Building the War Economy and
Rebuilding Postwar Japan: A Profile of
Pragmatic Nationalist Nobusuke Kishi
Shigeko N. Fukai
Nobusuke Kishi, prime minister of Japan (1957–1960), had an extraordinary career as a political leader in Japan. He was a leader of reform (kakushin) bureaucrats who advocated greater state control of the economy for war mobilization and countersigned the imperial ordinance proclaiming war as a member of Hideki Tōjō's cabinet. After Japan's defeat, he spent three years in prison as unindicted Class A war criminal. Only nine years after he was released from the prison, Kishi became the prime minister of Japan. His fall from power was even quicker, after his forceful passage of the revised United States-Japan Security Treaty inspired the massive protests that culminated in the May-June Crisis of 1960 (Shioda, 1996: 337). Not only for his prewar and wartime career but also for many of his postwar policy initiatives, Kishi was a controversial figure. For his vision, leadership, and political maneuvering, Kishi is variously called a superbureaucrat (Kobayashi, 1995: 183-84) and Showa no yokai (Showa's monster) (Iwami, 1994).
This chapter analyzes Kishi's leadership using Jean Blondel's (1987: 97) two-dimensional leadership typology, which is explained in the next section. This study focuses on the scope and the nature of Kishi's goals and intervention in society and is not a systematic study of his personality characteristics (Bass, 1981: 75–76). Then I review Kishi's bureaucratic and political career and analyze it in terms of Blondel's typology. By comparing Kishi's leadership style and effectiveness before and after World War II, I seek to highlight some aspects of the change and continuity in the Japanese political system and culture before and after the
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Profiling Political Leaders: Cross-Cultural Studies of Personality and Behavior. Contributors: Ofer Feldman - Editor, Linda O. Valenty - Editor. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 167.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.