Japannotesnew2009 - D emocracy in Japan Takeshi Ishida and...

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Democracy in Japan – Takeshi Ishida and Ellis S. Krauss Japan is the first industrialized democracy in the non-Western world. Japan’s Democracy was implanted by American Occupation after WWII, and Occupation forces also tried to implant Democratic culture and society to support the Democratic political system. Japan was able to, in 40 years, become successful and prosper. Historical Background of Democracy in Japan o Traditional Society The Tokugawa regime (1603-1868), a national government led by a shogun. This was monarchic rule, with a hierarchical class set in. The Mandate of Heaven was pseudo-Democratic. It allowed for revolution if the ruler did not rule properly. It came from Confucianism. Samurai were to be loyal to their leaders, but not expect anything in return. It was not a right, but a cultural expectation. Democratic Tendencies: 1) The shogunal government never established a centralized system. Local feudal lords continued to administer their own domains with some autonomy as long as they observed Shogunal regulations. 2) within a system of hierarchical status and local power, there were collective and consensual aspects. o The Meiji Restoration o Samurai fought against the Tokugawa to restore authority to the emperor and to protect Japan from colonization from the West. They created a centralized state under the symbol of an emperor. o The Freedom and Popular Rights Movement argued that the Meiji was an oligarchy, and not imperial or democratic. Because of this, The Meiji created a constitution, national assembly (the diet), elected by limited suffrage for the first time in 1890. The Oligarchs monopolized the major cabinet posts under the new constitution. They chose the prime minister and influenced him. The constitution was modeled off Prussian statism. The cabinet and bureaucracy, civilian and military, were responsible to the emperor, not to the Diet. The Diet had limited power. The system worked because of the ideology of obedience, loyalty and sacrifice to the emperor taught to the people. o Taisho Democracy o Emperor Meiji died in 1912, and Emperor Taisho took his place. Political parties rose, and there was to be reform. o Yoshino Sakuzo coined the term “minponshugi”, which means “government for the people”. In the mid 1920’s, universal manhood suffrage widened the electorate, a two-party political system developed, and the prime minister was to be the head of one of the major parties in the Diet. o The end of Pre-War democracy o Early 1930’s, Japan struggling along with world economy. Political parties began to attack each other with “insufficient loyalty to the emperor”. European fascism
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assassinated Japanese officials. By the Late 1930’s, all democracy was lost, and the military led Japan to war against the allied powers. Post War Democracy
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Japannotesnew2009 - D emocracy in Japan Takeshi Ishida and...

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