Introduction:
The Culture of Japanese Fascism
The essays in this volume examine the relationship between
culture and fascism in Japan in the decades preceding the end of the Pacific
War in 1945. Gathering the evidence of a culture of fascism that was not
always so named, the authors are more concerned with the diffusion of fas-
cism as ideology and representation than with its origins and consequences
as a political movement or regime.
Though a number of essays offer definitions of fascism and explore
how Japanese culture and thought in the interwar years can profitably be
understood as fascist, the volume as a whole does not present a unified
definition of “fascism,” or even a uniform picture of Japan in these years.
Indeed, some contributors resist applying the term and concept to Japan,
even as they find areas of congruence with fascist states and cultural forms
elsewhere. As a whole, however, the volume does argue for the presence of
a fascist culture in Japan and for the presence of fascistic ways of healing
the crisis of interwar modernity. It is an assumption of most of the essays,
and of the conception of the volume itself, that to understand the Japanese
inflection of fascism, we would benefit more from observing its marks on
culture than from comparing political details in the hope of finding a kind
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