Episode 536 – Revolution from Above

This week on the Revised Introduction to Japanese History: The US Occupation of Japan after World War II represented a truly massive undertaking. American military and civilian personnel spent just over a decade rebuilding Japan’s government, economy, and society from the ground up. What did that look like in practice, and how does the legacy of the Occupation era remain with Japan today?

Sources

Dower, John. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan

Fukui, Haruhiro, “Postwar Politics, 1945-73” and Yutaka Kosai, “The Postwar Japanese Economy, 1945-1973” in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol VI: The Twentieth Century

Images

All media on the US Occupation must by law have this picture of Hirohito and MacArthur from late 1945, in which the emperor is literally and figuratively overshadowed by the bombastic American.
Posters like these promoted the idea that the Occupation was about religious freedom in Japan even as MacArthur himself seemed to undermine that position.
The structure of government under the 1947 constitution.
Another of the “constitutional explainer” comics.
Comics like this were used to introduce the new constitution to the people.
Communist political prisoners being released, Oct 10, 1945.
Tojo Hideki on trial for war crimes. Ultimately the war crimes tribunals would end after the first round of trials.
Emperor Hirohito greeting the masses as a man of the people. From a tour of Yokohama in 1946.

 

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