Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact


SDHF Newsletter No. 382 The Road to the Greater East Asian War Part 13, Chapter 3 The Russo-Japanese War -6

Nakamura Akira, Dokkyo University Professor Emeritus
(English Translation: Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact)
Part 13, Chapter 3: The Russo-Japanese War-6
Consequential effects of the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War were the confidence and hope it provided to the people of Asian and to oppressed people in other parts of the world, and the encouragement it gave to independence movements.
Asia was plagued for years, for centuries even, since the Western world discovered it, by Western encroachment, and became the victim of exploitation and subjugation by the white race. Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the nations of the Asia-Pacific region suffered the fate of either being colonized by Western powers or losing portions of their territory to Western usurpation. The one exception to this rule was Japan.
The Russo-Japanese War was a conflict in which people of color defeated the white race, and a constitutional state defeated a despotic one.
An Englishman travelling in India made the following observation: “Excitement spread through all of India. Even in remote villages Indians sat in circles, or at night gathered around a hookah to talk about the Japanese victory.”
But the most shocked of all were the Chinese. Since the 1st Sino-Japanese War, the number of Chinese exchange students in Japan had steadily increased, but after the Russo-Japanese War it ballooned. In 1906, the year after the war ended, there were 15,000 Chinese exchange students in Tokyo.
After China’s defeat in the 1st Sino-Japanese War, Chinese intellectuals were at a loss to understand how Japan had become so powerful. But after the Russo-Japanese War, Chinese students were able to come into direct contact with Japanese society, they began to understand the path of Japanese history by learning how Japan had overcome foreign pressure by initiating the Meiji Renovation, and made a giant leap to modern-nation status by establishing a constitutional monarchy and adopting a slogan: Revere the Emperor, expel the Barbarians!
Encouraged by like-minded Chinese in Tokyo, Sun Yat-sen returned to Japan from London in July 1905, a time when Asia was enveloped in gratitude and excitement because of the decisive Japanese victory. In August 1905, the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance was born. Japan became the center of the Chinese revolutionary movement.
Zhou Zuoren, younger brother of the distinguished writer Lu Xun, later reminisced about how the Japanese victory inspired him.
“The first time I went to Tokyo was in 1906, the year after Japan won the Russo-Japanese War. … I was greatly impressed by two Japanese achievements of that era: the Meiji Renovation and the Russo-Japanese War. At that time Chinese intellectuals were painfully aware of the crisis that confronted our country. They were struggling desperately to think of a way to protect China from Western encroachment. When they learned that the Meiji Renovation had been a success and that the Japanese had discovered a path to strengthening their nation through widespread reforms, they were greatly encouraged. When Japan defeated Russia, they were even more heartened, realizing it might just be possible to find a way to preserve Asian integrity and resist the Western powers.”
MOTEKI Hiromichi, Chairman
Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact