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Theories Explaining the Development of Japan since 1945 Essay


The social, political, and economic development of the country can be described or explained with the help of different theories or models. This paper is aimed at examining such frameworks as ideological state apparatuses, the concept of hegemony, and orientalism.

Moreover, it is necessary to determine the extent to which they are relevant to issues described by Joe Moore’s article Democracy and Capitalism in Postwar Japan. On the whole, these approaches can be useful for explaining how Japan achieved sustainable growth and avoided political instability. These are the main questions that should be examined.

At first, one can speak about the concept of ideological state apparatuses introduced by Louis Alhusser. This model is used to describe those institutions or organizations that are supposed to ensure the cooperation between the subordinate classes and the elites (Ferretter 7). Among such institutions and agencies, one can distinguish educational organizations, mass media, church, or political parties.

These state apparatuses are supposed to make the majority more willing to accept the rule of the dominant classes. These are the main premises involved in this theory. Certainly, this approach can be critiqued because it describes the interactions between classes as the continuous conflict, while they bear more resemblance to the process of negotiation (Ferretter 7).

However, this concept is partly relevant to the issues examined in Joe Moore’s article. For instance, it is possible to speak about the role played by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan. This political party placed emphasis on the rights of employers and their economic freedom. Its policies were regarded by socialist politicians as an attempt to control the workers (Moore 380).

Nevertheless, by laying stress on the rights of businesses, LDP contributed to the rapid economic growth of Japan. So, it is difficult to say that political parties of this country acted only as the instrument of suppression. This is one of the aspects that can be distinguished since it can throw light on the limitations of this model introduced by Louis Alhusser.

Much attention should be paid to the concept of hegemony. This term is used to describe the economic, military, or cultural influence of one country over others. This notion implies that a certain state that can be viewed as a superpower dictates its terms to other states and influences their political or economic development.

In this case, one can speak about the role played by the United States since this country can be regarded as a hegemon. In particular, America was able to turn Japan into one of its allies through various mechanisms.

For instance, the American government provided Japan with the access to Western markets, and this opportunity was essential for the growth of many Japanese businesses and the improvement in the living conditions of people (Moore 368). Furthermore, one should speak about the increased military presence of the United States in Asia.

Overall, the concept of hegemony is helpful for examining the relations between different states. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the government of Japan was willing to cooperate with the United States since it was critical for the sustainability of the country.

So, the concept of hegemony can be important for analyzing the socio-political evolution of Japan. However, this approach cannot fully explain the internal tensions within the Japanese society. For example, close attention should be paid to the conflict between the supporters of liberal politics and socialists.

It is also possible to discuss such an approach as orientalism. At the beginning, this term was only applied to the study of eastern countries and their cultures (Dallmayr 87). Yet, this notion is now used to describe a system of beliefs according to which western civilizations are essentially superior to the eastern ones (Dallmayr 87).

The critics of orientalism attempt to how Eastern cultures can be misrepresented. Orientalism can be applied to Joe Moore’s article. To some degree, Japan was also encouraged to implement some of the elements that are imbedded in the political and economic culture of western countries. Much attention should be paid to the adoption of democratic principles and liberalization of economy (Moore 374).

Yet, it is critical to point out that this approach contributed to the improved welfare of people. Furthermore, Japan achieved the results that cannot be matched by other western states.

Thus, one can say that orientalist perspective is not fully relevant to such a country as Japan which is now regarded as an example of a capitalist and democraty country. However, it also retains its distinct Asian identity. This is one of the points that can be made.

This discussion suggests that there are various frameworks which can be used to analyze the development of a country. Each of the theoretical models should be considered because it can increase a person’s understanding of different processes that influence the society. However, a single model may not explain the tensions which existed in the Japanese society after 1945. This is one of the main arguments that can be put forward.

Works Cited

Dallmayr, Fred. Beyond Orientalism: Essays on Cross-Cultural Encounter, New York: SUNY Press, 1996. Print.

Ferretter, Luke. Louis Althusser, New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Moore, Joe. “Democracy and Capitalism in Postwar Japan.” The Other Japan: Conflict, Compromise, and Resistance since 1945. Ed. Mark Selden. New York: M.E. Sharp, 1997. 353-393. Print.

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Man, M. (2019, July 8). Theories Explaining the Development of Japan since 1945 [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/theories-explaining-the-development-of-japan-since-1945/

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Man, Molecule. "Theories Explaining the Development of Japan since 1945." IvyPanda, 8 July 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/theories-explaining-the-development-of-japan-since-1945/.

1. Molecule Man. "Theories Explaining the Development of Japan since 1945." IvyPanda (blog), July 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/theories-explaining-the-development-of-japan-since-1945/.


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Man, Molecule. "Theories Explaining the Development of Japan since 1945." IvyPanda (blog), July 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/theories-explaining-the-development-of-japan-since-1945/.

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Man, Molecule. 2019. "Theories Explaining the Development of Japan since 1945." IvyPanda (blog), July 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/theories-explaining-the-development-of-japan-since-1945/.

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Man, M. (2019) 'Theories Explaining the Development of Japan since 1945'. IvyPanda, 8 July.

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