Japan’s Post World War II Economic Development

Influences of Confucian Traditions on Japan’s Post World War II Economic Development

As Japan arose, like a phoenix from the ashes, after the destruction of World War II, great strides were taken to transform its economy. In contemporary society, it is a given that Japan is a global economic power. This was not always so. The remarkable transformation of the Japanese economy after World War II was largely influenced by Confucianism, an ideology that has had a long history in Japanese society and culture. This paper argues that Confucianism played a major role in Japan’s economic revival, discussing its basic tenets and the ways in which Japan’s economic trajectory ties in with Confucian beliefs.

One of the major tenets of Confucianism is its emphasis on harmony and the value of interpersonal relationships. Five basic relationships govern interactions between members of society: the relationship between children and their parents, the relationship between the ruler and his people, the relationship between husband and wife, the relationship elder and younger and the relationship between friends. Harmony is attained when those involved in these interpersonal relationships act in accordance with their social place and responsibilities. These relationships are both hierarchical and reciprocal. Thus, society is arranged according to how each individual relates to others, forming a group or collective consciousness. Every individual in Japanese society within a nexus of relationships, thereby obligated to fulfill particular obligations and duties.

Japan surmounted a great challenges to recover its debilitated economy. After World War II, “Japan’s perc apita income in 1950 was less than three-fourths is pre-war level. The primary reason behind Japan’s economic transformation was the growth of large general trading companies, also known as conglomerates. These conglomerates played a large role in Japan’s export expans…

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