Jones, Tokyo - 11.3.35
is curious that the firebrands of the world should often be small in
stature and meek in manner.
personality of General Araki, the “Tiger” of Japan, the prime mover in
the conquest of Manchuria, former War Minister bears out the truth of
this, as I found during a visit to him in Tokyo.
I had reached his small humble wooden home in a narrow lane on the
outskirts of the city, had passed the miniature trees in his few yards of
garden, had taken off my shoes at the threshold and donned slippers, I was
taken to a modest room with European furniture. In one corner there stood a medieval suit of armour on the helmet
of which a golden dragon was perched. A stature of General Nogi who with his wife committed harakiri on
the death of the Emperor Meiji, showed the type of courage which General
Araki admires. The tiger skin
on the sofa and the picture of a wild tiger with staring eyes about to
spring, perhaps were symbols of the methods of sudden attack favoured by
the Japanese army in the past. As
a contrast there was underneath the picture of the tiger an oil painting
– most Victorian and amateur – of apples and grapes. Near the window a bullet had the place of honour.
Araki, dressed in a black silk kimono, his head shaven like that of a
Buddhist monk, entered quietly. His
voice was quiet; his eyes were sharp and keen; his moustache was long and
tapering to a point. His
movements and welcome were more those of a priest than of a military man.
he is held to be the greatest opponent of Communism in Japan and was once
regarded as a supporter of war against the Soviet Union, I asked him through an interpreter – for he can speak no foreign
language – his present attitude towards the Soviet regime.
Russians are more generous that I ever imagined they would be.” he
replied smiling. “They have
invited me, one of their great enemies, to come and visit them. They are indeed kind-hearted.
They are true sons of nature”.
your attitude towards their policy?” I asked.
view is “laissez-faire” as far as Russia is concerned. They should have full freedom to develop the Socialist cause in
their own country, but I strongly object to their ideas in our country.
The Communists treat human beings like machines and I am
opposed to this machine-like view of human institutions. If the worship of he machine grows, human civilisation may be
you think that Communism will succeed in China, General Araki?”
conditions in China as anarchical as they are and with support from the
Soviet Government, there is a chance of Communism spreading in China”.
said to be strong in Sinkiang and to be spreading in Szechuan. Many people fear a large Communist State from the borders of the
Soviet Union to the South of Szechuan. Will the influence of Communism spread from there?”
those North Western provinces, which you mention”, replied General
Araki, “Communism seems to have more chances of success than elsewhere.
Even those provinces become Communist, however, the advance of Red
influence will be slow, because the Communists have been meeting reverses
at Chiang Kai-shek’s hands”.
can Japan do to help China to overcome Communism?”
the works of Bessedovski, the author states that the shortest cut to
Bolshevism in China would be to help Chiang Kai-shek to unify China.
When he had accomplished this, young Communists should be
instigated to rise against Chiang Kai-shek and drive him from power.
In such a way unified China would be brought under Communist
direction. The most effective
way for Japan to prevent China from coming under Soviet influence would be
to deal directly with the Soviets, point out to the Soviets the stupidity
of such an action and persuade the Soviet Authorities from embarking upon
such an undertaking. To send
armed forces into China to counteract the Soviet agents would be most
Kai-shek, I must add was too clever for the Bolsheviks. With their help he built up power and when he had reached success
he suppressed the Chinese Communists.
present the Soviet Government seems to be concentrating its efforts on
Sinkiang and Mongolia and is
pursuing a milder policy towards Japan”.
asked him then: “Is a struggle inevitable between Japan and the Soviet
all depends on the attitude of the other side”, answered the General,
but I found it difficult to continue this line of conversation, for he was
anxious to talk about the unity of the Third International and the Soviet
Government. I wished to leave this subject, which is now largely academic
and come to actualities and I asked:
is the truth about the probable effects of Soviet air attacks upon Japan?
I hear two points of view, the first, that the Soviets would
be able to deal a fatal blow at Japan’s great cities and the second,
that its effects would be small”.
we were taken by surprise, there would be some danger but if we are well
informed beforehand we can take defensive measures”.
great do you estimate the Soviet air force near Vladivostok to be?”
are no accurate reports but there are probably about 500 planes”.
their quality, General Araki?”
quality is very varied, old and new, badly constructed and well
constructed. The Russians, however, are resourceful. Sometimes they use scouting planes as bombs.”
would Japan do to counter-act the growing Soviet influence in Inner
is futile to help the Chinese against the encroachment of Soviet
influence. The only way is to take up the issue with the Soviet
braved the Tiger and said: “They would immediately deny with indignation
that they had ever attempted to penetrate with their influence into Inner
Mongolia,” but General Araki did not like to be pointed out this and a
slight almost unnoticeable flicker of disapproval passed across his face.
ideals would you advocate – Asia which would be more fitting than
Communism? Pan-Asianism. If it were cultural, I should support.
, we must co-operate with China. It will be more easily said than done.
It will be very difficult to carry this out.”
is a part of the Army opposed to the policy of co-operation?”
former War Minister denied this emphatically, although it was common
knowledge throughout Tokyo.
you agree with the views expressed in the Army pamphlet – the State
with the socialisation of industry. I admit that some industries would
perhaps be more efficient if they were nationalised but it is the spirit
and not the form that is important.
is always upon the spirit that I lay stress. The world should know more about our spirit, for the world has
tended to ignore Asiatic civilisation. I am firmly convinced that the fundamentals of Asiatic civilisation
are just as good as the European. Thus
you see I am for a cultural Pan-Asianism, but if it is political it is
narrow-mindedness and I denounce it. Unless all the peoples of the world get together, disaster will
befall humanity. May the 20th
Century be the century of transition from national separation to
is not these last sentiments, however, that attract many of the young
Nationalist to the personality of Araki and that cause political observers
to forecast his leadership of the nation if there is a period of stress.