Your Podcast Needs You…Again!

Hello all!

We’re coming up on the end of the outline episodes (the last one will be out on Sunday), so I’d like to take this chance to solicit any ideas you’ve got for future episodes. If you’re interested, you can either contact me via email at ijmeyer@uw.edu, reach out to me on facebook, or leave a comment on this post.

One way or another, send me your ideas! I’d love to hear from you. For those of you who already sent ideas my way, thank you very much — I’m grateful to have such a wonderful audience!

 

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Episode 20 – Japan as Number One

This week, we’ll be talking about the height of postwar Japan during the 1970s and 1980s. On the surface, it’s a time of great accomplishment when the dream of catching up to the West had finally been realizing. Looking deeper, however, we find the roots of many of the problems which would bubble to the surface during the economic troubles of the 1990s.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources 

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

Schlesinger, Jacob M. Shadow Shoguns: The Rise and Fall of Postwar Japan’s Political Machine

White, Merry. Perfectly Japanese.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Tanaka Kakuei meeting with President Richard Nixon in 1973. Tanaka was legendary for his corruption and use of bribery and porkbarrel politics to support his position, a tactic that became standard for the LDP for the next 20 years.
Tanaka Kakuei meeting with President Richard Nixon in 1973. Tanaka was legendary for his corruption and use of bribery and porkbarrel politics to support his position, a tactic that became standard for the LDP for the next 20 years.
President Ronald Reagan (right) and Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro (left) at Nakasone's private home. The two men had a close friendship, making Nakasone more sympathetic to US interests than most Japanese leaders. As a result, Nakasone was one of the few LDP leaders to advocate for a stronger role for Japan in international politics.
President Ronald Reagan (right) and Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro (left) at Nakasone’s private home. The two men had a close friendship, making Nakasone more sympathetic to US interests than most Japanese leaders. As a result, Nakasone was one of the few LDP leaders to advocate for a stronger role for Japan in international politics.
A destroyed Iraqi battle tank (either a T-54a or T-59) during Operation Desert Storm (the first Iraq War). The perceived humiliation of Japan by the other coalition members was a major factor in pushing through new legislation allowing the Japan Self-Defense Forces to engage in some peacekeeping operations.
A destroyed Iraqi battle tank (either a T-54a or T-59) during Operation Desert Storm (the first Iraq War). The perceived humiliation of Japan by the other coalition members was a major factor in pushing through new legislation allowing the Japan Self-Defense Forces to engage in some peacekeeping operations.
A high school exam in Kanagawa Prefecture in the 1950s. Exams (particularly university entrance exams) became one of the most important factors in determining future success.
A high school exam in Kanagawa Prefecture in the 1950s. Exams (particularly university entrance exams) became one of the most important factors in determining future success.
The student above is celebrating success in the entrance exam for Tokyo University, the most prestigious school in the country. Entrance into a good school remains to this day a very important factor in determining future prospects.
The student above is celebrating success in the entrance exam for Tokyo University, the most prestigious school in the country. Entrance into a good school remains to this day a very important factor in determining future prospects.
Feminist and Dietwoman Kato Shizue (1898-2001). One of the first women elected to the Diet, and a popular leader in both the Japanese Socialist and Feminist movements.
Feminist and Dietwoman Kato Shizue (1898-2001). One of the first women elected to the Diet, and a popular leader in both the Japanese Socialist and Feminist movements.

 

Episode 19 – Rising from the Ashes

This week, we’re going to discuss the postwar strategy that enabled Japan to revive itself after World War II. In 1952, most observers believed Japan would become a mid-rank regional power on the same order as Sweden; by 1970 it was clear that would not be the case. We’re going to discuss how Japan was able to rebound from defeat so quickly, and what forces propelled the massive growth of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Anchordoguy, Marie. Reprogramming Japan.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Okita Saburo, the economist who, in 1945, articulated a vision for Japan revived as an economic power. Okita was the youngest of the men who would lead postwar Japan (he was born in 1914) and lived until 1993, just long enough to see his system begin to falter.
Okita Saburo, the economist who, in 1945, articulated a vision for Japan revived as an economic power. Okita was the youngest of the men who would lead postwar Japan (he was born in 1914) and lived until 1993, just long enough to see his system begin to falter.
Yoshida Shigeru, the ex-diplomat turned Prime Minister who would lead the group dedicated to putting Okita Saburo's vision into place.
Yoshida Shigeru, the ex-diplomat turned Prime Minister who would lead the group dedicated to putting Okita Saburo’s vision into place.
Socialist and other left-wing protestors riot outside the Diet building in downtown Tokyo against the renewal of the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty in 1960. The LDP faction in power had to bring in police and yakuza to prevent the crowds from halting the passage of the renewed treaty.
Socialist and other left-wing protestors riot outside the Diet building in downtown Tokyo against the renewal of the US-Japan Mutual Security Treaty in 1960. The LDP faction in power had to bring in police and yakuza to prevent the crowds from halting the passage of the renewed treaty.
The Speaker of the Lower House of the Diet performing the final tally of votes regarding the security treaty. He had to be physically escorted to the stage and protected from left-wing Diet members, who attempted to prevent him from finishing the procedures required to pass the treaty.
The Speaker of the Lower House of the Diet performing the final tally of votes regarding the security treaty. He had to be physically escorted to the stage and protected from left-wing Diet members, who attempted to prevent him from finishing the procedures required to pass the treaty.
The lighting of the cauldron at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. We didn't really have time to talk about it on the show, but the 1964 Olympics became a symbol of Japanese revival after the war, as they took place right when Ikeda Hayato's Income Doubling Plan was beginning to seriously jumpstart the national economy.
The lighting of the cauldron at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. We didn’t really have time to talk about it on the show, but the 1964 Olympics became a symbol of Japanese revival after the war, as they took place right when Ikeda Hayato’s Income Doubling Plan was beginning to seriously jumpstart the national economy.
Ikeda Hayato, the famously-abrasive bureaucrat and politician (PM 1960-1964). Ikeda is often credited with reaching out to the Japanese people and forging a consensus that the best way forward for the country was to focus all its resources on economic growth. His Income Doubling Plan was an ambitious (and ultimately successful) bid to massively stimulate the Japanese economy along the lines proposed by Okita Saburo and Yoshida Shigeru.
Ikeda Hayato, the famously-abrasive bureaucrat and politician (PM 1960-1964). Ikeda is often credited with reaching out to the Japanese people and forging a consensus that the best way forward for the country was to focus all its resources on economic growth. His Income Doubling Plan was an ambitious (and ultimately successful) bid to massively stimulate the Japanese economy along the lines proposed by Okita Saburo and Yoshida Shigeru.
Sato Eisaku, Prime Minister 1964-1972 (the longest-serving in Japanese history). Sato was the last of the Yoshida "honor students," and continued to carry forth his mentor's legacy.
Sato Eisaku, Prime Minister 1964-1972 (the longest-serving in Japanese history). Sato was the last of the Yoshida “honor students,” and continued to carry forth his mentor’s legacy.

Episode 18 – Enduring the Unendurable

This week’s episode is an overview of the Allied Occupation of Japan. In just seven years (1945-1952), the Allies undertook a massive effort to overhaul Japan’s politics, economy, and society. We’ll discuss the ways in which they tried to do so, and briefly attempt to evaluate their success. This was a really interesting episode to write and record — I learned a lot myself!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Dower, John. Embracing Defeat.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Manchester, William. American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

A newsreel from 1946 showing the devastation of Japan proper and the beginnings of recovery.

MacArthur and Emperor Showa, early in the Occupation. This photo, with Hirohito dwarfed by MacArthur, became one of the symbols of the Occupation and of the new reality of American dominance.
MacArthur and Emperor Showa, early in the Occupation. This photo, with Hirohito dwarfed by MacArthur, became one of the symbols of the Occupation and of the new reality of American dominance.
The Ichigaya Building, former home of the Imperial Army and location of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo War Crimes Trials).
The Ichigaya Building, former home of the Imperial Army and location of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo War Crimes Trials).
Tojo Hideki, center, as a defendant in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.
Tojo Hideki, center, as a defendant in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.
The Justices of the Tokyo Trials.
The Justices of the Tokyo Trials.
Members of the Japanese Communist Party being released from prison after the end of the war. Their elation would be short-lived, as by 1947 the Occupation government began clamping down on Marxist groups.
Members of the Japanese Communist Party being released from prison after the end of the war. Their elation would be short-lived, as by 1947 the Occupation government began clamping down on Marxist groups.
South Korean refugees fleeing during the early months of the Korean War. The war provided part of the impetus for termination of the Occupation, both because of the need for American troops on the peninsula and because Allied procurement contracts with Japan revitalized the Japanese economy.
South Korean refugees fleeing during the early months of the Korean War. The war provided part of the impetus for termination of the Occupation, both because of the need for American troops on the peninsula and because Allied procurement contracts with Japan revitalized the Japanese economy.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru signs the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952, formally ending World War II as well as the Occupation.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru signs the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952, formally ending World War II as well as the Occupation.

Episode 17 – He Who Saves One Life, Saves an Entire World

This week, we’ll be discussing the life and career of Sugihara Chiune, a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to World War II. In 1940, Sugihara gave up his comfortable life and career to save thousands of Jewish refugees in Eastern Europe from the Nazis. We’ll discuss what he did, why he did it, and why I think it’s important this week.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

PBS put together a documentary series on Sugihara; their evidence is available here.

Yad V’Shem (the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem) houses its evidence on Sugihara here.

Images 

Sugihara Chiune at the height of his career working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Sugihara Chiune at the height of his career working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Sugihara Yukiko at the time of her marriage. Courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.
Sugihara Yukiko at the time of her marriage. Courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.
The old Japanese consulate in downtown Kaunas. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
The old Japanese consulate in downtown Kaunas. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
A line of Jewish refugees outside the Japanese consulate requesting visas during the Summer of 1940. Courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.
A line of Jewish refugees outside the Japanese consulate requesting visas during the Summer of 1940. Courtesy of the Jewish Virtual Library.
One of the transit visas issued by Sughiara Chiune. Courtesy of Yad V'Shem.
One of the transit visas issued by Sughiara Chiune. Courtesy of Yad V’Shem.
The Sugihara Memorial in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
The Sugihara Memorial in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.