American Asia Experts, Liberal Internationalism, and the Occupation of Japan

Transcending Cold War Politics and Historiography

in Journal of American-East Asian Relations
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This article reexamines the thought of American Asia experts during the 1940s and early 1950s who directly or indirectly influenced u.s. policy toward post-surrender Japan. Revisionist scholars in the late 1960s and 1970s categorized Asianists in a binary manner as “conservatives” and “progressives,” “Japan” and “China specialists,” and “Cold Warriors” and “critics,” but they all were in reality essentially modernization theorists and liberal internationalists of various kinds who agreed on the desirability of democratizing Japan and constructing a new order in the Asia-Pacific under American leadership. This new perspective exposes limitations in the revisionist narrative of the Allied Occupation of Japan informed by Marxian-populist criticisms of u.s. Cold War policy. Revisionists not only tended to stress differences over similarities in judging the ideas of Asia experts, but idealized “radical” reformers over more “moderate” ones. By arguing that the United States should have democratized Japan thoroughly, they held on to liberal internationalist ideology and unintentionally endorsed u.s. intervention in a foreign nation. This article shows how an objective assessment of the Occupation history requires transcending Cold War historiography and integrating a more global perspective.

American Asia Experts, Liberal Internationalism, and the Occupation of Japan

Transcending Cold War Politics and Historiography

in Journal of American-East Asian Relations

References

2

 See Michael E. LathamModernization as Ideology: American Social Science and “Nation Building” in the Kennedy Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press2000); Nils Gilman Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (Baltimore md: Johns Hopkins University 2003); David Ekbladh The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World Order (Princeton nj: Princeton University Press 2010).

6

DowerEmbracing Defeat pp. 217–24. See also Dower “Occupied Japan as History and Occupation History as Politics” pp. 490–91; Dower “E. H. Norman Japan and the Uses of History” pp. 31–34 39–100. In his most recent book John W. Dower criticizes “generalists” on the left as well as on the right but he continues to stress that “Japan specialists” focused on Japan’s historical and cultural “peculiarities.” John W. Dower Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor Hiroshima 9/11 Iraq (New York: w.w. Norton 2010) 404–407.

9

SchonbergerAftermath of War pp. 96 296–97; Dower “E. H. Norman Japan and the Uses of History” p. 40; Takemae Inside ghq p. 595.

13

SchonbergerAftermath of War pp. 25–38; Ōkurashō Zaiseishi-shitsu Shōwa Zaiseishi Shūsen kara Kōwa made dai-3-kan pp. 40–106; Iokibe Beikoku no Nihon Senryō Seisaku Ge; Takemae Inside ghq pp. 209–12 214–20; Mayo “American Wartime Planning for Occupied Japan” pp. 29–50; Hugh Borton Sengo Nihon no Sekkeisha chapters 9–11; Waldo H. Heinrichs Jr. American Ambassador: Joseph C. Grew and the Development of the United States Diplomatic Tradition (Boston: Little Brown 1966) 327–80; Nakamura Masanori The Japanese Monarchy: Ambassador Joseph Grew and the Making of the “Symbol Emperor System” 1931–1991 trans. Herbert P. Bix Jonathan Baker-Bates and Derek Bowen (Armonk ny: m.e. Sharpe 1992) chapters 6–7.

20

T. A. Bisson“The Price of Peace for Japan,” Pacific Affairs 17 no. 1 (March 1944) 8–9.

21

Ibid. pp. 8–9 13–14 21 24–25.

22

Ibid. p. 22.

23

Ibid. pp. 9–25. See also Roth Dilemma in Japan; Lattimore Solution in Asia chapters 2 8; John M. Maki Japanese Militarism: Its Cause and Cure (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1945) chapter 8; Institute of Pacific Relations Security in the Pacific: A Preliminary Report of the Ninth Conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations (Hot Springs va: International Secretariat Institute of Pacific Relations 1945) chapter 2; William C. Johnstone The Future of Japan (London: Oxford University Press 1945).

24

Borton“Japan: Abolition of Militarism and Strengthening Democratic Processes” p. 3.

25

RothDilemma in Japan p. 193.

28

Borton Dickover and Dooman“Japan: Political Problems: Institution of the Emperor” pp. 2–3.

29

Grew“Japan: The Institution of the Emperor” pp. 4–5.

30

Ibid. p. 6.

33

T. A. Bisson“Making Japan Over,” The New Republic28 May 1945 p. 745; Bisson America’s Far Eastern Policy p. 155.

34

RothDilemma in Japan p. 54.

37

 See G. B. Sansom“Can Japan Be Reformed?,” Far Eastern Survey 18 no. 22 (2 November 1949) 258–59; Joseph W. Ballantine “The New Japan: An American View” Far Eastern Survey 17 no. 24 (22 December 1948) 286–88; Edwin O. Reischauer “It’s Time We Encouraged the Japanese to Build a Democracy of Their Own” Saturday Evening Post 23 April 1949 p. 12.

38

 See Ballantine“The New Japan” p. 287; Edwin O. Reischauer The United States and Japan (Cambridge ma: Harvard University Press 1950) 277–79; Robert A. Fearey The Occupation of Japan: Second Phase: 1948–1950 (New York: The Macmillan Company 1950) 78–87.

39

Reischauer“It’s Time We Encouraged the Japanese to Build a Democracy of Their Own” p. 12.

40

 See T. A. Bisson“Reparations and Reform in Japan,” Far Eastern Survey 16 no. 21 (17 December 1947) 246–47.

41

T. A. BissonProspects for Democracy in Japan (New York: Macmillan1949) 33. See also ibid. pp. 19–22 76–85; W. Macmahon Ball Japan: Enemy or Ally? (New York: The John Day Company 1949) 148–49.

42

BissonProspects for Democracy in Japan pp. 34–35 44–46 58–63; Ball Japan: Enemy or Ally? pp. 157–61 165; Miriam S. Farley Aspects of Japan’s Problems (New York: The John Day Company 1950) 28–29 44–56 Chapter 11 159–60.

43

LattimoreSolution in Asia pp. 182–86.

44

Owen LattimoreThe Situation in Asia (Boston: Little, Brown1949) 130. See also Robert B. Textor Failure in Japan: With a Keynote for a Positive Policy (New York: The John Day Company 1951) 68–69 106–107 197 201–202 224.

45

 See Reischauer“It’s Time We Encouraged the Japanese to Build a Democracy of Their Own” p. 12. See also Edwin O. Reischauer Japan Past and Present 2nd ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1953) 214–15.

46

John N. ThomasThe Institute of Pacific Relations: Asian Scholars and American Politics (Seattle: University of Washington Press1974) 21–22 24–25 51–57.

47

Edwin O. ReischauerToward a New Eastern Policy (New York: Foreign Policy Association1950) 29 45 50–52.

48

T. A. Bisson“Japan: Recovery and Reaction,” The Nation2 February 1952 p. 103.

49

TextorFailure in Japan p. 8.

50

ReischauerToward a New Far Eastern Policy pp. 28–31; Reischauer The United States and Japan pp. 43–44 314–15; Reischauer Japan Past and Present p. 220.

51

Helen Mears“The Japanese ‘Insecurity’ Treaty,” The Nation22 March 1952 pp. 277–78. See also Helen Mears “Challenge to Our Prestige” Harper’s Magazine July 1950 p. 78.

52

TextorFailure in Japan pp. 11–12 31–32 197 218–20.

53

Michael SchallerAltered States: The United States and Japan since the Occupation (New York: Oxford University Press1997) 18–24 49–61; Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu “Occupation Policy and Postwar Sino-Japanese Relations: Severing Economic Ties” in Mark E. Caprio and Yoneyuki Sugita eds. Democracy in Occupied Japan: The u.s. Occupation and Japanese Politics and Society (London: Routledge 2007) 204–19; Walter LaFeber The Clash: u.s.-Japanese Relations throughout History (New York: w.w. Norton 1997) 279–81.

54

ReischauerToward a New Far Eastern Policy pp. 40 48–50; Reischauer The United States and Japan pp. 311–12.

55

Mears“Japan: Challenge to Our Prestige” p. 78.

56

TextorFailure in Japan pp. 206–207 213.

57

LattimoreThe Situation in Asia p. 221.

59

LattimoreThe Situation in Asia pp. 7 47–48 130–34.

60

Ibid. pp. 129–134; Owen Lattimore “What Kind of Peace for Japan” The New Republic (11 June 1951) p. 14.

61

Thomas G. PatersonMeeting the Communist Threat: Truman to Reagan (New York: Oxford University Press1988) 101.

62

Ibid. pp. 101 103–13.

63

DowerEmbracing Defeat pp. 218 220; “Transcript of President Bush’s Speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention” New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/washington/w23policytext.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (accessed 12 July 2014).

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