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Dai Nippon Teikoku
Great Japanese Empire
Flag Imperial Seal
八紘一宇 "Hakko ichiu"
"Imperial Reign"
Japanese Empire in 1931.
Capital Tokyo
Religion State Shinto
Government Absolute monarchy before 1889
Constitutional monarchy from 1889 onwards
Attempted totalitarian single-party nationalist/statist oligarchy between 1940 and 1945
 - 1868–1912 Emperor Meiji
 - 1912–1926 Emperor Taishō
 - 1926–1945 Emperor Shōwa
Prime Minister
 - 1885–1888, 1892–1896, 1898, 1900–1901 Prince Itō Hirobumi (first)
 - 1937-1939, 1940-1941 Prince Fumimaro Konoe
 - 1941-1944 Hideki Tōjō
 - 1945 Baron Kantarō Suzuki (last)
Historical era Meiji/Taishō/Shōwa periods/WWII
 - Meiji Restoration January 3[1] 1868
 - Prefecture reform August 29, 1871
 - Constitution November 29, 1890
 - Tripartite Pact September 27, 1940
 - Taisei Yokusankai October 12, 1940-June 13, 1945
 - Japanese Surrender August 14, 1945
 - Instrument of Surrender signed September 2, 1945
Area 675,000 km2 (260,619 sq mi)
 -  est. 97,770,000 
     Density 144.8 /km2  (375.1 /sq mi)
Currency Japanese yen
Korean yen
Taiwanese yen
Japanese military yen
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Tokugawa shogunate
Ryūkyū Kingdom
Republic of Ezo
Republic of Taiwan
Russian Empire
Korean Empire
Occupied Japan
United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands
Republic of China
Soviet Union
North Korea
South Korea
1935 Population. Map and area are information before WWII.

The Empire of Japan (Kyūjitai: 大日本帝國; Shinjitai: 大日本帝国; pronounced Dai Nippon Teikoku; literally Great Imperial Japan or Great Imperial Japanese Nation, officially Great Japan, Empire of Greater Japan or Great Japanese Empire; more widely known as Imperial Japan or the Japanese Empire) was a Japanese political entity that existed during the period from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until its defeat in World War II in 1945.

The country's rapid industrialization and militarization under the slogan Fukoku Kyōhei (富国強兵?, "Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Army"), led to its emergence as a world power eventually culminating with its membership in the Axis alliance and the conquest of a large part of the Asia-Pacific region.

After several large scale military successes during the first half of the Pacific War, the Empire of Japan also gained enormous notoriety for its war crimes against the conquered inhabitants of people within their Empire. After suffering numerous defeats and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Empire of Japan surrendered to the Allies on September 2, 1945. A period of occupation by the Allies followed the surrender and dissolution of the Empire, and a new constitution was created with American involvement. American occupation and reconstruction of the country continued well into the 1950s eventually forming the current modern Japan.

The Emperors during this time, which spanned the Meiji, Taishō, and Shōwa eras, are now known in Japan by their posthumous names, which coincide with those era names: Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito), Emperor Taishō (Yoshihito), and Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito).



Although the empire is commonly referred to as "the Japanese Empire" or "Imperial Japan" in English, the literal translation from Kanji is Great Japanese Empire (Dai Nippon Teikoku), meaning in terms of geography: Japan and its surrounding areas. The nomenclature Empire of Japan had existed since the feudal anti-shogunate domains, Satsuma and Chōshū, which founded their new government during the Meiji Restoration, with the intention of forming a modern state to resist western domination.

Meiji Restoration

Samurai members of the First Japanese Embassy to Europe (1862), around Shibata Sadataro, head of the mission staff (seated) and Fukuzawa Yukichi (to his right) sign of the opening of Japan and Meiji Restoration.

After two centuries, the seclusion policy, or Sakoku, under the shoguns of the Edo period came to an end when the country was forced open to trade by the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854.

The following years saw increased foreign trade and interaction; commercial treaties between the Tokugawa Shogunate and Western countries were signed. In large part due to the humiliating terms of these Unequal Treaties, the Shogunate soon faced internal hostility, which materialized into a radical, xenophobic movement, the sonnō jōi (literally "Revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians").[2]

In March 1863 the "Order to expel barbarians" was issued. Although the Shogunate had no intention of enforcing the order, it nevertheless inspired attacks against the Shogunate itself and against foreigners in Japan. The Namamugi Incident during 1862 led to the murder of an Englishman, Charles Lennox Richardson, by a party of samurai from Satsuma. The British demanded reparations and responded by bombarding the port of Kagoshima in 1863. For Richardson's death, the Tokugawa government agreed to pay an indemnity.[3] Shelling of foreign shipping in Shimonoseki and attacks against foreign property led to the Bombardment of Shimonoseki by a multinational force in 1864.[4] The Chōshū clan also carried out the failed Hamaguri Rebellion. The Satsuma-Chōshū alliance was established in 1866 to combine their efforts to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu. In early 1867, Emperor Komei died of smallpox and was replaced by his son Mutsuhito (Meiji).

On November 9, 1867, Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned his post and authorities to the emperor, agreeing to "be the instrument for carrying out" imperial orders.[5] The Tokugawa Shogunate had ended.[6] However, while Yoshinobu's resignation had created a nominal void at the highest level of government, his apparatus of state continued to exist. Moreover, the shogunal government, the Tokugawa family in particular, would remain a prominent force in the evolving political order and would retain many executive powers,[7] a prospect hard-liners from Satsuma and Chōshū found intolerable.[8]

An early tycoon of the Imperial Japanese Army Saigo Takamori.

On January 3, 1868, Satsuma-Chōshū forces seized the imperial palace in Kyoto, and the following day had the fifteen-year-old Emperor Meiji declare his own restoration to full power. Although the majority of the imperial consultative assembly was happy with the formal declaration of direct rule by the court and tended to support a continued collaboration with the Tokugawa, Saigō Takamori threatened the assembly into abolishing the title "shogun" and ordered the confiscation of Yoshinobu's lands.[9]

On January 17, 1868, Yoshinobu declared "that he would not be bound by the proclamation of the Restoration and called on the court to rescind it."[10] On January 24, Yoshinobu decided to prepare an attack on Kyoto, occupied by Satsuma and Chōshū forces. This decision was prompted by his learning of a series of arson attacks in Edo, starting with the burning of the outworks of Edo Castle, the main Tokugawa residence.

Boshin War

Campaign map of the Boshin War (1868–1869). The domains of Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa (in red) joined forces to defeat Shogunate forces at Toba-Fushimi, and then progressively took control of the rest of Japan.

The Boshin War (戊辰戦争 Boshin Sensō?) was fought between January 1868 and May 1869. The alliance of samurai from southern and western domains and court officials had now secured the cooperation of the young Emperor Meiji, who ordered the dissolution of the two-hundred-year-old Tokugawa Shogunate. Tokugawa Yoshinobu launched a military campaign to seize the emperor's court at Kyoto. However, the tide rapidly turned in favor of the smaller but relatively modernized imperial faction and resulted in defections of many daimyo to the Imperial side. The Battle of Toba-Fushimi was a decisive victory in which a combined army from Chōshū, Tosa, and Satsuma domains defeated the Tokugawa army. A series of battles were then fought in pursuit of supporters of the Shogunate; Edo surrendered to the Imperial forces and afterwards Yoshinobu personally surrendered. Yoshinobu was stripped of all his power by Emperor Meiji and most of Japan accepted the emperor's rule.

Pro-Tokugawa remnants, however, then retreated to northern Honshū (Ouetsu Reppan Domei) and later to Ezo (present-day Hokkaidō), where they established the breakaway Republic of Ezo. An expeditionary force was dispatched by the new government and the Ezo Republic forces were overwhelmed. The siege of Hakodate came to an end in May 1869 and the remaining forces surrendered.

Five Charter Oath

The Charter Oath was made public at the enthronement of Emperor Meiji of Japan on April 7, 1868. The Oath outlined the main aims and the course of action to be followed during Emperor Meiji's reign, setting the legal stage for Japan's modernization.[11]

The Meiji leaders also aimed to boost morale and win financial support for the new government. Its five provisions consisted of:

  • Establishment of deliberative assemblies.
  • Involvement of all classes in carrying out state affairs.
  • The revocation of sumptuary laws and class restrictions on employment.
  • Replacement of "evil customs" with the "just laws of nature."
  • An international search for knowledge to strengthen the foundations of imperial rule.

Meiji era (1868-1912)

Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of the Empire of Japan (1868–1912)
The mission major member. Left to right : Kido Takayoshi, Yamaguchi Masuka, Iwakura Tomomi, Ito Hirobumi, Okubo Toshimichi
Merchant Thomas Blake Glover was a British merchant in Bakumatsu and received Japan's second highest order from Emperor Meiji in recognition of his contributions to Japan's industrialization.

Japan dispatched the Iwakura mission in 1871. The mission traveled the world in order to renegotiate the unequal treaties with the United States and European countries that Japan had been forced into during the Tokugawa shogunate, and to gather information on western social systems, in order to effect the modernization of Japan. Renegotiation of the unequal treaties was universally unsuccessful, but close observation of the American and European systems inspired members on their return to bring about modernization initiatives in Japan.

Several prominent writers, under the constant threat of assassination from their political foes, were influential in winning Japanese support for westernization. One such writer was Fukuzawa Yukichi, whose works included "Conditions in the West," "Leaving Asia," and "An Outline of a Theory of Civilization," which detailed Western society and his own philosophies. In the Meiji Restoration period, military and economic power was well emphasized. Military strength became the means for national development and stability. Imperial Japan became the only non-Western world power and a major force in east and southeast Asia in less than 30–50 years as a result of industrialization and economic development.

As writer Albrecht Fürst von Urach comments in his booklet "The Secret of Japan's Strength," which was written during the Axis powers period:

The rise of Japan to a world power during the past 80 years is the greatest miracle in world history. The mighty empires of antiquity, the major political institutions of the Middle Ages and the early modern era, the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, all needed centuries to achieve their full strength. Japan's rise has been meteoric. After only 80 years, it is one of the few great powers that determine the fate of the world. [12]
HIH Princess Kaneko Higashi-fushimi in western clothing

The sudden westernization, once it was adopted, changed almost all arenas of Japanese society, ranging from language, etiquette, clothes, judicial and political systems, armaments, arts, etc. The Japanese government sent students to Western countries to observe and learn their practices, and also paid "foreign advisors" in a variety of fields to come to Japan to educate the populace. For instance, the judicial system and constitution were largely modeled on those of Germany. The government also outlawed customs linked to Japan's feudal past, such as publicly displaying and wearing katana and the top knot, both of which were characteristic of the samurai class, which was abolished together with the caste system. This would later bring the Meiji government into conflict with the Samurai.


上諭—"The Emperor's words" parts of constitution

The constitution recognized the need for change and modernization after removal of the shogunate:

We, the Successor to the prosperous Throne of Our Predecessors, do humbly and solemnly swear to the Imperial Founder of Our House and to Our other Imperial Ancestors that, in pursuance of a great policy co-extensive with the Heavens and with the Earth, We shall maintain and secure from decline the ancient form of government...In consideration of the progressive tendency of the course of human affairs and in parallel with the advance of civilization, We deem it expedient, in order to give clearness and distinctness to the instructions bequeathed by the Imperial Founder of Our House and by Our other Imperial Ancestors, to establish fundamental laws....

Imperial Japan was founded, de jure, after the 1889 signing of Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The constitution formalized much of the Empire's political structure and gave many responsibilities and powers to the Emperor.

Article 4. The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution.

Article 6. The Emperor gives sanction to laws, and orders them to be promulgated and executed.

Article 11. The Emperor has the supreme command of the Army and Navy.[13]

Although it was in this constitution that the title Empire of Japan was officially used for the first time, it was not until 1936 that this title was legalized. Until then, the names "Nippon" (日本; Japan), "Dai-Nippon" (大日本; Greater Japan), "Dai-Nippon/-Nihon Koku" (日本國; State of Japan), "Nihon Teikoku" (日本帝國; Empire of Japan) were all used.

Economic development

Marquis Ōkuma Shigenobu was a statesman, an early advocate of Western science and culture, and founder of Waseda University.
1 yen convertible silver note issued in 1885

The process of modernization was closely monitored and heavily subsidized by the Meiji government, enhancing the power of the great zaibatsu firms such as Mitsui and Mitsubishi. Hand in hand, the zaibatsu and government guided the nation, borrowing technology from the West. Japan gradually took control of much of Asia's market for manufactured goods, beginning with textiles. The economic structure became very mercantilistic, importing raw materials and exporting finished products — a reflection of Japan's relative scarcity of raw materials.

Economic reforms included a unified modern currency based on the yen, banking, commercial and tax laws, stock exchanges, and a communications network. Establishment of a modern institutional framework conducive to an advanced capitalist economy took time but was completed by the 1890s. By this time, the government had largely relinquished direct control of the modernization process, primarily for budgetary reasons. Many of the former daimyo, whose pensions had been paid in a lump sum, benefited greatly through investments they made in emerging industries.

The government was initially involved in economic modernization, providing a number of "model factories" to facilitate the transition to the modern period. After the first twenty years of the Meiji period, the industrial economy expanded rapidly until about 1920 with inputs of advanced Western technology and large private investments.

Japan emerged from the Tokugawa-Meiji transition as the first Asian industrialized nation. From the onset, the Meiji rulers embraced the concept of a market economy and adopted British and North American forms of free enterprise capitalism. Rapid growth and structural change characterized Japan's two periods of economic development after 1868. Initially, the economy grew only moderately and relied heavily on traditional Japanese agriculture to finance modern industrial infrastructure. By the time the Russo-Japanese War began in 1904, 65% of employment and 38% of the gross domestic product (GDP) were still based on agriculture, but modern industry had begun to expand substantially. By the late 1920s, manufacturing and mining amounted to 23% of GDP, compared with 21% for all of agriculture. Transportation and communications developed to sustain heavy industrial development.

From 1894, Japan built an extensive empire that included Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, and parts of northern China. The Japanese regarded this sphere of influence as a political and economic necessity, which prevented foreign states from strangling Japan by blocking its access to raw materials and crucial sea-lanes. Japan's large military force was regarded as essential to the empire's defense and prosperity by obtaining natural resources that the Japanese islands lacked.

First Sino-Japanese War

First Sino-Japanese War, major battles and troop movements

Prior to its engagement in World War I, the Empire of Japan fought in two significant wars after its establishment following the Meiji Revolution. The first was the First Sino-Japanese War, fought in 1894 and 1895. The war revolved around the issue of control and influence over Korea under the rule of the Joseon Dynasty. A peasant rebellion led to a request by the Korean government for China to send troops in to stabilize the region. The Empire of Japan responded by sending their own force to Korea and installing a puppet government in Seoul. China objected and war ensued. In a brief affair with Japanese ground troops routing Chinese forces on the Liaodong Peninsula, and the near destruction of the Chinese navy in the Battle of the Yalu River, China was forced to sign the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ceded parts of Manchuria and the island of Formosa to Japan (see Taiwan under Japanese rule and Japanese Invasion of Taiwan (1895)). After this war, regional dominance shifted from China to Japan.

Russo-Japanese War

Greater Manchuria, Russian (outer) Manchuria is region to upper right in lighter Red; Liaodong Peninsula is the wedge extending into the Yellow Sea.
Bombardment during the Siege of Port Arthur

The Russo-Japanese War was a conflict for control of Korea and parts of Manchuria between the Russian Empire and Empire of Japan that took place from 1904 to 1905. The war is significant as the first modern war in which an Asian country defeated a European power. The victory greatly raised Japan's stature in the world of global politics. The war is marked by the Japanese rebuff of Russian interests in Korea, Manchuria, and China, notably, the Liaodong Peninsula, controlled by the city of Port Arthur.

Originally, in the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Port Arthur had been given to Japan. This part of the treaty was overruled by Western powers, which gave the port to the Russian Empire, furthering Russian interests in the region. These interests came into conflict with Japanese interests. The war began with a surprise attack on the Russian Eastern fleet stationed at Port Arthur, which was followed by the Battle of Port Arthur. Those elements that attempted escape were defeated by the Japanese navy under Admiral Togo Heihachiro at the Battle of the Yellow Sea. Following a late start, the Russian Baltic fleet was denied passage through the British-controlled Suez Canal. The fleet arrived on the scene a year later, only to be annihilated in the Battle of Tsushima. While the ground war did not fare as poorly for the Russians, the Japanese forces were significantly more aggressive than their Russian counterparts and gained a political advantage that culminated with the Treaty of Portsmouth, negotiated in the United States by the American president Theodore Roosevelt. As a result, Russia lost the part of Sakhalin Island south of 50 degrees North latitude (which became the Karafuto Prefecture), as well as many mineral rights in Manchuria. In addition, Russia's defeat cleared the way for Japan to annex Korea outright in 1910.

Annexation of Korea

Korea, 1910–1945
Korea in the Japanese Empire, 1939
Korea in the Japanese Empire, 1939
Eulsa Treaty November 18, 1905
Annexation by Japan August 22, 1910
March 1st Movement March 1, 1919
Battle of Chingshanli September 11, 1920
Sakuradamon Incident January 9, 1932
Shanghai bombing attack April 29, 1932
Sōshi-kaimei 1940–1945
End of World War II August 15, 1945
Victory over Japan Day September 2, 1945
Division of Korea 1945

In January 1876, following the Meiji Restoration, Japan employed gunboat diplomacy to pressure Korea to sign the Treaty of Ganghwa, regarded as an unequal treaty,[14] which granted extraterritorial rights to Japanese citizens and opened three Korean ports to Japanese trade. The rights granted to Japan under the treaty were similar to those granted western powers in Japan following the visit of Commodore Perry.[14]

Korea was occupied and declared a Japanese protectorate following the 1905 Eulsa Treaty, and officially annexed in 1910 through the annexation treaty. Japan's involvement in the region began with the 1876 Treaty of Ganghwa during the Joseon Dynasty and increased with the subsequent assassination of Empress Myeongseong (also known as "Queen Min") in 1895. The 1905 and 1910 treaties were eventually declared "null and void" by both Japan and South Korea in 1965.

In Korea, the period is usually described as a time of Japanese "forced occupation" (Hangul: 일제 강점기; Ilje gangjeomgi, Hanja: 日帝强占期). Other terms used for it include "Japanese Imperial Period" (Hangul: 일제시대, Ilje sidae, Hanja: 日帝時代) or "Japanese administration" (Hangul: 왜정, Wae jeong, Hanja: 倭政).

In Japan, a more common description is "Japanese rule" (日本統治時代の朝鮮 Nippon Tōchi-jidai no Chōsen?).

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, various Western countries actively competed for influence, trade, and territory in East Asia, and Japan sought to join these modern colonial powers. The newly modernised Meiji government of Japan turned to Korea, then in the sphere of influence of China's Qing Dynasty. The Japanese government initially sought to separate Korea from Qing and make Korea a Japanese satellite in order to further their security and national interests.[15]

Korea would be officially part of the Empire of Japan for 35 years, from August 22, 1910, until the formal Japanese rule ended on September 2, 1945, upon the Japanese defeat in World War II in 1945.

Taishō era (1912-1926)

World War I

Map of Tsingtao, 1912, prior to the Battle of Tsingtao.
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Taishō, the second emperor of the Empire of Japan

Japan entered World War I in 1914, seizing the opportunity of Germany's distraction with the European War and wanting to expand its sphere of influence in China. Japan declared war on Germany in August 23, 1914, and quickly occupied German-leased territories in China's Shandong Province as well as the Marianas, Caroline, and Marshall Islands in the Pacific, which were part of German New Guinea. The siege of Tsingtao, a swift invasion in the German territory of Jiaozhou (Kiautschou), proved successful and the colonial troops surrendered on November 7, 1914.

With its Western allies, notably the United Kingdom, heavily involved in the war in Europe, Japan sought further to consolidate its position in China by presenting the Twenty-One Demands to China in January 1915. Besides expanding its control over the German holdings, Manchuria, and Inner Mongolia, Japan also sought joint ownership of a major mining and metallurgical complex in central China; prohibitions on China's ceding or leasing any coastal areas to a third power; and miscellaneous other political, economic, and military controls, which, if achieved, would have reduced China to a Japanese protectorate. In the face of slow negotiations with the Chinese government, widespread anti-Japanese sentiment in China, and international condemnation, Japan withdrew the final group of demands, and treaties were signed in May 1915.

In 1919, Japan proposed a clause on racial equality to be included in the League of Nations covenant at the Paris Peace Conference. The clause was rejected by several Western countries and was not forwarded for larger discussion at the full meeting of the conference. The rejection was an important factor in the coming years in turning Japan away from cooperation with West and toward nationalistic policies.[16] The Anglo-Japanese Alliance was ended in 1923.

Siberian Intervention

After the fall of the Tsarist regime and the later provisional regime in 1917, the new Bolshevik government signed a separate peace treaty with Germany. After this the Russians fought against themselves in a multi-sided civil war.

In July 1918, President Wilson asked the Japanese government to supply 7000 troops as part of an international coalition of 25,000 troops planned to support the American Expeditionary Force Siberia. Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake agreed to send 12,000 troops, but under the Japanese command rather than as part of an international coalition. The Japanese had several hidden motives for the venture, which included an intense hostility and fear of communism; a determination to recoup historical losses to Russia; and the desire to settle the "northern problem" in Japan's security either through the creation of a buffer state or through outright territorial acquisition.

By November 1918, more than 70,000 Japanese troops under Chief of Staff Yui Mitsue had occupied all ports and major towns in the Russian Maritime Provinces and eastern Siberia.

In June 1920, the United States and its allied coalition partners withdrew from Vladivostok after the capture and execution of White Army leader Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak by the Red Army. However, the Japanese decided to stay, primarily due to fears of the spread of communism so close to Japan and Japanese-controlled Korea and Manchuria. The Japanese army provided military support to the Japanese-backed Provisional Priamur Government based in Vladivostok against the Moscow-backed Far Eastern Republic.

The continued Japanese presence concerned the United States, which suspected that Japan had territorial designs on Siberia and the Russian Far East. Subjected to intense diplomatic pressure by the United States and Great Britain, and facing increasing domestic opposition due to the economic and human cost, the administration of Prime Minister Kato Tomosaburo withdrew the Japanese forces in October 1922. Japanese casualties from the expedition were 5000 dead from combat or illness, with the expedition costing over 900 million yen.

"Taishō Democracy"

The election of Katō Komei as Prime Minister of Japan continued democratic reforms that had been advocated by influential individuals on the left. This culminated in the passage of universal male suffrage in March 1925. This bill gave all male subjects over the age of 25 the right to vote, provided they had lived in their electoral districts for at least one year and were not homeless. The electorate thereby increased from 3.3 million to 12.5 million.[17]

Early Shōwa (1926-1937) - Militarization and imperialist ambitions

Emperor Shōwa, the third emperor of the Empire of Japan

In 1932, Park Chun-kum was elected to the House of Representatives in the Japanese general election as a first colonial people.[18] In 1935, democracy was introduced in Taiwan in response to Taiwanese public opinion, local assemblies were established.[19] In 1942, 38 colonial people were elected to local assemblies of the Japanese homeland.[18]

Military and social organizations

Important institutional links existed between the party in government (Kodoha) and military and political organizations, such as the Imperial Young Federation and the "Political Department" of the Kempeitai. Amongst the himitsu kessha (secret societies), the Kokuryu-kai (Black Dragon Society) and Kokka Shakai Shugi Gakumei (National Socialist League) also had close ties to the government. The Tonarigumi (residents committee) groups, the Nation Service Society (national government trade union), and Imperial Farmers Association were all allied as well. Other organizations and groups related with the government in wartime were: Double Leaf Society, Kokuhonsha, Taisei Yokusankai, Imperial Youth Corps, Tokko, Tokeitai, Keishicho (to 1945), Shintoist Rites Research Council, Treaty Faction, Fleet Faction, and Imperial Volunteer Corps.

Nationalistic factors

Soldiers occupying Nagata-cho and Akasaka area during the February 26 Incident

Sadao Araki was an important figurehead and founder of the Army party and the most important right-wing thinker in his time. His first ideological works date from his leadership of the Kōdōha (Imperial Benevolent Rule or Action Group), opposed by the Toseiha (Control Group) led by General Kazushige Ugaki. He linked the ancient (bushido code) and contemporary local and European fascist ideals (see Japanese fascism), to form the ideological basis of the movement (Shōwa nationalism).

From September 1932, the Japanese were becoming more locked into the course that would lead them into the Second World War, with Araki leading the way. Totalitarianism, militarism, and expansionism were to become the rule, with fewer voices able to speak against it. In a September 23 news conference, Araki first mentioned the philosophy of "Kodoha" (The Imperial Way Faction). The concept of Kodo linked the Emperor, the people, land, and morality as indivisible. This led to the creation of a "new" Shinto and increased Emperor worship.

On February 26, 1936, a coup d'état was attempted (the February 26 Incident). Launched by the ultranationalist Kōdō-ha faction with the military, it ultimately failed due to intervention from the Emperor. Kodoha members were purged from the top military positions and the Tōseiha faction gained dominance. However, both factions believed in expansionism, a strong military, and a coming war. Furthermore, Kodoha members, while removed from the military, still had political influence within the government.

The state was being transformed to serve the Army and the Emperor. Symbolic katana swords came back into fashion as the martial embodiment of these beliefs, and the Nambu pistol became its contemporary equivalent, with the implicit message that the Army doctrine of close combat would prevail. The final objective, as envisioned by Army thinkers such as Sadao Araki and right-wing line followers, was a return to the old Shogunate system, but in the form of a contemporary Military Shogunate. In such a government the Emperor would once more be a figurehead (as in the Edo period). Real power would fall to a leader very similar to a führer or duce, though with the power less nakedly held. On the other hand, the traditionalist Navy militarists defended the Emperor and a constitutional monarchy with a significant religious aspect.

A third point of view was supported by Prince Chichibu, a brother of Emperor Shōwa, who repeatedly counseled him to implement a direct imperial rule, even if that meant suspending the constitution.[20]

With the lauching of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association in 1940 by Prime minister Fumimaro Konoe, Japan would turn to a form of government that resembled totalitarianism. However, although this unique style of government was very similar to fascism, there were many significant differences between the two and the former therefore could be termed Japanese nationalism.

Economic factors

Bank run during the Showa Financial Crisis

At same time, the zaibatsu trading groups (principally Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Sumitomo, and Yasuda) looked toward great future expansion. Their main concern was a shortage of raw materials. Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye combined social concerns with the needs of capital, and planned for expansion.

The main goals of Japan's expansionism were acquisition and protection of spheres of influence, maintenance of territorial integrity, acquisition of raw materials, and access to Asian markets. Western nations, notably Great Britain, France, and the United States, had for long exhibited great interest in the commercial opportunities in China and other parts of Asia. These opportunities had attracted Western investment because of the availability of raw materials for both domestic production and re-export to Asia. Japan desired these opportunities in planning the development of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The Great Depression, just as in many other countries, hindered Japan's economic growth. The Japanese Empire's main problem lay in that rapid industrial expansion had turned the country into a major manufacturing and industrial power that required raw materials; however, these had to be obtained from overseas, as there was a critical lack of natural resources on the home islands.

In the 1920s and 1930s Japan needed to import raw materials such as iron, rubber, and oil to maintain strong economic growth. Most of these resources came from the United States. The Japanese felt that acquiring resource-rich territories would establish economic self-sufficiency and independence, and they also hoped to jump-start the nation's economy in the midst of the depression. As a result Japan set its sights on East Asia, specifically Manchuria with its many resources; Japan needed these resources to continue its economic development and maintain national integrity.

Early Shōwa (1937-1945) - Expansionism

Prewar expansionism


Manchu Prince Aisin-Gioro Pujie with his wife Hiro Saga, daughter of Marquis Saneto Saga
Japanese troops entering Shenyang, China during Mukden Incident.

With little resistance, Japan invaded and conquered Manchuria in 1931. Japan claimed that this invasion was a liberation of the Manchus from the Chinese, although the majority of the population were Han Chinese. Japan then established a puppet regime called Manchukuo, and installed the former Emperor of China, Puyi, as the official head of state. Jehol, a Chinese territory bordering Manchuria, was also taken in 1933. This puppet regime had to carry on a protracted pacification campaign against the Anti-Japanese Volunteer Armies in Manchuria. In 1936, Japan created a similar Mongolian puppet state in Inner Mongolia named Mengjiang (Chinese: 蒙疆), which was again predominantly Chinese. Japanese, Koreans, and Taiwanese were banned from immigration to North America and British Commonwealth. Manchukuo opened the immigration of Asians. Then they could emigrate in Manchria, the Japanese population grew to 850,000.

Second Sino-Japanese War

Japan invaded China in 1937, creating what was essentially a three-way war between Japan, Mao Zedong's communists, and Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists. On December 13 of that same year, the Nationalist capital of Nanking surrendered to Japanese troops. In the event known as the Nanking Massacre, Japanese troops massacred a large number of the defending garrison. It is estimated that as many as 300,000 people, including civilians, may have been killed, although the actual numbers are uncertain and the government of the People's Republic of China has never undertaken a full accounting of the massacres. In total, an estimated 20 million Chinese, mostly civilians, would be killed during World War II. A puppet state was also set up in China quickly afterwards, headed by Wang Jingwei. The second Sino-Japanese war would continue into World War II with the Communists and Nationalists in a temporary and uneasy nominal alliance against the Japanese.

Clashes with the Soviet Union

In 1938 the Japanese 19th Division entered territory claimed by the Soviet Union, leading to the Battle of Lake Khasan. This incursion was founded in the Japanese belief that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary, as stipulated in the Treaty of Peking, between Imperial Russia and Manchu China (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation), and furthermore, that the demarcation markers were tampered with.

On May 11, 1939, in the Nomonhan Incident (Battle of Khalkhin Gol), a Mongolian cavalry unit of some 70 to 90 men entered the disputed area in search of grazing for their horses, and encountered Manchukuoan cavalry, who drove them out. Two days later the Mongolian force returned and the Manchukoans were unable to evict them.

The Japanese IJA 23rd Division and other units of the Kwantung Army then became involved. Joseph Stalin ordered Stavka, the Red Army's high command, to develop a plan for a counterstrike against the Japanese. In late August, Georgy Zhukov employed encircling tactics that made skillful use of superior artillery, armor, and air forces; this offensive nearly annihilated the 23rd Division and decimated the IJA 7th Division. On September 15 an armistice was arranged. Nearly two years later, on April 13, 1941, the parties signed a Neutrality Pact, in which the Soviet Union pledged to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of Manchukuo, while Japan agreed similarly for the Mongolian People's Republic.

Tripartite Pact

Tripartite Pact signing. Seated on the left starting with Saburo Kurusu, Galeazzo Ciano and Adolf Hitler.
Founding Ceremony of the Hakko Ichiu Monument in 1940. It had Prince Chichibu's calligraphy of Hakkō ichiu, carved on its front side.[21]

The Second Sino-Japanese War had seen tensions rise between Imperial Japan and the United States; events such as the Panay incident and the Nanking Massacre turned American public opinion against Japan. With the occupation of French Indochina in the years of 1940–41, and with the continuing war in China, the United States placed embargoes on Japan of strategic materials such as scrap metal and oil, which were vitally needed for the war effort. The Japanese were faced with the option of either withdrawing from China and losing face or seizing and securing new sources of raw materials in the resource-rich, European-controlled colonies of South East Asia—specifically British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia).

On September 27, 1940, Imperial Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Their objectives were to "establish and maintain a new order of things" in their respective world regions and spheres of influence, with Nazi Germany in Europe, Imperial Japan in Asia, and Fascist Italy in North Africa. The signatories of this alliance become known as the Axis Powers. The pact also called for mutual protection—if any one of the member powers was attacked by a country not already at war, excluding the Soviet Union—and for technological and economic cooperation between the signatories.

Pacific War

In the Pacific War, many of the islands became dominions of the Empire.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona sinking.

Facing an oil embargo by the United States as well as dwindling domestic reserves, the Japanese government decided to execute a plan developed by the military branch largely led by Osami Nagano and Isoroku Yamamoto to bomb the United States naval base in Hawaii, thereby bringing the United States to World War II on the side of the Allies. On September 4, 1941, the Japanese Cabinet met to consider the war plans prepared by Imperial General Headquarters, and decided:

Our Empire, for the purpose of self-defense and self-preservation, will complete preparations for war ... [and is] ... resolved to go to war with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands if necessary. Our Empire will concurrently take all possible diplomatic measures vis-a-vis the United States and Great Britain, and thereby endeavor to obtain our objectives ... In the event that there is no prospect of our demands being met by the first ten days of October through the diplomatic negotiations mentioned above, we will immediately decide to commence hostilities against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.

The Imperial Japanese Navy made its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces sustained significant losses. The primary objective of the attack was to incapacitate the United States long enough for Japan to establish its long-planned Southeast Asian empire and defensible buffer zones. The U.S. public saw the attack as a treacherous act and rallied against the Empire of Japan. The United States entered the European Theatre and Pacific Theater in full force. Four days later, Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany declared war on the United States, merging the separate conflicts.

Imperial Japan in 1942, showing the progressive territorial expansions from 1870

Japanese offensives (1941-42)

Victorious Army troops march through Singapore (Photo from Imperial War Museum)
Japanese armored units at Bataan

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese launched offensives against Allied forces in South East Asia, with simultaneous attacks on Hong Kong, British Malaya and the Philippines.

In Malaya the Japanese overwhelmed a Commonwealth army composed of British, Indian, Australian and Malay forces. The Japanese were quickly able to advance down the Malayan peninsula, forcing the Commonwealth forces to retreat towards Singapore. The British lacked aircover and tanks; the Japanese had total air superiority. The sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse on December 10, 1941 led to the east coast of Malaya being exposed to Japanese landings and the elimination of British naval power in the area. By the end of January 1942, the last Allied forces crossed the strait of Johore and into Singapore. Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese on Christmas Day.

In the Philippines the Japanese pushed the combined Filipino-American force towards the Bataan peninsula and later the island of Corregidor. By January 1942 General Douglas MacArthur and President Manuel L. Quezon were forced to flee in the face of Japanese advance. This marked among one of the worst defeats suffered by the Americans, leaving over 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war in the custody of the Japanese.

On February 15, 1942 Singapore due to the overwhelming superiority of Japanese forces and encirclement tactics fell to the Japanese, caused about the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. An estimated 80,000 Indian, Australian and British troops were prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken in the Japanese invasion of Malaya (modern day Malaysia), many later used as forced labour constructing the Burma Railway, the site of the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai.

Due to the United States blockade and embargo of raw material, the Japanese military industrial complex sought raw materials elsewhere and turned their attention to the vast steel, (latex) rubber, coal and oil riches of South-East Asia. The Japanese swept into relatively lightly guarded Burma (modern-day Myanmar), the well-defended British Malaya states and the heavily fortified Fortress Singapore Singapore for highly strategic control of major trans-Pacific shipping routes.

The Japanese then seized the key oil production zones of Borneo (modern day Brunei), Central Java, Malang, Cepu, Sumatra, and Dutch New Guinea (modern day Indonesian province of Irian Jaya, also conveniently abundant in highly valuable copper) of the late Dutch East Indies, defeating the Dutch forces and welcomed ecstatically as liberating heroes by the oppressed Indonesian natives pursuant to their indigenous legends. The Japanese then consolidated their lines of supply through capturing key islands of the Pacific, including Guadalcanal.

Path to defeat (1942-45)

The Mikuma shortly before sinking during Battle of Midway.

Japanese military strategists were keenly aware of the unfavorable discrepancy between the industrial potential of the Japanese Empire and that of the United States. Because of this they reasoned that Japanese success hinged on their ability to extend the strategic advantage gained at Pearl Harbor with additional rapid strategic victories.

The Japanese Command reasoned that only decisive destruction of the United States' Pacific Fleet and conquest of its remote outposts would ensure that the Japanese Empire would not be overwhelmed by America's industrial might. In May 1942, failure to decisively defeat the Allies at the Battle of Coral Sea in spite of Japanese numerical superiority equated to a strategic defeat for Imperial Japan. This setback was followed in June 1942 by the catastrophic loss of a four carrier task force at the Battle of Midway. Midway was a decisive defeat for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and proved the turning point for the war. Further defeats by the Allies at Guadalcanal in September 1942, and New Guinea in 1943 put the Empire of Japan on the defensive for the remainder of the war. By 1943 and 1944, Allied forces, backed by the industrial might and vast raw material resources of the United States, were advancing steadily towards Japan. The US Sixth Army led by General MacArthur landed on Leyte on 19 October 1944, in the subsequent months (Philippines campaign of 1944–1945) of the combined United States and the Philippine Commonwealth troops together with the recognized guerrilla units liberated much of the Philippines. By 1944 the Allies had seized or bypassed and neutralized many of Japan's strategic bases through amphibious landings and bombardment. This, coupled with the losses inflicted by Allied submarines on Japanese shipping routes began to strangle Japan's economy and undermine its ability to supply its army. By early 1945 the US Marines had wrested control of the Ogasawara Islands in several hard-fought battles such as the Battle of Iwo Jima, marking the beginning of the fall of the islands of Japan.

USS Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikazes on May 11, 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa.

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

After securing airfields in Saipan and Guam in the summer of 1944, the United States Army Air Forces undertook an intense bombing campaign, using incendiary bombs, burning Japanese cities in an effort to pulverize Japan's industry and shatter its morale. While these campaigns led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians they did not succeed in persuading the Japanese military to surrender. In mid August 1945, the United States dropped two nuclear weapons on Japan. These atomic bombings were the first, and so far only, use against another nation. These two bombs killed approximately 100,000 to 200,000 people in a matter of minutes, and many more people died as a result of nuclear radiation in the following weeks, months, and years. The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945.

The atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945

Defeat and surrender

Having ignored (mokusatsu) the Potsdam Declaration, the Empire of Japan surrendered and ended World War II, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a declaration of war by the Soviet Union. In a national radio address of 15 August, Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender to the Japanese people.

After World War II

War crimes

Many political and military Japanese leaders were convicted for war crimes before the Tokyo tribunal and other Allied tribunals in Asia. However, all members of the imperial family implicated in the war, such as emperor Showa and his brothers, cousins and uncles such as Prince Chichibu, Prince Hiroyasu Fushimi and Prince Asaka, were exonerated from criminal prosecutions by Douglas MacArthur.

The Japanese military before and during World War II committed numerous atrocities against civilian and military personnel. Large scale massacres, rapes and looting against civilians were committed most notably the Sook Ching and Nanking massacre, and the use of around 200,000 "comfort women", who were forced to serve as prostitutes for the Japanese military.[22].

The Imperial Japanese Army also engaged in the execution and harsh treatment of Allied military personnel and POWs and biological experiments were conducted by Unit 731 on civilians and prisoners of war; this included the use of biological and chemical weapons authorized by emperor Shōwa himself.[23] According to the 2002 International Symposium on the Crimes of Bacteriological Warfare, the number of people killed in Far East Asia by the Imperial Japanese Army germ warfare and human experiments was estimated to be around 580,000.[24] Shirō Ishii and all Unit 731 members received immunity from US General Douglas MacArthur in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation.[25]

End of Imperial reign

A period known as Occupied Japan followed after the war largely spearheaded by United States General of the Army Douglas McArthur to revise the Japanese constitution and de-militarize Japan. The American occupation, with economic and political assistance, continued well into the 1950s. After the dissolution of the Empire of Japan, Japan adopted a parliamentary-based political system, while the Emperor changed to symbolic status.

American General of the Army Douglas MacArthur later commended the new Japanese government that he helped established and the new Japanese period when he was about to send the American forces to the Korean War:

The Japanese people, since the war, have undergone the greatest reformation recorded in modern history. With a commendable will, eagerness to learn, and marked capacity to understand, they have, from the ashes left in war's wake, erected in Japan an edifice dedicated to the supremacy of individual liberty and personal dignity; and in the ensuing process there has been created a truly representative government committed to the advance of political morality, freedom of economic enterprise, and social justice. Politically, economically, and socially Japan is now abreast of many free nations of the earth and will not again fail the universal trust... I sent all four of our occupation divisions to the Korean battlefront without the slightest qualms as to the effect of the resulting power vacuum upon Japan. The results fully justified my faith. I know of no nation more serene, orderly, and industrious, nor in which higher hopes can be entertained for future constructive service in the advance of the human race.

For historian John W. Dower, however,

"In retrospect, apart from the military officer corps, the purge of alleged militarists and ultranationalists that was conducted under the Occupation had relatively small impact on the long-term composition of men of influence in the public and private sectors. The purge initially brought new blood into the political parties, but this was offset by the return of huge numbers of formerly purged conservative politicians to national as well as local politics in the early 1950s. In the bureaucracy, the purge was negligible from the outset (...) In the economic sector, the purge similarly was only mildly disruptive, affecting less than sixteen hundred individuals spread among some four hundred companies. Everywhere one looks, the corridors of power in postwar Japan are crowded with men whose talents had already been recognized during the war years, and who found the same talents highly prized in the "new" Japan."[26]


There was a significant level of emigration to the overseas territories of the Japanese Empire during the Japanese colonial period, including Korea,[27] Taiwan, Manchuria, and Karafuto.[28] Unlike emigrants to the Americas, Japanese going to the colonies occupied a higher rather than lower social niche upon their arrival.[29]

In 1938 there were 309,000 Japanese in Taiwan.[30] By the end of World War II, there were over 850,000 Japanese in Korea[31] and more than 2 million in China,[32] most of whom were farmers in Manchukuo (the Japanese had a plan to bring in 5 million Japanese settlers into Manchukuo).[33]

In the census of December 1939, the total population of the South Pacific Mandate was 129,104, of which 77,257 were Japanese. By December 1941, Saipan had a population of more than 30,000 people, including 25,000 Japanese.[34] There were over 400,000 people living on Karafuto (southern Sakhalin) when the Soviet offensive began in early August 1945. Most were of Japanese or Korean extraction. When Japan lost the Kuril Islands, 17,000 Japanese were expelled, most from the southern islands.[35]

After World War II, most of these overseas Japanese repatriated to Japan. The Allied powers repatriated over 6 million Japanese nationals from colonies and battlefields throughout Asia.[36] Only a few remained overseas, often involuntarily, as in the case of orphans in China or prisoners of war captured by the Red Army and forced to work in Siberia.[37]

Influential personnel


In the administration of Japan dominated by the military political movement during World War II, the civil central government was under the management of military men and their right-wing civilian allies, along with members of the nobility and Imperial Family. The Emperor was in the center of this power structure as supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Armed Forces and head of state.

Fleet Admiral His Imperial Highness Prince Yorihito Higashi-Fushimi
Prime Minister General Kuniaki Koiso
Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
Yōsuke "Frank" Matsuoka, was a Foreign Minister of Imperial Japan and a major advocate of a Japanese alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.


The military of Imperial Japan was divided into two main branches under Imperial General Headquarters responsible for the overall conduct of operations including prominent military leaders and commanders:

  • Prominent generals and leaders:


Emperors of the Empire of Japan

Posthumous name1 Given name² Childhood name³ Period of Reigns Era name4
Meiji Tennō
Taishō Tennō
1912–1926 Taishō
Shōwa Tennō
1926–19476 Shōwa
1 Each posthumous name was given after the respective era names as Ming and Qing Dynasties of China.
2 The Japanese imperial family name has no surname or dynastic name.
3 The Meiji Emperor was known only by the appellation Sachi-no-miya from his birth until 11 November 1860, when he was proclaimed heir apparent to Emperor Kōmei and received the personal name Mutsuhito .
4 No multiple era names were given for each reign after Meiji Emperor.
5 Constitutionally.
6 Constitutionally. The reign of the Shōwa Emperor in fact continued until 1989 since he did not abdicate after World War II. However, he lost his status as a living god.

See also

Preceded by:
Edo period
1603 - 1868

History of Japan
Empire of Japan
1868 - 1945

Succeeded by:
Postwar Japan
1945 - present
Occupation of Japan
1945 - 1952



  1. ^ One can date the "restoration" of imperial rule from the edict of January 3, 1868. Jansen, p.334.
  2. ^ Hagiwara, p. 34.
  3. ^ Jansen, pp. 314–5.
  4. ^ Hagiwara, p. 35.
  5. ^ Satow, p. 282.
  6. ^ Keene, p. 116. See also Jansen, pp. 310–1.
  7. ^ Keene, pp. 120–1, and Satow, p. 283. Moreover, Satow (p. 285) speculates that Yoshinobu had agreed to an assembly of daimyos on the hope that such a body would reinstate him.
  8. ^ Satow, p. 286.
  9. ^ During a recess, Saigō, who had his troops outside, "remarked that it would take only one short sword to settle the discussion" (Keene, p. 122). Original quotation (Japanese): "短刀一本あればかたづくことだ." in Hagiwara, p. 42. The specific word used for "dagger" was "tantō".
  10. ^ Keene, p. 124.
  11. ^ Keene, p. 340, notes that one might "describe the Oath in Five Articles as a constitution for all ages."
  12. ^ The Secret of Japan's Strength www.calvin.edu
  13. ^ - The Constitution of the Empire of Japan (1889)
  14. ^ a b A reckless adventure in Taiwan amid Meiji Restoration turmoil, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, Retrieved on 2007-7-22.
  15. ^ Duus, Peter (1995). The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895–1910. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-0861F7. 
  16. ^ MacMillan, Margaret (2003). Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World. Random House. p. 321. ISBN 0375760520. 
  17. ^ Hane, Mikiso, Modern Japan: A Historical Survey (Oxford: Westview Press, 1992) 234.
  18. ^ a b "第150回国会 政治倫理の確立及び公職選挙法改正に関する特別委員会 第12号 平成12年11月16日(木曜日)". House of Representatives of Japan. 2000-11-16. http://www.shugiin.go.jp/itdb_kaigiroku.nsf/html/kaigiroku/007115020001116012.htm?OpenDocument. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  19. ^ "戦間期台湾地方選挙に関する考察". 古市利雄. 台湾研究フォーラム 【台湾研究論壇】. http://www.nittaikyo-ei.join-us.jp/koichi.html. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  20. ^ Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, 2001, p.284
  21. ^ David C. Earhart, Certain Victory, 2008, p.63
  22. ^ BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Abe questions sex slave 'coercion'
  23. ^ Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno, Dokugasusen Kankei Shiryō II (Materials on poison gas Warfare II), Kaisetsu, Hōkan 2, Jūgonen sensô gokuhi shiryōshū, Funi Shuppankan, 1997, p.25-29
  24. ^ Daniel Barenblatt, A Plague upon Humanity, 2004, p.xii, 173.
  25. ^ Hal Gold, Unit 731 Testimony, 2003, p. 109. The deal was concluded in 1948. "http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0510-24.htm An Ethical Blank Cheque: British and US mythology about the second world war ignores our own crimes and legitimises Anglo-American war making- the Guardian, May 10, 2005, by Richard Drayton
  26. ^ J. W. Dower, Japan in War & Peace, New press, 1993, p.11
  27. ^ Japanese Periodicals in Colonial Korea
  28. ^ Japanese Immigration Statistics, DiscoverNikkei.org
  29. ^ Lankov, Andrei (2006-03-23). "The Dawn of Modern Korea (360): Settling Down". The Korea Times. http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200603/kt2006032318091354130.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-18. 
  30. ^ Formosa (Taiwan) Under Japanese Rule
  31. ^ The Life Instability of Intermarried Japanese Women in Korea
  32. ^ Killing of Chinese in Japan concerned, China Daily
  33. ^ Prasenjit Duara: The New Imperialism and the Post-Colonial Developmental State: Manchukuo in comparative perspective
  34. ^ A Go: Another Battle for Sapian
  35. ^ The Kurile Islands Dispute
  36. ^ When Empire Comes Home : Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan by Lori Watt, Harvard University Press
  37. ^ "Russia Acknowledges Sending Japanese Prisoners of War to North Korea". Mosnews.com. 2005-04-01. http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/04/01/japanesedied.shtml. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 

Books and Journals

  • Jansen, Marius B. (2002). The Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-00991-6. 
  • Jansen, Marius B.; John Whitney Hall, Madoka Kanai, Denis Twitchett (1989). The Cambridge History of Japan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521223563. 
  • Porter, Robert P. (2001). Japan: The Rise of a Modern Power. Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 1402196903. 
  • Keene, Donald (2005). Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852–1912. New York: Columbia. ISBN 0-231-12340-X. 
  • Satow, Ernest. A Diplomat in Japan. ISBN 4-925080-28-8. 
  • Lewis, John David (2007). 'Gifts from Heaven': The Meaning of the American Victory over Japan, 1945. 2. Glen Allen, VA: Glen Allen Press. 

External links

Simple English

File:Imperial Seal of
Coat of arms of the Empire of Japan.
Territory of the Empire of Japan.

The Empire of Japan (Japanese: 大日本帝国; said Dai Nippon Teikoku; officially Empire of Greater Japan or Greater Japanese Empire; also called Imperial Japan and the Japanese Empire) was a government of the areas ruled by Japan during the period from the Meiji Restoration to the Japanese defeat in World War II. The Emperors during this time, were Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito), Emperor Taishō (Yoshihito) and Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito). It is considered to go from the year 1868 to 1945.

In those years, Japan changed very much. It became one of the most powerful countries in the world. Japan built a great army and navy, and changed from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Because the territory of Japan is so small, the Japanese began to invade and occupy other near countries like Korea, Taiwan, and part of China to get resources.

The Empire of Japan surrendered to the Allies on September 2, 1945 after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after a long war against the Allied nations of World War II. The United States occupied the country and led many changes, including a new constitution. American occupation and reconstruction of the country continued well into the 1950s.

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