In 1917, Cheng Fangwu and his friends were openly anti-Japan; yet in Japan they were free to elect whatever major they liked. Cheng studied steel making, guns, ballistics and torpedoes but later decided that military science was not going to save his country because his countrymen were still in "a deep slumber" - indifferent to military defeat and territorial loss. Cheng and his friends later abandoned their pursuits in science and embarked on the new culture movement.

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    Can you provide a source on Cheng Fangwu being "openly anti-Japan"? More generally, Imperial Japan wasn't a monolithic entity with a decades long master plan to conquer China by force. Elements in the government believed that providing Japanese education to the Chinese (and other Asians) would help foster closer relations and bring the other nations under Japan's influence.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 17:39
  • See Chen Tianhua incident. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chen_Tianhua Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 17:45
  • See biography, Chapter 1. books.google.com/… Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 17:50
  • Cheng lived with his older brother, his older brother was the one who escorted Chen's body back to Hunan. See biography chapter 1. Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 18:04
  • That is an incredibly tenuous link for calling someone "openly anti-Japan". Regardless, I'm not trying to debate you on your claims; I'm saying you should include such research in your question, as is generally expected on H.SE. Telling people to read an unavailable book is not helpful.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


To take one example, there was a military school in Japan for Chinese students called the Tokyo Shinbu Gakko. It was established early in the 20th century and run by the Japanese Army under the auspices of the "Pan Asian" Faction of the Japanese government. One of its most famous graduates was Chiang Kai Shek, who later led the anti-Japanese resistance. But some other graduates became pro-Japanese collaborators during World War II, so the effort was not entirely wasted.

Japan at the time wanted to "dominate" China, but not necessarily "conquer" China. Some in Japan thought that the best way was to cultivate future Chinese leaders that would be sympathetic to Japan. Even during World War II, Japan tried to work with local leaders in parts of Southeast Asia, with varying success; before and during World War I, that policy was also pursued with regards to China.

In the first decade or two of the 20th century, Japan's most feared enemy was Russia. Cultivating Chinese (and other Asian) leaders was seen as creating a counterweight to this enemy. A large part of this payoff was received in the form of Chinese logistical support during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05.

  • Thanks. I think Japan back then was drunk with Pan-Asianism, under whose influence Chinese students were considered poor relations from the provinces instead of foreigners. Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 19:37

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