CFP: From “Asia’s Prussians“ to “Yellow Devils“: Images of the Japanese Army from the Meiji Restoration to the End of the Second World War
Prof. Dr. Frank Jacob (New York) and Prof. Dr. Sepp Linhart (Vienna)
The Meiji Restoration since 1868 changed Japan as a whole, including the Japanese Army, whose soldiers should resemble a modernized and strong nation state. Trained by French and later Prussian officers the armed forces of the Japanese Empire became emblematic for the progress the country went through. In the West, the Japanese soldiers were seen as an expression of Western superiority, especially when the forces of the island empire were victorious against China in 1894/95. Japan achieved a major goal a decade later, when the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and the victories during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904/05 emphasized Japan’s great power status. In this war Japan tried to present its soldiers as noble, gentlemen-like warriors, because they fought against a Western army for the first time. However, the image of the Japanese soldier was an ambivalent one. While military observers emphasized the abilities of the Asian combatants, those who feared the “yellow peril“ began to depict the Japanese soldiers as monkeys.
While the First World War, due to which Japan fought as an ally against Germany, further strengthened the positive image of the Japanese soldier, the events of the 1930s and 1940s would stimulate the image of the “violent yellow devil.“ Events like the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March or the treatment of Allied POWs in Japanese prison camps changed the former positive perspective tremendously. Japanese soldiers were accused to use violence without mercy against soldiers and civilians alike. For a volume on the perception of Japanese soldiers outside Japan, the two editors welcome proposals that deal with, but are not limited to the following major topics:
- Military and public images of the Japanese Army 1853-1945 in films and novels
- The image of Japanese military leaders abroad
- Experience reports and their perception by foreign readers
- Western newspapers and the image of the Japanese Army
- The Japanese Army in Korea
- The perception of Japan’s modern Wars (1868-1945)
- Japanese POW camps and the reports of imprisoned soldiers
- Chinese reports on Japanese cruelties (1931-1945)
Proposals (ca. 300 words) and a short CV should be sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org July 30, 2016. Final chapters, 7,000-10,000 words, using footnotes (Chicago Manual of Style) are due byNovember 15, 2016.
Frank Jacob, History Department, CUNY-QCC, 22205 56th Ave, Bayside, 11364 New York, USA