Japan sees itself as Superior | The War to February 1943 | Captives and the Rail Line through Thailand to Burma | Japan faces Defeat in 1943 | Japan's Defeats in the Pacific in 1944 | Bombs on Japan to April 1945 | Emperor Hirohito Speaks to His Nation | The War Officially Ends
Japan's military ruling elite saw their nation as a harmonious family under a divine father, the emperor. They saw Japan as spiritual and the one divine nation on earth, which helped serve as a rationale for domination of others. The destiny of Japan, they believed, had been outlined by the gods and nothing could stop Japan from becoming the greatest empire on earth. In contrast, they believed, the Koreans were eaten by vices, the Chinese were corrupted by opium and other narcotics, and their old enemy the Russians were corrupted by their vodka. These Japanese were men from an agricultural and military tradition, and they saw the capitalist West as materialistic, egoistic and founded on exploitation and personal profit. Some rightists in Japan believed that war was basically the work of greedy men in search of profits. They believed that Japan was defending itself, its territory in Manchuria and its interests in Guomindang China. The Japanese were at war believing in their moral superiority, expressed by the poet Takamura Kotaro just after the attack on Pearl Harbor:
We are standing for justice and life,
while they are standing for profits.
We are defending justice,
while they are attacking for profits.
They raise their heads in arrogance,
while we are constructing the Great East Asia family.
Japan's victories seem to prove her moral superiority.
Copyright © 2000-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.