National Spiritual Mobilization Movement (Japan)

Last updated
"Luxury is our Enemy" banner by the National Spiritual Mobilization Movement Luxury is our enemy.JPG
"Luxury is our Enemy" banner by the National Spiritual Mobilization Movement

The National Spiritual Mobilization Movement (国民精神総動員運動, Kokumin Seishin Sōdōin Undō) was an organization established in the Empire of Japan as part of the controls on civilian organizations under the National Mobilization Law by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe.

Representatives from 74 nationalist organizations were assembled at the Prime Minister's residence in October 1937, and were told that their organizations were now part of the "Central League of the Spiritual Mobilization Movement", headed by Admiral Ryokitsu Arima and under the joint supervision of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Education. The purpose of the Movement would be to rally the nation for a total war effort against China in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Konoe later ordered another 19 nationalist organizations to join the League. This movement and other policies were part of "New Order" ( Shintaisei ) which was promulgated on 3 November 1938, a holiday marking emperor Meiji's birthday. [1]

Apart from public calls for increased patriotism, the National Spiritual Mobilization Movement spanned some concrete programs like Boosting Production service to the Nation, Increasing Crops Service to the Nation and Student Volunteers Corps Service to the Nation. It was moreover part of a general move made by the Shōwa regime to closely control the information which had begun in 1936 with the establishment of the Cabinet Information Committee which launched two official magazines: the Shūhō (Weekly Report) in November 1936 and the Shashin Shūhō (Photographic Weekly Report). The purpose of these was "to ensure that the content and purport of the policies inaugurated by the Government are widely disseminated to the general citizenry and correctly understood by them". [2]

Konoe's successor, Prime Minister Hiranuma Kiichirō, turned the movement over to General Sadao Araki in January 1939, who revitalized it by having it sponsor public rallies, radio programs, printed propaganda and discussion seminars at tonarigumi neighborhood associations. Famous public figures were recruited to provide lectures on the virtues of thrift, hygiene and hard work, and to disseminate a sense of national pride in the Japanese kokutai .

The League was abolished on 20 December 1945 by the American occupation authorities after the surrender of Japan.

See also

Related Research Articles

Hiranuma Kiichirō Japanese politician

Kiichirō Hiranuma was a prominent pre–World War II right-wing Japanese politician and Prime Minister of Japan in 1939. He was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Sadao Araki Imperial Japanese Army General (d. 1966)

Baron Sadao Araki was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II. As one of the principal nationalist right-wing political theorists in the Empire of Japan, he was regarded as the leader of the radical faction within the politicized Imperial Japanese Army and served as Minister of War under Prime Minister Inukai. He later served as Minister of Education during the Konoe and Hiranuma administrations.

Kazushige Ugaki

Kazushige Ugaki was a Japanese general and in the Imperial Japanese Army and cabinet minister before World War II, the 5th principal of Takushoku University, and twice Governor-General of Korea. He was also nicknamed Ugaki Issei.

Yōsuke Matsuoka

Yōsuke Matsuoka was a Japanese diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Empire of Japan during the early stages of World War II. He is best known for his defiant speech at the League of Nations in February 1933, ending Japan's participation in the organization. He was also one of the architects of the Tripartite Pact and the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of war.

Japanese nationalism Political ideology

Japanese nationalism is a form of nationalism that asserts that the Japanese are a monolithic nation with a single immutable culture, and promotes the cultural unity of the Japanese. It encompasses a broad range of ideas and sentiments harbored by the Japanese people over the last two centuries regarding their native country, its cultural nature, political form and historical destiny. It is useful to distinguish Japanese cultural nationalism from political or state-directed nationalism, since many forms of cultural nationalism, such as those associated with folkloric studies, have been hostile to state-fostered nationalism.

Politics of Manchukuo

Manchukuo was a puppet state set up by the Empire of Japan in Manchuria which existed from 1931 to 1945. The Manchukuo regime was established four months after the Japanese withdrawal from Shanghai with Puyi as the nominal but powerless head of state to add some semblance of legitimacy, as he was a former emperor and an ethnic Manchu.

Japanese militarism

Japanese militarism refers to the ideology in the Empire of Japan that militarism should dominate the political and social life of the nation, and that the strength of the military is equal to the strength of a nation.

The political situation in Japan (1914–44) dealt with the realities of the two World Wars and their effect on Japanese national policy.

Statism in Shōwa Japan

Shōwa Statism was a political syncretism of Japanese extreme right-wing political ideologies, developed over a period of time from the Meiji Restoration. It is sometimes also referred to as Shōwa nationalism or Japanese fascism.

Peoples Republic of Korea 1945–1946 provisional government on the Korean Peninsula

The People's Republic of Korea (PRK) was a short-lived provisional government that was organized at the time of the surrender of the Empire of Japan at the end of World War II. It was proclaimed on 12 September 1945, as Korea was being divided into two occupation zones, with the Soviet Union occupying the north, and the United States occupying the south. Based on a network of people's committees, it presented a program of radical social change. In the south, the US military government outlawed the PRK on 12 December 1945, while in the north, the Soviet authorities co-opted the committees into the structure of the emerging Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


The Neighborhood Association was the smallest unit of the national mobilization program established by the Japanese government in World War II. It consisted of units consisting of 10-15 households organized for fire fighting, civil defense and internal security.

Censorship in the Empire of Japan

Censorship in the Empire of Japan was a continuation of a long tradition beginning in the feudal period of Japan. Government censorship of the press existed in Japan during the Edo period, as the Tokugawa bakufu was in many ways a police state, which sought to control the spread of information, including Christianity, the influx of Western ideas, pornography and any political writings critical of the shōgun and government.

The Imperial Rule Assistance Association, or Imperial Aid Association, was the Empire of Japan's wartime organization created by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on October 12, 1940, to promote the goals of his Shintaisei movement. It evolved into a "statist" ruling political party which aimed at removing the sectionalism in the politics and economics in the Empire of Japan to create a totalitarian one-party state, in order to maximize the efficiency of Japan's total war effort in China. When the organization was launched officially, Konoe was hailed as a "political savior" of a nation in chaos; however, internal divisions soon appeared.

The League of Diet Members Supporting the Prosecution of the Holy War was a political party coalition in the lower house of the Diet of Japan formed on March 25, 1940, with the backing of the Imperial Japanese Army as a reaction against a speech made by Saitō Takao, of the Rikken Minseitō critical of the government’s aggressive policies in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

<i>Hakkō ichiu</i> Japanese imperialist slogan popular during World War II

Hakkō ichiu or Hakkō iu was a Japanese political slogan meaning the divine right of the Empire of Japan to "unify the eight corners of the world". This slogan formed the basis of the Japanese Empire's ideology. It was prominent from the Second Sino-Japanese War to World War II, popularized in a speech by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on January 8, 1940.

Axis leaders of World War II

The Axis leaders of World War II were important political and military figures during World War II. The Axis was established with the signing of the Tripartite Pact in 1940 and pursued a strongly militarist and nationalist ideology; with a policy of anti-communism. During the early phase of the war, puppet governments were established in their occupied nations. When the war ended, many of them faced trial for war crimes. The chief leaders were Adolf Hitler of Germany, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Hirohito of Japan. Unlike what happened with the Allies, there was never a joint meeting of the main Axis heads of government, although Mussolini and Adolf Hitler did meet on a regular basis.

National Mobilization Law

National Mobilization Law was legislated in the Diet of Japan by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on 24 March 1938 to put the national economy of the Empire of Japan on war-time footing after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Propaganda and India in World War II

Throughout World War II, both the Axis and Allied sides used propaganda to sway the opinions of Indian civilians and troops, while at the same time Indian nationalists applied propaganda both within and outside India to promote the cause of Indian independence.

Hideki Tojo 40th Prime Minister of Japan

Hideki Tojo was a Japanese politician and general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) who served as Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association for most of World War II. During his years in power, he assumed several more positions including Chief of Staff of the Imperial Army before ultimately being removed in July 1944.

The Nippon Kaigi is Japan’s largest ultra-conservative, far-right non-governmental organization and lobbyists. It was established in 1997 and has approximately 40,000 members. The group is influential in the legislative and executive branches of the Japanese government through its affiliates. Former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, LDP politician, serves as a special advisor to the group's parliamentary league. Although the official membership is 40,000, it is unofficially affiliated with grassroots lawmakers and local politicians across the country.


  1. David C. Earhart, Certain Victory, M.E. Sharpe, 2008, p.108
  2. David C. Earhart, idem.