An island country in the western Pacific, located east of the Asian mainland.

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Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
43
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10answers
7k views

Did Imperial Japan choose to ally with Nazi Germany because of ideological similarity?

There are certain similarities that can be drawn between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Both were dictatorships, both believed in racism (though against different people), and both were wanting to ...
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9answers
5k views

Why did Hitler declare war on the USA?

Since there had not been any offensives launched by either side against the other, why declare war just because Japan had attacked the USA?
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4answers
5k views

Why didn't the US choose to demolish Tokyo with an atom bomb?

Tokyo was Japan's capital. Why didn't the US choose Tokyo to demolish with Atom Bomb? Bonus Question: What factors decided to bring Hiroshima and Nagasaki on table?
18
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3answers
2k views

When and why was the samurai class abolished?

I am aware the Emperor Meiji abolished the Samurai class during the reformation. Why did he do so? How was it enforced?
18
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2answers
847 views

Military brothels in WW2

Did any of the other belligerents of WW2 besides Japan and Germany provide their troops with authorised military brothels?
17
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7answers
3k views

Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan?

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
16
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6answers
579 views

What factors permitted Buddhism to be successful in Japan but Christianity less so?

From reading The Samurai and the Sacred, it looks like Buddhism achieved acceptance into Japanese culture due to its willingness to assimilate with the (already present) Shinto religion. Conversely, ...
16
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1answer
4k views

Did the United States have a third atomic bomb to drop on Japan?

On 15 August, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan announced its surrender to the United States, signing the instrument of surrender on 2 September, officially ending the war. The question ...
15
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6answers
2k views

Why, in the US, is Japanese brutality ignored compared with the Nazi brutality in WW2?

Instead of accepting too much of what I have read in my textbooks, I have read up a bit about WW2 on my own and have always pondered, why in the USA is the brutality and actions of the Japanese during ...
15
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6answers
439 views

Japan is known for being isolationist, so what cultivated its history of interventionism in the 20th century?

For much of its history, Japan was a very isolationistic country, and in fact, even in modern Japan, there is still a strong isolationist attitude among the Japanese people in some ways. During the ...
15
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1answer
265 views

Why didn't Japan expand into Ezo?

Throughout the first millenium of Japanese history (and before that even) the Japanese rather steadily expanded up Honshu. Once they had taken the whole of Honshu however they seemed largely to stop. ...
14
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3answers
5k views

Why didn't Japanese infantrymen and samurai use shields?

Shields were considered useful in Europe until the development of full plate armor. Despite the fact that they never had anything comparable to plate armor, shield use was apparently abandoned by the ...
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3answers
3k views

What do the modern Japanese people think about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Japan has been an ally of the USA for a long time now. On the other hand, every year they observe Hiroshima Day. Moreover, Japanese people visit Yasukuni Shrine. Then what is the catch?
13
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4answers
874 views

How many Samurai killed themselves?

I'm curious if the Samurai killed themselves often in shame. Losing face and dishonor seems to be the major cause (from what I've read) but how often would they do it? I apologize if I'm not being ...
12
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4answers
4k views

How many lives were saved by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs?

**President Truman in a August 9, 1945 radio address to the American people, outlined the reasons why we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (and later Nagasaki) I realize the tragic significance ...
12
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1answer
387 views

Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Emperor sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Why was that? Why, ultimately, was it unsuccessful? The Role of English and Other ...
11
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6answers
464 views

Why did Japan not withdraw from China as its pacific front was crumbling and the threat of US invasion imminent?

Even in August, Japan still kept garrisons in China totalling around 3 million men. They were second-line troops and poorly equipped, yes, but why did Japan not recall everyone to defend the home ...
11
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1answer
414 views

Could the Russians Have Done Better at the Battle of Tsushima Straits Than They Actually Did?

In 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War, a Russian fleet sailing all the way from the Baltic was annihilated by the Japanese fleet in the Tsushima Straits. The Russian fleet was larger, with thirteen ...
11
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1answer
246 views

Who were the target audiences of this propaganda lithograph?

What was the main purpose of the image below, who was the audience (except Japanese people themselves)? It is a Japanese lithograph depicting the capture of Blagoveshchensk, Siberia, by the Imperial ...
11
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2answers
599 views

What were the operating principles of Japan's MITI during the 1950s and 60s?

Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) guided Japan's economy through two decades of unprecedented economic growth. MITI was the primary instrument of Japan's industrial policy, ...
10
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2answers
696 views

Did Japan ever pay Russia war reparations after WW2? Why or why not?

Russia had the largest number of casualties during WW2, and Russia had taken many Japanese prisoners. So, why didn't Russia receive a reparation from Japan to help boost Russia's economy after the ...
10
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1answer
214 views

Who was the first military force to use teppo (guns) in mass battles during the Sengoku-jidai?

Oba used guns to great efficency against the Takeda clan but which war lord (or faction) used them for the first time? I seem to recall that some of the shoei order had access to firearms and that is ...
10
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1answer
211 views

Which Japanese military officers helped Ho Chi Minh?

According to Wikipedia, in 1946 during negotiations between the French and Ho Chi Minh, One demand by the French was the return to French custody of a number of Japanese military officers (who had ...
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3answers
3k views

Were there Samurai equivalents in Korea or China?

Considering that the Samurai class had its distant roots in Chinese political structure, did China or Korea have a similar warrior class?
8
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1answer
537 views

The last Japanese surrender after WWII was in the 1970s?

Wikipedia in its article on the Surrender of Japan, claims: Some Japanese holdouts, especially on small Pacific Islands, refused to surrender at all (believing the declaration to be propaganda or ...
8
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2answers
129 views

What were Hiroshima and Nagasaki known for prior to World War II? [closed]

Prior to becoming the first (and so far only) military targets of atomic bombs, how well-known were Hiroshima and Nagasaki outside of Japan, and (if at all) for what?
8
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1answer
140 views

What kind of wood was the standard decking for Aircraft Carriers in World War 2?

I know that both Japan and the United States used wooden decks on their WWII Aircraft Carriers. Was there a specific, "ideal" standard type of wood that was utilized by either country? If so, what ...
8
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1answer
258 views

During the Sengoku-jidai, what were shinobi (aka ninja) used for?

During the Japan Sengoku-jidai, several clans of shinobi were recruited by various war lords to help their military campaigns. What were they primarily used for? Was it covert espionage, ...
8
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1answer
274 views

Who started the “katana is the soul of the Samurai” meme?

Samurai used to be defined by their ability to use horses and bows in the early history of Japan. This moved to using the sword, first tachi then katana. Within the Tokugawa period, the katana ...
8
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2answers
740 views

What role did the Ancient Samurai heritage play on Modern Japan during WW2?

Some of the policies adopted by the WW2 japanese army , seem to be along the lines of the ancient samurai code of Bushido. Policies such as extreme loyalty to the emperor , honor unto death and ...
8
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1answer
184 views

Could rōnin become a samurai again

Once the samurai lost his master he becomes a rōnin. Could he become a samurai again by acquiring another master?
8
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1answer
233 views

Toyotomi Hideyoshi threatened to exterminate all Japanese foxes unless he heard from the god Inari. What was the aftermath (if any)?

Quoth Wikipedia: the 16th-century leader Toyotomi Hideyoshi wrote a letter to the kami Inari: To Inari Daimyojin, My lord, I have the honor to inform you that one of the foxes ...
7
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1answer
376 views

What are the origins of the Shinto religion?

Shinto's recorded history is typically dated to the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, but most sources suggest that oral traditions go back much further than this. What evidence is there to support this - ...
7
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3answers
137 views

Where can I find digitised versions of Japanese war documents in original Japanese?

I was wondering where can I find digitised versions of Japanese war documents in original Japanese? I can read Japanese but I cannot seem to find any primary sources that relate to the Japanese army ...
7
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1answer
105 views

When did wheel-mounted water-carrying fire-fighting machines first appear in Japan?

When did wheel-mounted water-carrying fire-fighting machines first appear in Japan? I am curious about the date, and maybe some history about whether it was invented or imported, and by whom if ...
7
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1answer
148 views

Why were women excluded from the succession line in the Meiji constitution?

Article 2 of the Meiji consitution (full text here) says: The Imperial Throne shall be succeeded to by Imperial male descendants, according to the provisions of the Imperial House Law. A ...
7
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1answer
259 views

Evidence of cross contamination between Japanese and Western sword fighting styles?

Are there any documented cases of cross pollination between western sword fighting techniques and Japanese ones? Such cross contamination could have happened during the Sengoku-jidai. This period ...
6
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3answers
3k views

Why was 19th-century Japan able to modernize and not China?

At the start of the 19th century, Asian countries had militaries less effective than Western nations. In 1853, the US Navy forced Japan to enter into trade with the United States. The Japanese ...
6
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2answers
296 views

Was the attack on Pearl Harbor totally unexpected?

According to "British Intelligence in the Second World War: Security and Counter-Intelligence", by Francis Harry Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins, Tricycle, a British double agent, complained that the FBI ...
6
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2answers
481 views

What other war crimes trials besides Nuremberg were held after WWII?

Why were the Nuremberg trials after WWII for the Germans only? The same charges used against the the Germans could be easily extended to the Japanese or possibly Italians. They have committed as much ...
6
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3answers
293 views

Organized and intentional suicide attacks during military conflicts

First of all I want to make it clear that we're not speaking about terrorist attacks here. This question is strictly dedicated to war operations, in a dictionary meaning. Also this question is about ...
6
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1answer
148 views

Why did Ieyasu Tokugawa oppose Hideyoshi's plan for expansion?

When Hideyoshi wanted to invade Korea, the Tokugawa clan noticeably stayed out of the conflict. What were the reasons for them doing so?
5
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2answers
2k views

Were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary? [closed]

The United States bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Before the Japanese could surrender, they bombed Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The two bombs killed over 200,000 people, most of them civilians. ...
5
votes
1answer
340 views

How did schoolgirls dress in Japan in the 1930s/40s?

I'm writing a graphic novel with a segment in 1930's and 40's Japan. I've looked around but haven't been able to find any specific answers. How would teenage schoolgirls have dressed at that time?
5
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1answer
175 views

What is the best way to describe the form of Japanese government during the years before and during world war 2?

Prior to the great depression, how much political power did the military, the emperor, and the prime minister of Japan have? Is it a form of monarchy, or does it resemble a military dictatorship? Did ...
5
votes
2answers
543 views

What was the argument for the Japanese pursuing the Northern Expansion Doctrine during WWII?

The Northern Expansion Doctrine was the idea that Japan should pursue its imperialist objectives through Siberia, which was diametrically opposed by the Southern Expansion Doctrine which was the idea ...
5
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2answers
230 views

What were Chiang Kai-shek's biggest strategic blunders during the Second Sino-Japanese war?

Just as it is often said that Operation Barbarossa is Hitler's biggest strategic blunder (either the whole thing, its timing or execution), what were Chiang Kai-shek's biggest strategic blunders in ...
5
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2answers
323 views

How much of a role did Sakamoto Ryoma play in overthrowing the Shogunate?

Sakamoto Ryoma is often portrayed in the Japanese media for his role in attempting to overthrow the shogunate during the Bakumatsu period. Since he was assassinated when he was still very young, the ...
5
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1answer
560 views

What were the main clans of the sengoku period?

I'm looking for some kind of authoritative list of the main clans operating during the sengoku period, if possible with each clan's kamon but most importantly which geographical areas they controlled. ...