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Press translations [Japan]. Social Series 0097, 1945-12-19.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: social-0388

call-number: DS801 .S84



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GENERAL HEADQUARTERS
SUPREME COMMANDER FOR THE ALLIED POWERS
ALLIED TRANSLATOR AND INTERPRETER SECTION
PRESS TRANSLATIONS
No. 388 Date: 19 Dec 45

SOCIAL SERIES: 97

ITEM 1 Lessons of Japanese Defeat Tokushima Shimbun (Tokushima) 6, 7, Dec 45. Translator: Y. Akabane.
Summary:
Our defeat in the war has taught the Japanese Nation a number of useful lessons. Chief among these are recognition of: (1) the tremendous value of knowledge; (2) the impossibility of conquering the world; (3) the need for amplifying national feeling; (4) the importance of character-building education; and (5) the omnipotence of Divine Providence.
The tremendous value of knowledge: There is no need to enumerate examples in order to comprehend what great and valuable powers human knowledge possesses. It is clearly shown by the atomic bombs in the recent war. I recall in this connection the old saying, "a mountain is not precious for its height but for its trees; man is not precious for his flashiness but for his wisdom," and I have reconsidered the tremendous power of knowledge. Simultaneously, it is keenly felt that if this power were applied honestly to culture, it would surely contribute much to the benefit of society and the program of civilization. We must cultivate knowledge in order to construct a new JAPAN, establish a happy life on the principle of live-and-let-live and increase the national welfare. The means for cultivating knowledge are manifold.

According to the British philosopher Francis BACON, the means are to remove first the various preconceptions and then to erect a structure of new knowledge. He pointed out four steps to be followed. First it is a natural human inclination to consider that things in the universe happen for some specific reason, since men have some object in doing everything, but this is not correct and such a thought is not harmonious with the acquisition of knowledge. In the second place, men are apt to be arbitrary according to their respective natural dispositions or mental habits, just as they commit faults in utter disregard of others, keeping themselves confined in a vacuum. The natural disposition of a man is productive of prejudice, so that we must scrutinize other men's experiences and make a deep study when attempting to do anything. In the third place, we must consider the products of human intercourse, the most important of which are words. Men are apt to think they get real knowledge when they know mere words, but such a reading knowledge obtained from books is not a real knowledge. To gain real knowledge and make a real study, we must observe things precisely and also study nature well. In the fourth place, there are traditions handed down, since olden times and believed to be true. They are considered by us as authentic and we are apt to believe them without any further scrutiny. Such ideas must be removed. We must perceive and study things by our own observance instead of relying on these uncertain traditions and classics.



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SOCIAL SERIES: 97 (Continued)

ITEM 1 (Continued)

I do not hesitate to acknowledge the above means of acquiring knowledge, declared by BACON, as paramount. Therefore, we must exert ourselves toward saving our country as soon as possible, by elevating our individual characteristics through acquisition of broader knowledge, higher ideals and deeper thoughts through the acquisition of real knowledge, which will become salt to act as a preservative against the corruption of society.
Impossibility of conquering the world: We find in the history of the world many heroes who dreamed of conquering the world, but no such ambitions have over been realized. Three thousand years ago, a Babylonian king failed in his attempt to rule the world. Julius CAESAR also possessed a similar ambition which he could not attain. He was murdered in the course of constructing a Roman Empire. ALEXANDER the GREAT also failed, though he advanced as far as INDIA. HANNIBAL could not conquer ROME, though he succeeded in crossing the Alps. Later, JUSTINIAN failed in his dream to restore the Roman Empire. After three hundred years, William the NORMAN failed in the same manner, while NAPOLEON died in ST. HELENA after conquering all EUROPE. In JAPAN, TOYOTOMI, Hideyoshi, failed in his attempt to conquer CHINA. As a nation, SPAIN could not realize a similar attempt even when it was very powerful. When ENGLAND defeated SPAIN and succeeded in obtaining command of the sea, she was believed to have such ambitions. In utter disregard of these historical facts, GERMANY and ITALY had a similar dream and caused the unprecedented war with the results now seen over the world. Driven by such a dream, Japanese militarists have brought upon this Nation its present tragic defeat, and this is the natural result of the ignorance of their own real power. Thus, the conquest of the world was attempted by both individuals and nations with no success. No one, however powerful, can conquer the world. Accordingly, we must be always on the alert not to repeat this foolish attempt in which are involved precious human lives, enormous sums of money, and the destruction of the country.
Amplification of national feeling: At the outbreak of World War I there were in BRITAIN only 150,000 regulars and 500,000 volunteers, but Prime Minister Lloyd GEORGE succeeded in recruiting, in a very short time, over 5,000,000 volunteers which were dispatched to the Continent fully equipped with arms and munitions. In the present war this precedent was successfully repeated and prevented the German advance. The reason ENGLAND was able to recruit rapidly so many troops and fully equip them is proof of the soundness of her national spirit. Also in AMERICA, over 10,000,000 soldiers, full, equipped, were dispatched to European fronts within a very short period; this testifies to the same thing. In view of the above examples, it is felt that unless a country has such national feeling even in time of peace, it will in war, incur defeat and unhappiness, as in the case of present-day JAPAN.
Education for character building: As one of the main causes of the defeat, we must point out the deficiency of an education based on materialism. The ignoring of character-building education in favor of materialistic education will result in failure of the Nation to accomplish anything worth while. This is well proven by the corruption of the military clique, the avarice of plutocracy, the depravity of politicians and the decay of national moral standards. One conspicuous example of the deterioration of the Nation's morality is the black market where merchants are eager only to benefit themselves at the sacrifice of others who are groaning with the difficulty of living. If such a condition is allowed to continue, JAPAN will be destroyed. We cannot remain an inno

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SOCIAL SERIES: 97 (Continued)

ITEM 1 (Continued)

cent spectator at the sight of collapse of the country. It is urgently necessary at this time to lay the foundation of a new JAPAN by elevating ourselves through character-building education. In order to accomplish this education, freedom of speech and thought must be allowed. Suppression of this freedom will result in cultural destruction, and it is absolutely impossible for legal power or violence to suppress the appearance of truth circulating through the universe.
Admonition of Heaven: I do not doubt that the present defeat in the war is in some respect, a stroke of admonition, directed at us by the powers above and calling for grave reflection, Winning brilliant victories in the two wars with CHINA and RUSSIA, JAPAN rose to the rank of a first class power. The Japanese went into ecstasies, became conceited and forgot their discipline and self-restraint. Vanity and frivolity reigned all over the country. Moreover, the Nation was driven to the thought of materialism. They used to laugh at the suppression of desires and self-control, considering such things as idle fancies. Eating and drinking was considered to be the greatest human happiness. The resent defeat is the admonition of Heaven, demanding reflection by the Nation. Some will oppose my belief, condemning it as nothing but a superstition alone the channel of unscientific thought. However it may be, we must do our best to construct a new JAPAN and realize a pleasant social Life, based on co-operation, by considering our past, acquiring knowledge and elevating ourselves through strict discipline. For this purpose, we must first of all adopt a healthy spirit which is to be regenerated and returned to us completely cleansed. Otherwise, we cannot heave enough courage to push our new way gallantly in face of Divine Providence, nor to realize the dauntless spirit contained in the old song, "The more difficulties that come upon us, the happier we are to try our strength." Confucius said, "When Heaven intends to order a man upon an important mission, he will always be tortured mentally, he will be burdened physically, and he will feel hungry...." These are very valuable lessons for the Japanese at this juncture. Therefore, we must appreciate the true meaning of the admonition given by Heaven, endure the hard trial with sincere gratitude for providential benevolence and accomplish the great work of constructing a new JAPAN.
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