Blogs > Cliopatria > Comparing Koizumi and Hitler

Nov 16, 2006 2:05 am

Comparing Koizumi and Hitler

Chinese academician Feng Zhaokui suggests in a recent article that the election victory of Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi raises fears that Japan is headed down the same path as Germany after 1933:

Japan's "9.11" election can't help but remind one of elections in Germany in January 1933. In several areas, the two elections are distressingly similar:

They both occurred after a country, defeated on the battlefield, took steps to wipe away national humiliation and rise again;
In both situations, a country shamed in military defeat felt persecuted, giving rise to politics of emotions, especially with regard to neighboring countries;
In both situations, this "public pathos" was tapped to become an essential element in the political contest for votes, in the suppression of rational politics, and in the push toward a hawkish road;
In both situations, a banner of reform was flown and the "ultra-appeal" of a party head was used to encourage voters to elect them; that party leader was a crafty, masterful actor during the electoral process;
Both situations used the dissolution of parliament to give the ruling party an overwhelming majority of seats;
They both want to revise the constitution to give their leadership and their successors more power, and to normalize the military by resurrect the nation's army.
While in Japan, and even within the LDP, it has not been merely one lone politician calling Koizumi "another Hitler," (primarily out of displeasure with his dogmatic political maneuvering), it is probably premature to conclude that, in his foreign affairs strategies, Koizumi is preparing to go to war as "another Hitler." We still need to carefully examine the kind of foreign affairs policies this new Koizumi administration follows after its ascension, and we must carefully examine what kind of successor Koizumi chooses.

In conclusion, the people of Asia and of the entire world should hope that Japan's "9.11" election is not the reappearance of a "Hitler phenomenon." At the same time, looking at the many similarities that exist between the two, we cannot help but be alarmed.

Jonathan Dresner offers a critique here.

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