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Natsume Soseki’s nuanced views of the conflict

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at Sôseki's pre-war stay in London, discusses his views on the Russo-Japanese War as expressed in his fiction and essays, and ultimately sees what he came to conclude about war, militarism, and nationalism in general. Great Britain feared that the Russian advance into Manchuria would upset the balance of power in the north Pacific, a long-maintained foreign-policy objective of the British government. In January 1902, Japan concluded the previously mentioned defensive treaty of alliance with Great Britain. The alliance was so unbalanced in favor of Japan that it immediately attracted the attention of all European nations. In 1908, three years after the Russo-Japanese War ended, Sôseki began writing the series titled Sanshirô in the Asahi newspaper, which became his third novel.

Keywords: Great Britain; Japan; Manchuria; militarism; nationalism; Russo-Japanese War; Sôseki



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