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Monster of the Twentieth CenturyKōtoku Shūsui and Japan's First Anti-Imperialist Movement$
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Robert Thomas Tierney

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286344

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286344.001.0001

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What Causes Imperialism?

What Causes Imperialism?

Chapter:
(p.57) What Causes Imperialism?
Source:
Monster of the Twentieth Century
Author(s):

Robert Thomas Tierney

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520286344.003.0004

In the third chapter I address Kōtoku’s diagnosis of the causes of imperialism. In contrast with Hobson and Lenin, Kōtoku focuses on the political, ideological, and psychological causes of imperialism and deemphasizes the economic causes. He famously claims that patriotism and militarism “are the woof and the warp from which imperialism is woven.” Governments “stir up” and exploit “love of country,” or patriotism, to justify territorial aggrandizement and to divert the attention of citizens from domestic problems. The benefits of imperialism flow to a small elite, which uses imperialism to carry out a takeover of national politics. I also address weaknesses and inconsistencies in his critical analysis and look at critiques that have been leveled against it.

Keywords:   patriotism, militarism, Mencius, empathy, Japanese emperor, Confucianism, Korean nationalism

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