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Questions tagged [japan]

For questions about the nation of Japan or its people, language, and culture throughout history, as well as the islands that compose Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa) and its territorial claims in the vicinity.

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What made the Russian Navy suspect Japanese torpedo boats were in North Sea in 1904?

I'm finding several references that during the Russia - Japanese war of 1904/1905 that the Russians had intelligence that suggested the Japanese either had torpedo boats present in the North Sea or ...
Twelfth's user avatar
  • 2,712
16 votes
3 answers
27k views

What does the eighth samurai crest / symbol in this picture signify?

I would like to ask you all to explain the meaning of the 8-th symbol in this picture*: I would like to also know what are those symbols? Thank you very much. * Source: http://www.samurai-store.com/...
Martin Nemeth's user avatar
115 votes
8 answers
23k views

On 1941 Dec 7, could Japan have targeted the Panama Canal instead of Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack?

This question comes from a slightly related one. At the time of WW2, most US industry was on the East Coast, including all of the shipbuilding for Carriers and Battleships. If the Panama Canal went ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 17.3k
97 votes
12 answers
62k views

Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
Jay Riggs's user avatar
  • 1,081
78 votes
12 answers
34k views

Why, in the US, is Japanese brutality ignored compared with the Nazi brutality in WW2?

Instead of accepting too much of what I have read in my textbooks, I have read up a bit about WW2 on my own and have always pondered, why in the USA is the brutality and actions of the Japanese during ...
Fixed Point's user avatar
  • 1,159
59 votes
14 answers
23k views

Did Imperial Japan choose to ally with Nazi Germany because of ideological similarity?

There are certain similarities that can be drawn between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Both were dictatorships, both believed in racism (though against different people), and both were wanting to ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
  • 2,191
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why did Japan take so long to attack Wuhan?

On December 13, 1937 Japan captured Nanjing; from there they could have continued up the Yangtze to attack Wuhan, then the second most populous Chinese city and de facto wartime capital. But ground ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 14.5k
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

What was the main purpose in Japan trying to capture the Dutch East Indies oil fields intact?

The Dutch East Indies campaign saw Japan try to capture the Dutch East Indies oilfields intact, i.e. before the local troops destroyed them: After these main objectives in Borneo were completed, the ...
gktscrk's user avatar
  • 10.8k
52 votes
13 answers
28k views

Why did Hitler declare war on the USA?

Since there had not been any offensives launched by either side against the other, why declare war just because Japan had attacked the USA?
Harley Holcombe's user avatar
28 votes
1 answer
7k views

Why do the Japanese sing Ode to Joy during the Japanese New Year?

During the New Years days, the Japanese have a curious custom where they perform Beethoven's 9th symphony. This has produced some stunning sights on youtube But there's nothing particularly festive ...
Crème Caramelita's user avatar
26 votes
4 answers
21k views

How many lives were estimated to have been saved by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs?

**President Truman in a August 9, 1945 radio address to the American people, outlined the reasons why we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (and later Nagasaki) I realize the tragic significance of ...
user1873's user avatar
  • 385
23 votes
2 answers
32k views

Where did Japan get their oil during WWII?

To my understanding the United States was the largest exporter of oil to the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor. The Japanese islands aren't known for their oil fields. It's also believed that the attacks ...
trippt02's user avatar
  • 522
14 votes
8 answers
2k views

How to explain the Khalkhin Gol outcome in view of Soviet weakness and Japanese strength at that time?

Conventional wisdom says that the USSR was very weak in 1939/40/41, in large part due to the purges of the 1930s, ideological interference in the armed forces, and lack of equipment, preparation and ...
Tea Drinker's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
5k views

Were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary? [closed]

The United States bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Before the Japanese could surrender, they bombed Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The two bombs killed over 200,000 people, most of them civilians. ...
Orion's user avatar
  • 3,784
10 votes
1 answer
866 views

When did private fighting become a capital offense in Japan?

In "Might Makes Right: Just war and just warfare in early medieval Japan", Karl Friday mentions that bushi (warriors) who violated decrees banning fighting were exiled or imprisoned under pre-Edo ...
kmlawson's user avatar
  • 4,023
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

What were the reasons for Japan's surrender in WWII? [closed]

I have read this Quora answer with 400+ upvotes that claims that Japan surrendered not because they were nuked but because Russians were about to land on their soil and then never leave like they do. ...
Matas Vaitkevicius's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki contribute to Japan's surrender?

Even before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the war situation had developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage. Allied forces had been taking island after island, and were firebombing ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
  • 2,191
1 vote
0 answers
94 views

What was Higo domain's relevance with respect to the Meiji Restoration and later (internal) politics?

Normally, when the Meiji Restoration is considered, the "victors" are listed as Satsuma, Chōshū, and Tosa. This materialised in Satsuma and Choshu leading Imperial Japan's Army while Satsuma and Tosa ...
gktscrk's user avatar
  • 10.8k
45 votes
7 answers
26k views

Why was the Japanese Army's fatalities inflicted:suffered ratio so low in the Pacific theatre?

Leaving aside the naval battles of the Pacific, why did the Japanese army do so poorly against allied forces (specifically United states and Australian forces) when on the defensive. While logistics ...
Stumbler's user avatar
  • 1,356
42 votes
7 answers
9k views

Was it militarily possible to "island hop" the Philippines if not for MacArthur?

The battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines led to the destruction of half of what remained of the Japanese navy. It also "sucked in" all the troops that Japanese could spare from elsewhere, leading ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
35 votes
11 answers
100k views

Why didn't Japanese infantrymen and samurai use shields?

Shields were considered useful in Europe until the development of full plate armor. Despite the fact that they never had anything comparable to plate armor, shield use was apparently abandoned by the ...
Twilight Sparkle's user avatar
35 votes
2 answers
38k views

Did the United States have a third atomic bomb to drop on Japan?

On 15 August, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan announced its surrender to the United States, signing the instrument of surrender on 2 September, officially ending the war. The question ...
user avatar
34 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why did Meiji government consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Meiji govenment sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Who and why advocated that? Ultimately, why was it unsuccessful? Source: ...
Sardathrion - against SE abuse's user avatar
27 votes
7 answers
9k views

Was Japan known to be a potential threat to the USA in the 10 year period prior to 1941

In the years leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack, did non-military Americans see Japan as a potential threat to the USA?
user1605665's user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why was the US so pro-China and so anti-Japan before WW2?

There is little doubt that the US embargoes on Japan pushed an already aggressive Japan towards Pearl Harbor. Japanese Navy doctrine had already been contemplating a conflict with the US and this ...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
27 votes
3 answers
14k views

When and why was the samurai class abolished?

I am aware the Emperor Meiji abolished the Samurai class during the reformation. Why did he do so? How was it enforced?
Sardathrion - against SE abuse's user avatar
26 votes
7 answers
10k views

Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan? [closed]

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
worldwarcrazzy's user avatar
21 votes
6 answers
5k views

By mid-1945, was Japan capable of maintaining the war even in the absence of further direct American attacks? [closed]

The USA went to a great effort to defeat Japan, but do historians regard it as necessary? For example if the USA had just kept the naval action going to the extent of cutting of all shipping to ...
Ian Ringrose's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

To what extent did the CPC avoid fighting with the Japanese?

There's general agreement that the Japanese invasion of China benefited the CPC by interrupting the civil war, forcing the KMT to fight the Japanese instead of continuing the CPC purge, which they ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 14.5k
14 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why did WWI include Japan?

WWI mainly developed in Europe. It only included the USA because Germans attacked a US ship. What did Japan have to do with Europe?
Shrini 's user avatar
  • 159
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

What became of the last samurai?

During the Meiji Restoration, the previously powerful samurai class was abolished. What did all the former samurai become? I have heard often that many former samurai joined the new conscription army ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 14.5k
13 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why did Japan not withdraw from China as its pacific front was crumbling and the threat of US invasion imminent?

Even in August, Japan still kept garrisons in China totalling around 3 million men. They were second-line troops and poorly equipped, yes, but why did Japan not recall everyone to defend the home ...
Evil Washing Machine's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

What other war crimes trials, besides those of Nazi war criminals, were held after WWII?

Why were the Nuremberg trials after WWII for the Germans only? The same charges used against the the Germans could be easily extended to the Japanese or possibly Italians. They have committed as much ...
The Byzantine's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
651 views

17th century Japanese colonies in Southeast Asia?

After a period of exposure to European interests, Japan secluded itself in the 1630s. George Lensen wrote in "The Russian Push Towards Japan": On the eve of her seclusion, Japan had begun to expand ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.6k
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Who deposited German fuel drums on a Japanese air base in the Kuril Islands in 1943?

The Imperial Japanese Navy operated two all-weather, heated, lit runways on Matsuwa Island in the Kuril island chain. This island is littered with German fuel drums manufactured in 1943. It also has ...
user2357's user avatar
  • 1,161
11 votes
5 answers
4k views

Was the attack on Pearl Harbor totally unexpected?

According to "British Intelligence in the Second World War: Security and Counter-Intelligence", by Francis Harry Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins, Tricycle, a British double agent, complained that the FBI ...
Aarão Xisto Salazar's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
726 views

Couldn't Japan have solved the problem of drifting at sea?

The Edo period shogunate received annual tributes from local clans, on the order of the rice to feed a thousand people. The sengokubune ships used on this route were suited for calm inland waters, ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.6k
7 votes
2 answers
608 views

What did the Japanese military do to maintain their fighting edge during the Edo era/Bakufu (1603-1868)?

After Tokugawa unified Japan, it entered a long era of militarized peace 1603-1868, with very limited warfare, a severely isolationist attitude and strict limits to weaponry (guns were essentially ...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
402 views

What was the nature of the Japanese cabinet crisis after the Battle of Taierzhuang?

According to Wikipedia, after the Japanese defeat in the Battle of Taierzhuang, "It was reported in the world's newspapers, however, and by mid-April had provoked a Cabinet crisis in Tokyo". ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 14.5k
5 votes
2 answers
743 views

Did the Netherlands join the anti-Japanese oil embargo later than US? If so why?

From Wikipedia's Dutch East Indies Campaign: President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order on 26 July 1941 which froze all of Japan's U.S. assets and embargoed all oil exports to Japan. ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 17.3k
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

To what extent is the flora and fauna on Guadalcanal edible?

At the battle of Guadalcanal,, the initial wave of 11,000 Americans were stranded with something like two weeks' worth of food (five days worth of "landed" rations, nine days worth of ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
4 votes
1 answer
381 views

Before ww2, why did Japan allow Chinese students to study military science?

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 ...
George Chen's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
550 views

Were the Japanese "Kongo" class battlewagons advanced for their time?

Built in the early 1910s, Japan's Kongo class battlecruisers had eight 14-inch guns, a speed of about 30 knots, and a displacement of about 26,000 tons. This gave them advantages over British ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
3 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why were the 8th Route Army better at fighting the Japanese than the Nationalists were?

Numerous sources have noted the (Communist) 8th Route Army's effectiveness in its resistance against Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) occupation; British, American observers, even Japanese commanders have ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 14.5k
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Before WW2, how did Japan pay for imported US oil?

Related question that brings something up. Japan was importing most of its oil from the USA, until the oil embargo was imposed in summer 1941. Before this embargo, how did Japan pay for this oil? What ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 17.3k
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

When did Emperor Hirohito gave an address about suicides and non-productive jobs?

I heard in a conversation I got with a friend of a friend before, that during World War II apparently Emperor Hirohito of Japan, gave an address to his people after a long time in which talked about ...
Xanathos's user avatar
  • 131