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

pa-10974406-1024x811
Citizens of Tokyo watching as electoral returns are posted on billboards in the city in 1947.
communist_returns_to_japan
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.
220px-release_of_communist
Japanese communists are released from prison by the US, c. 1945.
abe_isoo_and_katayama_tetsu
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 178 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 3

Today, a specter is haunting Japan. But that specter is not communism; it’s the ghost of the communist party, dead before it truly lived. This week on the podcast: how to kill a communist party in a few easy steps.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Gordon, Andrew. Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan.

Beckmann, George M and Genji Okubo. The Japanese Communist Party, 1922-1945.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan

Images

hayashi_1
Hayashi Fusao, one of the most high profile cultural figures to commit tenko and convert himself to the cause of Japanese ultranationalism.
101038-004-e09f97b7
Yosano Akiko became the darling of the Japanese left during the Russo-Japanese War, but jumped ship to the cause of the empire during the 1930s.
300px-tokuda_nosaka_shiga
The leadership of the JCP in exile in the Soviet Union. From left to right: Tokuda Kyuichi, Nosaka Sanzo, and Shiga Yoshio.
nosaka_sanzo_at_the_seventh_congress_of_the_communist_party_of_china
During World War II, Nosaka allied himself to the Chinese Communist Party. Here Nosaka, in the center, attends the beginning of the 7th Party Congress with Mao Zedong (at right).
nosaka_sanzo
Nosaka in his military uniform as leader of a unit of “converted” Japanese POWs.

Episode 177 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 2

The revolution comes to Japan…but not really. Today we explore the birth and very rapid death of Japan’s first socialist party, and the rise of its communist movement.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Gordon, Andrew. Labor and Imperial Democracy In Prewar Japan.

Beckman, George M and Genji Okubo. The Japanese Communist Party, 1920-1945.

Images

katayama
Katayama Sen, one of Japan’s first real Marxist advocates. He would die in the Soviet Union in the 1930s after two decades of exile.
409913
Christian Socialist Suzuki Bunji speaking to crowds in 1917. Though the Japan Socialist Party was not long for this world –at least at first — socialist parties continued to operate until all parties were dissolved in 1940.
409915
Another rally led by Suzuki Bunji.
japan_sanzo_nosaka_first_secretary_communist_party_of_japan_central_committee
Nosaka Sanzo, one of the founding members of the Japan Communist Party.

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

ffbca221ac03fa5fd358414a6f722fa3
Statues of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels dot all parts of the former Soviet bloc. This one is in Berlin, Germany.
marxdial_2
Marx’s historical dialectic in action.
history
The Marxist stages of history.
match-girls-1888
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 175 – The Great Commoner

This week, it’s time for Japan’s first party politician: Hara Takashi. Was he a populist hero or a wannabe elite? And in the end, does that even really matter?

 Listen to the episode here.
Sources
Najita, Tetsuo. Hara Kei in the Politics of Compromise.
Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.
Dickinson, Frederick. World War I and the Triumph of a New Japan. 
Images
hara_takashi_while_working_in_paris_from_1885_to_1889
Hara during his time as an attache to the Japanese embassy in Paris.
osaka_mainichi_shimbun_bldgs_01
The current HQ of the Mainichi Shimbun in Osaka. Hara’s old paper is still going strong.
s1-02-017
The 1918 Rice Riots helped propel Hara Takashi to the center of Japanese politics.
prime_minister_hara_takashi_photograph
Hara as a party politician. I think this photo does a good job of capturing his style, which is very clearly an elite one. That doesn’t look like a populist to me.
800px-takashi_hara_formal
Hara Takashi in his formal palace jacket as Prime Minister.

Episode 174 – All The World’s A Stage

This week, we explore the history of one of Japan’s most popular art forms: kabuki theater. Major themes include prostitution, Tokugawa era morality laws, stagecraft, prostitution, and the superiority of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine over The Next Generation.

 

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Leiter, Samuel L. A Kabuki Reader: History and Performance.

Images

250px-noh3
One of the biggest differences between Noh and Kabuki is the lack of masks in the latter. Noh plays like this one keep the actor’s face obscured and move at a far slower pace; emotion is conveyed by delicate movements rather than over the top performance.
220px-statueofokuni_b
A statue of Izumo no Okuni next to the Kamo River in Kyoto. Okuni’s first performances took place in a dry part of the Kamo riverbed.
kabuki1
The makeup in kabuki is exaggerated both for the effect of its imagery and in some cases to obscure the gender of the actor.
2090_01
A traditional kabuki theater with the hanamichi running towards the stage.
325px-danjuro_ichikawa_i_ii_iii_iv_v_vi_vii_viii_ix_x_xi_and_xii
The various actors of the Ichikawa Danjuro lineage.
20121207145017
Nakamura Kenzaburo as Imagawa Yoshimoto. Kabuki actors have been fairly successful in transitioning to roles on TV dramas; in general, kabuki has been more successful than noh in keeping up a modern following.

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

1
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.
lu_xun_3_beheading
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.
300px-yamato_sea_trials_2
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.
0enofa0rpk
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.
Landscape
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.