Analyse the policies of the Japanese towards the civilians in East and Southeast Asia between 1937 and 1945, including their implementation and impacts. Evaluate two sources in your answer. Identify components and the relationship between them; draw out and relate implications Hashimoto once said ‘Japan’s national structure is the highest principle of mankind. All the countries must form an organic unity, with Japan as brains, growing and developing as a living being under the supreme guidance of His Excellency the Emperor’ This quote best summarises the policy of the Japanese during this period of time.
Japanese expansionist policies and how they were implemented and impacted upon civilians will be further explained throughout the essay. The two sources that will be evaluated are ‘Higher than Heaven’ by Rick Tanaka and Tony Barrel and Group Psychology of the Japanese in War Time, by Iritani. The official Japanese policy was to “ensure self preservation and self defence of the Empire and to create a new world order. ” This was outlined in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere which aimed to create an Asian society with Japan being the leader.
They wished to see the countries revolt against their colonial powers and hoped to fill the void left by the colonial power. However, when this did not happen the Japanese military leaders decided to impose their ideology by force. Japanese domination would only be possible if the other nations embraced and eventually assimilated into Japanese culture. Hence, most of Japanese policy was directed towards the assimilation of cultures.
Official policies outlined in the ‘The Japanese blueprint for South East Asia, instructions of the Japanese military’ published in August 1942, include guiding the civilians so that they accept the empires policies. If civilians were not accepting the policies then political and economic pressures were to be applied to the various governments to ensure the execution of Japanese policies under strict supervision, as was done in China. Cultural assimilation was to be ensured through control over customs, religions and education.
A broad aim with these was to create an atmosphere respectful of labour and to spread the Japanese culture through the empire. Eventually symbols of significance and geographical sites were to assume Japanese names (as was done by Manchuria being changed into Manchunko), a true symbol of Japanese imperialism. However, Japan lacked in raw materials so some of their policies were aimed at getting resources such as oil so that they could continue the war. Policies were aimed at rapidly securing resources of the southern areas so that the war potential of the empire would be strengthened.
This caused some adverse policies towards civilians. Although the official line for the treatment of civilians was to be neither “too lenient nor too harsh”, which was supported by a document called ‘Read this and the war is already won’ which outlined that Japanese soldiers were to be humane to civilians as they were fighting the war to liberate the Asian people from colonial rule, a document called ‘Lessons for the Battlefield’ explained the treatment of civilians that occurred during the period of 1937-1945.
Westerners are attacked for surrendering and it warns that death is preferable to surrender, it outlines that civilians who surrender are to be treated as below human as only lowly creatures surrender. It also calls for the Japanese soldiers to be single minded in achieving their aims. Japan had ratified the Hague Treaty but did not comply with it, instead they followed government instructions outlined in ‘Lessons for the Battlefield’. The implementation and impacts of Japanese policies caused tsunamis of shock to flow all around the world, American media reports of the atrocities caused anti-Japanese feelings to develop all over the world.
In China policies were implemented with the policy of “kill all, burn all, destroy all’ to gain control. This was especially true in Nanking as outlined by ‘The rape of Nanking. ‘ Here buildings were burnt, women were raped and innocent citizens were murdered in various gruesome ways including ripping the stomachs, digging out the heart, boiling people and beheading victims. Iritani believes that this occurred due to the incredibly harsh fighting conditions in China which elevated the abnormal psychological state of the soldiers.
Other historians believe that it was done in order to gain control and create a puppet regime in Nanking where Japanese assimilation could begin. In Nanking alone the impact of this policy caused the deaths of approximately 300,000 people in just six weeks. Women were captured and sent to ‘comfort stations’ to act as sex slaves although geisha houses were banned in Japan. As the war in China became longer and supply lines became inefficient Japanese soldiers began to confiscate crops and other agricultural goods, which led to food shortages and ultimately a failing of the economy.
Manchunko, formerly Manchuria, became the centre of Japanese military and economic power, however the ultimate failure of Japanese economic policies caused the downfall of the Manchurian economy by 1945. The implementation of policies in Korea was the epitome of the attempt at Japanese civilisation. The Japanese language was to be used in schools and all were required to attend Shinto services although the population was mostly Buddhist. Forced labour was implemented to help achieve the aims of the Japanese, usually worked in factories making ammunition for the Japanese.
Forced conscription was enforced and Koreans filled the lowest positions of the Japanese army to “show their patriotism. ” Here too, women were forced to become comfort women. Nationalist movements were suppressed to ensure Japanese control. The impacts on Korea, apart from the large amounts of deaths that occurred to civilians that opposed the regime was the ultimate division of Korea along the 38th parallel. The USA and USSR government divided Korea for the purpose of accepting the surrender of Japanese troops.
It was the harsh Japanese policies and their implementation that caused opposition forces to rise, including the rising of the communist anti-Japanese guerrillas in Dongbei. The conflict between North and South Korea still continues today, showing the lasting impact of the implementation of Japanese policies. The Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941 brought with it the implementation of Japanese policies including the “three all” policies brought widespread destruction to the Island, especially in Manilla where many civilians were killed.
Although a ‘co-operative government’ was established in 1943, the failure of Japanese economic policies caused such devastation to the Philippines that several hundred million dollars were needed to recover the economy at the end of the war. In French Indo-China rice paddies were converted to jute for the war effort and forced labour was imposed. In Burma workers were forced to work on the Burma-Thailand railway, conditions were so harsh that 90,000 workers were killed. These harsh conditions caused the formation of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League which resisted the weak Japanese installed government.
In Malaya and Singapore all Chinese civilians were arrested immediately as they were suspected of supporting Chiang Kai-shek, implementation of the Japanese policy of total control. The Japanese saw the importance of Singapore as a military base and maintained strict control of it by the Japanese military and secret policy. Malay workers were also forced to work on the Burma-Thai railway. The worsening of working conditions and the extremely harsh requisitioning of men and materials caused the eventual rise of opposition including the group led by Lim Bo Seng.
The Dutch East Indies was seen as a ‘jewel’ by the Japanese as it contained oil, and hence the control of this was particularly important. Assimilation attempts included the forced study of the Japanese language and the forced singing of the Japanese national anthem to show patriotism. Impacts have included the death of up to four million people and Japanese training of young military men formed the nucleus of the post war independence army. Japanese policies also caused economic hardships.
All countries occupied by Japan during the war had similar impacts such the mistreatment and subsequent death of civilians and adverse economic impacts. All nations also suffered a substantial psychological impacts from the years of harsh oppression, as described by Lai Yeo, who was a comfort woman to the Japanese. “The impact of Japanese policies did not end with their rule, the emotional scars will be something I will have to bear forever… ” Source Evaluation Wantanabe Shoichi – claimed that the harsh treatment of Japanese did not occur, the Nanking massacres were fictional A Japanese nationalist
Doesn’t match other sources Saburo Inega – Campaigned against the censorship of Japanese textbooks that omitted out the atrocities Book written to show the Japanese policies the nake realities of the pacific war More reliable Iritani – 3rd generation Japanese American Useful as provides both perspectives and reasons for acts of atrocities Delves into the psyche Matches with other sources Lai Yeo – article on the internet First hand experience of Japanese brutality Matches with other sources although it seems to be a bit exaggerated Psychological state seems fragile, memories may be disrupted.