Author: Schencking, J. Charles
Title: Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, and the Emergence of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922
This book explores the emergence of the Imperial Japanese Navy from a rag-tag collection of coastal craft in 1868 to the world’s third largest blue water navy in 1922. Rather than focus on warships, hardware, and military technology, this study traces the development of this service as a political, ideological, and institutional force in Japan and, moreover, examines its development as a social phenomenon.
Based on extensive archival research in Japan, Making Wavesfundamentally challenges the popular notion that the navy was a “silent,” apolitical service. Politics, particularly budgetary politics and the selling of the navy to elites and common citizens, became the primary domestic focus—if not the overriding preoccupation—of Japan’s admirals in the prewar period. In pursuing larger budgets through lobbying oligarchs, coercing cabinet ministers, forging alliances with political parties, occupying overseas territories, conducting well-orchestrated naval pageants, and launching spirited propaganda campaigns, the navy not only grew in stature and size, but it also helped foster the notion that Japan was, and would forever be, a naval nation.