Japan

The suffering of prisoners of war at the hands of the Japanese during the Second World War has coloured the British view of the conflict in the Far East. Clare Makepeace highlights a little known aspect of the captives’ story: their quest for compensation.

In 1862 a Japanese official mission visited England, nine years after the re-opening of their country to the world. Carmen Blacker describes how their strange attire and ‘inscrutable reticence’ surprised the mid-Victorian public.

The Japanese ruler was laid to rest on February 24th, 1989.

The first English ship reached Japan in 1613. Michael Cooper describes how the Chief Factor of the East India Company recorded some reminiscences.

Just over a hundred years ago, writes William Watson, an unprovoked attack on a party of inoffensive Westerners was followed by violent reprisals.

The last operation of the Japanese Naval Command, writes Albert Vulliez, was a deliberate act of suicide. It was received by the people with a ‘sombre bitterness’. Translated by Patrick Turnbull.

Ivan Morris describes how the idea of heroic failure has always exerted a strong hold on the Japanese imagination.

Ivan Morris asserts that, among the legends of the prehistoric Japanese past, it is the aura of failure and tragedy surrounding his end that establishes Yamato Takeru as a model hero.

Founded by Saint Francis Xavier, the Roman Catholic Mission in Japan was formally abolished by the Shogun in 1614.

The cold but continuing conflict between China and Japan is the subject of sustained attention from scholars, says Jonathan Fenby.