Occupied Japan
Overview
At the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

, led by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 with contributions also from Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, marked the end of the Allied occupation, and after it came into force on April 28, 1952, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 was once again an independent country.
Japan initially surrendered to the Allies on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

.
Encyclopedia
At the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

, led by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 with contributions also from Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, marked the end of the Allied occupation, and after it came into force on April 28, 1952, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 was once again an independent country.

Surrender

Japan initially surrendered to the Allies on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

. On the following day, Emperor Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

 announced Japan's unconditional surrender on the radio (the Gyokuon-hōsō
Gyokuon-hoso
The , lit. "Jewel Voice Broadcast", was the radio broadcast in which Japanese emperor Hirohito read out the , announcing to the Japanese people that the Japanese Government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of the Japanese military at the end of World War II...

). The announcement was the emperor's first ever radio broadcast and the first time most citizens of Japan ever heard their sovereign's voice. This date is known as Victory Over Japan, or V-J Day, and marked the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the beginning of a long road to recovery for a shattered Japan.

On V-J Day, United States President Harry Truman appointed General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World War II...

 (SCAP), to supervise the occupation of Japan. During the war, the Allied Powers had planned to divide Japan amongst themselves for the purposes of occupation, as was done for the occupation of Germany. Under the final plan, however, SCAP was given direct control over the main islands of Japan (Honshū
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

, Hokkaidō
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

, Shikoku
Shikoku
is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima , Iyo-shima , and Futana-shima...

 and Kyūshū
Kyushu
is the third largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. Its alternate ancient names include , , and . The historical regional name is referred to Kyushu and its surrounding islands....

) and the immediately surrounding islands, while outlying possessions were divided between the Allied Powers as follows:
  • Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

    : North Korea
    North Korea
    The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

     (not a full occupation), Sakhalin
    Sakhalin
    Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

    , and the Kuril Islands
    Kuril Islands
    The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

  • United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    : South Korea
    South Korea
    The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

     (not a full occupation), Okinawa, the Amami Islands
    Amami Islands
    The are a group of islands that is part of the Satsunan Islands, which are then part of the Nansei Islands. The islands are part of Kagoshima Prefecture, in the Kyūshū region of Japan...

    , the Ogasawara Islands
    Ogasawara Islands
    The Bonin Islands, known in Japan as the are an archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands, some directly south of Tokyo, Japan. Administratively, they are part of Ogasawara Municipality of Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo...

     and Japanese possessions in Micronesia
    Micronesia
    Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

  • Republic of China
    Republic of China
    The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

    : Taiwan
    Taiwan
    Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

     and Penghu


It is unclear why the occupation plan was changed. Common theories include the increased power of the United States following development of the atomic bomb, Truman's greater distrust of the Soviet Union when compared with Roosevelt, and an increased desire to contain Soviet expansion in the Far East after the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

.

The Soviet Union had some intentions of occupying Hokkaidō. Had this occurred, there might have been the foundation of a communist "Democratic People's Republic of Japan" in the Soviet zone of occupation. However, unlike the Soviet occupations
Soviet occupations
Soviet occupations is a term used for military occupations by the Soviet Union from the prelude to the aftermath of World War II. The term is typically used for occupations of Eastern European countries...

 of East Germany and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, these plans were frustrated by the opposition of President Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

.

The Far Eastern Commission
Far Eastern Commission
It was agreed at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, and made public in communique issued at the end of the conference on December 27, 1945 that the Far Eastern Advisory Commission would become the Far Eastern Commission , it would be based in Washington, and would oversee the Allied...

 and Allied Council for Japan were also established to supervise the occupation of Japan.

Japanese officials left for Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 on August 19 to meet MacArthur and to be briefed on his plans for the occupation. On August 28, 150 U.S. personnel flew to Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Kanagawa Prefecture
is a prefecture located in the southern Kantō region of Japan. The capital is Yokohama. Kanagawa is part of the Greater Tokyo Area.-History:The prefecture has some archaeological sites going back to the Jōmon period...

. They were followed by USS Missouri
USS Missouri (BB-63)
|USS Missouri is a United States Navy Iowa-class battleship, and was the fourth ship of the U.S. Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state of Missouri...

, whose accompanying vessels landed the 4th Marine Division on the southern coast of Kanagawa. Other Allied personnel followed.

MacArthur arrived in Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

 on August 30, and immediately decreed several laws: No Allied personnel were to assault Japanese people. No Allied personnel were to eat the scarce Japanese food. Flying the Hinomaru or "Rising Sun" flag was initially severely restricted (although individuals and prefectural offices could apply for permission to fly it). The restriction was partially lifted in 1948 and completely lifted the following year.
On September 2, Japan formally surrendered with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender
Japanese Instrument of Surrender
The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was the written agreement that enabled the Surrender of Japan, marking the end of World War II. It was signed by representatives from the Empire of Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist...

. On September 6, US President Harry S. Truman approved a document titled "US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan
US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan
The US Initial Post-Surrender Policy for Japan is a legal document approved by US President Harry S. Truman on September 6, 1945, which governed US policy in the occupation of Japan following surrender in the Second World War...

". The document set two main objectives for the occupation: (1) eliminating Japan's war potential and (2) turning Japan into a western style nation with pro-American orientation. Allied (primarily American) forces were set up to supervise the country, and "for eighty months following its surrender in 1945, Japan was at the mercy of an army of occupation, its people subject to foreign military control." At the head of the Occupation administration was General MacArthur who was technically supposed to defer to an advisory council set up by the Allied powers, but in practice did everything himself. As a result, this period was one of significant American influence, having been already identified in 1951, that "for six years the United States has had a freer hand to experiment with Japan than any other country in Asia, or indeed in the entire world."

MacArthur's first priority was to set up a food distribution network; following the collapse of the ruling government and the wholesale destruction of most major cities, virtually everyone was starving. Even with these measures, millions of people were still on the brink of starvation for several years after the surrender. As expressed by Kawai Kazuo, "Democracy cannot be taught to a starving people," and while the US government encouraged democratic reform in Japan, it also sent billions of dollars in aid.

Initially the US government provided emergency food relief through GARIOA
GARIOA
Government and Relief in Occupied Areas was a program under which the US after the 1945 end of World War II from 1946 onwards provided emergency aid to the occupied nations, Japan, Germany, Austria. The aid was predominantly in the form of food to alleviate starvation in the occupied...

 funds. In fiscal year 1946, this aid amounted to US$92 million in loans. From April 1946, in the guise of LARA
Lara
Lara may refer to:Places:* Lara , Venezuela* Lara, Victoria, township in Australia* Electoral district of Lara, an electoral district in Victoria, Australia* Lara, Antalya, urban district in Turkey* Lara de los Infantes in Spain...

, private relief organizations were also permitted to provide relief. Once the food network was in place, at a cost of up to US$1 million per day, MacArthur set out to win the support of Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

. The two men met for the first time on September 27; the photograph of the two together is one of the most famous in Japanese history. However, many were shocked that MacArthur wore his standard duty uniform with no tie instead of his dress uniform when meeting the emperor. MacArthur may have done this on purpose, to send a message as to what he considered the emperor's status to be. With the sanction of Japan's reigning monarch, MacArthur had the ammunition he needed to begin the real work of the occupation. While other Allied political and military leaders pushed for Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

 to be tried as a war criminal, MacArthur resisted such calls and rejected the claims of members of the imperial family such as Prince Mikasa
Prince Mikasa
is a member of the Imperial House of Japan. He is the fourth and youngest son of Emperor Taishō and Empress Teimei. His eldest brother was Emperor Shōwa , and is the only surviving paternal uncle of Emperor Akihito. With the death of his sister-in-law, Princess Takamatsu , on 17 December 2004, he...

 and Prince Higashikuni
Prince Higashikuni
was the 43rd Prime Minister of Japan from 17 August 1945 to 9 October 1945 for a period of 54 days. An uncle of Emperor Hirohito twice over, Prince Higashikuni was the only member of the Japanese imperial family to head a cabinet...

 and intellectuals like Tatsuji Miyoshi
Tatsuji Miyoshi
was a Japanese poet, literary critic, and literary editor active during the Shōwa period of Japan. He is known for his rather lengthy free verse poetry, which often portray loneliness and isolation as part of contemporary life, but which are written in a complex, highly literary style reminiscent...

 who asked for the emperor's abdication, arguing that any such prosecution would be overwhelmingly unpopular with the Japanese people.

By the end of 1945, more than 350,000 U.S. personnel were stationed throughout Japan. By the beginning of 1946, replacement troops began to arrive in the country in large numbers and were assigned to MacArthur's Eighth Army, headquartered in Tokyo's Dai-Ichi
DN Tower 21
DN Tower 21 is an office building in Tokyo, Japan. It includes the former Dai-Ichi Seimei Building, in which Douglas MacArthur had his headquarters during the occupation of Japan following World War II. The Government of Tokyo has designated DN Tower 21 as a historical building.-External links:*...

 building. Of the main Japanese islands, Kyūshū
Kyushu
is the third largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. Its alternate ancient names include , , and . The historical regional name is referred to Kyushu and its surrounding islands....

 was occupied by the 24th Infantry Division
U.S. 24th Infantry Division
The 24th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the United States Army. Before its most recent inactivation in 2006, it was based at Fort Riley, Kansas....

, with some responsibility for Shikoku
Shikoku
is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima , Iyo-shima , and Futana-shima...

. Honshū
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

 was occupied by the First Cavalry Division. Hokkaidō
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

 was occupied by the 11th Airborne Division
U.S. 11th Airborne Division
-Knollwood Maneuver:The 11th Airborne, as the attacking force, was assigned the objective of capturing Knollwood Army Auxiliary Airfield near Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The force defending the airfield and its environs was a combat team composed of elements of the 17th Airborne Division and a...

.

By June 1950, all of these army units had suffered extensive troop reductions, and their combat effectiveness was seriously weakened. When North Korea invaded South Korea
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, elements of the 24th Division were flown into South Korea to try to stem the massive invasion force there, but the green occupation troops, while acquitting themselves well when suddenly thrown into combat almost overnight, suffered heavy casualties and were forced into retreat until other Japan occupation troops could be sent to assist.

The official British Commonwealth Occupation Force
British Commonwealth Occupation Force
The British Commonwealth Occupation Force , was the name of the joint Australian, Canadian, British, Indian and New Zealand military forces in occupied Japan, from 21 February 1946 until the end of occupation in 1952...

 (BCOF), composed of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n, British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Indian
British Indian Army
The British Indian Army, officially simply the Indian Army, was the principal army of the British Raj in India before the partition of India in 1947...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 personnel, was deployed on February 21, 1946. While U.S. forces were responsible for overall military government, BCOF was responsible for supervising demilitarization and the disposal of Japan's war industries. http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/bcof.htm BCOF was also responsible for occupation of several western prefectures and had its headquarters at Kure
Kure, Hiroshima
is a city in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan.As of October 1, 2010, the city has an estimated population of 240,820 and a population density of 681 persons per km². The total area is 353.74 km².- History :...

. At its peak, the force numbered about 40,000 personnel. During 1947, BCOF began to decrease its activities in Japan, and officially wound up in 1951.

Disarmament

Japan's postwar constitution
Constitution of Japan
The is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May, 1947 as a new constitution for postwar Japan.-Outline:The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights...

, adopted under Allied supervision, included a "Peace Clause" (Article 9
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a clause in the National Constitution of Japan that prohibits an act of war by the state. The Constitution came into effect on May 3, 1947, immediately following World War II. In its text, the state formally renounces war as a sovereign right and bans...

), which renounced war and banned Japan from maintaining any armed forces. This was intended to prevent the country from ever becoming an aggressive military power again. However, within a decade, America was pressuring Japan to rebuild its army as a bulwark against Communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 in Asia after the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 and the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, and Japan established Self-Defense Forces
Japan Self-Defense Forces
The , or JSDF, occasionally referred to as JSF or SDF, are the unified military forces of Japan that were established after the end of the post–World War II Allied occupation of Japan. For most of the post-war period the JSDF was confined to the islands of Japan and not permitted to be deployed...

. Traditionally, Japan's military spending has been restricted to about 1% of its GNP
GNP
Gross National Product is the market value of all products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the residents of a country...

, though this is by popular practice, not law, and has fluctuated up and down
Defense budget of Japan
Even during the Cold War arms race of the 1980s, the Defense budget was accorded a relatively low priority in Japan. According to Japanese security policy, maintaining a military establishment is only one method—and by no means the best method—to achieve national security...

 from this figure. Recently, past Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi
Junichiro Koizumi
is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended.Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party , he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan's government debt and the...

 and Shinzo Abe
Shinzo Abe
was the 90th Prime Minister of Japan, elected by a special session of the National Diet on 26 September 2006. He was Japan's youngest post–World War II prime minister and the first born after the war. Abe served as prime minister for nearly twelve months, before resigning on 12 September 2007...

, and other politicians have tried to repeal or amend the clause. Although the intention of the American Occupation was to demilitarize the Japanese, due to the subsequent Asian threat of communism, and at American urging, the Japanese military was slowly restored to considerable strength. Japan currently has the sixth largest military budget in the world.

Liberalization

The Occupation was not the simple experiment in democracy it is often portrayed to be. With the intensification of the Cold War, SCAP reined in its reform initiatives. From late 1947, US Priorities shifted perceptibly from liberal social change to internal political stability and economic recovery. Demilitarisation and democratization lost momentum and then seemed to stall. Economic deconcentration, for example, was left uncompleted as GHQ responded to new imperatives. American authorities encouraged business practices and industrial policies that have since become sources of contention between Japan and its major trade partners, notably the United States. During the Occupation, GHQ/SCAP successfully (if not entirely) abolished many of the financial coalitions known as the Zaibatsu
Zaibatsu
is a Japanese term referring to industrial and financial business conglomerates in the Empire of Japan, whose influence and size allowed for control over significant parts of the Japanese economy from the Meiji period until the end of World War II.-Terminology:...

, which had previously monopolized industry. Along with the later American change of heart, however (due in part to the need for an economically stronger Japan in the face of a perceived Soviet threat), these economic reforms were also hampered by the wealthy and influential Japanese who obviously stood to lose a great deal. As such, there were those who consequently resisted any attempts at reform, claiming that the zaibatsu were required for Japan to compete internationally, and looser industrial groupings known as keiretsu
Keiretsu
A is a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings. It is a type of business group. The keiretsu has maintained dominance over the Japanese economy for the greater half of the twentieth century....

 evolved. A major land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 was also conducted, led by Wolf Ladejinsky
Wolf Ladejinsky
Wolf Isaac Ladejinsky was an influential American agricultural economist and researcher, serving first in the United States Department of Agriculture, then the Ford Foundation and later the World Bank...

 of General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

's SCAP
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World War II...

 staff. However, Ladejinsky has stated that the real architect of reform was Socialist Hiro Wada, former Japanese Minister of Agriculture. Between 1947 and 1949, approximately 5800000 acres (23,471.8 km²) of land (approximately 38% of Japan's cultivated land) were purchased from the landlord
Landlord
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate which is rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called a tenant . When a juristic person is in this position, the term landlord is used. Other terms include lessor and owner...

s under the government's reform program and resold at extremely low prices (after inflation) to the farmers who worked them. By 1950, three million peasants had acquired land, dismantling a power structure that the landlords had long dominated.

Democratization

In 1946, the Diet ratified a new Constitution of Japan
Constitution of Japan
The is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May, 1947 as a new constitution for postwar Japan.-Outline:The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights...

 that followed closely a 'model copy' prepared by the GHQ/SCAP, and was promulgated as an amendment to the old Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n-style Meiji Constitution
Meiji Constitution
The ', known informally as the ', was the organic law of the Japanese empire, in force from November 29, 1890 until May 2, 1947.-Outline:...

. "The political project drew much of its inspiration from the US Bill of Rights, New Deal social legislation, the liberal constitutions of several European states and even the Soviet Union... (It) transferred sovereignty from the Emperor to the people in an attempt to depoliticize the Throne and reduce it to the status of a state symbol. Included in the revised charter was the famous 'no war', 'no arms' Article Nine, which outlawed belligerency as an instrument of state policy and the maintenance of a standing army. The 1947 Constitution also enfranchised women, guaranteed fundamental human rights, strengthened the powers of Parliament and the Cabinet, and decentralized the police and local government." On December 15, 1945 the Shinto Directive
Shinto Directive
After the Second World War during the Occupation of Japan by the United States Military it was generally understood by allied students of Japanese culture and religion that Shinto in the form it took leading up to and during the war was social propaganda and was being used as a tool of...

 was issued abolishing Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 as a state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 and prohibiting some of its teachings and rites that were deemed to be militaristic or ultra-nationalistic. On April 10, 1946, an election that saw 78.52% voter turnout among men and 66.97% among women gave Japan its first modern prime minister, Shigeru Yoshida
Shigeru Yoshida
, KCVO was a Japanese diplomat and politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 1946 to 1947 and from 1948 to 1954.-Early life:...

.

Trade Union Act

In 1945 the Diet passed Japan's first ever trade union law protecting the rights of workers to form or join a union, to organize and take industrial action. There had been pre-war attempts to do so, but none that were successfully passed until the Allied occupation. A new Trade Union law
Trade Union Act of 1949
The is a Japanese law. It was enacted on 1 June, 1949 to provide the right for workers to organize in Japan. It has been translated as the "Trade Union Law" and "Labor Union Law".- Pre-war Trade Union bills:...

 was passed on June 1 1949, which remains in place to the present day. According to Article 1 of the Act, the purpose of the act is to "elevate the status of workers by promoting their being on equal standing with the employer".

Labor Standards Act

The Labor Standards Act
Labor Standards Act of 1947
The is a Japanese law. It was enacted on 7 April, 1947 to govern working conditions in Japan. According to Article 1 of the Act, its goal is to ensure that "Working conditions shall be those which should meet the needs of workers who live lives worthy of human beings."- The Potsdam Declaration :As...

 was enacted on 7 April, 1947 to govern working conditions in Japan. According to Article 1 of the Act, its goal is to ensure that "Working conditions shall be those which should meet the needs of workers who live lives worthy of human beings." While it was created while Japan was under occupation, the origins of the Act have nothing to do with the occupation forces. It appears to have been the brainchild of Kosaku Teramoto, a former member of the Thought Police, who had become the head of the Labor Standards section of the Welfare Ministry.

Education reform

Before and during the war, Japanese education
History of education in Japan
The history of education in Japan dates back at least to the sixth century, when Chinese learning was introduced at the Yamato court. Foreign civilizations have often provided new ideas for the development of Japan's own culture.-6th to 15th century:...

 was based on the German system, with "Gymnasium" (selective grammar schools) and universities to train students after primary school. During the occupation, Japan's secondary education system was changed to
incorporate three-year junior high schools and senior high schools similar to those in the U.S.: junior high became compulsory but senior high
remained optional. The Imperial Rescript on Education
Imperial Rescript on Education
The ' was signed by Emperor Meiji of Japan on 30 October 1890 to articulate government policy on the guiding principles of education on the Empire of Japan...

 was repealed, and the Imperial University system reorganized. The longstanding issue of Japanese script reform
Japanese script reform
The Japanese script reform is the attempt to correlate standard spoken Japanese with the written word, which began during the Meiji period. This issue is known in Japan as the...

, which had been planned for decades but continuously opposed by more conservative elements, was also resolved during this time. The Japanese written system was drastically reorganized with the Tōyō kanji-list in 1946, predecessor of today's Jōyō kanji
Joyo kanji
The is the guide to kanji characters announced officially by the Japanese Ministry of Education. Current jōyō kanji are those on a list of 2,136 characters issued in 2010...

, and orthography was greatly altered to reflect spoken usage.

Negative impact of the occupation

Purging of war criminals

While these other reforms were taking place, various military tribunals, most notably the International Military Tribunal for the Far East
International Military Tribunal for the Far East
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East , also known as the Tokyo Trials, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, or simply the Tribunal, was convened on April 29, 1946, to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for three types of crimes: "Class A" crimes were reserved for those who...

 in Ichigaya
Ichigaya
Ichigaya is an area in the eastern portion of Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.-Places in Ichigaya:*Hosei University Ichigaya Campus*Chuo University Graduate School...

, were trying Japan's war criminals and sentencing many to death and imprisonment. However, many suspects such as Tsuji Masanobu
Tsuji Masanobu
was a tactician of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War and later a politician. While he was never indicted for war crimes after World War II, subsequent investigations have revealed that he was involved in war crimes throughout the Pacific war including the massacre of Chinese...

, Nobusuke Kishi
Nobusuke Kishi
was a Japanese politician and the 56th and 57th Prime Minister of Japan from February 25, 1957 to June 12, 1958 and from then to July 19, 1960. He was often called Shōwa no yōkai .- Early life :...

, Yoshio Kodama
Yoshio Kodama
was a prominent figure in the rise of organized crime in Japan. The most famous 'kuromaku', or behind-the-scenes power broker, of the 20th century, he was active in Japan's political arena and criminal underworld from the 1950s to the early 1970s....

 and Ryoichi Sasakawa
Ryoichi Sasakawa
was a Japanese businessman, politician and philanthropist born in Minoh, Osaka. He was accused but acquitted of being a Class A war criminal after World War II, was a self-proclaimed fascist, kuromaku , and the founder of The Nippon Foundation...

 were never judged, while the Showa Emperor, all members of the imperial family implicated in the war such as Prince Chichibu
Prince Chichibu
, also known as Prince Yasuhito, was the second son of Emperor Taishō and a younger brother of the Emperor Shōwa. As a member of the Imperial House of Japan, he was the patron of several sporting, medical, and international exchange organizations...

, Prince Asaka
Prince Asaka
of Japan, was the founder of a collateral branch of the Japanese imperial family and a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Army. Son-in-law of Emperor Meiji and uncle by marriage of Emperor Shōwa , Prince Asaka was commander of Japanese forces in the final assault on Nanking , then the capital...

, Prince Hiroyasu Fushimi, Prince Higashikuni
Prince Higashikuni
was the 43rd Prime Minister of Japan from 17 August 1945 to 9 October 1945 for a period of 54 days. An uncle of Emperor Hirohito twice over, Prince Higashikuni was the only member of the Japanese imperial family to head a cabinet...

 and Prince Takeda, and all members of Unit 731
Unit 731
was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese...

 were given immunity from criminal prosecution by General MacArthur.

Before the war crimes trials actually convened, the SCAP, the IPS and Shōwa officials worked behind the scenes not only to prevent the imperial family from being indicted, but also to slant the testimony of the defendants to ensure that no one implicated the Emperor. High officials in court circles and the Shōwa government collaborated with Allied GHQ in compiling lists of prospective war criminals, while the individuals arrested as Class A suspects and incarcerated in Sugamo
Sugamo
is a neighborhood in Toshima, Tokyo, Japan. It is well known for , a popular shopping street for the older generation . It lies at the crossing point of the JR Yamanote railway line, and national road route Route 17.-See also:* Sugamo Prison* Sugamo Station...

 prison solemnly vowed to protect their sovereign against any possible taint of war responsibility. Thus, "months before the Tokyo tribunal commenced, MacArthur's highest subordinates were working to attribute ultimate responsibility for Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 to Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army , the leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II, from 17 October 1941 to 22 July 1944...

" by allowing "the major criminal suspects to coordinate their stories so that the Emperor would be spared from indictment." and "with the full support of MacArthur
MacArthur
MacArthur or Macarthur may refer to:-Geography:* Division of Macarthur, Sydney* General MacArthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines* John D...

's headquarters, the prosecution functioned, in effect, as a defense team for the emperor."

For historian John W. Dower
John W. Dower
John W. Dower is an American author and historian.Dower earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Amherst College in 1959, and a Ph.D. in History and Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University in 1972, where he studied under Albert M. Craig...

,

Rape

While many Japanese civilians feared that the Allied troops were likely to rape Japanese women, the incidence of rape committed by members of the occupation force was low. Its incidence did increase after the criminalization of prostitution, however. Michael S. Molasky reports that while rape and other violent crime was widespread in naval ports like Yokosuka and Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

 during the first few weeks of occupation, according to Japanese police reports, the number of incidents declined shortly after and were not common on mainland Japan throughout the rest of occupation.

According to Toshiyuki Tanaka, 76 cases of rape or rape-murder were reported on Okinawa during the first five years of occupation. However, contemporary research indicates that this number is likely too small as many rapes went unreported.

Censorship

After the surrender of Japan
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 in 1945, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World War II...

 abolished all forms of censorship and controls on Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

, which was also integrated into Article 21 of the 1947 Constitution of Japan
Constitution of Japan
The is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May, 1947 as a new constitution for postwar Japan.-Outline:The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights...

. However, press censorship remained a reality in the post-war era, especially in matters of pornography, and in political matters deemed subversive by the American government during the occupation of Japan.

The Allied occupation forces suppressed news of criminal activities such as rape; on September 10, 1945 SCAP
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers
Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers was the title held by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World War II...

 "issued press and pre-censorship codes outlawing the publication of all reports and statistics 'inimical to the objectives of the Occupation'."

According to David M. Rosenfeld:

Industrial disarmament

To further remove Japan as a potential future threat to the U.S., the Far Eastern Commission
Far Eastern Commission
It was agreed at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, and made public in communique issued at the end of the conference on December 27, 1945 that the Far Eastern Advisory Commission would become the Far Eastern Commission , it would be based in Washington, and would oversee the Allied...

 decided that Japan was to be partly de-industrialized. The necessary dismantling of Japanese industry was foreseen to have been achieved when Japanese standards of living had been reduced to those existing in Japan the period 1930 - 1934. In the end the adopted program of de-industrialisation in Japan was implemented to a lesser degree than the similar U.S. "industrial disarmament" program in Germany
Industrial plans for Germany
The Industrial plans for Germany were designs the Allies considered imposing on Germany in the aftermath of World War II to reduce and manage Germany's industrial capacity.-Background:...

. In view of the cost to American taxpayers for emergency food aid to Japan, in April 1948 the Johnston Committee Report recommended that the economy of Japan should instead be reconstructed. The report included suggestions for reductions in war reparations, and a relaxation of the "economic deconcentration" policy. For the fiscal year of 1949 funds were moved from the GARIOA
GARIOA
Government and Relief in Occupied Areas was a program under which the US after the 1945 end of World War II from 1946 onwards provided emergency aid to the occupied nations, Japan, Germany, Austria. The aid was predominantly in the form of food to alleviate starvation in the occupied...

 budget into an Economic Rehabilitation in Occupied Areas (EROA) programme, to be used for the import of materials needed for economic reconstruction.

Comfort women

With the acceptance of the Allied occupation authorities the Japanese organized a brothel
Brothel
Brothels are business establishments where patrons can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, and bawdy house...

 system for the benefit of the more than 300,000 occupation troops. "The strategy was, through the special work of experienced women, to create a breakwater to protect regular women and girls."

In December 1945 a senior officer with the Public Health and Welfare Division of the occupation's General Headquarters wrote regarding the typical prostitute:
"The girl is impressed into contracting by the desperate financial straits of her parents and their urging, occasionally supplemented by her willingness to make such a sacrifice to help her family," he wrote. "It is the belief of our informants, however, that in urban districts the practice of enslaving girls, while much less prevalent than in the past, still exists."


"The worst victims ... were the women who, with no previous experience, answered the ads calling for 'Women of the New Japan,"'

When MacArthur finally closed the brothels on March 25, 1946, it is estimated that more than 25% of the U.S. troops had sexually transmitted diseases.

Expulsions

The defeat of the Japanese Empire meant reversal of its previous annexations—Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 and Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 were returned to China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, while Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 regained its independence.

The Soviet Union claimed South Sakhalin
Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

 and the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

, with 400,000 Japanese fleeing or expelled. Similar actions happened in Taiwan and Manchuria after their return to China, while independent Korea saw flight of over 800,000 Japanese settlers—fearing reprisals for Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

 and decades of looting of the peninsula by settlers.

Other

In a bid to occupy as much Japanese territory as possible, Soviet troops continued offensive military operations after the Japanese surrender, causing large scale civilian casualties.

Politics

Unlike the case in Germany Japan retained a native government throughout the occupation, although its de facto authority was strictly limited at first and senior figures in the government such as the Prime Minister effectively served at the pleasure of the occupational authorities prior to the first post-war elections being held.

Political parties had begun to revive almost immediately after the occupation began. Left-wing organizations, such as the Japan Socialist Party and the Japan Communist Party, quickly reestablished themselves, as did various conservative parties. The old Seiyukai and Rikken Minseito
Rikken Minseito
was one of the main political parties in pre-war Empire of Japan. It was commonly known as the 'Minseitō'.The Minseitō was founded on 1 June 1927, by a merger of the Kenseikai and the Seiyu Hontō political parties. Its leadership included Osachi Hamaguchi, Wakatsuki Reijirō, Yamamoto Tatsuo, ...

 came back as, respectively, the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (Japan)
Liberal Party is the name of different political parties in different time periods in Japan.They are:*Liberal Party of Japan , founded by Itagaki Taisuke in October 1881. The party stood for popular rights and espoused the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The main objective of the party in the...

 (Nihon Jiyuto) and the Japan Progressive Party
Shimpoto
' was a short-lived political party in Meiji period Japan.The Shimpotō was founded by Ōkuma Shigenobu in March 1896, as a merger of the Rikken Kaishintō and minor political parties to offset a temporary alliance between Ōkuma's rival, Itō Hirobumi and the Jiyuto.In June 1898, the Shimpotō merged...

 (Nihon Shimpoto). The first postwar elections were held in 1946 (women were given the franchise for the first time), and the Liberal Party's vice president, Yoshida Shigeru (1878–1967), became prime minister
Prime Minister of Japan
The is the head of government of Japan. He is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members, and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office...

. For the 1947 elections, anti-Yoshida forces left the Liberal Party and joined forces with the Progressive Party to establish the new Japan Democratic Party (Minshuto). This divisiveness in conservative ranks gave a plurality to the Japan Socialist Party, which was allowed to form a cabinet
Cabinet of Japan
The of Japan is the executive branch of the government of Japan. It consists of the Prime Minister and up to fourteen other members, called Ministers of State. The Prime Minister is designated by the Diet, and the remaining ministers are appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister...

, which lasted less than a year. Thereafter, the socialist party steadily declined in its electoral successes. After a short period of Democratic Party administration, Yoshida returned in late 1948 and continued to serve as prime minister until 1954. However, because of a heart failure
Congestive heart failure
Heart failure often called congestive heart failure is generally defined as the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance. The condition...

 Yoshida was replaced by Shinto in 1955.

End of the occupation

In 1949, MacArthur made a sweeping change in the SCAP power structure that greatly increased the power of Japan's native rulers, and the occupation began to draw to a close. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed on September 8, 1951, marked the end of the Allied occupation, and when it went into effect on April 28, 1952, Japan was once again an independent state (with the exceptions of Okinawa, which remained under U.S. control until 1972, and Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima, officially , is an island of the Japanese Volcano Islands chain, which lie south of the Ogasawara Islands and together with them form the Ogasawara Archipelago. The island is located south of mainland Tokyo and administered as part of Ogasawara, one of eight villages of Tokyo...

, which remained under US control until 1968). Even though some 31,000 U.S. military personnel remain in Japan today, they are there at the invitation of the Japanese government under the terms of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan
Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan
The was signed between the United States and Japan in Washington, D.C. on January 19, 1960. It strengthened Japan's ties to the West during the Cold War era...

 (1960) and not as an occupying force.

Criticism of the occupation

On the day the occupation of Japan was over, the Asahi Shimbun published a very critical essay on the occupation, claiming it turned the Japanese population "irresponsible, obsequious and listless . . . unable to perceive issues in a forthright manner, which led to distorted perspectives".

Cultural reaction

Hirohito’s surrender broadcast was a profound shock to Japanese citizens. After years of being told about Japan’s military might and the inevitability of victory, these beliefs were proven false in the space of a few minutes. But for many people, these were only secondary concerns since they were also facing starvation and homelessness.

Post-war Japan was chaotic. The air raids on urban centers left millions displaced and food shortages, created by bad harvests and the demands of the war, worsened when the importation of food from Korea, Taiwan, and China ceased. Repatriation of Japanese living in other parts of Asia only aggravated the problems in Japan as these displaced people put more strain on already scarce resources. Over 5.1 million Japanese returned to Japan in the fifteen months following October 1, 1945. Alcohol and drug abuse became major problems. Deep exhaustion, declining morale and despair was so widespread that it was termed the . Inflation was rampant and many people turned to the black market for even the most basic goods. These black markets in turn were often places of turf wars between rival gangs, like the Shibuya incident
Shibuya incident
The was a violent confrontation which occurred in between rival gangs near the Shibuya Station in Tokyo, Japan. The years after World War II saw Japan as a defeated nation and the Japanese people had to improvise in many aspects of daily life. In the chaos of the post-war recovery large and very...

 in 1946. Prostitution
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

 also increased considerably.

In the 1950s, kasutori culture emerged. In response to the scarcity of the previous years, this sub-culture, named after the preferred drink of the artists and writers who embodied it, emphasized escapism, entertainment and decadence.

The phrase "shikata ga nai
Shikata ga nai
, , is a Japanese language phrase meaning "it can't be helped" or "nothing can be done about it". , is an alternative.-Cultural associations:The phrase has been used by many western writers to describe the ability of the Japanese people to maintain dignity in the face of an unavoidable tragedy or...

", or "nothing can be done about it," was commonly used in both Japanese and American press to encapsulate the Japanese public's resignation to the harsh conditions endured while under occupation. However, not everyone reacted the same way to the hardships of the postwar period. While some succumbed to the difficulties, many more were resilient. As the country regained its footing, they were able to bounce back as well.

There is an ongoing discussion regarding the concept of "authenticity" as experienced by the generation raised under American military occupation. Masaya Ito et al. compared different generations of Japanese and found no difference in the perception of authenticity. In reviewing the same data, A. James Giannini found that Japanese culture was not vertically homogeneous. In accordance with the work of Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco Knight Grand Cross is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose , an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory...

 he noted a difference between expectancy and fulfillment of this particular word and concept.

A superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

 was borne from the occupation years as well. There are hotels in Japan which rooms skip in sequence from 1943 to 1953.

Japanese women and the occupation

It has been argued that the granting of rights to women played an important role in the radical shift Japan underwent from a war nation to a democratized
Democratization
Democratization is the transition to a more democratic political regime. It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, a transition from an authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or transition from a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic...

 and demilitarized country. In the first postwar general elections of 1946, the unexpectedly high female voter turnout led to the election of 39 female candidates, and the increasing presence of women in politics was viewed by Americans as evidence of an improvement of Japanese women's condition. However, many scholars talk of the emphasis put at the time by Americans on Japanese women's enfranchisement as a way to disguise the imperialism endeavors behind the occupation. Some scholars also argue that Japanese feminists
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 already had an history of seeking equal rights and that women would have gained suffrage without the occupation. Since the 1920s, the appearance of the "modern girl" (moga)
Modern girl
were Japanese women who followed Westernized fashions and lifestyles in the 1920s. These moga were Japan's equivalent of America's flappers, India's kallege ladki, Germany's neue Frauen, France's garçonnes, or China's modeng xiaojie...

 and "modern boy" (mobo) saw an increase in the number of women taking on the role of industrial and white-collar worker
White-collar worker
The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor...

s and consumers. During the 1930s, women had also started filling in for men away from home for military service, and during the war, women did not hesitate to take up arms when needed.

However, Japanese women were perceived as helpless victims of feudalistic
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 and chauvinistic
Chauvinism
Chauvinism, in its original and primary meaning, is an exaggerated, bellicose patriotism and a belief in national superiority and glory. It is an eponym of a possibly fictional French soldier Nicolas Chauvin who was credited with many superhuman feats in the Napoleonic wars.By extension it has come...

 traditions who needed the guidance of the United States. American women assumed a central role in the reforms that affected the lives of Japanese women: they educated Japanese about Western ideals of democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, and it was an American woman who wrote the Japanese Equal Rights Amendment for the new constitution
Constitution of Japan
The is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May, 1947 as a new constitution for postwar Japan.-Outline:The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights...

. Although their efforts were genuine for the most part and did bring benefits to Japanese women, the attitude of American women took roots into imperialist
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 and orientalist
Orientalism
Orientalism is a term used for the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists, as well as having other meanings...

 perceptions of Japan. The American women perceived themselves as "feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

  agents endowed with progressive and modern ideology and practice" who had been appointed the mission of liberating Japanese women. It's also important to note that General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 did not mean for Japanese women to give up their central role in the home as wives and mothers, but rather that they could now assume other roles simultaneously, such as that of worker.

In 1953, journalist Ichirō Narumigi commented that Japan had received "liberation of sex" along with the "four presents" that it had been granted by the occupation (respect for human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, gender equality
Gender equality
Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...

, freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

, and women’s enfranchisement). Indeed, the occupation also had a great impact on relationships between man and woman in Japan. The "modern girl"
Modern girl
were Japanese women who followed Westernized fashions and lifestyles in the 1920s. These moga were Japan's equivalent of America's flappers, India's kallege ladki, Germany's neue Frauen, France's garçonnes, or China's modeng xiaojie...

 phenomenon of the 1920s and early 1930s had been characterized by greater sexual freedom, but despite this, sex was usually not perceived as a source of pleasure in Japan. Westerners, as a result, were thought to be promiscuous
Promiscuity
In humans, promiscuity refers to less discriminating casual sex with many sexual partners. The term carries a moral or religious judgement and is viewed in the context of the mainstream social ideal for sexual activity to take place within exclusive committed relationships...

 and sexually deviant. The sexual liberation of European and North American women during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was unthinkable in Japan, especially during wartime where rejection of Western ways of life was encouraged.

The Japanese public was thus astounded by the sight of some 45,000 so-called "pan pan girls" (prostitutes
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

) fraternizing with American soldiers during the occupation. In 1946, the 200 wives of U.S. officers landing in Japan to visit their husbands also had a similar impact when many of these reunited couples were seen walking hand in hand and kissing in public. Both prostitution and marks of affection had been hidden from the public until then, and this "democratization of eroticism" was a source of surprise, curiosity, and even envy. The occupation set new relationships models for Japanese men and women: the practice of modern "dating" spread, and activities such as dancing, movies and coffee were not limited to "pan pan girls" and American troops anymore, and became popular among young Japanese couples.

See also

  • Far Eastern Commission
    Far Eastern Commission
    It was agreed at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, and made public in communique issued at the end of the conference on December 27, 1945 that the Far Eastern Advisory Commission would become the Far Eastern Commission , it would be based in Washington, and would oversee the Allied...

  • Japanese war crimes
    Japanese war crimes
    Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

  • Comfort Women by the United States in Occupied Japan
    Recreation and Amusement Association
    The , or more literally Special Comfort Facility Association, was the official euphemism for the prostitution centers arranged for occupying U.S...

  • World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

  • Task Force 31
    Task Force 31
    Task Force 31 was a US Navy task force active with the United States Third Fleet during World War II, and still ready to be activated today with today's Third Fleet...

  • 1945 in Japan
    1945 in Japan
    Events in the year 1945 in Japan.1945 was the last year of World War II and the first year of the Allied occupation.-Incumbents:*Emperor: Hirohito*Prime Minister: Kuniaki Koiso, Kantarō Suzuki, Prince Higashikuni, Kijuro Shidehara...

  • History of Japan
    History of Japan
    The history of Japan encompasses the history of the islands of Japan and the Japanese people, spanning the ancient history of the region to the modern history of Japan as a nation state. Following the last ice age, around 12,000 BC, the rich ecosystem of the Japanese Archipelago fostered human...

  • Pacific War
    Pacific War
    The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

  • GARIOA
    GARIOA
    Government and Relief in Occupied Areas was a program under which the US after the 1945 end of World War II from 1946 onwards provided emergency aid to the occupied nations, Japan, Germany, Austria. The aid was predominantly in the form of food to alleviate starvation in the occupied...

  • Shipping Control Authority for the Japanese Merchant Marine
    Shipping Control Authority for the Japanese Merchant Marine
    Shipping Control Authority for the Japanese Merchant Marine was an organization established by Allied occupation forces in Japan at the end of World War II.-Purpose:1. control over all ships greater than 100 gross tons operated by the Japanese.2...


External links



< Expansionism | History of Japan
History of Japan
The history of Japan encompasses the history of the islands of Japan and the Japanese people, spanning the ancient history of the region to the modern history of Japan as a nation state. Following the last ice age, around 12,000 BC, the rich ecosystem of the Japanese Archipelago fostered human...

 | Post-Occupation
Post-Occupation Japan
Post-Occupation Japan is a phrase used to describe the period in the history of Japan which started at the end of the Allied occupation in 1952.During this period, Japan re-established itself as a global economic and political power....

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