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The following program is produced under a grant and aid from the educational radio and television centers and is distributed through the National Association of educational broadcasters and the University of Michigan probably presents one nation indivisible. Self-determination independence. Sovereignty. These are the catch words of one of the most powerful forces on march in the world today. Words which symbolize the desire of people everywhere. To be masters of their own political destiny. This is our story. The story of nationalism in the twentieth century. Told in a series of 13 radio
documents created by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan. And now. One nation indivisible. Just get this is a cement courtyard outside the barracks of the First Division in the Japanese army in Tokyo. It's night a gentle sprinkle of snow close in time across the courtyard. No edges the curve of Oriental rooftops against the black sky squads of soldiers jog out of their unheated barracks and form up in the square. Some climb into the waiting motor trucks. You want to do what it's necessary. There's to be no hesitation. I understand my men and I up iPad. The minister of finance. You may go.
Yes sir. This is Tokyo on the eve of 26 February 1936. Some will declare that the plot being put into motion at this time and in this place have been. So you've got a supreme loyalty and patriotism but to others it is and shall always be remembered as a gathering of assassin. Young officers of the First Division under orders to go to fighting in China have elected to strike first a paralyzing blow against Japan's highest statesman. Until now their plans have been shrouded in secrecy. Soldiers alert and obedient scramble aboard the trucks all are heavily armed. Rifles submachine guns. Extra bandoliers of ammunition. The unsuspecting targets of this operation are half a dozen men diplomats and statesmen of the highest order. Prime Minister Okada brand Chamberlain's as an admiral as I told Lord Keeper of the Imperial seals inspector general want to Nobby and help Makino principal advisor to the Emperor. Oh no oh no.
Come on come on. Hurry hurry. You two men. I don't to the back of the garden that I simply follow. The bloody revolt of the young officers took place in Tokyo on Wednesday February 26 1936. If before that moment there had been any hope that your fan might choose a Democratic approach to national and international problems. The wave of assassination killed at. The Army's impatient patriots had plunged Japan into the road of ultra nationalism.
Heretofore on this University of Michigan series we have told of the refreshing growth of nationalism in various countries. Now we break that pattern. We bring you a case history of ultra nationalism. What happens when a country carries its national spirit to excess. Germany Italy Argentina or Napoleonic France are all fit subjects but the case of Japan is condensed. It is circumscribed in both time and place. The events of which we shall tell are still fresh in the minds of many. The story begins at the close of the First World War. We ask the director of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan professor John Hall to summarize the emotional and historical setting in Japan at that crucial period in Japanese history. At the time of the Treaty of Versailles Japan was actually less than 50 years removed from an isolated feudal society. She had emerged from her futile Koon determined to catch up on all phases of western life
and she succeeded. By 1919 Japan had earned a status comparable to the Great Powers of Europe. She had in fact arrived at this time Japan and Japan alone was the only nation in the Far East which had not become a pawn of some Western power. But having become a great power. Japan now face the problems and the predicament of adjusting to her new position. The leaders who had guided her to world renown were growing old and dying off Japan's basic beliefs loyalty to a god like Emperor the inviolable homeland. The willingness to follow authoritarian leaders. And the particular sense of destiny that your plan would and must lead the entire orient all of these beliefs which had stood her in good stead while she was on the rise were being challenged by new
conditions and ideas. The first decade after World War 1 was a time of cooperation among nations of Liberal government of the League of Nations and the pact for the renunciation of war. In this era Japan had to abandon her militant traditions and become a peaceful member of the world community. Could she drop the author a Tarion past this postwar decade was a time of violent political agitation within Japan there were rights riots among the poor students paraded to demand the abolition of war. A clamor rose for universal manhood suffrage. There were signs that Japan might break the grip of authoritarian rule and take her place among the democratic nations. The first crack in the authoritarian structure had been made by Professor tuts a kitschy Mino Bay of Tokyo Imperial University. You know they gave Japan the theoretical basis for popular sovereignty. The famous organ theory of the Emperor. The view which some considered heresy
not the Mikado was not a divine being. But simply an organ of the state. In 1918 a man named Hora was chosen prime minister of Japan. Here was another rupture with the past four Hora was a commoner. Liberals hailed his appointment as the start of representative party government. Next Dr Socceroos or Yoshino University led a political movement he called demo could democracy. Yoshino spoke hopefully of Japan's future because of the contending forces in Japan today. Some people think they look for conservative counterrevolution. I cannot agree with this view for the following reason. Therefore it looking men will go on advancing they have confidence that they are right. Take for instance the matter of universal suffrage. The conservatives will fight until the thing is
inevitable and then they will give in. So the evolution of our democracy will be like that of England. It will take time but the men who know they are right are going to Japan's future is bright with hope. Yes you know these men typified the break Japan was making with its feudal aristocratic past. But they were faced with insuperable odds. By 1925 time was running out on them. The very counter revolution which us you know had denied. Had champions who were both powerful and vocal. She was one who decried the brain full effects of liberalism upon Japan's traditional ways. The Japanese people the Japanese state and the Japanese Mikado are an inseparable Trinity. Born at the same time as long as our race exists it will be under the sovereignty of the Mikado
the Sun God is said. When she founded the state that the Mikado shall be as permanent as heaven and earth. Indeed the line of our emperors has come down. I'm broken for more than two thousand five hundred years. And to us this is only our map and of course the ultimate desire of the Japanese is to see the whole world unified according to our standard as the 1920s wore on. The Liberals became discouraged. Political parties had grown complacent and corrupt. They failed to exercise the leadership expected of them. Some say they sold out to the bureaucracy and the zygotes. Japan's representative to the League of Nations at this time was in Oslo a world citizen a liberal speech used by neato Bay began to reflect the chemical change taking place as a liberal spirit withered away the idea of liberty is not an historical inheritance
of our people. Britain has developed the doctrine and the practice of self-government from the individual lest the character of the British race. We Japanese On the contrary have a communal temper. We find enjoyment in obeying the behests of a superior whether an autocracy or simply a long continued custom. Slowly now Japan's leaders drifted toward the extremes of right and left. From the liberal Democratic camp and to the socialist and the Communist Party the communists holding a Congress in Japan in 1906 adopted extreme policies. One we should all bow to the imperial system altogether. And the House of Peers. We should confiscate all the private and the company ran the hoardings without any compensation. And 3.
We all recognize the Soviet Russia extremists in one direction stimulated extremism in their opposition. The specter of communism struck terror into the hearts of the Japanese. Here again is. The self-styled communism is a parallel. This empire will be lost. Should a violent head just touch our house. Japan is the proof that the royalty is not inconsistent with democracy that it can do with a ploy and that can be social justice. Japan is in critical condition while her leaders debated the stock market collapsed industrial unemployment forced Japanese laborers into violent strikes. The farmers were bankrupt and arrested and the leaders and politicians indecision argument
corruption and weakness to the ultranationalist However the needed course was clear. Japan has always been the nation the action. Why not now when the List of Threatened us only disputed over the summer but today in politics international fails everywhere but the spirit of the summer has been lost. Young officers of the Army began to talk of their destiny. They would lead the nation toward a new positive policy. They would take direct action. The first step in the direct action campaign took place along the railroad track in Manchuria. The time is 1931. And the train the dun Express. The Japanese bombing of the then express was the beginning of the Manchurian incident.
Japanese regiments marched on to the mainland. Action always action for action was the way of the samurai. Then when the time was ripe the young officers turned their attentions toward action on the home front as we have already noted they staged a violent one day revolution raiding the police headquarters and political party offices. They bombed the banks in Tokyo spread terror throughout the city. They murdered the prime minister of Japan. The revolution stopped as abruptly as it began as a necessary part of their plan the young officers demanded and got an open trial so that they could make public their reasons. You therefore admit Captain that you sent out purposely to murder the prime minister. I most certainly did this to know why are we here and we still feel that the condition of Japan cannot be improved unless blood is shed. You and the other defendants are rather young to be improving their nation. I happen to have been born in Japan and I am a Japanese looking around me. I find the trial continued for weeks. Newspapers had an emotional
heyday for themselves printing page after page of testimony thousands of letters admonished the court to be lenient. The young officers had become the modern heroes of Japan. The growth of the brilliance over the Japanese are already in the word. This is because the under society one society gives its son to the army. So it is a society. Therefore we demand direct rule by the Emperor. What do we find about us today that important egotist got a notion of the popular rights. It is wrong the grant of associate under political rights to the people is a gigantic mistake. We must restore the Emperor are the maximum sentence passed by the court against the young officers was 15 years imprisonment. But none of them actually served that long. What had actually been accomplished correspondent Hugh bias who covered the trial for American readers summarized it in these words the floodgates had been thrown open and the second restoration of the Emperor was preached with a religious fury.
We reporters had finally learned the truth. The young officers movement was at once pure and ferocious and its purity disguised its evil power. These young men with undeveloped singletrack minds were typical of the mentality that was spreading through the Army and Navy. And so Japan found herself irrevocably on the road to ultra nationalism. Once the great mass of people caught this flame of fanatic patriotism they nurtured and founded to a white heat. There could be no turning back no quiet re-assessment no dispassionate scholarly judgment on the mainland of Asia the Japanese army lifted its sights from Manchuria to the sprawling hulk of China the militarists explained it this way. China I'm to Japan I'm not you already joined to integrate this feeling of cool prosperity. Chinese only to be freed from done domination. The fighting in China begun in one thousand thirty seven suddenly became more than an incident it was a holy war and Japan Puerto khaki regiments overseas in a growing stream
at home the spiritual uplift reached new heights every informational Channel did its part. Youth Movements press radio motion pictures books magazines and from every quarter rose the clamor for the new spirit of Kodo the way of the Emperor. Makoto asm programmer comments right next to the current situation. So I am. The courage of the people on this promise. Which are they object to the national spirit. Broadcasts your music and your stories concerning the activity of Japanese. Given the Japanese spirit which reached such heights in the late 1930s was an outgrowth of several traditional concepts. The way of the Emperor which means national entity
and the sense of national destiny and personal mission which is most dramatically illustrated by the word coming. Causing. This is the kamikaze we have known in our time. A single engine aircraft loaded with dry and I'd throw in a sole with an arrow knows a few hours the entire plane will explode on impact. The pilot will fly all the way to the target. The plane and the pilot will not come back. But listen to the original kamikaze from the 13th century why it is the year 12 81 the great Mongol army of Quba Khan appeared off the coast of Japan in 4000 ships a few hours ago a desperate battle was fought with the first of the Mongols to come ashore. Tiny bands of Japanese Samurai rallied in
charge of the beachhead but to no avail. The landing forces Chinese pikemen and archers and Mongol cavalry have thrown out a ring of iron to protect the beach inside that ring. The great yellow streamers to mark the places where the main army will land. This is the vanguard of 140000 soldiers. The men who have conquered the entire world. They have brought with them the terrible exploding fire. The world's first known bombers the Japanese samurai are hopelessly outnumbered and badly equipped. Nothing on earth can save them. But then the sun goddess. The spirit of herself who had formed these holy islands of Japan looks down upon her beleaguered children. And she sends them for Divine Aid. She sends the wind. Crashing great. Girls ripped the very point from the day the ships crumble and fall apart in the first of the storm down into the sea. Swords
horses exploding fire the band of one of the finest army in the world all destroyed by the wind of the say this is the divine protection of Japan. This is no kamikaze. For the Japanese. The Kamikaze compared with the miracles of the Old Testament the kamikaze was taken as proof but divine providence watched over Japan ready to give aid in moments of extreme adversity and during the years of ultra nationalist hysteria this belief became to many an almost religious certainty. Another important concept was coked ty. It is vague and difficult to translate into English. Coked I like the word democracy can mean many things to many people. Some translate it as a national entity. It could better be defined as the Japanese way of life. Because of
this elusive quality became an effective word for demagogues in 1937 the government controlled Dept. of Education issued a booklet entitled No home. The principals of the national of Japan. It was probably as important to the growth of ultra nationalism as was Hitler's to the Germans. Schoolchildren learned of the founding. OF THE NATION. This is the people united and under
proportionate to the growth of the nation. And without. Another concept which was manipulated by the ultranationalists was that of chordal. Which in literal translation is the way of the Emperor. In 1890 the Emperor Meiji had issued a document called the Imperial rescript on education. Which emphasized traditional Confucian principles of morality for Japanese schoolchildren. But now under the increasing emotionalism of the nationalists the Imperial rescript was used as a means of further glorifying the Emperor. And demanding loyalty of all Japanese subjects. By the 1930s this document was read in all schools with reverence and ceremony. Each printed copy had a special shrine its very presence in a room or a
building made that place holy. Schoolmen had even been discharged for some minor error in reading of the rescript it became one of the strongest influences in developing the fanatical patriotism which preceded World War 2. To the best of my knowledge this rescript has never been heard by an American radio audience let me read it to you now. In the original Japanese. Course all I need to know you are subject to our imperial ancestors have founded our empire on a basis of Broad and everlasting and have deeply and firmly implanted virtue. This is the glory of the fundamental character of our empire and herein also lies the source of our education and our subjects. The filial duty your
parents bear yourselves in modesty and moderation to pursue learning and cultivate our right and thereby perfect for your moral power. And furthermore advents the public good and promote common interests. And should any emergency arise call for yourselves courageously to the ceiling and thus guard and maintain the prosperity of our imperial throne coeval with heaven and earth. Away here set forth this is indeed the teaching by our imperial ancestors to be observed alike by their descendants and subjects infallible for all ages. And it true in all places. Dung punk you out I buy you horny whore GI Joe Q.. By 1940 the mighty stimulant of nationalism had captivated Japan and the Japanese
psychologically Japan had inherited the earth. Now they must bend every effort to make physical reality catch up with the reality of the Spirit. Now they must conquer the world. They would begin with East Asia and a new order. The Emperor reigned with undiminished power in order that the natural beauty of the country may be propagated throughout the universe. The present time is a favorable moment for Japan to bring about at great expense to national power and prestige. May the Gods bless and help us in no endeavor. At the peak of fulfillment it is likely that no nation in the world has ever known the tenacious unity the singleness of mind purpose and loyalty such as that which infused the Japanese. One of their own writers said it this way. Nationalism is a religion in Japan whereas in the Western countries any ism has but are not in position in the minds
of the people. Nationalism in Japan is greater and more important than any ism. It is a national religion and therefore it's an absolute position in the minds of the masses. If necessary for the result of our state. We are ready to lay down our lives any moment. For it is the most sacred of all traders we have in the world. And laid down their lives the Japanese did at Guadalcanal rable Burma China and in the Philippines at Okinawa Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They died in desperate Bonzi charges under shock waves of TNT and in the fires of napalm and atomic radiation. And this time the Divine Aid the Ysaye no kamikaze fail to come when it was sorely needed. And with its failure the runaway ultra nationalism of Japan was trapped and destroyed.
Its place was taken by the liberal democratic forces within the country. They were now able to emerge for the first time since the early thirties and are attempting once more to guide the nation along the way of moderation. One nation indivisible. One of a series of 13 radio documents on nationalism in the twentieth century. Resource advisor for this program was Dr. John Hall director of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan. The program was written by William Bender Jr. and was narrated by Lou Hamers included in the cast were Japanese students attending the University of Michigan. And members of WUOM radio go.
The program was directed by Williams Daggett and was produced and transcribed by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan. One nation indivisible is produced underground in aid from the educational radio and television center and is distributed through the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end of the Radio Network. And.
One nation indivisible
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University of Michigan
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Japan: Nationalism carried to the extreme drives a nation into disastrous war.
Series Description
A documentary series about nationalism in the 20th century.
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Global Affairs
Politics and Government
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Narrator: Hemmers, Lou
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-17-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:15
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Chicago: “One nation indivisible; Japan,” 1958-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “One nation indivisible; Japan.” 1958-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: One nation indivisible; Japan. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from