Justifying the Japanese War Whenever a nation goes through a traumatic event, such as a world war, there is always an attempt to justify it in some way. Sometimes, this is easy, particularly for those who fought defensive wars; you fought because you were attacked and had to defend yourself. However, for those that fought offensive wars, some loftier, less tangible justification has to be put forward. For example, U.S. President Wilson attempted to justify American entry into World War I on the grounds that America had to “make the world safe for democracy”. In World War II, the British government, in the European theater at least, justified the declaration of war on Germany in the name of eradicating “fascism” from the globe (defending Polish independence would have hardly sufficed given what happened to Poland when it was over). In the United States, and this is partly why the war is viewed without the ambiguity of other conflicts, there was no need for any great justification. The U.S. fought Japan because Japan had attacked the United States and it fought Germany and Italy because those countries had declared war on America in solidarity with their Japanese ally. As far as the war in the Asia-Pacific theater was concerned, Britain could say the same. Britain fought because Japan attacked virtually every British possession or affiliated country in the region. Additionally, Britain also greatly needed U.S. support in fighting Germany so the British were very quick to stand alongside America against the Empire of Japan. The Japanese, however, had a more difficult position to defend. Given the consequences of the war, unprecedented in their history, with their forces utterly defeated, their empire destroyed, their homeland in ruins, the atomic bombings and their occupation when it was over, people were desperate to find some way to justify it all. Many claimed it was a war of self-defense and yet, while they did have facts they could point to, this was unconvincing. Japan had struck the first blow and the war was mostly fought on the lands and territory of other peoples. It was the Japanese who had attacked Pearl Harbor, invaded The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, Burma and later attacked India. The bulk of the Japanese army was fighting in China, a neighboring country, rather than on Japanese territory. As such, claims that Japan was simply defending itself was not going to pass muster with most people. This made justifying the war more difficult and yet, at the same time, even more imperative for some people since to do otherwise would be to admit that the whole thing had been a colossal mistake, which some, then as now, find too horrible to contemplate. Yet, in the ruin of immediate post-war Japan, there was a great deal of that. Many people who embraced the new direction Japan took after the war did so, not because they thought they themselves had done anything wrong, but because they hated the militarist regime which had pushed them into a disastrous war that was impossible to win and saw everything brought to ruin simply because they refused to admit to the mistake. It would, thus, be impossible to admit that the war should not have happened without condemning those who had taken Japan into the conflict and many have never been prepared to do that. The Empire of Japan, after all, had not just lost a war the way that other countries have lost wars. Japan lost badly. Many people fail to realize how badly. Allow the fact to sink in that, after the initial Japanese offensive throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific at the end of 1941 and early 1942, Japan was never victorious in any major operation again. This would be like the Germans never winning a battle after the fall of France. When the Allied counter-attack came, after the pivotal Battle of Midway in the summer of 1942, the story of the war for Japan was one defeat after another. None of the island outposts in the Pacific ever repelled a single American attack and, in southeast Asia, after the defeat of the invasion of India, Japanese forces were rapidly pushed back by the Allies, their defenses effectively collapsed and few reinforcements could be spared due to the need to maintain so many troops in China. Much depended on the imperial naval and air forces and these were crippled at Midway in 1942 and practically annihilated as an effective fighting force at the Philippine Sea in 1944. And, keep in mind, this was all while the bulk of U.S. military strength was being focused on the other side of the world in north Africa and Europe. Even under the best of circumstances, the Japanese knew that they could never hope for an outright victory over the United States, so vast was the American superiority in resources, manpower and industrial output. Their only hope was that the Americans would simply give up at some point and quit the war after suffering heavy losses, yet, in all but one engagement, Japanese losses throughout the war were invariably far greater than American losses. It was, all in all, a disaster and one that could have been foreseen. Japan had actually been prepared, after years of fighting in China, to abandon the conflict and withdraw their forces to focus on the defense of Manchuria and consolidating the hold on northeast Asia that Japan already possessed. Had they done so, the Empire of Japan might still be around today. However, the succession of stunning victories by the Axis forces in Europe caused Japan to think that the war in Europe would soon be won by their Axis partners and thus the European colonies in Asia would be ripe for the picking. As the saying at the time was, they didn’t want to “miss the bus”. They took a risk, betting everything on a crushing victory by Nazi Germany in Europe and decided to advance south. They first occupied Indochina and that then set off the chain of events that led to war. The U.S. placed an embargo on Japan, easily persuaded the British and Dutch to do the same and by that action Japan was backed into a corner. They would have to back down or fight and, as we all know, they chose to fight. They rolled the dice and ultimately lost everything. Had the Japanese high command stuck to their original plan, seeing no path to a decisive victory in China (the whole conflict being one that Japan had been drawn into with no clear goal in mind on their part) and withdrawn to consolidate in the northeast, Japan today might still hold control over Korea, Manchuria, Formosa, the South Pacific mandate and the assorted northern islands later lost to Russia; no small patch of real-estate that. For some, given all of that, justifying the war became a matter of dire necessity rather than admit to such a monumental waste and needless disaster. The most popular attempt at justification finally came with the help of the Allies themselves with the period of de-colonization and a wave of liberal guilt that swept the western world. A justification for the war was found and quickly seized upon: Japan had been fighting the war for purely altruistic reasons; to liberate their Asian brethren from the colonial domination of racist White people. This has taken on such dimensions that some today claim that the Empire of Japan had never been a colonial power at all on the grounds that Korea and Formosa were incorporated into Japan itself which would be rather like Britain claiming that Ireland was not a colony because it was made part of the United Kingdom or France claiming that Algeria was not a colony because it was incorporated into metropolitan France or for the U.S. to claim that there was nothing “colonial” about the acquisition of Hawaii because it later became a state in the union. However, Japan has been aided in this tactic simply because of the self-shaming adopted by the western colonial powers in regards to their own former empires. It is easy to attack a system that very few will bother to defend. Likewise, the areas occupied by Japan, as part of their own nationalist narratives, also make themselves complicit by binding up so much of their national identity in the fight for independence from colonial rule. For example, the pro-Axis Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose is widely respected by many people in India today. In Burma, Dr. Ba Maw is not without his admirers and in The Philippines, the leader of the pro-Japanese government that cooperated with the occupation forces, Jose Laurel, was recognized after the war as a legitimate former president by the Filipino government and who was allowed to carry on his political career. Consider, by contrast, how men such as Vidkun Quisling, Anton Mussert or even Marshal Philippe Petain are regarded today in Europe and one can, perhaps, see how different the situation is in Asia and how conducive it is to the idea that Japan was the lone noble hero of the conflict, fighting to liberate rather than conquer. Due to the post-war period of de-colonization, some in Japan have even gone so far as to say that they didn’t really lose the war after all because what they claim as their primary goal, the end of European colonialism in Asia, was finally achieved. Personally, even as someone very partial to Japan, this is rather horrifying when taken to its logical conclusion as it would mean that Japan is responsible for all the horrific, tyrannical regimes that sprang up in southeast Asia after colonial rule ended. There is also the rather pertinent point that the idea that Japan was fighting an anti-colonial crusade is completely untrue and that fact can be relatively easily proven. In the first place, setting aside the notion that ruling over the long-established, preexisting country of Korea should “not count” as colonialism, it is obvious that Japan had no animosity toward the idea of colonialism itself because it clearly had no objection to the institution beyond East Asia. For example, even before Japan was a member of the Tripartite Pact, Japan had no problem with the openly colonial ambitions of other countries Tokyo was in sympathy with. When the Kingdom of Italy (already a colonial power) launched the invasion of Ethiopia, never making any secret of the fact that Mussolini intended to retain control of the area, the Ethiopian government called on Japan to join in condemning the Italians. Mind you, the Ethiopians were not asking for any sort of support or material assistance of any kind, they knew that would be expecting too much of a country so far removed from Africa, but simply that the Japanese express their displeasure at Mussolini’s invasion. Japan refused to issue such a condemnation or to reproach Italy in any way. If Italy had not objected to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, how could Japan object to the Italian occupation of Ethiopia? Obviously, there was no problem from Japan with the principle of colonialism itself. During the war, Japan did try to cast itself as the liberator of Asian peoples, the great power that would be the helpful, guardian, ‘big brother’ of the region. This was part of the whole program of the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”. And, there were examples Japan could point to of countries which had been given at least nominal independence and their own national governments thanks to Japanese intervention. The big meeting of Co-Prosperity Sphere leaders during the war consisted of representatives of the Empire of Manchuria, the “Reorganized National Government” of the Republic of China, the State of Burma, the Second Philippine Republic and the Kingdom of Thailand though, of course, Thailand had always been independent. Bose also attended but only as an observer as India was still waiting to be “liberated” by the Japanese. One will notice that quite a few countries which were occupied by Japan are not represented among this group but even among these there are some problems. The pro-Japanese government from China never came close to holding power over the entire country nor was China under the outright rule of any power before the war. The Philippines, while a commonwealth of the United States at the start of the conflict, was already on its way out of the American colonial empire with the process and even date for independence already having been agreed to by the government in Washington before the war started. But what about the areas not represented? This points to the most conclusive evidence that Japan was not fighting an anti-colonialism campaign in World War II. The fact is that Japanese support for independence movements did exist but was clearly secondary to the national interests of Japan and the Japanese war effort. For example, French Indochina was occupied by Japanese forces prior to the outbreak of hostilities and yet Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia remained under French colonial rule for all but the final few months of the conflict. Japan left the colonial regime untouched and for most of the war the French population in Indochina was the only group of “White” people in the whole of the area occupied by Japanese forces that were not immediately put in concentration camps. This made sense for Japan as it meant that they could focus on the war effort while the French continued to handle administration, internal security and all of that. This cozy relationship only changed when the Vichy regime fell, France was occupied entirely by Germany and so it was 1945, when there could be no doubt about the eventual outcome of the war, that Japan acted to support the declarations of independence by the Kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia and the Empire of Vietnam. For almost the entirety of the conflict, Japan made no effort to “liberate” the peoples of Indochina from the colonial rule of France at all. However, after the war was over, there was enough support to carry on fighting against any “White” presence in Asia for about 600 Japanese troops in Indochina to join the communist-led VietMinh but that should hardly be seen as something to boast about given the horrid excesses of that regime, even perpetrated against the very government Japan had, for a few months in 1945, supported. In Malaysia, the Japanese certainly ended the colonial rule of the British, with whom they were at war, but not very much changed for the local Malaysian monarchs. The whole area remained under Japanese military rule for the duration of the conflict. In fact, Malaysia lost some territory as about four northern border provinces were handed over to the Kingdom of Thailand as part of the agreement for Thailand supporting Japan and becoming one of the lesser members of the Axis powers. In Singapore, likewise, British colonial rule was ended but, as with Hong Kong, there was no hint that this meant anything more than being ruled in the name of a Japanese monarch rather than a British one. When the Japanese forces captured Singapore (in one of the most brilliant and stunning victories of the war) the city was given a new Japanese name, “Shonanto” or ‘Light of the South’ and the local children in Singapore were required to attend new schools established by the new authorities to learn to speak Japanese. They bowed toward the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, sang the Japanese national anthem and for leisure could go to the local cinema where only Japanese films were shown. Any dispassionate observer would have to conclude that when you take control of an area, rename it and start teaching everyone to speak your language, it probably means you intend to be staying and holding on to that area indefinitely. Finally, there is also the case of the Dutch East Indies where the colonial rule of The Netherlands was ended (along with brutal treatment for the local Dutch or partly Dutch population) but no immediate granting of independence such as was nominally the case in The Philippines and Burma. Sukarno was released from prison and he was happy to collaborate with the Japanese and urge his countrymen to learn the Japanese language and assist in the Japanese war effort but Japan was not about to relinquish control of the vast resources of the archipelago which Japan desperately needed. Prime Minister Tojo himself admitted as much, saying of the Indonesians that they were not prepared to handle the vast mineral wealth their country possessed. As it was, Japan did finally support an Indonesian declaration of independence but only after they had already lost the war. In fact, the atomic bombing of Japan had already happened when Sukarno was brought to Japan to be wined and dined and told that the time had finally come for Indonesia to be given independence. Japan concealed the true state of affairs from Sukarno during this time and he only learned of the atomic bombing after returning to Indonesia and hearing an Allied broadcast from a secret radio. The bottom line is that the facts simply do not support justifying the Japanese war as an anti-colonial struggle. The Japanese abolished colonial rule in some areas, maintained it in others and simply replaced European colonial rule with their own in still others depending on what best served Japanese national interests. And, to my mind at least, acting in your own interests should not be considered a terrible thing. No one else is going to do it and trusting others to look out for your interests has been proven to be naïve and short-sighted. Some Japanese were genuinely motivated by their desire for a racial struggle to drive the “Whites” out of Asia but others were more pragmatic. The problem is not that the Japanese government acted in their own interest but rather that this post-war effort at justification endeavors to set Japan apart and claim a ‘holier-than-thou’ status; when Europeans ruled over foreign peoples that was evil colonialism but when the Japanese ruled over foreign peoples that was not colonialism. It could even be seen as the same as western hypocrisy regarding Japanese expansion into Manchuria or Italian expansion into Abyssinia. However, in each of those cases no one took military action because it did not effect anyone else directly. When Japan turned militarily on fellow colonial powers that naturally prompted retaliation. The post-war attitude has also made it very difficult to foster mutual support between traditional monarchists in Japan and the west. Each had colonial empires and each had their positive as well as negative aspects which are usually ignored. Even among monarchists, some westerners still enjoy bickering over whose empire was better or worse than the rest but most (again, that is ‘most’ of a small minority group) still prefer the world of colonial empires to the bi-polar world of the Cold War era or the current world of globalism and internationalism. It is different with Japan though and will remain so as long as the Japanese conservatives who defend their own empire attack those of others and claim that colonial empires were bad while denying that their colonial empire was *really* a colonial empire. For the Empire of Japan, justifying World War II is like trying to justify an earthquake. Japan was not motivated by a selfless concern for others anymore than any other of the combatants were. Japan entered the war due to a combination of pride, a wish to expand as well as economic pressure from other powers and provocations from the United States that wanted to get into the war but needed one of the Axis powers to shoot first. Roosevelt wasn’t able to get Hitler or Mussolini to shoot first but he was ultimately successful in goading Japan into doing so. The result was disastrous and for Japan in particular. Had the Japanese endured the provocations of other powers and simply sat out the war, the Empire of Japan would have survived, there would have been a better chance of the British Empire surviving but more importantly for Japan, given the post-war expansion of the Soviet Union and the onset of the Cold War, the same Anglo-American forces that had been more antagonistic toward Japan would have been forced by the international situation to not only drop their unfriendly attitude but support Japan as a regional bulwark against communist expansion. Things might have been much better for everyone if Japan had missed that bus. In the end, there is a degree to which Japan has no need to justify World War II. The occupation of Manchuria, whether it was done for the right or wrong reasons, was a case of Japan doing the right thing; restoring a land that had been unjustly seized and placing its legitimate ruler back on the throne. In the China incident, it was the Chinese who, evidence indicates, started it. The escalation of tensions that led to Pearl Harbor was partly due to ambition and overreaching by the Japanese military which alarmed the rest of the world by occupying Indochina but the American response was totally unjustified and needlessly antagonistic. The Roosevelt administration made a conscious choice to intervene in matters that were not their concern and they willfully backed Japan into a corner from which the only two means of escape were war or suffering the humiliation of submitting to the demands of a foreign power. Japan was not without some legitimate justifications for going to war in 1941. Beyond that, however, some actions were taken for which there can never be any justification and, in any event, just because one can be justified in going to war does not automatically make it necessary or wise to do so. Japan had been treated unfairly and could rightly ask why countries in Europe or America took exception to their actions when they never meddled in European or American affairs. They could rightly ask why there was a Monroe Doctrine for the Americas but an Open Door Policy in East Asia. The leadership in Tokyo was not, despite what Allied propaganda later claimed, out to conquer the world. They were motivated by a fear, irrational in retrospect, that their empire, despite being at the height of its power, teetered on the brink of success or failure and they undoubtedly wished to be the dominant regional power in East Asia. Achieving that did not necessitate the war that followed and that war was certainly not a selfless effort to eradicate colonialism. To a degree, it was a totally justifiable reaction to pressure and antagonism from foreign powers. Beyond that, it was an ultimately disastrous mistake. The move south, which came so close to never happening at all, was a gamble taken at a time when an Axis victory in Europe seemed certain. In that regard, Japan gambled and lost. The extent of that loss cannot be justified. Japan: Champion of Monarchy in Asia If there is one thing that warms my mad monarchist heart, it is seeing existing monarchies supporting each other and, just as if not more importantly, giving aid to the monarchist cause in countries overrun by republicanism. In our own time we have seen countries pull together out of a shared devotion to their own republican political ideology (liberal democracy on one side, communism on the other) but in recent years there has been very little of this from monarchial countries. It has happened in the past, such as when Tsar Alexis of Russia cut off all trade with England after they cut off the head of their King, when the Prussians sent troops to aid the royalist Orange Party in the Netherlands under attack by republican forces and when the crowned heads of Europe came together to declare war on republican France after the regicide of King Louis XVI, not excluding the British who had long been the traditional enemy of the Kingdom of France. We saw it when Tsar Nicholas I sent troops in to crush rebellion against the Austrian Empire in Hungary because it was recognized that revolution and republicanism are cancers that spread easily. There were other times, when such solidarity was called for but never achieved such as when the Queen mother of Spain (and the German Kaiser) called for monarchial solidarity against the United States in the Spanish-American War but such cooperation was not forthcoming. Once the twentieth century really got going, however, things seemed to change. Suddenly, the common bonds of monarchy seemed to be set aside in favor of agreements and alliances that (it was thought) would be more beneficial to the countries in question, though this was invariably not the case. The Orthodox and autocratic Russian Empire, probably the most devotedly monarchist power in Europe, allied itself with the very liberal French Republic. During World War I, monarchies made war on each other as never before and (since so many fell as a result) as they never would again, dragging the United States into European affairs in the process. There was not a great deal of monarchial solidarity displayed by the Allies (two of the major participants being republican France and America) and while there was more on the side of the Central Powers, even there Germany made the terrible mistake of, albeit very reluctantly and temporarily, making use of the communists in taking the Russian Empire down to get Russia out of the war. The aftermath saw even more bad decisions being made, such as the British Empire putting sanctions on the Kingdom of Italy while signing a naval treaty with Nazi Germany or breaking off their alliance with the Empire of Japan in favor of one with the United States of America. Remember that by the terms of that treaty, Japan was pledged to help defend the British Empire in Asia whereas, even after Britain and America became war time allies in World War II, the U.S. government under Franklin D. Roosevelt made it clear that he wanted the British Empire to be dismantled. In the midst of this unfortunate trend, although it can sometimes seem like few notice the facts sitting right in front of them, it was the Empire of Japan that was the rare exception, supporting the principle of monarchy and giving aid to monarchists of other nations -even former enemies. The Japanese were well aware of the dangers of revolutionary republicanism and had been for longer than most probably realize. During the period when Japan began to withdraw from isolation, the first to go overseas to Europe learned about the French Revolution and some began to advocate something similar once they returned home. Thankfully, the Japanese public was too staunchly faithful to the Emperor and the whole concept was too distastefully foreign for this to ever get very far but the imperial government recognized that this ideology was a danger that had to be resisted. Japan had looked on with alarm at the triumph of republicanism in China after the 1911 Revolution and the Empire of Japan had dealt with at least pseudo-republicans in the past such as on Taiwan in the First Sino-Japanese War and with some of the rebels who opposed the Meiji Restoration. When the Empire of Japan first emerged onto the world stage, monarchy was still dominant in the world and the only close neighbors of Japan; Korea, China and Russia, were all monarchies as well. Some conflict was probably inevitable. As Japan modernized, the need for resources grew greater and one early source of vital food imports was Korea. However, Korea was a vassal of China and the Chinese were not too pleased with the increased Japanese involvement in Korea and had a long history of being rather contemptuous toward Japan, mostly for refusing to recognize Chinese supremacy. The first two external wars fought by the Empire of Japan after the Meiji Restoration were, if you reduce it to the most simplistic level, over Korea. First they drove the Chinese out but were robbed of much of their victory when Russia, France and Germany ganged up on the Japanese, forcing them to give back some of their winnings. Russian power was expanding in the region and Japan offered to accept Russian dominance in Manchuria (Chinese power being on the decline) if the Russians would stay out of Korea. Their offer was not accepted and the Russo-Japanese War basically determined whether or not Korea would be a part of the Empire of Japan or the Russian Empire. The Japanese were victorious and in 1910 the short-lived “Great Han Empire” (Korea) was annexed by Japan. There is still a great deal of bitterness over this whole period on the part of Korea, some of it completely understandable and some of it incredibly petty. However, restricting ourselves to just the situation of the monarchy, the Japanese were much more careful than other powers in ensuring that the monarchial principle was not damaged. The Korean monarch was reduced in rank to what most Korean monarchs had always been but retained that title, remained in his palace and along with the aristocracy, received generous payments from Japan to allow them to live the lifestyle they had become accustomed to. Keep in mind, according to the modern Korean republics (or at least the south anyway) these were the inveterate enemies of Japan and the Japanese annexation, yet, this is how they were treated. The Korean crown prince was educated in Japan and treated like a son by HM the Meiji Emperor (in fact, some felt he was treated better than the Emperor’s own son). Members of the Korean Royal Family continued to hold prominent positions throughout the remaining years of the Empire of Japan. It was a far cry from the British exiling the last Mughal Emperor to Burma, the French exiling the monarchs of Vietnam or Madagascar to far away countries or even the United States in Hawaii imposing republicanism and abolishing all royal titles. The next major conflict for the Empire of Japan was the First World War, which Japan joined on the Allied side because of their treaty with Great Britain. The Japanese secured the capture of the biggest German base in the Far East and provided warships to escort troop ships from British possessions in Asia and Australia to the European battlefront. Toward the end of the conflict, republicanism and in particular communism became a more prominent concern for Japan. The two largest and most powerful neighbors of Japan, China and Russia, both fell into republican chaos and civil war. In both cases, the Empire of Japan responded by supporting the loyal monarchists wherever possible, even though these people represented the two empires that had previously been the enemies of Japan. In the face of the encroaching forces of communism in Russia and the republican chaos in China, however, that did not matter. Japan began to support and protect the last Emperor of China after his expulsion from the Forbidden City as well as Qing loyalists who hoped for his restoration. The Japanese sent the largest expeditionary force of any of the Allied nations that intervened in the Russian Civil War and the Empire of Japan was quick to support the White Russian forces in the field and even after they had been forced into exile, mostly in Manchuria. Along with supplying White Russian exiles with a safe haven, money, guns and military supplies, the Empire of Japan also provided sanctuary, support and security for the last Emperor of China and Qing Dynasty loyalists. Ultimately, as we know, the Japanese also made possible his restoration to his ancestral throne in Manchuria with the establishment of the Empire of Manchukuo. The importance of this should not be shrugged off. How rare is it that an overthrown monarch is ever able to regain their throne, even if only a part of the realm they once ruled? And this was not just for a few years but for more than a decade. It was also from their base in Manchuria that Japanese forces gave aid and assistance to the monarchists of Inner Mongolia who wished to see the communist client-state in Outer Mongolia overthrown and all Mongols reunited under a restored monarchy. The Mongol prince at the head of this effort was Prince Demchugdongrub (aka Prince De Wang) and his family. The Prince was a distant relative and long-time friend and supporter of the last Manchu Emperor and, for years, the Japanese had tried to coordinate a monarchist alliance of the Japanese, Manchu and Mongol peoples across northeast Asia. This was the reason behind the (short-lived) arranged marriage of the Japanese-raised Manchu Princess Kawashima Yoshiko to the Mongol Prince Ganjuurjab whose father would be a general in the Inner Mongolian Army of Prince De Wang. Even during World War II, the Empire of Japan promoted monarchy wherever possible. The earliest ally of Japan in southeast Asia was the Kingdom of Thailand and in Indochina the Japanese supported Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam becoming independent monarchies again while always respecting the reigning monarchs whether they were friendly toward Japan or not. In Vietnam, for example, the Prince Cuong De had long-established and friendly ties with Japan whereas the reigning monarch, Emperor Bao Dai, had spent much of his life in France. Yet, the Japanese worked with the reigning monarch and supported those sects who were monarchist (the Hoa Hao and Cao Dai for example) while the United States (short-sightedly) supported the communist-led Viet Minh. In Laos, the King was pro-French and so the Japanese worked with a prince who favored independence yet made no effort to depose or harm the pro-French King. In the states of Malaysia, the Japanese restored two monarchs who had unjustly been deprived of their thrones but never removed any reigning monarch even those that supported Britain over Japan. After driving the British forces out of Burma, the first instinct of the Japanese was to restore the native monarchy under a grandson of the last King Thibaw and it was only when they found no support for such an initiative that they turned to Dr. Ba Maw. Even then, when he was installed as head of state he did so with much of the ceremony of the old Kingdom of Burma which some took as a sign that he might have restored the monarchy eventually with himself as king which there was nothing to prevent him from doing given that Burma had no royal succession law and traditionally the throne went to whoever could take it. To further tantalize, Dr. Ba Maw was the son of a royal official to the last of the Burmese kings, and a staunch monarchist who opposed the British out of his loyalty to the Royal Family of Burma. Of course, I know there will be those who doubt the sincerity of the Japanese in these events as there are many anti-monarchy and/or anti-Japanese people who would decry anything Japan did for any reason. I am sure some would say that Japan only did this because it served Japanese interests. My only response to that is to ask, “So?” Do you really expect any country to act against their own interests? Do you expect a nation at war to give aid to those who oppose them and support their enemies? Would anyone expect that? Of course not. Thankfully, as a monarchy, it was in the interest of Japan to support monarchy and that just happened to be in the best interest of all those involved as well, in my view certainly. Others, monarchist opponents perhaps, might ask, ‘well, why didn’t Japan try to make the whole of China a monarchy again, or make The Philippines a monarchy?’ or, in other words, impose a monarchy on people who did not desire one. The obvious answer is that Japan was trying to solve problems, not create new ones by trying to impose a form of government on people who did not want it. However, to any who would downplay the pro-monarchy policies of the Empire of Japan, I have a simple question, “Who did more?” That is all. If what they did was not enough to be praiseworthy for proponents of monarchy, show me a country that did more. I would be glad to hear about it and give them all due praise as well. As for the Empire of Japan, the record speaks for itself. Some, I am sure, may be unable to get beyond old grudges but as a pan-monarchist if for no other reason, I for one will always have a heartfelt salute for the Empire of Japan, champion of monarchy from Russia to southeast Asia.