Japan’s Undeclared War: International Society and Japan’s 1930s China Policy

Japan’s Undeclared War: International Society and Japan’s 1930s China Policy

Fumi Yoshii - Associate Professor of Japanese History, National Museum of Japanese History

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Room 102, Rosenkranz Hall See map
115 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511

In the 1930s, Japan and China experienced several armed conflicts, resulting in the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937-41. These armed conflicts developed in a unique way: in spite of their severity, neither Japan nor China officially declared war until 1941. This put Japan, particularly the status of its occupation policy in China, in an ambiguous legal position. Since a war had not been declared, Japan did not have the legitimacy to occupy China. Many British and American residents in China were aware of this ambiguity and cast doubts on Japanese local governance, but they could not make their mother countries condemn Japan effectively. Why wasn’t a war declared, and what was the impact of this non-declaration?  This talk will discuss these issues through an analysis of Japan’s China policy in the 1930s and the reaction of international society.

Fumi Yoshii is an associate professor at National Museum of Japanese History. She received her BA, MA and PhD from the University of Tokyo. She specializes in modern Japanese history, especially focusing on diplomatic and imperial history. Her research interests include Sino-Japanese, Anglo-Japanese and U.S.-Japanese relations in the 1930s. Her current work focuses on the Japan’s policy toward Japanese-occupied regions in China and its influence on the British economic interests and Anglo-Japanese relations.