the greatest obstacle between Japan and America.

MOTEKI Hiromichi, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact