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2022年5月19日 (木)

For what purpose does our country go to war?, by Akiko Yosano, 1918

Yosano Akiko Hyoronshu, 1985, Iwanami Bunko, pp. 192-5, "Why did you go to war?", source: Yokohama Boeki Shimpo, March 17, 1918.

 ※This article is an English translation by DeepL of our blog article "与謝野晶子「何故の出兵か」(1918年): 本に溺れたい".

 I regret to say that I believe a certain degree of military preservation is unavoidable. Just as it is necessary to have police to maintain domestic order, it is necessary for a nation to have a certain degree of military force to defend itself against international peace and trade interests.

This is by no means permanent, and will be preserved only irregularly as necessary until the day when the circumstances are such that the powers can simultaneously abolish their armaments. To a certain extent" means only that it does not go beyond the scope of "self-defense. If it goes beyond that, it will degenerate into armaments for militarism and aggression. I am afraid that Japan's armaments have long been exceeding this level.

 The above quotation is from a very short political commentary that Akiko Yosano contributed to a newspaper in 1918, the year that the Siberian invasion became a political issue. It is an essay in which Akiko's political sagacity, which is unrelated to mere emotional and ethical venting, is on full display. She concludes this outstanding essay as follows

 The Japanese invasion of Western Siberia would probably not result in a close encounter with the Germans, so it would not be a prolific killing spree. However, because of the insignificance of the expedition, the Russians and the Americans (and later the British and French) would be suspicious and jealous of Japan's territorial ambitions. Furthermore, if Japan is unable to withdraw its troops for several years and once again incurs huge foreign debts to pay for the war, and if Japan's domestic living difficulties increase dramatically over the postwar period, it will not be a measure of positive self-defense, but will instead result in the nation falling into a state of self-defeating crisis.
 The above is a very brief explanation due to the limitation of the number of pages, but for this reason, I am opposed to the deployment of troops to Western Siberia. (March 1918)

 We hope you will take a look at the following items in the Aozora Bunko (Internet Digital Resource).

For what purpose does our country go to war?, by Akiko Yosano (Japanese)

 I was encouraged by Akiko's "Power of Words". As with Soseki's essay, I am keenly aware of the need to reevaluate the intellectual potential of the Taisho period.

Note: This statement by Akiko was taught to me by the following article by Susumu Yamauchi. This is also an excellent essay in itself, and I would like to discuss it at another time.

Susumu Yamauchi, "The International Political Thought of Tokuzo Fukuda."

See also our article below.
Possibility of Taisho Era


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