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New Evidence from Japan: The Emperor and Nomura Kichisaburō, October 1949

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This brief essay might properly be divided into two parts: a newly-discovered document translated and reproduced in its entirety, as well as a brief historical sketch to introduce readers to the document. Authored by Admiral Nomura Kichisaburō in October 1949, the document is of interest for various reasons. First, it sheds light on the perceptions driving one of the central participants in Japan's postwar maritime rearmament process. That alone ensures the document's significance, if only because a lack of documentary sources have hampered historians in their efforts to penetrate the intellectual milieu in which Nomura moved in the latter half of Japan's occupation. The document's second point of significance rests with Nomura's audience: the Emperor. The fact that in late 1949 Nomura took his case to Hirohito suggests that, although Japan's postwar constitution had stripped the Emperor of his considerable political powers, the Throne remained something of a player in occupation-era Japanese politics. Finally, the document reproduced in this essay ought to be of interest to those with a scholarly interest in Japan's occupation, but are unable to penetrate the language barrier.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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