Jin Ki Kim
Pukyong National University, South Korea


This paper purports to examine the pre-War Japan and the post-War Japan in comparative perspective. This papers assertion is that the post-War Japanese system is fundamentally the extension of the pre-War Japanese system, contrary to the common opinion that post-War Japanese system is different from the pre-War Japanese system. In tracing the continuity between pre-War and post-War Japanese system, the Allied Occupation has been analyzed. In spite of many policies of SCAP for democratization and demilitarization of Japan, many of pre-War Japanese system was not demolished because of the intensification of the Cold War and the reversal of Occupation policies. As a result, dominant elites of pre-War Japan who were in charge of the War were survived from the Occupation and came back to the Japanese government and society. Politicians, bureaucrats, and businessmen who were prosecuted by the military tribunal or purged from their offices as war crimes came back to the stage. They have the collective political and ideological orientation that the state is superior to the civil society. Second, the government institutions such as the War Ministry and the Ministry of Internal Affairs which are also in charge of war have remained with the name change. Last but not least, many post-War plans, especially in the economic field, stems from pre-War experiences. In this sense, the assertion that Japans defeat and the ensuing period of Occupation are the starting point for contemporary Japanese system has to be revised. In a nutshell, the present Japanese system in historical context has the continuity from pre-War Japanese system in terms of the political orientation of the ruling elite, government institutions, and policies.


pre-War Japan, post-War Japan, Occupation, SCAP, Historical Continuity