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Japanese Questions

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rider View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 Jul 2009 at 20:21
Were there any times when the Emperor was really the highest figure around in Japan, or was he always (speaking up to Tokugawa era currently) under some sort of influence?
 
Also, was there a formal bodyguard to the Emperor? And a formal intelligence service?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2009 at 20:59
They were all publically speaking the highest figure in the entire state, but if you mean behind the scenes pre-Meji period than i think most Emperors before Shirikawa II(even here you will have a joint ruling system, usually a sibling or predecessor), because he increased the power of the Samurai which heralded the start of the Shogunate system.
 
I'm not so sure about the second question, logically there were personal and palace guards made up of Samurais and Ninjas but wether it was a distinct institution, i really don't know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2009 at 21:15
Thanks for the reply, but I really doubt ninjas were in any (official) guard.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2009 at 21:36
I think they were, the ninjas(not the popular hollywood type) were specifically designed as an alternative warrior caste countering the Samurai. If the latter is your enemy(as they were during Emperor Daigo II's time) then wouldn't you want non-Samurai soldiers to protect you? 
 
The Ninjas do fill the spot of the 'Intelligence services'  you were referring to in the opening post
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jul 2009 at 21:50

In my readings, I've only seen the ninja as operating in their local groups and being hired for a concrete mission; guarding someone would seem somewhat of a strecth.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shingen The Ruler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 17:10
I might be bumping some old threads today. (I'm bored at work.)

Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

 
Also, was there a formal bodyguard to the Emperor?


I noticed no one answered this question, really. Yes. there were formal bodyguards for the emperor. They were broken into the Left Imperial Bodyguards unit and the Right Imperial Bodyguards unit. I'll be able to give you the Japanese names once I get home to my books.Smile


Edited by Shingen The Ruler - 01 Mar 2011 at 17:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Mar 2011 at 18:12
Such should not be considered strange given the fact that ninjas (turtles or otherwise) are visual treats far more so than any reading of the Gukansho by the Buddhist monk, Jien. This 13th century manuscript, despite the fact that it has an English translation--
 
Delmer Brown and Ichiro Ishida, eds. The Future and the Past: A Translation and Study of the Gukansho, an Interpretative History of Japan written in 1219. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.
 
--is not oft referenced, Shingen, but what you have described is the arrangement elaborated by the Heizei-tenno as recounted by Jien. Granted, the narrative therein is describing the early 9th century (AD 806-809) and one is left to wonder about the origins of the division (particularly in view of the fact that the Daido Era actually represents a period of strife between two brothers after the death of the Kammu emperor. Interesting enough the survival of appellatives for Heizei such as the Nara-mikado and the fact that his successor Saga is firmly identified with Kyoto [or that often the nengo for him is both Daido and Konin] leaves the door open to many surmises.
 
Now how much such a division was an imitation of earlier Chinese patterns...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4ZZZ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Mar 2012 at 11:16
And may I bump an old thread please?

I am struggling to find an answer to the following in my sources.
If it had not surrendered in 1945 how much longer was it thought that Japan could have fed itself?  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2012 at 00:54

Could someone here who knows more about the subject than I do provide and answer (i.e. bump). Wink

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2012 at 02:25
Would there be an actual limit? Japan's population was much smaller at that time, and as long as rice and vegitables could be grown, and poultry raised, then people could have gotten by for a long time indeed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4ZZZ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2012 at 09:18
Is this a tough one? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Apr 2012 at 23:56
Originally posted by 4ZZZ 4ZZZ wrote:

And may I bump an old thread please?

I am struggling to find an answer to the following in my sources.
If it had not surrendered in 1945 how much longer was it thought that Japan could have fed itself?  


I think it would be safe to assume that American planners were expecting the war in the Pacific to last at least til' 1947, that is of course, minus Hiroshima or Nagasaki never having taken place and the Soviet entry into the war never having occurred. That year would be my best guess as well. Regretfully, i don't have any facts to back that up, just conjecture and the knowledge that food stuff was always in short supply in Japan, even without the war.

All that my sources say on the issue is that with their coastal shipping shut down by the American submarine campaign, the ongoing losses of imported rice from Korea due to the toll allied subs had taken on their merchant navy and the set up of command economy to deal with many severe shortages. The only thing left for them to do other than starve was to die honorably for the emperor.

But that is speculation unfortunately. I don't know, it never seems to have been adequately discussed in the books i have on the war. It is an intriguing question.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4ZZZ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2012 at 13:48
Yes it is an intriguing question. My books are not forthcoming either and it is a bit frustrating. I have found a discussion in the Cambridge History Of Japan Vol 6 that tends to convey similar thoughts as Panthers.

At the beginning of the war "half of the population were engaged in feeding the nation" with 20% of rice still imported. In 1941 average caloric intake was only 6% above minimum. By the end of the war Japan was "on the brink of starvation" 3 books are footnoted with one of them Japanese.

The point of my original question was an ongoing discussion with a friend as to the morality of "dropping the bombs". Not that I am too keen on another ongoing discussion on the subject per se as this tends to be another of those debates that goes around in circles but I do think that the answer to the ability of Japan to feed itself is important.    
From my various readings the anti bombing argument keeps bring up the point that the Japanese were on the verge of starvation and that quote I used agrees. But for me the bigger question is when would final "starvation" have taken place? The Japanese showed a fanatical devotion to the Emperor and a willingness to fight to the bitter end. Could they have starved to the last man women and child?

With that in mind the US would not have stopped the bombing raids. Air Force General Curtis LeMay said "Another six months and Japan would have been beaten back into the Dark Ages." The casualty rate would have been beyond horrendous if Curtis LeMay was correct.
       

   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2012 at 03:47
Originally posted by 4ZZZ 4ZZZ wrote:

but I do think that the answer to the ability of Japan to feed itself is important. 


I have a book with an picture illustration in it of Japanese farming in the most unusual of places. Such as in Sports stadiums or on the side of mountains. I am under the impression that they were preparing to make the allies pay as dearly as they could when ever the invasion took place. I think from experience, the allies appreciated the fanaticism the Japanese had exhibited up to that point.

To reiterate, i've read countless stories during the allied island hopping campaigns of Japanese troops in each encounter having fought on fanatically while they were starving or half dead. And these weren't the Japanese home islands either. Also, i can't recall correctly, but i think it was Okinawa (The place needs to be cited), that once the Japanese troops were defeated nearly too a man, a tragedy had occurred where over a hundred thousand of the Japanese civilian populace had committed mass suicide rather than face the allies unprotected. So, i am thinking that while starvation was a worry for them, it was the least of their concerns as the allied forces were approaching closer to the home islands.

Quote  
From my various readings the anti bombing argument keeps bring up the point that the Japanese were on the verge of starvation and that quote I used agrees. But for me the bigger question is when would final "starvation" have taken place? The Japanese showed a fanatical devotion to the Emperor and a willingness to fight to the bitter end. Could they have starved to the last man women and child?


No i don't think so. In my humble opinion, they were fanatical in their devotion to the emperor but they weren't stupid either, nor could the  emperor have withstood such a devastation visited upon the population if such an event as an invasion had taken place after all.

Here is what i have always imagined the scenario generally playing out: At some point after a couple of years of horrific violence and fanatical resistance, and after they had suffered a dozen million dead and several dozens of millions more in wounded, i like to believe they would have felt their honor was kept so long as no less than a million allied troopers were wounded or killed for their effort. Then again, i am working under the supposition that the allies could have withstood such massive losses themselves. In this light, i tend too think the dropping of the bombs were indeed more charitable towards both sides rather than the other alternative of an outright, massively bloody that such invasion would have entailed.

Quote
With that in mind the US would not have stopped the bombing raids. Air Force General Curtis LeMay said "Another six months and Japan would have been beaten back into the Dark Ages." The casualty rate would have been beyond horrendous if Curtis LeMay was correct.
 


General Lemay was a brilliant officer, but i think we need to keep in mind that at that time he was pushing his beliefs to the American leadership that bombing, even strategically, was having a massive effect on the Japanese, when there really wasn't any facts to adequately back him up at that time, nor have i read anything as of yet that has proven him to be correct, though i could be wrong and the facts are out there, my not having read of them as of yet? The waging of war from the air was still in it's infancy at that time and i think General Lemay was doing everything he could to point out the contributions of the Air force and the relevancy in having a independent airforce within the US military to the american leadership. Leaving any curious historian in asking, how much of Lemay's views were propanganda and how much of it was backed up with actual facts?


Edited by Panther - 05 Apr 2012 at 03:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4ZZZ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2012 at 12:39
Bump. Panther I have recently purchased at book called The Taste Of War by Lizzie Collingham. I have not yet read the book as such but did head to chapter 13 called Starving For the Emperor and read the sub heading Hunger on the Home Islands. Chapters 3 and 11 also cover Japan. That sub chapter alone was riveting and I will start this book from the beginning as soon as I can as based on chapter 13 alone it should be fascinating reading.

Your post above is very much to the point that the author makes. The home islands were basically starving. As early as 1943 homelands were in trouble with food supplies from Korea and China curtailed and coming to a complete halt by March 1945 when the last oil tanker made it through the allied blockade, ironically called Operation Starvation.

If there any questions let me know and I can re-read and relay what the author has stated. This book looks to be a genuine attempt to discuss the issue of food in WW2.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2012 at 13:45
Thanks. I'll try and get it, though not just for Japan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jul 2012 at 22:32
I recognize the samurai/daimyo as forms of advisors in many cases, and also many samurais were guarding his imperial highness in council meetings. Whenever I go to Japan, I still see many people wearing the traditional armor, but no swords. When I was sent to Okinawa, people still wore the swords. In Manchukuo, Amakasu Masahiko ordered several guards to be sent to his majesty's inner Court buildings in he back of the palace. They shared many resemblances to the samurais, and they had divided things into many sections, assigning a daimyo to each section. Ninjas, however, were threats to the Emperor of Japan, and Manchukuo.
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