Fascism in Japan

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Without fascism, there would be no Japan. Or without fascism, would there be a better Japan?

Fascism promotes political violence and war. It emphasizes on “nation before self” and believes that so long as the nation prospers, so will the people. Before Japan adopted this policy, it came across a spread of others that included national isolation, fukoku kyohei, democracy, finally fascism. Fukoku kyohei, a policy similar to fascism, was adopted during the Meiji period. This built the foundations of fascism in Japan. However, it was replaced by democracy in the Taisho period as a change of approach to Japanese politics. Nevertheless, fascism still dominated Japan eventually in the Showa period. This is what proves fascism gained more acceptance and hence, a higher possibility of benefitting the Japanese.

But how do we know whether fascism really benefitted Japan? By saying that it is beneficial encompasses such a broad area, whether in terms of economic, political, social, or physical well-being. In this case, we consider it as benefitting Japan as a whole, and only in the context of Japan. Benefits do not only include superficial advantages like monetary statuses or growth in power, but those that hold deeper meaning such as social development and well-being.

With fascism, Japan managed to flourish like cherry blossoms in spring. Democracy failed the Japanese and lost their trust, and fascism, in any way, seemed like a better choice. Fascism portrayed itself as powerful and aggressive, giving the Japanese people a higher sense of security and higher reliability. In terms of military power, they would grow rapidly to become a respected great power, unlike the inferiority they suffered under the democratic government. Intense training for the young also meant a more promising population always ready to defend the country and building a national identity. All these benefits were further precedented by an economic boost to the country with fascism brought about to Japan.

However, as much as it was able to bring prosperity to Japan, it was undoubtedly capable of creating topsy-turvydom too. The lope sided policy only offered comfort for limited areas and left other areas vulnerable. There was infusion of education with military training and patriotic ideas were injected into what was thought to be the innocent and pure childhood a child ought to have. Political and social imbalance also surfaced due to tight control and strictness fascism imposed on the Japanese. Aggressiveness also led to the start of World War II, leaving many people shattered in the face of the cold-blooded war.

Yet, it was essential for the Japanese to adopt the policy of fascism or continue their sufferings under the flawed democratic government, even if it meant there was to be a period of tight control over society and loss of innocent lives. So long as a better income and future prospect was promised.

Firstly, fascism in Japan led to a stronger and more credible military since it stressed on militarism. With a more aggressive foreign policy, Japan saw their victory over China in the First Sino-Japanese War and over Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. Their gaining of these new overseas territories proved the West wrong on their stereotyping of the Japanese, with weak and inability. In particular, victory in the Russo-Japanese War wowed the world, as Japan was now comparable to, or even better, than a western power. Military advancements in Japan brought about more confidence to her in the fierce competing world. This gives the sense that only through a strong military offered by fascism will Japan be able to earn the respect of Western powers, thus the revision of the unequal treaties at the Paris Peace Conference, Washington Naval Conferences and London disarmament Conferences. The unfairness Japan suffered at these conferences, such as unequal limitations on her naval armaments in the 5-power treaty will be upheld and justified....
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