Episode 83 – Reform Without Sanctuary

Koizumi Junichiro was quite possibly the most successful Prime Minister Japan has had for decades (and certainly the best dressed). This week, we’ll trace the rise of his career, his goals while in power, and the impact of his reforms on a Japanese state sometimes thought to be irreformable.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

A retrospective on Koizumi’s time in offiice by The Economist.

An NYT bio of Koizumi from the time of his selection as Prime Minister.

A bio by Time Magazine from the same period.

(Since he’s still alive, most of what’s available on Koizumi is from the tradition of political theory rather than history, and that’s a bit outside our purview).

A list of apologies made by Japan for behavior during the Second World War (yes it’s a link to Wikipedia, but no one else has aggregated them that I can find and they’re all sourced).

Episode one of Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku, should you be so inclined.

Images

Koizumi Matajiro, the Irezumi Minister and grandfather of Junichiro.
Koizumi Matajiro, the Irezumi Minister and grandfather of Junichiro.
Koizumi Junichiro and his father Koizumi Jun'ya. Date unknown.
Koizumi Junichiro and his father Koizumi Jun’ya. Date unknown.
On the surface this is just a picture of George W. Bush and Koizumi. In fact, it's kind of a revolution in Japanese politics; no other Japanese Prime Minister that I've seen would be photographed with the US President without a tie and in sunglasses. In fact, this is all part of the cultivated persona of the "maverick politician" that Koizumi has worked so hard to keep up.
On the surface this is just a picture of George W. Bush and Koizumi. In fact, it’s kind of a revolution in Japanese politics; no other Japanese Prime Minister that I’ve seen would be photographed with the US President without a tie and in sunglasses. In fact, this is all part of the cultivated persona of the “maverick politician” that Koizumi has worked so hard to keep up.
A campaign poster from Koizumi's last election in 2006. The text says something like "Accelerate Reforms".
A campaign poster from Koizumi’s last election in 2006. The text says something like “Accelerate Reforms”.
I will never get tired of this photo. Courtesy of Graceland.
I will never get tired of this photo. Courtesy of Graceland.
Just in case you thought I was kidding about the whole manga thing.
Just in case you thought I was kidding about the whole manga thing.
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Episode 82 – The Shadow Shogun, Redux

After the fall of Tanaka Kakuei, one man has become known as the heir to his tradition. One man has attempted to manipulate the flow of politics in order to either serve as a populist champion for Japan or embody the worst of the Japanese political process (depending on who you ask). His name is Ozawa Ichiro, and he is our topic for this week.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

George Mulgan, Aurelia. Ozawa Ichiro and Japanese Politics: Old Versus New

A Businessweek Magazine profile of Ozawa’s career up to 1991 and his final years with the LDP is available here.

A profile of Ozawa from The Economist which covers the leadup to his break with the DPJ in 2012 is available here.

Images 

Ozawa Ichiro (far right) standing next to Tanaka Kakuei. Kakuei would serve as his mentor until 1985, when Ozawa would betray him and split off into a new faction of the LDP. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Ozawa Ichiro (far right) standing next to Tanaka Kakuei. Kakuei would serve as his mentor until 1985, when Ozawa would betray him and split off into a new faction of the LDP. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Ozawa Ichiro on campaign in 2001. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Ozawa Ichiro on campaign in 2001. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Ozawa and Hatoyama Yukio (right) in 2009 after the triumphant electoral victories of the DPJ. Had Ozawa not been embroiled in scandal the victory would have made him Prime Minister -- since he was out of the running, Hatoyama took control of the DPJ and the top seat instead. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Ozawa and Hatoyama Yukio (right) in 2009 after the triumphant electoral victories of the DPJ. Had Ozawa not been embroiled in scandal the victory would have made him Prime Minister — since he was out of the running, Hatoyama took control of the DPJ and the top seat instead. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Ozawa in 2012 during his final days with the DPJ. Courtesy of The Economist.
Ozawa in 2012 during his final days with the DPJ. Courtesy of The Economist.
A campaign poster for the Seikatsu no To (People's Livelihood Party). The text reads "Protect our lifestyle!" Courtesy of Ozawa's personal website (ozawa-ichiro.jp).
A campaign poster for the Seikatsu no To (People’s Livelihood Party). The text reads “Protect our lifestyle!” Courtesy of Ozawa’s personal website (ozawa-ichiro.jp).

Episode 81 – The Great Treason Incident

In 1910, an anarchist plot to assassinate the Meiji Emperor was uncovered. Seizing the opportunity, conservatives in the government pounced in to arrest 26 anarchists. The background of this confrontation between the government and the radical left, the trials themselves, and their modern legacy are our topics this week.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Gavin, Masako and Ben Middleton, editors. Japan and the High Treason Incident.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Kano, Sugako. Reflections on the Way to the Gallows.

Noteheifter, F.G. Kotoku Shusui: Portrait of a Japanese Radical.

The text of the Peace Preservation Law of 1925.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation

Kotoku Shusui, the anarchist intellectual who would become the centerpiece of the trials despite not being involved in the plot.
Kotoku Shusui, the anarchist intellectual who would become the centerpiece of the trials despite not being involved in the plot.
Kano Sugako, anarchist and one of the actual members of the assassination plot. She was executed along with the other convicted anarchists in 1911.
Kanno Sugako, anarchist and one of the actual members of the assassination plot. She was executed along with the other convicted anarchists in 1911.
Nanba Daisuke, who tried to assassinate Hirohito in 1923 in revenge for the death of Kotoku.
Nanba Daisuke, who tried to assassinate Hirohito in 1923 in revenge for the death of Kotoku.
Japan's first Labor Day Parade, 1920. Despite increasing attempts to supress the left and the example of the Great Treason Incident, leftist movements continued to gain momentum in interwar Japan. This lead a fearful government to pass the Peace Preservation Law in 1925.
Japan’s first Labor Day Parade, 1920. Despite increasing attempts to supress the left and the example of the Great Treason Incident, leftist movements continued to gain momentum in interwar Japan. This lead a fearful government to pass the Peace Preservation Law in 1925.
Hiranuima Kiichiro, who would be both chief prosecutor for the trials and the author of the Peace Preservation Law of 1925.
Hiranuima Kiichiro, who would be both chief prosecutor for the trials and the author of the Peace Preservation Law of 1925.

Episode 80 – The Great Gamble

This week — and if you’re getting this on release day, 72 years and 364 days later — we’re going to discuss the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as well as its architect, the iconoclastic Japanese admiral Yamamoto Isoroku. Who was this man who came up with a bold plan to disable the entire US Navy in one shot? What was he thinking when he put this plan together? And why, in the end, did he have no prospect of victory?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Agawa, Hiroyuki. The Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy.

Asada, Sadao. From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Asada, Sadao. The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific.

Dower, John. Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9/11, Iraq.

Hotta, Eiri. Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy.

Peattie, Mark. Kaigun.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation unless otherwise noted)

Yamamoto Isoroku upon graduation from the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1904. He would go on to serve in the war with Russia, where he would lose two of his fingers.
Yamamoto Isoroku upon graduation from the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1904. He would go on to serve in the war with Russia, where he would lose two of his fingers. Courtesy of World War 2 Archive.
Yamamoto Isoroku with the US Secretary of the Navy in the 1920s.
Yamamoto Isoroku with the US Secretary of the Navy in the 1920s.
Yamamoto Isoroku (on the right) as part of a Japanese delegation to Arlington National Cemetary in the United States, c. 1927. Courtesy of the US Navy.
Yamamoto Isoroku (on the right) as part of a Japanese delegation to Arlington National Cemetary in the United States, c. 1927. Courtesy of the US Navy.
Yamamoto Isoroku as Admiral of the Combined Japanese Fleet.
Yamamoto Isoroku as Admiral of the Combined Japanese Fleet.
The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. This photo was taken from an attacking Japanese warplane. The strike on Pearl Harbor was a tactical stroke of genius but utterly failed to accomplish its strategic goal of hitting the US hard enough to effectively knock it out of the Pacific.
The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. This photo was taken from an attacking Japanese warplane. The strike on Pearl Harbor was a tactical stroke of genius but utterly failed to accomplish its strategic goal of hitting the US hard enough to effectively knock it out of the Pacific.
The USS Arizona on fire in Pearl Harbor.
The USS Arizona on fire in Pearl Harbor.
Instead of breaking the US will to resist, the attack on Pearl Harbor only stoked it -- as shown by this contemporary propaganda poster.
Instead of breaking the US will to resist, the attack on Pearl Harbor only stoked it — as shown by this contemporary propaganda poster.
The last photo ever taken of Yamamoto alive, just prior to when he boarded the plane that he would be shot down in.
The last photo ever taken of Yamamoto alive, just prior to when he boarded the plane that he would be shot down in.
Yamamoto's state funeral in Tokyo.
Yamamoto’s state funeral in Tokyo.