Japan and the U.S.
Notes from Japan, China and the Powers

For The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

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1900 to World War I: Japan as U.S. Ally and Rival

All [page numbers] reference China, Japan, and the Powers by Meribeth E. Cameron, Thomas H. D. Manhoney, and George E. McReynolds. The Ronald Press Company, New York. Copyright 1952

The British signed a treaty of alliance with Japan on January 30, 1902. The alliance lasted until 1922. [275]

The Russo-Japanese war was fought over Korea and Manchuria, the most north-eastern portion of China, in 1904-1905. The Japanese seized Korea and parts of Manchuria and destroyed the Russian fleet. President Theodore Roosevelt was asked to mediate. A conference at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, resulted in a treaty on September 5, 1905. Japan received certain rights in China, including leased territory, and was recognized as “paramount” in Korea. [276]

“All over the Far East, including China, Japan achieved respect and in some quarters was considered a natural leader and a model for what others might accomplish if only they had the will… her prestige increased due to her becoming the first non-Caucasian race in modern history to triumph in war over one of the recognized powers.” [277]

Mentions Root-Takahira Agreement of 1908 [277] [See page 343 for details]

In 1905 the Japanese government “obtained the reluctant consent” of the Koreans to control their foreign relations, and to supervise its government through a Resident-General. “The United States was the first [Power] to close its legation in Seoul and agree to deal through Japan.” This reflected the views of Theodore Roosevelt, but it was also “a direct consequence of the Taft-Katsura Memorandum of a few months earlier,” which already said the same. [279]

The Korean Emperor in 1907 sent a mission to the Hague Peace Conference to ask for independence, the they were refused recognition. The Emperor was forced to abdicate. A new Japan-Korea agreement made the Resident-General the effective ruler of Korea. Despite revolts by Korean soldiers, and the assassination of the first Resident General, a treaty annexing Korea to Japan was “promulgated” on August 29, 1910. [280]

The Russian advances in Manchuria and Korea caused the U.S. to back Japan in the Russo-Japanese War. Then “the emergence of Japan as a threat to the open door prompted a shift in Japanese-American relations which directed American energies against the new Japanese policy of exclusive rights [in China] and finally culminated in war in December, 1941.” [339]

The Taft-Katsura “agreed memorandum” of 1905 recognized the Japanese rule of Korea and the U.S. rule of the Philippines.[341]

Immigration policies of the U.S. also insulted the Japanese. They did not immigrate in large numbers until the 1890’s; in 1900 there were 24,236 in the U.S. They suffered discrimination similar to that of the Chinese. Japanese were segregated in San Francisco schools. The 1907-1908 “Gentlemen’s Agreement” had the Japanese government cease issuing passports to Japanese laborers heading to the U.S. Picture brides were allowed, but Woodrow Wilson put an end to their immigration in 1920. [341-342]

The Root-Takahira Agreement “pledged both countries to respect the status quo in the Pacific, to respect each other’s possessions in that are, to uphold the open door in China, and to support China’s independence and integrity.” [343]

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