Mishima Yukio, the Japanese Police, and the Sovereign Crisis that Never Came

Mr Max Ward1

1Middlebury College, Middlebury, United States

Mishima Yukio’s rightist critique of postwar Japanese society is well known, as is his staged coup attempt and ritual suicide at the headquarters of Japan’s Security Defense Forces in November 1970. Up to that point, Mishima published essays in which he railed against the postwar “peace” constitution and the supposed limits it put on Japan’s ability to realize the ultimate sign of sovereignty: a standing military. In his later writings, Mishima often placed his hopes in the radical left, which he thought would bring about a revolutionary crisis requiring military intervention, thereby creating a constitutional crisis. However, Mishima’s much-desired crisis never came, for standing in the way were the formidable Japanese police. In this paper, I utilize Mishima’s critique of the Japanese police as a point of departure to consider critical theories of police power and its relationship to politics, security and sovereignty.


Biography:

Max Ward is Associate Professor of Japanese History at Middlebury College and author of Thought Crime: Ideology and State Power in Interwar Japan (Duke 2019). He is currently working on his next book project titled Police Power in Modern Japan.

 

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Visit Victoria

© 2019 Conference Design Pty Ltd