Jay Fagel

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Military History

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Robert Young


This thesis chronicles and analyzes the facets of Japanese society that manifested in a cultural of cruelty exhibited by Imperial soldiers during the Asian-Pacific War. The study examines the influence the Meiji Restoration reined upon modern Japan in the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century. It will explain how and why the Meiji leaders successfully indoctrinated a sovereign nation into a virtual cultural adherence to an ideology of a divine and infallible Emperor. This ideology was also used as a tool to foment insatiable obedience and duty to military service as a means to protect the Emperor, the nation and its people. The use of mystic religious tenets and ancient military codes were altered to further militarize public schools and institutions, and increase military élan amongst its soldiers. All of this was accelerated under the reign of the Showa Emperor until his renouncement in 1946. Finally, this paper will expose the duplicity of the Imperial throne as it denied any culpability for its role in Japan’s wartime behavior. In the end, modern day Japan still struggles to accepts its responsibility for its actions as its ancient culture and mores remain significant obstacles to the naked truth of its execution of atrocities.



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