Rising Sun in the Mediterranean -Second Special Squadron,1916-1918


        Scholars such as Julian Corbett and Henry Newbolt are famous for their great achievements in the field of naval history of the First World War, but except for Paul H. Halpern's A Naval History of World War and Ian Nish's Alliance in Decline, only a few studies of the First World War history in English have paid attention to the Japanese role, especially of the naval actions in the Mediterranean. Even the work of Halpern, which presents in full detail the naval history in World War, makes only a few refrences to the Japanese naval activities in the Mediterranean. This paper deals with the Second Special Squadron which was despatched to the Mediterranean. The object is to examine what the Japanese Navy did in the Mediterranean and how their activities were assessed, why the Japanese Navy hesitated to send large ships(Battleships and Battle Cruisers) to the European waters and why destroyers were applied in the Mediterranean, and to consider what they accomplished in diplomatic terms.

1.Japan's Entrance into the War and limitation of the Operational Area

        Great Britain and Japan had been allies since 1902, and the Japanese Navy was predominant in the Far East at that time. The First World War began on 28 July 1914, and the British ultimatum to Germany expired at midnight on August 4. At the beginning, Japan's entrance to the War was not welcomed, and by the nature of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, there was no obligation for Japan to automatically join in hostilities even if Britain declared War. On 3rd August 1914, British Ambassador Sir Conyngham Greene visited Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kato Takaaki, and showed him the telegraph which said “Sir Edward Grey did not think that the interests dealt with by the Anglo-Japanese Alliance would be involved, nor did he think it likely that His Majesty's Government would have to apply to the Imperial Japanese Government under the terms of that Alliance."(1) Acknowledging this British inten-tion, the Japanese Government declared neutrality on 4th August. However, Japan added that in the event that “Great Britain becomes involved in the general conflagra-tion and the object of the treaty of alliance between Japan and Great Britain is placed in jeopardy, the realization of which events the Imperial Government sincerely wish not to take place, Japan will be obliged to take those steps necessary for the preservation of the object of the treaty."(2)

        Nonetheless, on the 3rd, Grey approached Japan by way of precaution that “if hostilities spread to the Far East and an attack on Hong Kong or Weihaiwei were to take place, we should rely on their support."(3) While, as Grey hoped the Far East would remain out side of the War, on 4 August, he told Japanese Ambassador in London, Inoue Katunosuke that Britain should avoid, if it could, to draw Japan into any trouble.(4) But on 7th August, Grey reversed his first proposal and Ambassador Greene brought a most urgent message to Minister Kato which said, “It is most important that the Japanese fleet should, if possible, hunt out and destroy the armed German merchant cruisers who are now attacking our commerce."(5) But, after transmitting this message, Grey again changed his attitude, and attempted to keep the Far East out of the war, as the dominions of Australia and New Zealand, the Netherlands East Indies and the United States did not welcome the participation of Japan into the war. Grey expressed his concern on the 9th, and relayed to Ambassador Inoue on the 10th via Greene. He said to Minister Kato that war in the Far East would trigger disturbances in China and spread to all East Asia, thus dealing a heavy blow to British trade, and he requested Japan to refrain until further instruction.(6)

        But on the 10th in London, Grey also requested Ambassador Inoue to cancel invoking action under the Treaty to avoid international trouble and disturbance of trade in China.(7) While in Japan, the Okuma cabinet had already decided on 8th to give an ultimatum against Germany following the first British request of 7th August. The cabinet by this time had reported to Emperor Taisho and had received his approval to declare the ultimatum to Germany. Minister Kato strongly opposed the British cancellation because it would overturn the decisions already made, and, the cabinet would be put in an “extremely embarrassing position". After several negotiations, Grey finally conceded on 11th August for Japan to send the ultimatum to Germany, but on condition that the theatre of operations be confined to the German leasehold on land and the neighbouring China Seas.(8) Furthermore on the 12th, Grey handed over an Aide-Memoir to Ambassador Inoue, in London, that “Japanese action will not extend beyond the Asiatic waters westward of the China Seas, nor to any foreign territory with the exception of territory on the Continent in Eastern Asia which is under German occupation.(9)

        Ambassador Inoue insisted that the Japanese Navy must protect her merchant ships on the high sea, and should the German Eastern Squadron retreated to the German Pacific Islands, the Japanese Navy would pursue them. Such a limitation would be unrealistic in naval operations.(10) But, on the 14th August, Grey asked that Japan should give assurances to other nations such as Australia, the United States, the Netherlands and others of its geographic areas of operations, since these countries always held the misapprehension that Japan had territorial ambitions, and to announce that Japan had no intention of seizing German Islands in the Pacific in any form.(11)

        Due to these British concerns and proposals, Prime Minister Okuma Shigenobu declared, at the meeting of All Japan Commercial Assembly that “Japan has no intention of seizing German Islands in the Pacific.(12) But on the same day, in London, without giving notice to Japan, the British Government on its own informed the press that the action of Japan would not extend to the Pacific Ocean beyond the China Seas, except in so far as it may be necessary to protect Japanese shipping lines in the Pacific, nor beyond Asiatic waters westward of the China Seas, nor to any foreign territory except territory in German occupation on the Continent of Eastern Asia.(13)

2. British requests for naval assistance
(1)Request concerning the Pacific and Indian Oceans

        Having asked Japan for geographical limitation, however, the British Navy, recognized their lack of naval power in the Pacific and in the Mediterranean. They reversed their policy and requested Japan to despatch naval forces to European waters outside of the original geographical limitation on the 13th August. The British Navy asked the Japanese naval assistance attach , Captain Abo Kiyotane, to deploy the cruiser “Izumo" which had been dispatched to Mexico, to head for Esquimalt to protect the coast of North America.(14) Then on 2nd of September, Grey sounded out Ambassador Inoue as to whether the Japanese Government would be disposed to send a division of their Navy in order to cooperate with the Allies Navy primarily in the Mediterranean and ultimately in the decisive theatres to cope with the Turkish and the Austrian battleships, the German cruiser“Goben" and the light cruiser“Breslau" in the Mediterranean.(15)

        To this requirement, Minister Kato explained to the British Ambassador Greene, on 9th September, that Japan could not afford to split its naval force to the European waters because its operations in Tsingtao and in the Pacific Ocean were being carried out, and since the Imperial Naval vessels were designed mainly for home defence, it was almost impossible to gain the approval of public opinion to send naval forces to Europe.(16) Two months after the first request, on 4th November 1914, Britain again extended its request for the Japanese Army to head for Europe and the Navy to the Dardanelles, because of Turkish participation in the war. Greene handed a private “most secret" message from the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston S. Churichill, to the Minister of the Navy, Vice Admiral Yashiro Rokuro, asking for naval assistance, “as Tsingtao will be taken and the German cruisers will probably be destroyed, we hope early in the year to be strong enough to increase the severity of our naval pressure on the Germans by entering the Baltic". On this proposal, at the conversation with Kato, Greene offered the advantages to Japan of a more powerful voice at the peace conference, if Japan concurred to this proposal.(17)

        These incoherent and conflicting approaches by the British created strong arguments and deep distrust within the Japanese Navy that the British had limited Japanese naval activities in the China Sea at the beginning of the war. The Navy Minister Yashiro relayed his negative opinion to the Foreign Minister that if main forces were despatched to the European waters, the Navy could not secure national defence against “the second enemy〔the United State Navy〕." Secondly Japan would lose diplomatic power if she lost her main battleships. Thirdly, the Navy Minister was concerned about the enormous costs for overseas campaign.

        Chief of the Naval General Staff, Vice Admiral Shimamura Hayao shared the opinion that Japan should avoid the risk of losing naval power for home defence against possible United States threat, and moreover that the British request was not covered by the Treaty.(18) While the Japanese Navy was debating, Churchill sent the following proposal on 15th November to the Japanese Navy Minister Shimamura that; firstly -- Japanese Navy can make whatever dispositions of their squadrons and ships in the Australian waters, since the British Navy will allow their own squadron to be concentrated in the search for the “Scharnhorst" and “Gneisenau" and to pursue them. Secondly -- such dispositions of Japanese naval vessels in the Australian archipelago will prevent the return to the Pacific of the German Squadron from the coast of Chile, and also afford protection to the trade of Japan and Great Britain throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans; Thirdly -- as these operations will not fully occupy the naval forces of Japan, we ask whether the Japanese Government and Admiralty would find it agreeable to send a squadron to the Dardanelles to blockade the German-Turkish fleet there. If any vessels employed in the last-named operation, we should of course be willing to indemnify the Japanese Government, and all facilities for fuel, supplies and docking will be afforded by us free of cost to any vessels employed in European waters.(19)

        On 18th November, the Japanese Navy replied to the British Naval Attach, Captain Edward H.Rymer, that the first and second requests were approved and that details would be decided by both admiralties. But with regard to the third, it should be considered not by the naval authorities, but by the Government. The definite answer would be given later by the Imperial Government after considerations.(20)

        Then on the 25th November, Foreign Minister Kato officially declined Britain's third request through a Memorandum. He repeated in the Memorandum that,“the Imperial Navy is, as the British Ambassador is well aware, organized with the main object of defending the Empire against foreign invasion and of securing Japan's position in East Asia. The despatch of a force strong enough to render the effective assistance as desired by the British Admiralty would seriously weaken the national defence." “Moreover, the presence of the Japanese main fleet in these waters being a strong factor of guarantee of peace in East Asia, its removal to the theatre of War in Europe would render it exceedingly difficult to meet with any emergency that may arise in East Asia, and to carry out completely the obligations imposed upon us by the articles of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In view of these considerations, the Imperial Navy extremely regrets that it is unable to meet the wishes of the Great British Admiralty."(21)

        Britain persisted and continued to solicit the assistance of Japan. On 18th December, unofficially, the British Navy sounded out the Japanese Naval Attach Rear Admiral Oguri Kosaburo about sending battle cruisers to the Mediterranean. But, Admiral Oguri replied that he could not comply since it was not a matter for naval authorities but for the Governments to talk it over.(22) Again, on the 13th January 1915, Ambassador Greene sounded out Foreign Minister Kato on this matter. However, Greene could not obtain any concession from him.(23)

(2)Request concerning the Mediterranean

        Subsequently, there was no request from Britain for over a year. But, as German naval effort had been concentrating on commercial raiders, on 2nd February 1916, the British Admiralty communication to its Foreign Office": The presence of a flotilla of Japanese destroyers in those waters would be of the greatest value in view of the present demand for Allied vessels of this type. Tentative enquiry has, from time to time, been made of the Japanese naval attach as to whether his Government would be likely to accede to a request for a flotilla of destroyers to be sent to the West, but no indication has been given that the Japanese Government are consider-ing the matter....It would not be necessary to specify the Mediterranean as their destination, since they could, if preferred, be employed in home waters, thus releasing others for the Mediterranean. My Lords quite appreciate that it may, on political grounds, be thought inadvisable to solicit the Japanese government for naval assistance in the West, but the practical necessities of the naval situation make it necessary to ask that the suggestion should be seriously considered.(24)

        Having received the above notification on the 4th February, Grey informed Inoue of the present situation of the Royal Navy, and then asked quite informally if they could obtain the agreement of the Japanese Government to despatch destroyers to the Mediterranean. Grey also telegraphed the British Ambassador in Tokyo the purport of the Admiralty's request that they understood that the Japanese Government would not be justified in risking the loss of battleships by mines or submarines at so great a distance from Japan. But they might be prepared to consider the use of a flotilla of destroyers, which presumably involved much less risk to the strength of the Japanese fleet.(25)

         However, On 8th February, because of the rapidly growing danger from German naval raiders at large from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.(26) The British Admiralty changed the proposing area of the Japanese Naval operation from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, in order to protect the transport route between Australia and asked for Aden and destroyers to assist in patrolling the Malacca Strait.(27) In reply, Minister Ishii Kikujiro proposed the following conditions to Ambassador Greene if they were to comply with the British request; firstly, the admittance of Japanese immigrants by Australia and New Zealand, secondly, the Australian Government's agreement to sign the Anglo-Japanese Commercial Treaty, and thirdly, the repeal of restrictions which prevented Japanese medical doctors from practising in the British colonies.(28)

        In addition, on the following day, Foreign Minister Ishii wired a firm instruction to the Japanese Ambassador in London that he should convey to the British Government that the agreement to provide the naval assistance requested would not be passed in the Diet unless Britain accepted Minister Ishii's proposal.(29) Negotiations were continued on the 21st February, 17th and 23rd March. In view of Grey's efforts, Ishii finally instructed Inoue on the 26th March to inform Grey that the Japanese Government was prepared to comply with Britain's request.(30) On 30th March, the Japanese Navy ordered two cruisers ("Tsushima" and“Tone") and four destroyers to patrol in the Indian Ocean and the Malacca Strait and Java Sea.(31)

(3)Request for the Mediterranean

         There was no further request for Mediterranean aid until December 1916. But after the Battle of Jutland, German naval efforts concentrated more and more on submarine warfare. From this change of German naval operation by December, Allied ships were being lost at the rate of 300.000 tons per month. Due to this serious situation, the British Admiralty submitted a request to Japan to send two light cruisers from the Sixth Squadron stationed at Singapore, to the Cape of Hope and flotillas of destroyers to the Mediterranean.(32). Upon receiving this request from the Admiralty, Grey instructed Greene to sound out the Japanese Government. Greene visited the Foreign Minister Motono Ichiro on 11th and Minister of the Navy, Admiral Kato Tomosaburo on 15th January 1917, and he inquired if Japan could despatch cruisers to the Cape of Hope and destroyers to the Mediterranean.

      To this request, opinions in the Imperial Navy were divided. One was in favour of positive policy, asserted by Rear Admiral Akiyama Saneyuki, who had recently returned to Japan from his trip in Europe. He emphasized the importance of cooperation and he insisted that Japan must accept British request. If Japan could contribute more to the Allies, Japan could get a position among the Allies after peace had been restored. He also added that Japan could gain new anti-submarine tactics and weapons. Another opinion supported a negative policy, asserted by Commander Nakamura Ryuzo, Chief of the First Section(Operation) of the Naval General Staff. He submitted to Rear Admiral Abo Kiyotane, Chief of the First Department of the Naval General Staff, his opinion that “Japan must not send main battle ships unless Japan itself were in danger, even if we were able to gain tactical and technical gains.(33) While in Japan, a new cabinet was formed by General Terauchi Masatake whose members favoured coopera-tion with Allies with the expectation of a voice at the peace conference. Finally, the Imperial Navy decided to despatch destroyer squadron to the Mediterranean and presented the proposed following condition, to Ambassador Greene from Minister Mototno on 2nd February:(34)

1.The “Tsushima" and the “Niitaka" to be sent to the Cape of Good Hope.
2.The “Akashi" and a detachment of destroyers, consisting of two flottilas, under command of Rear
  Admiral, to be sent to the Mediterranean.
3.Those vessels not to be placed under the command of the Admiral Commander- in-Chief of the
  British Naval Forces, but to act in co-operation with him or at his request.
8.It is to be understood that any reinforcement of the Japanese ships now to be sent will be impossible
  under actual conditions of the Japanese Navy, and that the ships to be based on Malta will not be
  called upon to extend their operations beyond the Mediterranean(32)
  (No.4, 5, 6, 7 conditions are omitted).

        Conceding to the British request, the Japanese Government finally decided on February 10th at the Cabinet meeting, to send a one light cruiser “Akashi"and eight destroyers. The Eleventh destroyer flotilla(later changed formation number to 24th Flotilla), four 650 tons “Kaba" class, left Japan on 18th February 1917 to join the flagship light cruiser “Akashi" and Tenth destroyer flotilla(later 23rd Flotilla) in Singapore on 5th March. The Second Special Squadron left Singapore commanded by Rear Admiral Sato Kozo for the Mediterranean on 11th March, arriving at Malta on 16th April, via Colombo, Aden, and Port Said. Using Malta as base, the Second Special Squadron thereafter discharged the most important duties, of escorting Allied troopships until the end of war.(35)

        By the end of April 1918, the losses of shipping again became severe, and the British Navy asked for Japan twelve more destroyers. Then on 1st May, Ambassador Greene handed Minister Motono a confidential private letter stating that a large number of ships were being lost by the Germany's unrestricted submarine campaign. Therefore, the British needed as much Japanese naval assistance as possible in European waters.(36) In addition, on 5 May, the King and Queen invited the Japanese Ambassador and his wife to Windsor Castle, where King George V asked for more destroyers to be sent the Mediterranean. Furthermore, on 13th May, Greene again asked Motono for further assistance.(37) However, because of lack of big destroyers, the Japanese Navy expressed unwillingness to despatch twelve destroyers. Instead, the Japanese Government decided to send four newly constructed “Momo" class 850 ton destroyers at the 23rd of May Cabinet meeting, in the expectation that Britain would supply the materials required for the construction of substitute destroyers. Motono also added that Japan could not send any more destroyers, due to the lack of appropriate ocean type destroyers.(38) On 25 June, the Fifteenth Flotilla left Japan and arrived in Malta in August 1917.

         On 6th June, the British Navy asked the Japanese naval attach, Rear Admiral Funakosi Kajishiro, for the Japanese Navy's 1.800 sailors to be employed on the British fourteen destroyers and six sloops, stating that the British Government would bear all expenses.(39) Ambassador Chinda Sutemi in London counselled Japan to comply with this demand on 21st June. Naval Attach Funakosi and Rear Admiral Sato also stated similar positive advice.(40) There arose opposition within the Navy again, but finally, the Japanese Navy accepted to send two trawlers, “Tokyo" (Japanese name “Tokyo") and “Miningsby" ("Saikyo") of the Royal Navy on 11th June, and two British H-class destroyers “Nemesis(Sendan"), and “Minstrel(Kanran) in September and in October 1917.(41) On 21st October, the British Navy again asked to the Japanese Naval Attach for two cruisers to the Mediterranean but the Imperial Navy refused. Ambassador Chinda met Minister Sir Arthur James Balfour on 13th November and clearly denied request, repeating that to send battle-cruiser to European waters would cause the depletion of the national defence.(42)

         In addition, on 23rd February and 9th June, having received Admiral Gough-Calthorpe's communication for further assistance, Rear Admiral Sato telegraphed this message adding his opinion that the sending of another destroyer, would be effective tactical research for anti-submarine warfare. But the Japanese Navy did not comply with it.(43) But the Allies, having seen how the Japanese destroyers had provided invaluable support, there arose another requirement from the Italian and French Navies.(44) However, the Japanese Navy did not comply saying that they had no more vessels available since their naval forces had already been sent to the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, Australian waters, the Mediterranean and recently to Vladivostok and that the situation in Siberia, the unsteady conditions in China and the danger of possible German raid in Eastern waters prevented the Japanese Navy from sparing any additional forces.(45) By these continuous refusals, there a rosed not only antipathy to Japan, but also the suspicion that Japan might be conserving her naval strength in the long term for future use against Britain.(46)

(4)Evaluation and activities of the Second Special Squadron

        The Second Special Squadron arrived in the Mediterranean at the height of the submarine crisis in 1917. They escorted troopships from Alexandria to Marseilles, from Alexandria to Taranto, and from Malta to Salonica. The total numbers of escorts reached 348 times and escorted vessels totalled 788, carrying about 70.000 soldiers plus 7075 persons rescued from attacked vessels.(47) The Japanese Navy spent 72 percent of their time at sea compared with 60 percent by the British and about 45 percent by the French and Italian Navy.(48) The number of working days reached 26 days per month and its operation distance reached 6,000 nautical miles in a month.

Number of vessels escorted by the Japanese Squadron
       Total No. Warships Transports
 Britain   644   21   623
 France   100   0   100
 Italy    18   0    18
 Others    26   0    26
 Total   788   21   767

        During the war, On 11 June 1917, “Sakaki" was attacked by German submarine which killed 59 of the crew and wounded 22. The Second Special Squadron fought 36 times against German submarines from 15 April 1917 to 2 November, but were unable to sink any.(49) How did Britain assess the Japanese Navy's contribution in the Mediterranean? Before evaluation, I would like see what were the Allies Naval capabilities in the Mediterranean. The naval situations in the Mediterranean, according to Commander-in-Chief of British Mediterranean Fleet, Admiral G.C. Dickens to Captain K.G.B.Dewar, Assistance Director, Plans Division was as follows.(50)

        “People who study our situation at home might come to the conclusion that we are not all badly off for anti-submarine forces. That the total produced by Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Greece and U.S. are formidable enough. All this is, however illusory. Italy's share, except in certain narrow circumstances is infinitesimal. Bar the protection of traffic creeping round her shores, and the protection is of a poor standard, Italy will offer nothing towards any sort of the anti-submarine warfare we like to wage, defensive or offensive. If she did, her Navy is so inefficient that her assistance would be of little value. France has not a large number of efficient craft for anti-submarine purposes, and though the French are eager to do all they can, they are on the whole incapable of runing a sound naval campaign. Their organization is not practical, and they somehow think on unsound lines, and no sooner do you imagine you've roped them in to a concentrated effort, than off they go diffusing their forces in every possible way. The Japanese are of course splendid, but their numbers are small. The efficient Greek ships are so few that they may be left out of the calculation. At present we have no sea-going American forces in the Mediterranean. They all work from Gibraltar out into the Atlantic."

        Diplomatically, King George V. expressed to the Japanese Ambassador his gratitude and admiration for the Japanese Navy's contribution.(51) Also, the British senior naval Officer-in-Charge in Malta, Rear Admiral George Ballard reported to the Admiralty that “all destroyers and sloops based on Malta have been reserved ever since my arrival on the station, but even so the number did not suffice to avoid many delays until the arrival of a Japanese Flotilla at Malta in April 1917, whose assistance has been invaluable".(52) And also, he reported that “French standards of efficiency are certainly lower than British however, and Italian standards are lower still. With the Japanese it is otherwise. Admiral Sato's destroyer are kept in a highly serviceable condition and spend at least as large a proportion of their time at sea as our own, which is far from being the case with the French or Italian vessels of any class. The Japanese moreover are very independent in all matters of administration and supply whereas the French will never do anything for themselves if they can get it done for them."(53)

         Admiral Somerest Gough-Calthorpe, the British Mediterranean Commander-in-Chief also expressed regard that “Rear Admiral Sato has always placed the Japanese destroyers at my disposal for escort work and I find their officers make no difficulties and have picked up their duties very satisfactorily."(54) But, because of racial prejudice, or rivalling of the British Navy against the Imperial Navy, or international situation after the war, the Japanese Naval contribution was not fairly evaluated. The staff of Malta, Captain Murry Pipon criticized that “Although the Japs very good when they knew exactly what they had got to do and all went according to plan, but inferior to our men when unforeseen situations cropped up.”(55) Admiral Sir John R.Jellicoe also looked upon Japanese Navy with racial prejudice that “It is very improbable that the Japanese would consent to any of their battle-cruisers joining the Grand Fleet, and even if they did, it is doubtful whether they would be a match for German battle-cruisers when manned by Japanese."(56)

        It was after the World War that the Second Special Squadron was given fair reputation through the writing of Prof. Ivan Nish and Paul G. Halpern. Nish evaluated that “If we try to assess Japan's naval contribution to the allied effort, we have to conclude that it was considerable in the last stages of the war. It was by no means the sole cause of allied success in meeting the submarine onslaught; but it has to be numbered as one factor alongside the contribution of American destroyers and the success of the British convoy system. Her contribution in the Mediter-ranean and the Indian Ocean was a great relief to the Royal Navy. Finally, Japan's naval assistance was more valuable to Britain than to other members of the Entente who were less dependent on keeping open trade channels."(57) Paul G.Halpern evaluated that the Japanese were nominally independent, but actually carried out whatever orders they received from the British Commander-in-Chief at Malta. The Japanese in fact worked very closely with the British, particularly in escorting troopships. They soon gained an excellent reputation. Their ships were new and well-handled, and the British paid them the ultimate compliment.....This Japanese contribution of fourteen destroyers at a critical moment in the war against submarines has been largely forgotten, but under the circumstances it was far from negligible".(58)

3.Why Japan despatched Destroyers and why not Battle-Cruiser to the European Waters
(1) Anti-Japanese feeling and Relation with United States

        Why did Japan accept despatching destroyers to the Mediterranean? Prime Minister Terauchi Takeshi explained to Rear Admiral Sato the reason for the decision when Sato visited the Prime Minister upon his departure.(59) the Prime Minister told him that the reason was not just to fulfil Japan's duty under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, nor to meet the demand of Britain. He said, we accepted firstly, if Germany continues to use such violent operations, as a major power of the world, it is our duty and responsibility to take strong measure against Germany in the name of justice and humanity. Secondly, our Allies are in great danger, suffering from German submarines. We cannot ignore this situation by any means. It is our duty to save the Allies. If we let them die without our making any attempt to save our Allies, we will lose not only our interests which we have gained, but will also suffer the great pain of defeat. We cannot just sit back and watch this situation. We have therefore decided to despatch the squadron under your command. I cannot give you a large number of ships now as the Navy is short of suitable destroyers, but I hope you will do your best to show the honour, and to expand the influence of our country." But, Prime Minister Terauchi's explanation was one sided and only a surface reason. There were complex reasons why Japan accepted despatching naval forces to Europe and why the Japanese Navy had been reluctant to do so.

        It was due to the international situation, especially the Japanese-American relations, which impelled Japan to prepare for American aggressive policy toward Japan. American public opinion gradually worsened after the Russo-Japanese War. During the years, before America entered the war, anti-Japanese feelings became highly antagonistic as a result of German propaganda which aimed to separate and cut the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The Germans also turned American opinion to become anti-British using the concept of racial prejudice of the “Yellow Peril". Captain Edward H. Rymer, British Naval attach, explained this relation as Japan being really “a nut between British and American crackers" in his report.(60) This Japanese uneasiness, however, was not understood by Britain and the Allies. So there arose very strong criticism and suspicion among Allies. The First Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Sir Henry B. Jackson, wrote in 1916 that Japan's attitude gave rise to some suspicion as to its action after the war when Britain might be exhausted by its efforts.(61)

        Also, the British Naval Attache, Capt. Edward H. Rymer criticized in his report that;"The Japanese people, the vast majority of whom have always looked upon the war as one between European nations, with useful local pickings, ...the Japanese do not know the meaning of gratitude, nor have they any intention of making any considerable self sacrifice for any other nation...It may be truly said that Japan is drunk with money and dazed with dreams of the leadership of the Pacific."(62) British General Staff also distributed similar memorandum among the Government authorities that;“Alliance is not free from attraction to the Japanese, who are aware that their aspiration to make themselves masters of the Pacific must be opposed by Great Britain as well as by the United States." “It is abundantly proved that the Japanese Government meant to avoid at all costs anything but a symbolic participation in hostilities.(63)

        These exaggerations which blamed Japan for selfish pursuit of her own national interests, were one of the reason why despatch vessels were applied in the Mediterranean. After Japan obtained Tsing Tao and the German owned Pacific Islands, she was satisfied to wait the fruits of war, only supplying Russia with weapons and ammunitions and obtaining Russian gold. Moreover, Japan gained profit by exporting her goods to markets which had previously been those of the British and other Allies. Japan endeavoured to moderate the anti-Japanese feeling aroused among the Allies. After arriving in the Mediterranean, the activities of the Second Special Squadron was often given favourable reports in newspapers. For example, the Times reported in headline of Japan's “Speedy arrival and seamanlike handling," Good seamanship and greatest rapidity of action".(64) The Japanese Naval Attache for Italy also spoke to an American pressman that during the month of operation that the Japanese Navy had sunk 15 German submarines in cooperation with the American Navy.(65) These reports might have helped to depress the anti-Japanese feeling which arose among the Allies.

(2)Acquisition of the German Pacific islands

        In addition to the above reasons, Japan strongly wished to realize the acquisition of the German Pacific Islands. When Japan occupied the North German-- owned Islands, on 1st December 1914, Minister Kato handed to Ambassador Greene a confidential Memorandum in which he stated that having regard to the very wide operations in which Imperial navy is and has been engaged in cooperation with the British navy, the nation would naturally insist on retaining permanently all the German islands lying north of the equator, and the Imperial Government would rely on support of His Majesty's Government when the proper time arrived for the fulfilment of the above object.(66) On 19th October 1915, at the signing of the London Declaration, Japan again expressed its claim to the possession of the German Pacific Islands. (67)

       Then at the negotiation over the despatch of a squadron to the Mediterranean, Japan again requested guarantee to acquire of the German Pacific Islands and inheritance of the German interests in Shuntung Peninsula. Minister Motomo expressed at the negotiation that “since Japan had declared that it would return Kiaochow to China, the aspiration of the Japanese people were directed to the German Islands in the Pacific, and ....they appear to the Japanese people as the only moment of their sacrifices in the war, and ...if the islands did not become a possession, Japanese public indignation might reach an unexpected pitch. Ambassador Chinda in London was instructed to approach the British Government on this matter and he succeed in obtaining British guarantee of support for Japan's claim to the South Pacific Islands at the peace conference.(68)

       On 2nd February 1917, Minister Balfour expressed to Ambassador Chinda his willingness to comply, and on 13th he replied that the British Government would guarantee support of Japan's claim to the islands north of the Equator on condition that Japanese Government also would support Britain's claim to the islands south of the equator. On 16th February, a similar memorandum was sent to Foreign Minister Motono.(69)

4. After effects of despatch to the Mediterranean

        As has been mentioned above, the Allies felt that Japan felt it always asked for compensation in what they regarded as marked contrast to her small assistance, and that the Japanese sea power projected to the Mediterranean was commented as being “only a drop in the bucket" by the British Navy. But the Second Special Squadron accomplished great success in diplomatically supporting the national interest. During and after the war, these destroyers visited 53 ports around France, Britain, Italy, Belgium and Greece.(70) In London, they participated in the victory parade and could show that Japan had cooperated with Britain. In Paris, Japanese sailors showed their existence not only to the citizens of Paris, but also to the delegates of the Peace Conference. One of the member to the Paris conference, Ambassador to Italy Hayashi Gonnosuke told Admiral Sato that by the Japanese activities in the Mediterranean, Japan was able to show her loyalty as an Ally and obtain understanding of the Japanese contribution to this war. Hayashi said,"We could show that Japan supported the Allies as an ´entente´ and thus obtain position as one of five big powers at the Paris Peace Conference.(71)

         Among the Japanese crew, however, there was much resentment against the British Navy, as the crew were always put on alert. They faced constant strong winds and rough sea and they were closed in rolling small destroyers. As a result, they were sick, and some committed suicide due to mental disorder. Lookouts fell into the sea thrown by high waves. There arose uneasiness among the crew and many complaints were made to Admiral Sato, as he complied to all of British requests. They blamed Admiral Sato and Britain that “the commander was servile, we were mercenaries," we were like the lackeys of the British Navy." (72)

         Then at the Peace Conference, the clause for abolishing racial discrimination was rejected because of opposition from Australia, a British dominions. The unfavourable Japanese naval ratio compelled by an apparent conspiracy by the U.S. and British at the Washington and London conference, the fortification of Singapore immediately after the cancellation of the Alliance developed portrayed an image of “ungrateful Britain" to the Japanese people.(73) The reason for these aggravated anti-British feelings is explained by the Japanese Navy, as follows(74).

      “Until World War I, Britain took full advantage of its relationship with
      Japan; fully employing Japan's military strength and goodwill at all times,
      including the period of Imperial Russia's aggression to China, restraining of
      the Indian independence movement, blocking of China's anti-foreign activities,
      and protection of its dominions after it concentrated its fleets in the North Sea.
      Once peace resumed, however, its attitude suddenly changed and Britain
      refused to give Japan even the slightest concessions. This led to the Japanese
      isolation at the Paris conference and the demand for the ratios of 5-5-3 for
      battleships at the Washington Conference, the return of Shantung, the annulment
      of the Anglo-Japanese alliance, the conclusion of the Nine Power Treaty, and
      eventually to all-out suppression of Japanese trade."

(1)No.91, Appendix 1(Received on 2nd night in August), Gaimusho(The Ministry of Foreign Affairs),eds., Nihon Gaiko Bunsho(Documents on Japanese Foreign Affairs)--Taisho Sannen,vol.3(Hereafter cited as No. NGB3-3)(Hara-Shobo,1966), p.95, Doc.3〔35666〕, Ann Trotter, ed., British Documents on Foreign Affairs:Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print, Series E. Asia, 1914-1939, Part, Vol, Japan, August 1914-1915, hereafter cited as Doc. BDFA -1(Washington:University Publications of America, 1991), p.1.
(2)No.94(4 August 1914),NGB3-3, p.99.
(3)Doc.5〔36531〕Grey to Greene(4 August 1914) BDFA -1, No.95(4 August 1914), NGB3-3, p.99,〔 〕 means original document number of the British Public Office.
(4)No.91, Appendix 2(Received 3 August), NGB3-3, p.96.Doc.2.〔35865〕Grey to Greene(3 August 1914), BDAF -1, p.1.
(5)No.101(7 August 1914), No.104(Inoue to Kato 7 August)NGB3-3, pp.102-105, Doc〔37530〕 Barclay to Grey(8 August 1914), FO(Documents of Public Record Office London),371-2016.
(6)No.110(9 August 1914), No.112, NGB3-3, pp.111-113.
(7)No.114(10 August 1914), Ibid., pp.116-117, Doc.28〔37691〕,Grey to Greene, BDFA -1, p.12.
(8)No.120 and No.122(11 August 1914)NGB3-3, pp.120-121,122-123, Doc.40〔38600〕, Memorandum Communicated by the Japanese Ambassador(11 August 1914), BDFA-1, p.17.
(9)No.127 Aide Memooire(12 August 1914),NGB3-3, pp.126-127, Doc.124〔38600〕Grey toGreene(11 August 1914), p.17.
(10)No.140(13 August 1914), No.143(14 August 1914),NGB3-3, pp.130-131, p136.
(11)No.155(15 August 1914), NGB3-3, pp.146-147, Doc.55〔38494〕Grey to Greene(13 August 1914), BDAF -1, p.24.
(12)Kaigun-Gunreibu〔Naval General Staff〕ed.,Taisho Sannen itaru Yonen Kaigun-Senshi 〔Naval History of 1914-15〕(Kaigun-Gunreibu, 1920),vol.T, p.69, hereafter cited as Kaigun-senshi 1914-15(T).
(13)No.203(18 August 1914),NGB3-3, pp.182-183.
(14)Kaigun-senshi 1914-15(T), op. cit., pp.400-401
(15)No.604. No.605(3 September 1914), NGB3-3, p.631-632.
(16)No.612, No.613, No.614(9 September 1914), Ibid., pp.635-637.
(17)No.619 Appendix 2(4 November 1914), Ibid., p.641.
(18)No.621 Appendix 1 and 2(14 November 1914), Ibid., pp.647-651.
(19)No.624(15 November 1914), Ibid, pp.655-656.
(20)No.628(18 November 1914), Ibid., p.658.
(21)No.630(25 November 1914), Ibid., pp.659-660.
(22)Adide for Naval Minister, ed., Rengo sakusen-kosho-tuzuri〔File for Allied Negotiation for Cooperation〕, National Institute for Defence Studies.
(23)No.121(13 January 1915), NGB4-3-Jokan(hereafter cited Jo), p.235.
(24)Doc.125〔20396〕, Admiralty to Foreign Office(2 February 1916), BDFA -2, p.113.
(25)Doc.127〔26549〕, Grey to Greene(4 February 1916),Ibid.,p.114, No.317(4 February
1916), NGB5-3, pp.382-383.
(26)Doc.129〔24943〕, Admiralty to Foreign Office(8 February 1916), BDFA -2, p.116.
(27)No.318, Inoue to Ishii(9 February 1916), NGB5-3, p.382-383.
(28)No.319, Inoue to Ishii(10 February 1916), Ibid, p.382.
(29)No.321, Ishii to Inoue(19 February 1916), Ibid., p.385.
(30)No.322, No.324, No.325, Ibid.,pp.385-389.
(31)Gunreibu eds., Taisho Yonen-Kunen Kaigun Senshi〔Naval History 1915-18〕,vol.T, hereafter cited as Sankunen Senshi, pp.25-29.
(32)Doc.212〔256472〕, Admiralty to Foreign Office(19 December 1916),BDFA -2, p.176.
(33)Gunrei-bu(General Naval Staff)eds., Kimitu Taisho San-kunen Kaigun Senshi Hoi
(Secret Naval History 1915-1920 Supplement, hereafter cited as Kimitu Senshi Hoi, pp.23-30.
(34)No.97, Memorandum(2 February 1917), NGB6-3, pp.99-100.
(35)San-kunen Senshi(U), Ibid., pp.288-313, Kino Shuichiro, Nihon Kaigun Chichukai Enseiki〔The Japanese Navy's Expedition to the Mediterranean〕(Hara Shobo,1974), pp.320-333.
(36)Doc〔88517〕, Admiralty to Foreign Office(30 April 1917)FO.371-2950.
(37)No.106, Chinda to Motono(7 May 1917), No.108, Greene to Motono(13 May 1917) NGB6-3., pp.110-111, 113-114.
(38)No.110, Motono to Greene(25 May 1917), Ibid,., p.113-116.
(39)Yon Kunen Senshi(1), Ibid., pp.100-101.
(40)No.114, Chinda to Motono(21 June 1917), NGB6-3., p.122-123.
(41)Yon-Kunen Sensi(U), Ibid., pp.57-58.
(42)No.153, Chinda to Motono(14 Nobember 1917), NGB6-3, pp.157-158, Yon-Kunen
Senshi(T), pp.58-59, 101.
(43)Telegram No.4(23 February 1918), No.19(9 June 1918), from Rear Admiral Sato, Daini Tokumu-kantai Hatsuden Tuzuri〔Telegraph File of the Second Special Squadron〕,National Institute for Defence Studies.
(44)No.47, Matui to Uchida(20 September 1918), No.48, Ish in to Uchida(3 October 1918),NGB7-3, pp.90-91.
(45)Telegraph from Vice Navy Minister to Admiral Sato(1 March, 20 June 1918), Telegram File Second Special Squadron,National Institute for Defence Studies.
(46)Ian Nish, Alliance in Decline:A Study in Anglo-Japanese Relations 1908-23(London;Athlone Press, 1972), p.227.
(47)Yon-Kunen Senshi(U), Ibid., pp.314-316.
(48)Henry Newbolt, History of the Great War:Naval Operation(London:Longman's Green and Co.,1931), vol.V, pp.83-84.
(49)DaiNi Tokumu Kantai〔Second Special Squadron〕eds.,Enseiki〔Expedition Records〕 (Daini Tokumu Kantai, 1919), p.316.
(50 )Paul G.Halpern, The Royal Navy in the Mediterranean 1915-1918(London:Temple
Smith,1987), p.469.
(51)No.106, Chinda to Motono(7 May 1917),NGB6-3, pp.110-111.
(52)The Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, op,cit.,p.279.
(53)Ibid., p.282.
(55)Pipon's Letter to Mader(25 March 1968), Arthur J.Mader, From the Dreadnought to Scapa
Flow-The Royal Navy in Fisher Era,1904-1919(London:Oxford University Press, 1970), p.37.
(56)Nish, Ibid., p.227.
(57)Nish, Ibid., pp.228-229.
(58)Paul,G.Halpern, A History of World War(Annapolis:Naval Institute Press,1994), p.393.
(59)Sato Kozo, “Oshu Taisenchu Chichukai niokuru Teikoku Kaigun no Sakusen〔Activities of
   the Imperial Navy in the Mediterranean during the World War〕(Naval Academy, 1994),pp.20-21.
(60)Doc〔46022〕, Rymer to Admiralty, “War at Japan 1914-191-"(11 March 1918), FO.371/3233, XC3347, pp.122, Public Record Office,London.
(61)Doc〔148769〕, Japanese General Foreign Policy(22 October 1918), FO.371/3816 XC3509.
(62)“War at Japan 1914-191-",Ibid.
(63)Doc〔26389〕“Japanese Activities in China and India"(19 May 1916), FO.371/2647
(64)Enseiki, Ibid., p.46, Henry Newbolt, History of the Great War:Naval Operations (Longmans, Green and Co.1920), vol. , p.457.
(65)The London times, ed., The Times History of the War(London:London Times Publishing 
  Co.,1919), p.458.
(66)No.653, Appendix 3(1 December 1914), NGB4-3-Ge, pp.677.
(67)No.32, Motono to Ishii(31 August 1915), NGB4-3 Jo, p.31-32.
(68)No.102, Appendix(20 March 1917), NGB6-3, pp.103-106.
(69)Doc.219〔26707〕, Memorandum Communicated by Japanese Ambassador(2 February
1917), BDFA -2., pp.197-198.
(70)Refer, San-Kunen Senshi(T), pp.285-348, Enseiki,Ibid., pp.109-166.
(71)Sato, Ibid, p.9.
(72)Kondo Eiichiro, Chichukai Ensei Nittuki〔Diary of Mediterranean Expedition〕,
National Institute for Defence Studies, p.36.
(73)Ito Masanori,Soutei Tekikoku〔Hypothesis Enemy〕(Sasaki-Shutupan-Bu,1926), pp.296-297.
(74)Imperial Intelligence Division,“Why anti-British feeling becomes strong in Japan," Kubo tatumasa,ed.,Showa Shakai Keizai Shi〔History of Social-Economical Showa Period) (Daito Bunka Kenkyuusho, 1989),Vol.V., pp.133.