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The Japanese Miracle Essay

1642 words - 7 pages

In what’s been coined, “the Japanese Miracle,” the nation of Japan catapulted from a war-torn and defeated country to a world economic power, relatively overnight in the context of the historical rise and fall from power. The American occupation of Japan started on 2 September 1945 and lasted through April 1952; VJ day, or “Victory over Japan Day” (History.com_staff, 2009), was September 2nd, 1945. Lasting about 7 years, and unlike the European occupations managed exclusively by the United States, the United States was surprised by this abrupt rise of strength by Japan and the other defeated nations. The Japanese economy was helped significantly by the United States protection designing its constitution to prohibit rearmament and allowing Japan to save significant expenditures as opposed to if they were militarily on their own. The nation of Japan was aided in their rise as an economic power by the United States concerns over protecting the democratic way of life by stemming the spread communism in Asia and in Japan, and denying other world powers such as the Soviet Union and the Republic of China access to Japan’s resources. Finally, partnering with the US and introducing post-war policies protecting the nation of Japan and its ability to obtain natural resources allowed Japan to protect their industries and markets, stimulating the Japanese economy such that they were able to quickly surpass other world powers that were rebuilding their economies more slowly and quickly become a global economic power.
Prior to the onset of Japan’s declaration of war against the United States in December of 1941, the Japanese economy had been operating efficiently for at least 10 years. The second Sino-Japanese war, “a military conflict fought between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1941,” (Second Sino-Japanese War - The Largest Asian War in the 20th Century, 2007) had drawn to a stalemate and was beginning to tax the fragile economic balance. At this time, Japan’s production was primarily decentralized and unable to keep pace with the Fordism of the assembly lines of the West. “Culture is also disseminated through work and working practices. This has clearly been the case with Fordism, where a particular method of production of material goods has played a major and almost certainly hegemonic role in shaping the way in which the majority of people in the world live their lives.” (Kelly, 2001)
In the summer of 1941, the United States froze Japan's assets, crippling their ability to maintain the economy necessary to maintain their war effort and civilian population; in October of that year, a military government was put in place led by Hideki Tojo 10/41. The Japanese High Command believed they could gear up and execute a short 3-year war, and upon victory switch the military production to a civilian production. As events unfolded and Japan was forced into surrender in September of 1945, the collapse of the war economy caused...

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