In a series of essays on the Pacific Theatre of World War II, a contributor to the Miles Mathis website has done a driveby history of Imperial Japan, that in my opinion, is more revealing than anything you will find in your University library.
Present-day China is like a black-box. You can sometimes catch the echoes of what goes on inside, if you are watching/reading/listening carefully. It is only sometimes that a genuine insider account emerges.
A few days ago, Prof. Henry Makow linked up a now rare but once popular book published in 1951, which sheds some little-known information on the origins of Communist China (or the China as we know it). Here is some additional analysis and extrapolation.