A Bullet Point Overview Summary of Jeff Kingston’s Transformations After World War II

  • “A Bullet Point Overview Summary of Jeff Kingston’s Transformations After World War II from Contemporary Japan History, politics, and social change since the 1980s, second edition”



    – Japan had a tremendous recovery and socio-economic improvement after the World War II devastation.
    – Remains of war led to form a risk-free nation focusing on security and stability rather than power and redemption.
    – Remarkable changes attained by urbanization, social cohesion, magnificent job opportunities and a discrimination-free society for women in the workforce.
    – Due to these factors, to the popularity of mass media and the restoration by the US, Japan found its way back into the community of nations at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

    Occupation 1945-1952

    – The supreme commander of allied powers (SCAP) indirectly governed the Japanese bureaucracy by demilitarizing and democratizing Japan. à Class A war criminals prosecution à Weaponry banning
    – Early post war occupation led to desperation for survival, from mobster battles, drug usage, prostitution, and robberies.
    – SCAP’s union organizers release made them powerful.
    – Workers then joined radical unions rather than company-sponsored unions which led to an economic boost in the late 1950s.
    – SCAP wrote Japan’s constitution desirably and made sure bad images about the process would not be revealed.
    – Lack of Marshall Plan made Japanese officials self-reliant and proactive in rural and urban planning à resulted in output boost and attractive economic and social growth.



    – Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) formation in 1995 delivered rapid economic growth and maintained good relations with US + Limited defense spending to 1% of GDP + Stood up to US by negotiating Okinawa reversion in 1972
    – LDP lost power in 2009 after failed attempts to revive the economy.

    Foreign Policy


    – Japan Socialist Party (JSP) wanted to end security alliance in the US due to:
    – Causing unnecessary risk
    – Showing a bad image of Japan due to war aid
    – Yoshida Doctrine revived Japanese economy
    – End of US occupation in 1952 with maintenance of bases in Japan and retaining of control over Okinawa.
    – Considerate effort from Japan normalizing relations with South Korea in 1965.
    – However, the compensation matter remains disputable after 2005
    – In 1972, Japan normalized relations with China
    – Treaty of Peace and Friendship establishment in 1978
    – Japan largely aided China for reparations and war damages leading to strong economic ties
    – Prime Minister Tanaka diplomatically increased official development assistance (ODA) promoting economic development through Asia.



    – Despite post-WWII economic hardships, resource maximization and efficiency led to a tremendous growth in GDP between 1955 and 1973.
    – Zaibatsu played crucial role
    – Trading partners accused Japan of performing unfair advantages
    – Appreciated Yen for market correction in trade imbalances in 1985
    – Japan’s economy kept growing nonetheless
    – Extraordinary bubble between 1985 and 1989.
    – Cartel agreements were able to take over the two oil shocks.
    – Japan experienced The Lost Decade in 1990 due to the accumulation of fundamental problems from the response to oil shocks.

    Heisei Transformations

    Commuters crowd a train station in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, May 19, 2011. Japan's economy shrank more than estimated in the first quarter after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disrupted production and prompted consumers to cut back spending, sending the nation to its third recession in a decade. Photographer: Toshiyuki Aizawa/Bloomberg

    – Heisei Era begins in 1989 followed by The Lost Decade/
    – By becoming less risk averse and focusing on Jiko Sekinin, Japan has gained momentum in Heisei Era (2001-06)
    – Around 2009, Jiko Sekinin has been criticized due to the suffering of households and the lingering economic dislocation. à Firms had to shed more than 240,000 regular workers.
    – Japan fear homogeneity dysfunction with the abundant of foreigners.
    – Poor risk management led to crisis and very slow recovery from natural causes.
    – Japan’s transformation has been astounding, however, most Japanese are pessimistic about the future.