Japan Society E-Library

Japan Experiences - Fifty Years, One Hundred Views: Post-War Japan Through British Eyes

Edited by:Cortazzi, Hugh

Publisher:Japan Library

First published:2001

This edition:2001


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36. Two British Embassy Heads of Chancery who were not Japan Specialists

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh
Author: Cortazzi, Hugh

This chapter puts the individual accounts included within Japan Experiences into the context of Anglo-Japanese post-war relations.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh

As a prisoner of war, Peter Dean was one of the first westerners to experience Japan after the surrender.

Author: Bush, Lewis

Lewis Bush was a POW who had lived in Japan prior to the war. This chapter comprises extracts from his account, The Road to Inamura.

Author: Figgess, John

Diplomat John Figgess was among the first of the British contingent to arrive in Tokyo in 1945 and in this chapter he describes his arrival and his work in Japan.

Author: Beasley, William Gerard

William Gerard Beasley, subsequently a professor at SOAS, arrived in Japan in 1945 with the Americans. This chapter comprises extracts from a talk given on his experiences of the flurry of activity in the early occupation, particularly with regard to demilitarization and early post-war economics.

Author: Parker, Peter

Peter Parker reached Japan in October 1945 as a British officer. In this chapter he describes his experiences both of Japan and the American Occupation.

Author: Bates, Peter, and Bramall, Edwin

Peter Bates sums up the feelings of the arriving British troops and their impressions.

Author: Nish, Ian

Ian Nish, later Professor at SOAS, gives an account of his work in the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, where he translated contemporary newspapers, along with documents from during the war, and was later involved in the first post-war elections.

Author: Radbourne, Lew

Lew Radbourne was a member of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, attached to the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre. In this chapter he describes being sent to Japan in 1947 after studying at SOAS.

Author: Bates, Paul

Paul Bates, who studied at SOAS before spending time with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, sums up his time in the Occupation.

Author: Wood, Christopher

Christopher Wood recalls his time as a British soldier in Shikoku in 1946.

Author: Morris, John

John Morris was one of a handful of British individuals without service connections in Japan in the early days of the occupation. Having written about his experiences in Japan prior to the war, he set off to write a sequel.

Author: Blunden, Edmund

Edmund Blunden returned to Japan as cultural adviser to the United Kingdom Liaison Mission. Here he describes rural Japan.

Author: Tracy, Honor

Honor Tracy gives a sardonic and anti-American view of Japan in the latter days of the Occupation.

Author: Piggot, Major General F.S.G.

F.S.G Piggott was one of a small number of japanophiles left in post-war Britain, preferring to overlook the worst excesses of Japan's pre-war leaders. This chapter details his nostalgic view of life in pre-war Japan.

Author: Ashton-Gwatkin, Frank

Novelist Frank Ashton-Gwatkin revisited Japan for the first time after the war in 1974. In this chapter he recalls his first experiences of Japan, where he worked for the Japan Consular Service in 1913.

Author: Britton, Dorothy

Dorothy Britton was born in Japan before the war and returned there during the Occupation. This chapter gives an account of her life as a bridge between Japanese and English cultures.

Author: Blunden, Edmund; Reg Close; Dennis Enright; George Fraser; Francis King; and E.W.F. Tomlin

In 1947 Vere Redman reinstated the policy of attaching a prominent writer as teacher of English to the mission in Japan, to be 'placed at the disposal of Japanese Universities'. Edmund Blunden, George Fraser and D.J. Enright all held this post, and this chapter records their thoughts on Japan, along with those of a number of prominent figures with the British Council in Japan, Reg Close, Francis King, Leslie Phillips, Ronald Bottrall, E.W.F.Tomlin.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh

As air services developed and Japan become more accessible, the number of visitors from Britain increased. One of these early visitors was composer Benjamin Britten.

Author: King, Francis, and Mayall, Lees

The Royal Ballet and top ballet dancers from Britain have been frequent visitors to Japan since the late 1950s.

Author: Spender, Stephen

Poet Stephen Spender was in Japan in 1958, and recalls his experiences of noh and Hokkaido.

Author: King, Francis, and Mayall, Lees

Somerset Maugham was very popular among Japanese students of English, and visited Japan in 1959.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh, and Sacheverell Sitwell

Writers Sacheverell Sitwell and Arthur Koestler both visited Japan in the 1950s and published accounts of their experiences.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh

Art historian and critic Kenneth Clark visited Japan in 1963, giving him the opportunity to indulge his love of Japanese art.

Author: Powell, Anthony

The great novelist Anthony Powell visited Japan with the British Council in 1964 and gave a brief account of his visit in his autobiography.

Author: Post, Laurens van der

Laurens van der Post was in Japan before the war and had been a Japanese POW in Java. He was commissioned by Hogarth Press to write A Portrait of Japan, published in 1968, and also wrote a number of other books relating to his experiences in Japan.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh, and David Hockney

In his book David Hockney, David Hockney recorded the details of his 1971 visit to Japan. He later visited the British Embassy, resulting in the work Lunch at the British Embassy.

Author: Casson, Hugh, and Hugh Cortazzi

Artist Hugh Casson visited Japan in 1981 for the 'Great Japan Exhibition' of Edo period art. During his time there he made a number of sketches, later published as part of the 1991 Japan Festival in Britain.

Author: Thwaite, Anthony

In addition to the writers mentioned in Chapter 4, 'Cultural Relations Resumed', who lectured and taught in Japanese universities, Anthony Thwaite worked in Japan from 1953 to 1957, and wrote about his experiences in Tokyo during this period.

Author: Guest, Harry

Poet Harry Guest was in Japan from 1966 to 1972, and recalls his experiences.

Author: Haylock, John

Novelist John Haylock first went to Japan in 1956 and again several times later, and recalls his experience.

Author: Robinson, Peter

Peter Robinson was Professor of English at Sendai University, and here he reflects on aspects of working in Japan.

Author: Barrett, Michael; Joan Martin; and Peter Martin

Prominent representatives of the British Council in Japan reflect on their experiences, which included writing books on Japanese food, entertaining visiting politicians and celebreties, organising festivals and promoting education and culture. Particular attention is given to difficulties encountered with the English language teaching system.

Author: Buckley, Roger

Roger Buckley reflects on the difficulties of being a teacher in Japan both at a language school and a university.

Author: Hudson, Sue

Sue Hudson went to Japan before the JET scheme was set up to work in a school in Shizuoka. Here she recounts her experience as a young Western woman in rural Japan.

Author: Everest, Philip; Sarah Johnson; Adrian McGreevey; and Susanna Pfeiffer

These accounts from four returning teachers from the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) programme give an insight both into life in modern Japan for young people and into the Japanese education system.

Author: Dore, Ronald

Among the outstanding students of Japanese during the war, Ronald Doore was so succesful that he was asked to stay on at SOAS as an additional teacher. He had to wait five years after the war for his first trip to Japan, and here he gives his account of Japan in the penultimate year of the Occupation.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh

Eric Ceadel was lecturer in Japanese at the University of Cambridge, and visited Japan in 1950 to buy books for the University Library.

Author: Beasley, William Gerard

Having served in Japan during the Occupation, Bill Beasley returned there to carry out post-doctoral research during a sabatical year in 1950, and again in 1956 and 1963.

Author: Blacker, Carmen

Carmen Blacker visited Japan in 1952 on a post-graduate studentship granted by HM Treasury, to study the 19th century scholar Yukichi Fukuzawa. While there she was invited to summer with the novelist Jiro Osaragi, during which time she began her work on Japanese religion and spent a week at the famous temple of Engakuji at Kamakura.

Author: Bownas, Geoffrey

Geoffrey Bownas was the first British scholar to study in Kyoto after the war, arriving there in 1952. Here he describes his experience, particularly with regard to the movement towards senzogaeri - 'returning home to the values of our ancestors'.

Author: Swan, Peter

Peter Swan went to Japan in 1953 to study Chinese painting, and during his time there covered many facets of Japanese art. Here he gives an account of his visit.

Author: Nish, Ian

Ian Nish had been in Japan during the Occupation, and in the late 1950s was a lecturer at Sydney University. He visited Japan every year from 1957 to '63 for research.

Author: Storry, Richard

Richard Storry was in Japan teaching before the war, and afterwards was a research fellow in Oxford. This chapter details his 1958 visit to Japan to collect material on Prince Fumimaro Konoye, Japanese Prime Minister from 1937 to '39 and 1940 to '41. It also describes a visit made in 1973, at the height of the oil crisis.

Author: Allen, Louis

Louis Allen studied Japanese at SOAS during the war, and worked in Burma as a translator and interrogator. Here he describes his experiences of that time, as well as a remarkable reunion twenty years later.

Author: Gardner, Kenneth

Ken Gardner was a Japanese language student during the war and returned to SOAS afterwards, becoming assistant librarian responsible for Japanese books. He then worked as Keeper of Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts at the British Museum, and visited Japan in 1967.

Author: Kornicki, Peter

In this chapter Peter Kornicki describes how he became the first non-Japanese since the end of the war to be given a professorial position at a Japanese national university.

Author: Hendry, Joy

Anthropologist Joy Hendry describes her time conducting fieldwork, studying family life in rural Japan.

Author: Tracy, Honor

Honor Tracy gives an account of her meeting with author Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, whose works include The Makioka Sisters and Some Prefer Nettles.

Author: Blacker, Carmen

Carmen Blacker's recollection of writer Osaragi Jirō.

Author: Mayall, Lees; Powell, Anthony; and Tracy, Honor

Yoshida Ken'ichi was a literary critic, author and scholar of English literature. This chapter gives an account of his meetings with Honor Tracy, Lees Mayall and Anthony Powell.

Author: Mayall, Lees

Lees Mayall describes his encounter with author Mishima Yukio.

Author: Bull, George

George Bull recounts Graham Greene's encounter with Endō Shūsaku.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh

Hugh Cortazzi recounts two meetings with author Shiba Ryōtarō, best known for his novels about historical events in Japan and on the Northeast Asian sub-continent.

Author: Ellingworth, Dick, and Francis Rundall

Dick Ellingworth, First Secretary and Olympic Attaché at the Embassy from 1963 recalls the state of Japan at this time, and the Embassy's role in the Tokyo Olympics.

Author: Connors, Lesley; Lydia Gomersall; Janet Hunter; Peter Martin; and Anne Kaneko

Expo '70 was the first world's fair held in Japan, and was given the theme 'Progress and Harmony for Mankind'. Here three helpers from the British Pavilion and Peter Martin of the British Council recreate the atmosphere of the event.

Author: Powers, David, and Carolyn Whitehead

Carolyn Whitehead, wife of the British Ambassador, and David Powers, BBC correspondent in Japan at the time, recall the death of the Shōwa Emperor in 1989.

Author: Powers, David, and Whitehead, Carolyn

Carolyn Whitehead, wife of the British Ambassador, and David Powers, BBC correspondent in Japan at the time, continue their account of the death of the Shōwa Emperor in 1989, with the enthronement of Emperor Akihito.

Author: Campbell-White, Martin

The 1991 Japan Festival was a major celebration of Japanese culture across the UK, and marked the centenary of the Japan Society. The festival is covered in detail elsewhere, but this chapter records the efforts of Martin Campbell-White to involve both the Takarazuka Revue and sumo.

Author: Emery, Fred; Bill Emmott; Hessell Tiltman; William Horsley; David Powers; Ian de Stains; and Henry Scott Stokes

Prominent British journalists from the Guardian, The Times, the BBC and The Economist pick out the key themes from their time in Japan.

Author: Baker, Kenneth; Denis Healey; Julian Ridsdale; and Patrick Jenkin

Although few British politicians have had more than a cursory knowledge of Japan, large numbers of MPs have visited the country, and some have managed to achieve more than a passing acquaintance with it. The British Japan Parliamentary Group and the UK-Japan 2000 Group (later UK-Japan 21st Century Group) have been the driving force behind this. Here key figures from these organisations describe their dealings with Japan.

Author: Bates, Paul; Neville Fakes; and Michael Wingate

Royal Dutch Shell  was one of the few 'British' companies (a majority of the company's expatriates were British) to train its staff in the Japanese language. Here Paul Bates, Neville Fakes and Michael Wingate recall their experiences with Shell from 1952 to '72, with a focus on the process of doing business in Japan at this time.

Author: Fraser, Duncan, and Lew Radbourne

Having first gone to Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, Lew Radbourne returned in 1949 as a junior expatriate with Dodwell and Company. Duncan Fraser first worked in Japan with Jardin Matheson and Company Limited and ended his service there as Direct of Royals Royce (Far East). Here both recall the early years of working and trading in Japan

Author: Large, Dick; Graham McCallum; Martyn Naylor; Ann Wilkinson; and David Wilkinson

One of the key service sectors for Britain in Japan was the airline industry, and until the late 1980s the main British company involved was British Airways. Here David Wilkinson, BA's manager in Japan from 1978 to '87 gives an account of his experience there, along with his wife, Ann Wilkinson's reflections. Following this, Martin Naylor recalls the important role played by the Japan British Society in the 1960s and '70s. During a forty-year career in Japan, Dick Large worked for John Swire & Sons (during which time he precided over Swire Japan's international shipping operations), Cathay Pacific and BA. Here he reflects on this period.

Author: Parker, Peter

The importance of attracting capital investment to Britain was increasingly recognised by British governments from the 1970s onwards. Businessman Peter Parker became closely involved with Japanese investment in Britain. Here he recounts his later experiences with Japan and considers the future.

Author: Perry, Mike

Mike Perry headed Unilever's joint venture in Japan from 1981 to '83 and went on to lead various British campaigns to export to Japan. Here he describes his experiences in Japan in the early 1980s.

Author: Thorne, Ben

Ben Thorne was closely involved in efforts to persuade British exporters to look at opportunities in Japan, organised the 1969 British Week in Tokyo, and then formed the Tokyo Export Marketing Centre in 1973. Here he reflects on UK-Japan Commercial relations from 1968 to '79.

Author: Hand, Peter

Banker Peter Hand reflects on the changed circumstances for British banks in Japan from the post war period to the 1980s.

Author: Naish, John; Christopher Purvis; Edmund de Rothschild; and Hugh Trenchard

Key figures from the British merchant banking community in Japan reflect on the experience of doing business there, and on the changing market from the 1950s to '80s.

Author: Barr, Dugald, and Eric Elstob

Eric Elstob looks back on over thirty years in Japan in a career that started with the Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust. Meanwhile, Dugald Barr was recruited in 1969 by Vickers, da Costa, a company that was among the first to invest in the Tokyo market, to conduct research and open their Japan office, the first of a London broker in Japan. With Haruko Fukuda, he built up the largest business of any foreign broker in Japan. Here he racalls his experiences.

Author: Elston, Chris, and Geoffrey Littler

Before the 1970s there seemed to be little scope for British financial services in the closed Japanese market. Japanese membership of the OECD, however, forced gradual changes, along with internal pressure from Japanese companies wanting access to foreign loans. Here Chris Elston, who joined the British Embassy as Financial Counsellor in 1979 recalls his time as Bank of England representative in Japan, and reflects on both the state of Japan's banking system and general accounting practices in the years leading up to the crisis. Meanwhile, Geoffrey Little of HM Treasury gives an account of negotiations to ensure that Britain kept pace with American financial institutions in Japan.

Author: Abraham, Jimmie; Hugh Cortazzi; Peter Dean; John Figgess; Gail Forrest; and Mike Forrest

Officers from all three services have done stints in post-war Japan as advisers during the Occupation years. Their tasks were to observe the demilitarization of Japan and then to develop contacts with the Self-Defense Forces, and more recently to promote defence sales from British manufacturers. Here a number of previous service attachés recount their experience in Japan. 

Author: Bradley, Clive, and Bill Williamson

Bill Williamson did two separate tours as Atomic Energy Attaché at the British Embassy. His account of working with the Japanese government in the commissioning of the first nuclear power stations in Japan is a reminder of an important and often over-looked facet of Anglo-Japan relations. Clive Bradley meanwhile was Counsellor for Science and Technology in the British Embassy in the 1980s where he was responsible for reporting on scientific and technological developments and for promoting British science and technology.

Author: Purvis, Phillida

Phillida Purvis lived in Japan during the 1980s and experienced a number of different 'incarnations', as a student, diplomat, teacher of international relations, wife and mother. Here she picks out themes from her life as an expatriate in Japan.

Author: Baker-Bates, Merrick

Merrick Baker-Bates was first a diplomatic service language student in Japan before becoming Commercial Counsellor. Having transferred to commerce for four years he subsequently returned to the diplomatic service as Consul General in LA. Here he describes his various lives in Japan, with particular reference to his time as a language student, the shift in emphasis in the 1960s to promoting British exports, and to his time as General Manager of Cornes and Company.

Author: Giffard, Sydney

Having completed his time as a language student, future Ambassador Sydney Giffard was sent to the Kansai to gain experience as a Vice-Consul. Here he describes life in Kansai in the 1950s, putting it in the context of progressive centralization in Tokyo.

Author: Ellingworth, Dick, and Brian Hitch

The pre-war Japan Consular Service sent selected new entrants each year to study Japanese, creating a corps of Japanese-speaking consuls. The Foreign Office realised that Japanese-speaking officers would be needed after the war in the embassy, and in consular posts in Japan, and so revived the practice in 1951. In this chapter Dick Ellingworth and Brian Hitch describe the system.

Author: Whitehead, John

In the 1950s the Foreign Office maintained the tradition of sending language students to Japan. Here future Ambassador Tim Whitehead recalls his time, from 1956, as one such student, including his extensive travelling around the country.

Author: Ripley, Eddie

Eddie Ripley gives an account of his efforts to study Japanese and of his early experiences as a vice-consul in Yokohama in the late 1950s and '60s.

Author: Pinnell, Alan

Alan Pinnell's diplomatic career in Japan spanned some twenty years, from the late 1960s to the late '80s. Here he picks out some of the most memorable moments from his time in Japan, starting with his time as a language student and culminating with the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1986, via his time in the commercial department.

Author: Mayall, Lees

Lees Mayall was based in Japan from 1958 to 1961, tasked with keeping an eye on the Japanese Government's new 'American-imposed democracy'. This chapter comprises extracts from his memoir Fireflies in Amber, in which he describes his reactions to Japan.

Author: Barrington, Nicholas

Nicholas Barrington described himself as not a Japanese specialist, but an admirer. Here he recalls his time as Head of Chancery in Japan.

Author: Redman, Vere

Vere Redman was a notable eccentric, but devoted to Anglo-Japanese relations. This chapter comprises extracts from a talk given by Redman, 'Things I have learned in and From Japan', covering both the pre- and post-war.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh

A list of post-war British Ambassadors to Japan with commentary by Hugh Cortazzi.

Author: Whitehead, John

Former ambassador John Whitehead's Canterbury address marking the fiftieth anniversary of VJ Day.

Author: Cortazzi, Hugh, and Gren Wedderburn

Gren Wedderburn was one of the first two doctors at the Tokyo Medical and Surgical Clinic set up by Tokyo Tower in 1951 as the Occupation was coming to an end, a service used by many expatriates in the 1950s and '60s. This chapter gives an overview of his time in Japan.

Author: Fakes, Neville

This chapter offers a brief survey of Japan's oil industry in the 19th century, giving context for its post-war development.