- 京都社会学年報 : KJS
- vol.8, pp.147-165, 2000
This article deals with the image of Japanese people serving in the army during the interwar period. To analyze this topic, I mainly used readers' columns of newspapers. At this time during which disarmament conference like the Washington Conference took place, Japanese armed forces became a target of criticism. As a consequence, the land forces reduced their armaments without holding an international conference. Critics about the armed forces increased while, on the other hand, the practice of conscription, among other things, was not questioned, and pacifist opinions were hardly heard either. Besides, soldiers having accomplished their military service were highly considered by certain people. Especially from the Manchurian Incident on, critics towards the army faded away. Japanese people became aware of the importance of supporting the army because everyone had a relative or a friend engaged in the army, with the result that many of them unwillingly started to get involved into the war efforts. In such a perspective, one can wonder about the fact that, among all critics formulated against the army after World War I, which clearly influenced the disarmament process in Japan, most ones have been made towards the army as an institution but surprisingly not towards the soldiers themselves. It is also interesting to notice that, rather than diminishing the army officers' strength, on the contrary, all those critics tended to reinforce their intentions of pursuing the militarization of the country. To a certain extent, we may conclude that all those critics might have helped to the constitution of a military state, which would also mean that japanese people failed in preventing the rise of militarism.