The conservative imaginary: moral re-armament and the internationalism of the Japanese right, 1945–1962

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Abstract

Moral Re-armament (MRA) was an international religious movement that caught the attention of politicians, industrialists, and union leaders around the world in the 1940s and 1950s, including three (future) Japanese prime ministers–Nakasone Yasuhiro, Hatoyama Ichirō, and Kishi Nobusuke. This article examines their involvement in MRA, showing that it provided them with an internationalist register–and network–to adjust older, prewar ideas about state power, national community, and Asian regionalism to the age of the Cold War and decolonization. In so doing, the article investigates the origins of the postwar conservative imaginary arguing that, far from being narrow nationalists, Nakasone, Hatoyama, and Kishi were in fact convinced internationalists of the right. By shedding new light on the political culture of key representatives of the Japanese ruling classes, the article adds to the understanding of the country’s negotiated transition from fascism and empire to liberal democracy. It also provides a prehistory to the politics of the Right in contemporary Japan.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJapan Forum
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2019

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