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Imperial Japanese Propaganda and the Founding of The Japan Times 1897-1904

June 15, 2021
Volume 19 | Issue 12 | Number 2
Article ID 5604


Abstract: Founded in 1897 as a semi-official government organ by Zumoto Motosada with the support of Itō Hirobumi and Fukuzawa Yukichi, The Japan Times played an essential role, as the first English-language newspaper to be edited by Japanese, in shaping Western understandings of Japan and Japanese modernisation in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. The Japan Times framed Japanese ‘modernisation’ in the language of Western civilisation, thus facilitating Japan’s rapprochement with the Western Powers (particularly with Great Britain) in the late 19th century by presenting Japan as a ‘civilised’ (i.e., Western) nation-state. The paper played an equally important role in manipulating Western public discourses in favour of Japan’s expansionist ambitions in Asia by framing justifications for Japanese foreign policy in concepts of Western civilisation.

Keywords: Meiji-era Japanese propaganda, The Japan Times, Zumoto Motosada, Japanese Imperialism, Anglo-Japanese rapprochement, colonisation of Korea.


Zumoto Motosada, founder of
The Japan Times1




Despite The Japan Times’ critical role as a Japanese Government propaganda organ, the paper has been greatly understudied in both the Japanese and English literature. Japanese-language studies of The Japan Times and Zumoto Motosada exist in small number2 but thorough research into The Japan Times’ role as a promoter of Meiji Government propaganda has yet to be undertaken in English or Japanese. 

Research into Meiji-era Japanese propaganda has a rich historiography in Japan. Among other important studies3, Ōtani Tadashi’s pioneering work4 in the ‘external propaganda research’5 field (対外宣伝研究- taigai senden kenkyū), Ariyama Teruo’s research into the relationship between empire and information6 and Katayama Yoshitaka’s in-depth analysis of anti-Russian sentiment in the Japanese media coverage of the Russo-Japanese war7 have been essential to this paper. Ōtani and Ariyama have been particularly helpful in clarifying the role of the unambiguously named ‘Gaikoku shinbun sōjyū’ (外国新聞操縦-Foreign Newspaper Manipulation Programme) that was established in 1894 by Foreign Minister Mutsu Munemitsu in order to increase support for Japan’s foreign policies through the manipulation of Western journalists, newspapers and news agencies by foreign advisors to the Meiji-government (oyatoi gaikokujin) and Japanese chargés d’affaires to Western nations8

This research, however, deals insufficiently with the role of The Japan Times. Instead, it focuses predominantly on the Japanese Government Foreign Newspaper Manipulation programme, which, it argues, lost its significance after Japanese newspapers became able to enter contracts with Reuters news agency in early 1897. However, as this study will show, The Japan Times functioned as a Meiji-Government propaganda organ which sought to increase support for Japan’s foreign policies and therefore deserves equal scrutiny.

English-language examinations of Meiji-era Japanese propaganda focus predominantly on the role of Western oyatoi gaikokujin9 and have, largely, overlooked the role of Japan Times propaganda10. Furthermore, English-language studies of Zumoto Motosada and his propaganda activities are equally lacking11. Japanese propaganda and the management of the Korean press has been well examined by the Korean-language research12 . Furthermore, Korean-language studies of Zumoto’s propaganda activities have also been conducted, however, they are largely limited to investigations of his role as chief propagandist at The Seoul Press, the English-language propaganda organ of the Resident-General of Korea13 and generally under-examine his role at the Japan Times

This paper, thus, aims to expand on the abovementioned research to demonstrate The Japan Times’ role as a central mechanism of Meiji Government propaganda by clarifying Zumoto Motosada’s financial and ideological connections to the Japanese Government as well as to prominent intellectual and Japanese ‘modernisation’ theorist Fukuzawa Yukichi and numerous Government-affiliated zaibatsu and newspapers. It will also detail the propaganda activities of Zumoto Motosada in Korea, and will analyse his motivations for starting an English-language newspaper as well as the paper’s raison d’être as outlined in the inaugural issue of The Japan Times

The role of The Japan Times in the Anglo-Japanese rapprochement and the justification of Japan’s colonisation of Korea, however, will be analysed in a subsequent, related study.


The Japan Times as a Meiji-Government Propaganda Organ

Zumoto Motosada was born in Kurosaka village in the Hino district of Tottori prefecture (鳥取県日野郡黒坂村) on 4th December 1862 (文久(Bunkyū) 2), the first child of Kashiramoto Yasugorō (頭本保五郎)(mother unknown)14. Zumoto’s birth name was Kashiramoto Mototarō (頭本元太郎), however he adopted the pseudonym ‘Zumoto Motosada’ after leaving middle school15. He was the eldest of four siblings- a younger brother, Kumajirō (熊次郎) and, under him, three younger sisters (names unknown)16. He was married to a woman named Kuni(くに) about whom very little is known other than she gave birth to a son, Motoichi and, was killed in a Tokyo fire-bombing raid on 4th May 1945, two years after the death of Zumoto Motosada in Tokyo on 5th February 1943 (82 years)17.

In 1875, at 13 years old, he entered Tottori middle school(鳥取中学) but was unsatisfied with the education provided and in 1877, at 15, he moved to Aichi Prefectural Middle School18 in Nagoya (名古屋の愛知県中学校) where he remained for a year and a half19. The school curriculum placed a heavy emphasis on the study of language and many of the classes were taught in English by foreign teachers, which was exceptionally rare during the early Meiji period20. This was Zumoto’s first experience studying in English, however he excelled in his studies, demonstrating an outstanding aptitude for language21.

It was at Aichi Prefectural Middle School where he first met Yamada Sueji who was employed as a teacher and dormitory superintendent at the school. According to Kawaguchi Yasuko, Zumoto was often unwell, suffering from ischemia for which he was treated with daily prescriptions of beef, eggs, milk and red wine22. This treatment, however, was expensive and as Zumoto was not from a well-off background, Yamada Sueji covered the costs his family could not23. In 1887 Yamada Sueji went on to work at the Japanese shipping firm Nippon Yūsen and subsequently co-founded The Japan Times with Zumoto in 1897, becoming its first president. 


Yamada Sueji, co-founder and
first President of
The Japan Times24


After graduating from Aichi Prefectural Middle School Zumoto entered Tokyo University Preparatory School(大学予備門)in 1878 to study agriculture, however, he left after two years to attend Sapporo Agricultural College (札幌農学校), the predecessor of Hokkaido University. He entered Sapporo Agricultural College in March 1880 at the age of 1825. His classmates included diplomat, statesman and under-secretary of the League of Nations Inazō Nitobe (1862-1933), author Uchimura Kanzō (1861-1930) and founder of Nihonjin magazine Shiga Shigetaka (1863-1927)26. All classes at Sapporo Agricultural College were conducted in English and as a result, Zumoto was able to master the English language. He took J. Cutter and J. Summers’ English language and literature classes through which he developed a strong interest in Western literature. It was during his time at Sapporo Agricultural College that Zumoto first decided to found an English-language newspaper. Zumoto explains his biggest influences in his 1932 Itō Kō to Kenpō Seiji (‘Viscount Itō and Constitutional Government’):


While at Sapporo Agricultural College, I discovered Mazzini who played an important role in the Italian reformation [unification] comparable to the leaders of the Meiji restoration. Not only did his thought inspire the reformation, he played a direct role in its execution. His works appeared regularly in American journals which I read and became deeply interested in27


Concerning Mazzini’s influences on his life, Zumoto summarises as follows:


Mazzini insisted that ‘the nation-state has a mission from God. In order to fulfil this mission, Italy must become independent.’ When I read this, I wondered ‘if this is so, then what is Japan’s mission?’ I then wrote about the matter and as I did, I came to realise that Japan has several missions. With great anguish I began to ponder for what purpose I had been born into this world and came to the conclusion that, as I had succeeded most in the study of languages, I would use my languages to devote myself somehow to the nation-state and decided to found an English-language newspaper28.


Zumoto explained his desire to found a newspaper to Professor Cutter who immediately introduced Zumoto to Francis Brinkley the chief editor of The Japan Mail29. Zumoto worked for Brinkley for two years from 1884 to 1886 as a translator and reporter. While at The Japan Mail, Zumoto frequently read, translated and wrote about Itō Hirobumi’s writings on constitutional government and as a result developed an in-depth knowledge of Itō ’s political aims. It was through Zumoto’s translation work that Itō Hirobumi first discovered Zumoto. In 1884, Zumoto was approached by Itō Miyoji, Itō Hirobumi’s secretary and a central figure in the manipulation of foreign newspapers and news agencies. Itō Miyoji offered Zumoto a position to work directly under Itō Hirobumi as a translator but Zumoto declined the offer on the grounds that ‘As I have other ambitions [presumably the establishment of an English-language newspaper], I have no intention of becoming a government official. Despite this, Itō Hirobumi requested a meeting with Zumoto and the pair met in Autumn 1886. Zumoto described the meeting as follows


Viscount Itō also requested I become a government official. As previously, I explained that I had other ambitions and therefore I couldn’t work as a government official. However, after asking numerous questions I stated that ‘I cannot work as a true government official but if you would permit me to continue writing for The Japan Mail, I will work for you to the best of my ability.’ This is when I first became a government official working under Itō Miyoji30.


In Itō Kō to Kenpō Seiji (‘Viscount Itō and Constitutional Government’), Zumoto states that, ‘I met with Brinkley and discussed the situation, explaining my intention to continue working for the Mail. Brinkley gladly accepted31.’ From 1886, Zumoto began working as Itō Hirobumi’s translator and public relations secretary while continuing to work as a translator and writer for The Japan Mail

As Peter O’Connor has already clarified, Itō Hirobumi greatly valued the power of newspapers in influencing international opinion about Japanese interests32. This can be demonstrated through his efforts to control the Korean media after becoming first Resident-General of Korea (detailed below), however, as additional evidence for this, in the Autumn of 1896 Itō funded his secretary, Zumoto, to travel to Europe and America to study the newspaper industry33. Zumoto returned to Japan in January 1897. During his trip, he was shocked by the dearth of knowledge about Japan in the West but he lacked the capital required to establish a newspaper. It was in this regard that Zumoto’s teacher from Aichi prefectural middle school, Yamada Sueji played an essential role.

Yamada began his professional life as an educator but left education to begin work as the manager of the Pusan branch of Mitsubishi shipping in Korea before becoming an executive at Nippon Yūsen Kaisha (Japan Mail Shipping) that was formed after the merger between Mitsubishi and Kyōdō Unyu Gaisha (共同運輸会社) in 1885.34Nippon Yūsen Kaisha was one of Japan’s leading steamship companies of the time and, through Yamada, the company became a key funder of The Japan Times35.  Yamada was able to secure further funding for the paper after consulting his relative Fukuzawa Yukichi about Zumoto’s plans to found an English-language newspaper. According to Hasegawa Shinichi, upon hearing these plans Fukuzawa was delighted and exclaimed that ‘it is ecstatic news for the nation that you two have formed such a plan (君たちがこういう計画を樹ててくれたことは国家のために欣快にたえない)36 .’ Fukuzawa then explained the plans to Iwasaki Yatarō the contemporary head of the Bank of Japan (and founder of Mitsubishi) who agreed to finance the paper. In total Fukuzawa was able to acquire capital from five major companies including Mitsui, Mitsubishi, The Bank of Japan, Shōkin Bank and Nippon Yūsen37

Fukuzawa’s connection to The Japan Times is significant. In his Datsu-A-Ron (‘Leaving Asia’) published in the Jiji Shinpō in 1885, he famously laid out his vision for Japan to align itself with the West and distance itself from Asia, which he viewed as uncivilised38. He was strongly in favour of the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895) and also provided support (both financially and ideologically) to pro-Japanese Koreans such as Kim Okgyun (chief architect of the 1884 failed coup d’état in Korea) during the 1880s as a means of destabilising Korea and bringing it under the influence of Japan. This considered, it is reasonable to assume, from Fukuzawa’s support of The Japan Times, that he viewed the paper as an excellent opportunity for Japan to align itself with the West and justify Japanese influence over its neighbouring states.

Zumoto founded The Japan Times and The Japan Times Weekly (daily and weekly editions respectively) on 22nd March 1897 as head writer and editor-in-chief. He positioned Yamada Sueji as president and employed Aichi Prefectural Middle School and Sapporo Agricultural College classmates Takenobu Yoshitarō and Nakanishi Miezō as assistant editor and manager/factory co-ordinator respectively. Zumoto wrote the vast majority of articles and Yamada was responsible for financing the organisation39

The paper’s relationship with the Japanese Government can be further demonstrated through an examination of The Japan Mail for which Zumoto continued to work while employed as Itō Hirobumi’s secretary. 

The Japan Times was not the only English language newspaper to receive subsidies from the Japanese Government. The Tokio Times, owned and run by E.H. House from 1877 to 1880 and The Japan Mail owned and edited by Francis Brinkley were also subsidised by the Japanese Government40. Together, these semi-official Government organs functioned as a network of Japanese Government propaganda which aimed to influence international opinion in a pro-Japanese direction. This section will focus on The Japan Mail as it was directly connected to The Japan Times through Zumoto’s employment at The Japan Mail. Though Brinkley denied this, it is clear that during the mid-1870s, the Japanese Government had subscribed to 500 copies of The Japan Weekly Mail, The Japan Mail’s weekly edition41. Edward Hoare indicates that the Japanese Government may also have assisted Brinkley with payments through which he was able to subscribe to Reuters telegrams. ‘From 1883 until the late 1890s, only the Mail was able, or willing, to do this42.’ Peter O’Connor has also made clear that Brinkley received ¥10,000 a year from both the Japanese Foreign Office as well as the Nippon Yūsen Kaisha (Yamada Sueji’s employer) in subventions for the Japan Mail43.

Brinkley’s articles were consistently pro-Japanese. It indiscriminately championed all Japanese Government policies, arguing favourably for Japanese military and naval expansion as well as supporting policies towards Korea and China, even going so far as dismissing reports in other English-language papers of Japanese atrocities in Korea as ‘iniquitous falsehoods’ drummed up by ‘the hostile orchestra’ of The Japan Herald, Japan Gazette and Kobe Chronicle44. The Japan Mail’s consistently pro-Japanese line raised deep suspicions among his contemporaries that Brinkley was in Japanese Government pay. Robert Young, a Japanese Government critic and founder of the Kobe Chronicle regularly decried Brinkley’s constant promotion of Government policy in his columns and his obituary in 1922 made clear that ‘none of Robert Young’s opinions was stronger than this, that paid advocacy is not a proper function of the Press45.’ Brinkley had equally fiery journalistic battles with Australian J.H Brooke, editor of the Japan Herald, the first English-language newspaper in Japan. Politically critical of Japan, it was, according to Harold S. Williams, to counter Mr Brooke that the Japanese authorities subsidised Brinkley’s Japan Mail46.



Francis Brinkley,
the pro-Japanese owner of
The Japan Mail47


Given the fact that Zumoto was still engaged with translation and writing work at The Japan Mail when he was hired by Itō in 1886, it is inconceivable that he was unaware of the financial and ideological links between The Japan Mail and the government. In 1897, the same year The Japan Times was founded, Brinkley was made permanent Tokyo correspondent for The Times of London, arguably the most authoritative newspaper in Great Britain at the time, having been an occasional correspondent for the paper since 188548. His articles for The Times were equally pro-Japanese and, from 1897 onwards, promoted Japanese policy towards Korea and Russia, defended the removal of extra-territoriality in 1899 and constantly reassured British readers of the sincerity of the Japanese ‘modernisation’ program49. From 1897, therefore, Brinkley’s pro-government propaganda was now being sent directly to British readers through The Times

The connection between The Times and The Japan Mail, however, had already been established by the previous Times correspondent, Major-General Palmer, a good friend of Brinkley’s. The Times therefore advocated similar policies to The Japan Mail over several years, leading a contemporary to indicate that despite their professed independence of each other, ‘the Times’ letters are the reverberation and distant echoes of the Mail’s thunders…[T]here is one voice only, and that is the voice of the scholarly editor of the Japan Mail…’50.

In addition to its connections to the Japanese government and its relationship with the semi-official government organ The Japan Mail, The Japan Times’ importance to the Meiji Government can be demonstrated by a government source that confirms that on 27th June 1898 Zumoto was promoted by Itō in the Japanese court rank system from senior sixth grade to junior fifth grade51. The source states that in accordance with ‘Article two of the internal rank progression regulations’ (敘位進階内則第二条), Zumoto, who was employed as secretary to the Prime Minister, progressed from senior sixth grade to junior fifth grade. This demonstrates two important points. Firstly, that Zumoto was employed as ‘secretary to the Prime Minister’ during the third Itō administration (January to June 1898) and secondly, that Zumoto was awarded a rank progression by Itō after the establishment of The Japan Times that Zumoto himself had promoted as a trustworthy and reliable source of information52. From this, it is reasonable to assume that Itō viewed the The Japan Times as important or beneficial to the Japanese government. 

Considering the financial and ideological connections between Zumoto and Itō, Yamada and Fukuzawa and the various government-affiliated zaibatsu of the period as well as Zumoto’s propaganda activities in Korea (discussed below) and his professional relationship with The Japan Mail, it is clear that The Japan Times functioned as a Meiji Government organ within a wider network of Japanese government-subsidised English-language newspapers that can reasonably be described as semi-official propaganda organs.


The front cover of the inaugural issue
The Japan Times, 22nd March 189753

The Japan Times information sources and readership

Few sources exist that confirm where The Japan Times sourced its information. Nevertheless, as detailed above, it is clear that from its establishment in February 1897, The Japan Times entered into a contract with Reuters news agency. In March 1898, G. Blundell, the Reuters representative in Japan sent a letter to Foreign Minister Nishi Tokujirō54. In the letter, Blundell expresses a desire to provide the Japanese Government with the same Western news distribution service that ‘Reuters is providing to The Japan Times.55 ’ Very few Japan Times articles were attributed to sources. However, it is evident from this source that The Japan Times made use of Reuters reports as source material until at least March 1898.

Moreover, under the above-detailed Foreign Newspaper Manipulation programme numerous Western newspapers were manipulated into distributing news favourable to Japan. The articles of such pro-Japanese newspapers were frequently reproduced in The Japan Times to confirm the Japanese government line. As such, The Japan Times recycled pro-Japanese articles from newspapers that had been manipulated under the Foreign Newspaper Manipulation programme and presented them as reliable information sources. 

As for The Japan Times’ readership, an important source is an advertisement for The Japan Times that appeared in the Jiji Shinpō every day from 2nd to 7th March 189756. The advertisement states that ‘The Japan Times is a newspaper that is essential not only to politicians, merchants and manufacturers but to anyone who requires information from overseas57’ (「『ジャパンタイムズ』は、政治家、商業家、製造家等は勿論、苟も外国の事情に通ぜんと欲する人々のために必要欠くべからざる新聞なり」) . Furthermore, it claims that ‘The Japan Times ’ should be permanently distributed widely to clubs, hotels, centres of commerce and schools overseas’ (「『ジャパンタイムズ』は、広く世界各国に於けるクラブ、ホテル、商業会議所、学校などに永久播布すべし」). From this, it is evident that The Japan Times targeted members of the elite in Japan as well as abroad.

The same advertisement stated the prices and advertising costs of The Japan Times and The Japan Times Weekly at the time of the paper’s establishment. These prices and advertising costs were also present in every copy of The Japan Times itself. The Japan Times cost five sen per copy, one yen for a monthly subscription and ten yen for a yearly subscription58. In order to advertise in The Japan Times, the paper charged one yen per week for an inch at minimum and four yen per month59. In comparison with the prices of six other Japanese newspapers in June 1898, it is clear that The Japan Times was relatively expensive. It is most likely, therefore, that The Japan Times targeted high-earning readers, and, from the fact that it was an English-language paper, it is likely that the majority of these targeted readers were affluent foreign residents in Japan.

Table One  

Prices and Advertising Costs of Six Newspapers from June 1898



Advertising Costs(sen)

Per Copy

Per Month

Tokyo Asahi Shinbun




Jiji Shinpō



Front page 30

Others 25

Yorozu Chōhō




Hōchi Shinbun




Yomiuri Shinbun




Nippon (Shinbun)





Source: Yamamoto.T. 1967. ‘Meiji 30 nendai zenhan no “Tōchō” “Jiji” no dokushasō
——shōkō dokushasō wo chūshin ni——’,
Hitotsubashi Kenkyū, vol.14, p.6.


Furthermore, it is clear from advertising in The Japan Times from 1904, that seven years after its establishment, The Japan Times prices had increased to 1.5 yen for a monthly subscription, 8 yen for a sixth month subscription and 15 yen for a yearly subscription60. 


The Colonisation of Korea and the Propaganda Activities of Zumoto Motosada

In November 1905, the Korean Empire (大韓帝国) was forcibly transformed into a ‘protectorate’ of the Empire of Japan after the ratification of the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905(第二次日韓協約) and as a result lost the ability to control its diplomatic affairs. A Residency-General was established and Itō Hirobumi was appointed as the first Resident-General of Korea in December 1905. 

Prior to Korea becoming a ‘protectorate’ of Japan, the Japanese government used The Seoul Press Weekly, a weekly newspaper founded in January 1905 in Seoul by British journalist John Weekly Hodge, to disseminate propaganda about the colonisation of Korea61. According to Peter O’Connor, the Japanese Foreign Ministry entered an agreement with Hodge in August 1905, which stipulated that the Japanese Government would pay Hodge ¥350 per month to publish material which portrayed Japan’s role in Korea in a positive light62.’ Itō Hirobumi regularly monitored developments in the West and read English newspapers daily. As previously stated, he also placed great importance on the influence of the media63. After his appointment as first Resident-General in December 1905, Itō moved rapidly to acquire the rights of The Seoul Press Weekly from Hodge in order to counter the ‘anti-Japanese’ English-language newspaper the Korea Daily News that had been established by the pro-Korean British journalist Ernest Bethell in 190464. O’Connor clarifies that ‘from his office in Seoul, Itō gave opportunities in news management to some of the most capable journalists and media entrepreneurs of the day’65. These journalists included Itō’s close confidant66 and future editor of The Japan Times after Zumoto’s resignation, Russell Kennedy (further evidence to demonstrate The Japan Times’ status as a semi-official Government organ) as well as Zumoto Motosada67 who had travelled to Korea in early 1906. In January 1906, Zumoto organised the acquisition of The Seoul Press from Hodge by the office of the Korea Resident General68 and the paper was expanded from a weekly to a daily newspaper69. The Seoul Press, thus, became the official English-language propaganda organ of the Residency-General. 



Itō Hirobumi as first Resident-General of Korea
with the Crown Prince of Korea Yi Un70


After the acquisition, Zumoto was employed as the president of The Seoul Press. In this capacity Zumoto played an essential role as an English-language promoter of Japanese colonial rule in Korea71. Zumoto’s importance to Japanese colonial policy in Korea can be demonstrated through an analysis of a letter72 Zumoto received on 10th July 1904 from Thomas Cowen73 who had been a Times war correspondent during the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895). 

After his time as a foreign correspondent for The Times, Cowen became head writer for The Japan Gazette, a Yokohama-based English-language paper in Japan. He was subsequently hired by Zumoto as a writer for The Japan Times74. Further, according to Cowen’s obituary that appeared in The Daily Mail on 3rd July 1906, Cowen also had an editorial role at The Japan Times75, possibly as ‘English Literary Editor’76 responsible for vetting and approving phraseology and language issues. It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that Cowen may have played an important role in refining the structure and articles of The Japan Times to better suit foreign audiences. In the months leading up to the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905, Cowen was also hired by the British newspaper The Daily Chronicle which sent him and fellow Japan-based British journalist Ernest Bethell to Korea as special correspondents77. Bethell, however soon left the paper as he disagreed with its pro-Japanese policy and began meeting with Korean nationalists who offered him Korean Government funding and access to printers to found the Korean nationalist English-language newspaper the Korea Daily News78. As is apparent from the source below, Cowen, unlike Bethell, was exceptionally pro-Japanese and played a collaborative role in the Japanese occupation of Korea by betraying Bethell and informing the Japanese authorities of Bethell’s plans. 

He chose to reveal these plans to his ex-employer Zumoto who he presumably knew was well-connected to the Japanese Government through The Japan Times. The letter reads as follows: 


I have another big order on my hands to start a paper here called the Korea Times, with a lot of support from the Korean Court, the policy to be Korea for the Koreans and anti-Japanese. As you know, I am not of that way of thinking, but I was drawn into the scheme on the opposite policy, and now I find that the palace intriguers will go on with the scheme, with or without me. So if I now decline the editorship, some other man will be put in. I think it better for me to remain an editor and get the control into my hands. I can do some good thus, and it would keep out others, for Seoul is not big enough for two papers. At any rate, either I run the paper according to my convictions, or I leave it alone and the palace people will do it their way. Of course, what I tell you is private79.


The letter continues, 


It may be a matter of some importance. If Mr. Hayashi [presumably Gonsuke] has not yet left Tokyo for Seoul, you might ask his opinion. If he thinks it does not matter, then there is nothing more to say. But if he thinks he would prefer to have the Korea Times support him, instead of opposing him, perhaps he might do something. There is no press law in Korea; and a paper run by a foreigner can say anything, and the Korean papers can quote from it, without risk. So there may be any amount of trouble80.


From this source, it is clear that Cowen not only provided Zumoto with information about The Korea Times and its ‘anti-Japanese’ position but that Cowen intended the information he provided to remain private, presumably meaning that he was aware of its importance to the Japanese Government in their attempt to undermine the Korean Government. Given the sensitivity of the contents of the letter, it is clear that Cowen trusted Zumoto and the pair had a close relationship. Further, the source is revealing about Zumoto’s views on the question of Japanese expansionism in Korea. Cowen describes the policy of The Korea Times, as ‘Korea for the Koreans and anti-Japanese’ and then states, ‘As you know, I am not of that way of thinking.’ This can be interpreted as support for the Japanese colonisation of Korea and, more significantly, that Zumoto was aware of Cowen’s support for the policy. This suggests that Zumoto shared Cowen’s pro-Japanese views on the Japanese colonisation of Korea and can, therefore, be interpreted as further evidence for Zumoto’s close relationship with the Japanese Government


Cowen’s letter is dated July 1904 meaning it was written during the Russo-Japanese war through which the Japanese Government formalized its Korean colonisation policy. Furthermore, the letter demonstrates that Zumoto had a political relationship with Hayashi Gonsuke, ambassador to Korea during the Russo-Japanese war. Hayashi was a pro-imperialist who played an essential role in transforming Korea into a ‘protectorate’ of Japan. Considering Zumoto’s close relationships with pro-imperialist Japanese politicians, it is reasonable to assume that he played an important role in promoting the colonisation of Korea in his capacity as editor-in-chief of The Japan Times and, from 1906, as editor of the English-language propaganda organ of the Residency-General, The Seoul Press


After 1909, Zumoto travelled to America where, with Japanese Government subsidies, he and other influential journalists including Honda Masujirō, Yamagata Isoo and Baba Tsunego founded a news agency called the Oriental Information Bureau in New York, which began publishing a newspaper called the Oriental Review81. According to O’Connor, the Oriental Information Bureau functioned as ‘an early hub of the Foreign Ministry network on the East coast of the United States82’ and the Oriental Review attempted to shift American public opinion in a pro-Japanese direction83.


It is also apparent from photographic evidence that Zumoto accompanied the Japanese and British allied forces in the 1914 siege of Tsingtao.

Zumoto (back row, first from the right) with foreign military observers and
Lieutenant General Mitsuomi Kamio (first row center?) in Tsingtao in 191584

The Japan Times’ ‘Raison D’être’


In the editorial of the first issue of The Japan Times on 22nd March 1897, Zumoto lays out his new newspaper’s position on international affairs85. The editorial, entitled ‘Our “Raison D’etre”’[sic], emphasises that Japan is a misunderstood yet friendly nation of the West and outlines several ambitions for his fledgling newspaper.

Firstly, Zumoto explains that the lack of opportunities for contact between Japanese and foreign residents of Japan has bred mutual misunderstandings and resentments between the two communities and lays out his ambition to nurture closer relationships. Zumoto attributes this divide to the system of extraterritoriality. He explains


The anomalous system of exterritoriality under which aliens have so long lived in this country has kept them socially and geographically apart from the nation, the intercourse between the two being mostly confined to the ordinary purposes of business86.


Zumoto argued strongly against this system, exclaiming that 


The existence of this unfortunate, and, to the Japanese, extremely humiliating institution, together with the vexing discussions and provoking incidents that have constantly taken place in connection with it, must answer in a large measure for whatever estrangement there may be between the Japanese and foreigners87.’


It is evident from this passage that Zumoto envisioned a role for The Japan Times as a promoter of the revision of the system of extraterritoriality as stipulated by the unequal treaties with the Western powers.


Additionally, Zumoto explains in the editorial that there is a need to overcome the linguistic and cultural barriers that exist between Japanese and foreign residents. He states that ‘To understand a people properly, the first essential is a thorough mastery of its language and an intimate acquaintance with its literature.88 He explains that while business transactions are possible with a mutually limited linguistic and cultural awareness, ‘for social purposes such a makeshift is provokingly insufficient, and very often leads to much mischief. Holding conversation through such an imperfect medium, the parties usually separate without making the slightest progress toward mutual understanding.89’ He, however, expresses doubt that the revision of the system of extraterritoriality alone would solve this issue and offers The Japan Times as an essential and trustworthy intermediary for the promotion of mutual understanding between the communities:


Such being the position of affairs, the importance of some public organ honestly endeavouring to explain things and smooth the way between foreigners and Japanese cannot be too strongly urged. If there has ever been a real want for a new journalistic enterprise, we may fairly claim that such has been the case with the Japan Times90.


Zumoto explains that an additional purpose of The Japan Times is to inform English-speaking nations of the developments of modern Japan. Zumoto expresses how surprised he was on his recent visit to Europe and America at the lack of information available on Japan. He claims that those he encountered with an interest in Japan ‘complained of the utter impossibility of getting access to reliable sources of information’ and concludes that ‘the real Japan has still to be revealed.’ He, thus, positions The Japan Times as a remedy to this problem, explaining the paper’s aim 


to furnish reliable data for the future use of more capable hands, and at the same time to place before those practical men of business interested in the Eastern trade trustworthy and up-to-date facts and figures about the economic activity of the Japanese nation.91


Finally, Zumoto expresses the desire to utilise The Japan Times as a tool to clarify Japanese international ambitions to the Western Powers. He complains that linguistically Japan is ‘at a great disadvantage vis-à-vis the Powers of the West’ as the former has a wealth of means to make an estimate about the aspirations of the latter yet ‘no such facility is offered in the converse case.’ He compares Japan’s global status to that of ‘a dumb actress, leaving the audience to attach to her motions whatever meaning it may please them to choose’. It was, therefore, through The Japan Times that Zumoto sought to guide Western understandings of Japan and in so doing obtain for Japan ‘the recognition of the enlightened states as an acknowledged member of their family92.’


As previously discussed, the readership of The Japan Times at the turn of the twentieth century was composed predominantly of foreign residents in Japan who sought an English-language source of Japanese news. However, it is also clear from a Japan Times article entitled ‘Our Financial Prospect’ that, from its establishment, The Japan Times was also directly targeting readers overseas by shipping copies directly to Western nations free of charge93; a highly expensive strategy for which The Japan Times received criticism from one of its contemporaries. It is not clear from this article which newspaper criticised The Japan Times however, there is detail on the nature of the criticism94. It is apparent that the newspaper was concerned about how The Japan Times could fund such an expensive program and speculated that the paper was being funded by the Japanese Government95. In response, The Japan Times article dismissed these claims as false accusations. It states that ‘Because copies of the Japan Times are to be permanently sent abroad free, it is at once concluded that the paper must depend upon a Government subsidy96.’ Then argues that ‘We were not aware that it is unprecedented or unnatural to make great sacrifices for the sake of giving a new paper a good foothold. 

The Mainichi Shinbun made a similar accusation on 20th April 189797. The newspaper correctly argued that ‘The Japan Times, edited by Mr. Motosada Zumoto, was established with capital supplied by the Sage of Mita, Mr. Fukuzawa98.’ The Mainichi Shinbun accusations were, however, aggressively denied by The Japan Times on the following day. It claimed ‘a more erroneous paragraph has never been penned even by the most irresponsible section of our press. It is scarcely necessary to state that no grain of truth is contained in our contemporary’s allegations99.’

The Japan Times, thus, received strong criticism from its contemporaries that suspected the paper of being a Japanese Government organ and therefore that its claims to impartiality and reliability were fabrications. While ostensibly The Japan Times portrayed itself as an independent source of reliable information with honest ambitions to strengthen ties between Japanese and foreign residents as well as between Japan and foreign nations100, the reality was quite different. The Japan Times was founded with Japanese Government capital during a period at the end of the 19th century when arguments proposing the need for Japan to gain independence through the revision of the unequal treaties were gaining momentum. Tensions escalated rapidly after Foreign Minister Okuma Shigenobu attempted to negotiate a new treaty with the Western Powers in 1888. The treaty he negotiated was viewed by nationalist hardliners as too conciliatory and as a result he was attacked in 1889 by a member of the ultranationalist Genyōsha and had his right leg blown off by a bomb. Further, international tensions developed after the 1891 failed assassination attempt of Russian Crown Prince Nicholas Alexandrovich by Tsuda Sanzō, known as the Ōtsu incident.

According to Hasegawa Shinichi, this sequence of violent events led the Western Powers to view Japan as an uncivilised nation with deficient laws and as a result they were not satisfied with the notion of foreign residents sharing courts with Japanese or the Japanese right to increase taxes for foreigners; views that were reflected widely in the foreign-managed English language press101. Japan’s unequal status with the West was demonstrated further by the Triple Intervention. However, on 20th February 1897 Foreign Minister Ōkuma made a speech declaring Japan’s intention to secure equal rights with foreigners. This was the very year The Japan Times was founded.

The revision of the unequal treaties was clearly a priority for Zumoto. Equalising the status of Japan and the West was framed in The Japan Times as essential to securing a stronger connection between the Japanese and foreign community domestically as well as closer international relations between Japan and the West. However, it is the contention of this paper that this portrayal was merely one part of a wider Meiji-era international propaganda campaign, of which The Japan Times was an integral part, to align the West with Japan as a means of justifying to the World, above all the imperial powers, Japanese territorial expansionism. 



This paper has demonstrated, through an analysis of the motivations and affiliations of the founder of The Japan Times, Zumoto Motosada, as well as the paper’s financial and ideological connections to the Japanese Government, pro-imperialist intellectual Fukuzawa Yukichi and the semi-official government organ The Japan Mail the role of The Japan Times as a central mechanism of Meiji government propaganda. It has built on the existing Japanese-language research on Meiji-era government propaganda, which emphasized the role of the Foreign Newspaper Manipulation Programme, by demonstrating the close relationship between The Japan Times and the Meiji government. Additionally, it has expanded the scope of the English-language research on Meiji-era Government propaganda by shifting the focus from the role of oyatoi gaikokujin to demonstrate the importance of the Japanese-edited Japan Times102

Having established The Japan Times as a Meiji Government propaganda organ, a subsequent paper will demonstrate the role of The Japan Times in the 19th-20th century Anglo-Japanese rapprochement and the international justifications for the colonisation of Korea. 

This paper draws on an earlier Japanese language study by the author that was published in Nikkan Sōgo Ninshiki in 2020.



Ito, S. 2017, ‘Lineage dates back to Edo Period’, The Japan Times, 22nd March, p.8.


For example, Hasegawa, S. 1966, Jyapan taimuzu monogatari: Bunkyū gannen (1861) kara gendai made (The Japan Times Story: From the first year of Bunkyū (1861) to the present day), Tokyo: Jyapan taimuzu sha. 

Hasegawa, S. 1958, ‘Jyapan taimuzu kokusaihan no tokusyoku to sekai ni okeru hankyō: Shinbun kyōkai syō wo ukeru’ (The features of the Japan Times international edition and its global impact: Until reception of The Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association Award), Shinbun kenkyū, vol. 87. 

Yajima, A. 2015, ‘Ashida Hitoshi to jyapan taimuzu- 1930 nendai ni okeru nihon no taigai senden no ichi sokumen’ (The Japan Times under the Presidency of Hitoshi Ashida), Meijō Hōgaku, vol. 65, no.1.2. 

Shirayama, E. 2008, ‘Kokusai jya-narisuto Zumoto Motosada to taiheiyō mondai chōsakai’ (Zumoto Motosada and the Conference of the [sic] Pacific Relations), Kindai nihon kenkyū, vol. 25. 

Matsunaga, T. 2010, ‘Zumoto Motosada ni okeru hasshinkei eigo media no kiseki’ (Evolution of utterance-type [sic] English language media by Zumoto Motosada), Lifelong Education and Libraries, vol. 10.


For example, Matsumura, M. 1987, Nichiro Sensō to Kaneko Kentarō – Kōhō gaikō no kenkyū (Kaneko Kentaro and the Russo-Japanese War- Public Relations Diplomacy Research), Tokyo: Shinyūdō. 

Ineno, T. 1988, ‘Makino Nobuaki to nichro sensō’ (Makino Nobuaki and the Russo-Japanese War), Gunma kenritsu jyoshi daigaku kiyō, vol. 8.

Woodhouse, E. 1988, Nichiro sensō wo enshutsushita otoko morison (Morrison, witness to the Russo-Japanese war), Tokyo: Tōyō keizai shinpōsha.


Ōtani, T. 1994, Kindai nihon no taigai senden (Modern Japan’s external propaganda), Tokyo: Kenbun syuppan.


In Japanese, the term ‘senden’- propaganda or advertising, can be divided in two categories: ‘external propaganda’ (taigai senden), which refers to Japanese Government propaganda that targeted nations outside Japan, in particular Western nations, and ‘internal propaganda’ (tainai senden) which targeted Japanese citizens. In English, both categories can be termed ‘propaganda’, however, this paper uses the word ‘propaganda’ only to refer to external (taigai) propaganda.


Ariyama, T. 2013, Jyōhō haken to teikoku nihon I- Kaitei ke-buru to tsūshinsya no tanjyō (Information Hegemony and Imperial Japan 1- Undersea Cables and the birth of News Agencies), Tokyo: Yoshikawa Bunkyū. 

Ariyama, T. 2013, Jyōhō haken to teikoku nihon II- Tsūshin gijyutsu no kakudai to sendensen (Information Hegemony and Imperial Japan 2- The Expansion of Telecommunication Technology and Propaganda Wars), Tokyo: Yoshikawa Bunkyū. 

Ariyama, T. 2016, Jyōhō haken to teikoku nihon III- Higashi Ajia denshinami to chōsen tsūshin shihai (Information Hegemony and Imperial Japan 3- The East Asian Telegraph Network and the control of Korean media), Tokyo: Yoshikawa Bunkyū. 



Katayama, Y. 2009, Nichiro sensō to shinbun- ‘Sekai no naka no nihon’ wo do ronjita no ka (The Russo-Japanese War and Newspapers- How was ‘Japan as a world power’ discussed?), Tokyo: Kōdansha.




Hoare, J.E. 1999, ‘Captain Francis Brinkley (1841–1912): Yatoi, Scholar and Apologist’, Hoare, J.E. (ed.) Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. III, London: Routledge.

Meißner, K. 2016, ‘Responsivity within the Context of Informal Imperialism: Oyatoi in Meiji Japan’, Journal of Modern European History, vol. 14, no.2.


While Peter O’Connor’s 2010 The English-language Press Networks of East Asia, 1918-1945 (2010) deals with The Japan Times and the propaganda activities of Zumoto Motosada, his analysis is brief or included as background information.


Mark E. Caprio (2011) studies The Seoul Press (‘Marketing assimilation: The press and the formation of the Japanese-Korean colonial relationship’, Journal of Korean Studies, vol. 16, no.1.25) but fails to mention Zumoto or his propaganda activities at The Japan Times. Other English-language studies of Zumoto are almost 100 years old: Harry Emerson Wildes’ 1927 Press Freedom in Japan and Charles Nelson Spinks’ 1939The Background of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.


For example, Chong, Chin-sok’s 1987 ‘Ernest Thomas Bethell and his newspapers: the Daehan Maeil Sinbo and the Korea Daily News: the Korean problem in Anglo-Japanese relations, 1904-1910’, Nanam Publications.


Yi, S. & Park, I. 2008, ‘Souru puresu (The Seoul Press) to chosen shokuminchi tōchi shihai no ikkōsatsu' (An examination of The Seoul Press and the Colonial Occupation of Korea), Bulletin of Tokyo Gakugei University, Humanities and Social Sciences I, vol. 59.


Kawaguchi, Y. 1986. ‘Kyōdo no eigaku senkakusha Zumoto Motosada’ (Zumoto Motosada, a local pioneer of English-language learning), Tottori jyoshi tanki daigaku kenkyū kiyō, vol.15, p3. 


Ibid, p.1.


Ibid, p.3.


Endō, K. ‘Kashiramoto Motosada’, Chapter 25- ‘Kengai ni ashiato wo nokoshita hitobito’ (People who have left footprints outside the prefecture), Dainihen Kako no Hino chō(The Hino of the Past-Second Edition), p.651. 


This school was founded in 1874 as ‘Aichi National School of Foreign Language’ (官立愛知外国語学校)but its name changed to ‘Aichi National School of English’ (官立愛知英語学校)and then ‘Aichi Prefectural middle school’ (愛知県中学校). (Kawaguchi Yasuko. 1986, Kyōdo no eigaku senkakusha Zumoto Motosada (Zumoto Motosada, a local pioneer of English-language learning), Tottori jyoshi tanki daigaku kenkyū kiyō, vol.15, p3-5.)


Shirayama, E. 2008, ‘Kokusai jya-narisuto Zumoto Motosada to taiheiyō mondai chōsakai’, pp.235.


Ibid, 4-5.


Ibid, 3.


Ibid, p.6.


Ibid, p.6.


Ito, S. 2017, ‘Lineage dates back to Edo Period’, The Japan Times, 22nd March, p.8.


Shirayama, E. 2008, ‘Kokusai jya-narisuto Zumoto Motosada to taiheiyō mondai chōsakai’ (Zumoto Motosada and the Conference of the [sic] Pacific Relations), pp.235-236.




Zumoto, M. 1932. Itō Kō to Kenpō Seiji (Viscount Itō and Constitutional Government). Self-published, p.2. Author’s translation.


Ibid, pp2-3. Author’s translation.


Hasegawa, S. 1966. Jyapan taimuzu monogatari, p7.


Ibid, pp4-5. Author’s translation.


Ibid, p.8. Author’s translation.


O’Connor, P. 2010. The English-language Press Networks of East Asia, 1918-1945, Folkestone: Brill, p.33.


Shirayama, E. 2008. ‘Kokusai jya-narisuto Zumoto Motosada to taiheiyō mondai chōsakai’ (Zumoto Motosada and the Conference of the [sic] Pacific Relations), p.236.


Hasegawa, S. 1966. Jyapan taimuzu monogatari, p6.


Ibid, p.9.






Fukuzawa, Y. 1885, ‘Datsu-A-Ron’, Jiji Shinpō, 16th March.


Hasegawa, S. 1966. Jyapan taimuzu monogatari, p6.


O’Connor, P. 2010. The English-language Press Networks of East Asia, 1918-1945, p.31.


Hoare, J.E. 1999. Hoare, J.E. (ed.) Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. III, p.103,(Original source: London and China Express 9th September 1897)




O’Connor, P. 2002, ‘The Japan Chronicle and its three editors, Robert Young, Morgan Young and Edwin Allington Kennard, 1891-1940’, Cortazzi, H, ed. 2002. Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. IV, London: Routledge, p.459.


Ibid, p.337.




Williams, H.S. 1958, Tales of Foreign Settlements in Japan, Vermont: Tuttle, p.163.


Brinkley, F. & Kikuchi, D. 1912, A History of the Japanese People from the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era, London: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Co., p.1.


Hoare, J.E. 1999. Hoare, J.E. (ed.) Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. III, p. 103.


See ’The Far East- Russians and Japanese in Korea’ 24th September 1897, ‘The Far East’ 5th November 1897, ‘Japan- On the Eve of the New Treaty Era’ 9th June 1899.


London and China Express, 9th September 1887 cited in Hoare, J.E. 1999. Hoare, J.E. ed. Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. III, p. 103.


JACAR(Japan Center for Asian Historical Records)Ref. A10110601400, Meiji 31nen 6 gatsu 27 nichi (27th June 1898). Sei roku i kun yontō Ariga Nagao hoka ichimei jyoi no ken (Senior Sixth Grade Fourth Order of Merit, Ariga Nagao another person Advancement of court rank). Daijyōkan-naikakukei, Jyoi saikasho-Meiji 31 nen- Jyoi maki no yon (Records Concernign Daijyōkan/Cabinet - Records on Ratification of Conferment of Ranks- 1898 - Advancement of court rank Volume 4) (kokuritsu kōbun shokan-National Archives of Japan).


‘Our Raison D’Etre’, 1897, The Japan Times, 22nd March, p.2.


The Japan Times Archive, 22nd March 1897 issue.


JACAR(Japan Center for Asian Historical Records)Ref. B08090014100, Nisshin seneki ni saishi gaikoku shinbun sōjyū kankei zassan (Miscellaneous about operation of foreign newspapers during Sino-Japan War)- Eikoku no bu, Gaimushō Kiroku, (Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Great Britain Section)p.80.




‘Jyapan Taimuzu Shinbun’, 1897, Jiji Shinpō , 2nd-7th March.








‘The Japan Times’, 1904, The Japan Times, 6th January.


Yi, S. & Park, I. 2008, ‘Souru puresu (The Seoul Press) to chosen shokuminchi tōchi shihai no ikkōsatsu’ (An examination of The Seoul Press and the Colonial Occupation of Korea), p.122.


O’Connor, P. 2010, The English-language Press Networks of East Asia, 1918-1945, p.33.




Caprio, M.E. 2011. ‘Marketing assimilation: The press and the formation of the Japanese-Korean colonial relationship’, Journal of Korean Studies, vol. 16, no.1-25. p.6.


O’Connor, P. 2010. The English-language Press Networks of East Asia, 1918-1945, p.33.








Yi, S. & Park, I. 2008, ‘Souru puresu (The Seoul Press) to chosen shokuminchi tōchi shihai no ikkōsatsu’ (An examination of The Seoul Press and the Colonial Occupation of Korea), pp.122-123.


United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division, Prince Itō and Crown Prince of Korea, Digital ID cph.3b20130.


Yi, S. & Park, I. 2008, ‘Souru puresu (The Seoul Press) to chosen shokuminchi tōchi shihai no ikkōsatsu’ (An examination of The Seoul Press and the Colonial Occupation of Korea), p.121-130. 


National Institute of Korean History, ‘Kankoku kyūtei ni oite kikan shinbun hakkō no keikaku nikansuru ken’(Concerning the Establishment of a Korean Palace News Organ)(Gaimudaijin Komura Jyūtarō hatsu, zaikan tokumei zenken taishi Hayashi Gonsuke ate bunsho, 1904/10/7- Letter from Foreign Minister Komura Jūtarō to ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary Hayashi Gonsuke 7th October 1904)Chūkan nihon kōshikan kiroku, 22 kan (Records of the Japanese Embassy in Korea, Volume 22)(Korean history database). Cowen’s letter to Zumoto is attached to this document.


Hasegawa, S. 1966. Jyapan taimuzu monogatari (The Japan Times Story), p12.




 ‘Death of Mr T. C. Cowen’, 1906, The Daily Mail, 3rd July, p.3.


‘Our Raison D’Etre’, 1897, The Japan Times, 22nd March, p.2.


 ‘UK journalist Bethell established newspapers in 1904’, 2010,The Korea Times, 11th May.


Ibid. As Chong Chin-Sok indicates in Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. VIII. ‘Ernest Bethell’, pp.481-482, the Korea Daily News had a Korean-language sister paper called the Daehan Maeil Sinbo that also encouraged opposition to Japan. Being a Korean-language paper, it had a wider reach in Korea than its English counterpart and was consequently targeted by the Japanese government which petitioned Britain to deport Bethell and close down his papers. 


National Institute of Korean History, ‘Kankoku kyūtei ni oite kikan shinbun hakkō no keikaku ni kansuru ken’ (Concerning the Establishment of a Korean Palace News Organ).




Joya, M. ‘Personality Profiles of Men Behind Paper’s Destiny’, 1962, Japan Times, 22nd March.


O’Connor, P. 2010. The English-language Press Networks of East Asia, 1918-1945, Folkestone: Brill. p.33.


Ibid., pp.75-76.


National Diet Library Digital Collections, Taishō san nen nichidoku seneki shashin chō, Tokyō kaikōsha Taishō 4 nen (Japanese-German war Photograph Album 1914, Tokyo Kaikōsha, 1915).


‘Our Raison D’Etre’, The Japan Times, 1897, 22nd March 1897, p.2.
















Our Financial Prospect’, The Japan Times, 1897, 22nd March, p.2.


Ibid. (As there is no reference to which contemporary newspaper made the criticism, it is impossible to cite it here.)






Untitled Article, The Japan Times, 1897, 20th April, p.2.






‘Our Raison D’Etre’, The Japan Times, 1897, 22nd March, p.2.


Hasegawa, S. 1966. Jyapan taimuzu monogatari, p2.


Although The Japan Times was the first Japanese-edited English-language newspaper, it did have a staff of native English speakers such as Thomas Cowen who would sub-edit the paper. 

Alexander Rotard

Alexander Rotard is a doctoral student at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Social Sciences. He has published work on settler identity and colonial violence in colonial Algeria as well as the role of Japan Times propaganda in the 19th-20th century Anglo-Japanese rapprochement. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis which examines the role of Japan Times propaganda in the international justification of the colonisation of Korea. Email: