QUESTION 1: Professor Andrew Gordon offers this important judgment about Japan’s post-1945 political history:
Profound tensions and conflict have remained constant features of Japanese life. But; as one examines the history of the second half of the twentieth century a central task must be to explain a process of stabilization that somehow contained these tensions. How and why did a conservative political and social order emerge and endure in the decades after 1945? (Gordon 224)
Write an essay that addresses Professor Gordon’s key question or ‘central task”: How and why did a conservative political and social order emerge and endure in the decades after 1945? 50 points total — 10 points each.
As you write your answer, be sure to address questions like the following:
To what extent did the American occupation (especially after the -Reverse Course’) aid the restoration of conservative , political and social power? What important Japanese individuals made a difference in leading the conservative coalition after 1955, and how were they able to develop and consolidate conservative leadership? (e.g., Yoshida; Hatoyama; Sato: Tanaka) What role did economic policy (the income doubling plan and rapid economic growth) play in assisting the conservatives to maintain and extend their power and influence? Why was the ‘progressive camp” (socialists, communists, agrarian populists) unable to gain the upper hand politically or economically? How did the AMPO confrontation of 1960 exemplify the most acute differences between the conservative and progressive ‘forces” in Japan?
QUESTION 2: The American occupation period (1945-1951) was a major turning point in Japan’s history. Professor Gordon identifies many changes (politically. economically, socially, and culturally) that took place, but also discuss. the “transvvar continuities” from Japan’s pre-war period. Write an essay that analyses one important change that occurred in the a) political, b) economic, c) social, and d) cultural aspects of Japan’s fife (10 points each). Include an analysis of one important granswar continuity’ that Professor Gordon mentions in his text.
QUESTION 3: Since the 1970s, Japan has been either the second or third leading economic poveer in the world. Write an essay that analyzes 3 important reasons (each worth 10 points) why Japan’s economy has been able to grow so quickly and to attain such prominence in the “high growth era” of 1955 to 1973. However, Japan’s economy since 1990 has been stuck in a ‘high level equilibrium” experiencing occasional modest growth but also confronting downtums. In this essay. be sure to include a discussion of the bursting of the “Bubble economy” in the 1990s and the ‘Lehman shock” of 2008 (each worth 10 points) to account for the erratic nature of Japanese economic development since 1985/1990.