chapter  1
13 Pages

Leaders and Leadership in Japan

This chapter considers the responses to the challenges of modernization within that segment of the Meiji leadership whose political orientation was conservative. Conservatism has its origins within traditionalism but becomes transformed through the incorporation of a degree of dynamism compatible with the kind of fluid social milieux. The assertion with the recognition that varying expressions of conservative ideology are produced according to particular historical configurations is particularly useful when considering Meiji conservatism in the wake of the Restoration. The demise of Mori paralleled the demise of progressive conservatism as a whole and marked a turning point in the popularity of Spencer in Japan. Mori recognized the political realities of the time and did not take issue with them under the current circumstances. It was coupled with a progressive conception of morality which entails a hitherto uncountenanced degree of egalitarianism and independence.