Japan and the High Treason Incident

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-05-01
  • Publisher: Routledge

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The 'High Treason Incident' rocked the Japanese public sphere in 1910-11 when police discovered that a group of 'anarchists' were plotting to assassinate the Emperor Meiji. Following a trial held in camera, twelve of the 'conspirators' were hanged and the nation was shocked and scandalized. While the executions officially brought an end to the 'incident', they were only the initial outcome of the scandal. The state became increasingly paranoid about national ideological cohesion. It deployed an array of new technologies of integration and surveillance to fortify the 'emperor system' and the emperor's 'divinity'. Subsequent repression effected not only political movements, but the whole cultural sphere, including the press, religious organizations, literature and the theatre. Under a tsunami of repression, mention of the affair became taboo until the end of WWII. The 'incident' had far-reaching consequences not only for Japanese politics and society, but also for the subsequent course of Japanese history. This book is a timely and relevant contemporary examination of the high treason incident, the effects it exerted on Japanese history, literature, politics and society, and its points of intersection with broader questions of anarchism, colonialism, gender and governmentality.

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