Abstract

In 1910, a group or army officers led by Tanaka Giichi founded die Imperial Military Reserve Association in order to integrate Japanese society around military values. The founders, mostly proteges of Yamagata Aritomo, die chief Meiji period spokesman for unity to increase national wealdi and power, established die organization in 1910 because the already existing unity was under attack. Labor organizations and the influx of morally degenerate and subversive Western ideas caused Tanaka to fear army-civilian alienation and national divisiveness. Thus, to achieve integration, the reserve association disseminated the “soldier's ethos,” military ideals, such as obedience, frugality, bravery, cooperation, social stratification, anti-individualism, and diligence, all unified by a belief in a divine emperor, established branches in every community, 14,000 in all, and carried out activities which reinforced both the values and local social structure. The three million volunteer members, half of whom had no military experience, achieved their leaders' goals by performing public services and patriotic activities. They demonstrated to local residents die ethos in action and benefitted the community as well. By the 1930's, bodi die organization and die members had become the backbone of rural Japan.

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