Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Sue Fawn Chung

Number of Pages



This thesis examines the shifting American perceptions of Japan in the period from the Sino-Japanese War to the Washington Naval Conference, as expressed in the popular press, government statements, missionary speeches, and other printed materials. During this period, the American image of Japan changed dramatically, and the image of the Japanese was transformed from an admirable, if exotic, people, to formidable economic, cultural, and strategic rivals. While Theodore Roosevelt pursued a pragmatic East Asian policy based on the interests and capabilities of the nations in question, his successors altered this policy, with the Taft Administration mounting an economic challenge to Japan in Manchuria, and Woodrow Wilson opposing Japanese domination of China on moral grounds. This process was intimately involved with the change in American perceptions of Japan. After Wilson proved unable to reconcile his idealism with the demands of traditional diplomacy, the Harding Administration used a different approach to defuse tensions in the short term. Throughout the period, perceptions of Japan were a factor in shaping the United States' East Asian policy. While perceptions were usually influenced by policy, popular images of Japan and East Asia played a key role in determining the nature of several foreign policy endeavors, and eventually the government was more likely to play to public opinion than to attempt to shape it.


Fall; Grace; Images; Japan; United States

Controlled Subject

United States; History; Asia; Japan

File Format


File Size

4136.96 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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