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Social and economic reforms in post-World War II Japan

A discussion of how assumptions that social reforms and equality would flourish in post-war Japan have or have not been realized. Who was assumed to benefit in Japan from the worldwide trend of 'social empowerment'? Who or what has benefited thus far?

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Let us start with a couple of qualifying observations. Anytime a historical event is analyzed consideration should be given to the perspective you are viewing the event from. In the first question, whose assumptions are we talking about? Are we stating that Japanese assumptions about social reform and equality have or haven't been realized? Or, are we saying that American, or Western, assumptions have or haven't been realized? Understanding where we are starting from will give us insight into whether our conclusions are valid or not?

Additionally, we should keep in mind that not only individuals but also nations are searching for significance and identity. "Who am I?" and "Who are we as a nation?" are questions that are asked by all people and nations not just the Japanese. As history ebbs and flows different opinions about significance and identity are adopted and implemented by individuals and nations. Just because someone else may define their identity or search for significance in a particular way does not make it wrong, it just may happen to be different from the way I search for significance or seek to establish identity.

Question 1: "Discuss how assumptions that social reforms and equality would flourish in post-war Japan have or have not been realized."

It is probably accurate to state that most Japanese after WWII were too shell-shocked to spend much time deliberating on what kinds of social reforms they wished to implement. Equality, economic stability, social justice and other idealistic thoughts generally take a backseat when survival is on the line. Japan was deeply humiliated by their defeat and the people of Japan, like those of Germany, simply desperately wanted to return to "normalcy"; whatever that is.

As a result of losing the war and experiencing wide-spread devastation, the Japanese people seemed ready to change the way that land ownership, political power and economic prosperity were defined.

See the attached source (p.5) entitled "The Cultural Career of the Japanese Economy..." for the following quote.

"...most Japanese were ready for significant change and so provided the opportunity to transform economic institutions, such as farmland ownership ...

Solution Summary

A discussion of the expectations for social and economic reforms in post-World War II Japan. An overview of the kinds of social and economic reforms that were expected and whether these have or have not occured as expected. This discussion contains over 1400 words of original text, two outside sources are attached as word documents