Sunday, June 7, 1936

Book-Page Editorial

Behind The Face Of Japan

Mr. Cash Looks At What Is Revealed When
Mr. Close And Mr. Snow Raise The Veil.

By W. J. Cash

Site ed. note: This article together with the one a week before, "Time of the Scorn", on the horrors of Hitler's Germany gleaned from Cash's reading of a novel by André Malraux, are excellent examples of why Joseph L. Morrison chose the title for his biography of Cash in 1967. This article presciently probes the intent of Japan's militarist-imperialist mindset, using as its inspirational vehicles a series of three articles in The Saturday Evening Post by Edgar Snow and a 1934 book by journalist Upton Close. Pay close attention to what Cash says in the latter paragraphs and how much of it came true not only in the Second Sino-Japanese War as it proceeded through the latter Thirties and at the point of Pearl Harbor five and a half years after this article was written but also thereafter--though obviously not involving the Japanese after 1945--through the Sixties and early-Seventies with the United States involvement in Viet Nam to try to halt Soviet-backed Chinese Communist aggression in what was known in 1936 as French Indo-China. (That is not to imply of course that we, or the British before us, ever had any business in Asia, Southeast or the rest, from the Nineteenth century onward in any event--but that is another issue entirely, over which you will have to complain to several dead presidents, mostly Republican, and, at least in part, to Conservative Sir Bobbie Peel and mainly to Victoria for allowing a war over the smuggling of drugs by the British for Chinese tea--a practice, after all, not at all dissimilar to that being put forth today by United States tobacco royal jersey rustheads.)

As to the article below, pay very close attention to the paragraphs beginning, "That this is the central idea in the Japanese policy . . ." et seq., and the paragraphs before it in part quoting Japan's eventual architect of the Triple Alliance between Japan, Italy, and Germany, Yosuke Matsuoka, Japan's Foreign Minister by 1941. On June 22, 1941, the day Hitler invaded Russia, Matsuoka was quoted on the front page of The New York Times as follows:

"In the event of an attack on any of the parties to the triplice there arises the obligation for Japan to participate in the war. The Japanese Government would most carefully study the situation before it decided to enter, but the nation would never demean itself by resorting to subterfuge in order to evade its obligations. Even though Japan may have to stake her very existence on the issue, she would remain faithful to her obligations under the pact. . . Should the United States enter the war, for the sake of fidelity and the honor of the empire we will be forced to participate in it." [Emphasis supplied.]

Query who said anything to Mr. Matsuoka in June, 1941 about "subterfuge"?

Matsuoka went on to say that the purpose of the triplice was to keep the United States out of the war and promote "peace on the terms of the Triple Alliance and thereby pave the way for a new world order".

Cash eerily seems to have hit the nail on the head in June, 1936. So anyone need any monkey wrenches? Lions and tigers? Open doors? In China . . . or at La Reforma. Both? (For more on the notion which might arise to the cognoscienti, see "Caso de Homocidio or Felo de Se: The Death of W.J. Cash". But if you are a Know-Nothing, or have not yet been admitted to the Cash Lodge, skip it.)


THE headlines this last week will make more sense to the reader who will trouble to get down a book published so long ago as 1934. It is called "Challenge: Behind the Face of Japan," and was written by Upton Close, an American journalist (his real name is Josef Washington Hall) who has spent his life in the Orient and who knows what he is talking about as well as any white man living knows. And they will make more sense yet if the reader will add to the Close book the three brilliant articles which Edgar Snow has recently published in the Sat Eve Post.

What Mr. Close argues is that "the indomitable people of Japan are marching toward their 'place in the sun' as neither Imperial nor Nazi Germany succeeded in doing: and that the supreme thrust against western capitalism is not the Soviet system but western capitalism's too-apt pupil, the industrialized Asiatic, who outproduces, outsells, and outsails it.

"Though as late as 1882 Japan had only 78 miles of railways and a hundred-odd steel vessels, today she is building the world's most efficient mechanized industry, the world's premier merchant marine, and she is the only military power that ranks first class on both land and sea . . . While the production and trade of the industrial west has been drying up as if chopped off at the roots, Japan's production has expanded to embrace all articles of modern industry and Japan's trade has invaded every market of the world." To that Dr. Snow adds that she has gone so far that last year she actually sold more goods in India than the British and [that,] despite desperate efforts to head them off with tariffs and trade agreements, and that her merchant marine is 99 per cent in use (as Mr. Close says "her ships go loaded both ways") while Britain's is appallingly inactive.

MR. CLOSE goes on: "Japan has the formula for supreme success in a competitive world, the ability to undersell combined with a war-like spirit. And her national egotism is reaching the apex of intensity as that of liberal nations of the west is dropping to an all-time low.

"The Japanese believe they bear a Heaven-dictated commission, requiring the utmost sacrifice, but promising a final triumph . . . Their statesman Matsuoka . . . tells us: 'Our mission is to rescue the human race from destruction and lead it to the world of light . . .' In 1858 . . . Lord Hotta said: 'Rivalries will never cease among the world states till some one of extraordinary power shall assume hegemony. Our object shall always be the laying of a foundation for a hegemony over all nations . . . This policy is but the enforcement of the authority deputed to us by the Spirit of Heaven. The Nations of the world will then look up to our Emperor as the Great Ruler of all.'

"Nor are such statements for local consumption or said with a tongue in the cheek. They are absolutely sincere, and merely express what swells up in all Japanese hearts."


THAT this is the central idea in the Japanese policy--that she intends to snatch the hegemony of the world from Britain, France, and the United States and to make herself the master of the world's markets--is also born out by the analysis of Mr. Snow.

To that task, she comes, Mr. Close says, with a notion of national honor under which our idea of the inviolability of treaties is simply grotesque--a notion of honor of which the heart and center consists of the idea that it is best served by taking advantage of every possible weakness in one's opponent and by resort to subterfuge--which regards a gainful lie, a successful trick which benefits the fatherland, as the highest form of glory.

And with that viewpoint, she has labored patiently for years to make monkeys of us all--and today has succeeded magnificently. For half a century, she let England think that she was an obedient servant only too glad to be of humble service to the mighty lion. But today, the lion knows sadly--and all too sadly--better. And for fifty years, she politely acquiesced in the grandiose pronouncements of American statesmen from the corn belt anent "Open Doors" and the necessity of junking navies and avoiding armament races. And cannily went ahead with her plans.


SO THAT now--she prepares to gobble down all China, and thumbs her nose at us--asks us, British, French, and Americans, what we think we can do about it. For the sober truth is that we can do nothing. The sober truth, at least, is that we can do nothing with any certainty that it will succeed. England's navy? Believe it or not, the naval experts of the world are agreed that even if she could throw it wholly into the Pacific, it would stand every chance of being the loser in a fight with Japan's. And, of course, with Italy and Germany at her back, she cannot throw it wholly into the Pacific. Worse, the naval experts are far from sure that the combined fleets of Britain and America--with France added into the bargain, if you like--could destroy the Japanese fleet and dominate the Pacific. Any of them will tell you flatly that the little known bozo would wipe up with the whole lot of them, all our boasted gunnery to the contrary notwithstanding.

Will she stop with China, if she succeeds in taking it. There is every indication that she won't. We are getting out of the islands, not so much perhaps because of any grand idealism or even because we have found them unprofitable but because if we stay we will have to defend them with all their 11,000 miles of coastline--and we can't do it. Then there is France's Indo-China flat up against China proper--the richest plum in the East. There are the English island possessions, there are Malay States, the Straits settlements, Tibet, Burma--and India, to say nothing of Australia and New Guinea. Japan undoubtedly wants them all. Can Singapore block them? It seems highly unlikely.


THE UNITED STATES? Will it fight? Will it join hands with Britain--and probably with Russia--to make the desperate and dangerous attempt to halt the thing? Both Mr. Close and Mr. Snow point out that we have little material to lose even if we are thrown out of the East completely--that the cost of a war will be immeasurably greater than anything we can hope to gain. Yet, as Mr. Close says, the philosophy of the Japanese is so utterly contrary to ours--we would dislike the spectacle of the rise of a Japanese hegemony even in the East, the destruction of Western dominance in the world so intensely, that it is very likely that we shall end by fighting. The Japs themselves have no doubt of it.

Mr. Snow offers one hope that we may yet get out of this clash between East and West. It is this--that the Chinese people themselves are getting desperately mad, and may yet force the hands of their rulers who have been secretly selling out to the Japanese--may yet answer war with war. And in that case, thinks Mr. Snow, the Japanese will break their own necks, for a nation so small as Japan cannot hope to conquer 450,000,000 people seriously engaging in guerrilla combat and economic boycott. Moreover, in such a contingency, Russia would be almost certain to take opportunity to strike Japan from behind and rid herself of that menace conveniently.

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