Episode 472 – Southward, Ho! Part 1

Japan would seize control of German Micronesia in the fall of 1914, but Japanese interest in the region goes back centuries further. This week: how did Japan get from disinterest in the nebulously defined ‘Southern Seas’ to active military operations to take control of them?


Hezel, Francis X. Strangers in their Own Land: A Century of Colonial Rule in the Caroline and Marshall Islands.

Peattie, Mark R. Nan’yo: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese in Micronesia, 1885-1945.

Ruegg, Jonas. “Mapping the Forgotten Colony: The Ogasawara Islands and the Tokugawa Pivot to the Pacific.” Cross Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review 23 (June, 2017).


Shimaya Ichizaemon’s map of the Bonins, 1675.
Hayashi Shihei’s 1785 map. The Bonins are at the far south.
A painting by Miyamoto Gendo of the Kanrin Maru arriving at Chichijima in 1862.
Micronesia is the area highlighted in purple.
This map of the Truk Lagoon (today called Chuuk) gives you some idea of what the atolls and chains of Micronesia look like.
Mori Koben in his later years.