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CHAPTER ELEVEN The Postwar Years IN RETROSPECT: PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF WAR I t is impossible to consider personal experience of war in the period of Japan's invasion of China and the Pacific war separately from experience of Japanese Fascism. The attempts at self-understanding and understanding of Japanese Fascism which appeared in the years after the war, from analyses of the economic background to theories of the state, from sociopsychological explanations to critiques of t
  CHAPTER ELEVEN The ostwar Years IN RETROSPECT: PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF WAR t is impossible to consider personal experience of war in the period of Japan s invasion of China and the Pacific war separately from experience of Japanese Fascism. The attempts at self-understanding and understanding of Japanese Fascism which appeared in the years after the war, from analyses of the economic background to theories of the state, from sociopsychological explanations to critiques of the traditional culture, took various directions. Of these the work in the field of ideas that provided an analysis and description which was the most exhaustive and probably the most influential on the youth of the time was Gendai seiji no shiso to kodo Ideas and Behaviour in Modern Politics, Part 11956, Part 2 1957) by Maruyama Masao (1914-). The essays in this collection included Chokokkashugi no ronri to shinri The Theory and Psychology of Supernationalism, 1946), Nihon fashizumu no shiso to undo The Thought and the Movement of Japanese Fascism, 1947), and Gunkoku shihaisha no seishin keitai The entality of the Rulers of a ilitaristic State, 1949). In these Maruyama compares the history and system of Japanese Fascism with those of Nazism and indicates the special characteristics of the former: in ideological terms, the family state , agriculturalism, Greater Asianism ; in organizational terms, the preservation of the existing state structure, the lack of mass organizations; in terms of supporters, the predominance of owners of small factories, small landowners, minor officials (plus the passive support of the urban salary-earners and the intelligentsia); and the mode of development in which Fascism from below was continuously integrated into Fascism from above. This process took place against a background of relatively undeveloped industrialization and democracy (in comparison with Germany). Thus the type of Fascism which came about in Japan was different from that in Germany. The basic structure of the democratically underdeveloped imperial state meant that the state sovereignty was not committed to  THE POSTW R YE RS 9 any absolute value that transcended itself. In his essay on supernationalism, Maruyama says, The result of the sovereign state s unitary monopoly of spiritual authority and political power was that the actions of the state carry within them (as national polity) criteria of substantive legitimacy and therefore the state s actions, both domestic and international, do not conform to any moral norm which is above the state. In other words, The ruler is in himself the embodiment of an absolute value. The legitimacy of the state is not subject to legality but is normative in nature. Thus the people exist to serve the state and the state does not exist to serve the people. Moreover the leaders of the state do not accept the responsibility for their own decisions. This is not a matter of simple individual morals; there is a device within the system whereby they can avoid the responsibility. The distinctive feature of the statements of the defendants in the Tokyo trial in comparison to those at Nuremberg can be summed up as submission to existing facts and flight to closely circumscribed areas of authority . The former of these consists of the defence that I only went along with what everyone else wanted. What everyone wants is the ways things develop , the general trends . Or as Maruyama puts it in The entality of the Rulers something which has already been created; or rather, to put it more clearly, something that has arisen from somewhere . According to what the defendants at the Tokyo trials said, the leaders of Japan began the Pacific War despite the fact that not one of them personally wanted to do so. The other distinctive defence consisted of the claim that no specific member of the government had the authority to make any specific decision. In practice this meant that because the authority and responsibility for supervising military discipline was, according to army regulations, that of the divisional commander alone, the commander-in-chief in China need not accept responsibility for such things as the Nankin massacre. Thus the basis for the behaviour of the group is not the conscious decisions of its members but the general trends of the homogeneous group as a whole to move in a certain direction. The responsibility for any action cannot be attributed to any individual but is dispersed throughout the group. The analysis of Japanese Fascism extends beyond questions of the stage of industrial development and geopolitical conditions to the lack of any values which transcend the group and the tendency for the individual to be integrated into the group, both peculiarities of the Japanese world-view throughout the ages. The supernationalism which arose in the thirties was not an exception in the history of Japanese ideas but an extreme extension of something which had always been latent. We can say that this view is consistently held in all of Maruyama Masao s works. Before his studies of Japanese  34 A HISTORY OF JAPANESE LITERATURE Fascism, Maruyama had during the war years written Nihon seijishisoshi kenkyii Studies of the History of Japanese Political Thought, 1952) and after it he wrote Rekishi ishiki no koso Ancient Substrata in Historical Consciousness, 1972). The former emphasizes Sorai s notion of history made by man and in contrast to Sorai clearly shows the notion common to most thinkers (especially Confucianists) of the Tokugawa period of the continuity of natural and social orders and history that comes about of itself . The latter goes further back and recognizes in the Kojiki the same special characteristics of historical consciousness; the terms he takes as typical include: become -come about , next -one after another , and trend . History is something that comes about from one thing to another and the attitude which an individual should adopt to history is to perceive the trend of what is going to come about and not go against it. The Japanese indigenous world-view is basically sublunary and contains no transcendent values. t is characterized by the integration of the individual into the group and concentrates in spatial terms on the part rather than the whole, and in temporal terms on the present rather than an overall view which includes past and present. Not only does it manifest. itself in political and historical consciousness, as Maruyama points out, but as we have seen in the course of this history, it is found in the field of aesthetics and the entire range of behaviour. The history of Japanese literature can be described as a history of the multiplex expression of a process of challenge by external and transcendental world-views to this indigenous world-view, which internalizes them and at the same time secularizes and de-transcendentalizes them. For many p~ople personal experience of the war meant the battlefield. For Ooka Shohei 1909-) this combat experience besame the foundation of and gave consistency to his literary work. Ooka, who had translated works by and about Stendhal, was drafted into the army at the age of thirty-five and sent to the Philippine island of Mindoro in 1944. There he was taken prisoner by the American forces when they landed the following year and sent to a POW camp on Leyte where he stayed until the end of the war. After returning to Japan he wrote Furyoki Memoirs of a Prisoner of War, begun 1946, published 1948) which begins with the experience of the author as a soldier in a small, isolated platoon left behind by the retreating Japanese army, wandering around the tropical hills in search not of combat but the means of his own survival. t continues with a record of the life in the camp to which he was sent after being made prisoner. His life in the hills was an extreme situation both because of the imminent probabaility of death and the harsh physical conditions. In these circumstances, nature came to appear extremely beautiful. However, when his comrades began to die around him, he suddenly began to believe in survival and consider it fatuous to  THE·POSTWAR YEARS 341 die the victim of an idiotic battle strategy . His concern turned from the beauty of nature to ways of surviving this crisis. For his efforts to survive, nature was no more than one of the given conditions. The first part of Memoirs of a Prisoner of War, which describes the psychological state and behaviour of the hunted hero in coolly reflective, concise and accurate prose, is one of the finest pieces of writing to come from experience of Pacific War combat. The later part, which describes the camps, is a record of the behaviour of Japanese after the collapse of the group to which they belong and also of the values, i any, which they have internalized. Even professional soldiers, once the army had been disbanded and the order in which they believed had been lost, had no beliefs which could help them or encourage them to continue living. The ~bserv tions Maruyama Masao made at the Tokyo trials and those Ooka made at the Leyte camp are, for good or ill, in complete agr~ement Ooka went on from Memoirs of a Prisoner of War to develop the theme of cannibalism, mentioned in this work, in the novel Nobi Fire on the Plain, 1951). The hero of Memoirs of a Prisoner of War does not kill an American soldier when he has a chance to do so, but the hero of Fire on the Plain shoots a Filipino woman. Fire on the Plain is a work which re-examines, as an internal human problem, a ch£>ice of action which was not made in Memoirs of a Prisoner of War. Ooka s next maior work was Reite senki A Record of the Battle of Leyte, 1967-69). As Ooka himself says in the afterword to the 1971 edition, this is an overview, based on both American and Japanese records, of the Philippine battles which he had already described from the viewpoint of an individual soldier in Memoirs of a Prisoner and Fire on the Plain. Leyte Island was the site of a decisive battle between the American and Japanese forces in which about ninety thousand Japanese troops died. The Battle of Leyte is an exhaustive account of the decisions, strategy and the progress and result of the battle . The concise prose in which the author describes the movements of the two armies and expresses this overall idea is almost reminiscent of Voltaire s Charles XII. Further, what becomes clearer and clearer during the progress of the account is the madness of war in which human beings devote all their effort to the destruction of human beings and the fate of the local inhabitants who, although not directly involved, are dragged into this madness and become its greatest victims. The Battle of Leyte, written thirty years after the war, is the finest work of war literature since the Tale of the House of Taira. oma Hiroshi 1915-) has written about army life not on the battlefield but in the barracks. Noma himself spent three years living in barracks, from 1941 to 1944. During this time he experienced battle in China and the Philippines, stayed in a field hospital, and was arrested by the Kenpeitai military police, court-martialled and
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