Recently I have read the following book. Its main points in chapters four and five are:
Book title: Pyle, Kenneth. 1996. The Japanese Question: Power and Purpose in a New Era.
: AEI Press. Washington
Ch 4. - The progressives drew their support from the media, intellectuals, teachers, students, and labor unions. The finest hour of the progressives was the postwar reform era. Their idea emerged out of the wartime disillusion, revulsion form Japanese nationalism. They supported the new postwar democratic order and the role the constitution envisioned for
in the world. (45). The
progressive later lost its strength in the course of Japans’ rapid economic
growth and the revival of confidence in Japan ’s abilities. (46). Japan
-the 1980s, in one of those ironies, Japanese’s traditional values was acclaimed not only by the commentators in Japan but by foreign observers who saw these values as Japan’s unique advantages in building an advanced industrial society. (48) One Japanese journalist observed in December 1980 that there had formed an image in the Japanese mind that the
hopeless. Ezra Vogel’s “ US Japan
as number one” had been sold in
and had appealed to the Japanese sense of superiority. (51). Japan
- the broad appeal of cultural explanation for Japanese success continued to draw strength during the 1980s from their mounting confidence of overtaking the West in technological capacity. (55).
-political nationalism was quiet in the 2 decades after the massive 1960 riots over security treaties with the
pride in its economic achievement led to its resurgence in the 1980s. Appealing
to this new pride, many leaders argued that Japan should acquire military power
commiserated with its new economic strength. (58) Political nationalists argued
that the renunciation of military had distorted national life, Japan ceased to
be a state, merely a mercantile state. (59). Japan
- according to Pyle, although the extremism, emotionalism, and anti-American political nationalism was revived in the 1980s, and looked like the ultra-nationalism of the 1930s. Circumstance in
and the world were not the same as then. Fears were unwarranted for a few
reasons. First prewar nationalism was fueled by the drive to catch up with the
West. Second, the elite leadership of the 1930s and the 1980s had contrasting
roles. In the 1930 Japanese was in quest for industrial and imperial greatness.
Now the government was not holding similarly narrow political nationalism.
Third, prewar nationalism drew on symbols of the traditional culture. Now, the
postwar generation would not resonant with these symbols. The new middle class
had little motivation for their identity centered on any traditional symbol.
Fourth, prewar nationalism was rooted in the lower middle class and in the
villages that resent the urban values. Post war Japan was overwhelmingly middle
class, well educated and well-read. Fifth, Japan was increasing it interaction
with other countries, unlike it seclusion from other countries in the 1930s.
- yet, some leaders were beginning to grope in the 1980s for broader conception of Japanese national interest that Pyle calls Japan’s new internationalism. For trade,
was dependent on other nations; it needed ever-increasing supplies of material,
foodstuff and fuels. (66) Some business elite suggested that Japan’s own
interest would no longer be served by mercantilist polices and passive
adjustment to prevailing international conditions. (67) Yoshida Doctrine needed
to be replaced. The tenet of the new internationalism was: first to give
support to a liberal international economic order, 2. to bring Japan into
harmony with international norms and expectation, 3. Japan to develop a global
consciousness, Japan’s growth was interdependent with the rest of the world.
- Ohira Masayoshi the PM took the lead in defining a new purpose of Japan’s newly acquired economic power. (68) The leader came up with a neo-conservative agenda for the 1980s, called neo-conservatism, in part to replace the conservatism that guided Japan so far.(71) It shared many features of the Reganonmics and Thatcherism, emphasized small government, deregulation, greater reliance on market forces, and confrontation with the USSR. (71) These meant a departure from the catch-up economic growth practiced by Japan so far. (72)
- Neo-conservatism opened a new direction in that Japan would be more reliance on its own cultural resources to determine nation progress. The success in overtaking the West and in producing superior manufacturing had led to a world with wide interest in Japanese culture. Japan would share its cultural values with the world. (73-4)
- it was useful to distinguish between internationalization and internationalism. The former referred to the process of liberalization, to be in harmony with international practice. Internationalism was a set of political beliefs arguing that internationalization was in Japan’s interest. (74). Once Japan joined the OECD in 1964, Japan was committed not only to trade liberation but also the removal of control on capital transactions. (74)
- another change was the rapid rise of the foreign direct investment (FDI) after 1985. Japan became the world’s leading net creditor. This gave Japan new markets. (78) According to Pyle this economic success in struggle for national power that began in 1868. Instead of a national struggle to gain equality with the West, which was done through hard work, unity and sacrifice, self –reliance was essential because Japan was surrounded by imperial powers. (84)
(to be continued)