An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus

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An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus (大和民族を中核とする世界政策の検討, Yamato Minzoku o Chūkaku to suru Sekai Seisaku no Kentō?), was a secret Japanese government report created by the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Population Problems Research Center, and completed on July 1, 1943.

The document, comprising six volumes totaling 3,127 pages, deals with race theory in general, and the rationale behind policies adopted by wartime Japan towards other races, while also providing a vision of Asia under Japanese control.[1]

The document was written in an academic style, surveying western philosophy on race from the writings of Plato and Aristotle to modern German social scientists, such as Karl Haushofer. A connection between racism, nationalism and imperialism was also claimed, with the conclusion, drawing by citing both British and German sources, that overseas expansionism was essential not only for military and economic security, but for preserving racial consciousness. Concerns pertaining to the cultural assimilation of second and third generation immigrants into foreign cultures were also mentioned.[2]

Discovery[edit]

The document was classified, had a print run of only a hundred copies, had little effect on the war, and was forgotten until 1981, when portions were discovered in a used bookstore in Japan, and subsequently publicized by being used as source material for a chapter in historian John W. Dower’s book War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War.[3] In 1982 the Ministry of Health and Welfare re-issued the full 6 volume version along with another two volumes entitled The Influence of War upon Population as a reference work for historians.

Impact[edit]

Although external Japanese propaganda during World War II emphasized Pan-Asianist and anti-colonial themes, domestic propaganda always took Japanese superiority over other Asians for granted. However, Japan did not have an overarching racial theory for Asia well into the 1930s.[4] Following the Japanese invasion of China, military planners decided that they should raise Japanese racial consciousness in order to forestall the potential assimilation of Overseas Japanese colonists.[4]

Since the document was written by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and not by the military or foreign policy establishment, it is unclear what type of political impact it would have had.

Themes[edit]

Colonization and living space[edit]

Some statements in the document coincide with the then publicly espoused concept of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere; however, much of the work borrowed heavily from German National Socialist racial, political and economic theories, including mention of the “Jewish problem” and inclusion of racist anti-Jewish political cartoons, although the Empire of Japan had a rather negligible and largely overlooked Jewish minority. The term "blood and soil" was frequently used, though usually in quotes, as if to indicate its alien origin.[5]

The authors rationalized of Japanese colonization of most of the eastern hemisphere including New Zealand and Australia, with projected populations by the 1950s, as "securing the living space of the Yamato race", a very clear echo of the Nazi concept of Lebensraum.[6]

Racial supremacy[edit]

However, where the document deviated from Nazi ideology was in its use of Confucianism and the metaphor of the patriarchical family. This metaphor, with the non-Japanese Asians serving as children of the Japanese,[4] rationalized the “equitable inequality” of Japanese political, economic, and cultural dominance.[7] Just as a family has harmony and reciprocity, but with a clear-cut hierarchy, the Japanese, as a purportedly racially superior people, were destined to rule Asia “eternally” as the head of the family of Asian nations.[8] The term "proper place" was used frequently throughout the document.[5]

The document left open whether Japan was destined eventually to become head of the global family of nations.[2]

Jinshu and Minzoku[edit]

The document drew an explicit distinction between jinshu[9] and Rasse (English: race), and minzoku (民族?) or Volk (English: people), describing a minzoku as "a natural and spiritual community bound by a common destiny."[10] However, the authors went on to assert that blood mattered.[11] It approved of Hitler's concern about finding the "Germanness" of his people.[12] It made explicit calls, sometimes approaching Nazi attitudes, for eugenic improvements, calling for the medical profession not to concentrate on the sick and weak, and for mental and physical training and selective marriages to improve the population.[13]

See also[edit]

North Korea:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris-Suzuki, Tessa (Fall 2000), Ethnic Engineering: Scientific Racism and Public Opinion Surveys in Midcentury Japan, east asia cultures critique - Volume 8, Number 2: Duke University Press, pp. 499–529 
  2. ^ a b Martel, Gordon (2004), The World War Two Reader, New York: Routledge, pp. 245–247, ISBN 0-415-22403-9 
  3. ^ Dower, John W. (1986), War Without Mercy, New York: Pantheon Books, pp. 262–290, ISBN 0-394-50030-X 
  4. ^ a b c Dower, John W. (2012). Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World. The New Press. pp. 58–60. 
  5. ^ a b Dower (1986), p. 265.
  6. ^ Anthony Rhodes, Propaganda: The art of persuasion: World War II, p246 1976, Chelsea House Publishers, New York
  7. ^ Dower (1986), p. 266.
  8. ^ Dower (1986), p. 263-4.
  9. ^ http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jinshu
  10. ^ Dower (1986), p. 267.
  11. ^ Dower (1986), p. 268.
  12. ^ Dower (1986), p. 269.
  13. ^ Dower (1986), p. 270.