Privy Seal of Japan
The Privy Seal of Japan is one of the national seals and is the Emperor of Japan's official seal. It is cubic, its inscription 天皇御璽 is written in seal script, it has two lines of vertical writing, with the right-hand side containing the characters 天皇, on the left-hand side containing the characters 御璽. The seal is printed on Imperial rescripts, proclamation of sentences of laws, cabinet orders, instruments of ratification, ambassadors' credentials and their dismissal documents, documents of general power of attorney, consular commissions, letters authorizing foreign consuls, letters of appointment or dismissal of government officials, whose appointment requires the Emperor's attestation, appointment documents and documents of the Prime Minister and Chief Justice, their respective dismissals; the history of the Privy Seal of Japan dates back to the Nara period. Although it was made from copper, it was manufactured from stone in 1868 and was made from pure gold; the present Privy Seal is about 3 sun in size and weighs 4.5 kg.
The master-hand of the seal was Abei Rekido of Kyoto. He was commissioned to manufacture the State Seal of Japan within one year, in 1874; when not in use, the seal is kept in a leather bag. The seal is used with special cinnabar seal ink specially made by the National Printing Bureau. If the State Seal or the Privy Seal are illegally reproduced, the penalty is at least two years or more of terminable penal servitude according to the first clause of Article 164 of the Criminal Code of Japan. National seals of Japan Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan Heirloom Seal of the Realm Emperor Showa signing documents and using the State and Privy Seal of Japan
Emperor Taishō was the 123rd Emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912 until his death on 25 December 1926. The Emperor's personal name was Yoshihito. According to Japanese custom, during the reign the Emperor is called "the Emperor". After death, he is known by a posthumous name, the name of the era coinciding with his reign. Having ruled during the Taishō period, he is known as the "Taishō Emperor" or "Emperor Taishō". Prince Yoshihito was born at the Tōgū Palace in Akasaka, Tokyo to Emperor Meiji and Yanagihara Naruko, a concubine with the official title of gon-no-tenji; as was common practice at the time, Emperor Meiji's consort, Empress Shōken, was regarded as his mother. He received the personal name of Yoshihito Shinnō and the title Haru-no-miya from the Emperor on 6 September 1879, his two older siblings had died in infancy, he too was born sickly. Prince Yoshihito contracted cerebral meningitis within three weeks of his birth; as was the practice at the time, Prince Yoshihito was entrusted to the care of his great-grandfather, Marquess Nakayama Tadayasu, in whose house he lived from infancy until the age of seven.
Prince Nakayama had raised his grandson, Emperor Meiji, as a child. From March 1885, Prince Yoshihito moved to the Aoyama Detached Palace, where he was tutored in the mornings on reading, writing and morals, in the afternoons on sports, but progress was slow due to his poor health and frequent fevers. From 1886, he was taught together with 15–20 selected classmates from the ōke and higher ranking kazoku peerage at a special school, the Gogakumonsho, within the Aoyama Palace. Yoshihito was declared heir on 31 August 1887, had his formal investiture as crown prince on 3 November 1888. While crown prince, he was referred to as Tōgu. In September 1887, Yoshihito entered the elementary department of the Gakushūin, he spent much of his youth by the sea at the Imperial villas at Hayama and Numazu for health reasons. Although the prince showed skill in some areas, such as horse riding, he proved to be poor in areas requiring higher-level thought, he was withdrawn from Gakushuin before finishing the middle school course in 1894.
However, he did appear to have an aptitude for languages and continued to receive extensive tutoring in French and history from private tutors at the Akasaka Palace. From 1898 at the insistence of Itō Hirobumi, the Prince began to attend sessions of the House of Peers of the Diet of Japan as a way of learning about the political and military concerns of the country. In the same year, he gave his first official receptions to foreign diplomats, with whom he was able to shake hands and converse graciously, his infatuation with western culture and tendency to sprinkle French words into his conversations was a source of irritation for Emperor Meiji. In October 1898, the Prince traveled from the Numazu Imperial Villa to Kobe and Etajima, visiting sites connected with the Imperial Japanese Navy, he made another tour in 1899 to Kyūshū, visiting government offices and factories. On 10 May 1900, Crown Prince Yoshihito married the 15-year-old Kujō Sadako, daughter of Prince Kujō Michitaka, the head of the five senior branches of the Fujiwara clan.
She had been selected by Emperor Meiji for her intelligence and pleasant disposition and dignity – to complement Prince Yoshihito in the areas where he was lacking. The Akasaka Palace was constructed from 1899 to 1909 in a lavish European rococo style, to serve as the Crown Prince's official residence; the Prince and Princess had the following children: In 1902, Yoshihito continued his tours to observe the customs and geography of Japan, this time of central Honshū, where he visited the noted Buddhist temple of Zenkō-ji in Nagano. With tensions rising between Japan and Russia, Yoshihito was promoted in 1903 to the rank of colonel in the Imperial Japanese Army and captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy, his military duties were only ceremonial, but he traveled to inspect military facilities in Wakayama, Ehime and Okayama that year. In October 1907, the Crown Prince toured Korea, accompanied by Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō, General Katsura Tarō, Prince Arisugawa Taruhito, it was the first time an heir apparent to the throne had left Japan.
During this period, he began studying the Korean language, although he never became proficient at it. On 30 July 1912, upon the death of his father, Emperor Meiji, Prince Yoshihito mounted the throne; the new Emperor was kept out of view of the public as much as possible. On one of the rare occasions he was seen in public, the 1913 opening of the Imperial Diet of Japan, he is famously reported to have rolled his prepared speech into a cylinder and stared at the assembly through it, as if through a spyglass. Although rumors attributed this to poor mental condition, including those who knew him well, believed that he may have been checking to make sure the speech was rolled up properly, as his manual dexterit
Supreme Court of Judicature of Japan
The Supreme Court of Judicature was the highest judicial body in the Empire of Japan. It existed from 1875 to 1947. Organized by the Ministry of Justice in 1875, the Japanese Supreme Court of Judicature was modeled after Court of Cassation in France; the court was composed of 120 judges in both criminal divisions. Five judges would be empaneled for any given case; the criminal division of the court was the court of first instance for crimes against the Emperor and for high crimes against public order. The promulgation of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan and formalized its position at the apex of the Japanese court system, consisting of the local courts, district courts and court of appeals, it was abolished by order of the American occupation authorities in 1947, after the abolition of the Meiji Constitution. The building of the Supreme Court of Judicature was gutted by American air raids during the bombing of Tokyo in World War II, it was repaired, continued to be used as the Supreme Court of Japan under the post-war Constitution of Japan until 1974.
The present Tokyo High Court was built on its former location. Court of Cassation of France Senior Courts of England and Wales Rohl, Story of Law in Japan since 1868, Brill Academic Pub, ISBN 9004131647
Imperial Rule Assistance Association
The Imperial Rule Assistance Association, 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 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; when the organization was launched Konoe was hailed as a "political savior" of a nation in chaos. Based on recommendations by the Shōwa Kenkyūkai, Konoe conceived of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association as a reformist political party to overcome the deep-rooted differences and political cliques between bureaucrats 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 that the Imperial Rule Assistance Association be organized along national syndicalist lines, with new members assigned to branches based on occupation, which would develop channels for mass participation of the common population to "assist with the Imperial Rule". However, from the start, there was no consensus in a common cause, as the leadership council represented all ends of the political spectrum, 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 and prefectural government automatically received the equivalent position within their local Imperial Rule Assistance Association branch. Prior to creation of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, Konoe had passed the National Mobilization Law, which nationalized strategic industries, the news media, 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, promoted slogans such as "Yamato-damashii" and "Hakkō ichiu" to support Japanese militarism; this was urged to "restore the spirit and virtues of old Japan". Some objections to it came on the grounds that kokutai, imperial polity required all imperial subjects to support imperial rule. 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, it played a role in increasing productivity, monitoring rationing, organizing civil defense. The Imperial Rule Assistance Association was 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. 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 explained the purpose of this infrastructure: The Taisei Yokusankai movement has 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 and tonarigumi. 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. In June, all youth organizations were merged into the Greater Japan Imperial Rule Assistance Youth Corps, based on the model of the German Sturmabteilung. In March 1942, Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō attempted to eliminate the influence of elected politicians by establishing an sponsored election nomination commission, which restricted non-government-sanctioned candidates from the ballot. After the 1942 Japanese General Election, all members of Diet were required to join the Yokusan Seijikai, which 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.
Many of the leaders of
Japanese militarism refers to the ideology in the Empire of Japan that militarism should dominate the political and social life of the nation, that the strength of the military is equal to the strength of a nation. The military had a strong influence on Japanese society from the Meiji Restoration. All leaders in Japanese society during the Meiji period were ex-samurai or descendants of samurai, shared a set of values and outlooks; the early Meiji government viewed Japan as threatened by western imperialism, one of the prime motivations for the Fukoku Kyohei policy was to strengthen Japan's economic and industrial foundations, so that a strong military could be built to defend Japan against outside powers. The rise of universal military conscription, introduced by Yamagata Aritomo in 1873, along with the proclamation of the Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors in 1882 enabled the military to indoctrinate thousands of men from various social backgrounds with military-patriotic values and the concept of unquestioning loyalty to the Emperor as the basis of the Japanese state.
Yamagata like many Japanese was influenced by the recent striking success of Prussia in transforming itself from an agricultural state to a leading modern industrial and military power. He accepted Prussian political ideas, which favored military expansion abroad and authoritarian government at home; the Prussian model devalued the notion of civilian control over the independent military, which meant that in Japan, as in Germany, the military could develop into a state within a state, thus exercising greater influence on politics in general. Following the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War, the Army Staff College and the Japanese General Staff paid close attention to Major Jakob Meckel's views on the superiority of the German military model over the French system as the reason for German victory. In response to a Japanese request, Prussian Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke sent Meckel to Japan to become an O-yatoi gaikokujin. In Japan, Meckel worked with future Prime Ministers General Katsura Tarō and General Yamagata Aritomo, with army strategist General Kawakami Soroku.
Meckel made numerous recommendations which were implemented, including reorganization of the command structure of the army into divisions and regiments, thus increasing mobility, strengthening the army logistics and transportation structure with the major army bases connected by railways, establishing artillery and engineering regiments as independent commands, revising the universal conscription system to abolish all exceptions. A bust of Meckel was sited in front of the Japanese Army Staff College from 1909 through 1945. Although his period in Japan was short, Meckel had a tremendous impact on the development of the Japanese military, he is credited with having introduced Clausewitz's military theories and the Prussian concept of war games in a process of refining tactics. By training some sixty of the highest-ranking Japanese officers of the time in tactics and organization, he was able to replace the previous influences of the French advisors with his own philosophies. Meckel reinforced Hermann Roesler's ideal of subservience to the Emperor by teaching his pupils that Prussian military success was a consequence of the officer class's unswerving loyalty to their sovereign Emperor, as expressly codified in Articles XI-XIII of the Meiji Constitution.
The rise of political parties in the late Meiji period was coupled with the rise of secret and semi-secret patriotic societies, such as the Genyōsha and Kokuryukai, which coupled political activities with paramilitary activities and military intelligence, supported expansionism overseas as a solution to Japan's domestic issues. Japan felt looked down on by Western countries during the late 19th century; the phrase fukoku kyōhei was created during this time and shows how Japanese officials saw imperialism as the way to gain respect and power. With a more aggressive foreign policy, victory over China in the First Sino-Japanese War and over Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, Japan joined the imperialist powers; the need for a strong military to secure Japan's new overseas empire was strengthened by a sense that only through a strong military would Japan earn the respect of western nations, thus revision of the unequal treaties. During the 19th century, Great Power status was considered dependent on resource-rich colonial empires, both as a source of raw materials for military and industrial production, international prestige.
Due to the lack of resources in Japanese home islands, raw materials such as iron and coal had to be imported. The success of Japan in securing Taiwan and Korea had brought Japan agricultural colonies. In terms of resources, the Japanese military looked towards Manchuria's iron and coal, Indochina's rubber, China's vast resources. However, the army was at variance with the zaibatsu financial and industrial corporations on how to manage economic expansion, a conflict affecting domestic politics. Forming part of the basis for the growth of militarism was the freedom from civilian control enjoyed by the Japanese armed forces. In 1878, the Imperial Japanese Army established the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff office, modeled after the Prussian General Staff; this office was independent of, equal to the Ministry of War of Japan in terms of authority. The Imperial Japanese Navy soon followed with the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff; these General Staff offices were responsible for the planning and execution of military operations
Mokusatsu is a Japanese word meaning "ignore", "take no notice of" or "treat with silent contempt". It is composed of two kanji characters: 黙 and 殺, it is one of the terms cited to argue that problems encountered by Japanese in the sphere of international politics arise from misunderstandings or mistranslations of their language. It was the adoption of this term by the government of Japan that first gave rise to the prominence of the word abroad. Mokusatsu was used in a response to the Allied demand in the Potsdam Declaration that Japan surrender unconditionally in World War II, it was understood to mean that Japan had rejected those terms, a perceived outright rejection that contributed to President Harry S. Truman's decision to carry out the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, implying that, in spurning the terms, Japan had brought down on its own head the destruction of those two cities; the Allies were aware that within the Japanese government an attempt to reach a negotiated termination of hostilities had been underway via diplomatic contacts with Moscow, still neutral.
The Potsdam declaration presented one further occasion for mediation, but it was opposed by the War Minister General Korechika Anami, with backing from the army and navy chiefs of staff, all demanding that the Declaration be rejected with a broadcast containing a point by point rebuttal. The Army demanded that the public be kept unaware of the Declaration. In a compromise, the Foreign Minister Tōgō Shigenori gained a Cabinet consensus to have the Declaration translated and released to the public, but in a censored version that deleted mentions of an imminent "utter destruction of the Japanese homeland," "stern justice" for all war criminals, that disarmed soldiers would be allowed to return home to live constructive lives in peace, comments about "self-willed military cliques." The version given to the public was issued by the'tightly controlled press' through the Dōmei News Service. In this form it appeared in the morning edition of the Asahi Shinbun on July 28, 1945, to designate the attitude assumed by the government to the Potsdam Declaration.
This newspaper and others stated that the ultimatum, which had not only been transmitted to the Japanese government diplomatically via Swiss intermediaries and but to the Japanese public via radio and airdropped leaflets, was formally rejected by the Imperial Government. That day in a press conference, the Premier Suzuki Kantarō himself publicly used it to dismiss the Potsdam Declarations as a mere rehash of earlier rejected Allied proposals, therefore, being of no value. Suzuki's actual words were: My thinking is that the joint declaration is the same as the earlier declaration; the government of Japan does not consider it having any crucial value. We mokusatsu suru; the only alternative for us is to be determined to continue our fight to the end. Suzuki recognized that the Potsdam declaration flagged an intention to end a war which, in logistical terms, Japan was no longer capable of sustaining; however Article 6 stated that the militarists would be stripped of their authority and power forever, the Japanese army was resolutely opposed to its own thorough dismantlement, heavy pressure was brought to bear on the Prime Minister therefore to have him reject the declaration.
Suzuki's stating that the declarations terms would be literally'killed off by silent contempt' reflected this necessity of placating the extreme position of the army. John Toland argued decades that Suzuki's choice of the term was dictated more by the need to appease the military, hostile to the idea of "unconditional surrender", than to signal anything to the Allies. Although mokusatsu may not have been intended to communicate to the Allies a refusal to surrender, the Potsdam ultimatum allowed for only one acceptable answer: unconditional surrender. Any other answer would, as the declaration warned, cause "prompt and utter destruction", it was only after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs, two assassination attempts on the Prime Minister Suzuki Kantarō, an attempted military coup against the Emperor, a declaration of war by the Soviet Union that the Emperor himself broadcast acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, i.e. unconditional surrender, ending the Pacific War.
Some years after the war, it was claimed that it was questionable whether the Japanese press had acted on reliable government sources when they first announced the that the Declaration's terms had been rebuffed. This position was outlined in 1950 in an English article by Kazuo Kawai, who based his argument on notes and diaries written at the time, notes taken while he covered the discussions underway in Japan's Foreign Office regarding the Declaration. Kawai argued that both the choice of this term and the meaning given to it by Allied authorities led to a fatal'tragedy of errors' involving both Japanese bureaucratic bungling and a'deficiency in perception' by Japan's enemies. Kawai's point was taken up by William J. Coughlin in a read article for Harper's magazine three years later. In some reconstructions that espouse this interpretation, it is stated that it was Hasegawa Saiji, a translator for Dōmei Press, who translated this as: "The Japanese ignores this, we are determined to continue our fight until the end" and the foreign press picked this up, taking "ignore" to mean "reject".
The NSA Technical Journal published an article endorsing this view that the word's meaning was ambiguous in which readers are warned of the consequences of not making ambiguities clear when translating between languages. It concluded: Some years ago
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 until 1945, when it was dissolved following Japan's surrender in World War II. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force was formed after the dissolution of the IJN; the Imperial Japanese Navy was the third largest navy in the world by 1920, behind the Royal Navy and the United States Navy. It was supported by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service for aircraft and airstrike operation from the fleet, it was the primary opponent of the Western Allies in the Pacific War. The origins of the Imperial Japanese Navy go back to early interactions with nations on the Asian continent, beginning in the early medieval period and reaching a peak of activity during the 16th and 17th centuries at a time of cultural exchange with European powers during the Age of Discovery. After two centuries of stagnation during the country's ensuing seclusion policy under the shōgun of the Edo period, Japan's navy was comparatively backward when the country was forced open to trade by American intervention in 1854.
This led to the Meiji Restoration. Accompanying the re-ascendance of the Emperor came a period of frantic modernization and industrialization; the navy had several successes, sometimes against much more powerful enemies such as in the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, before being destroyed in World War II. Japan has a long history of naval interaction with the Asian continent, involving transportation of troops between Korea and Japan, starting at least with the beginning of the Kofun period in the 3rd century. Following the attempts at Mongol invasions of Japan by Kubilai Khan in 1274 and 1281, Japanese wakō became active in plundering the coast of China. Japan undertook major naval building efforts in the 16th century, during the Warring States period, when feudal rulers vying for supremacy built vast coastal navies of several hundred ships. Around that time Japan may have developed one of the first ironclad warships when Oda Nobunaga, a daimyō, had six iron-covered Oatakebune made in 1576.
In 1588 Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued a ban on Wakō piracy. Japan built her first large ocean-going warships in the beginning of the 17th century, following contacts with the Western nations during the Nanban trade period. In 1613, the daimyō of Sendai, in agreement with the Tokugawa Bakufu, built Date Maru, a 500-ton galleon-type ship that transported the Japanese embassy of Hasekura Tsunenaga to the Americas, which continued to Europe. From 1604 the Bakufu commissioned about 350 Red seal ships armed and incorporating some Western technologies for Southeast Asian trade. For more than 200 years, beginning in the 1640s, the Japanese policy of seclusion forbade contacts with the outside world and prohibited the construction of ocean-going ships on pain of death. Contacts were maintained, with the Dutch through the port of Nagasaki, the Chinese through Nagasaki and the Ryukyus and Korea through intermediaries with Tsushima; the study of Western sciences, called "rangaku" through the Dutch enclave of Dejima in Nagasaki led to the transfer of knowledge related to the Western technological and scientific revolution which allowed Japan to remain aware of naval sciences, such as cartography and mechanical sciences.
Seclusion, led to loss of any naval and maritime traditions the nation possessed. Apart from Dutch trade ships no other Western vessels were allowed to enter Japanese ports. A notable exception was during the Napoleonic wars. Frictions with foreign ships, started from the beginning of the 19th century; the Nagasaki Harbour Incident involving HMS Phaeton in 1808, other subsequent incidents in the following decades, led the shogunate to enact an Edict to Repel Foreign Vessels. Western ships, which were increasing their presence around Japan due to whaling and the trade with China, began to challenge the seclusion policy; the Morrison Incident in 1837 and news of China's defeat during the Opium War led the shogunate to repeal the law to execute foreigners, instead to adopt the Order for the Provision of Firewood and Water. The shogunate began to strengthen the nation's coastal defenses. Many Japanese realized that traditional ways would not be sufficient to repel further intrusions, western knowledge was utilized through the Dutch at Dejima to reinforce Japan's capability to repel the foreigners.
Numerous attempts to open Japan ended in failure, in part to Japanese resistance, until the early 1850s. During 1853 and 1854, American warships under the command of Commodore Matthew Perry entered Edo Bay and made demonstrations of force requesting trade negotiations. After two hundred years of seclusion, the 1854 Convention of Kanagawa led to the opening of Japan to international trade and interaction; this was soon followed by treaties with other powers. As soon as Japan opened up to foreign influences, the Tokugawa shogunate recognized the vulnerability of the country from the sea and initiated an active policy of assimilation and adoption of Western naval technologies. In 1855, with Dutch assistance, the shogunate acquired its first steam warship, Kankō Maru, began using it for training, establishing a Naval Training Center at Nagasaki. Samurai such as the future Admiral Enomoto Takeaki were sent by the shogunate to study in the Netherlands for several years. In 1859 the