I would like to translate a book of Admiral Shinjiro Stefano Yamamoto for Fr Hezel.
Chapter 4 - Diplomats in the national interest
A member of the Paris Peace Conference
During the eighteen years he served the Crown Prince and Emperor Showa from the Taisho to the Showa period, Shinjiro Yamamoto kept himself out of the public eye and devoted himself to being a "behind-the-scenes supporter" and "storyteller" for the Crown Prince and Emperor.
However, there was a period before and after the war when he was active in the world as a diplomat, using his language skills and his wide range of contacts as a Catholic.
The first was in the middle of the Taisho era, after the First World War.
Japan had won the Russo-Japanese War, and in the First World War had joined the ranks of the "leading nations" of the world, both in name and in reality, by winning the war as part of the Allied Powers of the United States, Britain and France.
In 1919, Japan sent a delegation of 60 people to the peace conference held in Paris, including former Prime Minister Kinmochi Saionji, who was the chief plenipotentiary, former Foreign Minister Nobuaki Makino, who was the deputy plenipotentiary, Sutemi Chinda, the ambassador to Britain, and Keijiro Matsui, the ambassador to France.
The mission was to demonstrate the presence of a "leading nation" and to gain as many national benefits as possible.
In the delegation, Isamu Takeshita, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, was to be a member of the naval delegation. The two men were classmates at the Naval Academy (the 26th class).
Isamu Takeshita, a native of Satsuma, was appointed naval attaché to the legation in Washington before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War. During the war he made contact with US President Theodore Roosevelt by teaching him judo. Together with Kentaro Kaneko, a member of the House of Peers who had been a friend of the President's since his student days, he helped to arrange a peace treaty with the United States.
He was a member of the plenipotentiary delegation to the Russo-Japanese peace conference in Portsmouth.
This earned Takeshita the reputation as "the best naval diplomat", and after the Paris Peace Conference he was the Japanese naval representative to the League of Nations in Geneva. After the Paris Peace Conference, he was Japan's naval representative at the League of Nations in Geneva. He was also part of the delegation that accompanied the Crown Prince on his visit to Europe.
Yamamoto was also fluent in French, English and Italian. During the First World War, he served as a naval attaché to the Italian Embassy in Tokyo, gathering information on the war in Europe and often playing the role of a 'diplomat' within the Navy.
Nomura, who graduated second in his class from the Naval Academy, later became ambassador to the United States at the start of the Greater East Asia War, where he tried to avert the outbreak of war. However, he was blamed for the delay in notifying the US of the declaration of war.
On 10 December 1918, Takeshita, Yamamoto and Nomura left for Paris via the United States. On board, Takeshita communicated with Yamamoto and Nomura.
In "The Diary of Isamu Takeshita, a Diplomat of the Navy", he wrote of Yamamoto: "I tried to discuss religion with him and heard his criticisms. He is a man of knowledge and has a good opinion on various matters" (January 12, 1919).
He also commented on Nomura: "I have discussed the issue of arms limitation with Nomura. He has an excellent opinion. Makino Otoko (Baron Makino Nobuaki) also praised and admired him" (January 13, 1919), expressing his hopes for the diplomatic abilities of his younger naval colleagues.