Japan's invasion of Manchuria in September of 1931 initiated a
new phase of brutal occupation and warfare in Asia and the Pacific.
It forwarded the project of remaking the Japanese state along
technocratic and fascistic lines and creating a self-sufficient
Asian bloc centered on Japan and its puppet state of Manchukuo. In
Planning for Empire, Janis Mimura traces the origins and
evolution of this new order and the ideas and policies of its chief
architects, the reform bureaucrats. The reform bureaucrats pursued
a radical, authoritarian vision of modern Japan in which public and
private spheres were fused, ownership and control of capital were
separated, and society was ruled by technocrats.
Mimura shifts our attention away from reactionary young officers
to state planners-reform bureaucrats, total war officers, new
zaibatsu leaders, economists, political scientists, engineers, and
labor party leaders. She shows how empire building and war
mobilization raised the stature and influence of these middle-class
professionals by calling forth new government planning agencies,
research bureaus, and think tanks to draft Five Year industrial
plans, rationalize industry, mobilize the masses, streamline the
bureaucracy, and manage big business. Deftly examining the
political battles and compromises of Japanese technocrats in their
bid for political power and Asian hegemony, Planning for
Empire offers a new perspective on Japanese fascism by
revealing its modern roots in the close interaction of technology
and right-wing ideology.
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