Australian-Japanese Relations

   Although Australia was part of the British Empire, and Japan had signed a treaty of alliance with Britain in 1902, these two nations had a strained relationship in the period immediately before the World War I. Japan considered the Australian policy of immigration restriction toward Asians as an affront, and Australians viewed the rise of Japanese military power with apprehension after its victory in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 and annexation of Korea in 1910. The popular fear of a Japanese invasion of Australia manifested itself in the 1908 play, White Australia - or the Empty North, the 1909 novel, The Australian Crisis, and the 1913 film Australia Calls, which included scenes of Australian cities being bombed by aircraft of an unspecified Asian nation. It also led the Australian government to introduce compulsory military training and establish the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Flying Corps. These anxieties, however, did not prevent the development of economic ties. The Japanese had imported Australian coal since the 1860s, and Japanese divers had played a vital role in the Australian pearling industry at Broome in Western Australia and Thursday Island in Queensland since the 1880s. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Australia and Japan fought on the same side against Germany and the first convoy of Australian and New Zealand troops was escorted by the Japanese cruiser Ibuki.
   See also <>.
    Frei, Henry P. Japan’s Southward Advance and Australia: From the Sixteenth Century to World War II. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1991;
    Meaney, Neville. The Search for Security in the Pacific, 1901-14. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1976.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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