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At an early period of the
country's modern history, her statesmen recognized that transports
are as necessary to the safety of a State as are soldiers, and, in
fact, that the latter cannot be utilized without the former. The
Government, therefore, encouraged with liberal subsidies and
grants-in-aid the purchase or construction of ships, the result being
that whereas, in 1871, Japan's mercantile marine comprised only
forty-six ships with a total tonnage of 17,948, the corresponding
figures in 1910 were 6436 and 1,564,443 respectively. In the war with
China in 1894-1895, as well as in that with Russia in 1904-1905,
Japan was able to carry large armies to the Asiatic continent in her
own vessels, thus demonstrating the wisdom of the policy pursued by
the Government, although it had been habitually denounced by the
enemies of subsidies in any circumstances. Shipbuilding yards had
also been called into existence, and there are now four of them where
vessels aggregating 87,495 tons have been built.

THE ARMY

It has been seen that the Satsuma rebellion of 1877 severely taxed
the military resources of the empire. In fact, the organization of
special brigades to supplement the conscripts was found necessary.
Therefore, two years later, the conscription law was revised, the
total term of service being increased from seven years to ten, with
the result that the number of trained soldiers who could be called
out in case of war became larger by fully one-half. Further, in 1882,
another expansion of armaments was effected in obedience to an
Imperial decree, so that when war with China broke out in 1894, Japan
possessed an available force of seven divisions (including the
guards), and these, raised to a war-footing, represented about
150,000 men. She had already learned that, however civilized the
Occident might claim to be, all the great States of the West depended
mainly on military and naval force, and that only by a demonstration
of that force could international respect be won.

Of course, this creed was not publicly proclaimed. Firmly as Japanese
statesmen believed it, they could not confess their conviction openly
in the Diet, and therefore much difficulty was experienced in
inducing the two houses to endorse the Government's scheme of
increased armaments. Indeed, the subject came to be a frequent topic
of discussion between the Cabinet and the House of Representatives,
and in the end Japan was obliged to go into war against China without
a single line-of-battle ship, though her adversary possessed two.
Nevertheless, the Island Empire emerged signally victorious.

It might have been supposed that she would then rest content with the
assurance of safety her prowess had won. But, in the immediate sequel
of the war, three of the great European powers, Russia, Germany, and
France, joined hands to deprive Japan of the fruits of her victory by
calling upon her to vacate the southern littoral of Manchuria from
the mouth of the Yalu to the Liaotung peninsula. Japan thus acquired
the conviction that her successes against China were not estimated by
Western States as any great evidence of belligerent power, and that
it would be necessary for her to fight again if she hoped to win any
considerable measure of international respect. Prince Ito, then prime
minister, keenly appreciated this necessity. He invited the Diet to
vote for a substantial increment of land and sea forces, and after
much opposition in the House of Representatives, funds were obtained
for raising the army to thirteen divisions and for an increase of the
navy which will be by and by spoken of.

The wisdom of these measures found full justification, in 1904, when
swords had to be crossed with Russia. After that war, which raised
Japan to a leading place among the nations, the old problem came up
again for solution. Once more the Elder Statesmen--as the Meiji
leaders were called--asked the Diet to maintain the organization of
the army at the point to which it had been carried during the war,
and once more the lower house of the Diet proved very difficult to
persuade. Ultimately, however, the law of military service was
revised so that the fixed establishment became nineteen divisions,
together with various special corps. It is not possible to speak with
absolute accuracy of the force that Japan is now capable of
mobilizing, but when the new system is in full working order, she
will be able to put something like a million and a half of men into
the fighting line. Her military budget amounts to only seven millions
sterling--$35,000,000--a wonderfully small sum considering the
results obtained.

THE NAVY

It has been shown how, in the year 1636, the Bakufu Government
strictly interdicted the building of all vessels of ocean-going
capacity. The veto naturally precluded enterprise in the direction of
naval expansion, and when Commodore Perry, at the head of a powerful
squadron, arrived in Uraga Bay, two centuries afterwards, the
Japanese were suddenly and vividly instructed in the enormous power
of a nation wielding such weapons of war. This object lesson having
been most practically inculcated by the bombardments of Kagoshima and
Shimonoseki, Japan saw that she must not lose one moment in equipping
herself with a naval force. At first, she had to purchase all her
ships from foreign countries, and so difficult was it to obtain
parliamentary support for these acquisitions that, as already stated,
when war with the neighbouring empire broke out in 1894, she did not
possess a single ironclad, her strongest vessels being four
second-class cruisers, which, according to modern ideas, would not be
worthy of a place in the fighting line.

During the next ten years the teachings of experience took deeper
root, and when the great combat with Russia commenced, the Japanese
navy included four ironclads and six armoured cruisers. The signal
victories obtained by her in that war did not induce any sentiment of
self-complacency. She has gone on ever since increasing her navy, and
the present programme of her statesmen is that by the end of 1921,
she will possess twenty-five units of the first fighting line; that
figure being based on the principle that she should be competent to
encounter the greatest force which any foreign State, England
excluded, will be able to mass in Far Eastern waters ten years hence.
Her annual expenditure on account of the up-keep of her navy is at
present three and one-quarter million pounds sterling $17,000,000. No
feature is more remarkable than the fact that Japan can now build and
equip in her own yards and arsenals warships of the largest size. She
is no longer dependent on foreign countries for these essentials of
safety.

ENGRAVING: NIJU-BASHI (DOUBLE BRIDGE) (Entrance to the present
Imperial Palace, at Tokyo)



CHAPTER XLVII

WARS WITH CHINA AND RUSSIA

THE SAGHALIEN COMPLICATION

ONE of the problems which invited the attention of the new Government
early in the Meiji era had been handed down from the days of
feudalism. In those days, neither Yezo nor Saghalien nor the Kurile
Islands were under effective Japanese administration. The feudatory
of Matsumae had his castle at the extreme south of Yezo, but the
jurisdiction he exercised was only nominal. Yet the earliest
explorers of Saghalien were certainly Japanese. As far back as 1620,
some vassals of the Matsumae feudatory landed on the island and
remained there throughout a winter. The supposition then was that
Saghalien formed part of the Asiatic mainland. But, in 1806, Mamiya
Rinzo, a Japanese traveller, voyaged up and down the Amur, and,
crossing to Saghalien, discovered that a narrow strait separated it
from the continent. There still exists in Europe a theory that
Saghalien's insular character was discovered first by a Russian,
Captain Nevelskoy, in 1849, but in Japan the fact had already been
known.

Saghalien commands the estuary of the Amur, and Muravieff, the
distinguished Russian commander in East Asia, appreciated the
necessity of acquiring the island for his country. In 1858, he
visited Japan with a squadron and demanded that the Strait of La
Pérouse, which separates Saghalien from Yezo, should be regarded as
the Russo-Japanese frontier. Japan naturally refused a proposal which
would have given the whole of Saghalien to Russia, and Muravieff then
resorted to the policy of sending emigrants to settle on the island.
Two futile attempts to prevent this process of gradual absorption
were made by the Japanese Government; they first proposed a division
of the island, and afterwards they offered to purchase the Russian
portion for a sum of about £400,000--$2,000,000. St. Petersburg
seemed inclined to acquiesce, but the bargain provoked opposition in
Tokyo, and not until 1875 was a final settlement reached, the
conditions being that Japan should recognize Russia's title to the
whole of Saghalien and Russia should recognize Japan's title to the
Kuriles. These latter islands had always been regarded as Japanese
property, and therefore the arrangement now effected amounted to the
purchase of an area of Japanese territory by Russia, who paid for it
with a part of Japan's belongings. An interesting sequel to this
chapter of history is that, thirty years later, Saghalien became the
scene of a Japanese invasion and was ultimately divided between the
two nations along the fiftieth parallel, which was precisely what the
Bakufu statesmen had originally proposed.

THE FORMOSAN EXPEDITION

The expedition of Formosa in 1874 has already been spoken of.
Insignificant in itself, the incident derived vicarious interest from
its effect upon the relations between Japan and China in connexion
with the ownership of the Ryukyu Islands. Lying a little south of
Japan, these islands had for some centuries been regarded as an
appanage of the Satsuma fief, and the language spoken by their
inhabitants showed unmistakable traces of affinity with the Japanese
tongue. Therefore when, in 1873, the crew of a wrecked Ryukyuan junk
was barbarously treated by the Formosan aborigines, the Yedo
Government at once sought redress from Peking.



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