Sunday, September 26, 2021

good morning jacob


200 BC

Qin Shi Huang DYNASTY

1st Emperor of China


Contemporary with Hannibal

Carthaginian invader of Rome 



center of the universe

all culture is China

language, words, writing, thought ... 


mother to all human civilization 

all know this to be true 

even Japan 


663 CE

BATTLE  OF  Baekgang

Japan crosses swords with China

Japan's fleet overwhelmed, its ships destroyed,

its commander heard howling to the sky 

before disappearing beneath the waves 

amidst his unfortunate, despairing compatriots. 


Tang Emperor of China


Yamato Dynasty of Japan 


 The natural order of the universe remains 

in balance. 



Emperor Kublai Khan of China 

descendent of the great Mongolian leader

Genghis Khan, conqueror of all China,

sends his vast fleet to invade and subdue


A great typhoon falls upon Kublai Khan's ships,

the sea swallowing up his floundering vessels,

sending his drowned army to the greatest depth

of the ocean to provide food for nature's 

bottom dwellers.

Japan remains free through divine will.


Opium Wars

Where the Japanese are intrigued by the 

ingenious products of British industrialization

the Chinese are blasé and can't be bothered.

China's the center of the universe.  If they 

don't make it they don't need it.  Except

for the opium the British provide.  They can't

get enough.  Opium ravages Chinese society

and Britain is happy to oblige.

The Emperor recognizes the problem and 

declares the drug illegal.  One government 

official takes it upon himself to have a

British warehouse, filled with opium, 

burned to the ground.  This makes for a

perfect moment to have the English hammer

come down hard on the Emperor's hapless

military - obsolete and complacent.

The outcome will be a sweetheart deal 

given the British in return for peace.

China opens a further five ports to

foreign trade and cedes a barren island,

called Hong Kong, to Britain. 

Also, the opium stays. 




COMMODORE  Matthew Perry

In 1853, seven years before Lincoln became president, an

American fleet sailed brazenly into Tokyo bay.  Commodore

Matthew Perry  told the Japanese Emperor, on behalf of the US,

his kingdom was now open to the outside world.  Thus began

Japan's interest in western technology, western methods. 

This exposure to the west soon brought an end to 267 years

of medieval Shogunate rule.  People saw the benefit in what

the foreigners gave them - a better life through education, 

science and organization - putting knowledge to good

social use. 


Modern civilization requires industry which, in turn, requires

resources that are often not readily available.

Take Britain and Japan as a for instance.   People striving

despite a homeland resource poor.  What to do? 


 How do you get a needed resource when the owner says

no sale?  You tell them it's not really theirs and you take it

away from them.   It's called imperialism.  But it's nothing new. 

It's just throwing your weight around if you can

get away with it.  You can't let No stand in your way. 






Meiji Restoration


Welcome to the Modern World

The Emperor is once again Center to the Political World


A Constitution has been adopted.

There is an elected Parliament.

The nation is rapidly industrializing.

Roads, bridges, communication bring

     people together. 

Harbors constructed.  Schools open everywhere.

A professional bureaucracy keeps tabs

     on what matters.

People begin thinking about being on time. 

Clocks are everywhere.  Punctuality is cool. 






Japan wrests Korea from Chinese control.

War begins with surprise naval attack by Japan on Chinese fleet.


Boxer Rebellion

The Boxers was a movement to throw foreigners

 out of China, ridding their land of all western influence

 particularly those Christian missionaries who were seen

just about everywhere.   Sentiment soon rose to violent

rebellion levels, bringing in troops from Britain, France,

the U.S. and Japan, among others.  Together they routed

the Boxer army along with the Emperor's own forces who

were in league with the rebellion.  Rebels were rounded up

and summarily executed, often by death through 

standing strangulation. 


BATTLE OF  Tsushima

In 1905 the Russian Empire was embarrassed

by their military defeat in Manchuria to Japan

and their loss of Port Arthur, an important port

along the Chinese coast near Korea. 

In response, the Czar sent his Baltic Fleet 

over 18,000 miles to punish the upstart Japanese.

The voyage around the horn of Africa, across 

the Indian Ocean and through the South China Sea

took six months.  

Finally, on 27 May 1905 the two fleets met up

in the Tsushima Strait, midway between Honshu,

Japan and the southern tip of Korea.  Three years

prior to this engagement Japan had purchased

from Britain six state-of-the-art battleships designed

with this contest in mind.  Japan's greater speed

and superior gunnery - larger caliber shells traveling

farther - devastated the Russian fleet.

Word rapidly spread across the world of 

the great military victory of an Asiatic people 

over the powerful white European colonialists. 






Washington Naval Treaty

This whole treaty was political poison for the

Japanese politician.  The agreement, billed as a

disarmament treaty, insured Japan was the

inferior partner for the next ten years in this 

three-way accord.   It was all about ratios. 

For instance:  if Britain could build 5 battleships 

then America could also build 5 battleships

but Japan was limited to 3. 


This same 5-5-3 ratio held for any naval ship over

10,000 tons, having guns of 8 inch caliber or better. 

Britain and America would tell you they spread 

their navy around the globe.  Japan need only concern

themselves with their portion of the Pacific. 

From this perspective Japan actually had the superior

navy in their region of concern.

Japanese nationalists would have nothing of

this argument.  The agreement was an insult to

national pride and Japanese officials who had

signed off on this treaty were in fear

of their lives.  For good reason.


Marshal Chang  WARLORD

Russia's defeat at Port Arthur and Tsushima effectively

ended their control of Manchuria.  A railroad the Russians

had gone to great expense to build about Manchuria 

was now ceded to Japan.  Japanese administration 

along the rail line brought law and order to a sparsely 

populated and bandit-infested area. 

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Japanese and

Korean settlers swarmed into the area.  

Members of the Kwantung Army, Japan's military force

in Manchuria, took it upon themselves to begin a campaign

to take over Manchuria and make it a part of Japan.

They began their effort by first assassinating Manchuria's

reigning warlord, Marshal Chang - dynamiting his 

passing train. 





Puppet State of Japan

Japan's opportunity to turn a vast wilderness

into prosperity, the answer to widespread 

poverty at home.  Japan's great push to 

industrialize has led to overpopulation and

agitation among the growing number of

urban unemployed.   Here,  in Manchukuo,

are the resources necessary for Japan

to become a great nation.


One nation stands in their way.  The United States.

Specifically, the U.S. Navy. 




©  Tom Taylor


Sunday, September 19, 2021

good morning jack


gekokujo  -  insubordination


the redress of grievances through the use of

military force 


violence legitimized by tradition 





Meiji is the first Emperor of modern Japan.

The Emperor is no longer the Shogun's marionette. 

Without the Emperor there is no Japan. 


Shogun    - the de facto ruler of feudal Japan.

  The Emperor was a mere figurehead

  during Shogun rule. 





a very Western, cosmopolitan city

the Ginza district being both Broadway 

and Fifth Avenue ... 

romance flooded in neon light 

Geishas being whisked about

lanky sinews pulling rickshaws

Jinsaburo Mazaki 

Kodo-ha faction leader

Japanese essence is bushido
the Samurai way
not Western materialism, individualism - 
values that impoverish the Japanese people
through all manner of selfish corruption.

Tetsuzan Nagata


political opponent of General Mazaki 

General Nagata - leader of the Tosei-ha / Control faction

Controlling Manchuria is not enough. 

Japan must take all of China to forestall Soviet attack. 

 Views shared by War Ministry officials and officer elite

 including Hideki Tojo, Japan's wartime leader.


General Mazaki - proponent of Kodo-ha Imperial Way 

    military rival faction 

       exploits into China beyond Manchuria are folly

Japan's path to greatness lies elsewhere 


Saburo Aizawa

Lieutenant Colonel


kills General Tetsuzan Nagata


young Army officers rally to Aizawa's cause

public support of Aizawa encourages Army coup d'état

the Aizawa incident increased polarization within military

eventually a firing squad deals with Aizawa


Sadao Araki 


renowned for being outspoken

flamboyant mustache

prominent in 1932 insurrection

idol of reformists

2 - 26 incident  -  Army rebels demanded General Araki be

put in command of the Kwantung Army, the military force

keeping Manchuria a possession of Japan. 





Not rule.

"They are trying to pull a silk rope around my neck."

It is customary for the Emperor to remain silent

on most matters.

The murderous uprising by an Army unit

stationed in Tokyo 

has outraged Hirohito.  The Emperor

demands this rebellion be ended.

Imperial Japanese Army

26 February, 1936
coup d'état 

Purpose:     purge from government and the military leadership

    the factional rivals and ideological opponents of a

radical military faction known as Kodo-ha or the Imperial Way.

Kodo-ha promotes:

totalitarian government

militaristic values

aggressive, expansionist foreign policy 


The attempted coup would fail primarily because of divisions 

within the military itself and because of the Emperor's anger

directed toward the rebels.   Rebels were never able to

secure the Imperial Palace or dispose of the Prime Minister.

Not to mention the Army and Navy distrusting one another. 

 The Navy's admirals were well aware the Army officers 

attempting this government overthrow were also hunting

down retired admirals for assassination.





Keisuke Okada
Prime Minister

1935     Emperor asks Okada to replace the scandalized

 current Prime Minister.   Okada reluctantly 

 accepts.  Retirement is for him preferable to

the ongoing battles he wages with the nation's 



1936     26 February -  the 2 - 26 Incident

An Army coup d'état has targeted Okada and six other political

leaders for assassination.  Just the previous evening the

Prime Minister had held a banquet to celebrate his

party's victory at the polls.  Now he is wakened by the

sound of gunfire as his four man security detail are killed

in a hail of bullets.  Two maids hide Okada in a closet

then cover him in soiled laundry. 


Meanwhile his brother-in-law attempts to escape 

and get help but he is quickly discovered and executed. 

The rebel troops compare their dead captive's face with that

of a photo of Okada and decide they have killed

the Prime Minister, ending their murderous search.  

Still it would be another 24 hours before Okada could slip

undetected from his residence. 


 Minseito    - Prime Minister Okada's party

    their 1936 election triumph was a fascist setback


29 February, 1936

1,500 rebel troops surrounded near the Imperial Palace

22,000 Army and Navy units are in position to retake area 

message to enlisted men

from the Emperor's War Ministry

1.  It is still not too late, so return to your units.

2.  All those who resist will be shot as rebels.

3.  Your fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters are 

      all weeping because they will become traitors. 




Leaders of uprising executed.

19 face firing squad.

40 imprisoned.

Period of government by assassination comes to a close.

The once powerful Army faction Kodo-ha loses influence.




The military's influence increases to the point where a vote

 of no confidence by military leaders result in dissolution 

of current civilian administration.  This effectively gives

the military veto power over any government decision. 

Rivalry for power was between Army generals and 

Navy admirals as to who directed foreign policy -

each having rival priorities because of their stake in matters

determined by on land or by sea. 


The Navy's power ends near water's edge.  The Army

needs the Navy if it plans on getting to where it 

wants to go.  It's a marriage of necessity.   

Nothing more.  






©  Tom Taylor