Democracy and the Party Movement in Prewar Japan: The Failure of the First Attempt

Democracy and the Party Movement in Prewar Japan: The Failure of the First Attempt

Democracy and the Party Movement in Prewar Japan: The Failure of the First Attempt

Democracy and the Party Movement in Prewar Japan: The Failure of the First Attempt

Excerpt

History leans heavily upon success, but often the failures of the past provide the greatest insights into the real nature of a society. Democracy and the political party movement failed in Japan before World War II. But to understand the nature, causes, and results of that failure is to progress toward an understanding of the whole nature of modern Japan, and perhaps to shed some light on the problems of all late-developing societies.

The failure of democracy in Japan was not due to trivial causes. Its causal factors were fundamental, and they were not confined to Japan alone. If they are to be discovered and analyzed, therefore, it is important to examine most of the major facets of Japanese society and at the same time constantly relate that society to its contemporary world. I have attempted this difficult task because I have felt that no lesser analysis could possibly convey the full bearing which the failure of democracy in Japan, in all its implications, has on the problems of our time. If the study, despite its shortcomings, makes some small contribution toward outlining the future task of democracy, I shall be content.

An author's introduction is not the place in which to anticipate the evidence or the conclusions, but it is important at the outset to make clear my own usage of the term "democracy," which is the theme of this work. I have used "democracy" with two criteria in mind: (1) adherence to the concept of the innate dignity of man and recognition of his total development as the ultimate goal of the state; and (2) acceptance of choice as the fundamental qualification of democratic institutions, with positive protection for civil liberties, a competitive party system, and the other necessities of an "open society." In omitting economic qualifications, I am not ignoring the supreme importance of the economic structure in determining whether democracy in these terms can be made meaningful, or even attempted. The above definition, however, acknowledges the necessity for experimentation in economic forms . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.