SPIRIT OF JAPAN
LOYALTY TO EMPEROR
INGRAINED IN THE PEOPLE
A slant on the task now confronting the Allies in Japan is indicated by a description of Japanese mentality penned in 1936 by Shingoro Takaishi, then editor-in-chief of the Tokyo newspaper Nichi Nichi. He calls it Spirit of Japan.
"In Shinto, our original spiritual conception of life," he wrote, "every Japanese is Mikoto, meaning heavenly descendant, while the Emperor is Sumera Mikoto. Sumera means uniting as a whole. Through the Emperor all Japanese are united as a whole nation, spiritually as well as geographically and racially. This conviction mens that our loyalty has a much deeper significance than patriotism or love of country as understood in the West.
"Our idea of loyalty means, in addition to those factors, an indissoluble family attachment to the Emperor, originating in heaven, and elevating the Emperor, who personalises our spiritual whole on earth, far above ourselves as individuals."
After tracing the mythical history of old Japan, he states it was clear from the myth that the land of the Rising Sun was created, inhabited, developed and governed by the ancestors of the Imperial Family. The reason that the Spirit of Japan centred about the Imperial Family, was directly due to that fact. "Our people to-day," he says, "are the descendants of the Imperial Family— the original family. Later, the blood of alien races became mixed with that of the Japanese, but as the fusion was effected through intermarriages the position of the Imperial Family, as the original family, has remained unchanged. The protection of the Imperial Family is loyalty. Loyalty, in turn, safeguards the Japanese themselves. Such is our conviction handed down from age to age." Loyalty Is ..Inherent Again Takaishi writes: "In Japan loyalty is inherent even in an old country woman. All Japanese children receive education on loyalty at home. Consequently, every Japanese soldier goes to war determined to offer his life to His Majesty. Japanese troops fight till death stops them. According to Western custom it is no very serious matter to surrender to or be captured by the enemy after fighting strength is exhausted. With us Japanese, however, no shame could be greater than to return alive after having been made prisoner. We choose honourable death on the battlefield. There are many instances in which soldiers, facing surrender, have breathed their last after crying 'Banzai for the Emperor.' "
"Thus our people, from ancient days down to the present, the old woman in the mountains and primary school children alike, have always had their hearts filled with loyalty and with the spirit of selfsacrifice for his Majesty. This is because the Japanese possessed the conviction that the Imperial family is the creator of the country, the Original Family of the people, and the everlasting guide of the nation. The Supreme Test It was of a Japan ten years ago, at the peak of prosperity, that Takaishi penned his analysis of his people's outstanding characteristic. He did hint, however, that there was a leaven of communism then creating some ferment in the Nipponese loaf. "In the last few years," he saj's, "the Spirit of Japan has undergone a revival, sweeping over our country like a tidal wave. The Manchurian emergency and the spread of extreme leftist doctrines from abroad served to stimulate it. In the defence of our right" a nd property and for the protection and peace of the Orient, our country overthrew the Chinese war lords' regime in Manchuria. In consequence, the inhabitants of Manchuria established the independent state of Manchukuo and Japan offered her support to the newlyrising neighbour nation.
"This action, however, led the majority of the powers assembled at the League of Nations to denounce us. The Spirit of Japan then came to our aid, giving us the courage to uphold our just contention. It was again the Spirit of Japan which warned us that the time-honoured form of our State wgs becoming endangered, owing t~- the dissemination of radical leftist doctrines. At this crucial moment the ancestral ideals of Nippon, preserved for the last 3000 years, came to the fore. The Japanese Spirit is a unique national characteristic which goes back to the founding of our nation. With the passing of the centuries it has been gradually tempered and polished."
This fanatical Japanese spirit has been displayed in the fluctuating fortunes of war. Now in the crisis of final defeat remains the supreme test of devotion to the Emperor. Will it assert itself in a stoic resignation to the requirements of the Allies without internal political dissension tending to overthrow the ancient loyalty?
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SPIRIT OF JAPAN, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 193, 16 August 1945
SPIRIT OF JAPAN Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 193, 16 August 1945
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