The author identifies three meanings of individualism (kojinshugi) in Japanese journalism during the Taishō period. They were: first, individual character and talent should be cultivated for the purpose of strengthening the state and fostering the active commitment of individuals to state policies; second, personal autonomy and self-expression were legitimate within a restricted “private” sphere that coexisted uneasily with the dominant values of the “public” sphere; and third, the development of free, autonomous individuals was the most fundamental value by which state and society should be judged. Proponents of individualism were unable to alter the state structure established by the Meiji Constitution or the state ideology of submission; their innovative thinking did serve as a leavening agent within state structure by demanding new relationships between elite and masses and by sustaining a high degree of elite pluralism.

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