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Article: Kenkenroku: A Diplomatic Record of the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895

TitleKenkenroku: A Diplomatic Record of the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherOxford University Press.
Citation
Chinese Journal of International Law, 2015, v. 14, p. 229-230 How to Cite?
AbstractKenkenroku is a diplomaticmemoir, originally written in Japanese by the foreign minister of Japan, Mutsu Munemitsu, and covering events during and immediately after the First Sino-Japanese War. Based on a large amount of state papers and diplomatic correspondence, Mutsu recounted the history of the war, including the Tonghak Rebellion, Korean domestic reform, the outbreak of Sino-Japanese hostilities, battles during the war, the peace negotiations, and the Triple Intervention. As the foreign minister and then the chief negotiator at the Shimonoseki talks, Mutsu had a comprehensive, firsthand grasp of this war, especially how Japan made its military and foreign-policy decisions. Since very fewscholars writing inWestern languages had analyzed this critical East Asian conflict, the Japan Foundation invited Professor Gordon Berger to translate Mutsu’s work into English. Besides editing and translating the book, Berger also added historical notes offering more background information and checked facts against the original diplomatic dispatches. Readers can easily refer to the original materials thatMutsu used in assembling his memoir by means of the citations throughout the text. The First Sino-Japanese War was a seminal event that changed the nature of international relations in East Asia and had global repercussions. Accordingly, the importance of this book for researchers in modern Asian history or international relations has long been recognized. However, fewer people have perceived its relevance to international legal studies, especially the study of public international law during the late 19th century.Historian Douglas Howland did cite Kenkenroku in describing Japan’s dual strategy of international law and diplomacy during the First Sino-JapaneseWar, but few others have read Kenkenroku as a resource on international law. The main reason is that archival research is not a common methodology for international legal studies. International lawyers generally rely on secondary materials and public state papers as sources; however, those secondary materials are far from sufficient in this case, because in order to understand the nature of public international law in the late 19th century, three aspects should be observed and analyzed: states’ public arguments or justifications under international law, states’ actual practices, and states’ ownattitudes as to whether their actions could be justified on moral and legal grounds or solely by political expediency. Compared with normal diplomatic papers and secondary materials, which offer information only in the first two areas, Kenkenroku illustrates the real intentions underlying Japan’s statements by revealing its leaders’ internal discussions and providing Mutsu’s own analysis. In addition, as Berger explains in the introduction, this book responded to arguments that theTriple Intervention showed Japanese foreign policy to be a failure by arguing that the Japanese Cabinet had acted wisely and in Japan’s best interests in starting thewar, in concluding it, and in accepting the humiliating advice of theWestern powers. In the service of this purpose, Kenkenroku is remarkably frank in recounting Japan’s internal decision-making processes. One piece of evidence of his frankness is the work’s publication history: Kenkenroku was barred from publication until 1929.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/220623

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorXU, B-
dc.date.accessioned2015-10-16T06:47:29Z-
dc.date.available2015-10-16T06:47:29Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationChinese Journal of International Law, 2015, v. 14, p. 229-230-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/220623-
dc.description.abstractKenkenroku is a diplomaticmemoir, originally written in Japanese by the foreign minister of Japan, Mutsu Munemitsu, and covering events during and immediately after the First Sino-Japanese War. Based on a large amount of state papers and diplomatic correspondence, Mutsu recounted the history of the war, including the Tonghak Rebellion, Korean domestic reform, the outbreak of Sino-Japanese hostilities, battles during the war, the peace negotiations, and the Triple Intervention. As the foreign minister and then the chief negotiator at the Shimonoseki talks, Mutsu had a comprehensive, firsthand grasp of this war, especially how Japan made its military and foreign-policy decisions. Since very fewscholars writing inWestern languages had analyzed this critical East Asian conflict, the Japan Foundation invited Professor Gordon Berger to translate Mutsu’s work into English. Besides editing and translating the book, Berger also added historical notes offering more background information and checked facts against the original diplomatic dispatches. Readers can easily refer to the original materials thatMutsu used in assembling his memoir by means of the citations throughout the text. The First Sino-Japanese War was a seminal event that changed the nature of international relations in East Asia and had global repercussions. Accordingly, the importance of this book for researchers in modern Asian history or international relations has long been recognized. However, fewer people have perceived its relevance to international legal studies, especially the study of public international law during the late 19th century.Historian Douglas Howland did cite Kenkenroku in describing Japan’s dual strategy of international law and diplomacy during the First Sino-JapaneseWar, but few others have read Kenkenroku as a resource on international law. The main reason is that archival research is not a common methodology for international legal studies. International lawyers generally rely on secondary materials and public state papers as sources; however, those secondary materials are far from sufficient in this case, because in order to understand the nature of public international law in the late 19th century, three aspects should be observed and analyzed: states’ public arguments or justifications under international law, states’ actual practices, and states’ ownattitudes as to whether their actions could be justified on moral and legal grounds or solely by political expediency. Compared with normal diplomatic papers and secondary materials, which offer information only in the first two areas, Kenkenroku illustrates the real intentions underlying Japan’s statements by revealing its leaders’ internal discussions and providing Mutsu’s own analysis. In addition, as Berger explains in the introduction, this book responded to arguments that theTriple Intervention showed Japanese foreign policy to be a failure by arguing that the Japanese Cabinet had acted wisely and in Japan’s best interests in starting thewar, in concluding it, and in accepting the humiliating advice of theWestern powers. In the service of this purpose, Kenkenroku is remarkably frank in recounting Japan’s internal decision-making processes. One piece of evidence of his frankness is the work’s publication history: Kenkenroku was barred from publication until 1929.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherOxford University Press.-
dc.relation.ispartofChinese Journal of International Law-
dc.rightsPre-print: Journal Title] ©: [year] [owner as specified on the article] Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of xxxxxx]. All rights reserved. Pre-print (Once an article is published, preprint notice should be amended to): This is an electronic version of an article published in [include the complete citation information for the final version of the Article as published in the print edition of the Journal.] Post-print: This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in [insert journal title] following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [insert complete citation information here] is available online at: xxxxxxx [insert URL that the author will receive upon publication here].-
dc.titleKenkenroku: A Diplomatic Record of the Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895-
dc.typeArticle-
dc.identifier.doi10.1093/chinesejil/jmv002-
dc.identifier.hkuros256130-
dc.identifier.volume14-
dc.identifier.spage229-
dc.identifier.epage230-
dc.publisher.placeUK-

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