Reference the excellent review by Glen Buchanan, "Why Japan fought the White Races of Asia in WWII?" ... which underscores Colonel Tsuji's claim that Japan went to war to "emancipate" the oppressed peoples of Asia. Tsuji further claims that "... Singapore was indeed the hinge of fate for the peoples of Asia ... and as if by magic, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippine Islands one after another gained independence overnight." I wonder ... and am unconvinced that emancipation was the real reason. Perhaps one of the reasons, but surely not the sole, nor primary, reason.
A bit of a personal background, please. I am a Nisei, second-generation Japanese-American, born (1938)and raised in Hawaii. My parents were from Hiroshima and Kyoto and were puzzled and angered that their country of origin would attack America and throughout Southeast Asia. They asked, and I have too, just "why did Japan go to war"?
Tsuji writes that "war must have a morality and a reason which is understandable at home and abroad." (pg 11) Later, he offered the reason, "the emancipation of the oppressed peoples of Asia" (pg 13-14). This explanation does not fly for me in face of: 1) Japan's militarist past, including the aborted invasion of the Korean peninsula in the 15th century; 2) the 1937 full-scale invasion of China; and, the attack on Pearl Harbor, a legitimized Territorial entity of the United States (albeit, the British "takeover" of the Hawaiian Islands in late 1890's.)
Furthermore, to add to my confusion, Tsuji makes reference to Mr. Tojo's statement in the International Court of Justice, "the war activities of Japan were really unavoidable for self-defense"; and, Tsuji writes, " I, too, firmly believe that it was a war without preparation and a war which was forced upon us." I wonder ... why would a nation go to battle for the emancipation of the oppressed without "preparation" and then say that "the war was forced upon us".
So ... what would I conclude? I would not nor take offense to the conclusions of my friend, Glen Buchanan, who is much more knowledgeable regarding these matters, but I believe he gives much too much credence to the claim of emancipation. Rather, I would suggest that Japan was as much, if not more, concerned with the "anti-Japanese economic measures of Great Britain and the United States".
Admittedly, much of my thinking stem from my military background ... a geo-military/political basis for why nations make war against each other. I get the sense from reading Tsuji's book that he was motivated by altruism (an unselfish interest in or care for the welfare of others ... other yellow-skinned people, in this case), and translating that altruism to justify the Japanese military actions in China, etc ... and simply the desire for expansionism for whatever the reason ... power, ego, protectionism, etc. The latter has often been used to justify attacking Pearl Harbor (extending the "borders" of Japan as far out as possible to protect the homeland).
I am still "wondering" ... and have come to accept the inevitable; that theories abound depending on one's perspective borne of many factors (i.e., race, ethnicity, economic/social influences, experiences, training, readings, etc.
Colonel Tsuji's book is worth reading ... especially if you are interested in military strategy and tactics.
Signing off ... Tom Tamura, Colonel USAF (Ret.)