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Japanese Government Trivia

Japanese Government Trivia Quizzes

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3 Japanese Government quizzes and 30 Japanese Government trivia questions.
  Japan's Prime Ministers (Imperial Edition)    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Unlike their postwar counterparts, these men presided over "transcendent" cabinets and served at the pleasure of the emperor. They created the modern Japanese state -- and then set it on the road to disaster. How well do you know them?
Average, 10 Qns, Guiguzi, Jan 09 15
126 plays
  Japanese Political History since 1850   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The development of and politics of Japan have been most fascinating since the time Perry's black ships arrived off the the coast of Urawa in Japan. Let's explore some of these developments until the present.
Tough, 10 Qns, skipp1, Dec 13 16
226 plays
  Japan's Prime Ministers (Postwar Edition)   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
These politicians guided Japan from ruins to riches in the decades after 1945, with a few riots, scandals, and burst bubbles along the way. How well do you know them?
Tough, 10 Qns, Guiguzi, May 07 14
142 plays
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Japanese Government Trivia Questions

1. Who was the first man to serve as prime minister when Japan adopted the cabinet system in 1885? (Hint: He also had the primary role in drafting the Meiji Constitution that was promulgated in 1889.)

From Quiz
Japan's Prime Ministers (Imperial Edition)

Answer: Ito Hirobumi

From the late 1870s onward, Ito was one of the most important members of the Meiji oligarchy. He was born into a samurai family in the feudal domain of Choshu in 1841 and, as the first Japanese resident-general in Korea, was assassinated by a Korean patriot in 1909. Yamagata was also one of the oligarchs. Okuma was a key political figure (often in opposition) during the same period, and Fukuzawa was an important intellectual leader and educator.

2. Who was the first American envoy in Japan?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: Townsend Harris

Perry opened Japan in 1853. MacArthur operated the Supreme Command for the Allied Power (SCAP) which occupied Japan in the post war period and Hearn was a Greek-born American writer who became a Japanese citizen. Townsend Harris was a New York China trader and founder of the City College of New York. A movie was made about him called "The Barbarian and the Geisha" starring John Wayne.

3. Who was second longest serving Japanese Prime Minister during the 20th century?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: Eisaku Sato

Katsura was the longest serving in Japanese history... a total of 12 years in three intervals. Yoshida was the third longest serving and the grandfather of Prime Minister Taro Aso. Kishi was the old brother of Sato and the grandfather of Prime Minister Shunzo Abe. You get the picture. It's essentially a family run business with about 80% of the Japanese Parliament having relatives who served there.

4. During the first decade of the twentieth century two men, both proteges of the original Meiji oligarchs, traded the premiership back and forth repeatedly. Who were they?

From Quiz Japan's Prime Ministers (Imperial Edition)

Answer: Saionji and Katsura

Prince Saionji Kinmochi (1849-1940), the protege and political heir of Ito Hirobumi, served as prime minister in 1906-1908 and again in 1911-1912. Katsura Taro, a Choshu general and protege of Yamagata Aritomo, was prime minister in 1901-1906, 1908-1911, and 1912-1913.

5. The post war constitution of Japan was promulgated by which group?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: 24 US Military personnel in February 1946

The Constitution of post war Japan was an American production. It was drafted by 23 men and one American woman. She wrote a fascinating book called "The Only Woman in the Room" in which she describes her struggle to ensure an equal rights amendment for women in the modern Japanese Constitution. Beate Sirota Gorden was the only Japanese speaker in the group.

6. Who was the ultimate strategist for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: Isoroku Yamamoto

Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) is known as the world's first novel and it was written by Lady Murasaki in the Heian Period. Tojo was the World War 2 Generalissimo. Yamashita aka "The Tiger of Malaya" although opposed to war in China and favoring good relations with the UK and US was a brilliant military strategist against both countries.

7. What was the significance of Hara Kei's elevation to the premiership in 1918 to replace General Terauchi?

From Quiz Japan's Prime Ministers (Imperial Edition)

Answer: Japan's progress toward a "Westminster system" of parliamentary government

Hara Kei (aka Hara Takashi, 1856-1921) was known as the "commoner prime minister," the first man to hold that office who was neither an oligarch, an ex-oligarch, nor the protege of an oligarch. He was the leader of the majority party (the Seiyukai) in the lower house of the Imperial Diet, and governed with its support. He was also Japan's first true master of pork-barrel politics.

8. Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro, a staunch anti-communist, was famously on a first-name basis with a like-minded U.S. leader. Which president (represented by his own nickname) addressed the prime minister as "Yasu"?

From Quiz Japan's Prime Ministers (Postwar Edition)

Answer: Ron

Nakasone held office from 1982 to 1987, relying on support from the Tanaka faction.

9. Which political party has governed Japan throughout the post war period until the end of the 20th Century?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: The Liberal Democratic Party

The LDP had been in power almost continuously since the creation of the so-called "1955 System." The JSP was the principle opposition party in Japan until the early 1990s. The Greens have no seats in the Diet and there is no "Sakura" or Cherry Blossom political party in Japan.

10. Another LDP stalwart, Uno Sosuke was in office as prime minister for little more than two months in 1989 before he resigned in disgrace. What was his undoing?

From Quiz Japan's Prime Ministers (Postwar Edition)

Answer: The classic: a Geisha scandal

The problem was less Uno's lechery than the fact that he had been underpaying the lady. This prompted her to go public with her story, and the public turned on Uno for being BOTH tawdry AND stingy.

11. Japanese politicians normally have support groups known as "Koenkai" in Japanese. Which Japanese politician is generally credited with initiating this approach to garnering local support?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: Kakuei Tanaka

In 1948, Tanaka set up the "Etsuzankai" which commemorated a mountain in his Niigata district. That was the start. Ohira was Prime Minister between 1978 and 1980. He died suddenly in office. Nakasone was Prime Minister of Japan between 1982-1987. Ikeda was PM between 1961 and 1964 and also died in office.

12. Who was the first commoner Prime Minister of Japan?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: Kei Hara

Hara (sometimes referred to as Takashi Hara) became Prime Minister in 1918 and was assassinated in 1921. He was not part of the nobility. Yamamura was an actor who played Isoroku Yamamoto in the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora." Prince Konoye was Prime Minister twice the last time ending in October 1941 and succeeded by General Tojo. Suzuki was the 70th Prime Minister of Japan and was in office from 1980-1982.

13. Prince Konoe Fumimaro, prime minister at the beginning of the "China Incident" in 1937 and again during the crisis in relations with the United States in the summer and autumn of 1941, was the scion of an ancient Japanese noble family. Which one?

From Quiz Japan's Prime Ministers (Imperial Edition)

Answer: Fujiwara

Prince Konoe (1891-1945) traced his descent from Fujiwara Iezane (1179-1242), founder of the Konoe line. Originally a disciple of Prince Saionji Kinmochi, he also had good connections with "restorationist" elements in the bureaucracy and the military. He committed suicide shortly after Japan's surrender to avoid arrest and trial as a Class A war criminal.

14. Hosokawa Morihiro, the first non-LDP prime minister since the LDP was established in 1955, was himself the grandson of an earlier prime minister. Which one?

From Quiz Japan's Prime Ministers (Postwar Edition)

Answer: Konoe Fumimaro

The Konoe connection was on his mother's side. On his father's side, Hosokawa was descended from one of the Tokugawa daimyo houses. A defector from the LDP who initially enjoyed a "Mr. Clean" image, Hosokawa took office in 1993 as the leader of an anti-LDP coalition. He fell less then a year later when it was revealed that he, too, had been involved in shady dealings with the yakuza-connected Sagawa Kyubin parcel delivery company. Konoe Fumimaro was prime minister from 1937 to 1939 and again in 1940-41. Shidehara and Yoshida held the office in the early postwar years. Hosokawa Ichiro is my invention.

15. Which incident is generally credited with being the final tip toward militarism in Japan?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: The February 26 incident (ni-ni-roku jiken)

The February 26 incident involved a group of soldiers known as the "Kodoha" or Imperial Way faction staging an attempted coup d'etat against the sitting government. It was put down after several days supported by an another military faction known as the "Toseiha" or Control Faction. The subsequent trial turned into a farce. The end result was the militarist managed to gain the upper hand. The Meiji Constitution was created in 1890 which was long before the hard core militarists came to power. The Panay Incident was the sinking of a U.S. patrol boat in the Yangtze River in China by the Japanese military after the war with China began in 1937. The 1940 Olympics were supposed to have been staged in Tokyo in 1940 but were cancelled due to the spread of war in Europe and Asia.

16. Here's a toughie for you: The life of General Tojo Hideki, prime minister from 1941 to 1944, intersected briefly with that of an American named Jimmy Johnson. What was their relationship?

From Quiz Japan's Prime Ministers (Imperial Edition)

Answer: Johnson was the U.S. Army surgeon who saved Tojo's life after his attempted suicide on September 11, 1945

A U.S. Army surgeon attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, Captain Johnson arrived with an ambulance at Tojo's residence about an hour after the general shot himself on September 11, 1945. He dressed the wound and administered a blood transfusion and morphine, and Tojo was taken into U.S. military custody. After conviction by the Tokyo Tribunal (International Military Tribunal for the Far East) as a Class A war criminal, Tojo was hanged at Sugamo Prison on December 31, 1948. Johnson, a native of Keyser, West Virginia, went on to practice medicine in Newark, Ohio, for two decades. His encounter with Tojo is briefly mentioned in Courtney Browne's book "Tojo: The Last Banzai," pages 210-212.

17. Under which Japanese and American Administrations did the reversion of Okinawa to Japanese sovereignty take place?

From Quiz Japanese Political History since 1850

Answer: Eisuke Sato and Richard Nixon

The reversion of Okinawa to Japan under Sato and Nixon was almost derailed because of a bitter dispute over bilateral textile trade. Reversion took place in 1972. Nakasone was one of the longer serving Japanese Prime Ministers, from 1982-87. He and President Reagan called each other by their first names which because known as the "Ron-Yasu" relationship. Yoshida was another long serving Prime Minister. Okinawa had not yet become a major issue when he and Eisenhower were heads of their countries. Okinawa reversion had long since been resolved by the time Koizumi and Bush 43 were Prime Minister and President. Instead they faced another Okinawa issue, namely negotiations to agree upon reducing the number of Marines on the island.

18. Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, in office from 2001 to 2006, earned the sobriquet "Lionheart." He had another, less pleasant nickname, though. What was it?

From Quiz Japan's Prime Ministers (Postwar Edition)

Answer: Henjin, because of his numerous personal idiosyncracies

Henjin may be loosely translated as "weirdo." In a bland, conformist LDP world of blue and black suits, Koizumi was noted for his green suits, bouffant hairstyle, and the fact that he was (gasp!) divorced. "Wakamono" means a youth or young person. "Narikin" means arriviste or nouveau riche. Curiously, the Japanese word for "violence" is indeed "Rambo" -- often transliterated as "Ranbo" but pronounced just like the name of Sly Stallone's iconic character.

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