Author(s): Henry P. Frei
Japan in the Pacific - for Australians the notion is evocative of tourist hotels and tuna-fishing fleets in the present, and of desperate jungle and naval warfare in the past. Lacking any sense of historical perspective, puzzlement and unease prevail. It comes, then, as a shock - itself a comment upon the depth of our ignorance - to learn that Japan's role in the Pacific can be traced to the 16th century. Her recent expansionism, culminating in the Pacific War, and her present search to define a regional role, mark a return to an area she once knew intimately. Almost 200 years before European settlement in Australia, 100,000 Japanese left their homes to trade and settle in southern port cities, and Japanese ships criss-crossed what today constitutes the "ASEAN" region. Henry Frei has singled out Australia as a focus for gauging the complexity of Japan's southward advance - or "nanshin". He enquires into the changing nature of Japanese knowledge of the South, paying attention to continuities in the thought processes of "Southward-ho!" protagonists in the 19th century.
He documents discrepancies between 20th-century army and navy policy, and elucidates Japanese strategic planning on the eve of the Pacific War - concluding that our distrust of Japanese intentions towards Australia was not justified. "Henry Frei teaches Japanese history at the National University of Singapore.".
Part 1 Earliest connections, before the 1630s: Japan in the western Pacific; geographical notions of Australia. Part 2 Japan's re-emergence 1850s-1895: return to the western Pacific; Japanese visitors' perceptions of Australia. Part 3 Imperial Japan faces white Australia 1896-1923: Japan's "Southward Advance" school of thought; white Australia and a shield forged; relations during and after World War 1. Part 4 Golden years 1924-1935: consolidation in the western pacific. Part 5 Japan's road to Port Darwin 1936-1942: "The Empire Will Go South"; to invade or not to invade Australia. Part 6 Australia in the "Nan'yo" literature 1940-1944: a fleeting moment of truth and fiction.