The years in Japan between June 1924, when a coalition cabinet of three political parties was established, and December 1941, when the country declared war on the United States and Britain, were characterized first by nearly a decade of domestic and international cooperation—and then a period of oppressive militarism. Kitaoka Shinichi captures the essence of these years in Japan’s political history, stressing not only the discontinuities, but also the connections, between the two periods.
Kitaoka pays particular attention to the interaction of domestic and foreign affairs. He equally explores the conflicts between political parties and the military—as well as those among internal factions in both spheres. Connecting political issues to economic and social developments, his book serves as a comprehensive history of the period, a history that, in his words, “exemplifies the horrific damage that can result when a modern nation-state goes off course.”