Chapter 2 – Past – After the Russo-Japanese War


― Within a certain family in the past…
There was a flurry of articles about a peace treaty in all of the newspapers. A junior high school student, while drinking tea with his father at a veranda, opened one of them and struck a conversation.

“Dad. All sorts of distinguished people are apologizing to everyone… What’s happening? ”

The boy, obviously curious, asked his father about the apologetic proclamation that was recently published in the press.

“That’s… Aito, the explanation may be a little complicated, is that fine?”

The father looked into the boy’s, Aito’s, eyes while patting his head. His son nodded silently, urging the father to continue.

“Japan fought a war with Russia. The fight was over Korea and Manchuria.”

“Sure… I’ve heard that Russia was waging that kind of a war with Japan.”

“Yes. That’s right. Fortunately, Japan repelled Russia’s advances. Do you understand the situation up to this point?”

“Yup.”

“Then I’ll just sum up the past events quickly. We’ve been contesting each other’s possessions in the past, but Japan eventually repelled Russia. Therefore, it was natural for Japan to fight to keep that territory.”
“Because they were mutually desired and contested, and we were superior, that’s a reasonable expectation, right?”

“Certainly. Yet, the government has sold the territory that Japan worked so hard to get to other countries.”

“So that is why everyone in Japan is so mad!”

“And that is why the high-ranking government officials, the army, and the Imperial Family all came out to tell the public about the policy change.”

“So that’s the reason. Dad’s story is easy to understand!”

“There are, of course, people that cannot accept this development that came out to protest. Still, this will change nothing since the high-ranking government officials and the army, hitherto at odds about what to do, now have unanimously agreed to sell the territory.”

“Ehh… That’s unusual, they’ve been nothing but squabbling until now.”

“If you happen to get promoted into those circles, when you grow up, and somehow grasp the truth behind the circumstances, please let your father know.”

Even though the father said that jokingly, the boy nodded with a serious face.
The father talked about the situation, in a manner that he, of course, knew wasn’t at all accurate. However, he presented the explanation in an easy to understand manner.

“Dad. There’s something I still don’t understand, though. Before the war, they kept writing ‘Japan is strong! Strong!’ and then the tone changed suddenly?”

“Ah. You’re right, Aito. In a nutshell, the newspapers were ordered to impart that truth.”

“So it wasn’t a reality at first?”

“Yes, it was not. Although this wasn’t made public, the difference between the national power of Japan and Russia was enormous. Even the strength of just their local fleet, The Russian Far East Fleet, exceeded Japan’s.”

“Japan battled with Russia often, didn’t it?”

“There were probably many factors, but in the end, we managed to triumph both on the sea and on land.”

“I remember the grand announcements in the newspapers.”

“Mhm. On the flipside, if Russia tried to invade us once more, it’s almost certain that we would be defeated.”

“So, it was really a narrow victory…”

“Mhm. In fact, the war overall was a draw. Pretty far from a huge win.”

“Hmm. Then, it is good that the Portsmouth Treaty was signed!”

“Yup. Good indeed.”

Both of them looked at the newspaper article about the Treaty.

<Japan triumphed against Russia! A treaty was signed by both parties in Portsmouth, England. According to the terms, Japan will gain South Manchuria, recognition of existing privileges and claims to the Korean Peninsula, a lease on the southern part of Liaodong Peninsula, and the territory of Southern Karafuto. It was agreed there would be no compensation. Subsequently, Japan decided to sell off all of the war gains except the territory of Southern Karafuto to the United States, the English, and Germany.>

“Because Dad talked about this earlier, I understood this part easily.”

The son looked up to his father and smiled. The father smiled back and stroked the boy’s head.

“Is that so? That’s good then. Japan did spend a lot of money in this war.”

“Then, I hope they sell it for more!”

“I agree. I hope the sale turns up good.”

“Poverty is a serious issue, Dad.”

“Yeah. So when you grow up, make sure Japan becomes a better country.”

The father once again stroke the head of the boy with a smile, and gazed at the moon high in the sky. Surely, Japan will get better. The man pondered Japan in the future while sipping his tea.

 

<—— Wakuteka Newspaper

Greetings! We’re Japan’s, no, World’s most pleasant publication, the Wakuteka Newspaper! I am the editor, Kanou Kentaro. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Japan fights a war against Russia. Successfully repels the enemy, but is unable to win any reparations. Truly regrettable.
However, as a result of the Portsmouth Peace Conference, Japan gained interests in Manchuria, the Korean Peninsula and the South of Karafuto.
I would like to start explaining those gains first if you don’t mind? Thankfully, everyone, it’s not anything complicated.

We obtained Manchuria’s southern railway, its coal mines, and the southern part of Liaodong Peninsula. I will call all this together Japanese Manchuria from here on.
Japanese Manchuria was bought by the United States for a reasonable price! Well, that in itself isn’t enough to cover the costs of the Russo-Japanese War. But since Japan doesn’t have any money right now, we still should be truly thankful.
The Japanese government decided to use the proceeds of the sale for domestic development.

Although Korean Peninsula became an independent country after the Sino-Japanese War, Japan had gained some privileges as a result of that conflict. However, Russia interfered in Korean matters and disrupted those. Now, as a result of the war, Russia had agreed to back off.
The Government attempted to sell those privileges and all our other claims in Korea to the English. Meanwhile, Saishuu Island was leased to Japan and its residents expelled. The Island is going be turned into a military base that will be a bastion against the mainland interference.
It is a location that allows us to keep an eye on both the Korean Peninsula and the Liaodong Peninsula, and, if developed successfully, it is likely to become a supply base for the Americans and the English in the future.

But apologies! We’ve digressed from the topic. Anyway, anyway. When the sale of privileges in and claims to the Korean Peninsula was about to be concluded, the Germans got involved.
And, well, Japan probably found it a good opportunity to cunningly have both countries keep each other in check. The sale price wasn’t high, but it’s good that both the English and the Germans are entering the fray.
If they tried to attack Japan, they’d have no other choice than to ship their troops from their home countries across the ocean. And with Japan being sandwiched by the Korean Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean while the distance between the respective countries and Japan being very long, it would be pretty difficult for them to collaborate with the Korean Peninsula and their navies to invade successfully.
On the contrary, if Japan were to attack Korea, it would be a very easy invasion to execute. After all, the other country can be seen with a naked eye.
That being the case, it is clearly better for the English and the Germans to build friendly relations with Japan in order to manage Korea.
Although our interests were sold to the English and the Germans for a pittance, it allowed Japan to establish a technical cooperation with the both of them. There’s no doubt that Japan’s industry will grow as a result!

In quick succession, Japan not only obtained money from the United States but also a technical cooperation with the English and the Germans… The future will be good… We are currently weak, but that cannot be helped. We will develop until we become the world’s top industrial country… Or so I hope.

Japan’s future area of influence will include the South of Karafuto, Saishuu Island, mainland Japan, Kuril Islands, and soon, Taiwan. Although Taiwan is a colony, it will likely become part of our patrimony. And Karafuto too will only lose to the mainland Japan in treatment.
Saishuu Island will soon become uninhabited, as the general public has been banned from entering. This is what, us, your newspaper reporters have covered, and we’ll be back with more news!

Anyway, the war is over. The result was somewhat favorable, as it seems like we will be investing our money in rural areas, a certain path to prosperity!
So, let’s all work hard! That we can get a lot of money too!


Footnote

Nothing from this short chapter deemed any further explanation or reference links so I’ll just mention that this will be the standard chapter length, maybe longer in some cases.

But just to make sure everyone understands the topography around the event timeline, in this case 1904, here’s a good map of East Asia.


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