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Quiz about Japans Prime Ministers Postwar Edition
Quiz about Japans Prime Ministers Postwar Edition

Japan's Prime Ministers (Postwar Edition) Quiz


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?

A multiple-choice quiz by Guiguzi. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
Guiguzi
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
367,379
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
142
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. Yoshida Shigeru, in office from 1946 to 1947 and again from 1948 to 1954, was surely the most influential of Japan's postwar prime ministers. His basic policies have been labeled "the Yoshida Doctrine." Which of the following was NOT an essential element of this so-called doctrine? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The 1950s were marked by political turbulence in Japan. The center-right cemented its political dominance over the Socialists and Communists by uniting to form the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 1955. The third LDP prime minister, Kishi Nobusuke, was hated by the Japanese left, not only for his policies (such as negotiation of an enhanced Security Treaty with the United States in 1960) but also for his wartime past. In what role had Kishi once served the Tojo government? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Kishi was driven from office in the wake of the political turmoil and street demonstrations that forced President Eisenhower to cancel his planned visit to Japan in June 1960. He was succeeded by a more moderate LDP leader, Ikeda Hayato, who sought to reduce political tensions by focusing on economic growth. In 1962 Prime Minister Ikeda visited France only to be dismissed by President Charles de Gaulle as a what? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Tanaka Kakuei, in office from 1972 to 1974, was one of the strongest postwar prime ministers. Through his control of the most powerful faction of the LDP, he remained a major force in Japanese politics long after he lost the premiership. What was his profession before he entered politics? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. 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"? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. 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? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Takeshita Noboru inherited the leadership of Tanaka Kakuei's powerful faction of the LDP. In early 1993, police raided the home of one of his close political associates and found some $51 million worth of bearer bonds plus gold bars weighing a total of over one hundred kilograms. Who was that impressively flush associate? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. 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? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. The LDP clawed its way back into power in 1994 by forming a coalition with the Socialist Party and enticing the Socialist leader Murayama Tomiichi with the premiership. Is it true that Murayama was the first Socialist ever to serve as prime minister of Japan?


Question 10 of 10
10. Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, in office from 2001 to 2006, earned the sobriquet "Lionheart." He had another, less pleasant nickname, though. What was it? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Yoshida Shigeru, in office from 1946 to 1947 and again from 1948 to 1954, was surely the most influential of Japan's postwar prime ministers. His basic policies have been labeled "the Yoshida Doctrine." Which of the following was NOT an essential element of this so-called doctrine?

Answer: Rapprochement with Red China and the Soviet Union

Yoshida Shigeru (1878-1967) was a retired diplomat who became prime minister almost by accident when the leader of the victorious Liberal Party, Hatoyama Ichiro, was banned from politics by the Allied occupation authorities and tapped Yoshida to take his place. The most comprehensive biography of Yoshida in English is John Dower's "Empire and Aftermath" (Harvard UP, 1979).

The Yoshida Doctrine has frayed around the edges in recent years, but has yet to be abandoned.
2. The 1950s were marked by political turbulence in Japan. The center-right cemented its political dominance over the Socialists and Communists by uniting to form the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 1955. The third LDP prime minister, Kishi Nobusuke, was hated by the Japanese left, not only for his policies (such as negotiation of an enhanced Security Treaty with the United States in 1960) but also for his wartime past. In what role had Kishi once served the Tojo government?

Answer: Minister of Commerce and Industry

Kishi (1896-1987) had held the Commerce and Industry portfolio in Gen. Tojo Hideki's cabinet from October 1941 to October 1943. The Allied Occupation authorities arrested him as a suspected war criminal, but after several years he was released without having been brought to trial. It was as if Albert Speer had been let out of Spandau Prison, joined the CDU, and became chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957.

Curious about the Japanese atomic bomb programs? (Yes, plural: the Imperial Navy was -- typically -- running the parallel and competing F-go project.) Check out Walter Grunden's "Secret Weapons & World War II: Japan in the Shadow of Big Science" (University Press of Kansas, 2005).
3. Kishi was driven from office in the wake of the political turmoil and street demonstrations that forced President Eisenhower to cancel his planned visit to Japan in June 1960. He was succeeded by a more moderate LDP leader, Ikeda Hayato, who sought to reduce political tensions by focusing on economic growth. In 1962 Prime Minister Ikeda visited France only to be dismissed by President Charles de Gaulle as a what?

Answer: transistor salesman

My source for this is Andrew Gordon, "A Modern History of Japan" (3rd edition, Oxford UP, 2014), page 248.

The remark that the Japanese were "yellow ants" trying to take over the world was made by a later French leader, Socialist premier Edith Cresson, in 1991.

Ikeda Hayato (1899-1965) was a former bureaucrat and protegé of Yoshida Shigeru. In 1960 he announced a plan to double Japan's GNP by 1970. The goal was in fact reached in 1967.
4. Tanaka Kakuei, in office from 1972 to 1974, was one of the strongest postwar prime ministers. Through his control of the most powerful faction of the LDP, he remained a major force in Japanese politics long after he lost the premiership. What was his profession before he entered politics?

Answer: contractor

This helps to explain Tanaka's mastery of pork-barrel politics, which in turn explains how he was able to build his faction.

Local contractors, who stood to benefit very directly from government-funded infrastructure development, were a key constituency of the LDP in its heyday. Contractors often chaired the local support committees (koenkai) of LDP politicos.
5. 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"?

Answer: Ron

Nakasone held office from 1982 to 1987, relying on support from the Tanaka faction.
6. 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?

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.
7. Takeshita Noboru inherited the leadership of Tanaka Kakuei's powerful faction of the LDP. In early 1993, police raided the home of one of his close political associates and found some $51 million worth of bearer bonds plus gold bars weighing a total of over one hundred kilograms. Who was that impressively flush associate?

Answer: Kanemaru Shin

This was one of a series of corruption scandals that undermined popular support for LDP, which had governed Japan without interruption since 1955.

Takeshita served as prime minister from 1987 to 1989, and continued to lead the LDP's largest faction (the old Tanaka faction) until his death in 2000.
8. 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?

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.
9. The LDP clawed its way back into power in 1994 by forming a coalition with the Socialist Party and enticing the Socialist leader Murayama Tomiichi with the premiership. Is it true that Murayama was the first Socialist ever to serve as prime minister of Japan?

Answer: false

Katayama Tetsu (1887-1978), a moderate Socialist, served as prime minister of a center-left coalition government in 1946-47. Katayama was not only Japan's first Socialist prime minister, but also the first Christian to hold that office. Ohira Masayoshi, prime minister from 1978 to 1980, was also a Christian.

Murayama Tomiichi did not fare very well. His concessions to his LDP coalition partners offended much of his party's base, and soon led to a precipitous drop in the number of Diet seats held by Socialists.
10. Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, in office from 2001 to 2006, earned the sobriquet "Lionheart." He had another, less pleasant nickname, though. What was it?

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.
Source: Author Guiguzi

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor trident before going online.
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