The Imperial Rise and Fall of Japan and their Emperor is a historical event that is mind boggling. What made them (Japan) take the direction they did?
Let's be honest, the leading colonial powers of the time were Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Holland, Portugal, and Spain. All old imperial powers that occupied conquered territories in Asia. They were all about Japan.
Perhaps Japan realised she had to swim with the big imperial powers of the time - a time that was coming to an end, yet none realised this was to be. All these nations believed the way forward was to occupy other less powerful nations and exploit their natural resources.