How defeat in Japan affected political and civic life and how they changed under U.S. occupation

Postwar Japan and Serious Damage
In war; Japan loses 2 million people; severe damage to many cities.

This is a picture of Hiroshima after the U.S. dropped the atom bomb on it in 1945.

Occupied Japan


This is a picture of General MacArthur in uniform

General Douglas MacArthur takes charge of U.S. occupation of Japan.

Demilitarization in Japan- MacArthur demilitarized, or disbanded Japan's military forces.
He wanted to promote peace, and eliminate Japan's threat to other nations, so he
destroyed Japan's war potential. First, he abolished Japan's agencies of aggression, such
as war, navy, and munitions ministries. He also destroyed the secret police system, and
released thousands of political prisoners. He also disposed of many surplus industrial
materials that could pose as a threat. This left Japan without any methods of aggression
and the ability to make war.

The Japanese people adopt a new constitution in 1947.

MacArthur puts new reforms in place.

Emperor Hirohito kept on, but he lost power and becomes a figurehead.
General MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito standing side by side in Japan.

Japanese people elect a 2 house legislature called the Diet.

The Japanese Bill of Rights includes the following rights...
Social rights, Civil rights, human rights, economic, and political rights.

According to the Japanese Bill of Rights, Japan is not allowed to make war or possess armed forces.

In 1951, a peace treaty with Japan is signed; U.S. occupation is over.

Japan and The United States become allies
This is a picture showing that Japan and the United States are allies.


During World War 2, as many as 2 million Japanese lives were lost. About 1,140,429 of those casualties were soldiers who either died or went missing in combat. That makes the remaining 953,000 innocent civilian lives lost during World War 2. This had a lot to do with the atomic bomb dropped by the U.S.A.
Many major cities were destroyed and damaged, Tokyo being one of them. This was due to artillery and bombing raids during the war. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were completely destroyed by the atom, bomb. The overall war cost to japan was astoundingly less than other European nations and the United States. However, it was still a whopping 41.3 billion dollars. Overall the country was in ruins and in debt. (Beck,2005).

After it was clear that the Japanese had lost the war, the United states quickly occupied Japan. They set up troops throughout the country, and those troops were led by general Douglas MacArthur.
Through General MacArthur, many changes took place in Japan. The emperor, Hirohito, became heavily powerless, and a figurehead. Power was placed with the people. Japan was demilitarized. He also implemented many other social, and economic reforms in Japan. Eventually, the U.S and Japan became allies. MacArthur did all of this with the overall goal of liberalizing Japan. (MacArthur,Douglas,2009).

After MacArthur began U.S occupation of Japan he began putting many reforms in place. One of these was demilitarization or the disbanding of Japan's military forces (Beck 516). MacArthur wanted to promote future peace and ensure that Japan would never again be a threat to other nations. So he destroyed Japan's war potential. The first step he took in Demilitarizing Japan was abolishing agencies of aggression such as war, navy and munitions, ministries among others. MacArthur destroyed the secret police system, released thousands of political prisoners, and declared that any surplus industrial materials that could possibly be used for re-armament were to be disposed of (Mueller). As a result of this, Japan had lost all methods of aggression and the ability to make war. However, it allowed for Japan to focus on other reforms, starting with the government.

in 1946, MacArthur and his American political advisers drew up a new constitution for Japan, which was approved and adopted on May 3,1947. It brought many huge changes to Japan that deeply affected the people. The biggest change brought about was the change of the Japanese government to a constitutional monarchy. The people of Japan had long thought of their emperor as divine, but now he had to admit that he wasn't which shocked the people and turned their idea of government upside down. The emperor was now merely a figured. The new constitution also guaranteed that political power rested in the hands of the the people by setting up a two house parliament called the Diet made up of elected officials. As a result of this, all citizens over the age of 20 years of age had a say in the government, even women. The new constitution also included basic freedoms. But most importantly was article 9, which forbade Japan from making war. They could fight only if they were attacked first. (Loupshur 2008)

MacArthur was very important during the postwar. in Japan. He set three main things in Japan. One, he demilitarized Japan. Two, he democratized Japan by creating a government elected by the people. Lastly, he started a new constitutional monarchy. This constitution started on May 3,1947. MacArthur needed to increase the labor coming from the workers, and farmers in the new democracy. To do so, he formed a plan which gave landowners the right to sell land to the government. His reforms gave the people the right to create independent labor units. MacArthur was huge in postwar Japan because he focused on helping out the people, and giving them more rights. ( Beck 2005).


The emperor was greatly involved in the changing of the Japanese society. Although he lost much of his power because he didn't do his job when trying to declare that he was not divine and had the most power over all the rest. He was a past in changing the Japanese society because he was no longer ruler, which had a huge affect on the people. Even when he lost his power, when he became the figurehead he was almost equally involved with the Japanese society. (Beck 2005).


The Japanese Constitution was found in legal documents since 1947. The Constitution concludes guaranteed rights such as civil, human, economic and political rights. Some organizations in the government lead to womens rights. The Japanese elected a two house legislature called the Diet (Niya 1993). The Diet elected a prime minister to lead the government. The Diet is made up of two houses, The House of Representatives, and The House of Councilors. These houses were responsible for approving national budgets, making laws, and selecting the Prime Minister of Japan.

As world war two ended Japan was devastated as a result of the constitution going into effect in 1947. The emperor lost all military and political power. Human rights were guaranteed as well as universal suffrage being introduced. Also, Japan was never be able to lead a war again or have an army (Perez 1998).

As the constitution was signed a peace treaty was written. It commanded that the Allied powers leave Japan by 90 days after the treaty was signed and that the japanese give up most of their land claimes.

In 1954 Japan and the United States became allies. The U.S. self defense force of 180,000 troops went over to Japan and protected them from threats like the communist's threats in the Cold War (Fitzimmons 2008.)

Multiple Choice Questions

1.) What rights did Macarthur’s reforms give to the people?
a. Right to vote
b. Independent labor units
c. Right to vote
d. Woman’s rights

2.) Why did General Douglas Macarthur want to demilitarize Japan?
a. He was jealous of the strength of Japan’s military
b. He wanted to get inside information and steal weaponry secrets from the Japanese military
c. He wanted to strip Japan of its war potential and make sure they couldn’t threaten other countries again.
d. A and B

3.) Japanese people elect a legislature.
a. Strong
b. Two house
c. Three house
d. Controlling

4.) Why did Japan and the United States become allies?
a. They were tired of fighting and wanted to become friends
b. The constitution band Japan from having an army, and they needed some way to protect their country
c. They wanted to dominate Russia together
d. They wanted to concur the world in the next world war.

5.) Which order is correct?
a. Japan loses war- U.S constitution-Macarthur removes Hirohito-American-troops move in
b. U.S occupies Japan-Macarthur removes Hirohito-American troops move in-Japan loses war
c. Japan loses war-U.S. occupies Japan-American troops move in-Macarthur removes Hirohito
d. Macarthur removes Hirohito-U.S occupies Japan-Japan loses war-American troops move in

1) B
2) C
3) B
4) B
5) C


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