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The Atmosphere Of Conversion In Interwar Japan

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Chapter Summary

Ienaga Saburō, the Japanese historian who spent decades fighting the Japanese government for honest school textbook depictions of Japan's wartime depredations, is unflinching in his description of Japan's interwar fascism. The general use of the term "fascism" in Japan since the early 1930s in its transliterated version preserves, inadvertently or not, the original Latin sense of Ienaga's metaphor of binding. Mussolini adopted the Roman symbol of authority, a fasces, an axe bundled together by rods, for his Fascist movement. That original meaning can help us think about the process and effectiveness of binding a various populace to a uniform ideology, and it can require us to ask whether such a binding process is like a conversion. The public document to which individuals were to be bound, and the most concise and disseminated artifact of binding as it emanated from the state was the 1937 Essentials of the National Polity.

Keywords: conversion; Fascist movement; Ienaga Saburō; Japan's interwar fascism; Mussolini; uniform ideology



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