The Second World War was a dramatic period in global history. But when did it begin? Chapter 1 explains why shifting the focus from the European experience of war to Asia changes the usefulness of the traditional periodization of the Second World War, and why the analysis of Swedish–Japanese relations is better structured along a different timeline. The moments when Japan violently changed the status quo in the international system were more impactful on Swedish interactions with Japan than international events in Europe. The Mukden Incident of 1931, the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War, in 1937, and the attack on Pearl Harbor, in 1941, were the pivotal moments that impacted the bilateral relationship the most and are therefore the beginnings of Chapters 3, 4, and 6, while Chapters 2 and 5 are reserved for the historical background and an analysis of Sweden’s and Japan’s reactions to the beginning of the war in Europe. Secondly, this chapter also explains the centrality of Sweden’s neutrality policy for its relationship with Japan. The fact that Sweden remained at peace with all belligerents of the Long Second World War was the structuring element of its international relations. From a Swedish perspective, Tokyo, Washington, Berlin, Nanking, and Moscow were never its enemies. Yet, step by step, Sweden’s international partners sank into warfare with each other. How did that impact Sweden’s relations with Japan? This “neutral viewpoint” of Swedish foreign policy is central to the rest of the book.