Much that has been written about the Occupation of Japan and its aftermath has focused on demilitarisation and democratisation, exploring exchanges over policy that took place in Tokyo between high level US reformers and Japanese officials. In contrast, relatively little attention has been paid to the social conditions in which reform took place, the health and welfare of the Japanese, and the wider realities of military rule. This lecture explores the crisis over food supply and nutrition, eased by the US policy to promote Japanese Antarctic whaling, but complicated by the desire of many American servicemen to hunt Japanese wildlife for sport when many Japanese were desperately trying to harvest it for food. Whilst permission to resume Antarctic whaling brought gratitude from the Japanese public, the behaviour of many US soldiers in the field caused resentment, suggesting a colonial mentality that undermined the American effort to win the peace.
This is an Inaugural lecture by Chris Aldous, Professor of Modern International History. For more information about Chris, visit his profile here
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