"The Conservative Imaginary: Moral Re-Armament and the Transwar Politics of the Japanese Right" by Reto Hofmann at Sophia U., Nov. 28

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Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series 2017
The Conservative Imaginary: Moral Re-Armament and the Transwar Politics of the Japanese Right
Reto Hofmann
18:30-20:00, Nov. 28, 2017
Room L-821, 8F, Sophia University Library
The origins of political conservatism in Japan are mired in Occupation history, with scholars emphasizing its emergence as a postwar development determined by the alliance between Washington and Japanese elites. This paper re-examines Japanese conservatism as a transwar and transnational project. It focuses on the involvement of three prime ministers—Nakasone Yasuhiro, Hatoyama Ichirō, and Kishi Nobusuke—in the Moral Re-Armament movement (MRA), an international religious organization that caught the attention of politicians, industrialists, and union leaders around the world in the 1940s and 1950s. It shows that MRA helped Japanese elites to reformulate older notions of state power, national community, and Asian regionalism into Cold War internationalism—what I call the conservative imaginary. In so doing, the paper sheds new light on the negotiated transition from prewar fascism and imperialism to postwar democracy, and helps to explain the political culture of important sections of the Japanese ruling classes up to the present.
Reto Hofmann (PhD, Columbia University) is lecturer in history at the University of Melbourne and, currently, holds a JSPS Fellowship at Waseda University. He specializes in modern Japanese political and cultural history. His first monograph, The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915-1952, was published by Cornell University Press in 2015. He is working on international history of Japanese conservatism in the middle of the twentieth century.
Language: English / No Prior registration necessary
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