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Wishful thinking: Japan’s public debate on the Sino-Soviet relationship, 1950–62

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Abstract

Even as the terms of the Sino-Soviet Pact were being negotiated in Moscow in early 1950, Japanese were busy debating the likely objective of the alliance, its durability, and the symmetry of the relationship as defined by the new treaty. The consensus among journalists was that Sino-Soviet cooperation appeared ‘very solid for the time being’, but that this was only because of Beijing’s current economic dependence on Moscow. Citing Mao Zedong’s unprecedented two-month stay in the Soviet Union as evidence of difficult relations, many predicted that Titoisation was only a matter of time.1 Leftist intellectuals like Iwamura Michio, director of the pro-Beijing Chugoku Kenkyujo (China Research Institute), denounced such prophecies of ‘rifts’ (tairitsu) and ‘discord’ (fuwa) as the ‘bad miscalculation… [of] Western European propaganda’.2 Indeed, in contrast to the press, many intellectuals both ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’, claimed that the Chinese and Soviets were now a ‘strong coalition’ (teikei) and even of ‘one flesh’ (ittai).3

Keywords

Foreign Policy Wishful Thinking Japanese Public Communist Movement Socialist Bloc 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    1‘Chu-So dOmei wa Nihon ni do hibiku’ Daiyamondo (21 Feb. 1950): 12–13.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Iwamura Michio, ‘Chu-So joyaku to Nihon no tachiba’ Sekai Hyoron (Apr. 1950): 78–83.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    3‘Chu-So joyaku to tai Nichi kowa’ Sekai Josei Junpo (Feb. 1950): 17–24; Hirano Yoshitaro, ‘Chu-So yuko dOmei joyaku no Nihon ni oyobosu eikyo’ Joseisen (Mar. 1950): 4–11; Kusano Fumio, ‘Chu-So dOmei to Nihon e no eikyo’ Kumiai Undo (Mar. 1950): 43–8; Takayama Goro, ‘Chu-So dOmei to Nihon no tachiba’ Jitsugyo no Nihon (Feb. 1950): 58–9.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Kusano also claimed that ‘Mao Zedong is not Stalin’s running dog (soku)’. Kusano (1950): 43–8.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Utsumi TeizO, ‘Chu-So joyaku no heiwateki kOka’ Daiyamondo (21 Feb. 1950): 13–14.Google Scholar
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    Asahi Shimbun (16 Feb. 1950). See also: Hongo Gaichi, ‘Soren to ChukyO no kyokuto seisaku’ Chuo Koron (Mar. 1950): 81.Google Scholar
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    Sekai Josei JunpO (1950): 17–24. See also ‘Chu-So domei seiritsu to Nihon’ Toyo Keizai Shimpo (25 Feb. 1950): 3–4.Google Scholar
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    Similar answers were received regarding the Alliance’s effect on maintaining peace in general. Tokyo Shimbun (26 Feb. 1950).Google Scholar
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    For example, on 29 December 1950, United Press cited ‘qualified sources in Tokyo’ who believed that China’s entry into the Korean War grew out of a political contest with Russia for control of the area north of the 38th parallel. Evening Post, 30 December 1950.Google Scholar
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    Bessho JirO, ‘Hokkaido “kaiho henku”’ Kaizö (10 Jan. 1952): 154–65.Google Scholar
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    ‘Which of the two camps will be split first?’ ‘The Communists will split first’: 29.1%; ‘Democrats will split first’: 11.8%; ‘Others’: 16.9%; ‘Don’t Know’: 26.2%; ‘Don’t Know, Red China’: 15.5%. Sample: urban 1807; rural 1246. Reply: 87.2% (rural data weighted double in original survey). ‘The World and Japan’ (15 August 1953), Enc. in Berger to DOS, 611.94/9–2253, NA.Google Scholar
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    SatO Shinichiro, ‘Shiteyarareta no wa Soren ka Chukyo ka’ Nihon Shuho (5 Dec. 1952): 7.Google Scholar
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    According to a November 1954 poll, Communist China and the Soviet Union were ‘liked’ by 11.9% and 5.1% of respondents, respectively. They were ‘disliked’ by 21.3% and 37.3%. Jiji nenkan (1956): 320.Google Scholar
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    In June 1955, for example, a former vice-president of the Tda Kenkyujo (East Asia Research Institute) confidently predicted that ‘the time will come when China parts ways with the CPSU.’ Okura Kinmochi, ‘NitChu-so no kankei o meguri’ Soren Kenkyu (June 1955): 50. In contrast, a panel of well-known journalists concluded in August that ‘while Communist China may have become a considerable “burden” [to the Soviets] economically and politically…they are sworn friends, and it is inconceivable that they will part company under present conditions.’ Sakata JirO, et al., ‘Sobieto gaiko no teiryu’ Chud Köron (Aug. 1955): 67.Google Scholar
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    According to a November 1957 poll, Communist China and the Soviet Union were ‘liked’ by 2.0% and 1.3% of respondents, respectively. They were ‘disliked’ by 3.7% and 30.5%. Jiji nenkan (1959): 158.Google Scholar
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    Mushakoji Kinhide, ‘The Changing Japanese Foreign Policy Attitudes in the 1960s’ Japan Institute of International Affairs Annual Review (1970): 7.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, ‘Namerareta Nihon’ Shukan Tokyo (5 Apr. 1958): 3–11.Google Scholar
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    Amo Eiji, ‘Kyosanken kenkyu’ Soren Mondai (Dec. 1958): 16. AmO had been a viceforeign minister during the war, with earlier diplomatic postings to the Soviet Union and China, and authored the infamous ‘Amo plan’ for China of April 1934. Classified as a Class ‘A’ war criminal, he was never tried, and later headed Japan’s UN Association. See Appendix 5 for a list of founding Council of Sovietologists’ members.Google Scholar
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    Ishikawa Tadao, ‘Shakaishugiken ni okeru Chugoku no yakuwari’ Chuo Kdron (Nov. 1958): 89, 98.Google Scholar
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    Doi Akira, ‘Chukyo yukidoke ni noreru ka’ Keizai Orai (Nov. 1959): 125–9.Google Scholar
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    Sankei Shimbun (12 Sept. 1959) was unusual in emphasising that Moscow’s appeal for a peaceful settlement of the Sino-Indian border dispute was an admonishment directed at Beijing, which showed that despite their close alliance the Communist powers were sometimes widely divided on important matters.Google Scholar
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    ‘Fu shusho no Pekin homon’ Asahi Janaru (18 Oct. 1959): 29–31.Google Scholar
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    Harako Rinjiro, ‘Taigai seisaku o meguru Chu-So kankei’ Sekai Shuho (20 Oct. 1959): 32. See also Azuma Teruhiko, who related differing Sino-Soviet attitudes towards the status quo to their length of experience in building Socialism.Google Scholar
  54. 67.
    Marukawa Tatsuo, ‘Kewashii NitChu dakai e no michi’ Soren Kenkyu (June 1960): 54. Iwamura Michio clearly shared this view. Surveying the past decade of Sino-Soviet relations he anticipated no future problems. Iwamura Michio, ’ 10 nenrai no Chu-So kankei’ Kokusai Seiji (15 May 1960): 28–39.Google Scholar
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    ‘Chu-So no kuichigai’ Chuo Koron (Apr. 1960): 217–9. Similarly, for a staff writer with Sekai Shieho, there was ‘no basic clash of interests between them’ even if there was ‘a conflict of opinion…regarding the easing of world tension.’ Inoue Shozo, ‘Chukyo to yukidoke no bimyona kankei’ Sekai Shuho (1 Jan. 1960): 47; ‘Sekai o tsukiageru Chukyo’ Sekai Shuho (28 June 1960): 44.Google Scholar
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    68 people replied of whom nearly half had also responded to the 1959 questionnaire. ‘Shinshun anketo’ Soren Kenkyu (Jan. 1960): 42–55.Google Scholar
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    It was also felt that China eventually followed Soviet policy changes, although recently their positions seemed to have reversed. Taiken, ‘Chu-So no tai Nichi seisaku’ Tairiku Mondai (May 1960): 81. See also K. Alexandrov.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, S. Labin and C. Emmet, ‘Is there a Sino-Soviet Split?’ Orbis (spring 1960): 28–38.Google Scholar
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    ‘Chu-So kankei no kokusai zemi’ Asahi Janaru (9 Oct. 1960): 105. See also, Schurmann (1960): 111; Obata (1961): 28.Google Scholar
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    Obata (1961): 29. See also, Asahi Janaru (9 Oct. 1960): 104; Muramatsu Yuji, ‘Chukyo wa Yugo no michi o ayumu ka’ Keizai Oral (Nov. 1960): 65–71.Google Scholar
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    Onoe even mentioned the possibility of a new Comintern being established to maintain unity. Onoe Masao, ‘Chu-So riron toso no hitsuzensei to genkai’ Kokusai Seiji (Apr. 1963): 68–70.Google Scholar
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    Iwamura Michio, ‘Chu-So ronso no ichikosatsu’ Ajia Kenkyu (July 1962): 1–20. In March, Sekai had reprinted an article on the dispute by these famous American Socialists. In it they declared: ‘we have no doubt whatever that the Russians are right and the Chinese wrong.’ And although they blamed the US for China’s condition, the latter was nevertheless diagnosed as suffering from ‘dogmatic leftism’ and hence, ‘the world should be grateful that China’s foreign policy is subject to the moderating influence of the Soviet Union.’ L. Huberman and P. Sweezy, ‘The Sino-Soviet Dispute’ Monthly Review (Dec. 1961): 337–46. Reprinted as ‘Chu-So ronso kakushin’ Sekai (Mar. 1962): 64–71.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© C. W. Braddick 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Musashi UniversityTokyoJapan

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