Authoritarian Regimes: Japan From Democracy to Fascism *SEQ Examinable
Reasons for Failure of Japanese Democracy Diet’s ineffectiveness Corruption Economic problems Taisho Emperor - son of the Meiji Emperor. His reign was known as the era of Taisho Democracy (Reigned from 1912 – 1926)
The Diet’s Limited Power 2 houses House of Peers – members of imperial family, Japanese nobles who’re nominated by Emperor House of Representatives – Elected by Japanese pple. Emperor can dissolve house. The Imperial Diet in session
The Diet’s Limited Power However, real power was with Emperor, Genro, army & navy ministers Japan had no democratic tradition Emperor usually appointed ministers who were loyal to him – many of these were old & conservative. Many saw civilian politicians as weak & soft, esp. in Jp foreign policy
Corruption Zaibatsus were supporting & bankrolling politicians & their election campaigns Had a lot of influence in the govt. Could influence law-making in their favour.
Economic Problems Rice farmers had little land & had to pay high rental Workers also had to put up with long hours & harsh working conditions Trade imbalance – needed to import food to feed growing population Japanese rice farmers faced very harsh working conditions
Great Depression Protectionism occurred Japanese exports suffered Silk industry was hardest hit High unemployment & inflation Japanese began to blame the democratic govt. Japanese silk farmers feeding silk worms – silk was Japan’s major export in the early 1900s.
The Rise of Fascism External Reasons Worsening foreign relations with west Rise of Chinese nationalism Internal Reasons Showa Restoration Patriotic Societies Strong Military Influence Il Duce’s influence had extended to the far east.
External – Worsening Foreign Relations Competition with America over Pacific islands LON refused to acknowledge the equality of races Washington Naval Conference (1921) – Japan received unfavourable naval ratio America (5) : Britain (5) : Japan (3) Competition over the Pacific Islands strained Japanese relations with America.
The Imperial Navy resented being treated as a 2nd rate power, especially when it had defeated the Russians & Chinese in naval battles
Worsening Foreign Relations London Disarmament Conference (1930) – Military felt that civilian govt was soft. Strict American immigration laws (1920s) – made Japanese feel inferior By the early 1900s, many Japanese immigrants or issei had flocked to America in search of a better life
External – Rise of Chinese Nationalism Japan defeated China in 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War Since then, exploited China’s weakness TOV awarded Shantung Peninsula to Japan – sparked off May 4th Movt & anti-Japanese sentiments Saw China’s vast resources as answer to economic problems Wanted to supplant China as Asia’s no. 1 power
Rise of Chinese Nationalism Chinese protestors take to the streets in outrage over Japanese seizure of Shantung. The foreign powers helping themselves to a piece of China The giant killer
Internal Reasons – Showa Restoration Showa Restoration – education emphasised intense nationalism & anti-foreign sentiments Also focused on blind loyalty to the emperor. Showa Emperor or more commonly known by his name, Hirohito. (Reigned 1926 – 1989)
Patriotic Societies Ultra-nationalistic organisations Pushed for aggressive foreign policy & militarism Believed Jp’s destiny was to “go forth, conquer & rule!” Many of these societies worked against the civilian govt whom they believed were soft The rising sun flag of Imperial Japan. A symbol of Japanese aggression & imperialism
Increasing Military Influence Military had been successful in battles since 1895. Made military very influential People saw military action as the answer to their probs, also saw civilian govt as weak Military were soon acting independently from civilian govt.
Military Takeover of Japan PM Ki Inukai was assassinated by army in 1932 His murderers served light sentences Succeeding PMs felt increasingly pressured by military’s ambitions. By the mid 1930s, Japan had become a military controlled government.
Reasons for Failure of Japanese Democracy Diet’s ineffectiveness Corruption Economic problems Rise of Fascism Internal Reasons Showa Restoration Patriotic Societies Strong Military Influence External Reasons Worsening foreign relations with west Rise of Chinese nationalism