H-Diplo Roundtable XXI-19 on Cold War Democracy:  The United States and Japan

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H-Diplo Roundtable XXI-19

Jennifer M. Miller.  Cold War Democracy:  The United States and JapanCambridge:  Harvard University Press, 2019.  ISBN:  9780674976344 (hardcover, $45.00/£36.95/€40.50).

9 December 2019 | https://hdiplo.org/to/RT21-19
Roundtable Editors: Thomas Maddux and Diane Labrosse | Production Editor: George Fujii



Introduction by Tom Zeiler, University of Colorado Boulder

On 10 June 1960, as the Japanese parliament readied to ratify a new peace treaty with the United States, President Dwight Eisenhower’s press secretary, James Hagerty, landed at Haneda Airport in Tokyo as an advance planner for Eisenhower’s impending visit. Greeted by U.S. Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II, Hagerty exited the airport where six thousand protesters immediately set upon him. They rocked his car back and forth, hit it with signs, cracked the windows and lights, and yelled for him to go home. The Americans were shocked that such civil violence could happen in a now-peaceful, unarmed country that had sat at America’s feet in the postwar years as Washington guided it toward democracy, prosperity, and security. Jennifer M. Miller’s Cold War Democracy: The United States and Japan explains that U.S. and Japanese government countermeasures, which were inherently conservative by privileging economics and military reforms over truly liberalized democracy, were ultimately more than a match for these leftist protesters. This innovative look at the U.S.-Japan relationship is both excellent history, and even a primer on current affairs.

For historians of American and Japanese foreign relations, the Cold War, and the general history of both nations, the book provides fresh insights into a remarkable relationship, one that crashed in a war without mercy and then was resurrected into a close, occasionally controversial, and mutually profitable and secure alliance. Miller’s contribution draws on familiar political, military, and economic pictures to paint an even larger canvas of democracy promotion. She explores much more than the new constitution and the famous ‘reverse course’ that curbed the drive toward democratization, however. Cold War Democracy contends that not only did the United States, with conservative Japanese input, build a stable and peaceful democracy, but it did so by shaping the very state of mind of Japanese citizens. With democracy came a psychological and spiritual crusade to prevent a return to fascism and avoid Communism in ways that meshed with American interests in the Cold War. The effort was not without its detractors, as a healthy democracy, according to conservatives and cold warriors, meant the suppression of true liberalism.

In six deeply researched chapters covering roughly the postwar period into the early 1960s that show how Americans built Japanese democracy by legal, military, and ideological means, and then overlay it with the notion of economic prosperity, Miller’s first book wins applause from this forum’s reviewers. After an introduction that deals with notions of democracy, the first chapter looks at U.S. wartime planning and occupation policies that addressed the visions and ideologies of democracy, especially as these changed before and after the reverse course as Communism became the focus for Americans policymakers and Japanese conservatives. Chapter two, which two of the reviewers single out as a novel addition to the literature, explores American attempts to rebuild Japan’s military through the creation of the National Police Reserve (NPR), which morphed into today’s Self-Defense Force, and how that effort captured the spirit and limits of democracy promotion under a military rubric. The peace treaty that ended the Occupation comprises the third chapter, a treaty both heralded as a model for democracy at home but derided in the rest of Asia, counter to American hopes, as undermining true democracy. This revolt provides a logical segue into the next two chapters, perhaps Miller’s major contribution, of the popular resistance to American and alliance policies from the left and grassroots protesters. Economic growth is the subject of the sixth and final chapter. It ties together the themes of stability, protest, spiritual health, and prosperity as both nations strived for an apolitical approach to creating the right Cold War mindset among the Japanese in terms of democracy promotion. It should be added that this book derives from archival and other sources in the United States, Japan, and Britain, thus representing the best of international, multi-archival research.

The three reviewers agree that Miller’s argument that the promotion of democracy became instrumental to American policy toward Japan in the Cold War is, for the most part, convincing, and they differ from the author largely on matters of emphasis. They also pinpoint some novel ways in which Miller adds to a story of postwar American-Japanese relations that has been plowed, and plowed again, by many authors, including some of the best historians across several generations—Walter LaFeber, Roger Buckley, Michael Schaller, Aaron Forsberg, Naoko Shibusawa, John Dower, Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu (and those are just some, and just a smattering, of scholars working in the United States.[1] The review by Fintan Hoey notes how Miller emphasizes competing visions of democracy among Japanese and American leaders. He takes issue only with the final chapter’s argument that economic growth did not change or undermine the drive toward democracy but simply shifted it according to the Cold War imperatives of an export-led economy in Japan. Masami Kimura also finds little to quibble about, and much to admire, in Cold War Democracy. The psychological angle of ‘spirit’ might be overstressed, for instance, because in Miller’s rendering, it subsumes other factors, such as economics and security concerns. In short, elevating ideology over other factors as the motivating force is a tricky challenge because ideas are difficult to prove as a cause of policy. Still, even if ‘spirit’ is not totally convincing as an explanation for diplomatic relations, it is an innovative addition to the basic historiography of U.S.-Japan postwar history. There is also an unfortunate one-sidedness, adds Kimura, to Miller’s approach when it comes to democracy promotion (liberal/leftists get the bulk of attention over conservatives) and even in the book’s leaning on English rather than Japanese sources. Yoneyuki Sugita addresses all of these points as the most skeptical of the reviewers. He finds the psychological argument novel and stimulating, but also impossible to prove as a cause of policy and history. That Japan and America adopted the export-first strategy in the 1960s is also open to interpretation, he counters, because policy had long focused on trade. Sugita further questions whether the popular leftist protests actually had an impact on U.S. policies toward Japan, or whether, for that matter, the country was critical to American early Cold War diplomatic calculations in the first place. After all, Western Europe took most of President Harry Truman’s attention. Whatever their criticisms, the three reviewers welcome Miller’s innovative scholarship and this major addition to the literature.

I wish to make a final point about the contribution of Cold War Democracy that goes beyond the bilateral relationship and diplomatic history. It is probably true that reviewers believe in the timeliness of every book they assess, but in this case, that is an especially valid point. The comparison is not so much to the Abe government’s relationship to President Donald Trump, though Prime Minister Shinzō Abe certainly represents a conservative turn by a strong leader. The relevance arises from Miller’s intricate dissection of democratic ideals, what citizenship and identity mean, and the norms and rules that support, or hinder, stability. There is, too, the effect of protests against government policies, and whether they lead to change, or are even heard in any significant way. Miller’s Japan of the 1940s to early 1960s provides insights, indirectly of course, to today’s political arena; she studies how democracy was built, changed, and sustained. The timeliness of this book is tantalizing in our era when democracy is being torn apart by barrages from within and from outside in some of the oldest, supposedly most stable democracies in the world. In sum, Cold War Democracy exhibits the tortured road of democratic institution-building and how the contested past might inform the present.


Jennifer M. Miller is an assistant professor of history at Dartmouth College and a scholar of U.S.-East Asian relations since 1945. She received her Ph.D. in the history of U.S. foreign relations from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Miller is author of Cold War Democracy: The United States and Japan (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2019); portions of this research have also been published in Diplomatic History and the Journal of Contemporary History. She is currently starting a new project examining how East Asian economic growth (1970s - 1990s) affected American thinking about capitalism, social strength, and economic vitality.

Tom Zeiler is a Professor of History at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he also directs the Program in International Affairs. A former president of SHAFR, he has published on the histories of trade, globalization, war, and sports. His current project, entitled “Capitalist Peace,” focuses on trade ideology and diplomacy from 1930 to the present.

Fintan Hoey is associate professor of history at Franklin University Switzerland and was a Swiss National Science Foundation funded Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Spring 2019. He is the author of Sato and America: U.S.-Japanese Relations, 1964-1972 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and his current research focuses on U.S.-Japanese civil nuclear energy relations in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Masami Kimura is Assistant Professor at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Arizona in 2013 and has published “American Asia Experts, Liberal Internationalism, and the Occupation of Japan: Transcending Cold War Politics and Historiography” in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations (October 2014) and “How Is the Allied Occupation of Japan Taught in American Universities?: History Textbooks and Occupation Scholarship” in Mathesis Universalis (March 2016). She has recently begun to rework her dissertation “Cultures of Modernity in the Making of the United States-Japan Cold War Alliance” into a book manuscript. She is also currently working on an article “Beyond National Historiographies in East Asia: Promotion of Cultural Relations through Multinational History Education” (tentative title).

Yoneyuki Sugita is professor of history at Osaka University and received his Ph.D. (U.S. history) from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999. His major publications include: “Egalitarianism in Japanese Sickness Insurance Programs in War and Peace, 1937-1946,” in Michael W. Myers and Puck Brecher eds., Defamiliarizing Japan’s Asia-Pacific War (University of Hawaii Press, forthcoming in 2019); Japan's Shifting Status in the World and the Development of Japan's Health Insurance Systems (Springer, 2019); ”The Yoshida Doctrine as a Myth,” The Japanese Journal of American Studies, Vol. 27 (June 2016): 123-43; “Constrained Rearmament in Japan, 1945-1954,” in Peter N. Stearns ed., Demilitarization in the Contemporary World (University of Illinois Press, 2013): 89-110; and Pitfall or Panacea: The Irony of US Power in Occupied Japan 1945-1952 (Routledge, 2003). He is currently working on impacts of Artificial Intelligence on Japanese society.


Review by Fintan Hoey, Franklin University Switzerland

Following an extensive tour of occupied Japan in 1947 George Kennan made the case for a radical shift in U.S. policy towards its defeated enemy. Recently elevated to the lofty perch of head of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff following his ‘Long Telegram’ from Moscow, Kennan was well positioned to give voice to a growing sense among U.S. officials that a major shift was necessary. Rather than being based on a vision of Japan as a vanquished enemy in need of demilitarization and political and economic reforms, America’s policy ought to be retooled towards strengthening Japan’s economy and to cultivating it as an ally and as a strategic base. The intensification of the Cold War in east Asia; the triumph of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, and the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 added greater impetus and urgency to this ‘Reverse Course.’ Its effects on Japanese society were quickly apparent. Following the surrender U.S. authorities had lifted the ban on left-wing political parties and labor unions, imposed a liberal constitution and carried out a major program of land redistribution. However, in 1947 a planned general strike was banned by General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. Plans to break up Japan’s large industrial combines, the zaibatsu, were shelved. Figures associated with Japan’s wartime government and bureaucracy, once purged as dangerous militarists, were now welcomed back into public life. Conversely, a ‘Red Purge’ was carried out against Communists and other leftists. Not surprisingly, these changes engendered a sense of betrayal amongst Japanese progressives.

In this well-written, persuasive, and engaging book Jennifer M. Miller makes a significant addition to the literature of U.S.-Japanese relations in the years following Japan’s surrender. Whereas other works in the field have focused on political, military and economic aspects of the relationship, Miller brings to the fore the central and defining role played by competing and co-constructed conceptions of democracy.[2] This is a particularly compelling lens through which to view and explain the ideological continuities in American policy toward Japan both before and after the ‘Reverse Course.’ Indeed, Miller goes further and traces these continuities from wartime planning up to the present day. At the core is an American conception of democracy which was, paradoxically, both narrowly defined and assumed by its advocates to be universally applicable. As Miller explains, policymakers in the United States diagnosed Japan’s wartime militarism as having resulted from a lack of democratic “spirit” (5) and from “‘abnormal’ or ‘unhealthy’ psychologies” (9). Notions of sprit and psychological vitality were, as Miller outlines, central to this American conception of democracy. Just as a moral reinvigoration was required to ensure that Japanese society did not succumb to totalitarian militarists, it was also required to stave off an equally threatening totalitarian Communism.

Perhaps the episode which best exemplifies these changes, and the strange ideological continuities which underpinned them, is the creation of the National Police Reserve (NPR), the forerunner of the current Self-Defense Forces, in 1950 which Miller details in the book’s second chapter. It was a process “rife with ironies and self-contradictions” (98). General Matthew Ridgeway, MacArthur’s successor as Supreme Commander, justified the recruitment of former Imperial Japanese Army officers into the NPR by noting their war service had been motivated out of a “normal” patriotism (108). Only a few years earlier these normal patriots were America’s enemies and had been painted as dangerous militarists and then purged from public life. By this time their “vigor and sprit” (106) were deemed appropriate, even necessary, for the sake of the “democratic spirit” (98) at home and for the global pursuit of anti-Communism.

That is not to say that this Cold War democracy was only something imposed upon a prostrate Japan by an all-powerful United States. It was rather, as Miller shows, a phenomenon with multiple creators and with key roles played by Japanese actors, both conservatives in government and opposition forces. This is especially apparent in chapters three to five which deal with, respectively; the end of the occupation and the San Francisco Peace Treaty (signed 1951, effective from 1952), the grass-roots anti-base movement; and the revision of the U.S.-Japanese alliance in 1960. In all these cases competing conceptions of democracy were articulated and marshalled in the service of rival visions for Japan’s future. For conservative leaders (many of whom, like Kishi Nobusuke, Prime Minister from 1957 to 1960, had served in senior positions before and during the war) democracy meant “mobilizing the popular will” (13) behind state power and crushing left-wing, and especially Communist, dissent. For their opponents this exercise had disturbing resonance with Japan’s pre-war and wartime regime and was anathema to a society dedicated to democratic principles. For the most part these voices of protest and opposition were not able to achieve their ends. The San Francisco Treaty system was an incomplete peace which excluded the Soviet Union and China and locked Japan in an alliance with the United States; it was an alliance that meant the continuation of a heavy U.S. military presence and which was renewed in 1960. However, Miller points to ways in which the opposition, using the language and tools of democratic mobilization, was able to frustrate its antagonists. Protests against the enlargement of the U.S. Air Force base at Tachikawa and at the lenient treatment of a soldier who shot and killed a Japanese civilian did not lead to the evacuation of U.S. forces but did show Washington and Tokyo that popular opinion could not be ignored. The renewal of the alliance in 1960 was, superficially at least, a success; Kishi was able to negotiate and ratify a new treaty. However, he failed spectacularly to realize one of his key ambitions of rallying the public behind a more equitable treaty. His heavy-handed approach to protests, both inside and outside the National Diet, may have secured passage of the treaty but turned his hoped-for political triumph into his nemesis.

The final chapter, “Producing Democracy,” covers efforts by U.S. officials and philanthropic organizations, particularly after the discord of 1960, to promote a broad consensus around economic growth. The hope was that this would redirect the passions and energies of civil society groups, especially labor unions, away from protesting Japan’s position in America’s Cold War imperium and into a cooperative relationship with management. This domestic consensus, as Miller points out, served to support rather than to question established economic and political power structures. It also served U.S. interests in the economic development of southeast Asia: Japan was held up as an Asian non-Communist success story and a ready model to emulate. In turn the region provided Japan with raw materials and markets. Such efforts inelegantly lumped these diverse societies together as sharing a common Asian character and paid scant regard to the fact that Japan had only recently been an imperial power in the region. For Miller this prioritization of economic growth does not represent a retreat from the articulation of Cold War democracy but rather yet another shift in emphasis. However, this reviewer is not completely persuaded that this emphasis on productivity was a mutation of Cold War democracy and not a distinct, if related, phenomenon.

To be sure, this is a minor point of difference and in a review of a lesser book this would not be worth a mention. Miller has produced a fine piece of original and innovative scholarship drawing on archives in the United States, Japan, and Britain and on an equally impressive array of published and secondary materials. Photographs from the period are used to great effect, particularly the cover image of a monstrously oversized U.S. Air Force plane flying low over a large group of Japanese protestors and the two-page spread which captures the intensity and the violence of clashes between protestors and police in front of the Diet in June 1960 (216-217). This book should be read not only by students of U.S.-Japanese relations and the Cold War but also by anyone interested in democracy promotion and the role of ideology in international relations.



Review by Masami Kimura, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

The U.S.-Japan alliance, which was formed as the pillar of U.S. containment policy in Asia, has been continually redefined for the past sixty-eight years. Concerned about Japan’s economic instability, and seeing the country as a potential ‘workshop of Asia,’ the United States started to shift the main objectives of the Allied (essentially American) occupation of Japan from demilitarization and democratization to economic recovery in 1947-48; this—and preparation for peace and security arrangements with Japan—became official by the end of 1948 with the passage of NSC 13/2, “Recommendations with Respect to United States Policy toward Japan.” Talks on Japan’s peace and post-occupation security began in late 1949-early 1950, and the process was accelerated by the outbreak of the Korean War. Signing a peace treaty with forty-eight countries and a bilateral security pact with the United States in San Francisco, September 1951, Japan reentered the international community as a member of the ‘free world’ and as a U.S. Cold War ally while at the same time regaining its sovereignty. The 1950s was a decade of uncertainty and trials for both the United States and Japan, a time when they questioned the viability of their alliance and tried to overcome challenges to it.

The 1960 revision of the security treaty—and the Japanese popular movement against it—was not only the culmination of their efforts to consolidate their relationship but also symbolically marked the entry into a new era. The United States had helped Japan’s industrial development and expansion into the foreign market since the so-called ‘reverse course,’ yet both adopted a low-profile attitude to this divisive security issue and prioritized promoting Japan’s economic growth after 1960. To mend their relationship, Harvard professor of Japanese studies Edwin O. Reischauer was appointed as U.S. ambassador. As a modernization theorist who positively assessed Japan’s feudal period during which the foundations for its successful transformation into a modern nation-state were laid, he encountered the Marxist-oriented Japanese left, launching the ‘Reischauer offensive.’ When the United States changed its containment strategy for Asia and began to shrink its military commitment to the region, Japan was increasingly expected to play a more active role in bilateral defense arrangements from the 1970s onward as Japan’s economic power rapidly grew. American discontent with its economic rivalry with Japan and a sense of ‘unfairness’ regarding the U.S.-Japan security pact arose in the 1980s and extended to the mid-1990s. This language has been recently resurrected by President Donald Trump. Since the end of the Cold War, however, the U.S.-Japan alliance, and America’s military presence in Japan, have been reconfirmed as a key component of Japan’s security and peace in the Asia-Pacific, with U.S.-Japanese military cooperation tightening since the late 1990s. 

Jennifer M. Miller’s Cold War Diplomacy: The United States and Japan deals with the initial two decades of this postwar U.S.-Japanese relationship. In six chapters, she illuminates how the Americans and the Japanese, both conservatives and leftists, viewed ‘democracy’ and how their ideas collided and were reconciled, organically changing standing policies. Besides exploring the versatility and malleability of the conception of ‘democracy,’ Miller sheds light on the ‘mentality’ that was deemed ‘right’ by different groups of people, American policymakers, conservative Japanese leaders, and anti-alliance/anti-U.S. base activists, to protect ‘democracy.’ Chapters one through three basically cover the occupation period. Starting with the Eurocentric analyses of Japan by American experts on Asia such as Hugh Borton, professor of Japanese history at Columbia University, and Ruth Benedict, the author of The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, which analyzed Japanese social values and behaviors,[3] Miller explains how the occupiers embarked on a series of democratization programs, which were designed ultimately to cultivate a Japanese “democratic mindset” (5, 30-39). She argues that anti-Communist measures adopted in the mid-point of the occupation were not a contradiction but a continuation of this objective. As Communist ideology was not a kind of democracy Americans could accept, they judged that supporters of Communism were mentally undemocratic and thus dangerous to Japan’s democratization (56-69). Also, the decision to remilitarize Japan was made to help revitalize Japanese “confidence, vigor, and leadership – the capabilities and mentalities,” which were considered necessary to defend the country from the Communist enemy from within and without (73). A peace settlement was an opportunity for the United States to mobilize Japanese support behind the wisdom of joining the free world and entering into a bilateral security treaty with the United States in order to protect democracy and peace. Staging Japan’s debut in the international community as a nation reborn with American help, the United States tried to sell its goodwill and leadership to other Asian countries as well (125, 127, 138-39). These new goals united American and Japanese leaders, but at the same time, an anti-security treaty opposition force was being formed in Japan, which challenged the Cold War alliance between the two with alternative visions of ‘democracy.’ This developed into a powerful resistance movement throughout the 1950s, as the Sunagawa case, anti-base expansion protests starting in Sunagawa, Tokyo, in 1955, and the security treaty revision crisis, large-scale demonstrations against the U.S.-Japan security pact and the Kishi Nobusuke government reaching their peak in May-June 1960, the topics of the fourth and fifth chapters, show. This turmoil in 1960 convinced the American and Japanese leaders to shelve the security question and to focus on economic development. The book’s last chapter discusses productivity promotion in the 1950s-early 1960s, a program sponsored by both countries to raise Japan’s economic productivity whereby to teach the Japanese the way to promote democracy structurally and spiritually—and this was expected to be exported from Japan to Asia (228-30). Thus, the author shows the dynamism and transformation of U.S.-Japan relations in the early postwar decades.

This work follows the study of foreign relations that analyzes the role of ideology in policymaking and diplomatic negotiations, and adds a case study of U.S.-Japan relations to the body of literature.[4]  My critique of the work concerns the following limited points. I agree that worldviews set the contours of policy decision and expediently justify contradictions between ends and means that might arise according to changes in domestic and international environments. We also know that the democratization of Japan meant changing not only the political and socio-economic structures but also the Japanese mentality. Yet, the concept of “spirit” is overemphasized in the book so that actors appear to be too idealistic and even too obsessed with the psychological basis of democracy; as a result, the magnitude of the actual implementation of institutional change is downgraded. This is perhaps only a matter of emphasis and priority, but as there were numerous and extensive reform programs, from the reform of the governmental system to the zaibatsu dissolution, educational reform to the censorship and restructuring of the media, to democratize Japan that required careful and rather objective study, emphasizing ‘spiritual’ reform as if it were the ultimate goal of all reforms has an unintended effect of reducing the scale, importance, and complexity of structural changes in Japan.[5]

Second, although the author utilizes both English and Japanese sources, this work seems to be primarily a U.S.-focused history that relies more on the former. The book’s main contribution is its discussion of the story of leftist activists, which is relatively well researched in the field of postwar Japan, in the context of the history of postwar U.S.-Japan relationship.[6] Scholars of American-Japanese relations have explored state- and non-state-level interactions in the political, economic, military, and cultural arenas.[7] Miller’s attempt to bring social history in the conventional diplomatic history narrative helps blur the line between the state and the public sphere. Yet, her sensitive understanding of Japanese actors is asymmetric. In other words, comparatively, the analysis of ‘conservatives,’ and a discussion of whom should be categorized as such, appears to be of secondary importance. What ‘democracy’ meant to them is vague throughout the book. To understand how the Japanese, both conservatives and leftists, defined ‘democracy,’ we should take into consideration Taishō liberalism, or liberal aims of the Japanese democratic movement developed around the Taishō period, Marxism, and, importantly, nationalism for both sides. Analyzed in these contexts, Japanese views of ‘democracy,’ and the manner in which they contradicted or accorded with American expectations, would be clarified.

Related to the second point, my final comment regards the orthodox binary of American and Japanese conservative leaders set against Japanese anti-security treaty leftists, which frames the overall narrative of the book. The study of postwar Japan has been moving beyond that ‘Cold War discourse’ for some time; Japan’s “postwar” has been historicized. As Miller observes, it is unfortunately true that the security-related public debate in Japan still uses language and argumentation that has been repeated since the late 1940s and early 1950s—and this discourse is a significant characteristic of what Prime Minister Abe Shinzō calls the “postwar regime” (sengo rejīmu) he aims to overcome.[8] The leaders of the United States and Japan certainly praise the long-lived alliance between the two ‘democratic’ countries. However, the political, social, intellectual, and international context of today is much different from that of the 1950s. While there are discursive continuities, to assume that the recycled rhetoric reflects the same issue and carries the same meaning would be questionable. This assumption, as well as the persistent dualist view of conservatives against progressives, perhaps ironically proves the durability of the Cold War paradigm.

Because I myself take a similar approach in my work that integrates ideology in foreign-relations analysis and studies the American-Japanese relationship from binational perspectives, I am well aware of the difficulty inherent in attempting to find balance in the causal link between an idea and interest to policy formulation, as well as in giving due consideration to both parties in a bilateral relationship. As scholars of this subject, we are expected to be experts in both histories, account for linguistic and cultural difficulties, and interpret masses of primary evidence and secondary scholarship developed in both countries. But the pioneers in U.S.-Japan relations, such as Akira Iriye and John W. Dower, did so superbly.[9] Younger generations have followed them, activating research in the field, and Miller is certainly one of an emerging generation who can contribute to our better understanding the nature of postwar U.S.-Japan relations.



Review by Yoneyuki Sugita, Osaka University

Professor Jennifer M. Miller’s book, Cold War Democracy: The United States and Japan, offers a fresh reappraisal of the U.S.-Japan relationship during the period of the Allied occupation and early Cold War, arguing that democratic ideals were indeed crucial in shaping this relationship. With regard to the role of democracy in the U.S.-Japan relationship, Cold War Democracy makes three major claims. First, democratic ideas and visions played a constitutive role in shaping the U.S.-Japanese alliance. Democracy has never been a stable or static concept, but it has been the product of an ongoing project of national and international interactions. Establishing postwar democracy in Japan depended on much more than elections, a new constitution, the existence of individual rights and liberties, or political or economic equality. The book claims that democracy also required a psychologically strong citizenry, a democratic spirit, and healthy mentalities and mindsets. This Cold War vision of democracy cherished elite leadership, limiting political freedoms and popular activism. In short, Cold War democracy was a leadership-driven vision of democracy. It resonated with the belief of many Japanese conservatives that democracy required strong leadership and spiritual vigor. Miller contends that Cold War democracy played a vital role in implementing ideological convergence between American policymakers and Japanese conservative leaders.

A second claim of Cold War Democracy is that Japanese opposition activists had significant influence on American political, security, and economic policies toward Japan. These activists insisted on the importance of an alternative democratic vision that was diametrically different from the restrictive U.S.-led leadership-driven democracy model. According to Miller, U.S. policymakers were flexible enough to accommodate these activists’ demands to cease military base expansion and reduce U.S. forces in Japan in order to achieve the goal of embedding the U.S.-Japanese alliance with more popular support. This book’s third claim is that U.S. policymakers considered a successfully revived Japan as a vital model for the rest of Asia. Japan’s high economic growth in the late 1950s and early 1960s convinced U.S. policymakers that all societies could follow Japan’s successful path.

Cold War Democracy makes a significant contribution to scholarship regarding the U.S.-Japanese relationship.[10] It makes many stimulating arguments that worth further investigation. Let me take three issues among her arguments. First, Miller’s psychological interpretation is one of the most important features in this book. The psychological interpretation seems to explain everything, but it actually explains little in historical terms. How can we measure the degree of a psychologically strong citizenry, a democratic spirit, or healthy mentalities and mindsets? Psychology, mentalities, and mindsets change over time even within the same person. It is next to impossible to pinpoint the causes of these changes. In addition, psychological interpretations may pass through space and time. We could claim, for instance, that the Meiji Restoration, the French Revolution, or the Renaissance required psychologically strong people, of suitable spirit, and with healthy mentalities and mindsets. I do not deny the importance of psychological interpretations, but I doubt that they have a cause-and-effect explanatory power.

Second, Miller emphasizes continuity in the U.S.-Japanese relationship. According to conventional wisdom,[11] the Allied powers earnestly implemented the demilitarization and democratization of Japan, but due to the emergence of the Cold War, the United States reversed its policies toward Japan around 1947, focusing instead on economic stability and anti-Communist mobilization, a policy known as the ‘reverse course.’ From a psychological perspective, Miller considers this conventional wisdom as insufficient as an explanatory device. Miller concludes that “these policy shifts were not simply a compromise of democracy for the sake of geostrategic calculations; rather, they were part of an ongoing effort to stabilize and secure what they perceived as the democratic mind and ‘spirit’” (28). The reverse course brought about dramatic changes to occupation policies, but Miller claims that American policymakers regarded these shifts “as a continuation of wartime plans to influence the Japanese mind toward a universal and democratic future” (58). For Miller, even the creation of the National Police Reserve (NPR) in Japan was not a qualitative change but just part of the intention of U.S. policies toward Japan. Miller asserts that U.S. policymakers “hoped that the NPR would produce the responsible and committed citizens and leaders believed necessary to create a physically, ideologically, and psychologically ‘sound’ democracy” (72). According to Miller, U.S. policymakers considered the NPR and Japanese democracy as “complementary rather than oppositional” (72). 

Miller’s argument fits with the interpretations of Takemae Eiji, a prominent scholar on the Allied occupation policy, in that he correctly asserts that the occupation policies from the beginning were fundamentally conservative.[12] I also agree with Miller, not from a psychological and mental perspective, but from the point of view of the U.S. decision-making process. At the start of the Allied occupation, Washington had paid little attention to Asian affairs, giving General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), a relatively free hand in managing Japan. After 1947 or so, the Truman administration gradually shifted the initiatives of occupation policies. The ‘course’ was not in fact reversed, and the conservative ‘course’ remained the same. The result was to “shift the initiatives of occupation policies from SCAP to Washington.”[13]

This does not necessarily mean that there was no turning point in the U.S.-Japanese relationship in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Cold War Democracy contends that economic growth and prosperity in Japan in the late 1950s and 1960s constituted a new source of political stability and democratic legitimacy. However, this kind of economy-first thinking did not suddenly emerge at this time. It actually emerged around 1947 as demilitarization and democratization became more successful than had initially been expected, culminating in the Dodge Line of 1949, a rigid implementation of the balanced-budget program in Japan initiated by Joseph Dodge, a financial adviser to the SCAP., which constituted the most significant turning point. It not only ended inflation and brought stability to the Japanese economy but also led to the rise of power and influence of the financial community to manage a tight-money, balanced-budget economy. The Dodge Line also shifted the U.S. focus in the Japanese economy from a production-first strategy to an export-first program, which led Washington to make deeper and deeper commitments in Asian affairs.[14]

Third, Miller maintains that popular resistance in Japan effectively shaped the U.S. security policies to the effect that the American government to abandoned U.S. military base expansion plans in Japan and reduced U.S. forces in Japan. While this may have been a supplemental cause, it is hard to believe that Japanese popular opposition activism constituted a direct and critical cause of change in U.S. strategic policies. If Miller is right on this, an explanation as to why the popular opposition at this specific time succeeded in shaping U.S. strategic policies is required. I feel that Japanese popular opposition could be a supplementary reason, but U.S. financial constraints and a calming of international tensions in the mid- and late-1950s might also have influenced President Dwight Eisenhower’s decision to a greater extent.

As a supplementary point of contention, one wonders how important Japan actually was for Washington in the late 1940s and the early 1950s. Those scholars who study Japan tend to consider Japan as an important element in Washington. Miller writes that officials in the United States, Japan, Europe, and Asia believed that “Japan … was a crucial battleground in shaping the future, where the world would witness the formation, implementation, and consequences of Cold War democracy” (25). Strategically speaking, for the United States in the late 1940s, Western Europe was its first priority, the Near and Middle East its second priority, followed by the Far East. For those who study Japan, including myself, examining Japan from a relativistic standpoint in the global context is essential in providing a more balanced approach to scholarly research and debate.

Cold War Democracy demonstrates an innovative approach, making a welcome and stimulating contribution to the study of the U.S.-Japan relationship during the period of the Allied occupation and early Cold War. It is a must- read for students and scholars who are interested in the Cold War.



Author’s Response by Jennifer M. Miller, Dartmouth College

I want to start by thanking Fintan Hoey, Masami Kimura, and Yoneyuki Sugita for taking the time to carefully and thoughtfully comment on my work. This level of engagement from scholars I respect—and whose work I have relied on in my own research—is both thrilling and humbling.

Cold War Democracy represents my attempt to contribute to and broaden the extensive literature on the development of the postwar U.S.-Japan alliance. Along with analyzing elements of this relationship that have been less explored in the existing English-language literature, particularly the creation of the National Police Reserve, the extensive protests against Tachikawa Air Force base, and U.S.-Japan cooperation in development policy, I had two broader goals.[15] The first was to think critically and carefully about how to historicize understandings of democracy. On the one hand, ideas about democracy in 1945—especially as expressed in the American approach to postwar Japan—seem remarkably straightforward, emphasizing popular representation, the exercise of individual rights and freedoms, and the formation of specific institutions designed to enable this exercise, both political (parliaments) and economic/civil (schools, labor unions, women’s groups etc.). Yet in reading my sources, both American and Japanese, I was struck by the extent to which people defined democracy as a much larger, and more inchoate project, one which was drawn from and dependent on the proper psychology, ‘state of mind,’ and ‘spirit.’ This way of thinking was both specific to Japan, drawn in part from wartime understandings of Japanese aggression, and widespread, even verging on universal, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It undergirded the United States’ approach to transforming Japan during the U.S. occupation, and American policymakers’ understanding of the threat of Communism; only a mentally mobilized and vigilant society could fully confront this “fanatic faith.”[16] Charting the development and consequences of such thinking—which, as Sugita rightly notes, I see as imbued with anti-egalitarian premises and consequences—was a key goal of this book. In doing so, I also sought to complicate some of our understandings of the U.S. occupation of Japan and the U.S.-Japan alliance, particularly the idea that after a few years of genuine—if imperial—democratization efforts, the occupation took a turn away from this goal (what historians call ‘the reverse course’). While key elements of U.S. occupation policy certainly changed, I argue that there are important continuities in their ideological underpinnings, particularly the idea of a mobilized and vigilant mind and spirit, that helped to facilitate the outcomes (the creation of the National Police Reserve, the Red Purge) that Japanese observers and later scholars have criticized as inherently anti-democratic. I am not claiming that such outcomes were actually democratic in the way we understand this concept today; instead, I claim that that the way many policymakers understood democracy in the early Cold War was harshly limited and not particularly liberatory.

Second, I was inspired by a growing literature that examines similarities in the United States and Japan’s governing logics and ideologies in the middle of the twentieth century; these similarities, I argue, fostered both convergence and contestation.[17] We should not, of course, overstate these similarities, which risks obscuring the power dynamics of this relationship and flattening these two countries’ distinct historical experiences. Yet I was struck by the extent to which a malleable understanding of democracy (and governance more broadly) as mental and psychological was shared and utilized by a variety of political actors, from American policymakers and military leaders to prominent liberal thinkers to Japanese conservative leaders to anti-base activists, even as they sought the realization of very different ends.[18] This led me to claim that the experiences of World War II and the Cold War fostered new understandings of democracy that crossed the Pacific (and, as my book very briefly addresses, the Atlantic).[19] Portions of the book, then, examine parallel processes in the United States and Japan, albeit ones facilitated by American hegemony, such legalizing the national security state (through laws like the United States’ 1950 McCarran Internal Security Act and Japan’s 1952 Subversive Activities Prevention Law) and recasting military power (through programs like Universal Military Training in the United States and the creation of the National Police Reserve in Japan), that policymakers claimed were necessary to strengthening and invigorating democracy. It has long been noted by scholars that the U.S.-Japanese relationship resurrected and repurposed aspects of prewar Japanese ideology and governance (most notably in the decision to preserve the emperor system). I traced the longer consequences of this resurrection through cooperation in productivity programming and development policy. I also considered how Japanese activists who opposed the U.S-Japan alliance believed that a change in Japanese consciousness was a necessary element of their resistance. In doing so, I wanted to treat the contours of the U.S.-Japan alliance as determined by more than American hegemony or geopolitics.[20]

Taken together, the reviews collected by this roundtable offer three main critiques of Cold War Democracy. The first is about the impact of this definition of democracy as a ‘state of mind.’ Both Kimura and Sugita question how much explanatory power this framework has, and wonder if it is possible to trace its impact on actual policymaking. Could it be that other factors, such as military considerations or economic calculations, were more important for postwar policy? Does my emphasis on ideology and modes of thinking lead me to downgrade the importance of institutional change? While it is true that I do not discuss all occupation reforms, my book does trace significant institutional manifestations of this thinking, especially the creation of Japan’s postwar defense forces, which I believe has been underemphasized in existing literature about this alliance. The specific ways in which remilitarization and rearmament unfolded, I claim, shows that policy and ideology are mutually constituted; rather than ideas shaping policy, I argue, they engage in a process of remaking each other, enabling outcomes that policymakers once dismissed as unthinkable. Similarly, Sugita questions if we can really use psychological ‘spirit’ as a measurement of democratic progress. Such claims, which can seem like hyperbole or offhand assertions, were vague, malleable, and often ahistorical. Yet the very fact that such talk was incredibly common at the time merits serious attention to its usage as a key ideological mechanism organizing and legitimizing the exercise of American power. We need to understand why so many commentators, policymakers, and military leaders expressed their thinking through such language and analyze what political options it opened and enabled and which possibilities it foreclosed. Indeed, I agree with Sugita that we should reject such an understanding of democracy today, yet in order to do so, we need to better understand its historical origins and consequences. As I noted in my conclusion, this is not a theoretical issue but a very relevant one: the George W. Bush administration, after all, justified its 2003 invasion of Iraq in remarkably similar terms about liberating the human ‘spirit.’ Countering such logic requires more than dismissing its claims as hypocritical or superficial.

Second, the reviewers wondered how well my discussion of the United States’ economic plans for Japan fit into my larger framework and discussions. Specifically, the last chapter of the book examines American productivity programming in Japan, the ways in which such programming continued to emphasize psychological transformation, and Japanese-American cooperation in development policies that sought to promote productivity efforts throughout Asia in the early 1960s. Hoey questions if these efforts are really part of the same intellectual genealogy as occupation-era democratization efforts, Japanese rearmament, and the U.S-Japan security alliance, while Sugita wonders if my timeline should have started earlier, during the late 1940s. Both reviewers are right to note that the timeline of the book shifts with this last chapter; the policies and efforts described in this chapter are not so much a simple outgrowth of what came before, but an effort that proceeded in parallel with the events detailed in other chapters on the late 1940s and 1950s, with similar occupation-era roots (some of which I detail very briefly at the beginning of the chapter). This, however, seems to only confirm my claim that productivity programming shared key conceptual frameworks with postwar and Cold War conceptions of democracy and security. U.S. thinking about the need to revive Japan’s economy (specifically the 1949 Dodge Line, when the U.S. occupation authorities imposed severe economic retrenchment policies on Japan) coincided with the occupation’s turn against Communism and the beginning of American debates over Japanese rearmament. It thus had similar emphases, particularly the need for psychological transformation to create a “modern,” individualistic subjectivity that participated in and strengthened American (specifically, capitalist) hegemony and was resistant to Communist incursion. American evangelists of productivity and development understood this subjectivity as not simply economic but also political, which was especially apparent in their outreach to labor unions. Our difference here may ultimately involve one of timing and semantics; taken together, these different variants of U.S. policy demonstrate the overarching and all-encompassing nature of the attempted American project in Japan.

Third, Kimura questions whether my book’s depiction of Japanese politics is too reliant on an un-nuanced dichotomy between progressives and conservatives, and wonders if conservatives should be a bigger part of this story. I completely agree with this critique. Reflecting on this issue, I think, demonstrates how both the taxonomies I use and my over-emphasis of the Japanese left are a clear case of the ways in which one’s training and archives shape one’s narrative. As a scholar of U.S. foreign relations by training, I started this project with the goal of examining the origins of the U.S.-Japan alliance and tracing Japanese agency against and within this alliance. Beginning my work with American sources, I was struck by the extent to which U.S. policymakers worried about Japanese protests in the second half of the 1950s, where they starkly differentiated between the Japanese left and Japan’s conservative leaders. My perspective also reflected a large English-language secondary literature, which has traced many aspects of postwar Japanese activism and the development of the postwar left, even as conservatives dominated postwar Japanese elections.[21] Thus even though my book did seek to transcend some traditional dichotomies—for example, by noting how people on all sides equated democracy with the expression of proper psychology and spirit—it also replicated some of my protagonists’ perspectives. Perhaps more important, my book does not fully address a crucial conundrum of modern Japanese history: how did Japanese conservatism change or not change after World War II and how did it deal with the legacies of a deadly and disastrous war? From politicians such as Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke to returning colonists and to former soldiers, how did postwar Japanese conservatism develop under, against, and separate from American power?[22] I have come to think of the transwar and postwar configuration and reconfiguration of Japanese conservativism as an incredibly important part of this story, one that I came to later in the writing process and one that I wish I had explored more fully. Thankfully, I believe that forthcoming scholarship on Japanese conservatism will help us to better understand these issues.

Ultimately, I am excited to contribute to the rich historiography that exists on the U.S-Japanese relationship and to bring this alliance into larger conversations about American power. Part of what I sought to do with Cold War Democracy was not only to excavate the ideological core of this relationship, but also to place it in dialogue with larger transformations wrought by the Cold War in the United States and beyond. I sought to strike a balance between treating the U.S-Japanese relationship as unique—especially given that Japan was post-imperial rather than post-colonial—while also analyzing it as representative of larger trends and transformations. As I discuss in my conclusion, the larger ideological, political, and geopolitical agenda that organized the United States’ postwar goals in Japan still animates U.S. policy today, a situation that is best expressed not only in the invocation of Japan prior to the invasion of Iraq, but also in the common claim that the U.S.-Japan alliance is the product of ‘shared values’ rather than brutal warmaking and postwar American hegemony.[23] Looking at this moment of the creation can thus help us to better understand our present, especially the ways in which a language and the seeming historical precedent of democratic ‘values’ continue to both mask and enable the expression of American military, geopolitical, and economic power.



[1] See, for example, Walter LaFeber, The Clash: U.S.-Japanese Relations Throughout History (New York: W.W. Norton,1998); Roger Buckley, US-Japan Alliance Diplomacy, 1945–1990 Cambridge Studies in International Relations, number 21. (New York: Cambridge University Press. 1992); Michael Schaller, The American Occupation of Japan: The Origins of the Cold War in Asia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); Aaron Forsberg, America and the Japanese Miracle: The Cold War Context of Japan's Postwar Economic Revival, 1950-1960 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014); Naoko Shibusawa, America's Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese Enemy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006); Embracing Defeat; Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999); Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu, Creating People of Plenty: The United States and Japan's Economic Alternatives, 1950-1960 (Kent: Kent State University Press, 2001).

[2] See for example, Roger Buckley, U.S.-Japan Alliance Diplomacy, 1945-1990 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Aaron Forsberg, America and the Japanese Miracle: The Cold War Context of Japan’s Postwar Economic Revival, 1950-1960; Walter LaFeber, The Clash: U.S.-Japanese Relations throughout History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997); Michael Schaller, Altered States: The United States and Japan since the Occupation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Sayuri Shimizu, Creating People of Plenty: The United States and Japan’s Economic Alternatives, 1950-1960 (Kent: Kent State University Press, 2001); John Swenson-Wright, Unequal Allies?: United States Security and Alliance Policy towards Japan (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005). A recent addition to the literature is Nick Kapur, Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise after Anpo (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018), an in-depth analysis of the effects of the renewal of the U.S.-Japanese treaty of alliance in 1960 on Japan’s domestic politics, culture and society. 

[3] Ruth Benedict, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1946).

[4] To name a few representative works taking into consideration the ideological factors in international relations, here limited to the Cold War, see John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), Christopher Layne, The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy from 1940 to the Present (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006), Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), and Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad, eds., The Cambridge History of the Cold War, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), which includes such essays as Odd Arne Westad, “The Cold War and the International History of the Twentieth Century,” in The Cambridge History of the Cold War, vol. 1, Origins, 1-19, David C. Engerman, “Ideology and the Origins of the Cold War, 1917-1962,” in Ibid., 20-43, and Robert Jervis, “Identity and the Cold War,” in The Cambridge History of the Cold War, vol. 2, Crises and Détente, 22-43.

[5] For general books on this subject published in English, Takemae Eiji, Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and Its Legacy, trans. Robert Ricketts and Sebastian Swan (New York: Continuum, 2002) and John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999) should be named. To understand occupation reforms, Japanese works are indispensable; see Tokyo Daigaku Shakai Kagaku Kenkyūjo (The University of Tokyo, Institute of Social Science) ed., Sengo Kaikaku (Postwar Reforms), 8 vols. (Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1974-1975), Sodei Rinjirō and Takemae Eiji, Sengo Nihon no Genten: Senryōshi no Genzai Jō · Ge (The Starting Point of Postwar Japan: The Present State of Occupation History, 2 vols.) (Tokyo: Yūshisha, 1992), Nakamura Masanori, Amakawa Akira, Yun Geoncha, and Igarashi Takeshi eds., Sengo Nihon: Senryō to Sengo Kaikaku (Postwar Japan: The Occupation and Postwar Reforms), 6 vols. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1995), and Ōkurashō Zaiseishi-shitsu (The Ministry of Finance, History of Finance Office) ed., Shōwa Zaiseishi Shūsen kara Kōwa made (A History of Finance of the Shōwa Period from the End of War to Peace), 20 vols. (Tokyo: Tōyō Keizai Shinpōsha, 1976-1984).

[6] See, for example, Wesley Sasaki-Uemura, Organizing the Spontaneous: Citizen Protest in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2001), Jeffrey Broadbent, Environmental Politics in Japan: Networks of Power and Protest (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), Simon Andrew Avenell, Making Japanese Citizens: Civil Society and the Mythology of the Shimin in Postwar Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), Miyume Tanji, Myth, Protest and Struggle in Okinawa (Oxon: Routledge, 2006), and Setsu Shigematsu, Scream from the Shadows: The Women's Liberation Movement in Japan (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012).

[7] For works on “cultural” relations, see, for example, Naoko Shibusawa, America’s Geisha Ally: Reimagining the Japanese Enemy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006), Hiroshi Kitamura, Screening Enlightenment: Hollywood and the Cultural Reconstruction of Defeated Japan (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010), Takeshi Matsuda, Soft Power and Its Perils: U.S. Cultural Policy in Early Postwar Japan and Permanent Dependency (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu, Transpacific Field of Dreams: How Baseball Linked the United States and Japan in Peace and War (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012), and Mire Koikari, Pedagogy of Democracy: Feminism and the Cold War in the U.S. Occupation of Japan (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008).

[8] Prime Minister Abe declared achieving a “breakaway (dakkyaku) from the ‘postwar regime’” as his political goal in his policy speech delivered in January 2007. He defines the “postwar regime” as the “basic framework of the administrative system, education, the economy, employment, state-local relations, diplomacy and security etc. with the constitution at its top” and thus argues a “breakaway” necessitates constitutional revision. The information is from his website and the website of the House of Representatives, accessed 25 August 2019, https://www.s-abe.or.jp/policy/consutitution_policy and http://www.shugiin.go.jp/internet/itdb_shitsumon.nsf/html/shitsumon/b193431.htm.

[9] See, for example, Akira Iriye, Power and Culture: The Japanese-American War, 1941-1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981) and John W. Dower, War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986).

[10] See, for example, Michael Schaller, The American Occupation of Japan: The Origins of the Cold War in Asia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); John Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton, 1994); Aaron Forsberg, America and the Japanese Miracle: The Cold War Context of Japan’s Postwar Economic Revival, 1950-1960 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000); Sayuri Simizu, Creating People of Plenty : the United States and Japan’s Economic Alternatives, 1950-1960 (Kent: Kent State University Press, 2001) and many more.

[11] For example, Howard B. Schonberger, Aftermath of War: Americans and the Remaking of Japan, 1945-1952 (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1989); Eiji Takemae, The Allied Occupation of Japan (New York: Continuum, 2002) and many more.

[12] Eiji Takemae, Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and its Legacy (New York: Continuum, 2002).

[13] Yoneyuki Sugita, Pitfall or Panacea: The Irony of US Power in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952 (London: Routledge, 2003), 36.

[14] Sugita, Pitfall or Panacea; Sugita, “Constrained Rearmament in Japan, 1945-1954: US Strategic Preference for Securing Military Bases and Impact of Japanese Financial Community,” in Peter N. Stearns, ed., Demilitarization in the Contemporary World (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013), 89-100.

[15] The English-language literature on the National Police Reserve has expanded considerably in the past few years. See Thomas French, National Police Reserve: The Origin of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (Leiden: Brill, 2014), Robert D. Eldridge and Paul Midford, eds., The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force: Search for Legitimacy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and Tomoyuki Sasaki, Japan’s Postwar Military and Civil Society: Contesting a Better Life (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). The best English language work on the protests against Tachikawa air force base is Dustin Wright, “The Sunagawa Struggle: A Century of Anti-Base Protest in a Tokyo Suburb” (PhD diss., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2015). On Japanese-American development cooperation, see Aaron Stephen Moore, “Japanese Development Consultancies and Postcolonial Power in Southeast Asia: The Case of Burma’s Balu Chang Hydropower Project,” East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal 8:3 (September 2014), Hiromi Mizuno, Aaron S. Moore, and John DiMoia, eds., Engineering Asia: Technology, Colonial Development, and the Cold War Order (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018); and Toshihiro Higuchi, “How U.S. Aid in the 1950s Prepared Japan as a Future Donor,” in Jin Sato and Yasutami Shimomura, eds., The Rise of the Asian Donors: Japan’s Impact on the Evolution of Emerging Donors, ed. (New York: Routledge, 2013).

[16] This language comes from NSC-68, https://www.trumanlibrary.gov/library/research-files/report-national-security-council-nsc-68?documentid=NA&pagenumber=8.

[17] See, for example, Takashi Fujitani, Race for Empire: Koreans as Japanese and Japanese as Americas during World War II (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), and Yukiko Koshiro, Trans-Pacific Racisms and the U.S. Occupation of Japan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).

[18] For explorations of Japanese leaders and intellectuals thinking in such terms, both pre and post-World War II, see Sheldon Garon, Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), J. Victor Koschmann, Revolution and Subjectivity in Postwar Japan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), and Max M. Ward, Thought Crime: Ideology and State Power in Interwar Japan (Durham: Duke University Press, 2019). For a similar emphasis on “national spirit” in a Chinese context, see Maggie Clinton, Revolutionary Nativism: Fascism and Culture in China, 1925 – 1937 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017).

[19] For similar explorations in a transatlantic context, see Daniel Bessner, Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018), and Udi Greenberg, The Weimar Century: German Emigres and the Ideological Origins of the Cold War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014).

[20] See, for example, John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999), and John Swenson-Wright, United States Security and Alliance Policy Towards Japan, 1945–1960 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005).

[21] See, for example, Simon Andrew Avenell, Making Japanese Citizens: Civil Society and the Mythology of the Shimin in Postwar Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), Adam Bronson, One Hundred Million Philosophers: Science of Thought and the Culture of Democracy in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press,2016), James J. Orr, The Victim as Hero: Ideologies and Peace and National Identity in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2001), Wesley Sasaki-Uemura, Organizing the Spontaneous: Citizen Protest in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2001), and Mari Yamamoto, Grassroots Pacifism in Postwar Japan: The Rebirth of a Nation (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004).

[22] On former soldiers in public life in postwar Japan, see Beatrice Trefalt, Japanese Army Stragglers and Memories of the War in Japan, 1950-75 (New York: Routledge, 2003), and Sandra Wilson, “War, Soldier and Nation in 1950s Japan,” International Journal of Asian Studies 5:2 (2008): 187-218. On the return of Japanese colonists, see Lori Watt, When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan (Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2010).

[23] For an example of this rhetoric, see The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks by President Obama to U.S. and Japanese Forces—Iwakuni, Japan,” 27 May 2016, 4:02 PM JST,  https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/05/27/remarks-president-obama-us-and-japanese-forces-iwakuni-japan.