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Beyond the Traditional Concepts of Peace in Different Cultures Author(s): Takeshi Ishida Source: Journal of

Beyond the Traditional Concepts of Peace in Different Cultures Author(s): Takeshi Ishida Source: Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1969), pp. 133-145 Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/423202 Accessed: 08-08-2016 14:57 UTC

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Peace Research

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University of Tokyo

1. Introduction

One difficulty is that the meaning of

Countries at war always say that they 'peace' varies in different cultures. It is

are fighting 'for peace'. If the true meaning of the word 'peace' were clear,

essential to clarify the different concepts

of peace, as the following examples

a great number of past wars might have

been avoided. While some may argue

that this lack of clarity is even advan- tageous since it makes possible the in-

clusion of important human desires such

as justice and prosperity, the other side of the coin is the danger of the concept

being used to justify any kind of war. In

this age of nuclear weapons we cannot

use the terms 'a war for peace' or 'a

just war' as excuses for starting a war. Nuclear war is incapable of bringing


The first is Japan during World War

II. The government leaders stated that

they were fighting for 'peace in the

East'. They called the pacifists and the

dissenters from the Emperor-system, as

well as the communists, 'aka' (red) and suppressed them rigorously. Why did this clash occur between the govern- ment leaders' concept of 'peace in the

East' and the pacifists' ideal of peace?

This cannot be fully explained unless

we understand the traditional Japanese

concept of 'peace'. 'The peace of the

village', which is still a strong social

about 'peace', because it can only end

in the destruction of mankind. How is

it possible to prevent war - both nuclear

war and the technically developed non- nuclear war of today? How can we achieve social justice without war? In the following I wish to examine a

concept of 'peace' which may go some way towards solving these problems.

We may be able to eliminate ambiguity

in the concept of 'peace' and prevent

abuse of the word by giving it a sci-

entific definition. This may be an ef- fective way to avoid confusion in dis- cussion of peace. Here, however, I

would rather emphasize the importance

of the study of the semantics of peace

force, may indicate the characteristics of the traditional concept. During the national election of 1952 irregularities occurred in a certain village, and a girl

who lived in the village wrote to a news-

paper exposing them. When the police began to investigate the village bosses,

the eirl and her family were ostracized

and life was made so unpleasant for

them that they were finally forced to leave the village, because the villagers thought that the family had disturbed 'the peace of the village'.1 There were

many occurrences of this kind before the

war when the whole country was

(i.e., how the word 'peace' has been

understood), and consider why 'wars for

thought to be like a village (the present

peace' have been so successfully justi-

fied in the past.

situation is a little different). The con-

cept of 'the peace of the village' illus-

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134 Takeshi Ishida

trated above implies the preservation of

insistence on peace will have to resist.

the traditional system and customs, how-

Accordingly, the Japanese pacifists had

ever irrational the foundations on which

the rest may be. Content analysis

to face two enemies: the traditional idea

the government. From these circum-

of 'internal harmony' and the idea of

would reveal a high degree of correla- 'peace in the East', the slogan used by

tion between the words, 'heiwa' (peace)

and 'chowa' (harmony). The writer is

planning to compute the correlation be-

tween the concept of 'peace' and other

concepts in Japan. The sample to be

analysed consists of speeches by Prime

Ministers, and the method will be either

to use correlation or to use factor ana-

stances we can understand why Japan did not have a conscientious-objector

system until its defeat, which was fol-

lowed by renunciation of war.

The next example concerns Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi and their differences of emphasis. The

principles of non-violent direct action

lysis, in order to find conceptual struc-

ture concerning the concept of peace.

If a similar analysis were made in

other countries, then it would be pos- sible to compare the conceptual struc- ture of peace in different cultures. We can understand why the Japanese

pacifists were so fiercely attacked: they, like the communists, seemed to disturb

the social harmony and conformity to

the war effort of the nation. As a result,

it could be said that the pacifists were

not 'peaceful'.

One may wonder why the Japanese behaved cruelly in battle and why they showed such bravery in their suicide

planes. Such deeds were performed to

achieve 'peace in the East' although the

Japanese loved harmony and hated con-

flicts within their own society. Max We-

ber's dualism, 'Binnenmoral' (morality

within the group) and 'Aussenmoral'

(morality vis-a-vis people outside the

group), may satisfactorily explain the in-

consistency. The more intense the desire

to keep harmony among the members

of a society with a strong ingroup con-

sciousness, the stronger the tendency to

fight against any enemy which threatens

the inner harmony from outside. When such groups fight, they employ a moral-

ity different from that applied within

the group. In this cultural context, if

the whole country adopts a warlike at-

titude to the outside, pacifists with their

did not differ seriously: King was deeply

influenced by Gandhi, and they were both influenced by Christianity and by

Thoreau. Their differences in emphasis, however, seem derived from the differ-

ences between the cultural traditions of

the USA and of India. In order to make non-violent direct action polit-

ically effective, they had to resolve dif-

ficulties which sprang from opposite ex-

tremes: Gandhi had to teach non-violent

direct action and King had to teach

non-violent direct action. Their differ- ence in emphasis undoubtedly originated in the different concepts of peace of their respective cultural backgrounds. King wrote: 'The eye-for-an-eye philos- ophy, the impulse to defend oneself

when attacked, has always been held

as the highest measure of American

manhood. We are a nation that wor- ships the frontier tradition, and our heroes are those who champion justice

through violent retaliation against in-

justice.'2 This 'frontier tradition' has its

origins in the Judeo-Christian spiritual

tradition. India, on the other hand, has a spiri- tual tradition of ahimsa (i.e., killing no

living creature), and of santi which sig-

nifies a well-ordered state of mind and is translated as 'peace' in English. As Romain Rolland said in his Life of

Gandhi, teaching non-violent direct ac-

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Beyond the Traditional Concepts of Peace in Different Cultures 135

tion to the Indian has its significance in teaching them to say 'No'.

It is natural that the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Indian tradition should

have different points of emphasis in the teaching of non-violent direct action.

of peace has a more general purpose.

The differences between concepts of

peace in different cultures indicate the

contradictory factors involved. What must we do to avoid 'wars for peace'? What must we do to avoid the passive

Each has its own characteristic concept

quietism that tends to allow injustice (in-

of peace: in the Judeo-Christian tradi-

cluding wars) while still maintaining

tion the inclination is to fight against

injustice, even using force if necessary;

and in the Indian tradition the inclina-

tion is to preserve a tranquil state of mind, even accepting injustice if neces-


The Japanese cultural tradition stands

order and calmness of mind? These

difficult problems must be solved in every culture if we want to maintain

peace. Such a semantic investigation will

surely be profitable if we want to re-

concile the contradictions in the concept

of peace.

much nearer to the Indian than to the

The Table below shows the original

Judeo-Christian, partly because of the

meanings of the concepts of peace of

influence of Buddhism, which was in-

the world's main cultures and the dif-

troduced into Japan more than twelve

centuries ago.

What follows is a summary of Part I

of my Politics for Peace, recently pub-

lished in Japanese. What must the Ja- panese do to maintain true peace? What

merits are there in the moral tradition

of Japan that will serve as its foun-

dations? and what faults that will hinder

its attainment? The aim of what follows

is to make a cross-cultural comparison of concepts of peace. This comparative study, originally written for the Japan- ese, may also be useful to people of other cultural backgrounds. Further, the study of the semantics

ferences in emphasis among them. I fear I have oversimplified their respec- tive meanings and ignored their histor- ical development, placing too much

stress on the differences rather than the

similarities. The diagram ought to have

been composed of overlapping circles

rather than of mutually exclusive boxes.

The Table should not be taken to in-

dicate that, for example, shialom does

not imply tranquillity of mind. The in- tention is simply to illustrate differences

of emphasis. If the emphasis moves to

the left, the tendency to 'fight for peace'

and the possibility of taking positive

action to realize justice will increase,

Emphasis The will of Tranquillity

Culture God, Justice Prosperity Order Trnquillity




Greece eirene



China (Japan) / ho p'ing or p'ing ho (heiwa)





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136 Takeshi Ishida

and the dangerous tendency toward 'war

Shalom was not a state of being - on

for peace' will arise. This dangerous

tendency diminishes as we move to the the people created through their own

right of the Table, but another danger

takes its place: the passive quietism which permits injustice and give tacit approval to a situation which may re-

sult in war. In what follows I shall

the contrary, it was a condition which

initiative. For example, the realization of shalom among the people signified

the conclusion of a contract among

them; more specifically, it was the con-

tract by which outsiders became cir-

briefly explain the concepts of peace

cumcised members of the Jewish faith.

and clarify these relationships among

(This is partly why berith in contempor-

them. All the concepts analyzed here

ary Israel means circumcision.) Max

are denoted by terms usually translated Weber says that Jehovah was the God

of contractual union ('Bundenskriegs-

as 'peace' in English. There is, how-

ever, another group of concepts related to non-violence, such as ahimisa. - In

fact, why ahimrsa was not translated 'peace' is an interesting question. One

gott'): Israel was based on this contract

with, and was supported and headed by,

Jehovah.5 If shalom is a contract with

Jehovah, it follows that it denotes a

of the reasons was probably that the

living and dynamic relationship and not

terms usually translated as 'peace' de- note vital goals of life, while non-

violence or ahimsa is usually considered

a static condition.

We have good reason to believe that

shatlom was regarded as referring not mainly to a state of mind but rather to

politico-economic relations. The Israel-

to be a question of means. The rela-

tionship between these two groups of concepts needs to be investigated care-

fully, but it is impossible to include

both in the same chart because of the difference of dimension. For the time being, let us deal with the first group,

i.e. the terms usually translated as

ites, as a nomadic people of the desert,

were exposed to the danger of attack

from outside and were threatened by

the possibility of dissolution from within. Under the internal contract they had to

present a strong united front against the

outside. Shalom implied that which was

gained in battle and not given by nature;

specifically, it was given in battle by


2.1 G. Kittel says that shailom and

eirene differ in their original forms: the

God. It was the process which revealed

former denotes a quality of relationship

the divine will through the contract with

('Verhaltnis') and the latter a state of

being (Zustand').3 Shalom stresses the

unity in berith (covenant) and the real-

ization of Jehovah's divine will, and it

brings about justice and prosperity. J.

Pederson explains that shalom and be-

rith are inseparable, and they were

sometimes used interchangeably.4 Berith

is superior to family or blood relation-

ships, although they precede it. The

creation of unity in the covenant was

the indispensable condition for realizing

God. In this respect shalom was not a

state where all tensions were finally


Thus shalom did not necessarily op-

pose the concept of war, since it some-

times signified victory in battle.

The Arab countries which suffered

great losses in the Six Day War with

Israel (1967) share the same historical

origin as their bitter foe, Judaism, and have much in common. The name of

Islam, a1-Iskam in Arabic, means 'to be

shalom and was even thought to be

shilom itself.

at peace' as well as 'to rive absolute

devotion'. Just as in ancient Judaism, it

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Beyond the Traditional Concepts of Peace in Different Cultures 137

also signifies fighting for the revelation

of God's will.

The Moslems interpret 'a holy war'

(jihad) as 'a fight for the code of Allah'.

And yet the so-called bellicosity of Is-

lam, indicated in the slogan 'the Koran

in the left hand, a sword in the right

disorder in Hellas was worse than a war

against outsiders, since barbarians were

the natural enemy of the Hellenes.

Isocrates took up this concept of

peace which stressed inner order, and

maintained that peace should be under-

stood in close relationship to democracy,

thus criticizing those political parties

that advocated war. Democracy in the

Greek polis did not include slaves and

hand' is from the Moslem point of view

a biased Christian interpretation. Mu-

hammad Ali, who translated the Koran

into English, asserts that Islam is truly women and differed greatly from the

a 'religion of peace'.

The fierce antagonism between Israel

and the Arab countries has been at-

tended by hatred on a national scale ever since the formation of Israel as a

state. This seems to have been caused

present system. However, Isocrates

thought that democracy would be de- stroyed by war. His treatise was the

first to discuss the relationship between

peace and democracy from the view-

point that there can be no democratic

partly by a common tradition of mono-

order and prosperity without peace.7

theism and a similar militant concept of peace as a realization of justice by the

divine will. We must consider the Graeco-Roman

influence on Christianity, but that it has

also inherited the shalomic concept of

peace (realization of iustice and achieve-

ment of divine will) is shown by the

idea of the 'bellum justum' (just war)

and the Crusades.

2.2 Eirene (dip4Yv in Greek), which is thought to have its origin in a word

meaning union, denoted a state, while

shalom denoted relationship. It stressed the importance of unity and order. It

was thought to produce prosperity,

although it did not directly signify

prosperity. In this sense, shalom and eirene have something in common. Above all we must not forget that the relation between order and peace gained importance with the development of the

polis. There was already a marked con-

trast between the peace within Hellas

and war against the non-Hellenes (i.e.,

the barbarian world) about the time of the Persian War (fifth century B.C.).6

Plato's day and age was no exception

to this way of thinking. Plato said that

2.3 The Roman concept of pax is sim- ilar to the Greek concept of eirene, in

that it denotes a state. As in 'Pax Ro-

mana', it was often regarded as a state

of good order and absence of war,

although it sometimes included a state

of good order achieved by conquest. It

also signified a legal relation based on

a pact (the English word 'pact' itself is from pax). However, the Roman pact

was a secular one based on Roman law unlike the concept of the covenant,

berith. Another difference between pax and shalom is the association of the former with a tranquil state of mind:

there is the expression 'pax animi', peace

of mind.

2.4 Compared with the concepts of

peace discussed above, traditional con-

cepts of peace in India and China are

rather different.

In India there are santi, usually trans-

lated 'peace', which means a well-or-

dered state of mind; and ahimsa, which means rejection of killing, non-violence, both already mentioned. The principle

of ahimsa, taking no life, animal or hu-

man, was employed by Mahatma Gandhi

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138 Takeshi Ishida

as a social and political weapon for

social reform and independence.

Unlike the concepts of peace con-

fucianism, assumed an affirmative at- titude to the secular world, unlike tradi- tional Indian ethics, the aim of which

sidered so far, traditional santi had

was to escape from the world. They

nothing to do with political conditions.

The Indians had other political con-

cepts, vigraha and sazdhi: the former

was either war as national policy or

hostility leading to war; the latter was

a state of no vigraha. They also had a

concept sama, meaning a well-governed corresponded to a well-ordered state of

social order.8 A tranquil state of mind

seem to be located at opposite poles in

this respect. However, concepts of peace

in China and India have placed similar

emphasis on state of mind. We know

from many examples in the Chinese

classics that the term ho p'ing (peace)


was indeed a part of the Roman con-

cept of peace, but it was considered

mainly within the political context: good

order within and absence of war with-

out. The concept of sainti was regarded

Political order, which India was un-

able to achieve, was usually called ho

p'ing; but the term p'ing ho, which

denoted a state of mind, was also some-

times used to indicate a state of political

only as tranquillity of mind, completely

order. Consequently ho p'ing and p'ing

separated from all political relations.

ho, which are written with the same

In fact, although Hinduism, Buddh-

characters in reverse order, seem to

ism, and Jainism earnestly preached

santi, the political struggle in the course

of which the Gautama clan was ruined lasted for thousands of years. Max We- ber says that this characteristic is a special feature of Indian religious ethics, which aim at escape from this world. Under the caste system rigidly main-

tained in that society, not to die in bed

(but on the battle field) was the highest

desire of the warrior caste Ksatriya to

which the political rulers belonged. The

Dharmasastra said that the warrior was

have similar original meanings, even

though the frequency of their usage

varies with time and place. In this con-

nection, it must not be forgotten that

natural and social phenomena were

considered to be continuous. Identific- ation between cosmic order and social

order has been clearly pointed out by

Max Weber as a characteristic of the

Confucian outlook.9 Social phenomena

were often identified with natural phe-

nomena. For example, the crops were

believed to depend on rites performed

by the ruler, and natural disasters such

as floods were thought to spring from

failure of the ruler to maintain harmony

with nature. Max Weber says that this

characteristic is common to both China

allowed to resort to arms only when all

other means failed and that his conduct

in battle should be limited by dharma

(law, duty). However, the Arthasdstra,

which deals with the education of the

monarch, explains how to weaken the

enemy and achieve victory.

In fact the reign of King Asoka

(reigned approximately 268-232 B.C.),

who followed the principles of Buddh- ism and whose government was based

on Buddhist ideals, was quite excep-

tional in the long history of India.

and India. Ho p'ing was regarded as

obedience to the whole cosmic order,

from which social and natural order

were inseparable.

2.6. The concept of heiwa (peace) in Japan has been influenced by China

and India as have other aspects of her

culture. Heiwa bears a closer relation

to p'ing ho than to the Indian concept.

2.5 Chinese ethics, represented by Con-

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Beyond the Traditional Concepts of Peace in Different Cultures 139

It is written with the same Chinese

The positive orientation toward justice

characters as p'ing ho despite the differ-

in shalo3m, the stress on good order in

ent pronunciation. Besides, both heiwa

and p'ing ho are related to political

order. Since Japan had no caste system

and had been influenced by Buddhism

for many centuries, this influence had

eirene and pax, and the emphasis on

state of mind in sainti, p'ing ho and

heiwa, are all significant components

of peace, and each, to some extent, im-

plies the others. The differences of

extended both to the samurai (warriors)

and to the farmers. For one thing, as

the samurai were deeply affected by Zen

emphasis have been somewhat exagger-

ated for the sake of comparison.

But there are difficulties. These three

Buddhism, some of the more courageous

ones grew dubious of the practice of killing and finally became Buddhist

monks, giving up their swords. More- another. For example, we must oppose over, to those who did not give up the injustice in order to realize justice; and

mind) are likely to conflict with one

nance of good order, and tranquillity of

factors (realization of justice, mainte-

calling of samurai, the meaning of fight- ing lay not in killing others but in dying

this may threaten both good order and

tranquillity of mind. Again, too much

bravely, to which end they disciplined

their minds.

Heiwa is apt to be understood as an

emphasis on peace of mind and har-

mony leads to rejection not only of

violence, but also of criticism of the

established order, and results in a peace-

at-any-price attitude which tolerates in-

adaptation to social order as in Con-

fucian ethics, because it is closely re- lated to harmony, but it also implies a

tranquil state of mind. Furthermore, it

places an emphasis on emotion, which

distinguishes Japanese Confucianism

from classical Chinese Confucianism.

Another characteristic is the aesthetic

factor added to harmony in which social

order and individual emotional feeling are respectively involved. This probably derives from the tradition of Shinto,

where aesthetic factors, for example

'purity', were dominant.


Gandhi, when he came in contact with the Christian concept of peace, grafted many of its good points onto the Indian concept whose emphasis on

tranquillity of mind encouraged political

apathy. By eliminating shortcomings, and by developing further the tradi-

tional concept of ahimsa, he established

the principle of non-violent direct ac-


Martin Luther King, who lived in a

In outlining above the characteristics of the concepts of peace in ancient Juda-

ism, in Graeco-Roman world, and in India, China and in Japan, I have per-

haps shown lack of caution in discussing

cultures in which I am not a specialist.

However, the intention is not to give

Judeo-Christian culture, overcame the

frontier principle of fighting for justice

with guns by advocating the principles

of Gandhi. Thus he became a leading

advocate of non-violent direct action.

3. Some conclusions

detailed descriptions of the concepts of I have explained the characteristics of

peace in each culture, but simply to

the concept of peace in different cultures

clarify their differences of emphasis,

and pointed out some of the difficulties

which will be significant when we con- sider the problems surrounding peace


we face when considering it. In the

original Japanese version, what followed

was a historical example, the Catholic

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140 Takeshi Ishida

attitude towards the bellum justum and

the historical development from Saint

Pierre to Rousseau and on down to

Kant. I also dealt with the Quaker and

Marxist views of war and their applica-

tion to actual events. But since this discussion is familiar to most Westerners I shall omit it here. Instead I wish to

French Revolution and the Paris Com-

mune when street fighting was more

effective than today. Although violent protest is inappropri- ate in terms both of moral principle and

of practical effectiveness, this does not

mean that protests are not necessary.

On the contrary, without protest par-

express my views as a Japanese on non-

liamentary democracy tends to stagnate.

violent direct action.

Only by fighting for peace by the

non-violent method, can we overcome

the contradictions involved in the con-

The danger of violent protest is that it

may lead to the breakdown of the dem-

ocratic system itself and hence may

be followed by a worse form of govern-

cept of 'peace'. But can we really achieve

ment. Thus the only way to reconcile

justice effectively by non-violent action?

This problem has plagued man since the

the achievement of social justice and

the maintenance of democratic proce-

beginning of history, but today a solu-

tion is urgently needed.

To prove the necessity of non-violent

dure is to protest by means of non-

violent direct action.

The same can be said about the inter-

direct action in the present situation national is situation, in the sense that the

escalation of violence may easily reach

a point fatal for both sides, and for the

in a country like the United States, in

easier than proving its feasibility. Even

which parliamentary democracy is high- whole of humanity in the case of nu-

ly developed, social injustices are not

easily abolished by the parliamentary

system. For instance, turbulent protest

movement was necessary to force the

clear war. But at the same time, inter-

national injustice should not be toler-

ated. The difficulty in this case is the

existence of sovereign states, which have

system to tackle the problem of improv-

ing the situation of the Negroes. As a

result, legislation was carried out to guarantee the right of Negroes to vote,

and so on. Nevertheless, much more pressure is needed to abolish the seg- regation and inequality which still exist. There are many Negroes and students

retained huge military forces. Theoret-

ically, there is no reason why a man

who kills one person within his coun- try's borders should be punished, while

one who kills many persons beyond the

borders during war is called a patriot. In this sense, Martin Luther King was

quite right in applying the 'philosophy

who feel impatient with the delay, and

violent protest is advocated by some of

them. Violent protest, however, fre- quently results in an escalation of viol-

ence between protest movement and

the government which suppresses it. In

terms of political effect, violent protest

cannot be successful in the long run.

of non-violence from the streets of Selma

and Memphis to the ricepaddies of the

Mekong Delta and jungles of Viet-


However, non-violent direct action within a nation, and disarmament in

the present international situation have

a common difficulty: that there is no

Recently in Japan, for instance, violent students protests were used by the po-

lice as an excuse for an increase in

historical evidence that justice was ever

guaranteed by these methods. In the

former case, a careful investigation of

armaments. and in the end were harshly the philosophy and strategy of Mahatma

suppressed. We are not in the age of the

Gandhi and Martin Luther King gives

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Beyond the Traditional Concepts of Peace in Different Cultures 141

some valuable suggestions. Conquest of Violence by Joan V. Bondurant (revised

ed., 1965, Univ. of California Press) is

an important achievement in this field.

Here, however, I wish simply to deal

with the possibility of Japan's setting an

example by becoming an unarmed and

neutral country.

How can Japan, as a country which,

for the first time in human history, has a constitution that renounces all war,ll

succeed in providing the first example

of an unarmed nation?

two countries. Furthermore, Japan has a Self Defence Force, created by the

occupation authorities in 1950, at the

time of Korean War. With the passage of time, the Japanese people have be-

come accustomed to the existence of

these 'illegitimate' military forces, and

the percentage of those who approve

the fait accompli has been increasing.

At the end of 1968, 17 %/ of the re-

spondents to a public opinion poll con-

ducted by the Asahi shimbun thought

that the Self Defence Force was un-

To be specific some characteristics of constitutional, while 40 % thought that

the present political situation in Japan

it was not.12

should be mentioned. Besides the exist-

The acceptance of the existence of

ence of 'the peace Constitution', an im-

portant advantage is the deep and wide-

spread popular opposition to war. In a

the Self Defence Force does not neces-

sarily imply approval of the maintenance

of a full-fledged army, navy, and air

poll conducted by the Japan Broadcast-

force, since many of those who thought

ing Corporation (NHK) in 1968, in an-

swer to the question 'What are you

most concerned about?', the war in Viet-

nam was ranked second (51.7 %), next

to high prices (78.1 % respondents could

mention more than one issue). This does

not necessarily mean that the Japanese are particularly interested in peace as a principle. It means, rather, that for the

Japanese people the problem of war and

peace is not remote from their daily

the Force did not contravene the Con-

stitution held the view that it was, or

should be, something other than a mili-

tary force. For instance, a poll taken

by the Yomiuri shimbun at the end of 1968 produced the following results: to the question 'How should we deal with the present Self Defence Force?' the answers were 'We should strengthen it',

12.3 %; 'We should abolish it', 6 %;

'We should keep it as it is', 43.6 %; and

'We should transform it into a construc-

tion corps', 26.3 %. Even among those

who think that the Self Defence Force

lives: first, they are extremely sensitive about war because of their experience

of bombing, particularly of the atomic

bombings, 313,161 victims of which still should be as it is, there are many who

survived in 1967 (this figure was of those who were recognized by the gov-

ernment); and second, the war in Viet-

nam means for many Japanese an in- crease in the difficulties caused by American military bases, such as air- plane crashes, misconduct of GIs and


think that its raison d'etre is not military

action, but chiefly rescue-work at times

of disaster.'3 For instance, 80 % of the

respondents in a 1966 government sur-

vey thought that 'the Self Defence Force

is most useful for' rescue work at times

of disaster, and other non-military coop-

eration in civilian life.14

Despite this attitude, Japan is directly

The government party, which has been in power almost permanently since the war, intends to revise the Constitu- tion to make full-fledged military forces

committed to the Vietnam War because

she provides the United States with

military bases under an obligation im-

posed by the security treaty between the constitutional. They have so far been

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142 Takeshi Ishida

unsuccessful because of the strength

of popular feeling in favor of the 'peace

Constitution', as expressed in the oppo-

sition party slogan 'Boys! Don't take up

arms! Women! Don't send your sons

and sweethearts to the battle field!' An

Asahi poll at the end of 1968 showed

that only 19 % favored revision of the Constitution to allow Japan to have

full-fledged military forces, whereas

64 % opposed it.

was the correct course. It is not very

clear yet in the popular mind, however,

how Japan's security is to be maintained by unarmed neutrality.

Before dealing with this problem, something should be said about the

immediate difficulty which hinders Ja-

pan's progress toward unarmed neutral-

ity. This is the policy line of the govern-

ment, which diverges sharply from the popular attitude described above.

Particularly sensitive is the popular Although many Japanese are impatient

attitude toward nuclear armaments. In

with the fact that the government, ignor-

the Asahi poll, 67 % thought that the

ing the trend of public opinion, has in-

American nuclear umbrella actually

endangered Japan, while only 12 %

directly involved Japan in the Vietnam

War and has strenthened the Self De-

fence Force, the government party has been in power continuously for more

than twenty years, and there is not much

likelihood that the governing party will

be changed in the near future. One important reason for the exist-

ence of a semi-permanent government

party is that at election time many voters

are concerned less with the policies a

candidate advocates than with the short-

range return which they can expect from him. Candidates of the government party are, of course, in a better position

to influence budget allocations for a

certain district or group to which the voter belongs. The majority of voters

are enlightened enough to know which

candidate will be most useful to them

in the short run, but not sophisticated enough to realize that more important

is the problem of which policy will be

most valuable to them in the long run.'6

This sort of 'practical' attitude is of-

ten supported by the traditional attitude

toward harmony within the group. Al-

though national conformity, with the

Emperor at its center, was broken down

as a result of the defeat, group con-

formity remains strong in fragmented

sectors of society. Thus, 'the interest of the district' or 'the interest of the group'

can easily be used, buttressed by group

thought it safe. To the question whether

Japan would be safer if it had its own

nuclear weapons, 21.4 % thought it

safer, while 55.6 % thought it less safe.

In the same poll, 49.7 % thought that

war is not permissible even in self de- fence. These facts leave no doubt but

that the 'peace Constitution' has taken

root so deeply that there is widespread

popular antipathy to war of any sort.

If the majority of Japanese is not in favor of maintaining full-fledged mili-

tary forces or of strengthening the pre- sent Self Defence Force, then the ques-

tion naturally arises of how the security of Japan is to be guaranteed. To this question, a poll conducted in 1968 by the Tokyo shimbun reveals that the most frequent answer was 'by the United Na- tions' (30.4 %), and next 'by a policy of unarmed neutrality' (20.3 %). Inci-

dentally, 16.7 % answered 'by maintain-

ing the Security Treaty with the United

States', and 15.1 % 'by strengthening the Self Defence Force'.'5

Although 73.9 % of the interviewees

in the Asahi poll thought that Japan should maintain its security by its own efforts, not many of them thought that she should do so by strengthening the Self Defence Force; by contrast, not a few thought that unarmed neutrality

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Beyond the Traditional Concepts of Peace in Different Cultures 143

conformity, to encourage a bloc vote.

The ostracism which was described in

expressed, for example, in the form of protest movements against the govern-

the first part of this paper is an example ment, or against any authority considered

of the strength of this group conformity.

This sort of group conformity originated

to be in charge of the established order.

Radical students have organized violent

in communal rural life ('the peace of the

protest movements against the Security

village'), and was very often entangled Treaty between the United States and

with traditional political apathy which

Japan and against American military

bases. At the same time, they have

tended to lead to passive obedience to

the local bosses and other superiors.

Although both traditional communal

ties and traditional political apathy have

been declining, they are being replaced

by an increase in the solidarity of groups

devoted to more 'practical' interests and

a new type of political apathy arising

from the nature of mass society.

fought against the administrations of the

universities, which are, in their view, a

part of the 'establishment'. No doubt,

their violent resistance is the projection

of a serious discontent. It is probably

also true that in order to overcome

traditional conformism, it is necessary to create conflict. There are, however,

two difficulties in the violent action of

These two new tendencies are, in

different ways, related to the traditional the radical students. One is the difficulty

Japanese concept of 'peace', which is

entwined with that of harmony. Har-

mony within the group means that each

caused by the violence itself: sporadic

acts of violence will either not be ef-

fective because they can be supressed by

member must behave in the same way as the others, thus emphasizing the im- portance of unanimity. In the case of

political apathy, 'peace' tends to mean

that in order to maintain a 'peaceful'

individual (or family) life it is better not

to do anything which might produce

social conflict or disturbance. This sort

of political apathy resulting from privat-

ization in mass society is not peculiar

to Japan. One characteristic of political apathy in Japan is its entanglement with the traditional concept of peace. In to- day's Japan, there is an urgent need to

put an end to the traditional fusion

between concepts of 'peace' and 'har-

mony'. What is necessary is the emer-

gence of non-conformism, to combat

this weakness in the traditional Japanese conformity has emerged because of the

stagnant situation created by such con- formities. The people's dependence on

a strong feeling of resentment against

established social order, from parliament democracy to the bureaucratized hier-

archy of individual organizations, such

serious. Peace organizations have not been

a stronger physical force, i.e., the police; or if they are strong enough to over-

come police power (not very likely ex-

cept for a short time), there is a danger

of the country falling into a chaotic

situation in which democratic proce-

dures cannot operate. The other is the

difficulty arising from their methods of strengthening solidarity within their own

organizations, which often result in in-

creased inner conformism.

If the tradition of group conformity

is as strong as has been said and can be

found even within dissenting groups such as labor unions, where is the em- bryo of emerging non-conformism? As

the sense of alienation in mass society

grows, distrust in the authority of group

concept of peace.

In present-day Japan, there is indeed

the group to which they belong is so

strong that their disillusionment is also

as large firms. This feeling has been

exceptions to this rule. As they grew,

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144 Takeshi Ishida

they became vast in size and at the

States, a movement emerged which suc-

ceeded in despatching 30,000 copies

same time bureaucratized in their organ-

izational structure. Moreover, factional

conflicts due to serious disputes among the socialist parties have resulted in splits in the peace organizations. In-

creased political apathy is one result of

this sort of situation; and there has also

been another result. Some people, still

few in number, who are discontented with

the state of the peace organizations, are beginning to realize that they have only themselves to depend on to improve present conditions. Whether or not they

within a year. Other similar examples

could be added,l7 but it is still too early

for us to be optimistic about any rapid

growth of civic concern in Japan. Al-

though the trend toward overcoming the

weakness of the traditional Japanese concept of peace is still limited to a

small sector of society, if it can become

so strong that the people's wish for peace can dictate government policy so as to realize the spirit of the Constitu-

tion, which says in its Preamble: 'never

again shall we be visited with the hor-

belong to an established organization,

they feel it necessarry to do something rors of war through the actionof govern-

on their own initiative. Sometimes, they

ment', then can the Japanese have a

are so distrustful of the leadershipof any

great future. Of course, this can be

huge organization that they start form- ing very small groups, which can be

controlled by the members themselves,

for civic and peace movements. In fact,

for the first time Japan has a multitude

of voluntary groups ('voluntary' in a

strict sense) to campaign for peace.

At the moment the people who are participating in this sort of activity are

still relatively few in number, compared with those organized by huge organiza- tions. However, two examples illustrate

this growing tendency. One is the de-

monstration organized by a federation

of more than two hundred of these

achieved only through perennial resis-

tance to the government by non-violent

means. And if non-violent resistance to

the government can be strong enough

to be successful in controlling it, we do not need to be much concerned over the

absence of armaments, because the people

could use the same method of resistance, with even greater intensity, against alien

domination in the event of invasion.

It is difficult to answer questions about the political efficacy of unarmed defence with assurance, because of the

lack of historical evidence. All we can

do is to answer indirectly by presenting

a negative view of the problem. Con-

sider the recent Czech crisis. If the

Czechs had had a much more powerful

army and had resisted with force, would the result really have been better? No one seems to be able to answer this question with assurance. Instead of cat-

egorically answering 'yes' or 'no' to such a hypothetical question as whether a

country can be safe without armaments, what ought to be done is to decide

where we should direct our efforts. If the direction is clear and if we know

how to proceed, then the way will open

before us, slowly, perhaps, but steadily.

voluntary groups to protest against the war in Vietnam, which mobilized 10,000

marchers in Tokyo on June 15, 1968.

The other is the movement organized

by a federation of peace groups to

distribute the English translation of a

Japanese correspondent's report from

Vietnam. When a series of ten articles

written by a correspondent in Vietnam

appeared in The Asahi in 1967, 3,390

letters were sent to the editor expressing

readers' views on the articles. And as a

result of an appeal in one letter for an English translation of the articles to be

sent abroad, particularly to the United

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Beyond the Traditional Concepts of Peace in Different Cultures 145


1 The girl published a book: Satsuki Ishikawa, Murahachibu no

Tokyo: Rironsha, 1953. A brief description of the affair can be fo

2 Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can't Wait (New York, 196

3 Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament, herausgegebe

II (Stuttgart, 1935) pp. 400 f.

4 Johs. Pedersen, Israel: Its Life and Culture, I-II (Oxford, 1926

5 Max Weber, Gesammelte Aufsdtze zur Religionssoziologie Bd. II (Tuibingen, 1923),

pp. 126ff.

6 Wallace E. Caldwell, Hellenic Concepts of Peace. (New York, 1919), p. 69.

7 Isocrates, On the Peace, with an English Translation by George Norlin, vol. 2., The Loeb

Classical Library (London, 1929).

8 J. Duncan M. Derrett, 'The Maintenance of Peace in the Hindu World: Practice and

Theory', The Indian Year Book of International Affairs, vol. VIII. 1959, pp. 361-387.

9 Max Weber, Gesammelte Aufsaitze zur Religionssoziologie, Bd. I (Tilbingen, 1922), p. 441.

10 New York Times, April 7, 1968.

11 Article Nine of the Constitution clearly states: 'Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign

right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as

well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state

will not be recognized.'

12 Published in The Asahi shimbun, January 5, 1969. This poll used a random nation-wide

sample of 3,000 persons over 20 years of age.

13 The Yomiuri shimbun, January 1, 1969. The sample of 10,000 interviewees was chosen

by stratified random sampling from persons between 19 and 79 years of age.

14 Asahi shimbun anzenhosh5 chosakai (The Asahi shimbun Research Group on the

Security Problem), 70-nen no seiji kadai (Political Tasks in 1970), 1967, p. 162. 15 The Tokyo shimbun, January 1, 1969. This poll used a random nation-wide sample of 3,000 persons over 20 years of age. For more detailed information about Japanese public

opinion on foreign policy, see Takeshi Ishida, 'Japanese Public Opinion and Foreign Policy',

Peace Research in Japan, ed. by the Japan Peace Research Group (Tokyo, 1967).

16 For more detailed characteristics of Japanese Society, see Takeshi Ishida, Japanese

Society (New York: Random House, forthcoming).

17 For more detail, see Takishi Ishida, 'Emerging or Eclipsing Citizenship - A Study of

Change in Political Attitudes in Postwar Japan', The Developing Economies, vol. VI, No. 4

(Dec. 1968), published by the Institute of Asian Economic Affairs, Tokyo.

5 Journal of Peace Research

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