Imagining America: The origins of Japanese public opinion toward the United States in the cold war

Ming Chang Tsai*, Seio Nakajima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


In the wake of the Second World War, Japanese society developed a favorable attitude toward the United States as well as the camp of the "Free World". This paper attempts to investigate the origins of the mass public's relevant attitudes on the basis of survey data collected in Japan around 1960. Those with higher class positions and government workers tended to accept the US more than did labor. It is argued that for the mainstream middle class, capitalism became a viable option shortly after the war. In addition to the examination of class interest, we test three models: A political model, by which we stress that attitudes are influenced by the value positions of the political parties and organizations they affiliate with; a Cold War mentality model, which argues that a stronger perception of continuous confrontation between capitalism and the Soviet Bloc likely leads to preferring closer association with the US, capitalism, and the Free World; and an emperor effect model, which measures correlations between support for the emperor and pro-American attitudes. The three models and hypotheses derived from them are generally supported through careful analyses of the survey results. This study offers a unique contribution to recapture the origins of a pro-American attitude of the Japanese public during the peak of the Cold War.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Commentary on State and Society in Modern Japan
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789811023958
ISBN (Print)9789811023941
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1


  • Anti-Americanism
  • Cold war
  • Japan
  • Public opinion
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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