The Reluctant Combatant: Japan and the Second Sino-Japanese War

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9780761863243: The Reluctant Combatant: Japan and the Second Sino-Japanese War

The Reluctant Combatant offers proof that Japanese political leaders were reluctant to engage China in a full-scale conflict during the Second Sino-Japanese War. This book identifies several key aspects of the political context surrounding the Second Sino-Japanese War, including the extreme fragility of the national united front against Japan, the view of Soviet Russia as Japan’s principal potential adversary, and the potential threat to Japanese national defense a protracted war with China would pose. This book reveals that the Communists, the National Government, local gentry, peasants, and bandits occasionally collaborated with the enemy—Japanese troops—to expand their spheres of influence.

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About the Author:

Kitamura Minoru graduated Kyoto University in 1973. He is now a professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto where he teaches Modern Chinese History.

Lin Si-Yun graduated Nanjing University in 1985. He has authored several books in Japanese on the cultural differences between Japan and China.

Review:

The mainstream view on the Second Sino-Japanese War is that Imperial Japan was bent on destroying China, and the rest of Asia, for purely selfish reasons. However, careful analysis of the global situation, particularly of the social and political development of China and the attitudes of the Chinese leadership, indicates that the Chinese were not the innocent victims of ‘aggression’ as is currently claimed. (Terumasa Nakanishi, Kyoto University)

Authors Kitamura and Lin recount the circumstances that ultimately lead to the Second Sino-Japanese War, demonstrating that the war was neither a Japanese ‘brutal war of aggression’ or that China was a ‘helpless’ victim. (Haruo Tohmatsu, Tamagawa University, Tokyo)

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