Japanese-Mongolian Relations, 1873-1945

Faith, Race and Strategy


This book offers the first in-depth examination of Japanese-Mongolian relations from the late nineteenth century through to the middle of the twentieth century and in the process repositions Mongolia in Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese relations. Beginning in 1873, with the intrepid journey to Mongolia by a group of Buddhist monks from one of Kyoto’s largest orders, the relationship later included groups and individuals from across Japanese society, with representatives from the military, academia, business and the bureaucracy. Throughout the book, the interplay between these various groups is examined in depth, arguing that to restrict Japan’s relationship with Mongolia to merely the strategic and as an adjunct to Manchuria, as has been done in other works, neglects important facets of the relationship, including the cultural, religious and economic. It does not, however, ignore the strategic importance of Mongolia to the Japanese military. The author considers the cultural diplomacy of the Zenrin kyôkai, a Japanese quasi-governmental humanitarian organization whose activities in inner Mongolia in the 1930s and 1940s have been almost completely ignored in earlier studies and whose operations suggest that Japanese-Mongolian relations are quite distinct from other Asian peoples. Accordingly, the book makes a major contribution to our understanding of Japanese activities in a part of Asia that figured prominently in pre-war and wartime Japanese strategic and cultural thinking.

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Biographical Note
James Boyd received his BA in History from the University of Adelaide, South Australia and his PhD from Murdoch University, Western Australia. He has held various positions at institutes in Japan and currently is a research fellow of the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University. His publications include ‘In Pursuit of an Obsession: Japan in Inner Mongolia in the 1930s’, Japanese Studies, ‘A Forgotten “Hero”: Kawahara Misako and Japan’s Informal Imperialism in Mongolia during the Meiji Period’, Intersections and ‘Horse Power: The Japanese Army, Mongolia and the Horse, 1927-42’, Japan Forum.
Review Quotes
"... The strength of Boyd’s study is its broad coverage of the full range of Japanese figures active in Inner Mongolian affairs. Parts of this story have been told in English, but the whole has not been surveyed before. Specialists in Inner Mongolia, as well as students of Japan’s informal and formal empires on the Asian mainland, will find this survey
extremely handy..."
Christopher P. Atwood, Asian Studies Review, 2013, Vol. 37, No. 1

"... The most intriguing apsect of Dr Boyd's book is the Japanese perception that its 'relationship with Mongolia [was]... a special one.' (p. 8) The Japanese had a romantic view of their identification with Mongolia, stretching back to Mongolia's prehistory as a fountainhead of Japanese culture. Historians bolstered these links by pointing to the shamanism and Buddhism that both shared, and some nationalists bizarrely claimed that Minamoto no Yoshitsune had not died in his 1189 conflict with his brother but had simply fled to the mainland and assumed the name 'Chinggis Khan'.

In short, Dr Boyd's book adds to the relatively few works on early-modern and modern Northeast Asia."
Morris Rossabi, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (JRAS), 21:4, (November 2011)
Table of contents
Preface; Timeline; Maps and illustrations; Introduction; 1 Soldiers, adventurers and educators: Meiji encounters with Mongolia, 1873-1912; 2 Carpe diem?: The Manchurian-Mongolian Independence Movements, 1912-22; 3 Mongolia's riches: Japanese explorers, entrepreneurs and military opportunists, 1922-31; 4 Inner Mongolia: Japanese military activity and its cultural support, 1932-45; 5 Cultural diplomacy in action: The Zenrin Kyokai in Inner Mongolia, 1933-45; Conclusion; Appendix 1: List of key figures; Appendix 2: List of Mongolian and Chinese Place-names; Bibliography; Index
Professional and scholarly
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