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The War in the East

Trumbull White

Available as PDF, epub, and Kindle ebook.

Tags: History » China » Japan

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The War in the East is a book about the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), a war between the Qing dynasty of China, and the Empire of Japan, primarily over Korea. A complete history of the War: Its causes and results; its campaigns on sea and land; its terrific fights, grand victories and overwhelming defeats. With a preliminary account of the customs, habits and history of the three peoples involved. Their cities, arts, sciences, amusements and literature.

This book has 284 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1895.

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Excerpt from 'The War in the East'

The unexpected news of war between the Mikado’s Empire and the Celestial Kingdom has startled the whole world. Thereby considerable light was thrown upon the Oriental world.

Japan, up to a very short time ago, through the pen and tongue of poets and artists, who have visited this land, has been thought to be merely a country of beautiful flowers, charming mademoiselles, fantastic parasols, fans and screens. Such misrepresentation has long impressed the western mind, and the people hardly imagined Japan as a political power, enlightened by a perfect educational system and developed to a high pitch of excellence in naval and military arts.

The war in the East is certainly interesting from more than one point of view. Viewing it from the humane standpoint, Japan is, indeed, the true standard-bearer of civilization and progress in the far east. Her mission is to enlighten the millions of slumbering souls in the Celestial Kingdom, darkened for generations. Politically, she, with her enterprising genius, youthful courage and alert brain, as well as the art and science of civilization, has lifted herself into the ranks of the most powerful nations of the earth, and compelled the whole of the western powers to reckon her as a “living force,” as she has proved her right to a proud place among the chief powers of the world. Commercially, she has demonstrated herself the mistress of the Pacific and Asiatic Seas.

From the outbreak of the war all the civilized nations, except England, have sympathized with Japan, especially the people of America have given a strong moral support to Japan, not because this country is the warmest friend of Japan, but because Japan is, to-day, the propagandist of civilization and humanity in the far east.

At the beginning of the hostilities a majority of the people had an erroneous idea that the overwhelming population and resources of China would soon be able to crush the Island Empire of Japan; but they overlooked the fact that in our day it is science, brains and courage, together with the perfected organization of warfare that grasp the palm of victory. Thousands of sheep could do nothing against a ferocious wolf. So the numerical comparison has but little weight.

Some sagacious writer compared Japan to a lively swordfish and China to a jellyfish, being punctured at every point. Truly Japan has proved it so.

From the sinking of the Kow-shing transport, up to the present time, Japan has an unbroken series of victories over China. At the battle of Asan she gained the first brilliant victories and swept all the Chinese put of Corea, and at Ping-Yang, by both tactics and superb strategy, crushed the best army of China, which Li Hung Chang brought up to the greatest efficiency, by the aid of many European officers, as if it had been an egg shell. Again, at the mouth of the Yalu River, she gained a brilliant naval victory over China, by completely destroying the Ping-Yang squadron. Once more on the land the Japanese army stormed Port Arthur, the strongest naval fort, known as the Gibraltar of China.

All these facts are viewed with amazement by the eyes of the world. For all that the people know about Japan and the Japanese is that the people of Japan are very artistic, as the producers of beautiful porcelain, embroidery, lacquer work and all sorts of artistic fancy goods, and they wonder how it is possible that such an artistic people as the Japanese could fight against sober, calm Chinamen. But such an erroneous notion would soon vanish if they came to learn the true nature and character of the Japanese.

More than once the world has seen that an artistic nation could fight. The Greeks demonstrated this long ago, and the French in the latter times have shown a shining example. Japan is reckoned as one of the most artistic people in the world, as the producer of beautiful things, as the lover of fine arts and natural beauties. The Japanese have proved the same as what the ancient Greeks and modern French have shown. The history of Japan reveals the true color of the Japanese as brilliant fighters and a warlike nation. “In no country,” says Mr. Rogers, “has military instinct been more pronounced in the best blood of the people. Far back in the past, beyond that shadowy line where legend and history blend, their story has been one of almost continual war, and the straightest path to distinction and honor has, from the earliest times, led across the battle field. The statesmen of Japan saw, as did Cavour, that the surest way to win the respect of nations was by success in war.”

The ancestor of the Japanese people, who claim to have descended from high heaven, seems to have been the descendant of the ancient Hittites, the warlike and conquering tribe once settled in the plain of Mesopotamia. The Hittites, so far as our investigation is concerned, extending their sway of conquest towards the north-eastern portion of Asia, must have, at last, brought the Japanese family to the island of Japan. As they settled on the island, they found it inhabited by many different tribes; but they soon vanquished them and established the everlasting foundation of the Mikado’s Empire, which they called the “Glorious Kingdom of Military Valour.” The first Mikado was Jimmu, whose coronation took place two thousand five hundred and fifty-four years ago, long before Alexander the Great thought he had conquered the world and Julius Cæsar entered Gaul. The present Mikado is the one hundred and twenty-second lineal descendant of the first Mikado Jimmu. The unbroken dynasty of the Mikado has continued for twenty-five centuries. The people are brave, adventurous and courageous. Fanatical patriotism for country and strong loyalty towards the Mikado are essential characteristics of the Japanese people. And all these tend to form the peculiar nationality of Japan. Since the establishment of the Mikado’s Empire their land has never been defiled by invaders and they have never known how to be subject to a foreign yoke. The history of Japan is the pride of the Japanese people.

Production notes: This edition of The War in the East was published by Global Grey ebooks on 15th January 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Septen Baljur' by an unknown artist.

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