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Makers of Modern World Subscription: Prince Saionji: Japan: Japan - Makers of the Modern World [Hardcover]

Jonathan Clements , Alan Sharp
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Jan 2009 Makers of the Modern World
Prince Saionji Kinmochi (1849-1940). The Japanese delegation at the Paris Peace Conference did not have the Japanese prime or foreign ministers with them as they had only just been elected and had plenty to do back home. The delegation was instead led by Prince Saionji, the dashing ‘kingmaker’ of early 20th-century Japanese politics whose life spanned the arrival of Commodore Perry and his ‘black ships’, the Japanese civil war, the Meiji Restoration, the Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles, and the rise of Japanese militarism. Unlike many of the conservatives of his day, Saionji was a man with experience of international diplomacy and admiration for European culture. Brought up in the days of the last Shogun, he became an active supporter of Japan’s new ruling regime, after the Shogun was overthrown in a civil war, and a leading figure in the post-Restoration reform movement. In 1869 he founded the institution that would become the Ritsumeikan University – literally, ‘the place to establish one’s destiny’. He was sent to France for nine years to investigate Western technology and philosophy, and served for a decade as a Japanese ambassador in Europe. Returning to Japan, he served twice as Minister of Education and later became prime minister before resigning to become a revered elder statesman. Japan entered the First World War on the Allied side, seizing German possessions in China and the Pacific. In the closing days of the war, Japanese military forces participated in the Siberian Intervention – an American-led invasion of eastern Russia against Communist insurgents. At the Conference Saionji’s presence was initially regarded by the Japanese as a sign that Japan had become a fully-fledged member of the international community and accepted on an equal footing with the Western Powers. His delegation introduced a controversial proposal to legally enshrine racial equality as one of the tenets of the League of Nations. The Japanese were also keen to grab colonies of their own, and went head-to-head with the Chinese delegation over the fate of the former German possession of Shandong. When Shandong was ‘returned’ not to China but to its Japanese occupiers, riots broke out in China. Despite Saionji’s statesmanship and diplomacy, the Treaty of Versailles was regarded by many Japanese as a slap in the face. Saionji’s influence weakened in his last years, while his party was dissolved and amalgamated with others.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Haus Publishing (1 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905791682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905791682
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,380,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Clements is the author of many books on East Asian history, including biographies of emperors and empresses, statesmen and warriors, foreign visitors and outcast rebels. His works have been translated into over a dozen languages, including French, Spanish, Korean and Dutch, and he achieved a rare distinction when his book on the First Emperor of China was itself published in Chinese.

Product Description


'[A] beautifully-produced series...Two titles, both by Jonathan Clements, give a wealth of much-needed detail about the Chinese diplomat Wellington Koo and the Japanese statesman Prince Saijoni.' Nigel Jones, Literary Review, November 2008 (Nigel Jones Literary Review 2008-11-01)


‘What an intellectual feast Alan Sharp and his collaborators have served us with this comprehensive treatment of the peace conferences that ended the Great War! What makes this series an important contribution to the historical literature are the distinguished roster of contributors, the careful attention devoted to persons and events not only in Europe and America but also in the non-Western world, and the illuminating demonstration of how this critical turning point in modern world history shaped the rest of the twentieth century and beyond.’ William R. Keylor Professor of History and International Relations Director, International History Institute, Boston University ‘As a glance at the table of contents shows, there are always more and interesting things to be said on the perennially fascinating question of the Paris Peace Conference. Sadly, too, there is much that is still relevant for our own troubled world.’ Margaret Macmillan Warden, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, author of ‘Peacemakers’ (John Murray, 2001)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars insightful and judicious 30 May 2011
The Japanese participation in the Paris Peace Conference is among its less explored aspects in English-language histories. Jonathan Clements is well equipped to fill that gap with this lively portrait of the senior Japanese negotiator. Japanese interests in the settling of post-WW1 international arrangements were comparatively limited but, nevertheless, highly contentious: a bid for a racial non-discrimination clause to be inserted in the League Covenant and for recognition of its territorial claims in China. These are quite well dealt with by Clements, and his book can serve as a reliable introduction to the two issues. But the more valuable aspects of this volume are its biographical elements and backgrounding of Japanese social and political conditions at the time.
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