Japan’s Long History of Militarism

From the December 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

Despite being only the 62nd largest nation in the world in land mass, Japan has always been a mighty nation militarily. In the Middle Ages, the leader of the warrior class known as the samurai was the military dictator, or shogun, of Japan. Though the shogun system was abolished in the late 1860s by Emperor Meiji, Japan still remained strong militarily—building up a modern, imperialistic army.

Amazingly, this army was victorious in 1895 against the giant country of China and against the vast and mighty Russian army in 1905, expanding its empire north, south and west. In World War i, Japan seized Germany’s Pacific islands.

That is quite a history of conquests from a relatively small archipelago in the Pacific!

Though utterly defeated at the end of World War ii, Japan’s military began to be resurrected as early as 1950, when a National Police Reserve was established as a replacement for American troops who were sent into the Korean War. This police force was transformed into the sdf by the Japanese government in 1954, with the full support of the U.S. Large public demonstrations accompanied these developments. Though technically it was forbidden by the Constitution, proponents of the military said it was definitely within the spirit of the law, being that it was just for “self-defense.” The seed had been planted for a new military, to come to great power toward the end of the century.