Education About Asia

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Feature Article, Focus on Japanese Democracy: Part 2

Will Japan Change?

Is Japan once again changing? Unlike 1868, when the newly empowered Meiji emperor moved to Tokyo to preside over a series of dramatic changes that became more generally known as the Meiji Restoration, or 1945, when the Allied Occupation allied with relatively progressive Japanese to create a new constitution and institute a set of major reforms, Japan has yet to see a truly dramatic leader or many public protests. Yet a less dramatic series of political, economic, and social developments, combin...

Feature Article

Debating the Allied Occupation of Japan (Part One)

The Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952) was an extraordinary time in world history. Working through SCAP, a term that stands for both the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (General Douglas MacArthur until 1951) and the largely American bureaucracy, the United States and its allies insisted that Japan must enact major reforms before regaining independence. Conservative Japanese naturally resisted, but massive casualties, two atomic bombs, anger at the militarists, and fears that the Sov...

Feature Article

Debating the Allied Occupation of Japan (Part Two)

In the fall 2016 issue of Education About Asia, I outlined three policy decisions, which I consider a fascinating way to discuss the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952). The three—the decision to keep the Shōwa Emperor (Hirohito) on the throne, punish selected individuals for war crimes, and create a new constitution that (in Article 9) seemed to outlaw war as an instrument of national policy—were all urged upon the Japanese by SCAP, a term for both the Supreme Commander of the Allied ...