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The Cambridge History of Japan
  • Volume 6: The Twentieth Century
  • Edited by Peter Duus

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    The Cambridge History of Japan
    • Volume 6: The Twentieth Century
    • Edited by Peter Duus
    • Online ISBN: 9781139055109
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577
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Japan has played a key role in spurring this transformation. Once an isolated island society, little known to its neighbours and practically unknown to the West, Japan has emerged today as a leading economic power. The country's rise to a position of international prominence has not been a smooth process, however - it has come only after a period of turmoil and conflict. Volume 6 provides a general introduction to Japan's history during the first three quarters of the twentieth century, with emphasis on political, economic, social and intellectual trends. Leading historians have contributed essays dealing with the development of domestic politics, particularly the politics of representative institutions, and Japan's relations with the outside world, including its prewar territorial expansion and aggrandizement on the Asian continent. Although written by specialists, this volume will be an important reference work for general readers as well as scholars and students of modern Japanese history.

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  • 1 - Introduction
    pp 1-52
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the immediate postwar years, Japan's first priority was to end the American Occupation and regain formal sovereign independence, and the second was to restore the country to international respectability. As Professor Crawcour points out in his chapter, the government has actively intervened in the economy since the beginning of the Meiji period. The history of political parties offers plausible evidence for strong continuities in twentieth-century politics. Parties have attracted the attention of historians more than have other actors in the political process, with the possible exception of the military services. The postwar political structure was as Tokyo centered as it had been since the Meiji period, and the central ministerial bureaucracies continued to devise the policy and legislative alternatives presented to governments as well as to implement policy decisions. The only major change, perhaps, was that the civil bureaucracy became more tightly integrated into the politics of interest articulation and interest representation than it had been before the war.
  • 2 - The establishment of party cabinets, 1898–1932
    pp 53-96
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The year 1924 marked a turning point in the history of Japanese domestic politics. The chapter first considers the ways in which the Meiji constitution hindered the formation of party cabinets. The party cabinets were paradoxically the inevitable product of a constitution shaped by antiparty sentiments. One can perhaps see this paradox as similar to the development in the American Constitution, likewise drafted by men of antiparty sentiment, of national political parties to provide cohesion in a separation-of-powers system. This chapter outlines the six conditions that facilitated the establishment of the party cabinet system between 1924 and 1932. The conditions include the establishment of the superiority of the House of Representatives over the House of Peers, the emergence of Minobe's constitutional theory as orthodox, and the political neutralization of the Privy Council. It also includes party penetration of the civil bureaucracy, party accommodation with the judiciary accompanying the introduction of the jury system, and party rapprochement with the military.
  • 3 - Politics and mobilization in Japan, 1931–1945
    pp 97-153
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter talks about the changes in Japanese politics and mobilization between 1931 and 1945. Business leaders who specialized in economic management also established an independent base of political influence as the nation struggled first to recover from the depression and subsequently to mobilize its resources for an ambitious foreign and defense policy of national autonomy. The final years of political conflict in imperial Japan were highlighted by the reaffirmation of elitist pluralism, and continuing efforts to overcome weaknesses in the Meiji political settlement. The survey of the period between 1931 and 1945 concludes that the apparently sharp break in political development between the 1920s and 1930s was less abrupt than many have insisted and that the dark valley of politics in the early Showa era, 1926-45, in many ways laid the foundation for the transformation of the Japanese political system in the years following the destruction of the empire.
  • 4 - Postwar politics, 1945–1973
    pp 154-214
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Political change in postwar Japan was both a cause and an effect of socioeconomic changes. To be more precise, it was an aspect of a complex social dynamic unfolding under a set of unusual domestic and international circumstances, of which the nation's economic and social changes were important aspects. The reaction of the Japanese public to the Occupation and its policies was diverse and complex. Some either supported or opposed the Occupation regime because of its initial crusade against militarism and authoritarianism, whereas others did so because of its later crusade against communism. The rapid economic growth was an outcome of accelerated industrialization, which in turn was both a cause and an effect of the country's intensive urbanization. The effects of the rapid industrialization and urbanization affected not only the housing markets in the larger and older cities but also the physical environments of lesser and younger urban centers.
  • 5 - The Japanese colonial empire, 1895–1945
    pp 215-270
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In establishing a colonial empire, Japan was obliged to assert claims over neighboring areas close to the home islands where it could maximize its political, military, and economic strength. Although the main thrust of Japan's expansionism had been directed toward Korea and although confrontation on the peninsula had furnished the immediate casus belli between Japan and China, immediate strategic and diplomatic circumstances determined that Taiwan would become the first outright possession of the Japanese colonial empire. The history of Japanese colonialism begins with a military pacification effort in Taiwan by Japanese military forces not unlike that undertaken by the United States Army against Filipino rebels after the conclusion of American hostilities against Spain. Central to the concerns of Japanese colonial policy in the new decade were the economic consolidation of the empire and the integration of its colonial economies to meet the wartime requirements of the home islands.
  • 6 - Continental expansion, 1905–1941
    pp 271-314
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The basis of Japanese foreign policy immediately after the Russo-Japanese War was to advance on the continent within the framework of international cooperation. The new international order formed under the leadership of the victorious powers, especially Great Britain and the United States, after the smoke of war had cleared, is generally called the Versailles-Washington system. The main exponent of working faithfully within the Washington-Versailles system without abandoning practical considerations in the Asia-Pacific area was Shidehara Kijuro, the first career diplomat recruited by means of civil service examination to serve as foreign minister. The Sino-Japanese War was the inevitable consequence of the precipitous continental policy that Japan had pursued since the Manchurian incident, but when the war began, not the Japanese government, nor the army, nor the military forces in China had the preliminary plans or the resolve to embark on a full-scale war.
  • 7 - The Pacific War
    pp 315-382
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    By any standard of measurement, Japan paid an enormous price in human and material terms for its part in the Pacific War. The main proximate causes of that war have long been understood, although unevenly assessed: the China conflict, dependence on external sources of energy, and ties with the Axis powers. To cope with its huge civil and military requirements, the Japanese possessed what can best be termed a pygmy economy. The Japanese leadership's decisions for war in 1941 and for capitulation in 1945 were colored by emotionalism. It was far easier to start the war than to end it, given the ascendancy of the short-sighted hawks and the timidity of the doves. Japanese conduct of hostilities was characterized by calculated risk, gambles, intuition, inflexibility, and poorly defined objectives. Hayashi Fusao saw the war of 1941-15 as the culmination of a century of struggle against Western imperialism which began with Commodore Matthew Perry's arrival off Japan in 1853-54.
  • 8 - Industrialization and technological change, 1885–1920
    pp 383-450
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The stabilization of the economy following the Matsukata deflation of the early 1880s marks the end of a transitional period in Japan's economic development and the beginning of the initial phase of modern economic growth that continued to the end of World War I. From 1885 to 1913, Japan's gross national product grew at an average annual rate of somewhere between 2.6 and 3.6 percent. This growth was mainly achieved not by radical technological change but by the diffusion of existing techniques, a series of small technical improvements, increasing specialization, and an economic climate that rewarded producers better than the pre-Meiji system had done. A substantial contribution to economic growth both at this time and later, however, was made by the heavy investment in infrastructure such as ancillary services like banking, public utilities, education, and economic institutions. With the experience of the advanced industrial countries in front of them, Japan's leaders anticipated and provided for future needs for such infrastructure.
  • 9 - Depression, recovery, and war, 1920–1945
    pp 451-493
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Japanese economy experienced great changes as a result of World War I. This chapter traces the path of the Japanese economy from the 1920s to the end of the Pacific War. This period may be divided into three parts: the deflation and depression from the 1920s to 1931, recovery and chemical and heavy industrialization from 1932 to 1937, and the era of war and collapse through 1945. In July 1937 Japan plunged into an undeclared war with China. Contrary to expectations that it would be decided quickly, the war stretched on. The Japanese economy was administered with the sole object of meeting the military demand. The most persistent feature of the war economy was the continual strengthening of economic controls. The military contended that World War I had demonstrated that the next war would be a total war requiring the mobilization of the economy as well as the polity.
  • 10 - The postwar Japanese economy, 1945–1973
    pp 494-538
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The transformation of Japan's postwar economy took place against the background of a democratization reform program promoted by the American Occupation forces. Three economic reforms of particular importance were land reform, dissolution of the zaibatsu, and labor reform. The period of rapid economic growth was conditioned by macroeconomic conditions such as labor supply, capital accumulation, price trends, income distribution, and the growth of demand. All of these were interrelated in complex ways. The most significant development in the Japanese economy from the end of the war until 1973 was its emergence as one of the world's most advanced industrial powers. Economic policy is shaped by the interaction of the government bureaucracy, business interests, pressure groups, and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. It is a mixture of certain basic macroeconomic policies and sectoral or microeconomic policies. Moreover, economic policy is neither fixed nor unchanging over time but has adjusted to changing economic conditions, though not always successfully.
  • 11 - The transformation of rural society, 1900–1950
    pp 539-605
    • By Ann Waswo, St. Antony's College, Oxford University
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The social transformation is usually portrayed in the Western literature on Japan as a fairly recent phenomenon, the product primarily of the land reform carried out during the post-World War II Occupation. In fact, the land reform, though certainly important, was the culmination of slow, evolutionary processes that date from the late nineteenth century. These processes and the tensions and social changes they generated are the subject of this chapter. After the turn of the century and especially in the years immediately following the Russo-Japanese War, government policy toward the countryside shifted markedly. The new policies emanating from Tokyo at this time can be divided into those concerned with agricultural improvement, policy toward the villages, and policy toward the rural population. The long struggle of ordinary farmers against the unequal distribution of wealth and power was now over, and the hamlets in which they lived had become, in comparison with the past, communities of economic, social, and political equals.
  • 12 - Economic development, labor markets, and industrial relations in Japan, 1905–1955
    pp 606-653
    • By Koji Taira, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The development of the Japanese employment system was neither smooth nor continuous but, rather, was shaped by the ebb and flow of economic growth as well as by the noneconomic accidents of political change, war, expansion, and military defeat in World War II. The Japanese labor force after 1920 was composed of three segments: the modern sector, the urban informal sector, and agriculture. The labor force outflow from agriculture is almost perfectly correlated with the changes in factory employment. In the mid-1930s, many firms alarmed the public with their discriminatory employment practices and caused the government to investigate the problems of temporary employment. Official investigation revealed an extensive use of temporary workers. Labor turnover increased and helped reduce some of the permanent work force. But the times were no longer "business as usual", as the war required different ways of managing the work forces together with different social relations among the industries' different strata.
  • 13 - Socialism, liberalism, and Marxism, 1901–1931
    pp 654-710
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Cosmopolitan perspectives on the future in the early twentieth century therefore kept shifting, and so this chapter discusses several of its varied exponents-the late Meiji socialists, the democratic liberals of Taisho, and the Marxists and other left radicals of the 1920s. The winter years of socialism ended when the main survivors of the radical wing of Meiji socialism, Yamakawa Hitoshi, and Osugi Sakae, broke their long silence on political and social issues. Few Japanese socialists including Yamakawa, had heard of Lenin before, and none showed any understanding of Leninist theory. At first Yamakawa called him a "syndicalist" who used "direct action" to make a revolution, and in 1921 he characterized him as an "orthodox Marxist", to be contrasted with a figure like Karl Kautsky, the German social democratic leader, who had turned from revolutionary Marxism to bourgeois liberalism. Only gradually, as more and more of Lenin's work made its way into Japanese, were the implications of his ideas fully understood.
  • 14 - Japanese revolt against the West: political and cultural criticism in the twentieth century
    pp 711-774
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521223577.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Throughout much of Japan's modern history, the West has contributed to its formulation of theories of culture and action. The particular militancy of the Japanese revolt against the West stems from the historical model of the loyalist samurai who overthrew the Tokugawa bakufu in the 1860s and established the Meiji state. In this model there were two related but distinct orientations in the theory of a restorationist action. One emphasized the necessity of resolving the question of domestic politics by ridding the country of incompetent leaders and ineffective institutions. The other orientation focused on the foreign problem and sought to solve it through frontal military strategies. On closer examination, the basic culturalist premise appears to militate against the idea of a progressive overcoming of modernity. Kobayashi Hideo recognized best the problem it inspired and underscored most clearly the inescapable ambivalence resulting from any attempt to overcome the modern.

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