1994 Volume 103 Issue 2 Pages 151-187,316-31
At the time the third Katsura Cabinet was established, no one expected it to collapse within a period of only two months. One of the direct reasons for its collapse was Katsura's unconventional approach to government: instead of seeking the cooperation of the Seiyukai, as the normal practice required, he proceeded to form a completely new political party. Why then, at that particular juncture, did Katsura elect to form a new party? The purpose of this paper is to clarify the reasons for his decision by examining Japan's policy toward China following the Chinese Revolution. Katsura saw that the second Saionji Kimmochi Cabinet had failed to establish a satisfactorily cooperative relationship with the world's political powers following the Chinese Revolution, and he felt a strong necessity to rebuild this relationship, with Japan taking a leading role. Among Katsura's activities aimed at promoting that objective was a trip to Europe, which he carried out on the advice of the pro-Russian politician, Goto Shimpei. In addition, Katsura successfully forged a close political relationship with Kato Takaaki, a pro-British politician, and with non-governmental politicians supporting the Chinese revolutionaries. Katsura founded his new party with the same intentions; that is, to seek realignment of diplomatic relationships in all directions by bringing together people of diverse beliefs into the new party and advocating national unity. Consequently, the Rikken-Doshikai included Kato Takaaki, Goto Shimpei and a group of the National-istic "Tai-gai-ko" members who demanded strong foreign policy and liberal domestic policy. Each faction shouldered an aspect of Katsura's foreign policy. Kato advocated a diplomacy centering on a strong relationship with Britain and used it to solve the "China problem"(Manchuria) through consensus with Britain. Goto advanced the concept of "New Continent vs Old Continent" ; that is, to force Britain and France into alliance with Japan, Russia and Germany as a means of opposing the United States. The Nationalistic "Tai-gai-ko" members, on the other hand, tried to oust the warlord Yuan Shikai and obtained approval for their Manchurian interests by propounding "Asianism" and successfully cooperating with Sun Yatsen's Nampo Group. Though these diplomatic policies were contradictory to each other, the possibility of their reconciliation within the party existed only because of Katsura. The primary aim of the Rikken-Doshikai, in short, was to successfully realign great-power relationships through a new diplomatic policy for Japan following the conclusion of treaty following the Russo-Japanese War, and thus establish Japan's position in the world in the light of the new developments on the Chinese continent.