Why did Japan become fascist

japanese fascism

A: al-fāšīya al-yabānīya. - E: Japanese fascism. - F: fascisme japonais. - R: japonskij fašizm. - S: fascismo japonés. - C: Rìběn fǎxīsī zhǔyì 日本 法西斯主义

Andreas Hippin

HKWM 6 / II, 2004, columns 1603-1612

The term jF is controversial. The majority of Western historians believe that Japan cannot be understood as a fascist regime in the years before and during World War II. To speak of a jF, in their opinion, would be an inadmissible transfer of a category from European history. Using the German F, for example, reference is made to the fact that Japan was unable to demonstrate a number of the necessary prerequisites - 'seizure of power', mass movement, leader, etc. In addition, due to the political occupation of the term as a fighting term, since the 1970s more and more people have moved away from developing a general F-term. In view of the difficulties that already arise when comparing Germany and Italy, comparative F-research has so far hardly dealt with investigating beyond the classic examples - for example, comparing the fascization processes in Japan and Italy. "Anyone who wants to understand the fascization process in Japan has to break free from the prevailing F-theories, which are oriented towards the fascist party," says Dirk Böttcher (1989). The model of the "total leader state on a petty-bourgeois mass basis" does not match reality in Italy any more than it does in Japan.

For most Japanese scholars, Japan was fascist before 1945. You speak of an 'F from above' or an 'F from the inside out'. The term F was adopted early on by the extreme right of Japan: as early as January 1932, journalists and lawyers founded the Fascist League of Japan (Nihon fashizumu renmei) an organization that has the word adopted from the west in its name. Japanese historians also speak of ›National Socialism‹, especially when it comes to supporters of ›State Socialism‹ (kokka shakai shugi) like Kita Ikki (1883-1937). The underlying term can be translated both ways, which causes some confusion. Masato Miyachi and Masao Nishikawa offer an F-definition that overcomes the restriction to the Italian and German ›prototype‹: »The F is an expression of a› belated ‹imperialism, which against democracy, Marxism against the background of the Bolshevik Revolution and the First World War and fought anti-colonialism. The F is the exaggeration of imperialism; historically it emerged more or less as the result of compromises between the ›authoritarian-reactionary‹ and the ›pseudo-revolutionary‹ forces «(1990).

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