Tumultuous Decade: Empire, Society, and Diplomacy in 1930s Japan

Edited by Masato Kimura and Tosh Minohara

© 2013

The 1930s was a dark period in international affairs. The Great Depression affected the economic and social circumstances of the world’s major powers, contributing to armed conflicts such as the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. This volume focuses exclusively on Japan, which witnessed a flurry of progressive activities in this period, activities which served both domestic and international society during the “tumultuous decade.”

Featuring an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars, Tumultuous Decade examines Japanese domestic and foreign affairs between 1931 and 1941. It looks at Japan in the context of changing approaches to global governance, the rise of the League of Nations, and attempts to understand the Japanese worldview as it stood in the 1930s, a crucial period for Japan and the wider world. The editors argue that, like many other emerging powers at the time, Japan experienced a national identity crisis during this period and that this crisis is what ultimately precipitated Japan’s role in the Second World War as well as the global order that took shape in its aftermath.

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Product Details

  • Series: Japan and Global Society
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.9in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Featuring an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars, Tumultuous Decade examines Japanese domestic and foreign affairs between 1931 and 1941.

Tumultuous Decade: Empire, Society, and Diplomacy in 1930s Japan

Edited by Masato Kimura and Tosh Minohara

© 2013

The 1930s was a dark period in international affairs. The Great Depression affected the economic and social circumstances of the world’s major powers, contributing to armed conflicts such as the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. This volume focuses exclusively on Japan, which witnessed a flurry of progressive activities in this period, activities which served both domestic and international society during the “tumultuous decade.”

Featuring an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars, Tumultuous Decade examines Japanese domestic and foreign affairs between 1931 and 1941. It looks at Japan in the context of changing approaches to global governance, the rise of the League of Nations, and attempts to understand the Japanese worldview as it stood in the 1930s, a crucial period for Japan and the wider world. The editors argue that, like many other emerging powers at the time, Japan experienced a national identity crisis during this period and that this crisis is what ultimately precipitated Japan’s role in the Second World War as well as the global order that took shape in its aftermath.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Japan and Global Society
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.9in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Tumultuous Decade is a bold rethinking, not only of Japanese history during the truly tumultuous decade of the 1930s, but also, and more broadly of what it means to do Japanese history for any period…It is historical scholarship at its very best.’


    Jason Morgan
    Japan Review vol 27:2014

    “From the launch of the Japan Foundation to social welfare in colonial Taiwan to diplomatic miscommunication on the eve of Pearl Harbor, Tumultuous Decade offers a captivating glimpse of a wide range of Japanese international activity in a dramatic age.  This outstanding collection of essays demonstrates the vitality of a new generation of scholarship on Japanese international history.”
    Frederick R. Dickinson, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania
  • Author Information

    Masato Kimura is director of the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation.


    Tosh Minohara is a professor in the Graduate School of Law at Kobe University.
  • Table of contents

    Part I: Economics, Culture, Society and Identity

    Chapter 1: Zaikai’s Perception of and Orientation to the United States - Masato Kimura (Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation)

    Chapter 2: Cultural Internationalism and Japan’s Wartime Empire: The Turns of the Kokusai Bunka Shinkōkai - Jessamyn R. Abel (Pennsylvania State University)

    Chapter 3: Japanese Pan-Asianism through the Mirror of Pan-Islamism - Cemil Aydin (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

    Chapter 4: Emperor, Family and Modernity: The 1940 Passage of the National Eugenics Law - Sumiko Otsubo (Metropolitan State University)

    Part II: The Empire and Imperial Concerns

    Chapter 5: Strengthening and Expanding Japan through Social Work in Colonial Taiwan - Evan Dawley (U.S. Department of State)

    Chapter 6: Between Collaboration and Conflict: State and Society in Wartime Korea - Jun Uchida (Stanford University)

    Chapter 7: The Thought War: Public Diplomacy by Japan's Immigrants in the U.S. - Yuka Fujioka (Kwansei Gakuin University)

    Part III: High Diplomacy and the Statesmen

    Chapter 8: Meiji Diplomacy in the Early 1930s: Uchida Kōsai, Manchuria and Post-withdrawal Foreign Policy - Rustin Gates (Bradley University)

    Chapter 9: Japan’s Diplomatic Gamble for Autonomy: Rethinking Matsuoka Yōsuke’s Diplomacy - Satoshi Hattori (Osaka University)

    Chapter 10: Dissembling Diplomatist: Admiral Toyoda Teijirō and the Politics of Japanese Security - Peter Mauch (University of Western Sydney)

    Chapter 11: “No Choice but to Rise”: Togo Shigenori and Japan’s Decision for War - Tosh Minohara (Kōbe University)