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Building up a nationalistic identity, the propaganda in Japan during World War II

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  1. Introduction
  2. Religion
    1. Origins of Shinto: the myths of the Kojiki and Kokutai no Hongi
    2. The establishment of the State Shinto
  3. To mobilize the public opinion
    1. The use of bushido values
    2. The expansionist foreign policy of Japan: an imperialist measure
  4. A constant opposition to the Western sphere
  5. Conclusion

The Meiji Revolution brought to Japan, a country relatively unknown and isolated from the outside world for about 270 years, a dynamic wave of restructuration and modernization. Unwilling to suffer from the same fate as many Asian countries, who lost their territorial integrity but also their economic independence, Japan, established the Fokoku Kyohei, an industrialization policy designed to elevate the country at the top of the international sphere and transform it to an imperialistic power. Rapidly, the Land of the Rising Sun became a threat to the Western civilization that realized the great military force it possessed.

After several victories such as the Sino-Japanese War at the end of the 19th century or the Russo-Japanese War at the beginning of the 20th, the alliance during the Second World War of the Japanese Empire with Germany reinforced the doubts and the menace of having an Asian-wide ruling power. Nonetheless, such brilliant military achievements need necessarily the full help and attention of the citizens. Indeed, the notions of nationalism and unity were considerably developed, and the entire Japanese population had a feeling of responsibility and concern. In this essay, we will try to explain how the Japanese government managed to create a strong nationalistic identity by using former traditional values and ideologies (cf annex 1).

Consequently, we will analyze the propagandist policies adopted by the leaders in order to keep political stability, involvement and unity. Undeniably, Japan is most certainly a country full of diverse histories, and a large panel of mystical tales with divine significance. As such, it is in these intriguing incidents, stories and beliefs that a national identity was born and kept as a singular particularity of the inhabitants.

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