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A Modification of Mission

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:33 am
Although this is the Western Military Forum I find that Western Military History is inextricably intertwined with that of the East.

This is because powers of the East adopted Western Military technology and Tactics wholesale.

An example it is Admiral Togo's Battleship Mikasa at the definng Battle of Tsushima which is still preserved as one of the two remaining examples of warships of that era.

Togo fought a Russian Fleet that had traveled literally around the World to challenge Japanese Naval supremacy after the surpise attck of Port Arthur.

The saga of the Russian Fleet even getting to the site of the battle was an epic in itself.

The other preserved warship of that era is the Protected Cruiser Olympia, Dewey's flagship at Manilla Bay.

Japan succeded in infusing the Spirit of the Samurai and the conduct of the Samurai,, as interpreted by the militaristic governments, into the common soldier and sailor,.

This 'tactic' if you will provided a dedicated military conducting themselves in accordance with a goverments interpretation regarding the code of conduct for a warrior class which was destroyed and outlawed.

This was a really impossible twist to imagine and witness.

Attitudes or behaviour of the Samurai fashion would not have been permitted the common 'citizen' of the pre or post Meijii Restoration period.

The code of conduct adopted and or imposed on the Japanese Military was not really intended for the common soldier at the time it was originated and written, if, indeed, it was written..

The code presented to and implementedby the Japanese military was thus, I beleive, the intepretation that the Japanese Military wished, and no more.

Mike Murphy is expert on Bushido and the Hagakure and I hope he will explain this better than I if he reads this post.

Naturally, I will not delve into Eastern Martials Arts as that subject is covered already beyond my abilities and knowledge.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:00 am
by mikemurphy
First of all, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at anything. My areas of interest in history include American History (US Civil War), WWII, and Japanese History. But I am in no way an expert.

With that said, I will shed some light on the turn-of-the-century Japan and it’s military. The turning point for Japan was the year 1905. This was the year which started a modern economic boom in Japan. The victory of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War expanded Japan’s budding colonial empire and made it the pre-eminent power in East Asia. The war also sparked a huge wave of nationalism that far exceeded any before it.

Most of Japan’s change would be due to its political situation more than just a military move. For example, during the period between 1898 – 1921, Japan saw eleven different prime ministers take power only to lose it. But you could make the argument that during this period the military was prominent in the thinking and doings of the Japanese oligarchy. Several of the prime ministers were military or ex-military (i.e. Admiral Yamamoto – not the WWII personality). But without getting long-winded, the intrigue and power struggles of Japanese politics in this era would make your head spin.

It was within this period that you began seeing the change of attitude within the Japanese military. The new and radical form of Bushido was being created. It, like its predecessor, was unwritten, but was as real as it could be. During the mid-1920s, Japan’s military budget was cut drastically, but it was also the period where it started to become mechanized. Military training was introduced into middle and higher schools, and local training units were set up for those who did not continue their education. But what made the bushido training stick was that Japan is one of the few homogeneous populations left of on the planet. At the beginning of the century, there were no regional differences, religious splits, and no real political upheavals. They were a collective which thought and felt much the same way, which made it easier to spread this form of mind-control.

Education, unto itself during the early part of the 20th century, was thought to be for the purposes of the state rather than for the individual. Primary instruction concentrated on the development of an unquestioning loyalty to the emperor, Japan, and general authority. Also, as an extension to that curriculum, the ideas of filial piety and obedience were added (sound like bushido yet?). Education was strictly supervised so that no “dangerous thoughts” could sneak in to infect the minds of the youth.

Yet, much the same with post WWI Germany and the rest of the world, the Depression effected many countries. Germany, the constitutional model for Japan, had turned its back on democracy during this time, and grabbed the authoritarian rule of Hitler and the Nazi party. This too would be true for Japan. The bushido philosophy made it possible for the military rulers of Japan to expand toward their Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere dream, yet, like the bushido of old, it ran its course.


Excellent Post

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:48 pm
Thanks Mike:

Thank you Mike san for giving us a better picture of how the government that came to use an edited version of Bushido to control the youth of post depression japan.

The history lesson was much appreciated and needed, in this instance.

I tend to post things in accordance with my memory and it's interpretations.

Of Course, as you noted, Nazi Germany undertook to do the same thing, as did the Soviet Union.

Yet it is my impression that Hitler, remembering the German Navy's stike and the general anti war unrest in 1918, was a little bit cautious in dealing with Germany's Industrial leaders.

Did the Japanese government harbor the same fears regarding the Zaibatsu? Was the Zaibatsu still in existence or a force in political life in immediatley prewar Japan?


PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 5:47 pm
by mikemurphy

The zaibatsu held a tremendous amount of sway in Japanese politics in the early 20th century. Like I said, if you really want to read about political intrigue, read more on the politics of the Taisho period. It's really something.


Eastern Military and Political History

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:02 pm

You and Rich San make this forum fly.

I studied the Taisho period and have intentionally expanded the forum's Purview to include Eastern Military and Political history as it is very relevant to most other matters of the forum.

My specialty lies, I think, with the Roman legions.

So, I would certainly appreciate it if you would expand on any Eastern Military history or political matters.

I get a bit jealous seeing posts numbering in the hundreds of responses.

However, as GEM noted, this forum makes good reading but precious few know-------- about it and its endless roots.

I chose it because of its potential for enlightenment, its potential to make us understand that out own martial roots are very deep and the potential to show folk that one cannot understand fully even Uechi or Shoheiryu without a wider perception of the world it grew in and the world we grew in.

I haven't even made it thru the "Armageddon" thread which is a bit crucial.

There Was a BOY GENERAL of a Civil War Wisconsin Regiment who orignated the "On Wisconsin" ( at Gettysburg) refrain and a 19th century shanty song about the raider "Alabama" (Roll Albama Roll) which speaks a bit to the refrain "Roll (Crimson) Tide".

A lot of research.

"if we wish to have a forum, let it begin here" perhaps?