Japan and the International Society of 1904:

  • 2013

Japan and the International Society of 1904:

Assessing the Rise of a Great Power
Author:
James Hartman
Abstract:

This paper considers the assessment of Japanese power as a cause of the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese War. The rise in Japan’s power was underestimated by most in the international community. The paper reviews some of the sources of power and the reasons Japanese power was difficult to assess. As measured by the Correlates of War, the Japanese capability for fielding large, modern forces should have been greatly inferior to those of Russia or other European powers. The sources used by Western states to assess Japanese power, such as military attaches, often lacked an appreciation for Japanese culture or capabilities. Because Japan's true strength was not realized, Japan was not an acknowledged power and was given no part to play in the diplomatic negotiations that had maintained peace in 19th-century Europe. The failure of the international community to recognize and properly account for the rise in Japanese power helped lead to the Russo-Japanese War.