with Mr Yosuke Matsuoka, Japan’s last representative at the League of
Japan go Fascist? Many observers believe that she already has many of the
ingredients of Fascism. They
point out that the Army and the Navy are in command, that militarism is
lauded to the skies, that ‘dangerous thought’ is suppressed, that
there is persecution of Socialists and Communists and that the political
parties have little power. They
refer to the assassination of Cabinet Ministers by groups of ‘Young
Officers’ in whom they see the nucleus of a coming Fascist regime.
does one of Japan’s outstanding figures think of this so-called Japanese
Fascist future? To find out I
visited Mr. Matsuoka, the man who faced the world for his country at Geneva
and who is now leading a campaign to smash the political parties and party
system of Japan.
this stockily built man with broad rough features and Hitler-like
moustache received me in his black silk kimono, I asked him what his
political aims were.
am agitating to abolish political parties, he replied. “The West is already doing it. Even in England the party system is undergoing a big change. According to your constitutional usage, I believe, Mr. MacDonald has
no right to form a government. Your
constitutionality should demand Mr. Baldwin as Prime Minister, because he
is leader of the majority party. Luckily
you have that envious ability to accommodate yourselves to circumstances
in a common sense way.
in the United States politics are not carried out now according to party
lines. A great many so-called
Republicans support the President, while in California, Mr. Sinclair, a
Socialist, was supported by Democrats. Thus in American party lines have been erased.
disappearance of parties in Italy, Russia and Germany is obvious to
you then, Mr. Masuoka, wish to introduce Fascism?” I asked.
In Japan, due to racial traits and our history, we cannot carry out
anything similar to what Mussolini and what Hitler have been doing. It is not in our temperament to allow any dictator to boss the
whole country and such a thing has never happened in Japan”.
there been a movement towards Fascism here?” I asked.
people who saw the rise of Mussolini were aroused, for it appealed to
their imagination. But since
I came back from Geneva I have told the people that Mussolini can have no
place in Japan. He has done a
lot of good but the establishment of power by violence and autocratic rule
cannot be carried out in Japan. If
we could only adopt the policy of Mussolini, it might be the shortest way
out of present situation, but it just cannot be done”.
cannot Japan adopt Fascism,” I asked.
Masuoka replied: “Examine our national and racial history. Take Hideyoshi, the greatest warrior statesman of our country who
lived in the sixteenth century. Even
he could not do what Mussolini has done. He had to consult with the daimyos, the lords. Hideyoshi did not unite Japan by force; he had to use diplomacy and
negotiate internal treaties by compromise. Take Ilyasu, the founder of Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled for
over two and a half centuries until the Meiji Restoration of 1867. Ilyasu did not have the power of a Hitler or a Mussolini. Even the Emperor has not ruled the country autocratically”.
a Fascist coup d’état possible?” I
is possible. No man in Japan
can carry out a coup d’etat because without the army it cannot be done. You cannot form like the Blackshirts or the stormtroopers. The standing army and the police maintain the status quo. Not even the most popular general or admiral could entice the
not the ‘Young Officers’ attempt a coup d’état?” I asked.
and then the Young Officers have tried to carry out a revolution. They are
nationalist fiery and they are deeply dissatisfied. They worry as to the future of the country. It is not that they forget their duty, for they think that they are
saving the country. But no
attempt has succeeded, because no man can move the major part of the army
or even one division. In
England a Cromwell arose, but in Japan no Cromwell can arise”.
Japanese have a temperament which compels them to fight against power. When we are commanded we fight. When we are persuaded we are softer in yielding than Europeans. Foreigners believe that we are a disciplined race. That is wrong. We are rebellious and lack discipline. No people are as independent as the Japanese. They answer to emotion rather than to reason”.
do you wish to abolish political parties,” I asked.
must get away from Western democracy which breeds corruption and return to
the true Japanese democracy which is the rule of the Emperor. The mainspring of our country is the Emperor. He is responsible for all that happens in Japan. The Emperor Meiji wrote in a letter: “If there is a man who is
not contented, them I am responsible”. The Emperor rules according to the will of Heaven. We have a saying that the will of the people is the will of Heaven. That is our Japanese democracy”.
does the party system clash with that democracy?” I asked.
State Ministers are solely responsible to the Emperor, and through the
Emperor the Ministers are responsible to the people. For 3,000 years we have had that notion. That Ministers are responsible to Parliament can have no place in
our history, for you cannot make a Briton out of a Japanese in one day. However, the idea has got into our politics that Ministers should
be responsible to Parliament and it causes confusion and corruption. I am trying to convince the people that is not our way. We must get back to real Japonism, which means not Fascism but that
Japanese democracy which is the rule of the Emperor.”