Empire of Japan

Empire of Japan

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The Empire of Japan (
{{Contains Japanese text}}
{{About|the former
absolute constitutional monarchy
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

|the current limited constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

|Japan}}

{{History_of Japan|HIJMS Asahi.jpg|Image explanation = Battleship Asahi
Japanese battleship Asahi
|-External links:***...

}}

The Empire of Japan (
{{Contains Japanese text}}
{{About|the former
absolute constitutional monarchy
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

|the current limited constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

|Japan}}

{{History_of Japan|HIJMS Asahi.jpg|Image explanation = Battleship Asahi
Japanese battleship Asahi
|-External links:***...

}}

The Empire of Japan ({{unicode
Kyujitai
Kyūjitai, literally "old character forms" , are the traditional forms of kanji, Chinese written characters used in Japanese. Their simplified counterparts are shinjitai, "new character forms". Some of the simplified characters arose centuries ago and were in everyday use in both China and Japan,...

: {{lang|ja|大日本帝國}}; Shinjitai
Shinjitai
Shinjitai are the forms of kanji used in Japan since the promulgation of the Tōyō Kanji List in 1946. Some of the new forms found in shinjitai are also found in simplified Chinese, but shinjitai is generally not as extensive in the scope of its modification...

: {{lang|ja|大日本帝国}}; Romaji: Dai Nippon Teikoku; literally Greater Japanese Empire; officially Great Japan or Empire of Great Japan; commonly as Imperial Japan or the Japanese Empire) is the name of the state of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 that existed from the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
The , also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform or Renewal, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868...

 on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Constitution of Japan
Constitution of Japan
The is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May, 1947 as a new constitution for postwar Japan.-Outline:The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights...

 on 3 May 1947.

Imperial Japan's rapid industrialization and militarization
Militarization
Militarization, or militarisation, is the process by which a society organizes itself for military conflict and violence. It is related to militarism, which is an ideology that reflects the level of militarization of a state...

 under the slogan {{nihongo|Fukoku Kyōhei
Fukoku kyohei
, originally a phrase from the ancient Chinese historical work on the Warring States Period, Zhan Guo Ce , was Japan's national slogan during the Meiji Era, replacing sonnō jōi ....

|富国強兵||"Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Army"}} led to its emergence as a world power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

, eventually culminating in its membership of the Axis alliance
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 and the conquest of a large part of the Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific or Asia Pacific is the part of the world in or near the Western Pacific Ocean...

 region. At the height of its power in 1942, the Japanese Empire ruled over a land area spanning 7400000 square kilometre, making it one of the largest maritime empires in history.

After several large-scale military successes during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 (1937-1945) and the Pacific War, the Empire of Japan also gained notoriety for its war crimes against the peoples of the countries it conquered. After suffering many defeats and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

, however, the Empire of Japan surrendered to the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 on 2 September 1945. A period of occupation by the Allies followed the surrender, and a new constitution
Constitution of Japan
The is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May, 1947 as a new constitution for postwar Japan.-Outline:The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights...

 was created with American involvement. The constitution came into force on 3 May 1947, officially dissolving the Empire. American occupation and reconstruction of the country continued well into the 1950s, eventually forming modern Japan
Postwar Japan
Postwar Japan refers to the period in Japanese history immediately following the end of World War II in 1945 to the present day. Before and during the war Japan was known as an empire but is now officially the .-Occupation and democratization:...

.

The Emperors
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 during this time, which spanned the Meiji
Meiji period
The , also known as the Meiji era, is a Japanese era which extended from September 1868 through July 1912. This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan.- Meiji Restoration and the emperor :...

, Taishō
Taisho period
The , or Taishō era, is a period in the history of Japan dating from July 30, 1912 to December 25, 1926, coinciding with the reign of the Taishō Emperor. The health of the new emperor was weak, which prompted the shift in political power from the old oligarchic group of elder statesmen to the Diet...

, and Shōwa
Showa period
The , or Shōwa era, is the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Shōwa Emperor, Hirohito, from December 25, 1926 through January 7, 1989.The Shōwa period was longer than the reign of any previous Japanese emperor...

 eras, are now known in Japan by their posthumous name
Posthumous name
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

s, which coincide with those era names: Emperor Meiji
Emperor Meiji
The or was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 3 February 1867 until his death...

 (Mutsuhito), Emperor Taishō
Emperor Taishō
The was the 123rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912, until his death in 1926.The Emperor’s personal name was . According to Japanese customs, the emperor has no name during his reign and is only called the Emperor...

 (Yoshihito), and Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

).

Terminology


Although the empire is frequently referred to as "the Japanese Empire" or "Imperial Japan" in English, the literal translation
Literal translation
Literal translation, or direct translation, is the rendering of text from one language to another "word-for-word" rather than conveying the sense of the original...

 from Kanji is Greater Japanese Empire (Dai Nippon Teikoku), meaning in terms of geography: Japan and its surrounding areas. The nomenclature Empire of Japan had existed since the anti-Tokugawa domains, Satsuma
Satsuma Province
was an old province of Japan that is now the western half of Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū. Its abbreviation is Sasshū .During the Sengoku Period, Satsuma was a fief of the Shimazu daimyo, who ruled much of southern Kyūshū from their castle at Kagoshima city.In 1871, with the...

 and Chōshū, which founded their new government during the Meiji Restoration, with the intention of forming a modern state to resist western domination.

Due to its name in Kanji
Kanji
Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters hanzi that are used in the modern Japanese writing system along with hiragana , katakana , Indo Arabic numerals, and the occasional use of the Latin alphabet...

 characters and its flag, it was also called the Empire of the Sun
Empire of the Sun
Empire of the Sun is a 1984 novel by J. G. Ballard which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Like Ballard's earlier short story, "The Dead Time" , it is essentially fiction but draws extensively on Ballard's experiences in World War II...

.

Meiji Restoration


{{main|Late Tokugawa shogunate|Meiji Restoration}}
After two centuries, the seclusion policy, or Sakoku
Sakoku
was the foreign relations policy of Japan under which no foreigner could enter nor could any Japanese leave the country on penalty of death. The policy was enacted by the Tokugawa shogunate under Tokugawa Iemitsu through a number of edicts and policies from 1633–39 and remained in effect until...

, under the shoguns of the Edo period came to an end when the country was forced open to trade by the Convention of Kanagawa
Convention of Kanagawa
On March 31, 1854, the or was concluded between Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the U.S. Navy and the Tokugawa shogunate.-Treaty of Peace and Amity :...

 in 1854.

The following years saw increased foreign trade and interaction; commercial treaties between the Tokugawa Shogunate and Western countries were signed. In large part due to the humiliating terms of these Unequal Treaties
Unequal Treaties
“Unequal treaty” is a term used in specific reference to a number of treaties imposed by Western powers, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, on Qing Dynasty China and late Tokugawa Japan...

, the Shogunate soon faced internal hostility, which materialized into a radical, xenophobic movement, the sonnō jōi
Sonno joi
is a Japanese political philosophy and a social movement derived from Neo-Confucianism; it became a political slogan in the 1850s and 1860s in the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu, during the Bakumatsu period.-Origin:...

(literally "Revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians").

In March 1863, the "Order to expel barbarians
Order to expel barbarians
The was an edict issued by the Japanese Emperor Kōmei in 1863 against the Westernization of Japan following the opening of the country by Commodore Perry in 1854.-The order:...

" was issued. Although the Shogunate had no intention of enforcing the order, it nevertheless inspired attacks against the Shogunate itself and against foreigners in Japan. The Namamugi Incident
Namamugi Incident
The was a samurai assault on foreign nationals in Japan on September 14, 1862, which resulted in the August 1863 bombardment of Kagoshima, during the Late Tokugawa shogunate...

 during 1862 led to the murder of an Englishman, Charles Lennox Richardson
Charles Lennox Richardson
Charles Lennox Richardson was an English merchant based in Shanghai who was killed in Japan during the Namamugi Incident. His name is properly spelled as “Charles Lenox Richardson” according to the census and family documents.-Merchant:Richardson was born in London in 1834. He relocated to...

, by a party of samurai from Satsuma
Satsuma Province
was an old province of Japan that is now the western half of Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū. Its abbreviation is Sasshū .During the Sengoku Period, Satsuma was a fief of the Shimazu daimyo, who ruled much of southern Kyūshū from their castle at Kagoshima city.In 1871, with the...

. The British demanded reparations and responded by bombarding the port of Kagoshima
Bombardment of Kagoshima
The Bombardment of Kagoshima, also known as the , took place on 15–17 August 1863 during the Late Tokugawa shogunate. The British Royal Navy was fired on from the coastal batteries near town of Kagoshima and in retaliation bombarded the town...

 in 1863. For Richardson's death, the Tokugawa government agreed to pay an indemnity. Shelling of foreign shipping in Shimonoseki and attacks against foreign property led to the Bombardment of Shimonoseki
Bombardment of Shimonoseki
The Battles for Shimonoseki refers to a series of military engagements in 1863 and 1864, fought to control Shimonoseki Straits by joint naval forces from the Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and the United States, against the Japanese feudal domain of Chōshū, which took place off and on the...

 by a multinational force in 1864. The Chōshū clan also carried out the failed Hamaguri Rebellion
Hamaguri rebellion
The rebellion at the Hamaguri Gate of the Imperial Palace in Kyōto took place on August 20, 1864 and reflected the discontent of pro-imperial and anti-alien groups...

. The Satsuma-Chōshū alliance
Satcho Alliance
The ', or Satchō Alliance was a military alliance between the feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū formed in 1866 to combine their efforts to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan....

 was established in 1866 to combine their efforts to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu. In early 1867, Emperor Komei died of smallpox and was replaced by his son Mutsuhito (Meiji).

On November 9, 1867, Tokugawa Yoshinobu
Tokugawa Yoshinobu
was the 15th and last shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. He was part of a movement which aimed to reform the aging shogunate, but was ultimately unsuccessful...

 resigned from his post and authorities to the emperor, agreeing to "be the instrument for carrying out" imperial orders. The Tokugawa Shogunate had ended. However, while Yoshinobu's resignation had created a nominal void at the highest level of government, his apparatus of state continued to exist. Moreover, the shogunal government, the Tokugawa family in particular, remained a prominent force in the evolving political order and retained many executive powers, a prospect hard-liners from Satsuma and Chōshū found intolerable.

On January 3, 1868, Satsuma-Chōshū forces seized the imperial palace in Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

, and the following day had the fifteen-year-old Emperor Meiji declare his own restoration to full power. Although the majority of the imperial consultative assembly was happy with the formal declaration of direct rule by the court and tended to support a continued collaboration with the Tokugawa, Saigō Takamori threatened the assembly into abolishing the title "shogun" and ordered the confiscation of Yoshinobu's lands.

On January 17, 1868, Yoshinobu declared "that he would not be bound by the proclamation of the Restoration and called on the court to rescind it." On January 24, Yoshinobu decided to prepare an attack on Kyoto, occupied by Satsuma and Chōshū forces. This decision was prompted by his learning of a series of arson attacks in Edo, starting with the burning of the outworks of Edo Castle, the main Tokugawa residence.

Boshin War


{{main|Boshin War}}

The {{nihongo|Boshin War|戊辰戦争|Boshin Sensō}} was fought between January 1868 and May 1869. The alliance of samurai from southern and western domains and court officials had now secured the cooperation of the young Emperor Meiji, who ordered the dissolution of the two-hundred-year-old Tokugawa Shogunate. Tokugawa Yoshinobu launched a military campaign to seize the emperor's court at Kyoto. However, the tide rapidly turned in favor of the smaller but relatively modernized imperial faction and resulted in defections of many daimyo to the Imperial side. The Battle of Toba-Fushimi
Battle of Toba-Fushimi
The occurred between pro-Imperial and Tokugawa shogunate forces during the Boshin War in Japan. The battle started on 27 January 1868 , when the forces of the Tokugawa shogunate and the allied forces of Chōshū, Satsuma and Tosa domains clashed near Fushimi...

 was a decisive victory in which a combined army from Chōshū, Tosa, and Satsuma domains defeated the Tokugawa army. A series of battles were then fought in pursuit of supporters of the Shogunate; Edo surrendered to the Imperial forces and afterwards Yoshinobu personally surrendered. Yoshinobu was stripped of all his power by Emperor Meiji and most of Japan accepted the emperor's rule.

Pro-Tokugawa remnants, however, then retreated to northern Honshū (Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei
Ouetsu Reppan Domei
-External links:**...

) and later to Ezo (present-day Hokkaidō
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

), where they established the breakaway Republic of Ezo
Republic of Ezo
The ' was a short-lived state established by former Tokugawa retainers in what is now known as Hokkaidō, the large but sparsely populated northernmost island in modern Japan.-Background:...

. An expeditionary force was dispatched by the new government and the Ezo Republic forces were overwhelmed. The siege of Hakodate
Battle of Hakodate
The was fought in Japan from October 20, 1868 to May 17, 1869, between the remnants of the Tokugawa shogunate army, consolidated into the armed forces of the rebel Ezo Republic, and the armies of the newly formed Imperial government...

 came to an end in May 1869 and the remaining forces surrendered.

Five Charter Oath


{{Main|Charter Oath}}
The Charter Oath was made public at the enthronement of Emperor Meiji of Japan on April 7, 1868. The Oath outlined the main aims and the course of action to be followed during Emperor Meiji's reign, setting the legal stage for Japan's modernization.

The Meiji leaders
Meiji oligarchy
The Meiji oligarchy was the name used to describe the new ruling class of Meiji period Japan. In Japanese, the Meiji oligarchy is called the ....

 also aimed to boost morale and win financial support for the new government
Government of Meiji Japan
The Government of Meiji Japan was the government which was formed by politicians of the Satsuma Domain, Chōshū Domain and Tenno. The Meiji government was the early government of the Empire of Japan....

. Its five provisions consisted of:
  • Establishment of deliberative assemblies.
  • Involvement of all classes in carrying out state affairs.
  • The revocation of sumptuary laws and class restrictions on employment.
  • Replacement of "evil customs" with the "just laws of nature."
  • An international search for knowledge to strengthen the foundations of imperial rule.

Meiji era (1868–1912)


{{main|Meiji period|Government of Meiji Japan}}

Japan dispatched the Iwakura Mission
Iwakura mission
The Iwakura Mission or Iwakura Embassy was a Japanese diplomatic journey around the world, initiated in 1871 by the oligarchs of the Meiji period. Although it was not the only such "mission", it is the most well-known and possibly most important for the modernization of Japan after a long period...

 in 1871. The mission traveled the world in order to renegotiate the unequal treaties
Unequal Treaties
“Unequal treaty” is a term used in specific reference to a number of treaties imposed by Western powers, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, on Qing Dynasty China and late Tokugawa Japan...

 with the United States and European countries that Japan had been forced into during the Tokugawa shogunate, and to gather information on western social systems, in order to effect the modernization of Japan. Renegotiation of the unequal treaties was universally unsuccessful, but close observation of the American and European systems inspired members on their return to bring about modernization initiatives in Japan. Japan made territorial delimitation treaty with Russia in 1875, Japan gained all the Kuril islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

 in exchange for Sakhalin island.

Several prominent writers, under the constant threat of assassination from their political foes, were influential in winning Japanese support for westernization
Westernization
Westernization or Westernisation , also occidentalization or occidentalisation , is a process whereby societies come under or adopt Western culture in such matters as industry, technology, law, politics, economics, lifestyle, diet, language, alphabet,...

. One such writer was Fukuzawa Yukichi
Fukuzawa Yukichi
was a Japanese author, writer, teacher, translator, entrepreneur and political theorist who founded Keio University. His ideas about government and social institutions made a lasting impression on a rapidly changing Japan during the Meiji Era...

, whose works included "Conditions in the West," "Leaving Asia
Datsu-A Ron
Datsu-A Ron was an editorial which was first published in the Japanese newspaper Jiji Shimpo on March 16, 1885. The writer is thought to be Japanese author and educator Fukuzawa Yukichi, but the original editorial was written anonymously. The editorial was contained in the second volume of...

", and "An Outline of a Theory of Civilization," which detailed Western society and his own philosophies. In the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
The , also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform or Renewal, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868...

 period, military and economic power was well emphasized. Military strength became the means for national development and stability. Imperial Japan became the only non-Western world power
World Power
World Power is the debut album of German Eurodance project Snap!, released in 1990 on Bookmark/Ariola Records. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, as the project's musical style and its vocalists, Turbo B and Penny "Tiny" Ford, were well-received...

 and a major force in east and southeast Asia in about 40 years as a result of industrialization and economic development.

As writer Albrecht Fürst von Urach
Albrecht von Urach
Prince Albrecht of Urach was a German nobleman, artist and wartime author, journalist, linguist and diplomat.-Background:...

 comments in his booklet "The Secret of Japan's Strength," which was written during the Axis powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 period:
{{cquote|The rise of Japan to a world power during the past 80 years is the greatest miracle in world history. The mighty empires of antiquity, the major political institutions of the Middle Ages and the early modern era, the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, all needed centuries to achieve their full strength. Japan's rise has been meteoric. After only 80 years, it is one of the few great powers that determine the fate of the world.}}

The sudden westernization, once it was adopted, changed almost all areas of Japanese society, ranging from armaments, arts, clothes, etiquette, judicial and political systems, language, etc. The Japanese government sent students to Western countries to observe and learn their practices, and also paid "foreign advisors" in a variety of fields to come to Japan to educate the populace. For instance, the judicial system and constitution were largely modeled on those of Germany. The government also outlawed customs linked to Japan's feudal past, such as publicly displaying and wearing katana
Katana
A Japanese sword, or , is one of the traditional bladed weapons of Japan. There are several types of Japanese swords, according to size, field of application and method of manufacture.-Description:...

 and the top knot
Chonmage
The chonmage is a form of Japanese traditional haircut worn by men. It is most commonly associated with the Edo Period and samurai, and in recent times with sumo wrestlers...

, both of which were characteristic of the samurai
Samurai
is the term for the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany a person in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau...

 class, which was abolished together with the caste system. This would later bring the Meiji government into conflict with the Samurai
Satsuma Rebellion
The was a revolt of Satsuma ex-samurai against the Meiji government from January 29 to September 24, 1877, 9 years into the Meiji Era. It was the last, and the most serious, of a series of armed uprisings against the new government.-Background:...

.

Constitution


{{main|Meiji Constitution}}
The constitution recognized the need for change and modernization after removal of the shogunate:
{{Cquote|We, the Successor to the prosperous Throne of Our Predecessors, do humbly and solemnly swear to the Imperial Founder of Our House and to Our other Imperial Ancestors that, in pursuance of a great policy co-extensive with the Heavens and with the Earth, We shall maintain and secure from decline the ancient form of government...In consideration of the progressive tendency of the course of human affairs and in parallel with the advance of civilization, We deem it expedient, in order to give clearness and distinctness to the instructions bequeathed by the Imperial Founder of Our House and by Our other Imperial Ancestors, to establish fundamental laws....}}

Imperial Japan was founded, de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

, after the 1889 signing of Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The constitution formalized much of the Empire's political structure and gave many responsibilities and powers to the Emperor.

Article 4. The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution.


Article 6. The Emperor gives sanction to laws, and orders them to be promulgated and executed.


Article 11. The Emperor has the supreme command of the Army and Navy.

Although it was in this constitution that the title Empire of Japan was officially used for the first time, it was not until 1936 that this title was legalized. Until then, the names "Nippon" (日本; Japan), "Dai-Nippon" (大日本; Greater Japan), "Dai-Nippon/-Nihon Koku" (日本國; literally State of Japan), "Nihon Teikoku" (日本帝國; Empire of Japan) were all used.

Imperial Diet



In 1890, Imperial Diet was established in response to Meiji Constitution
Meiji Constitution
The ', known informally as the ', was the organic law of the Japanese empire, in force from November 29, 1890 until May 2, 1947.-Outline:...

. The Diet consisted of the House of Representatives of Japan
House of Representatives of Japan
The is the lower house of the Diet of Japan. The House of Councillors of Japan is the upper house.The House of Representatives has 480 members, elected for a four-year term. Of these, 180 members are elected from 11 multi-member constituencies by a party-list system of proportional representation,...

 and the House of Peers
House of Peers (Japan)
The ' was the upper house of the Imperial Diet as mandated under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan ....

. Both houses opened seats for colonial people as well as Japanese. The Imperial Diet continued until 1947.

Economic development


{{main|Economic history of Japan#Prewar period}}
The process of modernization was closely monitored and heavily subsidized by the Meiji government, enhancing the power of the great zaibatsu
Zaibatsu
is a Japanese term referring to industrial and financial business conglomerates in the Empire of Japan, whose influence and size allowed for control over significant parts of the Japanese economy from the Meiji period until the end of World War II.-Terminology:...

 firms such as Mitsui
Mitsui
is one of the largest corporate conglomerates in Japan and one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.-History:Founded by Mitsui Takatoshi , who was the fourth son of a shopkeeper in Matsusaka, in what is now today's Mie prefecture...

 and Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
The Mitsubishi Group , Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies is a Japanese multinational conglomerate company that consists of a range of autonomous businesses which share the Mitsubishi brand, trademark and legacy...

. Hand in hand, the zaibatsu and government guided the nation, borrowing technology from the West. Japan gradually took control of much of Asia's market for manufactured goods, beginning with textiles. The economic structure became very mercantilistic, importing raw materials and exporting finished products — a reflection of Japan's relative scarcity of raw materials.
Economic reforms included a unified modern currency based on the yen, banking, commercial and tax laws, stock exchanges, and a communications network. Establishment of a modern institutional framework conducive to an advanced capitalist economy took time but was completed by the 1890s. By this time, the government had largely relinquished direct control of the modernization process, primarily for budgetary reasons. Many of the former daimyo
Daimyo
is a generic term referring to the powerful territorial lords in pre-modern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings...

, whose pensions had been paid in a lump sum, benefited greatly through investments they made in emerging industries.

The government was initially involved in economic modernization, providing a number of "model factories" to facilitate the transition to the modern period. After the first twenty years of the Meiji period, the industrial economy expanded rapidly until about 1920 with inputs of advanced Western technology and large private investments.

Japan emerged from the Tokugawa-Meiji transition as the first Asian industrialized nation. From the onset, the Meiji rulers embraced the concept of a market economy and adopted British and North American forms of free enterprise capitalism. Rapid growth and structural change characterized Japan's two periods of economic development after 1868. Initially, the economy grew only moderately and relied heavily on traditional Japanese agriculture to finance modern industrial infrastructure. By the time the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 began in 1904, 65% of employment and 38% of the gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GDP) were still based on agriculture, but modern industry had begun to expand substantially. By the late 1920s, manufacturing and mining amounted to 23% of GDP, compared with 21% for all of agriculture. Transportation and communications developed to sustain heavy industrial development.

From 1894, Japan built an extensive empire that included Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, Korea, Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, and parts of northern China
North China
thumb|250px|Northern [[People's Republic of China]] region.Northern China or North China is a geographical region of China. The heartland of North China is the North China Plain....

. The Japanese regarded this sphere of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

 as a political and economic necessity, which prevented foreign states from strangling Japan by blocking its access to raw materials and crucial sea-lanes. Japan's large military force was regarded as essential to the empire's defense and prosperity by obtaining natural resources that the Japanese islands lacked.

First Sino-Japanese War


{{main|First Sino-Japanese War|Taiwan under Japanese rule}}

Prior to its engagement in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Empire of Japan fought in two significant wars after its establishment following the Meiji Revolution. The first was the First Sino-Japanese War
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea...

, fought in 1894 and 1895. The war revolved around the issue of control and influence over Korea under the rule of the Joseon Dynasty
Joseon Dynasty
Joseon , was a Korean state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Goryeo at what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul...

. A peasant rebellion led to a request by the Korean government for Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 China to send in troops to stabilize the country. The Empire of Japan responded by sending their own force to Korea and installing a puppet government in Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

. China objected and war ensued. In a brief affair with Japanese ground troops routing Chinese forces on the Liaodong Peninsula, and the near destruction of the Chinese navy in the Battle of the Yalu River. The Treaty of Shimonoseki
Treaty of Shimonoseki
The Treaty of Shimonoseki , known as the Treaty of Maguan in China, was signed at the Shunpanrō hall on April 17, 1895, between the Empire of Japan and Qing Empire of China, ending the First Sino-Japanese War. The peace conference took place from March 20 to April 17, 1895...

 was signed between Japan and China, which ceded the Liaodong Peninsula and the island of Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 to Japan. After the peace treaty, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 forced Japan to withdraw from Liaodong Peninsula
Triple Intervention
The was a diplomatic intervention by Russia, Germany, and France on 23 April 1895 over the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki signed between Japan and Qing dynasty China that ended the First Sino-Japanese War.-Treaty of Shimonoseki:...

, soon afterwards Russia occupied the Liaodong Peninsula, built Port Arthur fortress and based the Russian Pacific Fleet
Pacific Fleet (Russia)
The Pacific Fleet is the part of the Russian Navy that is stationed in the Pacific Ocean, which formerly secured the Far Eastern borders of the Soviet Union. The fleet headquarters is located at Vladivostok and a number of fleet bases are located in the Vladivostok area...

 in the port. Germany occupied Jiaozhou Bay
Jiaozhou Bay
The Jiaozhou Bay is a sea gulf located in Qingdao Prefecture of Shandong Province. It was a German colonial concession from 1898 until 1914....

, built Tsingtao fortress and based the German East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...

 in this port.

Boxer rebellion


{{main|Boxer rebellion|Boxer Protocol}}
In 1900, Japan and many western countries dispatched forces to China to protect their citizens and Chinese Christians from the Boxer Uprising. After the uprising, Japan and the western countries signed the Boxer Protocol
Boxer Protocol
The Boxer Protocol was signed on September 7, 1901 between the Qing Empire of China and the Eight-Nation Alliance that had provided military forces plus Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands after China's defeat in the intervention to put down the Boxer Rebellion at the hands of the...

 with China, which permitted them to station troops on Chinese soil to protect their citizens. After the treaty, Russia continued to occupy all of Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

.

Russo-Japanese War


{{main|Russo-Japanese War}}

The Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 was a conflict for control of Korea and parts of Manchuria between the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Empire of Japan that took place from 1904 to 1905. The war is significant as the first modern war in which an Asian country defeated a European power. The victory greatly raised Japan's stature in the world of global politics. The war is marked by the Japanese opposition of Russian interests in Korea, Manchuria, and China, notably, the Liaodong Peninsula, controlled by the city of Port Arthur.

Originally, in the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Port Arthur had been given to Japan. This part of the treaty was overruled by Western powers, which gave the port to the Russian Empire, furthering Russian interests in the region. These interests came into conflict with Japanese interests. The war began with a surprise attack on the Russian Eastern fleet stationed at Port Arthur, which was followed by the Battle of Port Arthur
Battle of Port Arthur
The Battle of Port Arthur was the starting battle of the Russo-Japanese War...

. Those elements that attempted escape were defeated by the Japanese navy under Admiral Togo Heihachiro at the Battle of the Yellow Sea
Battle of the Yellow Sea
The Battle of the Yellow Sea was a major naval engagement of the Russo-Japanese War, fought on 10 August 1904. In the Russian Navy, it was referred to as the Battle of 10 August. The battle foiled an attempt by the Russian fleet at Port Arthur to break out and form up with counterparts from...

. Following a late start, the Russian Baltic fleet was denied passage through the British-controlled Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

. The fleet arrived on the scene a year later, only to be annihilated in the Battle of Tsushima
Battle of Tsushima
The Battle of Tsushima , commonly known as the “Sea of Japan Naval Battle” in Japan and the “Battle of Tsushima Strait”, was the major naval battle fought between Russia and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War...

. While the ground war did not fare as poorly for the Russians, the Japanese forces were significantly more aggressive than their Russian counterparts and gained a political advantage that culminated with the Treaty of Portsmouth
Treaty of Portsmouth
The Treaty of Portsmouth formally ended the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. It was signed on September 5, 1905 after negotiations at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine in the USA.-Negotiations:...

, negotiated in the United States by the American president
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

. As a result, Russia lost the part of Sakhalin
Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

 Island south of 50 degrees North
50th parallel north
The 50th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 50 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 latitude (which became the Karafuto Prefecture
Karafuto Prefecture
, commonly called South Sakhalin, was the Japanese administrative division corresponding to Japanese territory on Sakhalin from 1905 to 1945. Through the Treaty of Portsmouth, the portion of Sakhalin south of 50°N became a colony of Japan in 1905...

), as well as many mineral rights in Manchuria. In addition, Russia's defeat cleared the way for Japan to annex Korea outright in 1910.

Annexation of Korea


{{Main|Korea under Japanese rule}}
Korea, 1910–1945
Korea in the Japanese Empire, 1939
Timeline
Eulsa Treaty
Eulsa Treaty
The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905, also known as the Eulsa Treaty or Japan–Korea Protectorate Treaty, was made between the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire in 1905. Negotiations were concluded on November 17, 1905....

November 18, 1905
Annexation by Japan August 22, 1910
March 1st Movement
March 1st Movement
The March 1st Movement, or Samil Movement, was one of the earliest public displays of Korean resistance during the occupation of the Korean Empire by Japan. The name refers to an event that occurred on March 1, 1919, hence the movement's name, literally meaning "Three-One Movement" or "March First...

March 1, 1919
Battle of Qingshanli September 11, 1920
Sakuradamon Incident
Sakuradamon Incident
The Sakuradamon Incident or Patriotic Deed of Lee Bong-chang was an assassination attempt against Emperor Hirohito of the Empire of Japan by a Korean independence activist, Lee Bong-chang in Tokyo on 9 January 1932....

January 9, 1932
Shanghai bombing attack
Yoon Bong-Gil
Yoon Bong-Gil was a Korean independence activist and assassin who worked against Japan during Japan's rule over Korea .-Shanghai bombing:...

April 29, 1932
Sōshi-kaimei
Soshi-kaimei
Sōshi-kaimei was a policy created by Jiro Minami, Governor-General of Korea under the Empire of Japan, implemented upon Japanese subjects from Korea . As defined by Ordinance No...

1940–1945
End of World War II
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

August 15, 1945
Victory over Japan Day
Victory over Japan Day
Victory over Japan Day is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event...

September 2, 1945
Division of Korea
Division of Korea
The division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea. In a proposal opposed by nearly all Koreans, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily occupy the country as a trusteeship...

1945


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, various Western countries actively competed for influence, trade, and territory in East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

, and Japan sought to join these modern colonial powers. The newly modernised Meiji government of Japan turned to Korea, then in the sphere of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

 of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

's Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

. The Japanese government initially sought to separate Korea from Qing and make Korea a Japanese satellite
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

 in order to further their security and national interests.

In January 1876, following the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
The , also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform or Renewal, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868...

, Japan employed gunboat diplomacy
Gunboat diplomacy
In international politics, gunboat diplomacy refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives with the aid of conspicuous displays of military power — implying or constituting a direct threat of warfare, should terms not be agreeable to the superior force....

 to pressure Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, under the Joseon Dynasty
Joseon Dynasty
Joseon , was a Korean state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Goryeo at what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul...

, to sign the Treaty of Ganghwa
Treaty of Ganghwa
The Japan-Korea Treaty of Amity, also known as the Treaty of Ganghwa or Treaty of Kanghwa, was made between representatives of the Empire of Japan and the Kingdom of Joseon in 1876...

, which granted extraterritorial rights
Extraterritoriality
Extraterritoriality is the state of being exempt from the jurisdiction of local law, usually as the result of diplomatic negotiations. Extraterritoriality can also be applied to physical places, such as military bases of foreign countries, or offices of the United Nations...

 to Japanese citizens and opened three Korean ports to Japanese trade. The rights granted to Japan under this unequal treaty, were similar to those granted western powers in Japan following the visit of Commodore Perry. Japanese involvement in Korea increased with the subsequent assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 of Empress Myeongseong
Empress Myeongseong
Empress Myeongseong , also known as Queen Min, was the first official wife of King Gojong, the twenty-sixth king of the Joseon dynasty of Korea...

 (also known as "Queen Min") in 1895.

Korea was occupied and declared a Japanese protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 following the 1905 Eulsa Treaty
Eulsa Treaty
The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905, also known as the Eulsa Treaty or Japan–Korea Protectorate Treaty, was made between the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire in 1905. Negotiations were concluded on November 17, 1905....

, and officially annexed
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 in 1910 through the annexation treaty.

In Korea, the period is usually described as a time of Japanese "forced occupation" (Hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

: {{lang|ko|일제 강점기}}; Ilje gangjeomgi, Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

: 日帝强占期). Other terms used for it include "Japanese Imperial Period" (Hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

: {{lang|ko|일제시대}}, Ilje sidae, Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

: 日帝時代) or "Japanese administration" (Hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

: {{lang|ko|왜정}}, Wae jeong, {{lang|ko|Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

: 倭政}}). In Japan, a more common description is {{nihongo|"Japanese rule"|日本統治時代の朝鮮|Nippon Tōchi-jidai no Chōsen}}. Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 would be officially part of the Empire of Japan for 35 years, from August 22, 1910, until the formal Japanese rule ended on September 2, 1945, upon the surrender of Japan
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

. The 1905 and 1910 treaties were eventually declared "null and void" by both Japan and South Korea in 1965.

World War I


{{main|Japan during World War I|Racial Equality Proposal, 1919}}

Japan entered World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in 1914, seizing the opportunity of Germany's distraction with the European War to expand its sphere of influence in China and the Pacific. Japan declared war on Germany on August 23, 1914. Japanese and allied British Empire forces soon moved to occupy Tsingtao fortress, the German East Asia Squadron
German East Asia Squadron
The German East Asia Squadron was a German Navy cruiser squadron which operated mainly in the Pacific Ocean between the 1870s and 1914...

 base, German-leased territories in China's Shandong Province as well as the Marianas, Caroline
Caroline Islands
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

, and Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 in the Pacific, which were part of German New Guinea
German New Guinea
German New Guinea was the first part of the German colonial empire. It was a protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when it fell to Australia following the outbreak of the First World War. It consisted of the northeastern part of New Guinea and several nearby island groups...

. The Siege of Tsingtao and a swift invasion in the German territory of Jiaozhou (Kiautschou), proved successful and the colonial troops surrendered on November 7, 1914. Japan then gained the German holdings.

With its Western allies, notably the United Kingdom, heavily involved in the war in Europe, Japan dispatched a Naval fleet to the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to aid allied shipping against German U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 attacks. Japan sought further to consolidate its position in China by presenting the Twenty-One Demands
Twenty-One Demands
The ' were a set of demands made by the Empire of Japan under Prime Minister Ōkuma Shigenobu sent to the nominal government of the Republic of China on January 18, 1915, resulting in two treaties with Japan on May 25, 1915.- Background :...

 to China in January 1915. In the face of slow negotiations with the Chinese government, widespread anti-Japanese sentiment in China
Anti-Japanese sentiment in China
Anti-Japanese sentiment in China is an issue with modern roots . Modern anti-Japanese sentiment in China is often rooted in nationalist or historical conflict, particularly in Japan's Japanese history textbook controversies....

, and international condemnation, Japan withdrew the final group of demands, and treaties were signed in May 1915.

In 1919, Japan proposed a clause on racial equality
Racial Equality Proposal, 1919
The Racial Equality Proposal was a Japanese proposal for racial equality at the Paris Peace Conference.-The proposal:After the end of seclusion, Japan suffered unequal treaties and demanded equal status with the Powers. In this context, the Japanese delegation to the Paris peace conference proposed...

 to be included in the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 covenant at the Paris Peace Conference
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

. The clause was rejected by several Western countries and was not forwarded for larger discussion at the full meeting of the conference. The rejection was an important factor in the coming years in turning Japan away from cooperation with West and towards nationalistic policies. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance
Anglo-Japanese Alliance
The first was signed in London at what is now the Lansdowne Club, on January 30, 1902, by Lord Lansdowne and Hayashi Tadasu . A diplomatic milestone for its ending of Britain's splendid isolation, the alliance was renewed and extended in scope twice, in 1905 and 1911, before its demise in 1921...

 was ended in 1923.

Siberian Intervention


{{main|Siberian Intervention|Japan during the Siberian Intervention}}
After the fall of the Tsarist regime and the later provisional regime in 1917, the new Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 government
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

 signed a separate peace treaty
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, mediated by South African Andrik Fuller, at Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Powers, headed by Germany, marking Russia's exit from World War I.While the treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year,...

 with Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

. After this the Russians fought amongst themselves in a multi-sided civil war
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

.

In July 1918, President Wilson asked the Japanese government to supply 7000 troops as part of an international coalition of 25,000 troops planned to support the American Expeditionary Force Siberia
American Expeditionary Force Siberia
The American Expeditionary Force Siberia was a United States Army force that was involved in the Russian Civil War in Vladivostok, Russian Empire, during the tail end of World War I after the October Revolution, from 1918 to 1920....

. Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake
Terauchi Masatake
, GCB was a Japanese military officer and politician. He was a Field Marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army and the 18th Prime Minister of Japan from 9 October 1916 to 29 September 1918.-Early period:...

 agreed to send 12,000 troops, but under the Japanese command rather than as part of an international coalition. The Japanese had several hidden motives for the venture, which included an intense hostility and fear of communism; a determination to recoup historical losses to Russia; and the desire to settle the "northern problem" in Japan's security either through the creation of a buffer state or through outright territorial acquisition.

By November 1918, more than 70,000 Japanese troops
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 under Chief of Staff Yui Mitsue had occupied all ports and major towns in the Russian Maritime Provinces
Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai , informally known as Primorye , is a federal subject of Russia . Primorsky means "maritime" in Russian, hence the region is sometimes referred to as Maritime Province or Maritime Territory. Its administrative center is in the city of Vladivostok...

 and eastern Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. Japan received 765 Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 orphans from Siberia.

In June 1920, around 450 Japanese civilians and 350 Japanese soldiers, along with Russian White Army supporters, were massacred by partisan forces associated with the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 at Nikolayevsk on the Amur River
Nikolayevsk Incident
The was a series of events from February through March 1920 during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, cumulating in the massacre of several hundred Japanese expatriates and most of the Russian inhabitants of the town of Nikolayevsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East.Nikolayevsk-on-Amur...

; the United States and its allied coalition partners consequently withdrew from Vladivostok after the capture and execution of White Army leader Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak
Aleksandr Kolchak
Aleksandr Vasiliyevich Kolchak was a Russian naval commander, polar explorer and later - Supreme ruler . Supreme ruler of Russia , was recognized in this position by all the heads of the White movement, "De jure" - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, "De facto" - Entente States...

 by the Red Army. However, the Japanese decided to stay, primarily due to fears of the spread of communism so close to Japan and Japanese-controlled Korea and Manchuria. The Japanese army provided military support to the Japanese-backed Provisional Priamurye Government
Provisional Priamurye Government
The Provisional Priamurye Government existed in the Siberian region of Priamurye, Russia, between May 27, 1921 and October 25, 1922...

 based in Vladivostok against the Moscow-backed Far Eastern Republic
Far Eastern Republic
The Far Eastern Republic , sometimes called the Chita Republic, was a nominally independent state that existed from April 1920 to November 1922 in the easternmost part of the Russian Far East...

.

The continued Japanese presence concerned the United States, which suspected that Japan had territorial designs on Siberia and the Russian Far East. Subjected to intense diplomatic pressure by the United States and Great Britain, and facing increasing domestic opposition due to the economic and human cost, the administration of Prime Minister Katō Tomosaburō
Kato Tomosaburo
Viscount was a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy, cabinet minister, and Prime Minister of Japan from 12 June 1922 to 24 August 1923.-Biography:...

 withdrew the Japanese forces in October 1922. Japanese casualties from the expedition were 5000 dead from combat or illness, with the expedition costing over 900 million yen.

"Taishō Democracy"


The election of Katō Komei
Kato Takaaki
Count was a Japanese politician and the 24th Prime Minister of Japan from 11 June 1924 to 28 January 1926. He was also known as Katō Kōmei.- Early life :...

 as Prime Minister of Japan continued democratic reforms that had been advocated by influential individuals on the left. This culminated in the passage of universal male suffrage in March 1925. This bill gave all male subjects over the age of 25 the right to vote, provided they had lived in their electoral districts for at least one year and were not homeless. The electorate thereby increased from 3.3 million to 12.5 million.

Early Shōwa (1926–1937)


{{main|Shōwa period}}

Expansion of Democracy


In 1932, Park Chun-kum was elected to the House of Representatives
House of Representatives of Japan
The is the lower house of the Diet of Japan. The House of Councillors of Japan is the upper house.The House of Representatives has 480 members, elected for a four-year term. Of these, 180 members are elected from 11 multi-member constituencies by a party-list system of proportional representation,...

 in the Japanese general election as a first colonial people. In 1935, democracy was introduced in Taiwan and in response to Taiwanese public opinion, local assemblies were established. In 1942, 38 colonial people were elected to local assemblies of the Japanese homeland.

Military and social organizations


{{main|May 15 Incident|February 26 Incident}}
Important institutional links existed between the party in government (Kōdōha) and military and political organizations, such as the Imperial Young Federation and the "Political Department" of the Kempeitai
Kempeitai
The was the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1881 to 1945. It was not an English-style military police, but a French-style gendarmerie...

. Amongst the himitsu kessha (secret societies), the Kokuryu-kai (Black Dragon Society) and Kokka Shakai Shugi Gakumei (National Socialist League) also had close ties to the government. The Tonarigumi
Tonarigumi
The was the smallest unit of the national mobilization program established by the Japanese government in World War II. It consisted of units consisting of 10-15 households organized for fire fighting, civil defense and internal security. -History & Development:...

 (residents committee) groups, the Nation Service Society (national government trade union), and Imperial Farmers Association were all allied as well. Other organizations and groups related with the government in wartime were: Double Leaf Society
Double Leaf Society
The was a Japanese military secret society of the 1920s.The Futabakai was one of many ultranationalist secret societies which had arisen within the Japanese military, from the Meiji period through World War II...

, Kokuhonsha
Kokuhonsha
The was a nationalist political society in late 1920s and early 1930s Japan.-History:The Kokuhonsha was founded in 1924 by conservative Minister of Justice and President of the House of Peers, Kiichirō Hiranuma....

, Taisei Yokusankai
Taisei Yokusankai
The was Japan's para-fascist organization created by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on October 12, 1940 to promote the goals of his Shintaisei movement...

, Imperial Youth Corps
Imperial Youth Corps
The was an elite para-military youth branch of the Taisei Yokusankai political party of wartime Empire of Japan established in January 1942, and based on the model of the German Sturmabteilung ....

, Keishicho (to 1945), Shintoist Rites Research Council, Treaty Faction
Treaty Faction
The was an unofficial and informal political faction within the Imperial Japanese Navy in the 1920s-1930s of officers supporting the Washington Naval Treaty.-Background:...

, Fleet Faction
Fleet Faction
The was an unofficial and informal political faction within the Imperial Japanese Navy in the 1920s-1930s of officers opposed to the conditions imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty.-Background:...

, and Volunteer Fighting Corps.

Nationalistic factors


{{main|Statism in Shōwa Japan|Imperial Way Faction|Japanese nationalism}}

Sadao Araki
Sadao Araki
Baron was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army before World War II. A charismatic leader and one of the principal nationalist right-wing political theorists in the late Japanese Empire, he was regarded as the leader of the radical faction within the politicized Japanese Army and served as...

 was an important figurehead and founder of the Army party and the most important right-wing thinker in his time. His first ideological works date from his leadership of the Kōdōha (Imperial Benevolent Rule or Action Group), opposed by the Tōseiha
Toseiha
' was a political faction in the Imperial Japanese Army, active in the 1920s and 1930s.Led by General Kazushige Ugaki, along with Hajime Sugiyama, Koiso Kuniaki, Yoshijirō Umezu, Tetsuzan Nagata and Hideki Tōjō, the Tōseiha was a grouping of officers united primarily by their opposition to the...

 (Control Group) led by General Kazushige Ugaki. He linked the ancient (bushido
Bushido
, meaning "Way of the Warrior-Knight", is a Japanese word which is used to describe a uniquely Japanese code of conduct and a way of the samurai life, loosely analogous to the concept of chivalry. It originates from the samurai moral code and stresses frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and...

code) and contemporary local and European fascist ideals (see Japanese fascism
Japanese fascism
Statism in Shōwa Japan was a political syncretism of Japanese right-wing political ideologies, developed over a period of time from the Meiji Restoration...

), to form the ideological basis of the movement (Shōwa nationalism
Statism in Shōwa Japan
Statism in Shōwa Japan was a political syncretism of Japanese right-wing political ideologies, developed over a period of time from the Meiji Restoration...

).

From September 1932, the Japanese were becoming more locked into the course that would lead them into the Second World War, with Araki leading the way. Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

, militarism
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

, and expansionism
Expansionism
In general, expansionism consists of expansionist policies of governments and states. While some have linked the term to promoting economic growth , more commonly expansionism refers to the doctrine of a state expanding its territorial base usually, though not necessarily, by means of military...

 were to become the rule, with fewer voices able to speak against it. In a September 23 news conference, Araki first mentioned the philosophy of "Kōdōha" (The Imperial Way Faction
Imperial Way Faction
The was a political faction in the Imperial Japanese Army, active in the 1920s and 1930s and largely supported by junior officers aiming to establish a military government, that promoted totalitarian, militarist, and expansionist ideals...

). The concept of Kodo linked the Emperor, the people, land, and morality as indivisible. This led to the creation of a "new" Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 and increased Emperor worship.


On February 26, 1936, a coup d'état was attempted (the February 26 Incident
February 26 Incident
The was an attempted coup d'état in Japan, from February 26 to 29, 1936 carried out by 1,483 troops of the Imperial Japanese Army. Several leading politicians were killed and the center of Tokyo was briefly occupied by the rebelling troops...

). Launched by the ultranationalist Kōdōha faction with the military, it ultimately failed due to the intervention of the Emperor. Kōdōha members were purged from the top military positions and the Tōseiha
Toseiha
' was a political faction in the Imperial Japanese Army, active in the 1920s and 1930s.Led by General Kazushige Ugaki, along with Hajime Sugiyama, Koiso Kuniaki, Yoshijirō Umezu, Tetsuzan Nagata and Hideki Tōjō, the Tōseiha was a grouping of officers united primarily by their opposition to the...

 faction gained dominance. However, both factions believed in expansionism, a strong military, and a coming war. Furthermore, Kōdōha members, while removed from the military, still had political influence within the government.

The state was being transformed to serve the Army and the Emperor. Symbolic katana
Katana
A Japanese sword, or , is one of the traditional bladed weapons of Japan. There are several types of Japanese swords, according to size, field of application and method of manufacture.-Description:...

 swords came back into fashion as the martial embodiment of these beliefs, and the Nambu pistol
Nambu pistol
was a semi-automatic pistol used by the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy during the First and Second World Wars. The pistol had two variants, the Type A , and the Type 14 .-History:...

 became its contemporary equivalent, with the implicit message that the Army doctrine of close combat would prevail. The final objective, as envisioned by Army thinkers such as Sadao Araki
Sadao Araki
Baron was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army before World War II. A charismatic leader and one of the principal nationalist right-wing political theorists in the late Japanese Empire, he was regarded as the leader of the radical faction within the politicized Japanese Army and served as...

 and right-wing line followers, was a return to the old Shogunate system, but in the form of a contemporary Military Shogunate. In such a government the Emperor would once more be a figurehead (as in the Edo period
Edo period
The , or , is a division of Japanese history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate....

). Real power would fall to a leader very similar to a führer or duce, though with the power less nakedly held. On the other hand, the traditionalist Navy militarists defended the Emperor and a constitutional monarchy with a significant religious aspect.

A third point of view was supported by Prince Chichibu
Prince Chichibu
, also known as Prince Yasuhito, was the second son of Emperor Taishō and a younger brother of the Emperor Shōwa. As a member of the Imperial House of Japan, he was the patron of several sporting, medical, and international exchange organizations...

, a brother of Emperor Shōwa, who repeatedly counseled him to implement a direct imperial rule, even if that meant suspending the constitution.

With the launching of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association
Taisei Yokusankai
The was Japan's para-fascist organization created by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on October 12, 1940 to promote the goals of his Shintaisei movement...

 in 1940 by Prime minister Fumimaro Konoe
Fumimaro Konoe
Prince was a politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Taisei Yokusankai.- Early life :...

, Japan would turn to a form of government that resembled totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

. However, although this unique style of government was very similar to fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

, there were many significant differences between the two and the former therefore could be termed Japanese nationalism
Japanese nationalism
encompasses a broad range of ideas and sentiments harbored by the Japanese people over the last two centuries regarding their native country, its cultural nature, political form and historical destiny...

.

Economic factors



At same time, the zaibatsu
Zaibatsu
is a Japanese term referring to industrial and financial business conglomerates in the Empire of Japan, whose influence and size allowed for control over significant parts of the Japanese economy from the Meiji period until the end of World War II.-Terminology:...

 trading groups (principally Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
The Mitsubishi Group , Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies is a Japanese multinational conglomerate company that consists of a range of autonomous businesses which share the Mitsubishi brand, trademark and legacy...

, Mitsui
Mitsui
is one of the largest corporate conglomerates in Japan and one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.-History:Founded by Mitsui Takatoshi , who was the fourth son of a shopkeeper in Matsusaka, in what is now today's Mie prefecture...

, Sumitomo, and Yasuda) looked towards great future expansion. Their main concern was a shortage of raw materials. Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye combined social concerns with the needs of capital, and planned for expansion.

The main goals of Japan's expansionism were acquisition and protection of spheres of influence, maintenance of territorial integrity, acquisition of raw materials, and access to Asian markets. Western nations, notably Great Britain, France, and the United States, had for long exhibited great interest in the commercial opportunities in China and other parts of Asia. These opportunities had attracted Western investment because of the availability of raw materials for both domestic production and re-export to Asia. Japan desired these opportunities in planning the development of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a concept created and promulgated during the Shōwa era by the government and military of the Empire of Japan. It represented the desire to create a self-sufficient "bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers"...

.

The Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, just as in many other countries, hindered Japan's economic growth. The Japanese Empire's main problem lay in that rapid industrial expansion had turned the country into a major manufacturing and industrial power that required raw materials; however, these had to be obtained from overseas, as there was a critical lack of natural resources on the home islands.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Japan needed to import raw materials such as iron, rubber, and oil to maintain strong economic growth. Most of these resources came from the United States. The Japanese felt that acquiring resource-rich territories would establish economic self-sufficiency and independence, and they also hoped to jump-start the nation's economy in the midst of the depression. As a result Japan set its sights on East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

, specifically Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 with its many resources; Japan needed these resources to continue its economic development and maintain national integrity.

Late Shōwa (1937–1947) – Expansionism


{{main|Hakkō ichiu|National Spiritual Mobilization Movement|World War II}}

Manchuria


{{main|Japanese invasion of Manchuria|Pacification of Manchukuo}}

With little resistance, Japan invaded and conquered Manchuria in 1931. Japan claimed that this invasion was a liberation of the Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

s from the Chinese, although the majority of the population were Han Chinese as a result of the large scale settlement of Chinese in Manchuria
Chuang Guandong
Chuang Guandong , means the rush to Manchuria of the Han Chinese, especially from the Shandong Peninsula and Zhili, during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Previously this region was outside China proper, but sometimes under the control, or at least within...

 in the 19th century. Japan then established a puppet regime called Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

, and installed the former Emperor of China
Emperor of China
The Emperor of China refers to any sovereign of Imperial China reigning between the founding of Qin Dynasty of China, united by the King of Qin in 221 BCE, and the fall of Yuan Shikai's Empire of China in 1916. When referred to as the Son of Heaven , a title that predates the Qin unification, the...

, Puyi
Puyi
Puyi , of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan, was the last Emperor of China, and the twelfth and final ruler of the Qing Dynasty. He ruled as the Xuantong Emperor from 1908 until his abdication on 12 February 1912. From 1 to 12 July 1917 he was briefly restored to the throne as a nominal emperor by the...

, as the official head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. Jehol
Jehol
Jehol could mean either a province or a city:* Jehol Province, former province in northeastern China* Chengde, the capital of above provinceNamed after the province:* Jehol Biota* Jeholodens* Jeholopterus* Jeholornis* Jeholosaurus...

, a Chinese territory bordering Manchuria, was also taken in 1933. This puppet regime had to carry on a protracted pacification campaign against the Anti-Japanese Volunteer Armies
Anti-Japanese Volunteer Armies
After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, and until 1933, large volunteer armies waged war against Japanese and Manchukuo forces over much of Northeast China....

 in Manchuria. In 1936, Japan created a similar Mongolian puppet state in Inner Mongolia named Mengjiang
Mengjiang
Mengjiang , also known in English as Mongol Border Land, was an autonomous area in Inner Mongolia, operating under nominal Chinese sovereignty and Japanese control. It consisted of the then-Chinese provinces of Chahar and Suiyuan, corresponding to the central part of modern Inner Mongolia...

(Chinese: 蒙疆), which was also predominantly Chinese as a result of recent Han immigration to the area. Japanese, Koreans, and Taiwanese were banned from immigration to North America
Immigration Act of 1924
The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act , was a United States federal law that limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already...

 and Australia
White Australia policy
The White Australia policy comprises various historical policies that intentionally restricted "non-white" immigration to Australia. From origins at Federation in 1901, the polices were progressively dismantled between 1949-1973....

. Manchukuo opened the immigration of Asians, and the Japanese population subsequently grew to 850,000.

Second Sino-Japanese War


{{main|Second Sino-Japanese War}}
Japan invaded China in 1937, creating what was essentially a three-way war between Japan, Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

's communists, and Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

's nationalists. On December 13 of that same year, the Nationalist capital of Nanking surrendered to Japanese troops. In the event known as the Nanking Massacre
Nanking Massacre
The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder, genocide and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing , the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second...

, Japanese troops massacred a large number of the defending garrison. It is estimated that as many as 300,000 people, including civilians, may have been killed, although the actual numbers are uncertain and the government of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 has never undertaken a full accounting of the massacres. In total, an estimated 20 million Chinese, mostly civilians, were killed during World War II. A puppet state was also set up in China quickly afterwards, headed by Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei
Wang Jingwei , alternate name Wang Zhaoming, was a Chinese politician. He was initially known as a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang , but later became increasingly anti-Communist after his efforts to collaborate with the CCP ended in political failure...

. The second Sino-Japanese war continued into World War II with the Communists and Nationalists in a temporary and uneasy nominal alliance against the Japanese.

Clashes with the Soviet Union


{{main|Battle of Lake Khasan|Battles of Khalkhin Gol|Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact}}

In 1938, the Japanese 19th Division entered territory claimed by the Soviet Union, leading to the Battle of Lake Khasan
Battle of Lake Khasan
The Battle of Lake Khasan and also known as the Changkufeng Incident in China and Japan, was an attempted military incursion of Manchukuo into the territory claimed by the Soviet Union...

. This incursion was founded in the Japanese belief that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary, as stipulated in the Treaty of Peking, between Imperial Russia and Manchu China (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation), and furthermore, that the demarcation markers were tampered with.

On May 11, 1939, in the Nomonhan Incident (Battle of Khalkhin Gol
Battle of Khalkhin Gol
The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol was the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese Border Wars fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia and the Empire of Japan in 1939. The conflict was named after the river Khalkhyn Gol, which passes through the battlefield...

)
, a Mongolian cavalry unit of some 70 to 90 men entered the disputed area in search of grazing for their horses, and encountered Manchukuoan cavalry, who drove them out. Two days later the Mongolian force returned and the Manchukoans were unable to evict them.

The Japanese IJA 23rd Division and other units of the Kwantung Army then became involved. Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 ordered Stavka
Stavka
Stavka was the term used to refer to a command element of the armed forces from the time of the Kievan Rus′, more formally during the history of Imperial Russia as administrative staff and General Headquarters during late 19th Century Imperial Russian armed forces and those of the Soviet Union...

, the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

's high command, to develop a plan for a counterstrike against the Japanese. In late August, Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

 employed encircling tactics that made skillful use of superior artillery, armor, and air forces; this offensive nearly annihilated the 23rd Division and decimated the IJA 7th Division. On September 15 an armistice was arranged. Nearly two years later, on April 13, 1941, the parties signed a Neutrality Pact, in which the Soviet Union pledged to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of Manchukuo, while Japan agreed similarly for the Mongolian People's Republic.

Tripartite Pact


{{main|Tripartite Pact|Axis powers|German–Japanese relations|Jewish settlement in Imperial Japan}}

In 1938, Japan prohibited the expulsion of the Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 in Japan, Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in accordance with the spirit of racial equality
Racial equality
Racial equality means different things in different contexts. It mostly deals with an equal regard to all races.It can refer to a belief in biological equality of all human races....

 on which Japan had insisted for many years.

The Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 had seen tensions rise between Imperial Japan and the United States; events such as the Panay incident
Panay incident
The USS Panay Incident was a Japanese attack on the American gunboat while she was anchored in the Yangtze River outside Nanking , China on December 12, 1937. Japan and the United States were not at war at the time. The Japanese claimed that they did not see the American flags painted on the deck...

 and the Nanking Massacre
Nanking Massacre
The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder, genocide and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing , the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second...

 turned American public opinion against Japan. With the occupation of French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 in the years of 1940–41, and with the continuing war in China, the United States placed embargoes on Japan of strategic materials such as scrap metal and oil, which were vitally needed for the war effort. The Japanese were faced with the option of either withdrawing from China and losing face or seizing and securing new sources of raw materials in the resource-rich, European-controlled colonies of South East Asia—specifically British Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 and the Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

 (modern-day Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

).

On September 27, 1940, Imperial Japan signed the Tripartite Pact
Tripartite Pact
The Tripartite Pact, also the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940, which established the Axis Powers of World War II...

 with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Their objectives were to "establish and maintain a new order of things" in their respective world regions and spheres of influence, with Nazi Germany in Europe, Imperial Japan in Asia, and Fascist Italy in North Africa. The signatories of this alliance become known as the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

. The pact also called for mutual protection—if any one of the member powers was attacked by a country not already at war, excluding the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

—and for technological and economic cooperation between the signatories.

For the sake of their own people and nation, Prime Minister Konoe formed the Taisei Yokusankai
Taisei Yokusankai
The was Japan's para-fascist organization created by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on October 12, 1940 to promote the goals of his Shintaisei movement...

 (Imperial Rule Assistance Association) on October 12, 1940 as their own ruling party in Japan, avoiding the influences of German Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

.

Pacific War


{{main|Pacific War}}
In the Pacific War, many of the islands became dominions of the Empire.

Attack on Pearl Harbor


{{main|Attack on Pearl Harbor}}

Facing an oil embargo by the United States as well as dwindling domestic reserves, the Japanese government decided to execute a plan developed by the military branch largely led by Osami Nagano and Isoroku Yamamoto
Isoroku Yamamoto
was a Japanese Naval Marshal General and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II, a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and a student of Harvard University ....

 to bomb the United States naval base in Hawaii, thereby bringing the United States to World War II on the side of the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

. On September 4, 1941, the Japanese Cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 met to consider the war plans prepared by Imperial General Headquarters
Imperial General Headquarters
The as part of the Supreme War Council was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime...

, and decided:
Our Empire, for the purpose of self-defense and self-preservation, will complete preparations for war ... [and is] ... resolved to go to war with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands if necessary. Our Empire will concurrently take all possible diplomatic measures vis-a-vis the United States and Great Britain, and thereby endeavor to obtain our objectives ... In the event that there is no prospect of our demands being met by the first ten days of October through the diplomatic negotiations mentioned above, we will immediately decide to commence hostilities against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.


The Imperial Japanese Navy made its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces sustained significant losses. The primary objective of the attack was to incapacitate the United States long enough for Japan to establish its long-planned Southeast Asian empire and defensible buffer zones. The U.S. public saw the attack as a treacherous act and rallied against the Empire of Japan. The United States entered the European Theatre and Pacific Theater
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 in full force. Four days later, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 of Nazi Germany declared war on the United States, merging the separate conflicts.


Japanese offensives (1941–42)


{{main|South-East Asian theatre of World War II|South West Pacific theatre of World War II}}

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese launched offensives against Allied forces in South East Asia, with simultaneous attacks on Hong Kong, British Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

.

The South-East Asian Campaign was preceded by years of propaganda and espionage activities carried out in the region by the Japanese Empire. The Japanese espoused their vision of a Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, and an Asia for Asians to the people of South East Asia, who had lived under European rule for generations. As a result, many inhabitants in the region actually sided with the Japanese invaders - except of course for the ethnic Chinese
Ethnic Chinese
Ethnic Chinese may refer to:*Han Chinese, the dominant ethnic group in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macao, the Republic of China and Singapore....

, who had witnessed the effects of a Japanese occupation in their homeland.

Hong Kong surrendered
Battle of Hong Kong
The Battle of Hong Kong took place during the Pacific campaign of World War II. It began on 8 December 1941 and ended on 25 December 1941 with Hong Kong, then a Crown colony, surrendering to the Empire of Japan.-Background:...

 to the Japanese on 25th December. In Malaya
Battle of Malaya
The Malayan Campaign was a campaign fought by Allied and Japanese forces in Malaya, from 8 December 1941 – 31 January 1942 during the Second World War. The campaign was dominated by land battles between British Commonwealth army units, and the Imperial Japanese Army...

 the Japanese overwhelmed an Allied army composed of British, Indian, Australian
Second Australian Imperial Force
The Second Australian Imperial Force was the name given to the volunteer personnel of the Australian Army in World War II. Under the Defence Act , neither the part-time Militia nor the full-time Permanent Military Force could serve outside Australia or its territories unless they volunteered to...

 and Malay forces. The Japanese were quickly able to advance down the Malayan Peninsula, forcing the Allied forces to retreat towards Singapore. The Allies lacked aircover and tanks; the Japanese had total air superiority. The sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse
Sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse
The sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse was a Second World War naval engagement that took place north of Singapore, off the east coast of Malaya, near Kuantan, Pahang where the British Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battlecruiser HMS Repulse were sunk by land-based bombers and...

 on December 10, 1941 led to the east coast of Malaya being exposed to Japanese landings and the elimination of British naval power in the area. By the end of January 1942, the last Allied forces crossed the strait of Johore and into Singapore.

In the Philippines
Battle of the Philippines (1941-42)
The Philippines Campaign or the Battle of the Philippines was the invasion of the Philippines by Japan in 1941–1942 and the defense of the islands by Filipino and United States forces....

, the Japanese pushed the combined Filipino-American force towards the Bataan peninsula
Battle of Bataan
The Battle of Bataan represented the most intense phase of Imperial Japan's invasion of the Philippines during World War II. The capture of the Philippine Islands was crucial to Japan's effort to control the Southwest Pacific, seize the resource-rich Dutch East Indies, and protect its Southeast...

 and later the island of Corregidor
Battle of Corregidor
The Battle for Corregidor was the culmination of the Japanese campaign for the conquest of the Philippines. The fall of Bataan on 9 April 1942 ended all organized opposition by the U.S...

. By January 1942, General Douglas MacArthur and President Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

 were forced to flee in the face of Japanese advance. This marked among one of the worst defeats suffered by the Americans, leaving over 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war in the custody of the Japanese.

On February 15, 1942, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, due to the overwhelming superiority of Japanese forces and encirclement tactics, fell to the Japanese
Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of the Second World War when the Empire of Japan invaded the Allied stronghold of Singapore. Singapore was the major British military base in Southeast Asia and nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East"...

, causing the largest surrender
Surrender (military)
Surrender is when soldiers, nations or other combatants stop fighting and eventually become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers. A white flag is a common symbol of surrender, as is the gesture of raising one's hands empty and open above one's head.When the...

 of British-led military personnel in history. An estimated 80,000 Indian, Australian and British troops were taken as prisoners of war, joining 50,000 taken in the Japanese invasion of Malaya
Battle of Malaya
The Malayan Campaign was a campaign fought by Allied and Japanese forces in Malaya, from 8 December 1941 – 31 January 1942 during the Second World War. The campaign was dominated by land battles between British Commonwealth army units, and the Imperial Japanese Army...

 (modern day Malaysia). Many were later used as forced labour constructing the Burma Railway, the site of the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai.

Immediately following their invasion of British Malaya, the Japanese military carried out a purge of the Chinese population
Sook Ching massacre
The Sook Ching massacre was a systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore by the Japanese military during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, after the British colony surrendered on 15 February 1942 during the Second World War. Sook Ching was later...

 in Malaya and Singapore. Over the course of a month following their victory at Singapore, the Japanese are believed to have killed tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese
Ethnic Chinese
Ethnic Chinese may refer to:*Han Chinese, the dominant ethnic group in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macao, the Republic of China and Singapore....

 perceived to be hostile to the new regime.

The Japanese then seized the key oil production zones of Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Central Java
Central Java
Central Java is a province of Indonesia. The administrative capital is Semarang. It is one of six provinces on the island of Java.This province is the province of high Human Development in Indonesia and its Points Development Index countries is equivalent to Lebanon. The province of Central Java...

, Malang
Malang
Malang is the second largest city in East Java province, Indonesia. It has an ancient history dating back to the Mataram Kingdom. The city population at the 2010 Census was 819,708. During the period of Dutch colonization, it was a popular destination for European residents. The city is famous for...

, Cepu, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, and Dutch New Guinea of the late Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies campaign
The Dutch East Indies campaign of 1941–1942 was the conquest of the Dutch East Indies by forces from the Empire of Japan in the early days of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Forces from the Allies attempted unsuccessfully to defend the islands. Indonesia was targeted by the Japanese for its...

, defeating the Dutch forces. They were welcomed ecstatically as liberating heroes by the oppressed Indonesian natives pursuant to their indigenous legends
Joyoboyo
Sri Mapanji Jayabaya or Jayabhaya, was Javanese King of the Kediri in East Java from AD1135 to 1157....

.{{Citation needed|date=June 2011}} The Japanese then consolidated their lines of supply through capturing key islands of the Pacific, including Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal is a tropical island in the South-Western Pacific. The largest island in the Solomons, it was discovered by the Spanish expedition of Alvaro de Mendaña in 1568...

.

Path to defeat (1942–45)




Japanese military strategists were keenly aware of the unfavorable discrepancy between the industrial potential of the Japanese Empire and that of the United States. Because of this they reasoned that Japanese success hinged on their ability to extend the strategic advantage gained at Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 with additional rapid strategic victories.

The Japanese Command reasoned that only decisive destruction of the United States' Pacific Fleet and conquest of its remote outposts would ensure that the Japanese Empire would not be overwhelmed by America's industrial might. In May 1942, failure to decisively defeat the Allies at the Battle of the Coral Sea
Battle of the Coral Sea
The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged...

, in spite of Japanese numerical superiority, equated to a strategic defeat for Imperial Japan.

This setback was followed in June 1942 by the catastrophic loss of a four carrier task force at the Battle of Midway
Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

. Midway was a decisive defeat for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and proved to be the turning point of the war. Australian
Second Australian Imperial Force
The Second Australian Imperial Force was the name given to the volunteer personnel of the Australian Army in World War II. Under the Defence Act , neither the part-time Militia nor the full-time Permanent Military Force could serve outside Australia or its territories unless they volunteered to...

 land forces defeated Japanese Marines in New Guinea at the Battle of Milne Bay
Battle of Milne Bay
The Battle of Milne Bay, also known as Operation RE by the Japanese, was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II. Japanese marines attacked the Australian base at Milne Bay on the eastern tip of New Guinea on 25 August 1942, and fighting continued until the Japanese retreated on 5...

 in September 1942, which was the first land defeat suffered by the Japanese in the Pacific. Further defeats by the Allies at Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal campaign
The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by Allied forces, was a military campaign fought between August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theatre of World War II...

 in September 1942, and New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

 in 1943 put the Empire of Japan on the defensive for the remainder of the war.

During 1943 and 1944, Allied forces, backed by the industrial might and vast raw material resources of the United States, advanced steadily towards Japan. The Sixth United States Army, led by General MacArthur, landed on Leyte
Leyte Island
Leyte is an island in the Visayas group of the Philippines.The island measures about 180 km north-south and about 65 km at its widest point. In the north it nearly joins Samar, separated by the San Juanico Strait, which becomes as narrow as 2 km in some places...

 on 19 October 1944. In the subsequent months, during the Philippines Campaign (1944–45), the combined United States and the Philippine Commonwealth troops, together with the recognized guerrilla units, liberated much of the Philippines.

By 1944, the Allies had seized or bypassed and neutralized many of Japan's strategic bases through amphibious landings and bombardment. This, coupled with the losses inflicted by Allied submarines
Allied submarines in the Pacific War
Allied submarines were used extensively during the Pacific War and were a key contributor to the defeat of the Empire of Japan. During the war, submarines of the United States Navy were responsible for 55% of Japan's merchant marine losses; other Allied navies added to the toll. The war against...

 on Japanese shipping routes began to strangle Japan's economy and undermine its ability to supply its army. By early 1945, the U.S. Marines had wrested control of the Ogasawara Islands
Ogasawara Islands
The Bonin Islands, known in Japan as the are an archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands, some directly south of Tokyo, Japan. Administratively, they are part of Ogasawara Municipality of Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo...

 in several hard-fought battles such as the Battle of Iwo Jima
Battle of Iwo Jima
The Battle of Iwo Jima , or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Empire of Japan. The U.S...

, marking the beginning of the fall of the islands of Japan.

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


{{main|Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki}}
After securing airfields in Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

 and Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

 in the summer of 1944, the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 undertook an intense bombing campaign, using incendiary bombs, burning Japanese cities in an effort to pulverize Japan's industry and shatter its morale. These campaigns, peaking on the night of March 9–10, 1945 in Tokyo during Operation Meetinghouse, led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Concurrent to these attacks, Japan's vital coastal shipping operations were severely hampered with extensive aerial mining by the US' Operation Starvation
Operation Starvation
Operation Starvation was an American naval mining operation conducted in World War II by the Army Air Force, in which vital water routes and ports of Japan were mined by air in order to disrupt enemy shipping.-Operation:...

. Regardless, these efforts did not succeed in persuading the Japanese military to surrender. In mid August 1945, the United States dropped two nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s on Japan. These atomic bombings were the first, and so far only, used against another nation. These two bombs killed approximately 100,000 to 200,000 people in a matter of minutes, and many more people died as a result of nuclear radiation in the following weeks, months, and years. The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

 and 80,000 in Nagasaki
Nagasaki
is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. Nagasaki was founded by the Portuguese in the second half of the 16th century on the site of a small fishing village, formerly part of Nishisonogi District...

 by the end of 1945.

Defeat and surrender


{{main|Surrender of Japan|Potsdam Declaration|Victory over Japan Day}}

Having ignored (mokusatsu
Mokusatsu
is a Japanese word meaning "to ignore" or "to treat with silent contempt". It is composed of two kanji: and . The government of Japan used the term as a response to Allied demands in the Potsdam Declaration for unconditional surrender in World War II, which influenced President Harry S...

) the Potsdam Declaration
Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement calling for the Surrender of Japan in World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S...

, the Empire of Japan surrendered and ended World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

 and a declaration of war by the Soviet Union. In a national radio address of 15 August, Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender to the Japanese people.

Occupation of Japan


{{main|Occupation of Japan}}

A period known as Occupied Japan
Occupied Japan
At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States with contributions also from Australia, India, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power...

 followed after the war, largely spearheaded by United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 to revise the Japanese constitution and de-militarize Japan. The American occupation, with economic and political assistance, continued well into the 1950s. Allied forces ordered Japan to abolish the Meiji Constitution
Meiji Constitution
The ', known informally as the ', was the organic law of the Japanese empire, in force from November 29, 1890 until May 2, 1947.-Outline:...

 and enforce the Constitution of Japan
Constitution of Japan
The is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May, 1947 as a new constitution for postwar Japan.-Outline:The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights...

, then rename the Empire of Japan as Japan on May 3, 1947. Japan adopted a parliamentary-based political system, while the Emperor changed to symbolic status.

American General of the Army
General of the Army
General of the Army is a military rank used in some countries to denote a senior military leader, usually a General in command of a nation's Army. It may also be the title given to a General who commands an Army in the field....

 Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 later commended the new Japanese government that he helped establish and the new Japanese period when he was about to send the American forces to the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

:
{{quotation|The Japanese people, since the war, have undergone the greatest reformation recorded in modern history. With a commendable will, eagerness to learn, and marked capacity to understand, they have, from the ashes left in war's wake, erected in Japan an edifice dedicated to the supremacy of individual liberty and personal dignity; and in the ensuing process there has been created a truly representative government committed to the advance of political morality, freedom of economic enterprise, and social justice. Politically, economically, and socially Japan is now abreast of many free nations of the earth and will not again fail the universal trust... I sent all four of our occupation divisions to the Korean battlefront without the slightest qualms as to the effect of the resulting power vacuum upon Japan. The results fully justified my faith. I know of no nation more serene, orderly, and industrious, nor in which higher hopes can be entertained for future constructive service in the advance of the human race.}}

For historian John W. Dower
John W. Dower
John W. Dower is an American author and historian.Dower earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Amherst College in 1959, and a Ph.D. in History and Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University in 1972, where he studied under Albert M. Craig...

, however, {{quotation|"In retrospect, apart from the military officer corps, the purge of alleged militarists and ultranationalists that was conducted under the Occupation had relatively small impact on the long-term composition of men of influence in the public and private sectors. The purge initially brought new blood into the political parties, but this was offset by the return of huge numbers of formerly purged conservative politicians to national as well as local politics in the early 1950s. In the bureaucracy, the purge was negligible from the outset (...) In the economic sector, the purge similarly was only mildly disruptive, affecting less than sixteen hundred individuals spread among some four hundred companies. Everywhere one looks, the corridors of power in postwar Japan are crowded with men whose talents had already been recognized during the war years, and who found the same talents highly prized in the "new" Japan."}}

Repatriation


There was a significant level of emigration to the overseas territories of the Japanese Empire during the Japanese colonial period, including Korea
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....

, Taiwan
Taiwan under Japanese rule
Between 1895 and 1945, Taiwan was a dependency of the Empire of Japan. The expansion into Taiwan was a part of Imperial Japan's general policy of southward expansion during the late 19th century....

, Manchuria
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

, and Karafuto. Unlike emigrants to the Americas, Japanese
Japanese people
The are an ethnic group originating in the Japanese archipelago and are the predominant ethnic group of Japan. Worldwide, approximately 130 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 127 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live in other countries...

 going to the colonies occupied a higher rather than lower social niche upon their arrival.

In 1938, there were 309,000 Japanese in Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

. By the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, there were over 850,000 Japanese in Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 and more than 2 million in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, most of whom were farmers in Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

 (the Japanese had a plan to bring in 5 million Japanese settlers into
Manchukuo).

In the census of December 1939, the total population of the South Pacific Mandate
South Pacific Mandate
The was the Japanese League of Nations mandate consisting of several groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean which came under the administration of Japan after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.-Early history:Under the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, after the start of World...

 was 129,104, of which 77,257 were Japanese. By December 1941, Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

 had a population of more than 30,000 people, including 25,000 Japanese. There were over 400,000 people living on Karafuto (southern Sakhalin
Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

) when the Soviet offensive began in early August 1945. Most were of Japanese or Korean
Sakhalin Koreans
Sakhalin Koreans are Russian citizens and residents of Korean descent living on Sakhalin Island, who trace their roots to the immigrants from the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces of Korea during the late 1930s and early 1940s, the latter half of the Japanese colonial era...

 extraction. When Japan lost the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

, 17,000 Japanese were expelled, most from the
southern islands.

After World War II, most of these overseas Japanese repatriated to Japan
World War II evacuation and expulsion
Forced deportation, mass evacuation and displacement of peoples took place in many of the countries involved in World War II. These were caused both by the direct hostilities between Axis and Allied powers, and the border changes enacted in the pre-war settlement...

. The Allied powers repatriated over 6 million Japanese nationals from colonies and battlefields throughout Asia. Only a few remained overseas, often involuntarily, as in the case of orphans in China
Japanese orphans in China
Japanese orphans in China consist primarily of children left behind by Japanese families repatriating to Japan in the aftermath of World War II. According to Chinese government figures, roughly 2,800 Japanese children were left behind in China after the war, 90% in Inner Mongolia and northeast...

 or prisoners of war captured by the Red Army
Japanese prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
By the end of :World War II there were from 560,000 to 760,000 Japanese POWs in the Soviet Union and Mongolia interned to work in labor camps. Of them, about 10% died , mostly during the winter of 1945–1946....

 and forced to work in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

.

War crimes


{{main|War crimes and Japan|Allied war crimes during World War II#Asia and the Pacific War|International Military Tribunal for the Far East}}

Many political and military Japanese leaders were convicted for war crimes before the Tokyo tribunal and other Allied tribunals in Asia. However, all members of the imperial family implicated in the war, such as Emperor Shōwa and his brothers, cousins and uncles such as Prince Chichibu
Prince Chichibu
, also known as Prince Yasuhito, was the second son of Emperor Taishō and a younger brother of the Emperor Shōwa. As a member of the Imperial House of Japan, he was the patron of several sporting, medical, and international exchange organizations...

, Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
was a scion of the Japanese imperial family and was a career naval officer who served as chief of staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1932 to 1941.-Early life:...

 and Prince Asaka Yasuhiko, were exonerated from criminal prosecutions by Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

.

The Japanese military before and during World War II committed numerous atrocities against civilian and military personnel. Large scale massacres, rapes and looting against civilians were committed most notably the Sook Ching
Sook Ching massacre
The Sook Ching massacre was a systematic extermination of perceived hostile elements among the Chinese in Singapore by the Japanese military during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, after the British colony surrendered on 15 February 1942 during the Second World War. Sook Ching was later...

 and Nanking Massacre
Nanking Massacre
The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder, genocide and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing , the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second...

, and the use of around 200,000 "comfort women
Comfort women
The term "comfort women" was a euphemism used to describe women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000 from some Japanese scholars to as high as 410,000 from some Chinese...

", who were forced to serve as prostitutes for the Japanese military.

The Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 also engaged in the execution and harsh treatment of Allied military personnel and POWs and biological
Biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war...

 experiments were conducted by Unit 731
Unit 731
was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese...

 on civilians and prisoners of war; this included the use of biological and chemical weapons authorized by Emperor Shōwa himself. According to the 2002 International Symposium on the Crimes of Bacteriological Warfare, the number of people killed in Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 Asia by the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 germ warfare and human experiments was estimated to be around 580,000. Shirō Ishii
Shiro Ishii
was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for human experimentation and war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Early years:...

 and all Unit 731 members received immunity from U.S. General
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

 Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 in exchange for germ warfare data based on human experimentation
Human experimentation
Human subject research includes experiments and observational studies. Human subjects are commonly participants in research on basic biology, clinical medicine, nursing, psychology, and all other social sciences. Humans have been participants in research since the earliest studies...

.

Influential personnel


{{main|List of Japanese government and military commanders of World War II}}

Political




In the administration of Japan dominated by the military political movement during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the civil central government was under the management of military men and their right-wing civilian allies, along with members of the nobility and Imperial Family. The Emperor was in the center of this power structure as supreme Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Imperial Armed Forces and head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

.

Military


The military of Imperial Japan was divided into two main branches under Imperial General Headquarters
Imperial General Headquarters
The as part of the Supreme War Council was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime...

 responsible for the overall conduct of operations including prominent military leaders and commanders:
  • Prominent generals and leaders:

    • Imperial Japanese Navy
      Imperial Japanese Navy
      The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

      : Navy of Japan
      • Admiral
        Admiral
        Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

         Count
        Count
        A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

         Itoh Sukeyuki
        Itoh Sukeyuki
        - Notes :...

         (1843–1914)
      • Admiral Viscount
        Viscount
        A viscount or viscountess is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl or a count .-Etymology:...

         Inoue Yoshika
        Inoue Yoshika
        - Notes :...

         (1845–1929)
      • Admiral Marquis
        Marquis
        Marquis is a French and Scottish title of nobility. The English equivalent is Marquess, while in German, it is Markgraf.It may also refer to:Persons:...

         Tōgō Heihachirō
        Togo Heihachiro
        Fleet Admiral Marquis was a Fleet Admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy and one of Japan's greatest naval heroes. He was termed by Western journalists as "the Nelson of the East".-Early life:...

         (1847–1934) Battle of Tsushima
        Battle of Tsushima
        The Battle of Tsushima , commonly known as the “Sea of Japan Naval Battle” in Japan and the “Battle of Tsushima Strait”, was the major naval battle fought between Russia and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War...

      • Admiral Prince
        Prince
        Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

         Arisugawa Takahito
        Prince Arisugawa Takahito
        was the 10th head of a cadet branch of the Japanese imperial family and a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy.-Early life:thumb|left|Prince Takehito was born in Kyoto as a scion of the house, one of the shinnōke branches of the Imperial Family of Japan, which were eligible to succeed to...

         (1862–1913)
      • Admiral Baron
        Baron
        Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

         Ijuin Gorō
        Ijuin Goro
        -External links:...

         (1852–1921)
      • Admiral Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito
        Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito
        was the second head of the Higashifushimi-no-miya, an ōke cadet branch of the Japanese imperial family.-Early life:Born on September 19, 1867, as seventeenth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye, head of the Fushimi-no-miya, one of the shinnōke branches of the Imperial Family of Japan, which were...

         (1867–1922)
      • Admiral Baron Shimamura Hayao
        Shimamura Hayao
        Baron was a Japanese admiral during the First Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars as well as one of the first prominent staff officers and naval strategists of the early Imperial Japanese Navy.-Biography:...

         (1858–1923)
      • Admiral Baron Katō Tomosaburō
        Kato Tomosaburo
        Viscount was a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy, cabinet minister, and Prime Minister of Japan from 12 June 1922 to 24 August 1923.-Biography:...

         (1861–1923)
      • Admiral Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
        Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
        was a scion of the Japanese imperial family and was a career naval officer who served as chief of staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1932 to 1941.-Early life:...

         (1876–1946)
      • Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
        Isoroku Yamamoto
        was a Japanese Naval Marshal General and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II, a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and a student of Harvard University ....

         (1884–1943) Attack on Pearl Harbor
        Attack on Pearl Harbor
        The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

        , Battle of Midway
        Battle of Midway
        The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

      • Admiral Osami Nagano (1880–1947)
      • Admiral Mineichi Koga
        Mineichi Koga
        - Notes :...

         (1885–1944)
      • Vice Admiral
        Vice Admiral
        Vice admiral is a senior naval rank of a three-star flag officer, which is equivalent to lieutenant general in the other uniformed services. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral...

         Chūichi Nagumo
        Chuichi Nagumo
        was a Japanese admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II and one time commander of the Kido Butai . He committed suicide during the Battle of Saipan.-Early life:...

         (1887–1944) Attack on Pearl Harbor
        Attack on Pearl Harbor
        The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

        , Battle of Midway
        Battle of Midway
        The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...


    • Imperial Japanese Army
      Imperial Japanese Army
      -Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

      : Army of Japan
      • Marshal Prince Yamagata Aritomo
        Yamagata Aritomo
        Field Marshal Prince , also known as Yamagata Kyōsuke, was a field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army and twice Prime Minister of Japan. He is considered one of the architects of the military and political foundations of early modern Japan. Yamagata Aritomo can be seen as the father of Japanese...

        : Chief of staff of the Army, Prime Minister of Japan
      • Marshal Prince Ōyama Iwao
        Oyama Iwao
        |-...

        : Chief of staff of the Army
      • General Viscount Kodama Gentarō: Chief of staff of the Army
      • Marshal Viscount Uehara Yūsaku: Chief of staff of the Army
      • Marshal Prince Kotohito Kan'in
        Prince Kan'in Kotohito
        , wasthe sixth head of a cadet branch the Japanese imperial family, and a career army officer who served as Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1931 to 1940.-Early years:...

        : Chief of staff of the Army
      • Marshal Hajime Sugiyama: Chief of staff of the Army
      • General Kuniaki Koiso
        Kuniaki Koiso
        - Notes :...

        : Prime Minister of Japan
        Prime Minister of Japan
        The is the head of government of Japan. He is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members, and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office...

      • General Hideki Tōjō
        Hideki Tōjō
        Hideki Tōjō was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army , the leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II, from 17 October 1941 to 22 July 1944...

        : Prime Minister of Japan
      • General Yoshijirō Umezu: Chief of staff of the Army

Timeline

  • 1926: Emperor Taishō
    Emperor Taishō
    The was the 123rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912, until his death in 1926.The Emperor’s personal name was . According to Japanese customs, the emperor has no name during his reign and is only called the Emperor...

     dies (December 25).
  • 1927: Tanaka Giichi
    Tanaka Giichi
    Baron was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, politician, and the 26th Prime Minister of Japan from 20 April 1927 to 2 July 1929.-Early life and military career:...

     becomes prime minister (April 20).
  • 1928: Emperor Shōwa
    Hirohito
    , posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

     is formally installed as emperor (November 10).
  • 1929: Osachi Hamaguchi becomes prime minister (July 2).
  • 1930: Hamaguchi is wounded in an assassination attempt (November 14).
  • 1931: Hamaguchi dies and Wakatsuki Reijirō
    Wakatsuki Reijiro
    ōBaron was a Japanese politician and the 25th and 28th Prime Minister of Japan. Opposition politicians of the time derogatorily labeled him Usotsuki Reijirō, or "Reijirō the Liar".- Early life :...

     becomes prime minister (April 14). Japan occupies Manchuria after the Mukden Incident
    Mukden Incident
    The Mukden Incident, also known as the Manchurian Incident, was a staged event that was engineered by Japanese military personnel as a pretext for invading the northern part of China known as Manchuria in 1931....

     (September 18). Inukai Tsuyoshi
    Inukai Tsuyoshi
    was a Japanese politician and the 29th Prime Minister of Japan from 13 December 1931 to 15 May 1932.-Early life:Inukai was born to a former samurai family of the Niwase Domain, in Niwase village, Bizen Province , and was a graduate of Keio Gijuku in Tokyo. In his early career, he worked as a...

     becomes prime minister (December 13) and increases funding for the military in China.
  • 1932: After an attack on Japanese monks in Shanghai (January 18), Japanese forces shell the city (January 29). Manchukuo
    Manchukuo
    Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

     is established with Henry Pu Yi as emperor (February 29). Inukai is assassinated during a coup attempt and Saitō Makoto
    Saito Makoto
    Viscount was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, two-time Governor-General of Korea from 1919 to 1927 and from 1929 to 1931, and the 30th Prime Minister of Japan from May 26, 1932 to July 8, 1934.-Early life:...

     becomes prime minister (May 15). Japan is censured by the League of Nations
    League of Nations
    The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

     (December 7).
  • 1933: Japan leaves the League of Nations (March 27).
  • 1934: Keisuke Okada
    Keisuke Okada
    was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, politician and the 31st Prime Minister of Japan from 8 July 1934 to 9 March 1936.-Early life:Okada was born in what is now Fukui Prefecture to an ex-samurai family. He attended the 15th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, graduating 7th out of...

     becomes prime minister (July 8). Japan withdraws from the Washington Naval Treaty
    Washington Naval Treaty
    The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was an attempt to cap and limit, and "prevent 'further' costly escalation" of the naval arms race that had begun after World War I between various International powers, each of which had significant naval fleets. The treaty was...

     (December 29).
  • 1936: Coup attempt (February 26 Incident
    February 26 Incident
    The was an attempted coup d'état in Japan, from February 26 to 29, 1936 carried out by 1,483 troops of the Imperial Japanese Army. Several leading politicians were killed and the center of Tokyo was briefly occupied by the rebelling troops...

    ). Kōki Hirota
    Koki Hirota
    was a Japanese diplomat, politician and the 32nd Prime Minister of Japan from March 9, 1936 to February 2, 1937.-Early life:Hirota was born in what is now part of Chūō-ku, Fukuoka city, Fukuoka Prefecture. His father was a stonemason, and he was adopted into the Hirota family. After attending...

     becomes prime minister (March 9). Japan signs its first pact with Germany (November 25) and occupies Tsingtao
    Qingdao
    ' also known in the West by its postal map spelling Tsingtao, is a major city with a population of over 8.715 million in eastern Shandong province, Eastern China. Its built up area, made of 7 urban districts plus Jimo city, is home to about 4,346,000 inhabitants in 2010.It borders Yantai to the...

     (December 3). Mengjiang
    Mengjiang
    Mengjiang , also known in English as Mongol Border Land, was an autonomous area in Inner Mongolia, operating under nominal Chinese sovereignty and Japanese control. It consisted of the then-Chinese provinces of Chahar and Suiyuan, corresponding to the central part of modern Inner Mongolia...

     established in Inner Mongolia
    Inner Mongolia
    Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

    .
  • 1937: Senjūrō Hayashi
    Senjuro Hayashi
    was an Imperial Japanese Army commander of the Chosen Army of Japan in Korea during the Mukden Incident and the invasion of Manchuria, and a Japanese politician and the 33rd Prime Minister of Japan from February 2, 1937 to June 4, 1937.-Biography:...

     becomes prime minister (February 2). Prince Fumimaro Konoe
    Fumimaro Konoe
    Prince was a politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Taisei Yokusankai.- Early life :...

     becomes prime minister (June 4). Battle of Lugou Bridge (July 7). Japan captures Beijing (July 31). Japanese troops occupy Nanjing
    Nanjing
    ' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

     (December 13), beginning the Nanjing Massacre.
  • 1938: Battle of Taierzhuang
    Battle of Taierzhuang
    The Battle of Tai'erzhuang was a battle of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938, between armies of Chinese Kuomintang and Japan, and is sometimes considered as a part of Battle of Xuzhou....

     (March 24). Canton
    Guangzhou
    Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

     falls to Japanese forces (October 21).
  • 1939: Hiranuma Kiichirō becomes prime minister (January 5). Abe Nobuyuki becomes prime minister (August 30).
  • 1940: Mitsumasa Yonai
    Mitsumasa Yonai
    was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and politician. He was the 37th Prime Minister of Japan from 16 January to 22 July 1940.-Early life & Naval career:...

     becomes prime minister (January 16). Konoe becomes prime minister for a second term (July 22). Hundred Regiments Offensive
    Hundred Regiments Offensive
    The Hundred Regiments Offensive was a major campaign of the Communist Party of China's Red Army commanded by Peng Dehuai against the Imperial Japanese Army in Central China.-Background:...

     (August–September). Japan occupies Indochina in the wake of the fall of Paris, and signs the Tripartite Pact
    Tripartite Pact
    The Tripartite Pact, also the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940, which established the Axis Powers of World War II...

     (September 27).
  • 1941: General Hideki Tōjō
    Hideki Tōjō
    Hideki Tōjō was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army , the leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II, from 17 October 1941 to 22 July 1944...

     becomes prime minister (October 18). Japanese naval forces attack Pearl Harbor
    Attack on Pearl Harbor
    The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

    , Hawaii (December 7), prompting the United States to declare war on Japan (December 8). Japan conquers Hong Kong (December 25).
  • 1942: Singapore surrenders to Japan (February 15). Japan bombs Australia (February 19). Doolittle Raid
    Doolittle Raid
    The Doolittle Raid, on 18 April 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese Home Islands during World War II. By demonstrating that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, it provided a vital morale boost and opportunity for U.S. retaliation after the...

     on Tokyo (April 18). Battle of the Coral Sea
    Battle of the Coral Sea
    The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged...

     (May 4–May 8). U.S. and Filipino
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     forces in the Battle of the Philippines (1942) surrender (May 8). Japan defeated at the Battle of Midway
    Battle of Midway
    The Battle of Midway is widely regarded as the most important naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea and six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy decisively defeated...

     (June 6). Allied victory in the Battle of Milne Bay
    Battle of Milne Bay
    The Battle of Milne Bay, also known as Operation RE by the Japanese, was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II. Japanese marines attacked the Australian base at Milne Bay on the eastern tip of New Guinea on 25 August 1942, and fighting continued until the Japanese retreated on 5...

     (September 5).
  • 1943: Allied victory in Battle of Guadalcanal (February 9). Japan defeated at Battle of Tarawa
    Battle of Tarawa
    The Battle of Tarawa, code named Operation Galvanic, was a battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, largely fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943. It was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region....

     (November 23).
  • 1944: Tojo resigns and Kuniaki Koiso
    Kuniaki Koiso
    - Notes :...

     becomes prime minister (July 22).
  • 1945: U.S. bombers begin firebombing of major Japanese cities. Japan defeated at Battle of Iwo Jima
    Battle of Iwo Jima
    The Battle of Iwo Jima , or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Empire of Japan. The U.S...

     (March 26). Admiral Kantarō Suzuki
    Kantaro Suzuki
    Baron was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, member and final leader of the Taisei Yokusankai and 42nd Prime Minister of Japan from 7 April-17 August 1945.-Early life:...

     becomes prime minister (April 7). Japan defeated at Battle of Okinawa
    Battle of Okinawa
    The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945...

     (June 21). U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima
    Hiroshima
    is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

     (August 6) and Nagasaki
    Nagasaki
    is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. Nagasaki was founded by the Portuguese in the second half of the 16th century on the site of a small fishing village, formerly part of Nishisonogi District...

     (August 9). Japan surrenders (September 2): Allied occupation begins.
  • 1947: Constitution of Japan
    Constitution of Japan
    The is the fundamental law of Japan. It was enacted on 3 May, 1947 as a new constitution for postwar Japan.-Outline:The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights...

     comes into force.

Emperors






















































Posthumous name
Posthumous name
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

1
Given name² Childhood name³ Period of Reigns Era name4
Meiji Tennō
Emperor Meiji
The or was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 3 February 1867 until his death...


(明治天皇)
Mutsuhito
(睦仁)
Sachi-no-miya
(祐宮)
1868–1912
(1890–1912)5
Meiji
Taishō Tennō
Emperor Taishō
The was the 123rd emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 30 July 1912, until his death in 1926.The Emperor’s personal name was . According to Japanese customs, the emperor has no name during his reign and is only called the Emperor...


(大正天皇)
Yoshihito
(嘉仁)
Haru-no-miya
(明宮)
1912–1926 Taishō
Shōwa Tennō
(昭和天皇)
Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...


(裕仁)
Michi-no-miya
(迪宮)
1926–19896 Shōwa
1 Each posthumous name was given after the respective era names as Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 and Qing Dynasties of China.
2 The Japanese imperial family name has no surname or dynastic name.
3 The Meiji Emperor was known only by the appellation Sachi-no-miya from his birth until 11 November 1860, when he was proclaimed heir apparent to Emperor Kōmei
Emperor Komei
was the 121st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Kōmei's reign spanned the years from 1846 through 1867.-Genealogy:Before Kōmei's accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne, his personal name was ;, his title was ....

 and received the personal name Mutsuhito .
4 No multiple era names were given for each reign after Meiji Emperor.
5 Constitutionally.
6 Constitutionally. The reign of the Shōwa Emperor in fact continued until 1989 since he did not abdicate after World War II. However, he lost his status as a living god.

See also

  • Agriculture in the Empire of Japan
  • Demographics of Imperial Japan
  • Foreign commerce and shipping of Empire of Japan
  • Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
    Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
    The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a concept created and promulgated during the Shōwa era by the government and military of the Empire of Japan. It represented the desire to create a self-sufficient "bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers"...

  • Industrial production in Shōwa Japan
  • Japanese–German pre–World War II industrial co-operation
  • Japanese mining and energy resources (World War II)
  • Japanese nuclear weapon program