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            Political Developments

Domestic Relations               Taisho Democracy
                     •   During the 1920s, Japan progressed toward a
                         democratic system of government in a movement
                         known as 'Taisho Democracy'.
                     •   Parliamentary government was not stable enough to
                         withstand the economic and political pressures from
                         the increasingly influential military leaders during the
                         late 1920s and 1930s.
                     •   There were two main political parties that alternated
                         in power during this time (until 1932):
                         •    The Rikken-Seiyūkai
                         •    The Rikken Minseitō
                                                                          Coup D’Etats

Incident      Event                   Cause                      Effect
May 15        Attemped coup           1930 London Naval          Failure to severely punish the
Incident,     launched by radical     Treaty that limited the    plotters proved democracy was
1932          elements of the         size of the Japanese       weak against the military. Japanese
              Imperial Japanese       Navy. The rebels           system of party government ended
              Navy, with the aid of   wanted to overthrow        due to the assassination of Prime
              the Imperial Japanese   the government, and        Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi, who was
              Army cadets.            replace it with military   succeeded by military officials.
February 26   Attempted coup          Cause: The rebels          Incident strengthened Japanese
Incident,     launched by a radical   wanted to abolish the      militarism.
1936          ultranationalist        Taishō democracy and
              Kodaha faction of the   Shōwa Restoration
              Imperial Japanese
Foreign Relations
                     Washington Conference: 1921-1922
 • December 13, 1921: Four Power Treaty on Insular Possessions
      •Japan, US, Britain, and France agreed to recognize the status quo in the Pacific
      •Formal termination of 1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance
 •February 6, 1922: The Five Power Naval Disarmament Treaty (Four Powers and
      The Americans and the British wanted to stop the escalating naval race among
      the world nations and proposed limiting all of the world’s battle fleets
      •The Japanese had expected to be allowed a fleet size equal to that of Britain and
      the US’s but had to accept a fleet size only 60% the other two nations.
      •The Japanese viewed this as a loss of face but accepted the restriction with the
      condition that the US and Britain would not strengthen their positions in Pacific.
      •The Japanese navy was still unrivaled in the Pacific.
      •Treaty terms renewed at 1930 London Naval Treaty
      •Japan withdrew from treaties in 1934
     •February 6, 1922: Nine-Power Treaty
           •US, Belgium, Britain, China, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and Portugal
                •Purpose: To adopt a policy to stabilize the conditions in the Far East to
                protect the rights and interests of China and promote interactions between
                China and other powers based on equality of opportunity
The Washington Treaties were the final rebuke to
Japan who had sought recognition as great power for
over quarter century.
Japan sought a future in Asia because relations with
Americans and Europeans proved not advantageous.
Japan wanted to assure their hegemony in the Pacific.
By forcing out imperialists.
Japanese leaders viewed the world dividing along
racial lines where Asians would never be accepted as

 • 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact
      •Japan joined fourteen other nations in signing this pact, which denounced
      "recourse to war for the solution of international controversies."
                                                           Pacific War (1930-1945)
•Manchurian Incident 1931
    •Japan went to war with China in 1931 to secure recognition of their claim in Manchuria. Japan’s
    reasons for war were largely to improve her failing economy and to gain national prestige.
    •By 1932, Japan had firm control of Manchuria as the puppet state of Manchukuo.
•League of Nations involvement
    •China appealed to the League of Nations to take collective action against Japan following
    Japanese occupation of Manchuria
    •In 1932, the League sent out a commission under Lord Lytton to investigate the situation. His
    report was adopted by the League Assembly on February 24, 1933.
         •The Commission report was generally sympathetic to Japanese position. It recognized and
         proposed to safeguard Japan’s economic interest in Manchuria. Lytton also recommended
         Japan to be allowed to maintain military forces in Manchuria to prevent attack from either
         China or USSR
         •However, Lytton named Japan as aggressor in the Manchurian incident, but Japan believed
         their actions were provoked by Kuomintang’s attempts to annex Manchuria. Japan
         interpreted Lytton’s report as serious loss of face and announced her withdrawal from the
         League on March 27, 1933 ending any need of the organization to take collective action.
         •Proved inadequacy of League of Nations in solving major problems.
    The Withdrawal Letter: http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/pre-war/330327a.html
•1937 China Incident
    •Cause: On July 1, a Japanese patrol guard on the Marco Polo Bridge in
    Beijing fired upon Nationalist soldiers due to misperception. This escalated
    to an exchange of shots.
    •Result: This conflict served as pretext for a full-scale invasion and the
    Japanese Kwantung army invaded northern China.
•Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)
    •Rape of Nanjing
          •General Matsui wanted to get Chiang to peace table to exact
          agreement on recognition of Manchukuo as part of Japan. Instead,
          brutality transformed Chinese resolve into hatred.
    •Eventually stalemate was reached and war began to turn into a six-year
    undeclared truce. By 1939 Japan in control of most of eastern China but had
    not defeated the Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang.
    •Japanese planned to cut off final foreign supply links to China in order to
    end event. There was a risk of expanding of war but success would mean
    Chiang would acknowledge Japanese sovereignty in Manchuria.
          •Their attack in the north against USSR and Mongolia both resulted in
          failure. Japan concentrated its war efforts on its southward drive in
          Southeast Asia, a strategy that helped propel Japan ever closer to war
          with the United States and Britain and their allies
Foreign Relations
•Relations with Germany
     •On November 1936 the Anti-Comintern Pact
     between Japan and Germany was signed with the
     purpose of presenting a united front against
     Bolshevism by exchanging information and
     collaborating to prevent communist activities
     •This would set foundations for Japan’s alliance
     with Germany during the Second World War.
     •Anti-Comintern Pact:

•Relations with Great Britain
     •During the inter-war years, the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902 was allowed to
     lapse because of pressure on Britain from Canada and the US regarding Asian
     •The Anglo-Japanese alliance replaced by Four Power Pact
     •Britain, USA, France, and Japan agreed to respect each other’s spheres of
     influence in Pacific
•Relations with US
     •Panay Incident December 12, 1937
          •Japanese aircraft bombed and destroyed the US
          gunboat Panay and three United States merchant
          vessels on the Yangtze River in China.
          •US government requested an apology from the
          Japanese Government with a guarantee of no
          further interference in US possessions in China.
          •The Japanese government expressed their
          apologies and made full indemnification in
          accordance with the request of the United States.
          •The Japanese Government expressed the "fervent
          hope" that the friendly relations between Japan
          and the United States would not be affected by this
          "unfortunate affair.“
     •Each perceived the other as a military threat and a trade
     rival. The Japanese greatly resented the racial
     discrimination perpetuated by United States
     immigration laws, and the Americans became
     increasingly wary of Japan's interference in the self-
     determination of other peoples.
•October 6, 1937
     •Assembly of the League of Nations adopted a report stating that the Japanese
     action in China violated Japan's treaty obligations.
•November 1937 Brussels Conference
     •19 nations attended to consider "peaceable means" for hastening the end of the
     conflict between China and Japan
     •The conference failed to accomplish any means of peace.

   Summary of Domestic and Foreign Policies
  • The Japanese government in 1936 wanted to
       •Stabilize the domestic government
       •Promote better diplomatic and trade relations abroad
       •Assure peace in East Asia, thereby ultimately contributing to the
       peace and welfare of humanity
       •Extend national influence as far as the South Seas
       •Military expansionalism
       •Self sufficiency
  Hirota Cabinet's National and Foreign Policies:
                    Economic Developments

•   Since the mid-nineteenth century, Japan has
    gone through two periods of economic
•   In both periods, the Japanese opened
    themselves to Western ideas and influence
    and experienced revolutionary social,
    political, and economic changes.
•   The Japanese aim: to make Japan powerful
    and wealthy that its independence would not
    be threatened.
•   However, Japan lacked many of the natural
    resources in its own land
•   The Japanese wanted to take lands from
    Manchuria and China in order to make up for
    this deficiency
•   Manchuria’s rich natural resources and sparse population had obvious advantages for a
    densely populated and resource-poor Japan.
•   To make matters worse, despite these restrictions Japan's population increased rapidly in the
    early twentieth century reaching seventy million in 1937.
•   Manchuria could provide not only natural resources but also land for its surplus population.
              From the Great Depression to Manchuria
•   The global depression of the 1930s ushered in a period of protectionism that significantly
    affected the Japanese economy.
•   Japan’s trade was deeply undercut by tariff barriers from the world’s leading nations
•   But in comparison to most of the other industrialized nations, the Japanese economy suffered
    less from the Great Depression, still expanding at 5% of GDP per year.
•   But Most industrial growth was geared toward expanding the nation's military power.
•   As other nations became more protective of trade with their home markets and colonies, Japan
    realized that it needed more colonies so it could establish a monopoly position.
•   Manchuria was crucial to Japan’s economic prosperity.
•   The occupation of Manchuria went smoothly. By 1930s, Manchuria was firmly under
    Japanese control as the puppet sate of Manchukuo.
•   By 1931 Japan had spent 1.5 billion yen in Manchuria an amount rising to 3.7 billion yen by
    1936. This was more than the total Japanese budget for any one year.
•   Japan was able to invest in railroads, highways, hydro-electric plants and improve the area's
    harbours and navigable rivers. Useful amounts of iron, aluminium and other minerals were
    also discovered.
                           Japan’s Military Expansion
•   Japan's thrust to imperial expansion was inflamed by the growing instability of the
    geopolitical and international trade regime of the later 1920s and early 1930s.
•   Decline in the United Kingdom’s economy – gold standard crisis

                      » The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic
                        unit of account is a fixed weight of gold and all currency issuance is to
                        one degree or another regulated by the gold supply.

•   The threat of Germany and the Soviet Union’s industrialization and military expansion on the
    Eurasian land mass
•   Hostile to the liberal democracy supported by the United Kingdom and the United States.

•   It was against this international backdrop that Japan began aggressively staking out its claim
    to being the dominant military power in East Asia and the Pacific
•   Bringing into conflict with the United States and the United Kingdom in the Asian and Pacific
    theaters after the world slipped into global warfare in 1939.
                              The China Incident
•   Japan entered the China Incident in July 1937 with plans for a three month campaign
    involving three divisions costing a hundred million yen.
•   However, by the spring of 1938 the scale of Japan's miscalculation meant that its entire army
    was in for indefinite war
•   As a result, twenty new army divisions were created and 2.5 billion yen were appropriated to
    continue the war.
•   But this large scale of warfare made it impossible for Japan to exploit China's economic
    resources appropriately.
•   Japan's new territorial gains were simply unable to finance their own development.

But the Japanese believed their economic problems could
be solved by acquiring ever more parts of China

Consequently instead of achieving economic
independence Japan's occupation and long war in China
created a spiral of self-fulfilling dependency.
       The Sino-Japanese War 1937-(1945) and Japan’s

•   The Sino-Japanese War started in 1937
•   It not only prevented Japan economically exploiting China but was also a major drain on
    Japan's economy.
•   Decreased standard of living in Japan
•   Financial consequences

•   Before World War II, Japan built an extensive empire that included Taiwan, Korea,
    Manchuria, and parts of northern China.
•   The Japanese regarded this sphere of influence as a political and economic necessity
•   But the invasion of China proved to be financially exhausting for Japan and left Japan
    militarily susceptible to Soviet attack and economically reliant on the west.
         Social/Cultural Developments
                                                 •Contemporary Japanese values of group
                                                 affiliation and identity, allegiance and
                                                 harmony, and especially democracy, are
                                                 based on the rapid social and economic
                                                 changes that Japan had experienced at the
                                                 end of World War I.
                                                 •The end of World War I caused the
                                                 population to move to the cities, in search
                                                 of employment at factories, which
                                                 contributed to the industrialization of the
       Cinematography in Japan                   nation.

•Entering the Interwar period, Japan expanded its capital industries and urbanized to
compete with long-standing Western industrial societies, resulting in the transformation
of the Japanese culture and society. The Western influences, in addition to the
industrialization promoted changes, such as the exploration of modern art in the form of
The New Middle Class

 •Caused by the booming industrial
 economy and the active international ports
 at the end of World War I, a new middle
 class was created in the Japanese society.
 With its most of its members employed,
 the new middle class came to define the
 cosmopolitan urban culture of Japan.
 •The new middle class had the greatest
 effect on Japanese women. Because of the
 rapid growth of Japan’s middle class, the
 experience of urban women in the interwar
 years foreshadowed the postwar lives of
 the majority of Japanese women. For the
 most part, the new middle class improved
 the lives of women, and allowed for the
 acceptance of the postwar reforms of         Baking bread aboard the catering ship
 women’s political and legal status.          Mamiya (1934)
Female Profession
                                    •In the 1920s, the main cultural and societal
                                    changes were on the status of women in the
                                    society. Many women graduated from high
                                    school or other higher education institutions
                                    found employment in areas of teaching, typing
                                    and telephone operating in order to help their
                                    economically distressed families, and to be
                                    economically independent.
                                    •Although the fields of profession that were
                                    deemed acceptable for women increased
                                    during the Interwar period, they were often
                                    thought to be not equivalent to their male
                                    coworkers in terms of the credibility of their
Students of Edajima Naval Academy
taking a meal (1934)
“Social Management” of Economy
     •Throughout the 20th century, the Japanese state has been committed
     to the “social management” of the economy.
     •To further its developmental agenda, the government intervened to a
     remarkable degree in shaping the thoughts and behaviour of ordinary
     •Government officials mounted numerous campaigns to increase
     household savings and to decrease consumption. These household
     savings developed in line with new perceptions of gender roles, as
     the responsibility of household consumption became associated with
     women, and women’s groups emerged as key local agents in these
Social Reforms and Western Influence

 •The Japanese social reformers
 during this time were influenced by
 the European and American model of
 middle class families and households.
 •Individual attempts to define
 normative living standards, and
 reform programs that were put in
 place such as the Seikatsu Kaizen
 Undō, also known as the Life Reform
 Movement and the Daily Life
 Improvement Campaigns in the early
 20th century were based on the
 American society.
 •In addition to promoting the Western
 model of society and social reform,
 Western goods and resources were
                                         Western food domesticated: an advertisement
 also promoted.                          for curry powder (1938)
The Daily Life Improvement Campaigns
•The Daily Life Improvement Campaigns, initiated by
women’s groups, corporations, and government offices,
including the Ministry of Education, dealt with Japan’s
political and societal concerns, including mortality rates,
democratic social relations, public hygiene, with a
particular focus on gender issues, reproduction and the
definition of a housewife.
•The Daily Life Improvement Campaigns are often
considered to be part of the most crucial social and
cultural processes in post World War I history, as it
reinforced the needs of Japanese corporations to be
congruent with the needs of the Japanese people, as well,     Concept of “good wife and wise
it adopted a model of gender relations in which women of      mother”
all social strata managed the home, while men worked.

•Japanese officials at the time justified that the inequality between men and women, especially
in the political exclusion women were based on traditional Japanese belief of “good wife and
wise mother”, where by joining political associations, women were believed to be no longer able
fulfill their “natural responsibilities” and would destroy the nation’s custom of the husband
commanding and the wife obeying.
                Ichiwaka Fusae and Support of Militarism
•The Daily Life Improvement Campaigns
are also associated with the struggle for
women to attain suffrage, with high points
of the movement in 1930 and 1931, when
the Lower House of the Imperial Diet
twice passed bills that would have granted
“civil rights”, including the right to vote
and the right to hold office to women at
the local level.
•Ichikawa Fusae, a well-known suffragist
who led the League for Women’s Suffrage       Ichikawa Fusae (1893-1981) with other women’s
as well as most other prominent women’s       group leaders
leaders at the time had supported and
collaborated with the militarism and
authoritarian regime of Japan during the      •Defenders of women’s group leaders argue
nation’s wars with China and the Western      that the collaboration allowed for the further
powers. This increase in the support for      advancement of the interests of women
militarism that eventually contributed to     amidst material deprivation and authoritarian
World War II.                                 rule.
         Women’s Groups and Standard of Living
                           •In addition to women’s suffrage, the movement during the 1920s
                           and 1930s pressed for the abolition of licensed prostitution, lower
                           prices for consumers, and protection of mothers and children.
                           •In addition to the well-known League for Women’s Suffrage led
                           by Ichikawa Fusae, other women’s groups, such as the Japanese
                           Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Federation of
                           Women’s Associations of Western Japan in the 1920s were also
                           active in a wide array of social projects in addition to the suffrage
                           drive and the abolition of licensed prostitution.
Japanese stamp depicting
a woman casting a ballot   •Reflecting the changing gender ideology of middle-class society,
                           various ministries began mobilizing women in their newly
(made in commemoration
                           ascribed capacities as savers and consumers, and recognized their
of female suffrage)
                           roles as guardians of public morality.

  •Faced with post World War I recession and persistently high prices in the early 1920s,
  government officials aimed at improving the standard of life, as well, encouraged
  savings and frugality through the creations of roles for women within the state apparatus,
  which included the promotion of the formation of local women’s associations throughout
       The Pacific War and Japanese Nationalism
                                         In the 1920s and 1930s, Japan also
                                         experienced an escalation in nationalistic
                                         spirit and an upsurge in power on the world
                                         stage by the aggression against China.
                                         Japan sought for an increase in nationalistic
                                         spirit, as well as the symbolic elevation of
                                         the sacrifice of the dead as a means to secure
                                         the willingness of soldiers and civilians to
                                         fight and die for goals that were proclaimed
                                         by their nation during the Pacific War.
                                         In the post World War I period, the Japanese
                                         military dead through the Pacific War
                                         emerged as a phenomenal manifestation of
                                         state-sponsored war nationalism, linking the
                                         war, emperor, and nation. Simple
Militarism permeates Japanese society:   advertisement for goods and resources often
a biscuit advertisement (1938)           bore messages supporting militarism and war,
                                         as well as encouraging nationalism.
The End

     •Global Forces of the Twentieth Century 2nd Edition
     •Managing the Japanese Household: The New Life Movement in Postwar
     •Interwar Japan – Journal of Japanese Studies
     •Popularizing a Military Diet in Wartime and Postwar Japan

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