From the ground up: Japan's Siberian Intervention of 1918-1922 from the perspective of infantryman Takeuchi Tadao

Willems, Nadine (2023) From the ground up: Japan's Siberian Intervention of 1918-1922 from the perspective of infantryman Takeuchi Tadao. Japan Review, 38. pp. 97-127.

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Japan’s Siberian Intervention was the nation’s most signifcant strategic and political failure between the Russo-Japanese War and the Asia-Pacifc War. While historians have focused on its military and diplomatic aspects, the individual experiences of soldiers in this messy “forgotten war” remain little explored. This article foregrounds the perspective of ordinary Japanese soldiers dispatched to Siberia between 1918 and 1922. In particular, it draws on archival material left by Takeuchi Tadao, a conscripted farmer who spent six months in the Russian Far East in 1920. A talented artist, Takeuchi produced two richly illustrated accounts, the only examples of non-photographic visual narratives of the Intervention available today. These provide a unique view of the conflict “from below.” For the higher echelons of the Imperial Japanese Army, the occupation of Siberia had the potential to increase Japan’s influence in Northeast Asia, and to showcase the army’s might and efficiency. To the rank-and-file servicemen, however, the rationale for combat was unclear. Their frustrations were compounded by impossible logistics, excruciating cold, and uncertain allegiances in a zone of lawlessness and brutality. Mounting public opposition at home and the failing military strategy in Siberia made 1920 an especially challenging time. Takeuchi Tadao’s records reveal an implicit criticism of the Siberian operations, highlighting the strategic and situational confusion surrounding them, and hence the prospect of a meaningless death that confronted ordinary soldiers in Siberia that year.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: siberia,imperial japanese army,view from below,russian civil war,bolshevism,strategic confusion,arts and humanities(all),sdg 16 - peace, justice and strong institutions ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
UEA Research Groups:
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Heritage and History
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Centre for Japanese Studies
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2024 15:30
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2024 00:52
DOI: 10.15055/0002000099

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