Tōhōkai (東方会 Society of the East) was a Japanese fascist political party in Japan, active in the 1930s and early 1940s. Its origins lay in the right-wing political organization Kokumin Domei which was formed by Adachi Kenzō in 1933 and which advocated National socialism. In 1936, Nakano Seigō disagreed with Adachi of matters of policy and formed a separate group, which he called the 'Tōhōkai'.[1]


LeaderNakano Seigō
FoundedMay 25, 1936
DissolvedMarch 23, 1944
Split fromKokumin Domei
Political positionFar-right

Ideology and development

Inspired by the writings of ultranationalist philosopher Kita Ikki, Nakano advocated national reform through parliamentary means rather than through a military coup d'état. Nakano turned to the national socialist movement of Adolf Hitler and the fascist movement of Benito Mussolini as examples of how radical right-wing political movements advocating corporatism could successfully take over a parliamentary democracy. The Tōhōkai used many of the trappings of the European movements it emulated, including the wearing of black shirts with armbands (bearing the Japanese character for 'East') and holding of mass rallies.[2]

The programme of Tōhōkai was not a complete copy of the Western models, however, as the group was also driven by a deep-seated admiration for Saigō Takamori and the Satsuma Rebellion and was strongly monarchist in nature.[2] The Tōhōkai also advocated an economic policy which it called 'social nationalism', one which was actually influenced by the ideas taken from the British Fabian Society rather than fascism.[2] The group was also strong imperialist, with Nakano suggesting that Japan should "blast a way through Singapore to the Persian Gulf in order to link up with Nazi Germany directly".[3] Tōhōkai won some popular support, and at its peak held eleven seats in the Diet of Japan in 1937.[4]

In 1939 the party actually entered into merger negotiations with Shakai Taishuto, a moderate left-wing party attracted to the socialist elements of Tōhōkai policy. Ultimately however the talks broke down, both because Nakano insisted on leading any merged party and because many members of Shakai Taishuto considered Tōhōkai to be fascist party.[5] It has subsequently been argued that Tōhōkai bears comparison to the left-wing of the Nazi party as typified by Ernst Röhm and others largely eliminated in the Night of the Long Knives.[6]

Merger and decline

However, in October 1940 the Tōhōkai merged into the Imperial Rule Assistance Association as part of Fumimaro Konoe's efforts to create a one-party state.[4] It broke away in 1941 as it felt that Konoe had not established the European-style totalitarian party of state that they desired, although their anti-British and anti-American propaganda meant that the government did little to curtail their activities as they did with other parties.[7] As a result, the Tōhōkai was allowed to field 46 candidates in the 1942 general election.[7] Seven members of the party were re-elected and Nakano continued as a critic of the government, berating Konoe and Hideki Tōjō for not following the path of Adolf Hitler more closely.[8]

In October 1943, Nakano was arrested along with 39 other members of the party on charges of plotting to overthrow the Tōjō regime, and committed suicide under mysterious circumstances the night after being released on bail.[9] As with many similar movements based on a single charismatic leader, the Tōhōkai largely dissolved after Nakano's death and was formally disbanded on 23 March 1944.[4] It was officially banned in 1945 by the American Occupation Authorities.


After the Occupation of Japan, the Tōhōkai was revived by former members, and is now a minor ultranationalist group headquartered in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture.[10] The National Socialist Japanese Workers and Welfare Party also claims to be a successor to the Tōhōkai and sometimes uses its symbols.[11]


  1. ^ Christian W. Spang, Rolf-Harald Wippich, Japanese-German Relations, 1895–1945: War, Diplomacy and Public Opinion, Routledge, 2006, p. 181
  2. ^ a b c Roger Griffin, The Nature of Fascism, Routledge, 2003, p. 155
  3. ^ Courtney Browne, Tojo: The Last Banzai, Angus & Robertson, 1967, p. 102
  4. ^ a b c Griffin, The Nature of Fascism, p. 156
  5. ^ Stephen S. Large, Organized Workers and Socialist Politics in Interwar Japan, Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 219
  6. ^ Andrew Roth, Dilemma in Japan, READ BOOKS, 2007, pp. 92-93
  7. ^ a b Ben-Ami Shillony, Politics and Culture in Wartime Japan, p. 23
  8. ^ Shillony, Politics and Culture in Wartime Japan, Oxford University Press, 1991, p. 47
  9. ^ Peter Wetzler, Hirohito and War: Imperial Tradition and Military Decision Making in Prewar Japan, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, pp. 76-78
  10. ^ The Tōhō Party official site Archived 2006-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Political Flags of Extremism - Part 2 (n-z)

External links

1937 Japanese general election

General elections were held in Japan on 31 March 1937. Rikken Minseitō emerged as the largest in Parliament, with 179 of the 466 seats. The election was a major victory for the Shakai Taishūtō, which became the third-largest party in the Diet. It was the first socialist party to do so in Japanese history. In contrast, the mildly pro-military Rikken Minseitō lost several seats and fascist groups such as Tōhōkai remained minor forces in the House. A month after the election, the Emperor replaced Hayashi with Fumimaro Konoe. Voter turnout was 73.3%.

Fascism and ideology

The history of Fascist ideology is long and it also involves many sources. Fascists took inspiration from sources as ancient as the Spartans for their focus on racial purity and their emphasis on rule by an elite minority. Fascism has also been connected to the ideals of Plato, though there are key differences between the two. Fascism styled itself as the ideological successor to Rome, particularly the Roman Empire. The Enlightenment-era concept of a "high and noble" Aryan culture as opposed to a "parasitic" Semitic culture was core to Nazi racial views. From the same era, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's view on the absolute authority of the state also strongly influenced Fascist thinking. The French Revolution was a major influence insofar as the Nazis saw themselves as fighting back against many of the ideas which it brought to prominence, especially liberalism, liberal democracy and racial equality, whereas on the other hand Fascism drew heavily on the revolutionary ideal of nationalism. Common themes among fascist movements include; nationalism (including racial nationalism), hierarchy and elitism, militarism, quasi-religion, masculinity and voluntarism. Other aspects of fascism such as its "myth of decadence", anti‐egalitarianism and totalitarianism can be seen to originate from these ideas. These fundamental aspects however, can be attributed to a concept known as "Palingenetic ultranationalism", a theory proposed by Roger Griffin, that fascism is essentially populist ultranationalism sacralized through the myth of national rebirth and regeneration.

Its relationship with other ideologies of its day was complex, often at once adversarial and focused on co-opting their more popular aspects. Fascists supported limited, nominally private property rights and the profit motive of capitalism, but sought to eliminate the autonomy of large-scale capitalism by consolidating power with the state. They shared many of the goals of the conservatives of their day and often allied themselves with them by drawing recruits from disaffected conservative ranks, but presented themselves as holding a more modern ideology, with less focus on things like traditional religion. Fascism opposed the egalitarian (Völkisch equality) and international character of mainstream socialism, but sometimes sought to establish itself as an alternative "national" socialism. It strongly opposed liberalism and capitalism , as well as communism, anarchism, and social democracy.

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

List of political parties in Japan

This article lists political parties in Japan.

List of right-wing political parties

The following is a list of right-wing political parties. It includes parties from the centre-right to the far and ultra right.

National Socialist Party

National Socialist Party or Nazi Party may refer to:

National Socialist German Workers' Party, more commonly known as the Nazi Party

Political parties of the Empire of Japan

Political parties (日本の戦前の政党, seitō) appeared in Japan after the Meiji Restoration, and gradually increased in importance after the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution and the creation of the Diet of Japan. During the Taishō period, parliamentary democracy based on party politics temporarily succeeded in Japan, but in the 1930s the political parties were eclipsed by the military, and were dissolved in the 1940s during World War II

Seigō Nakano

Seigō Nakano (中野 正剛, Nakano Seigō) (12 February 1886 – 27 October 1943) was a political leader in Imperial Japan who advocated a fascist regime for Japan to complete the Meiji Restoration.

Nakano sought to bring about a rebirth of Japan through a blend of the samurai ethic, Neo-Confucianism, and populist nationalism modeled on European fascism. He saw Saigō Takamori as epitomizing the 'true spirit' of the Meiji ishin, and the task of modern Japan to recapture it.

Nakano formed the Kokumin Dōmei (National Alliance) with Adachi Kenzō in December 1932. He left this group with a splinter group to form the Tōhōkai ("Far East Society"; see their flag here) in May 1936.

In December 1937, Nakano had a personal audience with Benito Mussolini. In the next month, he met with Adolf Hitler and Joachim Ribbentrop.

In January 1939, Nakano gave a speech on the need for a totalitarian Japan. He argued against those who "say that neither fascism nor Nazism are appropriate for our nation." He then distinguished between old-style conservative despotism, and a "Totalitarianism... based on essentials." Arguing against majority rule (as the majority "is the precise cause of contemporary decadence") and "an individualism which shows no concern for others", he calls for a "government going beyond democracy" giving consideration to "the essence of human beings." With organic unification of individuals "sharing common ideals and a common way of feeling," there can be formed "a perfect national organization."

On 16 February 1942, British diplomats secretly proposed a peace deal with Japan. A possible agreement was that if Britain formally recognised the authority of Imperial Japan over North China and Manchuria, the Japanese would return the Malay Peninsula and Singapore to Britain.

At the same time as this diplomatic movement, a political confrontation was in progress between Tōhōkai and the Kōdōha party. This was possibly the last internal political power struggle in the government before the Midway and Coral Sea defeats in 1942, which sent the Japanese armed forces reeling.

As leader of the ultranationalist Tōhōkai, Nakano had some political influence at the time. He expressed his support and confidence for the Imperial Japanese Navy. He anxiously awaited the approval of the peace talks, so as to stabilize the recent conquests in Southeast Asia. Nakano also wanted to prevent any further sacrifices by the Japanese people towards the war effort, and pressured the government to drop what he considered to be the overly-ambitious aim of conquering all of Asia.

On the other side was the largely pro-Imperialist faction, which represented the military interests of Japan and was led by General Hideki Tōjō. They reasoned that the extremely rapid successes in recent campaigns in Southeast Asia should be continued into the rest of Asia and even Australia before the Allies could react, to further develop the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

General Tōjō rejected any form of peace processes in the conquered lands and gave authorization for more conquests. This angered and frustrated Nakano and the Tōhōkai, who saw the rejection as a lost opportunity for Japan to maintain and consolidate its new territorial gains in Southeast Asia in the long term, and before the United States launched counter-offensives.

Verbally critical of the Tōjō regime, Nakano was forbidden to publish articles or make public speeches. He was placed under house arrest, and committed seppuku (ritual suicide) on 27 October 1943.

Japan Political parties of the Empire of Japan by decade of establishment

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