Speaking of a "Pacific Age" is now commonplace. About a hundred years ago, however, it was almost a flight of fancy. In 1890, Manjiro Inagaki, a Cambridge-educated Japanese diplomat, wrote: "Without doubt the Pacific will in the coming century be the platform of commercial and political enterprise. This truth, however, escapes the eyes of ninety-nine out of a hundred, just as did the importance of Eastern Europe in 1790 and of Central Asia in 1857." Inagaki's belief was based on the seemingly inevitable clash of interests between England and Russia in those years. The rivalry for spheres of influence between the two "super powers" extended from the Balkans to Central Asia/Afghanistan and was now, he thought, extending to Eastern Asia and the Pacific. The "Pacific Question" was, he maintained, an inevitable extension of the "Eastern Question."
The Pacific Ocean and U.S.-Japan Relations: A Way of Looking Back at the 20th Century,
San Diego Int'l L.J.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/ilj/vol6/iss1/5