Episode 186 – Lifting the Lost, Part 4

This week, we’ll begin a discussion of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, better known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Who is being tried, what for, and why?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Dower, John. Embracing Defeat.

Maga, Tim. Judgment at Tokyo.

Takeda, Kayoko. Interpreting the Tokyo War Crimes Trials: A Sociopolitical Analysis.

Images

 

Episode 181 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 6

This week, we round out our look at the hard left in Japan. Militant communist uprisings (if less than 100 people counts as an uprising), electoral maneuvering, recycling policy — this episode has it all.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Gallagher, Aileen. The Japanese Red Army.

Er, Lam Peng. “The Japanese Communist Party: Organization and Resilience in the Midst of Adversity.” Pacific Affairs 69, No. 3.

Hyde, Sarah. The Transformation of the Japanese Left. 

Images

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A Japan Communist Party poster from last year. The center poster says “Stop TPP. The Party that Loves this Country: The Japan Communist Party.” The one on the left says, “Rely on the constitution, change the government.”
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The Asama Mountain Villa surrounded by police during the siege.
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Shigenobu Fusako, right, with Okamoto Kozo during their time as Japanese Red Army militants.
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In 2007, the story of the United Red Army was made into a well-reviewed film. Haven’t had a chance to see it yet, though.
Former Japanese PM Murayama poses in front of portraits of former leaders of his Social Democratic Party after an interview with Reuters at the party headquarters in Tokyo
Murayama Tomiichi, former Prime Minister and recycling guru.

Episode 180 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 5

This week, we’ll see how the advent of the Liberal Democratic Party kept Japan’s socialist and communist parties from real power during the postwar era. How did we get from a revolutionary moment to permanent political sidelining for the Japanese left?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Kohno, Masaru. Japan’s Postwar Political Parties.

Lu, David. Japan: A Documentary History, Vol 2.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

 

Images

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A visual representation of the electoral dominance of the LDP. This graph shows seats taken in the 1960 general election.
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The Matsukawa derailment.
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The Mitaka derailment.
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This Pulitzer Prize-winning photo shows Asanuma Inejiro’s assassination, which took place during preparations for a telecast debate for the Lower House.
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Shimoyama Sadanobu’s body being removed from the scene of his death.

Episode 179 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 4

This week, the floodgates are open! The system has fallen, and the left is poised to seize power…or not!

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Dower, John. Embracing Defeat.

Crump, John. The Origins of Socialist Thought in Japan.

Price, John. Japan Works: Power and Paradox in Postwar Industrial Relations

Images

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Citizens of Tokyo watching as electoral returns are posted on billboards in the city in 1947.
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Nosaka Sanzo speaking at a rally, c. 1946. The end of World War II signaled a revival of the Communist Party, as its leadership came over from China and the USSR to revive the party at home.
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Japanese communists are released from prison by the US, c. 1945.
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Katayama Tetsu, Japan’s first socialist PM, at right. At left is Abe Isoo, Japan’s foremost Christian socialist and a mentor to Katayama.

Episode 176 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 1

Today, we’ll turn our attention to a set of ideas that will ultimately fall flat on their face in Japan (and most other places): Marxism. How did the hard left come to Japan? And before that, what even is Marxism?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

I relied heavily on the excellent Political, Economic, and Social Thought to put together this brief summary.

Contextual information was taken from Hunt, Tristam. Marx’s General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels.

Images

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Statues of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels dot all parts of the former Soviet bloc. This one is in Berlin, Germany.
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Marx’s historical dialectic in action.
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The Marxist stages of history.
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Popular demonstrations, like the Match Girl’s March on Parliament in 1888 depicted above, became increasingly common in the late 19th century. Many of these protests had Marxists among their organizers and/or participants, creating a fear of growing Marxist influence in the West.

Episode 173 – The Maelstrom, Part 11

Today, we’ll wrap up our look at the Russo-Japanese War with some thoughts on its long term consequences. How much of an impact can a war that lasted for a year and a half really have?

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

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

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Drea, Edward. In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army.

Images

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For Russia, one of the biggest differences made by the war and the revolution was the birth of a representative assembly, the Duma. However, the assembly was generally disregarded by the Czar, which only proved to enemies of the regime that promises of moderation and an end to autocracy were so much hot air.
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An execution scene like the one that inspired Lu Xun to try and mobilize nationalism within the Chinese people. Though the Japanese generally did not attack or harm Chinese civilians intentionally during the war, this did not mean that they had much regard for Chinese lives. Accused spies like the one shown here were doomed merely by suspicion.
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The massive folly of the Yamato class superbattleship, shown here (the IJN Yamato on its shakedown cruise) was a direct outgrowth of the outmoded naval ideas of Togo Heihachiro. Nobody could challenge the authority of the victor of Tsushima, which meant that the navy wasted a lot of time refusing to update its ideas or equipment.
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The army’s obsession with spiritual toughness was such that eventually it was able to receive a mandate to begin army training before men were even conscripted. Children were given basic army drills as part of their PE requirements starting in the 1920s, with the instructors being former army officers.
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The burning wreck of the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. The success of the Russo-Japanese War convinced Japanese planners that similar tactics would work on the United States. They did not.

 

Episode 172 – The Maelstrom, Part 10

Apologies for the technical delay! Today, we’ll watch Russia descend into chaos, and take a look at the peace negotiations that result as both sides realize they can’t keep this war up.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan. 

Peattie, Mark et al. Kaigun. 

Images

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Finnish demonstrators in the streets during the 1905 Revolution. In addition to a social upheaval at home, the revolution helped make ethnic separatism in the Russian Empire a more visible problem.
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Russian troops blocking the path of — and eventually firing on — protesters during Bloody Sunday in January, 1905. This event would kickstart the 1905 revolution, with thousands taking to the streets to protest the Czar’s autocracy.
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The drama of the mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin is probably the best known part of the 1905 revolution, thanks to the fantastic film made on the subject during the early Bolshevik years by Sergei Eisenstein.
Count sergei yulyevich witte (left) with theodore roosevelt (center) in 1905.
The American president, Theodore Roosevelt, with the peace delegations at Portsmouth. Sergei Witte is on the left; Komura Jutaro is on the right.
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The Portsmouth negotiations were a huge profile booster for the United States, and for Roosevelt in particular (who got a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts). This postcard celebrates the American role in the process with Roosevelt’s image front and center.
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An excellent map showing the final arrangements between the two sides. Overall, the Russo-Japanese War was far more costly for Japan than the Sino-Japanese War had been, and the benefits were not at all proportionate to the increased sacrifices.

Apologies for the technical delay! Today, we’ll watch Russia descend into chaos, and take a look at the peace negotiations that result as both sides realize they can’t keep this war up.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Drea, Edward. Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945.

Peattie, Mark and David Evans. Kaigun.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan. 

Images