The Limits of Internationalism: Cosmopolitanism and Patriotism in the Work of Nitobe Inazō
Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
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This paper examines the work of pre-war Japan's foremost internationalist, Nitobe Inazo, an American-educated Quaker who served as Under-Secretary-General of the League of Nations from 1919 to 1926. A self-proclaimed "bridge across the Pacific," throughout his career Nitobe strove to explain Japanese culture to a critical western audience and defends its position as the sole non-white imperial power in a world order dominated by European empires. This paper traces Nitobe's project of cultural mediation from his first major work, Bushido: The Soul of Japan, published in 1900, to his final days spent justifying Japanese aggression in Manchurian, paying particular attention to how his internationalist activities evolved both his own rise to social prominence and Japan's concurrent ascension to great power status.