chapter  8
25 Pages

Emperor and Nation

During the Tokugawa period Japan was divided into several hundred feudal domains, each possessing a high degree of autonomy and a distinctive, regional outlook. Some of these domains harboured a bitter hostility to the central government. The emperor seemed a political nonentity living in virtual seclusion. By the time of World War II the Japanese were, to their enemies, the embodiment of fanatical nationalism. They appeared to be able to make any sacrifice for their emperor and their nation. The last 150 years have seen Japan transformed into a highly centralized nation state.