Militarizing Japan: Patriotism, Profit, and Children’s Print Media, 1894-1925
Introduction: War, Media, and Militarization 
The January 1922 issue of Shonen kurabu (Boy’s Club) carried the first episode of an exciting new “hot-blooded novel” (nekketsu shosetsu) drawn from the fertile imagination of noted children’s writer Miyazaki Ichiu. For fourteen consecutive issues Miyazaki enthralled Japanese children with depictions of Japanese valour and the Yamato spirit (Yamato damashii) locked in a titanic struggle against a duplicitous and rapacious foreign enemy. The fate of the navy and of the nation itself hung in the balance. The Imperial navy fought valiantly against a technologically superior foe but was ultimately destroyed. Then, in Japan’s darkest hour, the nation was saved by a group of true patriots, led by a child warrior commanding a powerful new technology. All Japan wept. This was the Future War Between Japan and America, “the greatest naval battle in history.”
Miyazaki’s story fascinates the imagination on a number of levels. It reveals the manner in which adults transmitted their fears, aspirations, and values to children and the role of Japan’s print media in that process. It also provides insight into adult Japanese understandings of international politics and their intense concern about Japan’s place in the early 20th century world order. More specifically for the purposes of this paper, it provides an entrée into the process by which war, real and vicarious, and the martial, manly values it fostered were embedded and normalized within the very fabric of Japanese society. This process, what I call the militarization of Japanese society, is the subject of my paper. With Nichibei miraisen in mind, I trace the lineage of the “war as entertainment” genre back to the origins of children’s print media during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and the wave of pro-war sentiment that swept Japan and that time. From there, I move forward, outlining the major influences, domestic and foreign, on the war and future war genre of children’s stories, of which Miyazaki was a master.
Shojo Kurabu (Girls’ Club)
Finally, I locate Japan’s experience in the broader historical context of modernity itself when war and the martial, manly values that accompanied its contemplation and prosecution became central to peoples’ understanding of how nations survived and prospered. One of the most important expressions of this ethos was future war fiction, which enthralled and alarmed Euro-American audiences with incessant tales of “The Next Great War.” Between 1871 and 1914 some 300 stories of future war were published, first in England and then France, Germany and the United States, with the most popular quickly translated into virtually every European language. Set amid a world of endemic struggle among nations and races, featuring equal doses of stout hearts, foreign predation, heroic sacrifice, and amazing new technologies, these stories disclose a particularly martial understanding of modernity defined by science, progress, competition and, above all, struggle. Some historians like Jackson Lears have argued that the turn to martiality in the 19th century was part of a larger revolt against modernity itself, an attempt to recover “authentic” manly experience from the apparent clutches of commercialism and feminism that appeared to be besieging the middle classes of America and England. The immense popularity of future war stories, especially those focusing on the folly of military unpreparedness, reveal clearly a deep concern about the soft underbelly of industrial modernity but even more powerfully do they exhibit an understanding of human nature as inherently predatory for which militarization and eternal vigilance were essential for survival.
In all this, Japanese sentiments were remarkably similar to those of their Euro-American counterparts. The stories of Miyazaki and other Japanese writers exhibited distinct features drawn from Japanese history and culture but these, too, need to be understood as products of the same modernity, driven by the emergent technologies of mass production and consumption and fueled by seemingly unbounded science and geopolitical insecurity. Thus, Japanese future war fiction must be grounded in this historical context and read as a case study or example of a modern nation embracing a common body of ideas driven in large measure by the growth and development of mass media. Before turning to Miyazaki’s story, therefore, a word on the centrality of Japanese media and children’s print media in particular.
My choice of children’s media as the agents of this narrative is informed by a belief that the best way to understand the values of adults, as well as the often yawing gap between what they say and do, is to look at the process by which they transmit knowledge of all types to children. As the Chinese scholar Hu Shih observed nearly a century ago, we learn much about a people by observing how they treat their children. Hu Shih was referring primarily to the worlds of childrearing and education but his comments remain relevant if we expand the meaning of childrearing and education to include all adult activities where the child is the principle intended audience. Moving beyond the confines of the family, immediate community, and schoolhouse to the public spaces of print media, we can see the power the adult world has, in its broadest sense, in shaping and defining that of the child. This is where children’s print media is most salient.
Together with the formal education of the classroom and the non-formal education of the home, the informal education offered through children’s print media was the principle means by which young Japanese were socialized and prepared for adult subjecthood under the Imperial realm. Prior to the advent of electronic mass media in the second half of the twentieth century, print media was the main vehicle through which children were educated and socialized in the process of being entertained. Even when not overtly didactic, print media created compelling role models for girls and boys, much of which focused heavily on a manly, martial ethos. The many stories of war and future war that graced the pages of children’s magazines during this period had a significant impact on the development of prewar Japanese martial identity, one perhaps unnoticed at the time and certainly unnoticed by subsequent generations of scholars.
Although children’s print media only began as a modern institution in the 1890s, publishing houses like Hakubunkan, Jitsugyo no Nihon, and Kodansha quickly recognized the commercial potential of the vast untapped children’s market. By Miyazaki’s time, children’s magazine publishers were collectively “entertaining and uplifting” children with hundreds of thousands of copies per month, ranging over history, education, science, politics, sports, romance, and of course war. Due to their low cost and portability, children’s magazines transcended geography and class and therefore performed an important mediatory function linking home, school, and playground. Moreover, because children consumed this media by choice rather than by fiat, magazines reflected children’s subjective preferences to a degree that purely educational materials did not. Thus, the power of children’s print media stemmed from its uniquely commercial impulse, its function as entertainment, and its interplay with other forms of socialization and education.
From the 1890s onward, tales of martial glory, sacrifice, patriotism, and foreign perfidy drove a significant segment of children’ print media, functioning as didactic vehicles for inculcating the essential tropes of what would become the “patriotic cannon” to generations of boys and girls. Long before the ubiquitous “human bullets” (nikudan), suicide bombers (kamikaze), and the “one hundred million” (ichioku) of the Pacific War, adult writers and publishers working from a variety of motives nourished the latent national spirit of Japanese children with a steady diet of martial imagery. One consequence of this was a chillingly social Darwinistic vision of the early 20th century world order, one grounded in the zero-sum logic of grow or die, with a distinctive sense of Japanese particularism as its saviour.
Nichibei miraisen is an excellent place to begin an inquiry into the nexus of media and militarization in early 20th century Japan. It contained all the essential tropes of martial, manly virtue first constructed in the earliest beginnings of children’s print media and then replayed with great frequency thereafter. In this sense, Miyazaki stood at the midpoint of a fifty-year continuum that ran from the 1890s through to the end of the Pacific War. As Japanese media moved into the first decades of the twentieth century, surging populations in the cities and higher literacy rates, especially among the relatively poor and the rural, created vast new potential markets for all types of visual materials. By the 1920s, print media, although centring on the metropolises of Tokyo and Osaka, had penetrated virtually every corner of the archipelago.
Nichibei miraisen, republished with new artworks in 2006 in an electronic format
Precise circulation figures are difficult to determine for most children’s media, but Nichibei reached hundreds of thousands of children through sales of the book and the magazines alone. By 1925, Kodansha claimed to be printing 400,000 copies of Shonen kurabu monthly, selling about 275,000. Its audience was boys aged 8-16, but editors always encouraged girls to read the stories, even after Kodansha started Shojo kurabu (Girl’s Club) in January 1923. Through the more informal methods of lending, borrowing, or trading, circulation for Nichibei was likely much higher. It became so popular that Kodansha reissued it as a single novel in August 1923 with full-page ads in both magazines announcing its impending publication. The full-page advertisement in the June 1923 issue of Shojo kurabu carried large white characters reverse printed on an exploding black ball: “GREAT HOT-BLOODED NOVEL.” To the left another headline read: “Those who love the homeland must buy this!! The great struggle of hot-blooded youth!” The book solidified Miyazaki’s reputation as the premier writer of “hot-blooded novels” and helped make Kodansha the leading publisher of children’s fiction in the prewar years with Shonen kurabu and Shojo kurabu leading the way. Indeed, Miyazaki held a virtual monopoly over the “hot-blooded” label with both Kodansha and Hakubunkan until his mysterious death in 1934.
Miyazaki’s tale of future war began its serialized run in February 1922, the same month Japan’s representatives signed the Washington Naval Treaty with the other “great powers,” which established the “5:5:3” ratio of capital ships for the United States, the British Empire, and Japan respectively. The juxtaposition of fact and fiction was not accidental or new. Riding the wave of public dissatisfaction about the Washington Treaty to great advantage, Miyazaki drew on the common practice of using contemporary political events as the subtext for fiction. As a staunch opponent of Japan’s political and military subordination, he used the pages of Shonen kurabu to construct both a morality play and an object lesson about the folly of military unpreparedness. In this, he echoed the sentiments of many in the press, the public, and the military who saw Imperial Japan’s twin enemies as “weak-kneed” politicians and American perfidy. Now, children could see this too. In hindsight we can see Miyazaki as kind of a middleman, transmitting adult values and geo-political insecurities to children through the fictional medium of “hot-blooded adventure.”
Set about ten years in the future, Nichibei opens in Sasebo Harbour with the navy’s launching of eight new battleships to complement its eight existing battle cruisers: The “Hachi hachi kantai” (The 8/8 Squadron). The story begins:
The Navy’s hachi/hachi kantai was at last ready. It had taken more than ten years and one third of each year’s total national expenditures… Despite the underhanded and detestable meddling of the United States, which had overtaken England as the world’s number one naval power, and the interference of Japanese politicians and their arguments for arms reduction, the construction of the new squadron had succeeded. … Throngs of people lined the docks of Sasebo Harbour to see the new ships, joined by over a hundred other vessels. What a brave sight!...
Miyazaki waxes patriotic as he describes the crush of onlookers – old and young, rich and poor – all “sons of the divine land in whose hearts beats the yamato damashii unbroken for all ages.” As quickly as he stirs the hearts of his young readers, however, Miyazaki leads them to the sobering realities of contemporary international relations. Not only have the self-aggrandizing wealthy and the self-promoting politicians tried to hinder the project at every turn but the eight new ships are not even sufficient in number and strength to counter the immense power of the US. With its “heart like a tiger and a wolf” the American navy maintains more than twice that number, all of which burn oil rather than coal. Even more threatening, Miyazaki tells his audience, the Panama Canal, opened in 1914, gives the US access to the Pacific at speeds unheard of in the days of the Russo-Japanese War. The potential for Japan’s eventual encirclement is real.
The adventure now unfolds rapidly as the entire fleet slips its moorings under the cover of darkness and vanishes. Witnessing the departure from a hill above the harbour are retired Admiral Nango and his teenaged grandson Takuji, the story’s protagonist. The old man turns to his grandson and orders him into action as planned. The next day’s newspaper headlines scream, “Break in Diplomatic Relations! Outbreak of US-Japan War! Combined Fleet Departs Sasebo!... How will the Imperial Navy fair against the military might of the United States? And what is the mysterious plan Admiral Nango and Takuji have set in motion?”
Episode two treats readers with a brief lecture on modern international relations before turning to the battle. Still remaining in the fictional framework of future war, Miyazaki explains that Japan owes a great debt to Commodore Perry for opening the country in the 19th century, even though he acknowledges there were also American forces at work to turn Japan into a vassal state. Since then, however, America has treated Japanese immigrants terribly, attempted to wrest control of Yap from Japan, and generally interfered throughout the Nanyo. The Japanese endured all this, secure in its martial traditions, its yamato damashii, its deep sense of loyalty, and its strong sense of shame. With the rise of American naval power and its attempt to control Japan’s military growth, however, Japan lost its temper and is now forced into action.
The first attack comes from the air, as American planes bombard Japan’s ships on the high seas. Quickly the two forces close and the battle erupts with earsplitting thunder. After chasing off the enemy while suffering only minor damage, the Japanese navy steams toward Olongapo in the Philippines where the main force of the American navy awaits. There, the battle resumes with a vengeance, this time on the land and the sea, as 100,000 Japanese troops storm Manila. At the same time the Japanese navy uses a new type of incendiary to destroy Olongapo’s fortifications and force the US navy to run. After a full day’s chase, the battle begins anew and Japan’s Imperial navy pounds its enemy into oblivion. At the very moment of victory, however, ten new American ships and dozens of planes, fresh from their berth in Hawaii, appear on the horizon and the weary Japanese fleet girds itself for yet another battle. Drawing on its last reserves of strength and courage, the hachi hachi kantai obliterates the Hawaii fleet, but is itself destroyed in the process. As morning dawns it becomes clear that the “greatest naval battle in history, the Japan/US battle of the Pacific” is finally over. Or is it? Just as it seems the war will turn into one of attrition, the surviving sailors get word that the US Atlantic fleet has already passed through the Panama Canal. Its arrival spells doom for the entire nation now that it has no navy with which to defend itself.
Here, the story shifts to a Shishigashima (Lion Island), a mysterious island in the Indian Ocean where hundreds of “hot-blooded” young Japanese men have barricaded themselves under the command of Azuma Namio. Most of the men are missing soldiers from the Russo-Japanese War or from the warship Unebi that mysteriously vanished without a trace in the South China Sea en route to Japan from France in 1887. Azuma found the island when only eighteen and then spent the next twenty years building a powerful fighting force with ships, aircraft, and a new secret weapon. Also on the island is the young Takuji from the first episode. It turns out that Takuji’s grandfather, old Admiral Nango, is a friend of Namio’s father, Viscount Azuma. So Takuji’s presence on Lion Island is finally revealed as part of the plan set in motion at the beginning of the story. Takuji is eager to execute the plan but Azuma has restrained him at every turn to this point, arguing that the time was not right. Now, however, with Japan’s navy destroyed and the US Atlantic fleet now in the Pacific, all of Japan is in peril. Azuma moves into action. Appointing the astonished Takuji commander, Azuma and Takuji lead a dozen newly designed submarines, their secret weapon, to hunt down the US Fleet in the stormy Pacific.
The scene again shifts to the deck of an enemy ship as two American officers boast about how they can easily sail right up to “the little monkey country of Japan” now the Japanese fleet has been destroyed. As they talk of conquering Japan’s Asian possessions and possibly even the archipelago itself, massive explosions rock the ship and it begins to sink. Suddenly, ships throughout the fleet are sinking. The Americans panic and begin firing wildly in all directions. “Monsters like giant white snakes appear and disappear through the driving rain and massive waves.” They are none other than the new submarines, designed and built by the “iron arms” of Azuma and led by the young boy warrior Takuji. Unexpectedly, however, disaster strikes as an errant shell cleaves the command sub in half, throwing Takuji into the “cruel black sea.” Compassion for a fallen comrade drives Rear Admiral Soda to split the submarine squadron. Half will search for Takuji while the others engage the US Atlantic Fleet in a “decisive battle.” “Can the squad defeat the mighty Americans? Will Takuji be saved?”
The final episode finds Takuji clinging to a piece of flotsam, fortuitously given him by another adrift Japanese sailor just before a giant wave separates them. The selflessness of the sailor is rewarded as the search succeeds and Takuji is saved. Readers never learn the fate of that valiant sailor. After being taken aboard ship, Takuji learns that the other half of the squadron has completely destroyed the enemy and saved the nation. Takuji utters quiet thanks and the crew rejoices. Across the Pacific, the Americans react with shock and anger on hearing the news. Some allege that Japan must have violated the laws of naval warfare but no evidence is found to support this. Of course, none will be. In Japan, the entire nation – male and female, young and old – dance for joy. As Miyazaki brings the story to a close, he tells his young readers, “In the clamour of common madness there is a vast gulf between fortune and misfortune.”
Meiji Antecedents of Future War
This abridged version of Nichibei highlights a number of themes common to the war-as-entertainment genre, all of which trace their roots back to earlier practices. The first concerns an adult understanding of the international world as one of endemic conflict where the strong devour the weak, where, as Thucydides said two millennia ago, “the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must.” In the world of Taisho Japan, this concept was cloaked in the modern Spenserian garb of seizon kyoso (the survival of the fittest). Japanese observers of world affairs in Miyazaki’s time saw this clearly in the increasing global acquisitiveness of nations like Russia, England, and America. In fact, they did not need Thucydides and Spencer to tell them what was happening before their very eyes. The belief that the strong devoured the weak also served to justify and legitimize Japan’s own predatory impulses, which many Japanese agreed, or at least assumed, were simply defensive responses to the predations of the more powerful nations. Therein lay the need for a “rich country and strong army” and for the development of science, both of which figured prominently in all forms of children’s future war and always for the sake of the nation.
Miyazaki reflected this worldview clearly, both in Nichibei and in his postscript where he addressed his young readers directly:
Do not expect that mysterious sea snakes will always appear to save the nation. Had they not done so at that time, Japan, the shining light of the East, the Oyashima of 3000 years of tradition, would have been destroyed… Study hard literary [bun] and military [bu] affairs. You shoulder the burden of responsibility for Japan’s future… Young Readers! Exert yourselves to the utmost for the sake of the nation (kokka no tame ni).
Miyazaki’s message was clear. The sea snakes were pure fiction. They did not exist in the great power politics of the early 20th century where martial, manly values were essential for national survival. Miyazaki’s call to pursue tirelessly the union of bu and bun was in fact a call to arms, not just in a physical sense but in a spiritual sense as well. Drawing on Meiji era tropes of Japanese particularlism, Miyazaki’s use of the bu and bun reinforced an image of Japanese uniqueness derived from an earlier indigenous ideal of the cultured warrior and then reworked as a virtue of necessity in the modern world of rationalized endemic conflict among nations. In addition to entertaining young Japanese, Miyazaki was also preparing them for this new world in which they would be central actors, for Japan’s real future lay in the hands of those who held the magazine. Sounding like a latter-day Yoshida Shoin with his injunction to put aside childish things and go forth as men of high purpose, Miyazaki charged his young readers with the weighty responsibility of defending the realm from the deadly combination of vacillating leaders and dangerous foreign enemies. Only through eternal vigilance and military preparedness could Japan’s destiny as a great power could be fulfilled.
The pedigree of these ideas dated back to the heady days of nation building in the Meiji era. Here, too, fiction played a central role. One of the main prototypes of future war was the “political novel” and Yano Ryukei’s 1890 Ukishiro monogatari (The Floating Battleship) in particular. Although Yano wrote Ukishiro for an adult audience, later generations of children it seems read the story with great enthusiasm. Considered by some to be the first work of science fiction in modern Japan, Ukishiro became a standard for later war and future war fiction: Young, male uber-patriots embark on a South Sea adventure to “open up a giant territory tens of times the size of Japan and offer it to the Emperor…” Like Miyazaki’s heroes, Yano’s adventurers are motivated by a deep dissatisfaction with Japanese passivity in the face of overwhelming foreign power. When Captain Sakura addresses his men early in the story, he says:
“The Western race carries out its exploits throughout the entire earth while the Japanese people carry out their exploits within their own country. We shouldn’t put up with such a lamentable predicament… Indeed, we should take this entire earth as our stage and carry out a great enterprise of singular proportions. Why does Japan alone need to cower in fear and move stealthily about”
In this fictional address we can see strong parallels to Miyazaki’s own words thirty years later. A passive nation was at the mercy of external enemies, all of whom would exploit Japan’s weakness given the chance. Thus, a stout heart was not enough. The men in Ukishiro had that in spades but they also had fantastic weapons like raiyaku, a new explosive developed by a Japanese scientist that could destroy entire islands. Raiyaku helped the men defeat the Dutch and emboldened one of the main characters to say, “With this, we have what it takes to make the British and French fleets scatter.” Nationalism, imperialism, political passivity, foreign enemies, and military science, all rolled into a South Sea adventure: This became the stuff of children’s print media for decades.
While the roots of children’s future war fiction can be found in the political idealism of 1880s adult fiction, early producers of this media also drew heavily on two older, indigenous traditions, one martial and one other moral. The moral imperative was kanzen/choaku (rewarding good and punishing evil), which has proved to be a durable concept in children’s writing throughout the 20th century. A good example of this was Iwaya Sazanami’s Shin hakken den (The New Biography of Eight Dogs) serialized in Shonen sekai in 1898. Based on Takizawa Bakin’s Edo-era novel Nanso satomi hakken den (Biographies of Eight Dogs), it was a tale of eight young boys who traveled to a South Sea island and, through a series of daring adventures, came to rule over it. The original story, set in Edo at the end of the Muromachi era in mid-16th century, was a didactic tale about the power of morality and the triumph of virtue. Replete with sacrifice, heroism, and miracles, Nanso centred on the attempts of Satomi Yoshizane, an actual historical figure, to restore his family name to its former glory. The eight dogs in the title represented the eight cardinal virtues of Confucianism and through their intervention virtue triumphed over vice, allowing Satomi to overcome enormous obstacles and rehabilitate his family name. Iwaya’s updated version replaced the historical figure of Satomi with the geography of the South Seas and turned the dogs into boys. The didacticism and morality of the original story remained. Looking back more than one hundred years, it is possible to see a prophetic strain in Shin hakken den. It certainly seemed to have anticipated the wildly popular manga series Boken dankichi of the 1920s and 1930s, a cartoon serial depicting the heroic South Sea adventures of its protagonist by the same name. It is also interesting to speculate how many of Japan’s “southern advance” (Nanshinron) proponents of the 1930s and 1940s may have cut their teeth on stories that took as their premise adventure and expansion in the Nanyo (South Seas).
Nanso Satomi Hakkenden, the original first print
In its modern incarnation, the martial imperative first intersected with the moral imperative of kanzen choaku with the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1894. From its inaugural issue on January 1, 1895 until war’s end, Iwaya’s Shonen sekai carried a variety of stories of the war in each monthly issue, including reports from the front, accounts of bravery in battle, and tales drawn from Japan’s martial past. On the cover of the first issue were two illustrations: one of Crown Prince Munehito (later the Taisho Emperor); the other of the mythical Empress Jingu subjugating Sankan (the three kingdoms of ancient Korea). Inside were stories of Jingu’s glorious conquest and of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea in the 1590s. No mention was made of Jingu’s questionable historical status or of the ultimate failure of Hideyoshi’s invasion, the final act of which he did not live to see. Jingu was given equivalent historical status with Hideyoshi and their noble acts established a direct link between past and present, legitimizing and justifying the equally noble efforts of Japan’s Imperial forces. It is here that Hobsbawm’s concept of “invented traditions” becomes an important tool in understanding the process of Japanese militarization. The actual existence of these past heroes and whether they had done what the stories claimed they did matters less in a practical and analytical sense than does the process by which these heroes were used to construct and continually reinforce a seamless web of continuity with the past. This was what was actually invented. The process took place at all levels of Japanese society but it took on a new dynamic in children’s print media because of the intersection of commercialism and competition at the very moment war became a central concern of the young nation. Whatever else they thought about the war, media publishers and contributors discovered that war and patriotism paid.
“’Hey, Yankees (Yôki)! I expect you’ve heard of Japanese hara-kiri but you’ve never seen it performed have you. Well, Onuki’s gonna show you!’ With that, he pulled open his tunic and grasping firmly his precious Japanese sword he thrust it deep into his right side. The sword sliced through his flesh as he pulled it across his body. Grasping his beloved flag, he then stuffed it into the gaping wound he had just made. That fine fellow died a brave and unparalleled death. When the American troops arrived they froze in terror at the sight.”
Tales of war and patriotism proved highly profitable throughout the world of print media. Just as the war encouraged competition and innovation among producers of adult magazines and newspapers, so, too, did it drive a similar process in children’s media. Competition between Hakubunkan’s Yonen sekai (Children’s World) and Shonen sekai and Jitsugyo no Nihon’s Nihon Shonen (Japan Youth) and Shojo no tomo (Girl’s Friend) led the way in the 1890s, driving innovation and market expansion and creating a highly commercialized and profitable children’s print media that had scarcely existed a decade earlier. Into this growing and profitable field stepped a young Oshikawa Shunro with a new adventure story, modeled on Yano’s Ukishiro and written while still a student at Tokyo Semmon Kakko (Waseda) where he studied politics. A relative introduced Oshikawa to Iwaya who loved the young man’s new story and quickly took him under his wing at Hakubunkan. With a preface written by Admiral Ito Yuko, a veteran of the Sino-Japanese War, Oshikawa’s new adventure novel Kaitei gunkan (The Submarine Battleship) made its debut in 1900. The novel was a huge hit among boys 8 to 15. Almost overnight Oshikawa had created a new genre of children’s stories known as the adventure novel. Despite a career cut short by personal tragedy and illness, Oshikawa occupies a preeminent position in the history Japanese children’s media. He exerted a profound influence on Miyazaki and contemporaries like Abu Tempu, Hirata Gensaku, and Yamanaka Minetaro, creating the basic format for many kinds of future war and adventure stories.
Kaitei gunkan was actually part of a six-novel series published between 1900 and 1907, all of which took as their point of departure Japanese passivity in the face of predatory foreign imperialism. Kaitei gunkan traces the exploits of a disgruntled former naval officer Captain Sakuragi and his hardy band of patriots who build a new submarine battleship on a secret island. The ship, the denkopan is submersible, capable of flight and is armed with futuristic torpedoes and a new ramming technology. Throughout the series, Sakuragi and his men battle the Russians, the French and the English, destroying them all. They even fight on the side of Filipino “freedom fighters” against American imperialists. Written before, during and after the Russo-Japanese War, Oshikawa’s novels rode the rollercoaster of war fever and then disgruntlement over the treaty that followed. In the process, he introduced thousands of Japanese boys to adult concerns about Japan’s weakness vis-a-vis the great powers and apprehension over an increasingly enervated youth. In the process, Oshikawa ignored Japan’s own predatory impulses and re-channeled them into patriotic sacrifice for a people fighting to secure their destiny.
According to Ito Hideo, Oshikawa’s purpose was to “oppose those who oppressed freedom” and to inculcate in young readers “the spirit of resistance at all costs” Yet neither Ito nor Oshikawa himself acknowledged Japan’s own imperialist endeavours or its brutal treatment of its own subject peoples. The tendency to lionize one’s own and demonize the other has many antecedents in Japan and elsewhere. In late Meiji this kind of binary thinking created a compellingly stark portrait of the international world that lent apparent truth to the national imperative of grow or die. Oshikawa revealed this in a non-fiction essay in Boken sekai (Adventure World) a Hakubunkan publication he helped to found and edit. Proclaiming a new age of struggle that would last for years to come, “an age of Enlightened warring states,” Oshikawa told his young readers that Japan’s future depended on “robust thinking and a war-like spirit.” Oshikawa specifically focused on the United States as the primary external foe. He granted that Americans were not devoid of bravery, mentioning Roosevelt approvingly and calling on American youth to eschew wealth for valour. Nonetheless, Americans in Oshikawa’s view still worshiped at the shrine of Mammon. Reminding his readers that just twenty years earlier Japan was a second- or third-rate country held in contempt (bujoku bubetsu) by England and America, Oshikawa talked of Japan’s glorious victories in the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars. What was the secret of Japan’s success against these more powerful foes, he asked? It was not divine intervention or even great military tactics that had secured Japan’s victories Oshikawa said. It was the ability of soldiers to “exert themselves to the utmost” and their willingness to “face inevitable death.” In short, it was Nihon bushido damashii, “The very soul of the Japanese and of Imperial Japan.”
Oshikawa then went on to lament the decline of bushido damashii since the Russo-Japanese War, singling out excessive pride, conceit, socialism and naturalism as the principle domestic evils. The youth of Japan, he said, were being corrupted with the licentiousness of naturalistic literature and the destructive effects of socialism on the national polity. Oshikawa reserved some of his most scathing criticism for the mediocre, the small-minded, and the vulgar that he called the enemies of bravery and martial valour. “They sneer at heroism,” he decried. “They ridicule Japan’s bushido, they trample on the blood of patriots, and they don’t hesitate to call fools those who sacrifice for their nation.” Sounding much like Miyazaki would ten years later, Oshikawa called on all young boys to nurture Japan’s millennia-old martial spirit and prepare themselves to give everything for the country. The message was clear: The world was a dangerous place where only the strong and the resolute survive. Japan must become strong and grow, or die.
Like all things Meiji, children’s print media developed from a fascinating blend of indigenous styles and practices, critiqued and reconstructed with foreign ideas and importations. As Oshikawa drew on Yano and Iwaya and then in turn influenced Miyazaki, Abu, and others, so too did the wave of foreign narratives flooding Japan at this time influence the thinking of many aspiring Japanese writers. Iwaya’s acknowledged debt to Hans Christian Anderson and the Grim Brothers, particularly the idea of excavating a useable past, is one such example. Two more powerful examples for children’s media were the science fiction of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. The works of both men had a profound impact on a wide range of writers including Yano, Oshikawa and Miyazaki. The list of foreign influences on Meiji and Taisho reads like a who’s who of Euro-American fiction and non-fiction but for Japanese writers of future war a more significant influence was Homer Lea’s 1909 The Valor of Ignorance, translated in 1911 by Ike Ukichi under the title Nichibei senso.
Lea wrote The Valor of Ignorance to shake Americans out of their complacency and to convince them that the romantic ideal of republican martial virtue expressed in the militia was hopelessly out of date. Modern wars, he said, required the “conversion of the nation’s potential military resources into actual power… by men more scientifically trained than lawyers, doctors, or engineers.” Disparaging volunteers as a mediaeval institution,” Lea maintained that the “soul of the soldier” could not be molded “in twenty-four days by uniforming a volunteer” but took “not less than a dozen men six-and-thirty long months to hammer and temper him into the image of his maker.” This necessitated “a relentless absorption of individuality” and “an annihilation of all personality.” Sounding much like Oshikawa, and later future war writers like Miyazaki and Abu, Lea argued that only through this process could a man “reach that pinnacle of human greatness, to seek glory in death.” Animating Lea’s argument was his fundamental belief that nations obeyed the same laws of birth growth, decline, and death as did all forms of life: “the Law of Struggle, the Law of Survival.” Thus war was “but a composite exemplification of the struggle of man upward” expressed in the grasping, expansionist nature of the nation itself. The chief impediments to success in this struggle were commercialism and opulence, which bred ‘enervation through luxury” and opened the door for all manner of ills including feminism, socialism, and the utter destruction of the martial spirit. For Lea, America was in grave peril and he devoted the bulk of his book to explaining how Japan could easily defeat America in the Philippines, Hawaii, and then occupy much of the west coast.
That Lea’s ideas animated the thinking of military men, including those in Japan, should surprise no one familiar with history of imperialism. But his book also had a profound impact on men like Oshikawa and Miyazaki because it articulated a theoretical position that aligned precisely with how the world actually operated in their eyes. The fascinating aspect about this relationship is that men like Miyazaki turned Lea’s “fact” into fiction and in doing so strengthened Lea’s argument about Japanese expansion and gave substance to his prophecies about Japan-as-predator. Even though Miyazaki turned the tables in Nichibei miraisen, making America the predator and Japan the prey, he nonetheless acknowledged Lea’s influence in the preface to the Nichibei book where he said, “This story of military operations in the Philippines draws heavily on the work of Mr. Homer Lea.” Equally fascinating is the manner in which the purveyors of war adventures turned adult concerns about international politics into fiction that posited a future world of war in which Japan was the underdog and frequently lost because the enemy was militarily stronger. The implication was that Japan could only survive in hyper-militarized form in which the present day child consumers would become its future adult saviors. These narratives, according to Kuwahara Saburo, participated in the creation and romaticization of a unique “child’s spirit” (kodomo damashii), especially from the Taisho era onward. Mirroring its predecessor, yamato damashii, kodomo damashii represented an adult ideal of what yamato damashii could truly be in its most perfect form, particularly its specific emphasis on children’s purity and unquestioning obedience. In this we can glimpse a kind of adult crisis consciousness about the instability of the present and an implicit fear about an indeterminate future, especially if the children of the present fail to safeguard the nation of the future.
Militarization, Media, and Mirrors
While this is essentially a Japanese story, the process by which it unfolded and the ideology that animated it were by no means unique to Japan. Virtually all modern industrial nations trace their origins back to the crucible of war or revolution, while their inhabitants derive a significant portion of their identities as citizens or subjects from these events and their remembrances. Japan is no exception. The experiences of the Japanese people must be understood comparatively as part of a more widespread modern process whereby national identities were constructed through the mass production and consumption of real and imagined war. Herein lay the power of the print media. War seems to be as old as humanity itself, as are the stories of martial glory and sacrifice that naturally accompany its prosecution. But only with the creation of mass forms of culture like print media have human societies been able to create and disseminate information, including stories of war, on such a massive scale. And it is the sheer scale of production and consumption that separates the modern from all other historical eras. Future war was a particularly powerful vehicle in this process, creating a seamless continuity over time that grounded children of the present in a shared martial past while preparing them for an adult future in which they would become the saviors. Japanese future war reinforced the ideological triad of military preparedness, eternal vigilance, and sacrificial death as the key components of modern Japanese nationalism, one that was heavily gendered in favour of the martial and the manly.
Until World War II a wide range of individuals and groups throughout the industrializing world preached the gospel of militarism and militarization, often in the stated interests of preserving peace. Since 1945 militarism and militarization have understandably taken on a more pejorative tone, despite the fact that the gospel of military preparedness was never more systematically spread than during the cold war: and now again in the current war on terror. C. Wright Mills may have been one of the first to recognize this postwar shift in the 1950s when he spoke of a new “military definition of reality” throughout America, one enabled by war and the “’current ‘emergency’ without foreseeable end.” The result, for Mills, would be, “the triumph in all areas of life of the military metaphysic, and hence the subordination to it of all other ways of life.” Mills appeared to be sanguine about this development, treating it as a natural outgrowth of shifting postwar American power relations. But a few years later President Eisenhower gave Mills’ idea a decidedly more ominous tone in his 1960 farewell speech when he warned of the threat posed to American liberty by the “military industrial complex.” “We should take nothing for granted,” he told the American public. “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” It is ironic in the extreme that these statements capture almost exactly the sentiments of men like Oshikawa and Miyazaki (and Homer Lea) a few decades earlier, only in the affirmative. Believing in a “military definition of reality,” these men actively promoted the ascendancy of a “military metaphysic” that would “subordinate” all other forms of national existence. Indeed, only “alert and knowledgeable” subjects – children dedicating themselves to the union of bu and bun – could ensure Japan’s future “security and liberty.” Print media continually reinforced the ideology of militarism through future war fiction – Mill’s “military metaphysic” – thereby driving the process of militarization into virtually every playground, schoolyard and neighbourhood in Japan.
In the last couple of decades, scholars and activists have begun to reexamine and refine the relationship between militarism and militarization, usually from a feminist perspective. Cynthia Enloe, a pioneer in this area, argues that “[m]ilitarism is an ideology. Militarization, by contrast is a sociopolitical process… by which the roots of militarism are driven deep down into the soil of a society.” Moreover, she maintains that militarization is “a tricky process” because virtually anything can be militarized at any time, in war or in peace. Thus, for Enloe, militarization occurs “when any part of a society becomes clearly controlled by or dependent on the military or on military values.” In a similar vein, Michael Geyer, argues that militarization is a “contradictory and tense social process in which civil society organizes itself for the production of violence.” More recently, Catherine Lutz echoes Geyer’s definition in her study of Fayetteville North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg, focusing particularly on the development of modern war and its relationship to industrial capitalism and the nation state. These scholars demonstrate the importance of analyzing militarism and militarization in terms of the relationships between power, gender, and violence and between industrial capitalism and the nation-state. They also demonstrate the utility of seeing both ideology and process through feminist lenses.
The work of these scholars alerts us to dangers in our own world, but their comments also apply equally to the world of prewar Japan and, indeed, much of the modern world from the 19th century onward when urban, industrial life appeared to be undermining national and racial vitality. This fear was so menacing because it began with an a priori assumption of human nature as inherently war-like and of the natural world as a site of struggle where only the strong survived. Thus, nations grew or died. There were no other options. Future war fiction articulated this belief most clearly because it was the very raison d’etre of the genre itself. In Japan where such stories more specifically targeted children, they left a weighty legacy for their young readers in whose hands the final decision would later be worked out. The “grow or die” mentality also revealed the manner in which militarism expressed itself ideologically through the employment of such binary structures as strong/weak, us/them, and masculine/feminine. Men like Miyazaki and Oshikawa revealed this attitude clearly when talking of the dangers posed by the great powers. Japan was noble and honourable whereas America had a “heart like a tiger and a wolf.” Thus, Japan needed to be strong militarily for defensive purposes only. Those defensive purposes could be conveniently extended, however, to Japan’s own expansionist aims by appealing to its responsibility to protect the peoples of Asia from the evil intentions of the O-bei. The a priori explained why war occurred and why all Japanese had to prepare for that eventuality. It was then through preparation that Japanese society became militarized. This meant not only creating larger armies and more powerful weapons through the application of science, but also curbing luxury and over-consumption, bending industrial activity to the will of military necessity, and guarding against slippage in gender roles.
This last category is particularly important because in Japan as elsewhere the core values of militarism have historically been exclusively masculine and martial, cohering around the concepts of loyalty, sacrifice, and the shared
“authentic” male experience of war. Anchoring this is the idea of sacrificial death as the ultimate expression of these values, what Lea called, “the pinnacle of human greatness.” The focus on dying as the ultimate sacrifice in Japanese future war also served to exclude females, at least until the end of the Pacific War. In prewar Japanese war adventures there were many girl heroes but few died and never in battle. Men and boys, by contrast, died by the shipload. This form of gendered nationalism carried right through to the last desperate days of the Pacific War, by which time everyone was expected to die. Still, echoes of the prewar division of gender based on who died in battle remained as late as 1945. Kodansha’s New Year’s 1945 issue of Shonen kurabu, for example, carried Bakumatsu era poems about women dreaming of being reborn as men so they could die for the emperor. The February 1945 issue even contained a young girl’s letter to the editor in which she said, “If I were a boy, I too could join the shimpu.” It is difficult to know whether letters like these were actually written by girls or merely fabricated by the magazine’s editors. Either way, they do reveal a deeply gendered conception of war and death, one that was largely monopolized by males.
As Geyer and Enloe have noted militarization occurs wherever a class, caste, or other social group reserves for itself the right and responsibility to use violence. Monopolizing the right to use violence is a core component of the classic definition of the state, dating back at least to Max Weber. Charles Tilly has argued that states or other agents who produce “both the danger and, at a price, the shield against it” are effectively racketeers. This is a reasonable description of what many adult producers of children’s media did in Japan and, sadly, what some leaders continue to do in our contemporary world. The producers of children’s war adventures created the danger (national destruction) and the solution (martiality and yamato damashii). The price was, to quote Lea again, the “annihilation of all personality” in selfless devotion to the nation. Seeing Japan’s print media in this light also emphasizes the fact that the adult producers were not simply products of their time but were active participants in its making. Children’s print media created a public and thereafter the two were inseparable, reciprocally reinforcing each other and driving militarization deeper into Japanese society.
Men like Iwaya, Oshikawa, and Miyazaki constructed a present and future world for children through vicarious war, skillfully blurring the lines between fact, fiction, and fantasy. They did so, as do all peoples, with the materials at hand, drawing on Japan’s martial past and its rich corpus of heroic fiction and myth, and then augmenting it with similar traditions from Europe. Marx himself recognized this tendency fifty years earlier, although in an entirely different context. His commentary on this phenomenon is worth quoting at length:
Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given, and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when men seem engaged in revolutionizing themselves and things, in creating something entirely new... they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past and borrow from them names, battle slogans and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honored disguise and this borrowed language.
For Marx, this tendency was the bane of human existence, drawing us into the past at the very moment when we should be breaking with that past in an effort to construct a new future. The adult producers of Japan’s print media gave truth to Marx’s claim. They showed no desire to break with the past but incorporated it into their present to construct a common identity that would provide a bulwark against rampant capitalism, socialism, and feminism, indeed, against modernity itself. At the same time, these men seemed to be unaware of a supreme irony: That the growing power of print media to militarize society was driven by the same economic and technological processes they believed were threatening the nation’s vitality. It is difficult to say whether any of these men would have likely wished for the “nightmare” that was to come in the 1930s and 1940s but in their relentless drive to create an educational and uplifting world for children they certainly made acceptance of that “nightmare” more likely. Through future war children could live vicariously for a time because the reality of Japan’s dark valley would not encumber “the brain of the living” for many years to come. In our contemporary climate of a global war on terror, Japan’s story shows us tendencies that we share in common, through time and space, rather than highlight what makes us different. In attempting to make this comparison, I am reminded of the words of Helen Mears who suggested many years ago that Japan, in addition to our studying it for its own sake, can be a mirror in which we can see our own reflection.
Owen Griffiths is Associate Professor of History, Mount Allison University. He wrote this article for Japan Focus. Posted on September 22, 2007.
1. I would like to thank the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for its generous support in providing funding for this project.
2. Miyazaki also wrote many stories for children under the penname Shirane Ryobu.
3. Miyazaki Ichiu, “Nichibei miraisen,” Shonen kurabu, November 1922, 67. Hereafter referred to as Nichibei.
4. Although I focus principally on Miyazaki in this piece, he was actually one of many writers of children’s future war. To date, I have uncovered more than 30 future war stories written between 1915 and 1937, almost all of which were written for children. Other writers of this genre include Abu Tenpu, Yoshikawa Eiji, Hirata Shinsaku, Yamanaka Minetaro, Nanyo Ichiro, and Unno Juzo.
5. This phrase comes from the title of I. F. Clarke’s collection of Euro-American future war stories. The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871-1914, Syracuse University Press, 1995.
6. The best discussion of this subject is I.F. Clarke, Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars, 1763-3749, Oxford University Press, 1992. For a more American focus on the same subject, see H. Bruce Franklin, War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination, Oxford University Press, 1988.
7. T. J. Jackson Lears, No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, University of Chicago Press, (1983), 1994, 98-102.
8. Any use of the term media must always refer to a plurality of agents, whose reciprocal interactions with the public and with each other is complex, contested, and competitive. The media can never be usefully understood as a monolithic entity. This is especially true during the formative period of its development, as with the print media in Japan’s Meiji era.
9. Hu Shih, “Tz’u-yu te wen t’i,” Hu Shih wen-ts’un, p. 739, cited in Ping-chen Hsiung, A Tender Voyage: Children and Childhood in Late Imperial China, Stanford University Press, 2005, xiv. Hu Shih said that any society could be understood by the way its people treat their children and their women, and how they spend their leisure time.
10. Despite much public discussion of citizenship during this period, the Japanese people under the Meiji Constitution were subjects not citizens. Citizenship only emerged as a result of popular sovereignty finally being enshrined in the people under the postwar constitution.
11. This three-fold division comes from Edward Beauchamp, Education and Ideology in Modern Japan, 1868 – Present,” Asian Thought and Society, 16:48 (1991), 189-98. It is useful to distinguish between these three forms of socialization as long as we recognize that all three stem from a similar set of impulses.
12. Exceptions in Japan are Torigoe Shin, Hasegawa Ushio, and Ueda Nobumichi. Here, I want to offer my deep appreciation to Hasegawa-sensei and Ueda-sensei for their generosity in providing me with materials and in taking time to discuss their research when I was in Japan in summer 2006. One general trend I have noticed in Japanese scholarship, Torigoe and Ueda included, is the tendency to evaluate children’s literature as literature rather than as political and social commentaries. This is partly due to the fact that most scholars in this field were trained as literary critics rather than as historians or social scientists.
13. The relationship between formal education and print media during these years is a fascinating and complex subject in its own right, but one to which I cannot do justice here. However, there are three areas of convergence between the two that are central to my story. The first is that education and media were both products of the same processes of mass production and consumption. The second is the important role played by education in creating a readership for all print media through rising literacy rates. The third is the remarkable continuity between both institutions in terms of their focus on war, patriotism, and the need for building a martial, manly society. Future war fiction, however, seems to have been exclusive to print media. The intersection of formal education and print media was best exemplified in the person of Kodansha founder Noma Seiji (1878-1938). In a 1938 eulogy to Noma, Tokutomi Soho referred to him as Japan’s “private Minister of Education.” Tokutomi Soho, “Noma shacho tsuitoroku” (A Memorial to President Noma), Kingu, December 12, 1938, 17, cited in Sato Takumi, ‘Kingu’ no jidai: Kokumin taishu zasshi no kokyosei (The Age of ‘King’: The Public Nature of National Popular Magazines), Iwanami Shoten, 2002, viii.
14. Thus far in my research, I have focused primarily on boy’s magazine where the martial, manly ethos was understandably most prominent. However, historical and contemporary stories focusing on war and foreign perfidy were also prominent in girl’s magazines. In fact, many writers, Miyazaki included, regularly wrote for both types of publications, while publishers like Hakubunkan and Kodansha actively encouraged girls to read boy’s magazines. To this point, I have looked at both sides of gender construction only in the context of the Pacific War itself. See, for example, my “Japanese Children and the Culture of Death, January 1945– January 1946,” in James Martens, ed., Children and War: A Historical Anthology, New York University Press, 2002, 160-71.
15. I am currently working on a quantitative assessment of national coverage of Shonen kurabu and Shojo kurabu based on the letters to the editor published monthly in both magazines. These letters, which came from every prefecture, may not necessarily reflect actual circulation patterns but they do provide insight into Kodansha’s strategy of representing its magazines as truly national in scope.
16. These are the official figures from Kodansha Hachijunenshi Henshu Iinkai, Kuronikku Kodansha no hachijunen (Eighty Years of Kodansha), Kodansha, 1995, 116.
17. Kodansha, Shojo kurabu was printing 380,000 copies by 1925 and selling 188,710. Both magazines sold for 60 sen per copy. Ibid., 116.
18. The editors of Shonen kurabu actively encouraged this practice, regularly using its Tayori column to instruct young readers to pass on their magazines or to form reading clubs so they could enjoy the stories together.
19. Miyazaki Ichiu, Nichibei miraisen, Dainihon Yubenkai/Kodansha, 1923.
20. Shojo kurabu, June 1923, ä¸‰ã®A. Shonen kurabu also carried ads in at least two of its issues for the upcoming book. Given that both magazines were published by Kodansha, it is not surprising that the tone and language of the advertisements was the same. Nonetheless, from a gender perspective, it is interesting to note that the same basic message was directed toward both boys and girls.
21. Ueda Nobumichi, “Miyazaki Ichiu no Jidobungaku (“The Children’s Literature of Miyazaki Ichiu”) Kokusai Jidobungakkan kiyo, No. 8, March 31, 1993, 8. Available in full text online here, accessed May 14, 2006.
22. Miyazaki’s death indeed remains a mystery, although I do hope to determine the conditions under which he died in future research. To date, I have found no record of his death or burial and, according to Ueda and Hasegawa, he appeared to have left no family. “Hot-blooded” was one of many genre names publishers like Kodansha used to distinguish different kinds of stories. Other labels included “adventure novel” (boken shosetsu), “patriotic novel” (aikoku shosetsu), “military novel” (guntai shosetsu), historical novel (rekishi shosetsu), and chivalric novel (kyoyu shosetsu). Until the publication of Sato Koroku’s Kogan bidan (The Stirring Tale of a Fair Youth) in Shonen kurabu in March 1928, no other writer was ever published under the “hot-blooded” label. In the 1930s this mantle was passed to the likes of Hirata Gensaku, Yamanaka Minetaro, Unno Juzo, and Nanyo Ichiro. For a fascinating look at these war adventures in the 1930s, see Yamanaka Hisashi and Yamamoto Akira (eds.), Kachinuku bokura shokokumin: Shonen gunji aikoku shosetsu no sekai (We Children, the Winners: The World of Boy’s Patriotic War Novels), Sekaishisosha, 1985. Curiously, the authors make no reference to Miyazaki and treat the “hot-blooded novel” as a product of the 1930s, which it clearly was not.
23. The actual ratio of capital ships permitted under the treaty was as follows: United States 525,000 tons (533,400 metric tons); the British Empire 525,000 tons (533,400 metric tons); Japan 315,000 tons (320,040 metric tons); France 175,000 tons (177,800 metric tons); Italy 175,000 tons (177,800 metric tons). See Article IV of the General Provisions Relating To The Limitation Of Naval Armament, signed February 6, 1922. Taken from Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States: 1922, Vol. 1, pp. 247-266, available online here, accessed July 12, 2006.
24. Of the eight, four were of the Nagato class (Nagato, Mutsu, Saga, and Tosa), two were of the Ise Class (Ise and Hyuga), and two were of the Fuso Class (Fuso and Yamashiro). Taken from Nichibei, January 1922, 49-50.
25. Ibid., 48-49. Here, I want to thank Takahashi Kazuko for her valuable assistance in reading this story. Unless otherwise noted, however, all translations are mine.
26. Ibid., 50.
27. Miyazaki took great pains to highlight Japan’s numerical and technological inferiority at the beginning of the story. Japan’s coal-burning ships, for example, were not only slower than the US diesel-powered fleet but they could also be seen from a further distance because of the thick smoke coming from their stacks.
28. Although Miyazaki did not use the phrase “encirclement,” he went into great detail to explain how the three American fleets could, at a moment’s notice, literally cut off Japan’s lifeline to the continent. Therein lay the injustice of the Washington Treaty. Here, we can of course find the roots of “ABCD encirclement” and the “defensive war” used by Japanese officials before and after the Pacific War.
29. Admiral Nango was, of course, none other than Admiral Togo, Japan’s great hero from the Russo-Japanese War. Miyazaki simply replaced “To” (East) with “Nan” (South).
30. Nichibei, January 1922, 55.
31. Nanyo was the phrase given to the South Seas, which was the site of imagining empire for many Japanese. For more on the Nanyo see Mark Peattie, “The Nan’yo: Japan in the South Pacific, 1885-1945,” in Peattie and Ramon H. Myers (eds), The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945, Princeton University Press, 1984, 172-176 and Kenneth Pyle, The New Generation of Meiji Japan: Problems of Cultural Identity, 1885-1895, Stanford University Press, 1969, 158. Yap was a small south sea island Japan had gained control over in the post-Versailles treaties. Its importance lay in the fact that it was a crucial node in the Pacific undersea cable linking Asia with North America. For an American account of the time, see Charles Noble Gregory, “The Mandate Over Yap,” American Journal of International Law, 15:3 (July 1921), 419-427. For a Japanese perspective on the eve of the Manchurian Incident, see Keiichi Yamazaki, “The Japanese Mandate in the South Pacific,” Pacific Affairs, 4:2 (February 1931), 95-112.
32. Nichibei, February 1922, 79-80.
33. Ibid., August 1922, 48-49.
34. Ibid., November 1922, 67.
35. The Unebi was a French-built cruiser commissioned by the Japanese navy in December 1886. Three months later it disappeared at sea with all hands lost en route from France to Japan. Miyazaki didn’t tell his readers about the Unebi, mentioning only its name. In this, he followed a common practice of inserting actual historical events and actors into fictional stories. He stretched the fantastic here since any Unebi survivors would have been in their sixties by the time of his future war.
36. Ibid., December 1922, 68.
37. Ibid., 72.
38. Ibid., 73.
39. Ibid., 77.
40. At this time, international treaties did not forbid submarine warfare except with regard to merchant vessels, the sinking of which was governed by the same rules as those covering surface naval warfare. The main treaty covering submarine warfare was “The Treaty Relating to the Use of Submarines and Noxious Gases in Warfare,” signed on February 6, 1922 as part of the Washington Conference negotiations. This treaty was never put in force, however, because France did not ratify it. The text of this treaty is available in full text here. Accessed July 21, 2007.
41. Ibid., February 1923, 87.
42. This phrase comes from Thucydides in his reconstruction of the dialogue between the Athenians and the Melians after the former had defeated the Melian’s ally Lucaedamon, reprinted from here, accessed September 15, 2006.
43. Nichibei, February 1923, 88. Oyashima comes from the Nihonshoki and refers to the original eight islands said to have been created by Izanagi and Izanami. Italics mine.
44. The idea of Japan as embodying both bu and bun emerged from the Meiji era in the writings of Shiratori Kurakichi, particularly his concept of “North/South Dualism,” which sought to create a progressive picture of Japan’s historical development as the best of both bu and bun. For more on this, see Stefan Tanaka, Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts into History, University of California Press, 1995, 94-104.
45. Torigoe Shin and Nemoto Masagi make this point but without any supporting data in “Oshikawa Shunro to Tachikawa Bunko” Nihon jido bungakushi (A History of Japanese Children’s Literature), Mineruba Shobo, 2003, 108.
46. Yano Ryukei. Ukishiro Monogatari. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1940), quoted in Xavier Bensky, “Dynamite Don!”: Radical Students, Patriotic Youth, and Science Fiction Novels in the Meiji Era, A paper presented at the Association for Asian Studies Chicago, IL, 2005, 9. I would like to thank Xavier for providing me with a copy of his paper. Robert Matthew maintains that Ukishiro was the first Japanese science fiction story in Japanese Science Fiction: A View of a Changing Society, The Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies Series, 1989, 10-11.
47. Quoted in Bensky, “Dynamite Don!,” 8.
48. Ibid., 10.
49. This account comes from Hasegawa Ushio, Jido senso yomimono no kindai (Modern Children’s Wartime Media), Nihon Jido Bungakushi Sosho, No. 21, Hissayamasha, 1999, 15-16.
50. Hasegawa, Jido senso, 18-19.
51. This point is made by James L. Huffman, Creating a Public: People and Press in Meiji Japan, University of Hawai’i Press, 1997 and Jay Rubin, Injurious to Public Morals: Writers and the Meiji State, University of Washington Press, 1984.
52. There is some debate among Japanese scholars as to Iwaya’s place as modern pioneer of children’s fiction. Some reject this title, arguing that Iwaya was not so much modern pioneer as he was popularizer of older Edo literary traditions like kanzen choaku. From a historical perspective, however, Iwaya was both. He helped create a modern print media where none existed before, using Japan’s rich literary and historical traditions as raw materials to construct stories for the children of a emerging modern nation. For a discussion of the Japanese debate about Iwaya, see Torigoe Shin, “Nihon kindai Jidobungaku kitten,” in Torigoe (ed.), Nihon Jidobungakushi, 1-12. Some have also identified Iwaya as part of vanguard of a new, rising middle class of social reformers, which included Tokutomi Soho, Inobe Inazo, Abe Isoo, and Hani Motoko. See for example, Mark Alan Jones, Children as Treasures: Childhood and the Middle Class in Early Twentieth Century Japan, unpublished Ph.D. manuscript, Columbia University, 2000. Social reformer he may have been but middle class he decidedly was not. Born in 1870 in Shiga Prefecture, Iwaya was the son of Iwaya Ichiroku (1834-1905), a Cabinet Secretary in the Meiji government and later a member of the House of Peers. As such, we must see Iwaya as a product of early Meiji upper class for whom hereditary privilege was de rigueur, and for whom the concept of progressive development of the Meiji state was unshakable.
53. A tale of a dog who avenges the death of his father by a tiger with the help of another canine, Kogane maru reflected Iwaya’s own literary heritage, particularly the centrality kanzen choaku and his membership in the Kenyusha (Friends of the Inkstone), an elite literary group centring around Ozaki Koyo (1867-1904) and counting as its members Izumi Kyoka, Takase Bunen, and Hirotsu Ryuro. The Kenyusha was the dominant literary group in Japan until Ozaki’s untimely death in 1904, after which it was superceded by the rise of naturalist literature. Detailed discussions of the Kenyusha can be found in Fukuda Kiyoto, Kenyusha no Bungaku undo (The Kenyusha Literary Movement), Hakubunkan reprint series, 1985 and Ikari Akira, Kenyusha no bungaku (The Literature of Kenyusha), Kosensho, 1951.
54. Koen dowa were stories told aloud. Iwaya drew on both indigenous and foreign traditions to construct his modern versions of these.
55. The powerful Japanese attraction for German philosophy and political theory is a fascinating subject in its own right. While there is no space to discuss this here, readers should note that the attraction was not merely a matter of cultural borrowing for its own sake but reflected a deep Japanese predisposition for German ideas that was rooted in Japan’s own cultural and philosophical traditions. In Iwaya’s case, see Ueda Toshiro, Iwaya Sazanami to doitsu bungaku: Otogibanashi no minamoto (Iwaya Sazanami and German Literature: The Origins of the Fairy Tale) Dainihon Tosho, 1991.
56. The impact of Noma and Kodansha on the development of children’s print media comprises a separate chapter of my larger project. For more on Noma and Kodansha in Japanese, see Sato, ‘Kingu’ no jidai and Noma’s own autobiography Watashi no hansei (Half My Life), Kodansha, 1936, also republished as Shuppan kyojin sogyo monogatari: Sato Giryo, Noma Seiji, Iwanami Shigeo, (Founding Tales of the Great Publishers), Shoshi Shinsui, 2005. A hagiographical treatment in English is Shunkichi Akimoto, Seiji Noma, ‘Magazine King’ of Japan: A Sketch of his Life, Character, and Enterprises, Dai Nippon Yubenkai/Kodansha, 1927. Early postwar assessments of Noma as the founder of prewar mass culture and Shonen kurabu’s role in this process can be found in Kagawa Tomiko, “Noma Seiji to Kodansha bunka: masu karucha no soshisha” (Noma Seiji and Kodansha Culture: The Founder of Mass Culture), Shiso no kagaku (October 1959), 19-31 and Sato Tadao, “Shonen no rishoshugi nit suite: Shonen kurabu no saihyoka” (Concerning the Idealism of Youth: A Reevaluation of Boy’s World), Shiso no kagaku (March 1959), 15-31.
57. I have not been able to obtain accurate circulation figures but Shonen sekai’s longevity alone, compared with that of most other children’s media until the WWI years, suggests its dominance through the mid-1910s. This was certainly the official position of Hakubunkan as can be seen in Tsubotani Yoshiyoro, Hakubunkan gojunenshi (A Fifty-year History of Hakubunkan), Hakubunkan, 1937.
58. Nihon Kokkai Toshokanhen, Zasshi Mokuroku, vol. 3, Nihon Kokkai Toshokan Henbu, 1981, 1701.
59. Captain Matsuzaki’s exploits were later immortalized just before the second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 with the publication of Tsuji Zennosuke (ed), Ruishu denki dainihonshi (Collected Biographies from Imperial Japanese History), Yusankaku, 1935-1936.
60. The basic storyline comes from Hasegawa, Jido senso, 16-17.
61. Ibid., 19.
62. “Sansho wa kotsubu demo piriri to karai,” Nichibei, July 1922, 34. Sansho is a Japanese pepper.
63. Ibid., 36-37. Visual images of men committing seppuku were not uncommon in war and historical novels at this time. I have found examples in both girl’s and boy’s magazines throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
64. Ibid., 36-37. The original artist for the illustrations in Nichibei was named until the September 1922 issue when Yamada Rikken’s name appeared in each subsequent issue.
65. Hasegawa, Jido senso, 19. Huffman discusses this as well in Creating a Public, For a discussion on Kunikida’s place in modern Japanese literary history, see, Edward Fowler, The Rhetoric of Confession: Shishosetsu in Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Fiction, University of California Press, 1992, 74-75, 86-93, and Jay Rubin “Kunikida Doppo,” Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1970 and Injurious to Public Morals. Fowler is only English-language literary scholar I have encountered who discusses the contributions to children’s literature made by many Meiji writers before they attained fame as producers of adult fiction.
66. This account is taken from Hasegawa, Jido senso, 19-20.
67. Kyoka’s penchant for the fantastic and the bizarre is revealed in M. Cody Poulton, Spirits of Another Sort: The Plays of Izumi Kyoka, Ann Arbor Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2001. Like many scholars of adult literature, however, Poulton pays little attention to Kyoka’s work as a children’s writer.
68. Hirotsu was also a Kenyusha member. The Kenyusha presence suggests a number of interesting points of analysis I am unable to explore here. It seems clear that Iwaya actively sought contributions from members of his own group, who were in turn happy to earn some income in the early stages of their careers. In terms of legacy, children’s fiction draws a fairly straight line from the Kenyusha men who embraced the concept of playful composition (gesaku) and kanzen choaku. This is in contrast to the naturalist movement that overtook the Kenyusha group, the adherents of whom rarely entered into the field of children’s fiction.
69. Hasegawa, Jido senso, 20-21. This story reflects a gendering trend in children’s media common to all martial traditions that permitted only Japanese boys to anticipate their fate in battle. Girls and women were relegated to support roles of nurturer or nurse whose ability to face the enemy in battle had to await their rebirth as males. This support role was not modern but the creation of new institutions like the Red Cross gave it a particularly modern focus.
70. Nichibei, November 1922, 66.
71. Quoted in Hasegawa, Jido senso, 98.
72. See Ibid., 19 and James Huffman, Creating a Public, 199-224.
73. This point is made by many including Huffman, Creating a Public and Rubin, Injurious to Public Morals.
74. Torigoe says that Kaitei gunkan’s enormous popularity since its publication in 1900 may have created renewed interest in Ukishiro among young readers. Torigoe Shin and Nemoto Masagi, “Oshikawa Shunro to Tachikawa Bunko,” 108-09.
75. Ibid., p. 111.
76. Oshikawa Shunro, Kaitei gunkan, Hakubunkan, 1900. Ito participated in the Battle of the Yalu River on September 17, 1894. The battle seems to have been a draw but is noteworthy because it was the first major naval encounter involving ironclad ships with breech-loading guns.
77. Between 1911 and 1912 Oshikawa lost his two sons to illness, turned to drink and died in 1914 from acute pneumonia. Although his mentor Iwaya is better known in Japan, Oshikawa is one of the few writers of children’s fiction known outside Japan.
78. Ito Hideo, Shonen shosetsu taikei, vol. 2, Sanichi Shobo, 1987, quoted in Torigoe Shin and Nemoto Masagi, “Oshikawa Shunro to Tachikawa Bunko,” 109.
79. Oshikawa Shunro, “Keikai subeki Nihon” (A Warning for Japan), Boken sekai, December 1910, reprinted in Meiji daizasshi fukuenpan (Meiji Reprint Series of Great Magazines), Ryudo Shuppan, 1978, 174-179.
80. Ibid., 174.
81. Ibid., 174.
82. Ibid., 176.
83. Ibid., 177.
84. Ibid., 178. Oshikawa never identified these enemies clearly but he seemed to be taking aim at the middle classes and all those who supported democratic ideals or any form of egalitarianism.
85. English and Japanese sources generally agree on the importance of Verne and Wells on the development of war adventures and science fiction in but only the Japanese sources have linked this specifically with children’s media. In English, see Susan J. Napier, The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity, Routledge, 1996 and Robert Matthew, Japanese Science Fiction: A View of a Changing Society, Routledge, 1989.
86. A good general discussion of Euro-American literary influences on Meiji Japan is Hirakawa Sukehiro, “Japan’s Turn to the West” (trans. Bob Wakabayashi), Cambridge History of Japan, vol. 5, The Nineteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, 1989, 432-498.
87. Lea is a fascinating but relatively unknown character in modern history. Not quite five feet tall, hunchbacked, and dismissed from West Point due to ill health, Lea nonetheless managed find the martial life he so desperately sought, leading a ragtag group of Chinese soldiers against the Boxers in 1900 before fleeing to Hong Kong and Japan with a price on his head courtesy of the Empress Cixi. In Japan Lea sought out Sun Yat-sen who was so impressed by the little man, he promised to make Lea his chief military adviser. Sun finally made good on his promise ten years later. With the proclamation of the Chinese Republic in Nanjing on January 1, 1912, Sun made Lea a full general and his chief of staff. Lea never lived to direct the fortunes of the new republic however. He suffered a massive stroke en route to America that same year and died at age 35 in November 1912. Information on Homer Lea in English or Japanese is thin. There is Eugene Anschel’s Homer Lea, Sun Yat-sen, and the Chinese Revolution, Praeger Publishers, 1984, although I have not had a chance to consult this work. In Japanese, see Hasegawa Ushio, Jido senso, 76-77, and Ueda Nobumichi, “Taisho ni okeru nichibei miraisenki no keifu, (“The Genealogy of the Japan-America Future War Stories in the Taisho Era”), Jido Bungaku Kenkyu 29 (November 1, 1996), accessed here, July 12, 2006. The above storyline is taken from Simon Rees, “Homer Lea: Author of The Valor of Ignorance,” Military History, October 2004, accessed online here, August 2, 2006. Rees says The Valor sold 84,000 in its Japanese translation but provides no documentation. Lea also wrote Day of the Saxon, which documented much the same story only relating to Germany and England. At the time of his death, Lea was working on The Swarming of the Slav, about the Russian war-like impulse. Overall, Lea’s works have a decidedly racist and misogynistic edge. In Valor he repeated disparages Jews as money mongers, feminists as enervating influences and displays open hostility to Oriental immigration and the intermixing of the races. This he said would spell doom for America.
88. Ike Ukichi, Nichibei senso, Hakubunkan, 1911. This information comes from Ueda Nobumichi, “Taisho ni okeru nichibei miraisenki no keifu” and Rees, “Homer Lea.” The Valor of Ignorance received mixed reviews in the United States but was read with great enthusiasm by the likes of Sun Yat-sen, Douglas MacArthur, General Adna Chaffee, and Field Admiral Lord Frederick Roberts.
89. Homer Lea, The Valor of Ignorance, (Harper and Brothers, 1909), Simon Publications 2001, 47.
90. Ibid, 48, 52, 56.
91. Ibid., 52-53.
92. Ibid., 76.
93. Ibid., 82.
94. Ibid., 66.
95. Lea never explained why Japan would want to occupy parts of America. He simply assumed that the “law” of nations and Japan’s own uber-martiality dictated this. Curiously, this was the exact argument of Miyazaki and Oshikawa in reverse. Japan was at the mercy of the United States, according to them, because it was far behind the US militarily and technologically.
96. Quoted in Hasegawa, Jido senso, 80.
97. Another example of this plotline is Abu Tempu’s future war classic “Taiyo wa ketteri” (The Sun Victorious) serialized in Shonen kurabu from January 1926 until Abu’s untimely death in November 1927.
98. Kuwahara, Shonen kurabu no goro: Showa zenki no Jido bungaku (The Age of Boy’s Club: Early Showa Children’s Literature), Keio Tsushin, 1987, 91-93.
99. By “trace” I mean create in the sense that among all the stories we tell ourselves about our origins a significant number relate to war. This is particularly true of national histories of the last 100 years and also of the manner in which we teach our children in the classroom.
100. C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite, Oxford University Press, 1956, 184-85.
101. Ibid., 223.
102. The entire speech is reproduced here. Cited September 12, 2006.
104. Cynthia Enloe, The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire, University of California Press, 2004, 217-220.
105. Cynthia Enloe, “Beyond Steve Canyon and Rambo: Feminist Histories of Militarized Masculinity,” in John R. Gillis (ed.), The Militarization of the Western World, Rutgers University Press, 1989, 119, 139-140. See also Enloe, Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives, University of California Press, 2000, 3-11. Here Enloe elaborates on the reach of militarization as a social process and offers strategies by which it can be analyzed and critiqued.
106. Michael Geyer, “The Militarization of Europe, 1914-1945,” in J. R. Gillis (ed.), The Militarization of the Western World, Rutgers University Press, 1993, 79.
107. Catherine Lutz, “Making War at Home in the United States: Militarization and the Current Crisis,” American Anthropologist 104:3, 2002, 725-727.
108. This statement corresponds to Enloe’s first three of seven core beliefs of militarism as an ideology: “a) that armed force is the ultimate resolver of tensions; b) that human nature is prone to conflict; c) that having enemies is a natural condition.” Ibid., 219. Clearly the interpreters of Lamarck and Darwin have much to answer for.
109. A good discussion of the perceived dangers new definitions of womanhood and femininity posed to Japanese conservatives in the 1920s and 1930s is Barbara Sato, The New Japanese Woman: Modernity, Media, and Women in Interwar Japan, Duke University Press, 2003.
110. The focus on death also serves to deflect attention away from the fact that in war one also kills. To say that one has died for a cause (for “us,” for example) is psychologically more satisfying and acceptable than to say that one has killed for that same cause. He who dies is a martyr or hero and retains a degree of humanity that he who kills does not. And until recently this has meant man against man. In the vast, linked systems of war and its remembrances constructed by most countries in the last century – Japan, Canada and America included – sacrificial death occupies centre stage. It is death we mourn and glorify, even when hating war and its costs. Thus, dying displaces killing and thus enables the intensification of militarization as a process because the public is compelled to remember and always support sacrificial death. These systems of war and remembrance also include the media and the images they collectively create as our vicarious experiences of war. Children’s print media in Japan, for example, served as a valuable means of remembering war, particularly as new, victorious wars were grafted onto those of the past. This process was particularly important after the Russo-Japanese War because few adults or children from this time onward had any direct experience with war until the 1930s. I explore this relationship between dying and killing elsewhere in Owen Griffiths “What We Forget When We Remember the Pacific War,” Education About Asia, (Spring 2006), 5-9.
111. Girls’ magazines like Shojo kurabu and shojjo no tomo published no future war stories that I have found, although they did advertise them to girls. There were, however, numerous adventures with girl protagonists who were usually motivated to solve a mystery because of the death of a male relative. One example is Miyazaki’s Yurejima (Ghost Island), Shojo kurabu, January – December 1925. Ueda has argued that these stories were too fantastic to be taken as serious science fiction because girls clearly did not have the physical power to subdue men. This seems to reflect a continued Japanese gender bias since such scenarios are no more fantastic than boys overpowering men. See Ueda, “Miyazaki Ichiu no Jidobungaku.”
112. Kimata Osamu, "Bakumatsu aikoku josei no uta: Minatogawa kiyoku nagareshi" (Songs of Female Patriots of the Bakumatsu Era: The Minato River flows purely) Shojo kurabu, January 1945, 5-7.
113. This letter was published by Goto Shosa of the War Ministry’s Information Bureau under the title "Kamiwashi o miokuru" (Bidding Farewell to the Divine Eagles), Shojo kurabu, February 1945. 19.
114. Charles Tilly, “War Making and the State as Organized Crime,” in Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol (eds.), Bringing the State Back In, Cambridge University Press, 1985, 170-171.
115. The reciprocal relationship between print media and the Japanese public is a central theme in Huffman’s, Creating a Public. Japanese scholars like Torigoe, Ueda, and Hasegawa, tend to shy away from the idea of print media as a collection of agents. When asking whether men like Iwaya, Oshikawa, or Miyazaki were militarists, for example, they evade the hard answer, opting for the simpler, less pointed one that these men were products of their times.
116. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Kessinger Publishing, 2001, 3-4.
117. Helen Mears, Mirror For Americans: Japan, Houghton Mifflin, 1948.