After her isolation was forcibly ended by the U.S. Navy in 1853, Japan rapidly assimilated western technology and developed a strong military. A stunning victory in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, brought Imperial Japan recognition as the only non-white, predominantly non-Christian, military power in the world.

Although lauded by many other non-white nations, many Japanese felt slighted by the West.  Even participation in WWI against Germany didn’t bring Japan the level of respect it desired – during the 1918 Versailles Treaty negotiations, a Japanese proposal  proclaiming racial equality was rejected.