This study considers how Britain played a role in allowing, directly and indirectly, the Japanese expansionism of the early twentieth century. It offers four case studies: China, Taiwan, Korea, and Micronesia, and charts the role that Britain played in Japanese colonialism.
This study argues that British policy was formulated on the basis of an awareness and acceptance of Japan’s ambitions in so far as they did not endanger Britain’s imperial security, commercial interests and international standing. This work seeks to show that Japanese imperial ideology drew inspiration from and sought to replicate features of British imperialism. Furthermore, this work seeks to demonstrate that the British government and public sphere were largely ideologically in favour of Japanese imperialism and regarded the development of a Japanese colonial empire as creating a new progressive and modernising force. Finally, this work puts forward the case that the deterioration in Anglo-Japanese relations during the First World War was primarily responsible for the more critical British responses to Japanese colonial policy – especially concerning Korea – from the late 1910s onwards.