Rethinking the Second Wave: Democratization and Public Order in Occupied Japan

  • Radomir Compel


There is scarcely any textbook on political science that would not refer to Samuel Huntington’s hypothesis about the third wave of democratization. Among the major case studies of democratization is the post-World War II Japan, which Huntington placed into the second wave. In 1945, Japan under MacArthur managed to change from militaristic authoritarian regime into a peace-loving country cherishing individual freedoms and democratic ideals. This chapter elaborates on previous studies by focusing on two prerequisites of such transformation, retention of the imperial system, and reliance on existing bureaucratic machinery. It concludes that the primary goal of the occupation was not democratization per se, but conservation of order. Only when order was secured by fulfilling the two prerequisites could MacArthur engage in his menu of democratization reforms.



This research was partially funded by JSPS research grant no. 26780087.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radomir Compel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Global Humanities and Social SciencesNagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan

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