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Item title: The warrior tradition as a present factor in Japanese military psychology
Title (kanji)
Location:Australian War Memorial (AWM55 12/53 part 4)
View information about obtaining a copy of this document
AJRP details
AJRP module: Australian War Memorial official records
AJRP series: Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) publications
AJRP sub-series: ATIS research reports
AJRP folder:
Location details
Institution: Australian War Memorial
Call number: AWM55 12/53 part 4
Inst. series: AWM55
Inst. sub-series: AWM55 12/-
Item: RR-76 part 3
Item qualities
Quantity / desc: 35 pages
Access: Open
Item type: Unpublished, Official
Category: Information report
Item content
Creation date (d/m/y): 30/10/1944
Conflict code: Pacific War (1941-1945)
Australian unit names:
Allied unit names:
Japanese unit names:
Names: Chamberlain, Basil Hall; Caiger, George; Doud, Col Harold
Languages: English
Melanesia (PNG, Irian Jaya & Solomon Islands)
Content: This is an Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) research report issued on 30 October 1944 on the warrior tradition and its influence on Japanese military conduct, and forms part of a 6-part series intended to give a documented exposition of Japanese psychology. The report contains an explanation of the transformation of the Japanese Army during the 19th and 20th century, the Samurai tradition and the emergence of a modern military code imbued with the Bushido code, the major tenets of the Bushido code, excerpts from diaries and other captured documents which make reference to Bushido and the Samurai tradition, and reports on the practice of bayoneting prisoners of war in China. It contains information on the concept of "victory at a single stroke" and the "offensive spirit", spiritual instructions given before an attack and during training, the "cult of the bayonet", the Allies' perceived reliance on firepower and their fear of hand-to-hand combat, the importance of spiritual power as opposed to material power, the psychology of Allied (mainly American) servicemen, attitudes towards surrender, revenge as a motivating force in the military campaign and home-front propaganda. In a section on the significance of ceremonial days, the report explains widely held superstitions, the observance of "holy-days" and their significance to Japanese soldiers, the exploitation of ceremonial days by Japanese leaders, and Japanese attempts to take advantage of Allied holidays.

ATIS researchers concluded that the savagery displayed by Japanese forces stemmed from a modern interpretation of the Bushido code devised to stimulate fighting fanaticism and instill a sense of racial superiority. The Japanese soldier, they claimed, had been indoctrinated with vengeful contempt for his enemies and an exaggerated sense of his own martial and spiritual capacity. The report suggested that such a distortion would accelerate the collapse of Japanese morale during sustained military defeats.

The appendix includes an extract on the history of Japanese militarism by Basil Hall Chamberlain, Professor of Japanese and Comparative Philology at the Imperial University of Tokyo, an account of a Japanese play dealing with the themes of duty, sacrifice and humanity from "Tell me about Tokyo" (Hokuseido Press, 1939) by G. Caiger, and an account of the Japanese observance of unit holidays by Colonel Harold Doud.

Other information
Major Caiger was head of ATIS at one time.
Last modified:03/05/2009 09:02:24 AM
Source:AJRP staff

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