Japan–Poland relations

Japan–Poland relations refers to the bilateral foreign relations between Japan and Poland.

Japanese–Polish relations




Early twentieth century

The Poles have taught us among other things systems for compiling and analyzing materials from open sources that have been successfully interpreted by researchers

Onodera Makoto, Japanese military attaché in Sweden

We were united by our hatred of Russia

General Baron Motojiro Akashi related to the intelligence, a military attaché in Stockholm in 1904-05 and Józef Piłsudski.

According to Onodera, the cooperation between the Japanese and Poles dates back to the Japanese-Russian war of 1905.

In 1910, well-known Japanese writer Nitobe Inazō dedicated his book Bushido: The Soul of Japan to the Polish nation, indicating that it was a "samurai" nation. Despite the geographical and cultural distance between the cultures, this book was written at a time when the Japanese admired Poles for their heroism and honor.

During Bolshevik rule in Russia, the Japanese government undertook a rescue operation to help Polish children deported to Siberia. Japanese ships transported Polish children to Tokyo, where the Japanese Red Cross gave them protection and then helped them return to Poland.

Based on the rescue of Polish children from Siberia through Japan, the movie Warushawa-no Aki (English: Autumn in Warsaw) was made, directed by Hiroki Hayashi. The guardian of Polish children was played by the Japanese actress Yūko Takeuchi, known for her role in the Japanese film Ring.

Japan and Poland established diplomatic relations on March 22, 1919, months after Poland regained its independence in November 1918.[1] Both countries formed a silent alliance against the Soviet Union and agreed upon sharing intelligence they obtained. The Japanese relied heavily on the new Polish secret service for training in decryption and continued their close military co-operation even after (post-invasion) German declaration of war against Poland, which was rejected by Japan for this reason (continued military co-operation). The Japanese relied on the vast Polish network of spies and allowed the Poles to openly place their agents inside embassies of its protectorate of Manchukuo. Their military cooperation was so close that the Japanese ambassador was one of the people involved in the smuggling of a Polish flag made for the London-based Polish Air Squadron. Before the war, Japan wanted Poland to join the Axis countries. At the time of the signing the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact and subsequent attack on Poland, Japan declared that from now on she would never trust Hitler anymore and would only use him for her own purposes, so as not to help Nazi Germany in the war with the Soviets at the end of the war.

During World War I, the Japanese government declared war on Germany and at the same time the Japanese elite financially supported the creation of a sovereign Polish government in exchange for professionally teaching Japanese spies to break Russian codes.

General Akashi traveled extensively around Europe. He and other Japanese financially supported Poles striving to break away from Russia. An important rapprochement between Japanese and Polish officers was the honorary treatment of Poles who had repeatedly hosted Japanese officers visiting or stationed at their diplomatic missions in Warsaw. In the interwar period, Japanese cryptologists visited Poland, where Polish specialists wrote the methods of Russian phrases. Onodera claimed that until 1939 the center of the Japanese intelligence aimed at Russia was located in Warsaw.

World War II

During World War II, despite being allied with Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan along with Italy did not diplomatically support the Nazi invasion of Poland, and the Japanese actively supported the Polish government in exile. This decision was dictated by the Japanese distrust of their Nazi allies, who had made a secret pact with the Soviet Union. Thus, the Japanese government decided to continue to rely on Polish spies even after a formal declaration of war by Poland. The declaration of war from Poland was rejected by Japanese prime minister Tojo Hideki under the pretense that the Polish government in exile was forced to issue it in compliance with its alliance to both the United Kingdom and the United States, making the declaration legally void. This ensured co-operation between the two intelligence services in gathering information on both the Soviet Union and Third Reich. The Japanese agents in Europe during World War II continued to support the Polish struggle for freedom against Soviet Union and Third Reich forces as far as the Japanese interests went, and sheltered Polish-Jewish refugees fleeing occupation from both German and Soviet forces, though at first it was done without proper authorization from the Imperial government in Tokyo. Therefore, Chiune Sugihara had to prove to the authorities that the refugees would be traveling through Japan only as a transit country to the United States and not be staying permanently, which eventually lead to him gaining full legal approval and assistance from the Government of Japan. Throughout the secret alliance, Polish agents never disclosed information about their Western allies and shared information only pertaining to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union.

The Japanese poem Porando kaiko of Major and later General Fukushima Yasumasa mentions the Polish struggle for freedom.[2]

A statue of Polish anthropologist Bronisław Piłsudski stands in Japan, who was a researcher of the local culture in Japan and married an Ainu woman who was a citizen of Imperial Japan. He was also the brother of the Polish marshal Józef Piłsudski, who established close cooperation with the Imperial Japanese government in order to jointly attack the Soviet Union. The plan failed due to the marshal's death.

Modern relations

Embassy of Japan in Warsaw, Poland

Japan established a relationship with the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) that represented the Soviet-controlled Polish puppet state in 1957, while at the same time continuing to be allied with the London-based Polish national government in exile, and later supported the merging of these two in 1989 to form the modern Polish state. Both share mutual interests and alliances that forged them closer to each other. The two states celebrated 90 years of relationship in 2009[3] and the 100th anniversary in 2019[1] Trade, business, and tourism between both countries continues to thrive. LOT Polish Airlines provides daily non-stop flights between Tokyo and Warsaw. A Polish embassy is located in Tokyo, and a Japanese embassy is located in Warsaw.


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