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Japan, post-World War II protest movements

Yohichi Sakai

Subject Social History » Labor History
Sociology » Government, Politics, and Law

Place Eastern Asia » Japan

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics agriculture, labor movements, unemployment, wages

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405197953.2009.00823.x


The Japanese imperialist and colonial war waged against China from 1931 and expanded into Southeast Asia and the Pacific region in 1941 was brought to an end, not internally through a popular revolt or uprising by Japanese workers or soldiers, but by Emperor Hirohito's declaration of Japanese surrender and acceptance of the Potsdam Ultimatum issued by the United States, United Kingdom, China, and the Soviet Union on August 15, 1945. The US military occupation began at the end of August, and the instrument of Japanese surrender was signed at the beginning of September. The domination of Japan by the General Headquarters (GHQ) under the Allied Occupation supreme commander Douglas MacArthur started as an indirect rule, with the GHQ directing and controlling the Japanese governmental administrative machinery, including the emperor. When Imperial Japan surrendered, there were two major sources of possible social explosion, the urban working masses and rural peasants under the landlord-tenant system. The response of both workers and peasants to their new, highly exploitative situation was not immediate. Japan began to industrialize in the 1930s, growing to over six million workers in factories, mines, and transport in 1941. This new proletarian industrial workforce had no experience of generalized mass activities under Imperial Japan's despotic and repressive regime. The peak unionization ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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