Post War Japan: Post War Restoring


After World War II had stopped, Japan was destroyed. All the huge cities (with the exemption of Kyoto), the infrastructures, and the shipping networks were harshly damaged. Severe scarcity of food lasted for several years. The occupation of Japan by the Allied Powers began in August 1945 and terminated in April 1952. General MacArthur was its first Supreme Commander. The entire operation was chiefly performed by the United States.

Japan generally lost all the territory obtained after 1894. Moreover, the Kurile Islands were occupied by the Soviet Union, and the Ryukyu Islands, entailing Okinawa, were ruled by the USA. Okinawa was passed back to Japan in 1972, nevertheless, a territorial disagreement with Russia relating to the Kurile Islands has not been determined yet. The remains of Japan’s war infrastructure were obliterated, and war crime checks were restricted. Over 500 military officials committed suicide right after Japan submitted, and many hundreds more were performed for committing war offenses. Emperor Showa has not announced a war criminal.

Post War Restoring

A new constitution turned into functioning in 1947: The emperor lost all political and martial authority and was exclusively stated the symbol of the country. General suffrage was commenced and human rights were promised. Japan was also prohibited to ever lead a war yet again or holding an army. Moreover, Shinto and the state were clearly disconnected. MacArthur also planed to break up power attentiveness by disbanding the Zaibatsu and other huge corporations, and by decentralizing the education structure and the police. In a land improvement, attentiveness in land possession was eliminated.

Specifically, during the first half of the occupation, Japan’s media was focus on an unbending restriction of any anti-American declarations and contentious matters such as the race matter. The cooperation among the Japanese and the countries of Allied powers worked comparatively smoothly. Critics began growing when the United States acted progressively more in accordance to the self-interests in the Cold War, reintroduced the harassment of communists, positioned more troops in Japan, and wished Japan to institute its own self-defense powers despite the anti-war notion in the constitution. Many features of the occupation’s so-called “overturn course” were accepted by traditional Japanese officials. With the stillness treaty that went into consequence in 1952, the occupation terminated. Japan’s Self Defense Powers was established in 1954, associated with huge public expressions. Great public turbulence was also reasoned by the regeneration of the US-Japan Security Treaty of 1960.

Japan’s practice of defeat and occupation at the end of the Second World War has mainly normally been inspected from the viewpoint of the subjugators. It has infrequently been undertaken as a Japanese familiarity. But, in this particularly investigated and wonderfully exemplified book, John Dower’s efforts to realize the expectations, visions, and reveries (as well as the hopelessness and tiredness) of the crushed Japanese as they sought to reconstruct their uniqueness and estimations in the consequences of war. He investigates a kaleidoscopic collection of Japanese replies and their contradictions: fault and frivolous release, selective forgetting, iconoclasm, new expects, and old disenchants.

Dower undertakes this theme through twin accounts. The first is an opaque socio-cultural history, concentrated on the first two years of the Occupation. The second is a thorough rebuilding of the original phase of constitutional and political ‘reform from above’, devoting particular concentration to the rehabilitation of the emperor, the origin of the new constitution, and the Tokyo war offenders tribunal trials.

Dower’s ‘cultural history’ starts with the suffering of physically and significantly smashed lives’ at war’s end. The depth of defeat and bewilderment which the Japanese people practiced is brightly conveyed, notably in Dower’s explanations of the huge scale of social dislocation and missing persons, and the long-drawn-out period of ‘food-wretchedness’.

The world of prostitution during the Occupation, for instance, was concurrently an arena of sexual operation and a channel for the enlargement of interracial friendliness and the discouragement of old racial typecasts. It was a sign of national disgrace and a medium for new American charges of luxury, intemperance, and covetousness that were enthusiastically squeezed. Likewise, the black marketplaces were both detonations of industrial energy and a site for aggressive criminal gangs. And a new urban demimonde channeled nihilism and adversity into ways of life of purposeful corruption and a flourishing environment of pulp writings which imposed forceful confronts to conventional communal and sexual roles.

Secondly, it is explored that the shifting metaphors and idiom of a nation in alteration acted as the bridges between two nations. It is shown that some of the languages of the old government were simply unfilled with their old happiness and refilled with new connotations. But the smoothness of language also produced ambiguities. Mostly, Dower pressures that linguistic viaducts were transformative and forward regarding, ways of evading the past. But darker colors could hang on. Words and expressions necessarily carried past timbres too, and probabilities of moving on coexisted with enticements of voyaging back.

It is also regarded that the ‘virtuoso turnabout’ of the Japanese intelligentsia in squeezing democratization. Before and throughout the war, the Japanese country had bullied or seduced academics into hold up or conventionality with an extraordinary degree of achievement. Almost no essential rational opposition stayed. The sudden adaptation of the intelligentsia after the war could, consequently, be seen as insincerity. But, Dower draws a more compound depiction. On the one hand, there were connections with the past: the new notions drew on previous presents of thought that had burgeoned in the 1920s. Alternatively, there were real smashes. Regret and remorse have to be taken fatally. It may, for example, have driven the extraordinary alteration of Japan’s teachers from the ‘drill sergeants of ruler structure tenet’ to ardent protectors of the new democracy. But it may also assist to clarify the rather trusting squeeze of fairly wooden varieties of Marxism in some spheres of university life which appeared from this time.

Japan and the United States became close political cooperators so rapidly after the termination of World War II, that it appeared as though the two states had easily forgotten the warfare they had led against each other. Here Yoshikuni Igarashi provides challenging regard at how the Japanese postwar community resisted in order to realize its war loss and the resultant national shock, even as forces within the community sought to restrain these memories. Igarashi states that Japan’s nationhood endured the war’s obliteration in part by the means of a popular culture that articulated memories of loss and destruction more willingly than political dialogue ever could. He reveals how the desire to symbolize the past inspired Japan’s cultural manufactures in the primary twenty-five years of the postwar time.


Japanese war understandings were often explained through account tools that downplayed the war’s troublesome results on Japan’s history. Rather than treat these stories as obstructions to a historical question, Igarashi interprets them along with counter-accounts that attempted to record the initial impact of the war. He outlines the anxieties between memorizing and forgetting by concentrating on the body as the key site for Japan’s manufacture of the past. This method leads to fascinating conversations of such assorted topics as the retort to the atomic bomb, sanitation regulations under the U.S. occupation, the horrible body of Godzilla, the first Western proficient wrestling competitions in Japan, the alteration of Tokyo and the athletic body for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the writer Yukio Mishima’s impressive suicide, whilst offering a fresh dangerous viewpoint on the war inheritance of Japan.


Dower, J. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, New York: New Press, 1999.

Ishinomori S, Japan, Inc.: Introduction to Japanese Economics, Trans by Betsey Scheiner Berkeley: U California Press, 1988.

Igarashi, Y. Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970 Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Miyoshi, M. Japan is not Interesting, Re-mapping Japanese Culture: Papers of the 10th Biennial conference of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia Monash Asia Institute, pp. 11-24. 2000.

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