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Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1919-1952

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Discover the rise of modern Japan and its relations with global superpowers through official British Government documents.

During the first half of the twentieth century Japan rose to superpower status. Explore documents covering the shifting nature of Anglo-Japanese relations through extensive British Government Foreign Office files.

From triumph at Versailles in 1919, to the devastation of two atomic bombs and American occupation, these documents remain crucial for understanding Japan’s changing political state, revealing the role it was carving itself on a global stage, and how it was viewed by other superpowers.

Providing significant insight into this fascinating period of Japanese history, these Foreign Office files provide full-text searchable access to formerly restricted top level discussions and correspondence from the British Embassy and consulate in Japan.

Files consist of wide-ranging material, including memoranda, reports, minute sheets and correspondence, along with detailed assessments of key events, speeches and topics of special interest.

The collection includes Japan-specific files from the FO 371 and FO 262 series and is supplemented by files from the Western and American Department papers in FO 371.


  • Section I: Japanese Imperialism and the War in the Pacific, 1931-1945 (Available Now)
  • Section II: Occupation of Japan, 1946-1952
  • Section III: Japan and Great Power Status, 1919-1930

Foreign Office Files: Japan, 1919-1952 is an Archives Direct collection and is cross-searchable with other collections within the Archives Direct portal, including Foreign Office Files: China, 1919-1980.