Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
Toward a reexamination of the image of Terauchi Masatake focusing on China policy and ties to the business community
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2018 Volume 127 Issue 10 Pages 34-53


In the research on Japan’s foreign loans to China during World War I(Nishihara[Kamezo]Shakkan 西原借款), which flourished during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the image of Terauchi Masatake, which he himself billed as being “fair and impartial”, also assumes his heavy reliance on Nishihara Kamezo in policy making regarding China. Behind this consensus lay the paucity of sources authored by Terauchi himself, in contrast to the huge body of materials left by Nishihara, resulting in having to see the character of the former through the eyes of the latter. Such an interpretation of Terauchi has contributed much to the formation of the conventional understanding of the former prime minister(1916-1918)as following the advice of Nishihara in the formation of the policy to give aid and cooperation to Duan Qirui regime in northern China and the plan to unify Korea and Manchuria in terms of railway transportation, finance and administration.
The present article begins with an examination of Terauchi’s perceptions of China, including the southern regions, in relation to Yasukawa Keiichiro, a close friend of Sun Yatsen. Secondly, the author focuses on the relationship between Terauchi and industrialist Okura Kihachiro, as described in Tsurumi Yusuke’s biography of Goto Shinpei, an aspect that the above-mentioned research on foreign loans to China has failed to touch upon. Finally, in relation to points one and two, the author offers a revision of Terauchi’s image by weaving the Yasukawa element into the relationships around Terauchi, while taking up the memoirs of Hayashi Gonsuke, which have also been overlooked in the research to date.
The author concludes that while Terauchi supported the northern Chinese warlord regime, he originally stressed the importance of detente between the north and the south, putting him in close approximation to the thinking of Yasukawa, Hara Takashi and Shoda Kazue, demonstrating a posture of restraint when compared to Nishihara, even when giving priority to the Duan regime as the First World War unfolded. Terauchi should be credited with political broad-mindedness and flexibility, and Nishihara, as well as Okura, who was involved in China policy-making for the previous Okuma Cabinet, should be viewed as contributing to policy decisions within the bounds of Terauchi’s own prerogative. Finally, Terauchi’s position regarding the unification of Korea and Manchuria was limited mostly to the financial aspects, while entrusting the rest to his Treasury Minister Shoda.

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© 2018 The Historical Society of Japan
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