It is often said that the nationalism of the 1930's was more “narrow,” more “parochial,” more “isolationist,” and more “pathological” than the nationalism of Meiji. In the earlier period, men like Fukuzawa Yukichi and Ōi Kentarō, who had ingested the liberalism of the late Victorian West, defined Japan's identity and role in the world in cosmopolitan, even revolutionary terms. By contrast, it is said, the nationalists of the 1930's were “frogs at the bottom of a well,” whose vision of the nation was clouded by folkish myths of national superiority or who were moved at most by narrow concern for national self-interest. The men of Shōwa, unlike those of Meiji, lacked a conception of Japan's role in the world which admitted the claims of higher goal or value than the nation itself.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.