Democracy and the Eastern Question: The Problem of the Far East as Demonstrated by the Great War, and Its Relation to the United States of America

By Thomas F. Millard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE REAL CHARACTER OF JAPAN

Creation of modern Japan--Myth and fable--The parallel with modern Germany--The cult of emperor divinity--Invention of a new religion --Japan's historical background--Bushido a recent fabrication--Divine origin of the Japanese nation--The military autocracy--A replica of Prussianism--Why Japan has mystified the West--Japanese language a screen--Evolution of Japanese view of the West--Foreign patronage now resented--Exclusion of "dangerous thoughts" from Japan--American Constitution in that category--A striking incident--Dilemma of Christianity in Japan--Trying to reconcile it with emperor divinity--Japan's constitutional forms--Throne not responsible to people--All rights rest in throne--Japan and democracy--Liberal ideas not tolerated--A theocratic state--The Government and industry--Japan's efficiency--State of administration in Japan--Government of Japan's dependencies--Formosa and Korea--A Korean appeal--Status of foreigners in Japan--The so-called liberal elements--Downfall of the bureaucracy predicted-- Japan's foreign propaganda--Some illustrations--Japan after the war-- Attitude toward league of nations--Question of armaments--Time required for reform.

THE Japanese Empire in its present national form is dated by most historians and commentators from 1867, when the "restoration" occurred. It is interesting and, as will be shown later, also very significant that the so-called restoration of Germany usually is taken from 1866, when that nation conclusively proved its military superiority over Austria, a victory that was a forerunner of the war of 1870 and the creation of the modern German Empire.

In estimating the character of modern Japan, it is necessary to review that nation's previous history only with regard to the origin and development of national institutions and characteristics that influence the nation in these times. Ancient Japan is no more an issue in world politics to-day than

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