Chapter

Imagining Democracy in Postwar Japan

Andrew E. Barshay

in The Social Sciences in Modern Japan

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236455
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941335 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520236455.003.0007
Imagining Democracy in Postwar Japan

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Democracy, along with other notions such as nationalism, accompanied the consolidation of the world market and the invasive thrust of Western imperialism. Democracy preserves its unique value as both a mode of governance and a moral–political ideal. Ultimately, democracy in either aspect depends upon the development of a broader political and social discourse within which its constitutive elements can contend, a development in which the social sciences necessarily play an active, though hardly a hegemonic role. Maruyama Masao as a political thinker sought to inculcate democratic ideas and sensibilities among his fellow Japanese at a time when catastrophic defeat and national humiliation had cast doubt over all received values and institutions. Maruyama, by publicizing a scientifically imagined notion of democracy in postwar Japan, attempted to create a mass citizenry. His purpose was to examine this attempt and to trace its fate amid the institutional and ideological transformations of the years since 1945.

Keywords: democracy; nationalism; imperialism; Maruyama Masao; humiliation

Chapter.  17593 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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