JAPAN’S LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE WEST by Sukehiro Hirakawa. Folkstone: Global Oriental, 2005, 557 pp., £50 (cloth).

Rudyard Kipling, one of the most popular writers in the English tongue of his generation, addressed his poem “The White Man’s Burden” to the American people in 1899 — when the United States was emerging as an imperialist power in Asia, having made the Philippines its colony in the western Pacific. Of the poem Theodore Roosevelt said it “is rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansionist standpoint,” the standpoint of the “powers” that divided the world among them.

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