chapter  V
18 Pages

The Official History

Nationalism inevitably seeks to find a basis of assurance for the validity of its group loyalty and pride in the doctrines of a magnificent tradition and a perpetual existence. This is obviously true as a characterization of Japanese racial psychology, but probably no more so here than in the West. Strong emotional factors operate to subordinate objective historical data-even when they are known-to the felt needs of group solidarity and continuity. Political, religious and dynastic utilitarianism demands that history be written in terms of administrative expediency. It is a serious question as to whether a land with an authentic history as assured and as brilliant as that of Japan stands to gain in the long run by such subordination. The fact remains that it is done and that no area of Japanese national life affords a clearer exemplification of the legitimacy of the observations just made than does that which we are now about to enter.