Imperial Rule Assistance Association

The Imperial Rule Assistance Association (大政翼贊會/大政翼賛会 Taisei Yokusankai), or Imperial Aid Association, was Japan's wartime organization created by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on October 12, 1940, to promote the goals of his Shintaisei ("New Order") movement. It evolved into a "statist" ruling political party which aimed at removing the sectionalism in the politics and economics in the Empire of Japan to create a totalitarian one-party state, in order to maximize the efficiency of Japan's total war effort in China.[1] When the organization was launched officially, Konoe was hailed as a "political savior" of a nation in chaos; however, internal divisions soon appeared.

Imperial Rule Assistance Association

大政翼贊會
大政翼賛会
Taisei Yokusankai
PresidentFumimaro Konoe (1940–41)
Hideki Tojo (1941–44)
Kuniaki Koiso (1944–45)
Kantarō Suzuki (1945)
FoundedOctober 12, 1940
DissolvedJune 13, 1945
Merger ofRikken Seiyūkai, Rikken Minseitō, Kokumin Dōmei, Shakai Taishūtō
HeadquartersTokyo, Japan
Youth wingGreat Japan Youth Party
Paramilitary wingYokusan Sonendan
Parliamentary groupImperial Rule Assistance Political Association
IdeologyFascism
Japanese imperialism
Japanese militarism
Japanese nationalism
Shōwa statism
State Shinto
Ultranationalism
Expansionism
Anti-communism
Anti-democracy
Anti-capitalism
Political positionFar-right
ReligionShinto
International affiliationNone
Colours         Red, white

Origins

Establishment of Imperial Rule Assistance Association
Establishment of Imperial Rule Assistance Association
Imperial Rule Assistance Association Cadre
Imperial Rule Assistance Association cadres, 1940

Based on recommendations by the Shōwa Kenkyūkai (Shōwa Research Association), Konoe originally conceived of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association as a reformist political party to overcome the deep-rooted differences and political cliques between bureaucrats, politicians and the military. During the summer of 1937, Konoe appointed 37 members chosen from a broad political spectrum to a preparatory committee which met in Karuizawa, Nagano. The committee included Konoe's political colleagues Fumio Gotō, Count Yoriyasu Arima and ex-syndicalist and right-wing spokesman Fusanosuke Kuhara. The socialist and populist left wing was represented by Kingoro Hashimoto and the traditionalist military wings by Senjūrō Hayashi, Heisuke Yanagawa and Nobuyuki Abe.

Konoe proposed originally that the Imperial Rule Assistance Association be organized along national syndicalist lines, with new members assigned to branches based on occupation, which would then develop channels for mass participation of the common population to "assist with the Imperial Rule".[2]

However, from the start, there was no consensus in a common cause, as the leadership council represented all ends of the political spectrum, and in the end, the party was organized along geographic lines, following the existing political sub-divisions. Therefore, all local government leaders at each level of village, town, city and prefectural government automatically received the equivalent position within their local Imperial Rule Assistance Association branch.[3]

Ideals

Announcement ceremony of Taisei-yokusan no Uta
Celebrations on founding of the IRAA

Prior to creation of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, Konoe had already passed the National Mobilization Law, which effectively nationalized strategic industries, the news media, and labor unions, in preparation for total war with China.

Labor unions were replaced by the Nation Service Draft Ordinance, which empowered the government to draft civilian workers into critical war industries. Society was mobilized and indoctrinated through the National Spiritual Mobilization Movement, which organized patriotic events and mass rallies, and promoted slogans such as "Yamato-damashii" (Japanese spirit) and "Hakkō ichiu" (All the world under one roof) to support Japanese militarism. This was urged to "restore the spirit and virtues of old Japan".[4]

Some objections to it came on the grounds that kokutai, imperial polity, already required all imperial subjects to support imperial rule.[5]

In addition to drumming up support for the ongoing wars in China and in the Pacific, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association helped maintain public order and provided certain public services via the tonarigumi neighborhood association program.[6] It also played a role in increasing productivity, monitoring rationing, and organizing civil defense.

The Imperial Rule Assistance Association was also militarized, with its members donning khaki-colored uniforms. In the last period of the conflict, the membership received military training and was projected to integrate with civil militia in case of the anticipated American invasion.

Development

As soon as October 1940, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association systemized and formalized the Tonarigumi, a nationwide system of neighborhood associations. The November 6, 1940 issue of Shashin Shūhō (Photographic Weekly Report) explained the purpose of this infrastructure:

The Taisei Yokusankai movement has already turned on the switch for rebuilding a new Japan and completing a new Great East Asian order which, writ large, is the construction of a new world order. The Taisei Yokusankai is, broadly speaking, the New Order movement which will, in a word, place One Hundred Million into one body under this new organisation that will conduct all of our energies and abilities for the sake of the nation. Aren't we all mentally prepared to be members of this new organization and, as one adult to another, without holding our superiors in awe or being preoccupied with the past, cast aside all private concerns in order to perform public service? Under the Taisei Yokusankai are regional town, village, and tonarigumi; let's convene council meetings and advance the activities of this organization.[7]

Imperial Rule Assistance Election Speech
Imperial Rule Assistance Association election speech, 1942

In February 1942, all women's associations were merged into the Greater Japan Women's Association which joined the Imperial Rule Assistance Association in May. Every adult woman in Japan, excepting the under twenty and unmarried, was forced to join the Association.[8]

Likewise, in June, all youth organizations were merged into the Greater Japan Imperial Rule Assistance Youth Corps (翼賛青年団), based on the model of the German Sturmabteilung (stormtroopers).[9]

In March 1942, Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō attempted to eliminate the influence of elected politicians by establishing an officially sponsored election nomination commission, which restricted non-government-sanctioned candidates from the ballot.[10] After the 1942 Japanese General Election, all members of Diet were required to join the Yokusan Seijikai (Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association), which effectively made Japan a one-party state. The Imperial Rule Assistance Association was formally dissolved on June 13, 1945.

During the occupation of Japan, the American authorities purged thousands of government leaders from public life for having been members of the Association.

Later, many of the leaders of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association became major members of the LDP and the Social Democratic Party.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Wolferen, The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation, page 351
  2. ^ Sims, Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation 1868–2000, p. 220
  3. ^ Duus, The Cambridge History of Japan, page 146
  4. ^ Edwin P. Hoyt, Japan's War, p 189 ISBN 0-07-030612-5
  5. ^ James L. McClain, Japan: A Modern History p 454 ISBN 0-393-04156-5
  6. ^ Aldus, The Police in Occupation Japan: Control, Corruption and Resistance to Reform, page 36
  7. ^ David C. Earhart, Certain Victory, M.E. Sharpe, 2008, p.142, citing Shashin Shūhō
  8. ^ Modern Japan in archives, the Yokusan System, http://www.ndl.go.jp/modern/e/cha4/description15.html
  9. ^ Shillony, Ben-Ami (1981). Politics and Culture in Wartime Japan. Oxford University Press. pp. 23–33, 71–75. ISBN 0-19-820260-1.
  10. ^ Stockwin, Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Major Economy, page 22

References

  • Aldus, Christop (1999). The Police in Occupation Japan: Control, Corruption and Resistance to Reform. Routeledge. ISBN 0-415-14526-0.
  • Duus, Peter (2001). The Cambridge History of Japan. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23915-7.
  • Sims, Richard (2001). Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation 1868–2000. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23915-7.
  • Stockwin, JAA (1990). Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Major Economy. Vintage. ISBN 0-679-72802-3.
  • Wolferen, Karel J (1990). The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation. Vintage. ISBN 0-679-72802-3.

Leaders

No. Name Period
1 Fumimaro Konoe 1940 – 1941
2 Hideki Tojo 1941 – 1944
3 Kuniaki Koiso 1944 – 1945
4 Kantarō Suzuki 1945 – 1945

Popular support and electoral results

House of Representatives
Election year Total seats ±
1942
381 / 466

External links

Chikuhei Nakajima

Chikuhei Nakajima (中島 知久平, Nakajima Chikuhei, January 1, 1884 – October 29, 1949), was a Japanese naval officer, engineer, and politician, who is most notable for having founded Nakajima Aircraft Company in 1917, a major supplier of airplanes in the Empire of Japan. He also served as a cabinet minister.

Fumimaro Konoe

Prince Fumimaro Konoe (Japanese: 近衞 文麿, Hepburn: Konoe Fumimaro, often Konoye, 12 October 1891 – 16 December 1945) was a Japanese politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. He was Prime Minister in the lead-up to Japan entering World War II.

Fumio Gotō

Fumio Gotō (後藤 文夫, Gotō Fumio, 7 March 1884 – 13 May 1980) was a Japanese politician and bureaucrat, and briefly served as interim Prime Minister of Japan in 1936.

Fusanosuke Kuhara

Fusanosuke Kuhara (久原 房之助, Kuhara Fusanosuke, 12 July 1869 – 29 January 1965) was an entrepreneur, politician and cabinet minister in the pre-war Empire of Japan.

Kantarō Suzuki

Baron Kantarō Suzuki (鈴木 貫太郎, 18 January 1868 – 17 April 1948) was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, member and final leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association and 42nd Prime Minister of Japan from 7 April to 17 August 1945.

Kingoro Hashimoto

Kingoro Hashimoto (橋本 欣五郎, Hashimoto Kingorō, February 19, 1890 – June 29, 1957) was a soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army and politician. He was famous for having twice tried to stage a coup against the civilian government in the 1930s.

Koizumi Matajirō

Koizumi Matajirō (小泉 又次郎, 10 June 1865 – 24 September 1951) was a Japanese politician and cabinet minister in the Taishō period and early Shōwa period Japan. He was the grandfather of Jun'ichirō Koizumi, who served as the Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006.

Kokumin Dōmei

Kokumin Dōmei (国民同盟, National Alliance) was a Japanese fascist political party in Japan active in the 1930s.

In 1931, Home Minister Adachi Kenzō spoke out strongly in support of the Imperial Japanese Army’s unauthorized incursions into Manchuria and against the diplomatic policies pursued by Kijūrō Shidehara, and was expelled from the ranks of the Rikken Minseitō. Joining together with Nakano Seigō, Akira Kazami, and others, Adachi formed the right-wing political organization Kokumin Dōmei in December 1932

The Kokumin Dōmei advocated a form of state socialism or corporatism with government control of strategic industries and financial institutions, and the creation of a Japan-Manchukuo economic union.

The new party consisted mainly of defectors from the Minseitō, and had an original strength of 32 seats in the Diet of Japan. In 1934, it demanded an inquiry into the Teijin Incident in an effort to bring down the cabinet of Prime Minister Saitō Makoto. However, in 1935, many members returned to the Minseitō fold, and in 1936, Nakano left the party to form the Tōhōkai the following year, and Kazami joining Fumimaro Konoe’s think tank, the Shōwa Kenkyūkai. In the 1937 General Election, the party's strength fell from 32 seats to 11 seats.

In June 1940, The Kokumin Dōmei was merged into the Imperial Rule Assistance Association as part of Hideki Tōjō's efforts to create a one-party state, and thereafter ceased to exist.

List of fascist movements by country

This is a list of political parties, organizations, and movements that have been claimed to follow some form of fascist ideology. Since definitions of fascism vary, entries in this list may be controversial. For a discussion of the various debates surrounding the nature of fascism, see fascism and ideology and definitions of fascism.

This list has been divided into four sections for reasons of length:

List of fascist movements by country A–F

List of fascist movements by country G–M

List of fascist movements by country N–T

List of fascist movements by country U–Z

Naoki Hoshino

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Nobuyuki Abe

General Nobuyuki Abe (阿部 信行, Abe Nobuyuki, November 24, 1875 – 7 September 1953) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, Governor-General of Korea, and 36th Prime Minister of Japan from 30 August 1939 to 16 January 1940.

Ryūtarō Nagai

Ryūtarō Nagai (永井 柳太郎, Nagai Ryūtarō, April 16, 1881 – December 4, 1944), was a politician and cabinet minister in the Empire of Japan, serving a member of the Lower House of the Diet of Japan eight times, and four as a cabinet minister. He was noted in his early political career as a champion of universal suffrage, social welfare, labor unions, women's rights and Pan-Asianism.

Senjūrō Hayashi

Senjūrō Hayashi (林 銑十郎, Hayashi Senjūrō, 23 February 1876 – 4 February 1943) was an Imperial Japanese Army commander of the Chōsen Army of Japan in Korea during the Mukden Incident and the invasion of Manchuria, and a Japanese politician and the 33rd Prime Minister of Japan from 2 February 1937 to 4 June 1937.

Taketora Ogata

Taketora Ogata (緒方 竹虎, Ogata Taketora, January 30, 1888 – January 28, 1956) was a Japanese journalist, Vice President of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and later a politician. During the war, he joined the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. After the end of the war, he was purged from public service. Later, he became the Chief Secretary of the 4th Yoshida Cabinet, Vice President and then President of the Liberal Party of Japan of Japan, but he died before becoming a prime minister.

Tatsunosuke Yamazaki

Tatsunosuke Yamazaki (山崎 達之輔, Yamazaki Tatsunosuke, 19 June 1880 – 15 March 1948) was a Japanese was a politician and cabinet minister in the Taishō and early Shōwa periods of the Japan. His brother, Iwao Yamazaki was also a politician and cabinet minister, and his nephew Heihachiro Yamazaki was later a prominent member of the post-war Liberal-Democratic Party.

Toshio Shimada

Toshio Shimada (島田 俊雄, Shimada Toshio, 19 June 1877 – 21 December 1947) was a politician and cabinet minister in the pre-war Empire of Japan.

Tsuneo Kanemitsu

Tsuneo Kanemitsu (金光 庸夫, Kanemitsu Tsuneo, also as known as Kanemitsu Yasuo; March 13, 1877 – March 5, 1955), was an entrepreneur, politician and cabinet minister in the Empire of Japan, serving eight terms as a member of the Lower House of the Diet of Japan, and twice times as a cabinet minister. He also served twice in the post-war Lower House of the Diet.

Yonezō Maeda

Yonezō Maeda (前田 米蔵, Maeda Yonezō, 17 February 1888 – 18 March 1954) was a politician and cabinet minister in the pre-war Empire of Japan.

Maeda was a native of Wakayama Prefecture, and a graduate of the Tokyo Hōgakuin (the predecessor to the law school of Chuo University). He received his law degree in 1903. He was elected to the Lower House of the Diet of Japan in the 1917 General Election, under the Rikken Seiyūkai banner, and was subsequently reelected to the same seat during the next nine elections. Maeda served as Secretary-General of the party in 1925. In 1927, Prime Minister Tanaka Giichi picked Maeda as his Director-General of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. Maeda subsequent was appointed Minister of Commerce and Industry under the Inukai administration in 1931. He returned to the Cabinet under the Hirota administration as Railway Minister in 1936. In 1939, Maeda was asked to resume his post as Railway Minister under the Hiranuma administration.

As with all other Japanese politicians, Maeda was forced to join the Taisei Yokusankai created by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe in 1940, and served as the party's Chairman for Administrative Affairs. During World War II, Maeda served as Minister of Transport and Communications, under the Koiso administration.

After the surrender of Japan, Maeda joined the Japan Progressive Party, which had emerged under the occupation of Japan. However, he was purged from public office in 1946 along with all other members of the wartime administration. In 1952, with the end of the occupation of Japan, he became one of the founding members of the Liberal Party headed by Shigeru Yoshida, forming his own faction within the party. However, he was defeated in the 1953 General Election, and went into retirement. Maeda died the following year.

Yukio Sakurauchi

Yukio Sakurauchi (櫻内 幸雄, Sakurauchi Yukio, 14 October 1888 – 9 October 1947) was an entrepreneur, politician and cabinet minister in the pre-war Empire of Japan. He was the father of prominent post-war politician Yoshio Sakurauchi, and grandfather of controversial politician Seiichi Ota.

Sakurauchi was born in former Hirose Town Shimane Prefecture, in what is now part of the city of Yasugi, Shimane. The Sakurauchi family were former samurai in the service of Matsue Domain. His father relocated to Yonago in neighboring Tottori Prefecture in 1885, and started a company to produce and sell Water wheels. The venture did not succeed, and the family moved to Sakaiminato starting a business in commodity trading in 1886, followed by tofu production and retail sales in 1887. Sakurauchi left home in 1893 to work in a paper mill in Yokohama in 1893 for minimal wages. In 1895, he was in Tokyo, working as a typesetter and artisan for a newspaper, becoming a reporter for the Nippon Telegraph news agency in 1902, and executive director of the Ogura Racing Association by 1907. Making a fortune in speculating in horses by 1908, he was appointed president of Saitama Electric Light Company in 1909 and president of Okayama Hydroelectric Company in 1917.

Sakurauchi was elected to the Lower House of the Diet of Japan in the 1920 General Election, under the Rikken Seiyūkai banner, and was reelected for six terms. Sakurauchi became president of Ibiden company in 1925. He subsequently changed his political party affiliation to the Rikken Minseitō, and served as Secretary-General of the party in 1927.

In 1931, Prime Minister Wakatsuki Reijirō picked Sakurauchi as Minister of Commerce and Industry. He returned to the Cabinet under the Hirota administration as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in 1939. In 1940, Sakurauchi was asked to serve as Treasury Minister under the Yonai administration. As with all other Japanese politicians, Sakurauchi was forced to join the Taisei Yokusankai created by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe. From May 1945 to April 1946, Sakurauchi served as a member of the Privy Council.

After the surrender of Japan, Sakurauchi was purged from public office in 1946 along with all other members of the wartime administration. He died the following year.

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