Occupation of Japan

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Empire of Japan (1945-1947)
Japan (1947-1952)
Military occupation


Flag Imperial Seal
Dissolution of the Japanese Empire.
Click the image for further information.
Capital Tokyo
Language(s) Japanese
Political structure Military occupation
Military Governor
 - 1945–1951 Douglas MacArthur
 - 1951–1952 Matthew Ridgway
 - 1945–1952 Hirohito
Historical era Cold War
 - Surrender of Japan August 14, 1945
 - Occupation established August 28, 1945
 - Instrument of Surrender signed September 2, 1945
 - Treaty of San Francisco April 28, 1952

At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States with a contribution from the British Commonwealth. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power.[1] The occupation transformed Japan into a democracy modeled somewhat after the American New Deal.

The San Francisco Peace Treaty signed on September 8, 1951 marked the end of the Allied occupation, and after it came into force on April 28, 1952, Japan was once again an independent country, save for the Ryukyu Islands. Dower explains the factors that promoted the success of the American occupation:

Discipline, moral legitimacy, well-defined and well-articulated objectives, a clear chain of command, tolerance and flexibility in policy formulation and implementation, confidence in the ability of the state to act constructively, the ability to operate abroad free of partisan politics back home, and the existence of a stable, resilient, sophisticated civil society on the receiving end of occupation policies—these political and civic virtues helped make it possible to move decisively during the brief window of a few years when defeated Japan itself was in flux and most receptive to radical change.[2]

The occupation was codenamed Operation Blacklist.[3]



  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Japan, 1900 a.d.–present. Retrieved on 2009-02-01.
  2. John W. Dower (2011). Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq. W. W. Norton, 338. 
  3. Takemae, E. (2003). The Allied Occupation of Japan. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 9780826415219. 


  • Asahi Shimbun Staff, The Pacific rivals; a Japanese view of Japanese-American relations, New York: Weatherhill, 1972. ISBN 978-0-8348-0070-0
  • Bix, Herbert. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York: Harper Perennial, 2001. ISBN 0-06-093130-2
  • Cripps, D. "Flags and Fanfares: The Hinomaru Flag and the Kimigayo Anthem". In Goodman, Roger & Ian Neary, Case Studies on Human Rights in Japan. London: Routledge, 1996. Pages 76–108. ISBN 1-873410-35-2.
  • Dower, John W. (1993), [Expression error: Missing operand for > Japan in War and Peace], New York: The New Press, ISBN 1-56584-067-4  or ISBN 1-56584-279-0
  • Dower, John W. (1999), [Expression error: Missing operand for > Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II], Norton, ISBN 0-393-04686-9 
  • Feifer, George (2001). The Battle of Okinawa : the blood and the bomb. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press. ISBN 9781585742158. 
  • Flores, Edmundo. Issues of Land Reform. The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 78, No. 4, Part 2: Key Problems of Economic Policy in Latin America. (Jul - Aug., 1970), pp. 890–905.
  • Goodman, Roger & Kirsten Refsing. Ideology and Practice in Modern Japan London:Routledge, 1992. ISBN 0-415-06102-4
  • Gordon, Andrew (2003). A Modern History of Japan. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511060-9. 
  • Guillain, Robert. I Saw Tokyo burning: An Eyewitness Narrative from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima (J. Murray, 1981). ISBN 0-385-15701-0
  • Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-674-01693-9
  • Hood, Christopher Philip (2001). Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone's Legacy. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. ISBN 041523283X OCLC 44885267
  • Kawai, Kazuo. "American influence on Japanese thinking" Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Vol. 278, 1951: pg. 23-3.
  • Ness, Gayl D. Review of the book Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. American Sociological Review (1967), Volume 32, Number 5, pages 818–820.
  • Schaller, Michael. The American Occupation of Japan: the Origins of the Cold War in Asia. New York, Oxford University Press, 1985. ISBN 0195036263 OCLC 11971554
  • Schrijvers, Peter (2002). The GI war against Japan : American soldiers in Asia and the Pacific during World War II. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 9780814798164. 
  • Sugita, Yoneyuki. Pitfall or Panacea: The Irony of US Power in Occupied Japan, 1945–1952 (Rutledge, 2003). ISBN 0-415-94752-9
  • Takemae, Eiji trans. and adpt. by Robert Ricketts and Sebastian Swann. Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and its Legacy. New York, Continuum, 2002. ISBN 0826462472 OCLC 45583413
  • Weisman, Steven R. (1990, April 29). "For Japanese, Flag and Anthem Sometimes Divide". The New York Times.

Further reading

External links

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