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EXTRACT Hakko ichiu theory (八 纮 一 宇) Article. Pacific War: the initial expansion (December 1941 - May 1942) in December 2011- History of the last war n°15 - © Fabrice Jonckheere

Hakko ichiu theory 八 纮 一 宇

Some say a desire for world domination by Japan Showa. This conviction believes find confirmation in the Japanese conquest of 1941-1942 and sees the foundation in the theory of Hakko ichiu, which is usually translated as "eight corners, a roof". But would it not s' wonder about the deeper meaning of this expression?

Indeed this concept is forged longstanding initially concerned that the archipelago. It came only gradually to designate an area wider Asian. The first historical mention was made in the Nihon Shoki, text completed in 720 AD. At the beginning of the world initially liquid, the deities Izanagi and Izanami gave birth to Onokoro Island and erected a pillar, Auguste Heavenly Pillar. Around it they built a large palace called Yahirodono, Eight Steps to the Hall. They begat Oyashima, the country of eight islands: Awazi, Iyo (Shikoku), Ogi, Tukusi (Kyushu), Iki, Tusima, Sado and Yamato (Honshū). The Emperor Jinmu, from historical times, had collected all these sacred lands under one roof, ie Kashihara. its capital. These eight parts of the world and original purpose had to be gathered around one pillar (the Emperor) under a common roof (Japan). The number eight is, seen here, carrying a symbolic cosmic vision which was associated métagéographique. Indeed, the visible world was represented by eight trigrams designating the eight elements and the eight cardinal directions: North = Earth, Northeast = Lightning, Fire = East, Southeast Lake =, South = Sky, Southwest = Wind, Water and West = Northwest = Mountain. The eight represented and all directions, an infinite compound in the Buddhist tradition by eight seas surrounding the sacred mountain Shumisen 须弥 山. The roof 宇 matched the sky that envelops the whole and ruled out any separation, ie every barrier and conflict.

"The reappropriation in the modern era of Hakko ichiu, more mystical and cosmological military" (1E, p 620), did nothing but update this paternalistic view of a homogeneous whole of Asia.

The ideological foundations of Hakko ichiu and by extension, the Co-Prosperity Sphere, were borrowed from Adornment Sutra Flower (Kegon-kyo). This writing, written in the third century, emphasizes the concepts of infinity and universality in the philosophy "ichi soku issai, issai soku ichi (one is inseparable from the whole and vice versa)" (4E). The Society for the Study of Showa (Showa kenkyu-kai) and advocated under these values, a federated Asia. (Toa renmei) made by Japan, Manchuria and China. The term was coined Hakko Ichiu shortly after by Tanaka Chigaku. Diverted from its original meaning, the notion of Hakko Ichiu however, could lead to an imperialist interpretation. Aware of this drift, Koyama Iwao (1905-1993), disciple of Nishida, and drawing of Adornment Sutra Flower, proposed that one substitutes the word "to be included or to find a place" (4E) . This understanding was rejected by the military circles of the nationalist party.

Hakko ichiu was indeed officially adopted at the Imperial Conference of August 1940 and included in the "National Basic Kihon Kokusaku Yoko (基本 国策 要 纲)." "The basic AIM of Japan's national policy lies in the firm establishment of world peace in Accordance with the lofty spirit of Hakko Ichiu, In Which the country WAS Founded, and in the construction, as the first step, of a new order in Greater East Asia, HAVING icts for the Solidarity Foundation of Japan, and Manchoukou Chin ". (2E). According to Hakko ichiu, only China, Korea and Manchuria were mentioned there
The extension to the South Pacific and West came only later, July 2, 1941 "In order to guarantee national security and preservation, the Imperial Government Will continue negotiations with all Necessary diplomacy reference to the southern regions (..) First of all, the Plans Which Have Been ugly with reference to French Indo-China and Thai Will Be prosecuted, with a view to Consolidating our position in the southern territories. "(3E)

This development is significant in many ways. The march southward proceeded more paradoxically not a simple extension of Hakko ichiu but obeyed economic and strategic contingencies for hakko ichiu preservation.

1E : Pelletier, Philippe. Extrême-Orient, invention d’une histoire et d’une géographie, Paris Gallimard, 2011.
2E : The Official Statement of the Japanese Government, World Future Fund, August 1, 1940
3E : The fourth Imperial Conference, Agenda: Guidelines for the implementation of Imperial National Policy including the Change of Circumstances” in http://www.jacar.go.jp/english/nichibei/djvu/19410702a_02/index.djvu
4E : Ishii, Kosei. l’idée de « Sphère de co-prosperité de la Grande Asie Orientale » et la philosophie boudhique – le rôle de l’Ecole de Kyôto. Cipango-hors-série, printemps 2002, p104