An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)

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Thus, whereas the first type of historicism is agency-denying, as Chakrabarty rightly points out, the second is agency-enabling.

An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945

Only by acknowledging both versions of historicism can we identify the appeal of historicism in places where European imperialism provoked native intellectuals to reconfigure the meaning of history for themselves. The differentiation between these two versions of historicism arises from the implicit contention over how to locate agency: thinking history alternatively can be constitutive in conceptualising political agency. The latter approach ultimately leaves the question of who the sovereign subject of history is unanswered Miki With the Meiji Restoration of , Japan pursued a path of Westernisation.

Histoire de la civilisation en Europe , trans. These writings were avidly read by various figures in early Meiji Japan. Civilisational history and science became the central currents in the early Meiji period. Texts by Buckle and Guizot were popular among the Japanese reading public for their potential to reveal the secrets of Western power. The imposition of unequal treaties and the British defeat of Qing China weighed heavily on the minds of many, and histories accounting for the rise of the Western powers were reached to as a model for development.

Yukichi Fukuzawa offers us one example of engagement with civilisational history, bunmeishi , by theorising it as an endeavour to capture the positionality of the subject against the universal law of development. In this three-tier civilisational schema, Japan is positioned as a semi-developed country, with Europe and the US as developed, and Africa and Australia as primitive Fukuzawa, then follows this diagnosis of the present with a warning that if man remains content with the current stage of semi-development, the loss of autonomy may be inevitable. In the primitive stage, men live in a precarious state where food and shelter are not reliably available.

Man, in the civilised stage, where Europe and America stand, identifies the general structure that governs the universe, yet is unbound by the structure itself. Instead of slavish imitation, fully developed man demonstrates his capacity for the free play of thought. Learning is no longer imitative, but creative and inventive. Man is no longer a slave of custom; he actively plans the future, and commits to its realisation as a creator of the world Fukuzawa specifically identifies inventiveness as a trait that differentiates Japan and China from Europe and America.

China, in his imagining, is a country bound by old customs and habits. Although Fukuzawa repeatedly draws on Buckle and Guizot, he makes no mention of climate, and instead attributes the development of civilisation to inventiveness and practical learning. What Fukuzawa seeks to promote is creative inventiveness. Furthermore, though designating Europe and America as the most civilised of countries, Fukuzawa qualifies this as a relative phase China, for instance, is more civilised than Africa, and Europe is civilised as opposed to China.

Here, Fukuzawa renders the notion of civilisational history as an open-ended process and, in doing so, sustains the possibility of and necessity for Japan to pursue practical learning and inventive craftsmanship. Similar to Fukuzawa, Taguchi is committed to finding the universal principles that lie behind civilisational history.

Taguchi differentiates historical writings, which merely compile data chronologically, from those that identify the underlying causal relation between events. For Fukuzawa and Taguchi, historical progress is identifiable through the application of universal law. Both adopt the notion of universal law, yet neglect geographical determinism e.

Such were the brief engagements with the civilisational, stagist, and scientific views of history in early Meiji Japan. In the Normanton Incident, a British captain was acquitted on charges of letting all 37 non-Western members of his crew Japanese, Chinese and Indian drown when his ship sank. The captain rescued every British and German crew member, which incited outrage at the unequal treatments Tanaka In the late 19th century, this conflation of historical underdevelopment or stagnation with particular geographical regions became fixed in Eurocentric civilisational historical narratives McCarthy However, in adopting a stagist approach to history, this denial seemed unavoidable.

The problem of how to think about historical development in Asia has therefore revolved around the question of how to conceive of political agency. It is here that we begin to see the Romantic moment. In short, what we see in the first half of the Meiji period is an engagement with French and British civilisational histories and their approach to history as a science. In addition, we can observe the eventual realisation that the study of history, for Japan, requires a different approach —one that is opposed to civilisational history altogether.

To be sure, civilisational history, which conceives of Asia as backward, does not die out in the s. As Stefan Tanaka shows, this Western idea of Asia as backwards is replicated in the establishment of Oriental Studies programmes by Japanese universities Yet these accounts of a Westernising Japan do not capture the alternative approaches to history that emerged after the s as a reaction to the limits of civilisational history. By the s, there was broad consensus that civilisational history was Western history.

It was against this backdrop that a different notion of Asia emphasising cultural difference gradually became resurgent.

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The cultural turn, which became dominant from the s onwards, rendered Asia not as a static and backward empire, but as a site of resistance. In , the philosopher Kiyoshi Miki wrote that political theory capable of uniting the East lay in the defeat of world history as the history of white people; that is, Eurocentrism The issue identified by Miki is the question of how to pluralise the ways in which we consider historical development. This treatise, which was issued in two parts, is considered to be the most thorough, systematic response to Eurocentrism in history to be written at the time of World War II Hiromatsu As Tetsuya Sakai writes, Japanese theorists in the period after World War I — that is, in the interwar period — shared a sense of a worldwide crisis in the international order One of his first writings on the possibility of critique and historicism was based on a reading of Kantian idealism as a gateway to the later German Romantic movements.

Under the increasing suppression of free speech and thought in the s, the only way in which he could express his thinking was to publish in journals. In this political context, his short article on the meaning of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident attracted the attention of members of the SRA. Principles I begins by identifying the historical significance of the war, and argues for the impossibility of finding a solution to the Sino-Japanese war without pursuing domestic reform.

Spatially, it argues, the significance of the war lies in the unification of East Asia, which accords with a world movement toward the formation of regional blocs — itself a movement toward the spatio-temporal unification of world history Miki At the same time, if China is to join the united East, it must avoid both digressing into its feudal past and being captured by modern capitalism. Principles I distinguishes between East and West. The East is based on the culture of the kingly way of rule wangdao , the fusing of man and nature, the thought of heaven tian , and the communitarian way of thought.

By contrast, the West is characterised by individualism, humanism, rationalism, liberalism, and the principle of atomistic self-interest Miki The basis of this new principle of thought is co-operativism, a practice whose basis lies in the act of making. This practice as poiesis pertains to the unification of the objective law of nature with the subjective human will.

The historical meaning of the war hinges on the act of making, that is, of creating a new order. This act of making is aimed at overcoming the debates about whether history determines outcome, or whether the development of history is itself determined by an agent. Principles II addresses this question through its philosophy of form, where the notion of the form and the maker of the form is likened to artistic production. Principles II denies that artistic production is merely mimetic.

The artist may be copying an object before his eyes, yet the copying is only possible with the active engagement of the copier. Because this engagement is active and selective, what is being copied is not the same as the copy. It redefined the war aim as the making of a new culture. This not only legitimised theorists in the metropole, but also bolstered the efforts of soldiers on the ground in China. Therefore, the war was about the cultural transformation of the Japanese domestic political order as well as that of Greater East Asia.

Because Principles I cautioned against mere expansion, or the imposition of Japanism, the clarification of the war aim resonated with those who remained critical of Japanese imperialism. In this sense, Principles I and II were more potent in endowing legitimacy to the war than the ideology of Japanism, which many intellectuals rejected for its ethnocentrism. The making of new culture sought to envision Sino-Japanese relations as the co-operative making of a new culture. Given the underlying utopic idealism tucked beneath the text, the plan to reform the existing, corrupt order attracted a diversity of supporters, including theorists, militarists, farmers, factory workers, and others seeking reform in Japan.

Linking total war with a new kind of utopic regional order attracted support from across all strata of society. Among others, it led the socialist party to become a nationalist party. Having provided a blueprint for legitimising the war as a means to reform both the Japanese and Asian political orders, the SRA was disbanded and, in , absorbed into the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. In the s, the war to realise a new kind of order was reified by others following Miki who were not involved in the SRA.

Despite the caveat Miki added in Principles I , that Japan should not merely reproduce Western hegemony, the war ultimately became the one establishing Japanese dominance in the region. This replication of hegemonic power relations suggests that we need to further examine the problem of responding to the Western denial of Asian agency with the claim that to right such a wrong, we must render the formerly oppressed as the subject of history, and begin anew.

Why are responses to the Western denial of historical agency susceptible to appropriation for imperialist ends? In the attempt to critique Eurocentric norms through poiesis, as a means to practically create a different set of norms, Asia was likened to a malleable substance to be shaped by Japan, as both subject and maker of history. Because the Principle rejected any return to the past, the turn to culture entailed the making of new culture. Making, however, requires a maker: a subject of history. Although Miki continuously warned that Japan should not merely replace the Western powers in Asia, he nonetheless identified a special leading role for Japan as the initiator of this new culture.

Instead, this question was answered by practical political concerns. In the name of political realism, those who asserted that Japan should be this agent of history argued this to be so because it was one of the few countries that had escaped colonisation by the West.

Within such a process, there is little space for voices from Asia. It is in this sense, the historian Shinichi Yamamuro points out, that the discourse on new culture and imperial policy was more potent in legitimating colonial rule when culture did not refer to tradition, but to a making of something new A return to tradition would mean working with what is given to us. The making of new culture, in contrast, opens itself to a precarious claim: that anything is possible, and no reference to an actual Asia is necessary.

As outlined above, the predicament is how resistance against Eurocentrism took the form of a cultural reconfiguration of historical significance, and how the cultural production of a new order came to legitimise and reproduce the kind of imperial violence that Miki originally sought to criticise. Civilisational history was problematic, as it naturalised Eurocentrism, yet the Japanese response crafted in the s and s continued to conceive of Asia as a theoretical problem, whose solution lay in the construction and projection of the New Order at the expense of Asian voices and dissent.

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Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Shanty towns and make-shift shelters of every description sprang up among the rubble of Japan's cities but chronic food shortages resulted in daily 22xhomas Havens, Valley of Darkness: The Japanese People in World War Two, University Press of America, , pp.

Valley of Darkness, p. One of the more common sights in those days were trains - those that still ran - leaving the cities, jammed with people clinging to the sides, balancing on the roofs, and hanging out the windows. The rural areas had escaped the bombings for the most part but were now hardpressed to support the masses of people fleeing daily from the cities. In the two years following surrender, rural Japan would have to find food, shelter, and employment for over six million repatriated soldiers and civilians returning from abroad under the orders of the Allied Occupation.

Uchino, Sengo nihon keizaishi, p. Cited in Jerome B. Havens uses similar figures in Valley of Darkness, p. See also Uchino, Sengo nihon keizaishi, p. These claims notwithstanding, death from disease exacted a heavy toll. The continual movement of people, resulting in a massive transient population, unwashed and underfed, created a fertile environment for the spread of disease.

In the first eighteen months following Japan's surrender the Japanese people were wracked by a series of epidemics. In March alone smallpox and eruptive typhus epidemics raged throughout Japan with over 62, reported cases. Altogether, between August and December there were , cases of dysentery reported with 44, deaths. Diphtheria accounted for , cases and 12, deaths, while typhus and paratyphoid fever claimed , victims and 25, lives.

Konodai was originally an army training ground but after the war the government established a tuberculosis sanatorium for the Koreans who had worked the coal mines. Those who survived were permitted to stay in the area and eventually received title to small plots of land near the site of the old sanatorium. This information comes from an interview with Suzuki Hideo, December 14, The food problem, or shokuryd mondai as it was called, was actually a legacy of Japan's war with China. Well before Pearl Harbor, government rationing of scarce resources, including food, and official price controls became commonplace.

In three short years, from the outbreak of the war with China in until , Japan's rice situation deteriorated from surplus to shortage, largely due to the dramatic reduction in imported rice from Korea and Taiwan. This figure dropped to about 10 million in and then plummeted to 3 million in Arisawa argued that severe drought in Korea, rising colonial administrative costs, and the reluctance of colonial farmers to sell their rice in Japan were the main reasons for such a precipitous decline.

See Arisawa ed , Shozva keizaishi, pp. Of course, once the Americans went on the offensive in the war, food importation was further hampered by massive shipping losses. When rice rationing began in , each person was permitted only grams of rice per day, but wheat and potatoes were still freely available. Under the Food Administration Law Shokuryo Kanriho , however, potatoes and all grains were also rationed and were often used as substitutes, along with beans, to fill the per diem rice ration.

At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in December daily caloric intakes for Japanese adults stood at calories, most of which came from official rations. This declined slightly to calories in , but only calories came from official rations. By the end of the war, urban Japanese were averaging somewhere between and calories per day, a good portion of which had to obtained on the black market. Shortages became even more acute once SOAdmiral Yonai's name was made up of two characters: "yo" meaning rice; and "nai" meaning inside.

However, the sound of the last character could also mean no or not; hence, the prime minister became known as Admiral "No-Rice. In those last, desperate days a slogan of protest seeped through the cracks of the government censorship and policing agencies which typified the mood of the time: "Empty bellies can't fight a war" Hara ga hette wa senso dekinu. Official rations provided a paltry calories per day as the rice ration itself fell another ten percent to grams, about the equivalent of one cup.

Frequently, even this meagre offering was replaced by potatoes or beans. Some studies have argued that caloric intakes were as low as calories while still others claim 32Despite the government's efforts to increase rice production, it declined precipitously from Nakamura, Nihon keizai, p. Regardless of which set of numbers one takes, however, it seems clear that the fears of an empty rice bowl were as commonplace as the rubble which defined Japan's cities. Uchino used the figure of calories for and for but he did not provide a source either. Cohen said that Tokyo residents were averaging calories per day in November , in contrast to rural dwellers who were consuming around calories per day.

Japan's Economy in War and Reconstruction, p. All citations taken from these records will hereafter be referred to as ATIS. Rampant inflation, another legacy of the war, rendered all such plans inoperative in the early years following Japan's defeat. The food problem was especially hard on children. Another study conducted by the Physical Education Section of the Tokyo Metropolitan Office in December reported that fourteen-year old boys weighed on average six kilograms less that their counterparts in The oldest boys were hardest hit but every age group not surprisingly showed weight reduction.

Boys were 1. Havens, Valley of Darkness, p. Having recognized that the food problem would worsen significantly, they created a plan to increase food production Shokuryo Sosan Keikaku whereby all national schools would grow their own food for school lunches. The plan, which was largely a continuation of a similar wartime program begun in , met with mixed results due to the shortage of fertilizer, tools and labour. Various municipal governments as well as the Ministry of Welfare continued their surveys of child health throughout the postwar years but it was not until the early s that Japanese children began to recover from the nutritional deprivations of the "dark valley.

By the end of , fears of mass starvation were heightened by the daily coexistence with the spectre of death. Reproduced in Iwasaki and Kato eds , Showa sesdshi, p. Newspapers fuelled these fears by regularly providing grisly details of the number of deaths from starvation in Japan's major cities. Periodically, sensational events would occur that reinforced the fragility of life in the yake ato jidai.

Under the headline of "The Sacrifice of One Who Refused to Eat on the Black Market" Yami o kuwanai gisei , the article explained that Kameo died because he had tried to subsist on official rations alone. The article reprinted an entry from Kameo's diary which read, "I can no longer understand the way of our nation. With controlled wages and food rations, I simply cannot get by. This tragedy was rerun again in with more sensational results when the media reported the starvation death of Tokyo District Court judge Yamaguchi Yoshitada who also refused to buy food from the black market.

Urda , The Free Press, , p. Reproduced in Iwasaki and Kato eds Showa sesdshi, , p.

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In his diary, written shortly before his death, he vowed to "fight the black market and die of starvation. According to one newspaper account, Iida thought he was being cheated on his food rations by Kataoka's wife.

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He claimed that he was receiving only two meals a day instead of three and that one of these meals was only rice gruel kayu. After being scolded by Kataoka's wife for his behaviour, Iida apparently grabbed an axe and, in a rage, killed the entire family. Reproduced in Iwasaki and Kato eds , Showa sesoshi, p. As such, they are not necessarily representative of the people at large. However, it is often by examining the extremes of a given situation that we can better appreciate the conditions with which most people struggled on a daily basis.

As mentioned earlier, in late the press was awash with rumours of mass starvation and wild speculation that as many as ten million would perish. But the ubiquity with which the fear spread indicates the degree to which food, or the lack of it, was foremost in the minds of countless Japanese.

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Many did die in that first year after the war but mass starvation was averted by the large-scale importation of staple foodstuffs from the United States beginning in the spring of Using a Foreign Ministry report, Uchino said that 1. However, according to a magazine account of the time, shipments of 2,, tons of wheat and rice began in March , following MacArthur's request for emergency food imports from the American government.

Contemporary Japan May-August , vol. Kawai Kazuo claimed that over , tons of food were sent to Japan over a one-year period beginning in the spring of , but Royama said that 1,, tons of staple foods and 43, tons of canned goods were shipped between November and October Japan's population was about seventy-two million in but the rice crop was sufficient to feed only thirty-nine million. Today, no matter how full I am, I still like to eat a bowl of white rice at the end of a meal. Whatever else they recalled, virtually everyone began with memories of being hungry and cold.

Herbert P. To our good and loyal subjects: After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining to Our Empire today, We have Despite the best that has been done by everyone - the gallant fighting of our military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people - the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest The hardships and sufferings to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will certainly be great.

We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all ye, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering the insufferable. The Emperor's broadcast unleashed a torrent of emotions, the two most extreme 52xhe Emperor never mentioned the Potsdam Declaration by name, referring to it only as the "Joint Declaration" kyodo sengen.

My reading of the original comes from the reprint published in the Asahi Shimbun, August 15, Italics mine. In the early morning hours of August 15th, before the speech was broadcast to the nation, War Minister A n a m i Korechika, unable to either suffer or endure the ignominy of defeat, took his own life by the ritual performance of seppuku. The Emperor cast the deciding vote in favour of acceptance, an action that contributed to his postwar reincarnation as a man of peace. For further discussion on the Emperor's own reconstruction, see Chapter Six. See, for example, Mainichi Shimbun, August , Even before the speech was aired, these radicals plotted to assassinate the Emperor's "evil advisers" and to prevent the rescript from being broadcast.

The plot was foiled when military leaders refused to go along but not before Mori Takeshi, commander of the First Imperial Guard Division, was murdered by the conspirators. General Anami was sympathetic to the conspirators but even he refused to go against the Emperor's wishes. The reactions of the Japanese people also included acts of atonement through death. According to the Mainichi Shimbun, thirty-five civilians killed themselves in the two weeks following the Emperor's speech, mostly young men.

The newspaper stated that these men, like their military counterparts, felt they had not done enough and so wanted to apologize to the Emperor with their lives. For the majority, shock and remorse were far more common responses. The most common responses were remorse kokai , sorrow hitan , and regret zannen , followed by surprise odoroki , shock shogeki , confusion konwaku , and relief kyusai. Having grasped, in translation, the significance of the broadcast, the workers simply dropped what they were doing and silently left the building. Shinsei magazine editor, Murofuchi Takenobu, also found himself having to explain the meaning of the message to his younger friends and colleagues, many of whom just sat immobile, staring at the walls.

He knew it was 61 The survey results are reproduced in Yoshimi, Kusa no ne no fashizumu, pp. Confused and uncertain over what had happened, Yoshioka decided it was best to cry along with them. Elation at being alive and despair over Japan's future mingled inside him, leading to a prolonged sense of spiritlessness or apathy mukiryoku. Perhaps they were both. Like the Emperor, Shidehara referred only to the war's end senso shiiketsu so it is possible that he shed tears of joy for this and tears of sorrow for the defeat he could not bring himself to mention.

Matsumoto was a student in Shiga, but like many teenagers was recruited into factory work at the end of the war. At the time of Hirohito's broadcast, he was working at Sumitomo Metals in Shiga. There were some for whom despair was displayed as anger, sometimes directed toward the Emperor himself.

After listening to Hirohito's speech one old man cried out bitterly: "This is stupid. If the war could be stopped by the emperor simply raising his hands and surrendering, why didn't he end the war sooner for us? Your Majesty, because of this my sons have all died in vain, a dog's death. Many of those people did not give voice to their thoughts as he did, but they carried such sentiments in their hearts nonetheless. Naturally, public accounts of that day dwelt not on anger but on the "bitter tears" ketsurui being shed in remorse for defeat. Drawing on the Emperor's invocation of the "one hundred million people" ichioku shiisho , an Asahi Shimbun editorial the following day led with the headline, "The Autumn of One Hundred Million Tears.

One man sobbingly proclaimed, "I was bad. I didn't really exert myself to the utmost. I am to blame. The one hundred million ichioku itself was a legacy of wartime propaganda designed to inculcate a sense of unity among the Japanese people, despite the fact that the population of Japan was only about seventy million at the time. In the heady days following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December the Tojo government introduced the phrase, "one hundred million hearts beating as one" ichioku isshin , as a demonstration of the glorious Japanese spirit, and designed to spur the people on to ever greater feats of sacrifice for the nation.

As the war turned badly for Japan a new phrase was proposed in the Diet by the army and navy in late ichioku tokko, the one hundred million as a suicide squad. With slogans such as this, the Japanese government made it clear that there would be no civilians in the Pacific War, just as Douhet had predicted. In those last, desperate days as the Japanese military were arming the people with little more than bamboo spears in anticipation of an American invasion, yet another slogan was born from the government's propaganda machine: ichioku gyokusai one hundred million as a shattered jewel.

The latter term was never used during the war, lacking as it did any patriotic reference to honour or glory. In his recollections of the war years, Kinjo Shigeaki painfully remembered how as a teenager in Okinawa he was given two hand grenades by an army sergeant who instructed 70Dower, War Without Mercy, pp. For the media's promotion of this idea see, for example, Asahi Shimbun, December 28, For a discussion of the Japanese military's attempt to prepare for the invasions see Havens, Valley of Darkness, pp.

Frank Baldwin , Pantheon Books, An even worse fate awaited. He and his older brother, caught up in the insanity of family members killing each other during the Battle of Okinawa, strangled their mother, younger brother, and younger sister out of fear of them being captured by the enemy.

For Kinjo, August 15th reinforced the nightmare of that day. The more I recovered my normal mind," he said, "the more strongly the abnormal came back to me. There was neither honour in the charred ruins of Japan's cities nor glory in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. The Emperor's speech, when it finally came, was not so much a surprise - the physical destruction of Japan had seen to that - as it was a shock to find that all the effort and all the sacrifice had been wasted.

It certainly evoked no surprise for journalist Okada Satoshi who was stuck thousands of miles away on Irian Jaya with the Japanese army. Having heard of the war's progress on his friend's shortwave radio and having been deluged with pamphlets dropped from 73Kinj6 Shigeaki, "Now they call it 'Group Suicide'," in Cook, et. On the day he finally did hear the Emperor's speech August 17th , read to him and his comrades by their commander, Okada called it "the day of despondency" kyodatsu jotai no hi. Watching his comrades sobbing at the news, he reflected on what it was everyone had been fighting for.

However, unlike the Meiji Restoration, Japan's first turning point, war, defeat, and occupation had a direct and palpable impact on the entire nation which, as we have seen, expressed itself as shock and despair. This is a common image of a world at war: destruction, death, privation and, ultimately, defeat. For the victors, of course, August 15th was a day of jubilation, the images of which are familiar to all of us who have viewed that day vicariously through the lens of peace.

Yet, for many of the defeated as well, August 15th was also a day of liberation. Even before MacArthur swept into Japan like a latter-day divine wind, many Japanese saw their nation's defeat as the symbol of a new beginning. The image of August 15th as the day of one hundred million bitter tears ichioku ketsurui is indeed a powerful one and it has endured throughout the postwar years in various forms.

It is also an exaggeration of the same magnitude as saying that one hundred million or even seventy million hearts beat as one during the war. In truth, tears of the bitter variety were not the only ones being shed; tears of joy and of relief also fell like rain on that August afternoon. And it is the existence of both the bitter and the joyful tears that demonstrates the dynamic interplay between abject despondency kyodatsu on the one hand and the sense of new beginning or new life shinsei on the other. In light of the many public displays of remorse reported in the press, some Japanese were cautious about how to express their pleasure.

Suto Ryosaku 61 Part One: Kyodatsu and Shinsei captured the feelings of many Japanese when she recorded in her diary that "[although most people think that defeat is extremely unfortunate, in their hearts they generally seem relieved. It just didn't seem proper to show it at the time. Nor was his response to Japan's surrender as equivocal as that of his former boss in the Foreign Ministry, Baron Shidehara.

After hearing the Emperor's speech, Yoshida celebrated at the home of his friend Konoe Fuminaro, drinking so much whiskey that he passed out on the train home and missed his stop. He went on to become the most powerful political figure in the early postwar years, forming five different cabinets between and Konoe's joy, on the other hand, was short-lived. In a rather bizarre ending to the story, Yoshida rented Konoe's former house in , choosing to sleep in the same room in which his old friend had committed suicide.

Saito Mutsuo captured poignantly the sense of ending and beginning, of kyodatsu and shinsei, in his recollections of August 15th and its immediate aftermath: I felt full of regret and bitterness, but at the same time I also thought: 'Perhaps I am going to survive. Perhaps this thing they call peace is going to come Every window was lit up, and along every street stretched great lines of light. I just stood and stared, as if I was seeing it for the first time in my life.

I had never realized that electric lights could be so beautiful. Edition, , p. The New Year's editorial in the Hokkoku Shimbun, for example, characterized as a cursed and a blessed year, while journalist Matsumura Tamotsu pronounced that August 15, was both Japan saddest and happiest day. Such sentiments were a clear recognition that, whatever else defeat and occupation might mean, Japan had finally emerged from the dark valley into the light of a new age shin jidai.

This sense of transformation was also manifest in the frequent calls for the Emperor to proclaim a new era beginning on August 15th. One man even argued that the entire sweep of Japan's history should be rewritten with defeat and the Emperor's speech as the starting point of a new era shin jidai no shuppatsuten. For a number of years following the war, calls for a new era would be resurrected in the press, particularly on the yearly anniversaries of Japan's defeat.

To this end, a small group of scholars, journalists, and bureaucrats gathered in Tokyo on August 16th to discuss the prospects for Japan's future. The committee produced Japan's first postwar reconstruction plan published in March under the title of Nihon keizai saiken no kihon mondai The Basic Problems for the Reconstruction of Japan's Economy.

A complete reprint plus meeting records and other related documents can be found in Nakamura Takafusa ed Shiryo: Sengo nihon no keizai seisaku koso Japan's Postwar Economic Policy Plans: Selected Documents , vol. Hereafter referred to as Shiryo. The importance of this document and the influence of the SSC members will be discussed in more detail in Chapter Five. Ouchi was a prominent member of many postwar reconstruction research groups and was even touted as finance minister in the first Yoshida cabinet. In the early postwar years he wrote extensively on the need for lapan to rejoin the global community through membership in the IMF, and he was also an advocate for the establishment of some kind of a world federal state.

For a personal account of Ouchi's prewar and postwar associations, see his Watakushi no rirekisho My Life , Chikutosha Shoten, Arisawa was one of the most influential and enigmatic figures in the economic reconstruction debates. He was a key member of Yoshida's economic advisory body, known widely in the early postwar years as the Professor's Group Kyoshi Kumon Gurupu , which later became the Coal Committee where priority production keisha seisan hoshiki was born.

For many urban women, August 15th became known as "the day fashion resumed" oshare saikai no hi. In reaction to the drab, colourless war years, women suddenly began to wear lipstick and brightly patterned kimonos, both of which had been frowned on as examples of self-indulgent luxury during the war but were now symbols of freedom with which Japanese women indulged with abandon kaihokan o hitaru. For an account of his attitudes concerning the role of economists in Japanese society, see Okita Saburo, Ekonomisuto no yakuwari The Role of the Economist , Nihon Keizai Shimbunsha, In addition, cosmetics and permanent waves were banned in , the same year that the National Defense Women's Association began posting middle-aged matrons on street corners to shame well-dressed women into exercising greater self-restraint in their daily life.

The dreaded evils of luxury and extravagance were never fully eradicated and the government never went so far as to pass Tokugawa-style sumptuary laws on fashion. Nonetheless, what the government could not do by fiat was largely accomplished by the growing textile shortages as the war progressed. As Thomas Havens has astutely pointed out, the only law that forced men to don civilian uniforms or women to wear monpe was the "law of supply and demand.

At its first general meeting on September 11th, the Committee drafted a five-point plan which included the 91 Havens, Valley of Darkness, p. It is doubtful whether the postwar campaigns were any more effective than those of wartime. Most likely, "economic laws" were just as crucial in determining what people wore after the war as they had been before surrender.

If media reports are any indication of the state of early postwar women's fashion, then it seems that women who could wear patterned kimonos and dresses did so. Magazines and newspapers were filled with pictures of well-dressed urban women, buying the latest magazines, or shopping at the black market. A New Year's Mainichi Shimbun article reported to its readers that nary a monpe-clad women could be seen on the streets of Tokyo.

The newspaper's comment was a clear exaggeration, designed to reinforce its disdain at conspicuous consumption on the part of postwar women. The monpe-clad women was a common sight during the early postwar years but increasingly so were their well-dressed counterparts. In Osaka shortly after the emperor's speech, accessories flew off the shelves as women adorned their hair with colourful nets, ribbons and berets, all of which signified a sense of release and liberation.

Manifestations of new life were also found in other consumer products, particularly in the choice of brand names for one of postwar Japan's most valuable commodities: tobacco. At the end of , Japan's first postwar cigarette was marketed under the very name of Shinsei. The white package adorned with pretty flowers and emblazoned with the red characters for "New Life" symbolized the new age in much the same way that women's red-coloured hair accessories represented a release from the grey realities of war and defeat.

Lining up these four cigarette brands in any order, one would have a concise but accurate dictionary of Japan's new postwar language. Mook represents the Japanese habit of borrowing foreign words and then rendering them into katakana one of the phonetic syllabaries. In this case, mook is a combination of magazine book. In the eighteen months following the war hundreds of new magazines came into existence, while still more were resurrected from wartime banishment. According to the Japan Publishing Association, there were only about magazines receiving paper allocations at the end of the war.

This number then exploded to in and in When the first issue of Shinsei went on sale in November , for example, the queue of eager buyers stretched from the magazine's sixth floor office all the way out into the street and around the 98 corner. Like the Shinsei magazine and cigarette, the titles of these publications provide us with further linguistic evidence of Japan's new postwar vocabulary.

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Other titles like Ho-pu Hope , Kibo Hope , Riberaru Liberal , Jiyu Freedom , and of course Shakaishugi Socialism and Demokurashii Democracy openly expressed the aspirations of a people starved for the very ideals contained in the titles of these publications. Amid the despair, hunger and hardship a path to a new world lay open and, for a time, anything seemed possible.

Somewhere between , and , copies of the first issue were sold. Kimoto offers both figures, the former coming from the recollections of Aoyama Konosuke and the latter from anecdotal evidence at the time. Kimoto, p.

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Showa kazokushi nenpyo p. On October 10, , not two months after Hirohito's words stunned the nation, Japan's first postwar movie, Soyo Kaze Zephyr , was released and immediately became a smash hit. A simple story about the relationship between a young woman and a young repatriated soldier who had shaved his head to become a monk, Soyo Kaze was actually planned in June before the war ended. The theme song for the movie, the "Apple Song" Ringo no uta , written by Saito Hachiro with music composed by Mashiro Mokutada, also became a huge hit, selling , copies by the end of The translation is mine but a slightly different version can be found in Seidensticker, Tokyo Rising, p.

Seidensticker has argued that its popularity may have been due to the "utter want of a message, and indeed of meaning. Like the movie itself, the "Apple Song" was the product of the last, desperate days of the Pacific War. Lyricist Saito recalled that "under the intolerable gloom of the air raids, I wanted to write a bright cheerful song. Born from the bleak underground world of the air raid shelters, it represented people's cherished but unfulfilled dreams; communing with nature in a peaceful world of bright, vivid colours.

The apple itself was deeply symbolic. Its colour of course represented good fortune, but even more significant was possession of the thing itself. By the end of the war apples had become prohibitively expensive luxuries. In late one apple cost I02ibid v p. Sitting under a blue sky eating an apple was an extravagance that few Japanese could enjoy, yet anyone could experience it vicariously through the simple, dream-like world created by the song.

The significance of the apple and its rarity was captured through two events, both involving Namiki Michiko. There is a scene in the movie where the female protagonist throws an apple into the river, which of course was not actually done in rehearsal. During the shooting, however, Namiki did inadvertently throw a real apple into the river, but then immediately dove in the moment filming was over to retrieve the precious treasure.

As she sang Ringo no uta, she tossed small apples into the packed crowd which swarmed to catch the little prizes.

An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan) An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)
An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan) An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)
An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan) An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)
An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan) An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)
An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan) An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)
An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan) An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)
An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan) An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)
An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan) An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)
An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan: 1931-1945 (Routledge Library Editions: Japan)

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