Nationalist Thought in Prewar Japan

ISER DP No. 1049 (2019)

57 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2019

See all articles by Atsushi Tsuneki

Atsushi Tsuneki

Osaka University - Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Date Written: February 12, 2019


This study clarifies the nature and political effect of nationalist political thought in prewar Japan (1800-1941). A common belief that Japanese nationalism is of a particular nature unique to Japan, and that it is anti-liberal-democratic, feudal, hierarchical, and militaristic is denied. My study instead argues that Japanese nationalism was highly modern in the flexible way it maintained substantial influence throughout the Meiji-to-1945 period, whether the ruling power and order were more liberal-democratic or more totalitarian-militaristic at a given time.

Keywords: Nationalism, Ultra-nationalism, Constitutional Democracy, Japanese Fascism, Militarism

JEL Classification: B15, B25, N45

Suggested Citation

Tsuneki, Atsushi, Nationalist Thought in Prewar Japan (February 12, 2019). ISER DP No. 1049 (2019), Available at SSRN: or

Atsushi Tsuneki (Contact Author)

Osaka University - Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) ( email )

6-1 Mihogaoka
Ibaraki, Osaka 567-0047

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