Episode 173 – The Maelstrom, Part 11

Today, we’ll wrap up our look at the Russo-Japanese War with some thoughts on its long term consequences. How much of an impact can a war that lasted for a year and a half really have?

Listen to the episode here.


Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Asada, Sadao. From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States.

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Drea, Edward. In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army.


For Russia, one of the biggest differences made by the war and the revolution was the birth of a representative assembly, the Duma. However, the assembly was generally disregarded by the Czar, which only proved to enemies of the regime that promises of moderation and an end to autocracy were so much hot air.
An execution scene like the one that inspired Lu Xun to try and mobilize nationalism within the Chinese people. Though the Japanese generally did not attack or harm Chinese civilians intentionally during the war, this did not mean that they had much regard for Chinese lives. Accused spies like the one shown here were doomed merely by suspicion.
The massive folly of the Yamato class superbattleship, shown here (the IJN Yamato on its shakedown cruise) was a direct outgrowth of the outmoded naval ideas of Togo Heihachiro. Nobody could challenge the authority of the victor of Tsushima, which meant that the navy wasted a lot of time refusing to update its ideas or equipment.
The army’s obsession with spiritual toughness was such that eventually it was able to receive a mandate to begin army training before men were even conscripted. Children were given basic army drills as part of their PE requirements starting in the 1920s, with the instructors being former army officers.
The burning wreck of the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. The success of the Russo-Japanese War convinced Japanese planners that similar tactics would work on the United States. They did not.


3 thoughts on “Episode 173 – The Maelstrom, Part 11”

  1. What do the Japanese textbooks teach about the russo-Japanese war? How is it viewed today? I always thought it was a clear victory but your podcast shows it was not, but was rather an expensive negotiated draw? What about Sakhalin? When I visited Hokkaido the Japanese tourists stared at the island tip in the distance and the placards made nationalistic Japanese feel like the land was rightfully theirs and taken from them by Russia. Is that just nonsense symbolic nationalism or does the state of japan use those islands to stir up nationalism (like DokDu)

  2. In the anime Golden Kamuy, the veterans say that the Russians used suicide bombs and jumped into enemy trenches. Is there any evidence to back this up?

    1. Not as I’m aware; it certainly could have happened but there were never wide-spread reports of it. There are more of Japanese troops launching suicidal attacks on Russian forces (the so-called Human Bullets), but my understanding is that these were generally infantry charges, not suicide bombings.

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