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Japanese "Co-Prosperity Sphere": What was it really?

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Ellbonnia
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Japanese "Co-Prosperity Sphere": What was it really?

Postby Ellbonnia » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:32 pm

Due to certain grumblings around other forum topics and my own curiosity, I've decided to open up a (hopefully civil) discussion regarding the concept of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", and Imperial Japan as a whole.

As a person born to a Korean father and Chinese mother, my view on Imperial Japan has obviously been influenced by their families' experiences preceding and during World War II. Even today, while my parents themselves harbor no ill-will towards the Japanese, my grandparents all maintain a particular hatred towards them for the treatment they suffered on a regular basis while under Japanese occupation. However, there are some people who still seem to wholeheartedly buy into the stated goal of Japanese expansionism and the Co-Prosperity Sphere, which was to lift up Asians as a whole and mutually benefit under a Japanese-led alliance of sorts, with no strings attached.

While it is entirely possible the Co-Prosperity Sphere was indeed started with earnest intent such as this, it was still clouded from the outset by an innate sense of Japanese racial superiority; an "equitable inequality", if you will. There was no possible way Chinese, Korean, or any other Asian race would have received an equal voice in this "Co-Prosperity" group. This is even before the entire movement was co-opted by militaristic and ultra-nationalist Japanese officials and used to justify waging their war of aggression across the Pacific. Even today, we have an entire shrine in the middle of Japan dedicated to offering a revisionist history of World War II and placing condemned war criminals on golden pedestals to worship as honorable figures of a glorious era. Taking this all into account, I cannot see how Japanese expansionism, when combined with the conduct of their soldiers and their treatment of civilians, is justified with even the most selfless of intentions.

But of course, this is just my view. What do you all think of this controversial aspect of 20th-century Asian history?
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United Chinese Communes
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Postby United Chinese Communes » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:45 pm

As I see it, the Co-Prosperity Sphere project was an attempt to develop a hegemonic empire centred on Japanese dominance under the guise of opposing European imperialism. The people of Asia would not have been any better off under Japanese imperial-colonial rule than they would have been under that of the European powers, regardless of it's pan-asian ideological justification. The text An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus shows clear inspiration from European racial-colonial philosophy, a model that Japan sought to emulate through the 'liberation' of nations drawn into the Sphere.
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Postby Picairn » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:46 pm

Nekostan coming in to justify Japanese imperialism in 3... 2... 1...
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:47 pm

Picairn wrote:Nekostan coming in to justify Japanese imperialism in 3... 2... 1...


Yup. The Empire of Japan was awesome. The only issue here is that it shouldn’t have picked fight with Anglos which caused a lot of sorrows on both sides.
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Postby Heloin » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:47 pm

Japanese colonialism of East Asia. A singular goal of extracting resources for Japan and Japan alone. Nothing more then that.
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Postby Picairn » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:48 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Picairn wrote:Nekostan coming in to justify Japanese imperialism in 3... 2... 1...


Yup.

Right on time for another endless battle between you and everyone else.
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:50 pm

Picairn wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Yup.

Right on time for another endless battle between you and everyone else.


There are many people who don’t like the Empire of Japan but it doesn’t mean it didn’t serve important purposes.
Welcome to the Nekostan-e Gharbi. Our ancestors were a group of genetically enhanced Israeli cats raised by two Iranian Jewish women, Rachel Davidi and Esther Moshel. We are a constitutional monarchy where a line of benevolent and powerless feline queens “guide” the citizens or more precisely are the subject of their constant gossiping.

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Postby Ellbonnia » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:50 pm

United Chinese Communes wrote:As I see it, the Co-Prosperity Sphere project was an attempt to develop a hegemonic empire centred on Japanese dominance under the guise of opposing European imperialism. The people of Asia would not have been any better off under Japanese imperial-colonial rule than they would have been under that of the European powers, regardless of it's pan-asian ideological justification. The text An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus shows clear inspiration from European racial-colonial philosophy, a model that Japan sought to emulate through the 'liberation' of nations drawn into the Sphere.


I've read about that particular document, which I found to be a great source of the Japanese perspective on the situation. In that same regard, I often hear defenders of the Co-Prosperity Sphere using this same logic as the Japanese did; mainly, that if they didn't establish hegemony over Asia, the white colonialists will.

I do not believe this justifies the Co-Prosperity Sphere, however, as what basically transpired was identical to the fears the Japanese warned the other Asian nations about regarding the Europeans, but with the Japanese as the "monsters" instead. I could maybe tack it to national psyche, but it is hard for me to comprehend how the Japanese were able to justify their warmongering as being any better than what the Europeans would have done, only because they're the ones committing these acts.
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Monsone
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Postby Monsone » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:50 pm

Colonialism, plain and simple. The "Co-Prosperity Sphere" was designed to benefit the Zaibatsu and the other political elites. It was at best a thinly veiled attempt at colonialism.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:53 pm

Ellbonnia wrote:
United Chinese Communes wrote:As I see it, the Co-Prosperity Sphere project was an attempt to develop a hegemonic empire centred on Japanese dominance under the guise of opposing European imperialism. The people of Asia would not have been any better off under Japanese imperial-colonial rule than they would have been under that of the European powers, regardless of it's pan-asian ideological justification. The text An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus shows clear inspiration from European racial-colonial philosophy, a model that Japan sought to emulate through the 'liberation' of nations drawn into the Sphere.


I've read about that particular document, which I found to be a great source of the Japanese perspective on the situation. In that same regard, I often hear defenders of the Co-Prosperity Sphere using this same logic as the Japanese did; mainly, that if they didn't establish hegemony over Asia, the white colonialists will.

I do not believe this justifies the Co-Prosperity Sphere, however, as what basically transpired was identical to the fears the Japanese warned the other Asian nations about regarding the Europeans, but with the Japanese as the "monsters" instead. I could maybe tack it to national psyche, but it is hard for me to comprehend how the Japanese were able to justify their warmongering as being any better than what the Europeans would have done, only because they're the ones committing these acts.


There is a huge difference though since the Empire of Japan prevented global racial monopoly which just like all other monopolies are awful. Without the Empire of Japan you could have lived on some “subhuman reservation” or outright exterminated.
Last edited by Nekostan-e Gharbi on Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Welcome to the Nekostan-e Gharbi. Our ancestors were a group of genetically enhanced Israeli cats raised by two Iranian Jewish women, Rachel Davidi and Esther Moshel. We are a constitutional monarchy where a line of benevolent and powerless feline queens “guide” the citizens or more precisely are the subject of their constant gossiping.

Current Queen: Sarah IV (House of Moshel)
Current Prime Minister: Dr. Elisheva Cohen (she is fine with Elizabeth for non-Hebrew speakers) from Likud
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Alcala-Cordel
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Postby Alcala-Cordel » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:53 pm

I admittedly know almost nothing about this program, but it sounds like one of those "coalitions" the US likes to make that are are really just schemes for us to make the coersion and exploitation of less powerful nations sound like a good thing.

The UK does stuff like that too, and they do it in a very similar style as Japan.
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Postby Ellbonnia » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:54 pm

Monsone wrote:Colonialism, plain and simple. The "Co-Prosperity Sphere" was designed to benefit the Zaibatsu and the other political elites. It was at best a thinly veiled attempt at colonialism.


I would definitely agree in that regard, but what I found interesting was the fact the concept originated in a pacifistic philosopher named Kiyoshi Miki, who was opposed to the exact aggressive expansionism the Japanese were performing under this banner of pseudo-colonialism.

I suppose while the actual execution of the strategy was as straightforward as you and I make it out to be, the concept itself was not so violent in its intentions. I do not know whether it could have been implemented any other way, or if it was an inevitability not just for Japan but for any other nation attempting such an undertaking to warp it into a violent expansionist effort.
"Hello, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to your first-ever sortie! Please ignore all the subtitles at the bottom of the briefing; I don't know what's causing them, and it's probably a ghost-"


"Trigger, time to show the other guys that we get wet, wild, and do dirty, DIRTY things~" Shut up, Clown.


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Alcala-Cordel
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Postby Alcala-Cordel » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:55 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Ellbonnia wrote:
I've read about that particular document, which I found to be a great source of the Japanese perspective on the situation. In that same regard, I often hear defenders of the Co-Prosperity Sphere using this same logic as the Japanese did; mainly, that if they didn't establish hegemony over Asia, the white colonialists will.

I do not believe this justifies the Co-Prosperity Sphere, however, as what basically transpired was identical to the fears the Japanese warned the other Asian nations about regarding the Europeans, but with the Japanese as the "monsters" instead. I could maybe tack it to national psyche, but it is hard for me to comprehend how the Japanese were able to justify their warmongering as being any better than what the Europeans would have done, only because they're the ones committing these acts.


There is a huge difference though since the Empire of Japan prevented global racial monopoly which just like all other monopolies are awful. Without the Empire of Japan you could have lived on some “subhuman reservation” or outright exterminated.

The Japanese Empire was horiffically brutal toward natives and it considered itself to be superior.
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Postby The Horror Channel » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:56 pm

Picairn wrote:Nekostan coming in to justify Japanese imperialism in 3... 2... 1...


You called it.

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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:56 pm

Alcala-Cordel wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
There is a huge difference though since the Empire of Japan prevented global racial monopoly which just like all other monopolies are awful. Without the Empire of Japan you could have lived on some “subhuman reservation” or outright exterminated.

The Japanese Empire was horiffically brutal toward natives and it considered itself to be superior.


It doesn’t change the fact that global social norms are not racially monopolist precisely because the Empire of Japan existed and modern Japan exists. This impact on global norms is more important than concrete issues in the long run.
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Postby Comerciante » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:57 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Alcala-Cordel wrote:The Japanese Empire was horiffically brutal toward natives and it considered itself to be superior.


It doesn’t change the fact that global social norms are not racially monopolist precisely because the Empire of Japan existed and modern Japan exists.

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Postby Monsone » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:59 pm

Ellbonnia wrote:I would definitely agree in that regard, but what I found interesting was the fact the concept originated in a pacifistic philosopher named Kiyoshi Miki, who was opposed to the exact aggressive expansionism the Japanese were performing under this banner of pseudo-colonialism.

I suppose while the actual execution of the strategy was as straightforward as you and I make it out to be, the concept itself was not so violent in its intentions. I do not know whether it could have been implemented any other way, or if it was an inevitability not just for Japan but for any other nation attempting such an undertaking to warp it into a violent expansionist effort.


It could not have been implemented in any other way. The European powers were not going to merely hand over their colonies to Japan, they had no incentive to do so. Sheer force was the only even mildly realistic way to implement the "Co-Prosperity Sphere," and the Japanese Army and Navy very much knew this. The issue was, how long could Japan get away with this before getting into trouble? And the answer is a surprisingly long period of time.
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:59 pm

Comerciante wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
It doesn’t change the fact that global social norms are not racially monopolist precisely because the Empire of Japan existed and modern Japan exists.

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Yeah. Guess what? The world is full of assholes. The point is lowering the amount of total asshatry, not eliminating it for the latter is impossible.

Monopoly of any kind is evil and nomadic Northeast Asian peoples and later Japan played the crucial goal of preventing monopoly in the world.
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Welcome to the Nekostan-e Gharbi. Our ancestors were a group of genetically enhanced Israeli cats raised by two Iranian Jewish women, Rachel Davidi and Esther Moshel. We are a constitutional monarchy where a line of benevolent and powerless feline queens “guide” the citizens or more precisely are the subject of their constant gossiping.

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Postby The Horror Channel » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:59 pm

United Chinese Communes wrote:As I see it, the Co-Prosperity Sphere project was an attempt to develop a hegemonic empire centred on Japanese dominance under the guise of opposing European imperialism. The people of Asia would not have been any better off under Japanese imperial-colonial rule than they would have been under that of the European powers, regardless of it's pan-asian ideological justification. The text An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus shows clear inspiration from European racial-colonial philosophy, a model that Japan sought to emulate through the 'liberation' of nations drawn into the Sphere.


I'd argue that what actually happened under Imperial Japan was way worse than anything that could have happened under a more European influence.

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Alcala-Cordel
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Postby Alcala-Cordel » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:00 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:
Alcala-Cordel wrote:The Japanese Empire was horiffically brutal toward natives and it considered itself to be superior.


It doesn’t change the fact that global social norms are not racially monopolist precisely because the Empire of Japan existed and modern Japan exists.

What...? That's not... whatever. I think we've had this argument before and it just devolves into you listing Fanta as one of the main benefits of Nazi Germany or something.
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Postby Picairn » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:00 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:Yeah. Guess what? The world is full of assholes. The point is lowering the amount of total asshatry, not eliminating it for the latter is impossible.

Japan was even worse than European powers.
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Postby United Chinese Communes » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:01 pm

Ellbonnia wrote:
United Chinese Communes wrote:As I see it, the Co-Prosperity Sphere project was an attempt to develop a hegemonic empire centred on Japanese dominance under the guise of opposing European imperialism. The people of Asia would not have been any better off under Japanese imperial-colonial rule than they would have been under that of the European powers, regardless of it's pan-asian ideological justification. The text An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus shows clear inspiration from European racial-colonial philosophy, a model that Japan sought to emulate through the 'liberation' of nations drawn into the Sphere.


I've read about that particular document, which I found to be a great source of the Japanese perspective on the situation. In that same regard, I often hear defenders of the Co-Prosperity Sphere using this same logic as the Japanese did; mainly, that if they didn't establish hegemony over Asia, the white colonialists will.

I do not believe this justifies the Co-Prosperity Sphere, however, as what basically transpired was identical to the fears the Japanese warned the other Asian nations about regarding the Europeans, but with the Japanese as the "monsters" instead. I could maybe tack it to national psyche, but it is hard for me to comprehend how the Japanese were able to justify their warmongering as being any better than what the Europeans would have done, only because they're the ones committing these acts.

A lot of these ideas are tied to notions of racial hierarchy and the superiority of the Japanese people, as denoted by the 'Yamato Race as Nucleus'. The Imperial Japanese government saw the Japanese race as the greatest of the Asian races, and invoked paternalistic Confucian concepts to claim that they were thus the rightful rulers of Asia, it being necessary to control the other members of the 'Asian racial family'. Thus they weren't so much opposed to what the Europeans did, more so the fact that it was Europeans doing it.
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Nekostan-e Gharbi
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Postby Nekostan-e Gharbi » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:02 pm

Picairn wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:Yeah. Guess what? The world is full of assholes. The point is lowering the amount of total asshatry, not eliminating it for the latter is impossible.

Japan was even worse than European powers.


Lol nope. You can of course claim that because a world without Empire of Japan doesn’t harm you.
Welcome to the Nekostan-e Gharbi. Our ancestors were a group of genetically enhanced Israeli cats raised by two Iranian Jewish women, Rachel Davidi and Esther Moshel. We are a constitutional monarchy where a line of benevolent and powerless feline queens “guide” the citizens or more precisely are the subject of their constant gossiping.

Current Queen: Sarah IV (House of Moshel)
Current Prime Minister: Dr. Elisheva Cohen (she is fine with Elizabeth for non-Hebrew speakers) from Likud
Cats rule; dogs drool; Israel rocks; China sucks.
Abolish China and save lives.
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Ellbonnia
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Postby Ellbonnia » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:02 pm

Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:There is a huge difference though since the Empire of Japan prevented global racial monopoly which just like all other monopolies are awful. Without the Empire of Japan you could have lived on some “subhuman reservation” or outright exterminated.


The Japanese did not exactly treat any of their client nations with any sort of true respect. The only "positive" aspect of Japanese occupation was for my Korean great-grandfather, who was educated in Japan.

While yes, this might not have happened under European rule, even this "opportunity" came at a cost: He was treated as a lesser being by the Japanese, forced to adapt an entirely new Japanese-style name, and was essentially only taught what the Japanese wanted him to learn as a substandard member of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. He did not even wish to be educated by them in the first place, but he was forced to leave behind his family to become a model-minority citizen for the Japanese Empire to use as they wished.

This is nowhere near as bad as the massacres conducted by the IJA during the Sino-Japanese War, but is still an example of the inherent inequality that is encouraged by Japanese nationalism but compromises the very nature of a "Co-Prosperity" Sphere as espoused by their leaders.

The "whataboutism" regarding European powers committing the same acts of imperialism does not exactly excuse the Japanese for doing the same thing; I would condemn any European power equally as harshly if they were the ones in charge, instead.
Last edited by Ellbonnia on Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Hello, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to your first-ever sortie! Please ignore all the subtitles at the bottom of the briefing; I don't know what's causing them, and it's probably a ghost-"


"Trigger, time to show the other guys that we get wet, wild, and do dirty, DIRTY things~" Shut up, Clown.


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Alcala-Cordel
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Postby Alcala-Cordel » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:02 pm

Picairn wrote:
Nekostan-e Gharbi wrote:Yeah. Guess what? The world is full of assholes. The point is lowering the amount of total asshatry, not eliminating it for the latter is impossible.

Japan was even worse than European powers.

Not really, considering all the things European did in Africa. I'm not gonna say Japan's better, though.
. The Red Coalition of Ⓐlcala-Cordel .
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