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In the Ruins of the Japanese EmpireImperial Violence, State Destruction, and the Reordering of Modern East Asia$
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Barak Kushner and Andrew Levidis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528288

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528288.001.0001

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Ordered to Disarm, Encouraged to Rearm: Japan’s Struggles with the Postwar

Ordered to Disarm, Encouraged to Rearm: Japan’s Struggles with the Postwar

(p.139) 6 Ordered to Disarm, Encouraged to Rearm: Japan’s Struggles with the Postwar
In the Ruins of the Japanese Empire

Garren Mulloy

Hong Kong University Press

In the fall of 1945, the Japanese military institution’s end was sudden and final, one of the central ordering institutions of East Asia since the late-nineteenth century disappeared. Or did it? As Garren Mulloy shows, the Japanese imperial military institutions – its ethos, cultures, and personnel – were recast and reinvented in the Cold War as the United States sought to transform Japan into a key ally. In a detailed historical examination of the imperial roots of the SDF, Mulloy examines how the military institution of the fallen empire was sustained and then reconfigured to serve the new era of democracy and an international order dominated by the United States. In the process he recasts Japanese post-1945 security in a new postimperial key, focusing on the first two decades of security transformation, and showing how once imperial officers latched onto the Cold War help to reinvent the Japanese military as a territorially bound Self Defense Force. In the process he revises the familiar story of demilitarization and pacifism into a more complicated and ambivalent history of transwar martial cultures and practises which continued to flourish deep into the 1960s.

Keywords:   Self Defense Forces, Rearmament, Aftermath of War, Cold War militarization, United States

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