In this history of Japanese involvement in northeast China, the author argues that Japan's military seizure of Manchuria in September 1931 was founded on three decades of infiltration of the area. This incremental empire-building and its effect on Japan are the focuses of this book.
The principal agency in the piecemeal growth of Japanese colonization was the South Manchurian Railway Company, and by the mid-1920s Japan had a deeply entrenched presence in Manchuria and exercised a dominant economic and political influence over the area. Japanese colonial expansion in Manchuria also loomed large in Japanese politics, military policy, economic development, and foreign relations and deeply influenced many aspects of Japan's interwar history.
Lurking behind the deceptively specialist title of this monograph lies an important and engaging book...In the described historical events, Japan found itself pulled deeper and deeper into a quagmire that led to a disastrous war. Matsusaka uses a chronological approach to examine the roles of the Foreign Ministry, the Army, and the South Manchuria Railway. The result casts great light on a crucial phase of Japanese imperial history while at the same time enthralling the reader with a tale to compete with a good novel.
Yoshihisa Tak Matsusaka is Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College.