The debate on fascism in Japanese historiography

Authored by: Kato¯ Yo¯ko

Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese History

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138815186
eBook ISBN: 9781315746678
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter focuses on the debate on whether Japan was a fascist state before 1945. It does not attempt to provide an answer to this question, but recounts the highlights of this debate from its origins in the early 1930s to the present day. After noting the determinative effect of Marxist views on Japanese historiography, it examines the contribution of the political scientist Maruyama Masao and the critical responses by empirical historians in the 1960s and 1970s. It also describes the collapse of Marxist theories of fascism in the 1980s under critiques by It? Takashi and other historians who dispensed with the concept of fascism as applicable to prewar Japan. Next, having discussed the reaction to It?’s work among Japanese historians, the chapter surveys recent developments in Japanese historical research and their relevance to the fascism debate before concluding with comments on the debate on Japanese fascism in Anglophone scholarship.

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