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Paul Midford

In: The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies

Chapter 25: Japan–United States Relations

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Japan–United States Relations
Japan–United States Relations
Paul Midford

Seen from the broadest historical perspective, Japan–United States relations have traced several full circles: from hostility to friendship to war to ally. And seen from the perspective of the early twenty-first century, it stands as a supreme irony that the relationship was launched in the early 1850s in no small measure as a by-product of American whaling. The United States was the world's leading whaling power at that time, and beyond ordinary trade, it wanted humane treatment for the crews of its shipwrecked whaling vessels at a minimum, and at maximum ports where these ships could resupply (Gibney 1992: 53–54; La Feber 1998: 3, 8; Cohen 2000: 261–262).1

By the late twentieth century, Japan and the United States would switch places, with Japan becoming the world's leading whaling power ...

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