Ultranationalism--army plots--Manchuria--military factions--
insurrection of February 1936--preparations for war

THE MODEST advance towards a system of parliamentary democracy and the emergence of various brands of left-wing politics were not the only--nor, in the long run, the decisive-- characteristics of the 'twenties in Japan. The decade also saw the beginnings of a conservative and nationalist reaction that was soon to overwhelm them. It stemmed in part from an older tradition of opposition to the course of the country's modern growth, one which had been reflected in the anti- Western, often violently chauvinistic, activities of men like Saigo Takamori in the early Meiji period and of organizations like the Genyosha and Kokuryukai thereafter. These had been associated, as we have seen, with ideas of Japanese expansion on the Asian mainland; but in so far as their aim was to build up the country's strength, making it possible to resist, or repel, renewed encroachment by the powers, it involved a consideration of events at home as well. A strong Japan had to have not only arms and bases, but also unity, loyalty, a sense of purpose. The patriot, therefore, was concerned with questions of politics, education and morale, in addition to economic and foreign affairs. As the Kokuryukai's programme put it:

'We shall renovate the present system, foster a foreign policy aiming at expansion overseas, revolutionize domestic politics to increase the happiness of the people, and establish a social policy that will settle problems between labor and capital. . . .'66

To many it seemed that the domestic aspects of this pro


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The Modern History of Japan


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