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Timeline of Japan in WW1

Date of Event

What Happened

August 7, 1914
Britain sends a message to Japan asking them for support in the fight against Germany
August 14, 1914
Japan sends a ultimatum to Germany, ordering them to stop or else Japan will join Britain and fight them, Germany does not reply
August 23, 1914
Japan declares war on Germany, by doing this they were technically joining the Triple Entente
November 7, 1914
Japan takes back German occupied territory in China
January 18, 1915
Japan sends the twenty one demands to China
July 3, 1916
Japan signs a treaty with Russia that agrees neither will sign a treaty with Germany without one another, and also helped secure any territories that were challenged by third parties
November 2, 1917
Japan signs a treaty with the USA to reduce the every increasing problems in the fight for control over the pacific
By 1918
The exportation of goods had multiplied dramatically to European countries fighting the war in need of more and more supplies
January 18, 1919
Japan sends a representative to the Paris Peace Conference, it achieved things that are mentioned later on in the wiki, Japan really emerged as a Great Power from World War 1

Japan's Involvement:

Japan’s size had always underestimated its opponents. When the war first broke out in 1914, Japan being the neutral nation at first weighed its options before fully committing to a side. The new Emperor Taisho wanted to continue the reformation that his father, Meiji had started previously which had made Japan such a powerful figure in Asia. He saw his opportunity when Taisho saw the “sides” of the war and realized that Germany was against the Entente. Japan only primarily wanted the lands Germany possessed in Southeast Asia because one of Japan’s objectives during the Meiji restoration was to stand as the “strong-man” of Asia against the “West”. So in August 23, 1914, Japan had declared war on Germany in hopes of gaining the Shandong province in China from Germany as well as annexing German New Guinea. Japan had made it clear that it was joining the Entente’s side which Japan wanted to extend more relations to as superpowers would. Japan’s role wouldn’t be fighting in Europe in like the other Entente members but would battle Germany’s fierce navy in the seas of the West Pacific Ocean. Although not alarming many European powers, under Emperor Meiji, Japan had expanded and modernized its military to rival some European nations which was the result in their victory against Russia. From then, The West started to notice how advanced Japan became during the Meiji Era. As the war went on through the four years, Japan would have naval victories over Germany and with each victory, would advance their goals of controlling Asia further and further. When Germany finally stopped fighting in 1919, Japan had been as much of a contributing factor to Germany’s failure in the Pacific as Britain was in mainland Europe.

Japan's Objectives:

Japan entered the war with the goals of increasing their foreign interests in Asia, which they had succeeded with the defeat of Germany. They also wanted another goal which wouldn’t be solved through war but through foreign diplomacy with world governments. Paris was to be the location of the Peace Conferences which would “draw” the new maps of Europe and the World. The Empire of Japan entered the peace conference with two important agendas. One was to fully annex German territories in the Pacific as their debt to Japan. Two was to create a Racial Equality clause which would see Japan be seen as equals to the likes of France and Britain. The first goal was to be obtained much easier than the second as Britain had made agreements with Japan during the war that Japan would receive German territories in the Pacific when Germany declares truce to the Entente. The other side of the agreement was the Japan would allow Britain to annex the south of German New Guinea. Even Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points didn't matter to Japan as the United States also agreed on what Japan took over which included Chinese territory that had been leased by the Germans. The Chinese opinion mattered little to the Entente as proceedings progressed with the “carving of the Triple-Alliance”. The second goal though would be rejected at the League of Nations had would influence Japanese foreign affairs for the next two decades. The Racial Equality clause had it been passed, would've made “Non-White” countries like Japan be equal on the World stage to the “White” nations. Britain being the “dying” leader it was, decided to firmly go against this proposal by their allies of the war because then Britain wouldn't be the leader if other countries were granted equality in the world. U.S. stood with Britain on this and said that majority vote would allow the proposal to be added to the League of Nations but this would fail as Australia and Britain rejected this proposal. Japan felt like they were betrayed by the same people that supported them when they destroyed German ships. This betrayal by the Entente would severely go against the West as the next World War would show the World.

Japan's Leaders and the Treaty:
Emperor Taisho

Japan’s objectives were not fully met by the treaty. They did gain German colonies in the Pacific (the Marianas, Caroline, and Marshall Islands), but they wanted to expand into China and Australia, creating a Nipponese empire. By expanding into China, they would have gained more natural resources and land. Consequently, they felt that the treaty failed to endorse the principle of the equality of all races. Japan began to modernize in the late 1800’s but was never really considered a modernized country during WW1 (inadvertently, this was one of the reasons why Japan joined an alliance with Germany. The other reason was because they both had the same expansion goals). Despite this, Japan was “officially” recognized by the “Big Five” for their contributions to the war. In addition, any valuable items such as raw silk, tea, rice, textiles, machines, light and modern goods were exported and imported to and from Japan and Europe, particularly Great Britain. Japan’s prime minister at the time was Terauchi Masatake, he pursued an aggressive foreign policy and gained new German colonies through World War, and supported Chinese warlords (for increased rights in Manchuria). Despite Prime Minister Terauchi’s ambitions, the person with real power was Emperor Taisho. However, he suffered from neurological problems though out his life, so he was never able to carry out public functions.

This is a graph of the wounded and killed soldiers in Japan, compared to the other major countries

This graph represents the money that the war cost each country in WW1

Links for further reading/works cited:,_1919#Japanese_approach

Quotations of Japanese during the War:

To Mr. Soiseth:

Because of Japan's smaller contributions to World War 1, there are no quotations that I (Alex) can find that are published from an important figure, or a regular person from any country. There are plenty of quotations from World War 2, but none from World War 1. Hopefully you don't remove marks from our wiki because of this, because I literally spent hours trying to find quotes, but there is just none that I can find out there.