To acquaint U.S. troops as much as possible with
their Japanese foes, the Intelligence Bulletin has included
in previous issues a number of articles dealing
with characteristics of the individual enemy soldier, his
reaction in combat, and the factors of his environment
that make him different from the average U.S.
soldier. For a complete reference to these articles, see
to "Japanese Characteristics and Reaction in Battle"
(Vol. II, No. 8, p. 69).
In connection with the general subject above, a
"morale lecture" by a Japanese lieutenant is reproduced
in part below. This lecture, apparently very
carefully prepared, gives a clear picture of Japanese
thought on the subject of "duty" and "spirit" as it
relates to combat in the present war. The lecture apparently
was written before mid-1943.
It is believed that this lecture may be of particular
value to officers in the preparation of orientation talks
on enemy attitudes and psychology.
When we fight, we win. When we attack, we capture. The
results of our recent glorious battles are acknowledged by all.
What induces these admirable military accomplishments?
America, England, and China, whose natural resources, physical
strength, and equipment are not inferior to ours, were
routed miserably in battles with the Imperial Army. So we
must assume that for some reason they have defects. If so,
what are these defects?
Fundamentally, America and England are countries which
traditionally value individualism. It is known from American
and English literature and orations that the people regard the
state as an assembly of individuals. Accordingly, the individual
is of supreme importance and the state secondary. Thus,
it is quite understandable that there is no disgrace in the individual
sacrificing everything to save his life when endangered.
China is a country dominated by the family system. From
ancient times the traditions of a perennial family have been
observed and respected, but the people have little interest in
changes in the constitution of the country. Their past history
reveals 20 changes of dynasties. Among them were families,
but nothing higher. With the Han, Tang, Sung, Ming, and
Manchu dynasties, the country passed through different eras,
but there was very little historical record of any spirit among
the people with these changes. The Chinese still observe the
family system, as of old....
Then, what about Japan? It is a known fact that Japan is
not an individualistic country. Nor is it a country of family
systems. In Japan the family is stressed; blood ties are highly
regarded, and ancestors are worshipped more than in China.
But there is much more than this in Japan. There is the
Imperial Family, unique in this world, that is over us. The
Imperial Family is the light, the life, the pride of Japan. In
truth, Japan is Japan and the Japanese are Japanese because
of the Imperial Family. From this consciousness the Japanese
spirit is born. A loyalty is born, which utterly disregards the
safety of the home and family—even one's own life—for the
welfare of the Emperor and country. This special Japanese
spirit is something peculiarly Japanese, quite different from
anything American, English, or Chinese. When setting out to
do things, we who possess this special Japanese spirit can
accomplish our duty; but those who do not have it, perform
only a superficial duty....
Our great air raid on Pearl Harbor was an attack that satisfied
our soldierly spirit, which stops at nothing short of total
destruction. It affords an affirmative answer to whether this
magnificent achievement was right or not....
In our Imperial Army, we have graciously been permitted
to witness and hear many loyal speeches, many instances rich
in Japanese spirit, and many actions carried out with enthusiasm
In times of peace when there was no danger of attack or
fighting the enemy, officers and men, covered with dirt and
sweat, silently and enthusiastically carried on their training,
never relaxing their efforts for a moment. We could see all
this for ourselves. This ardent peace-time training could not
have continued if there were not the strong resolution to repay
the Emperor's trust by acting as the bulwark of the Empire
in time of emergency, and by taking the safety and dangers of
the country on our shoulders. We thus assured the security of
the state and fulfilled our duty as soldiers.
When we stop and reflect on those who have carried out their
duties in the past, we find that they always discharged them
with full determination and with the Japanese spirit. In this
lies the strength of Japan.
Happily our forefathers have repaid the trust of His Majesty,
the Emperor, by preserving tradition and discharging
their duty in this way. We must not in the least defile the
shining tradition bequeathed to us by them. On the contrary,
for Emperor and country we must do all we can to add to its
It is obvious that the road before us is not easy. We need
strong determination to establish the New Order in Greater
East Asia. Governors and governed must unite purposes and
push ahead fearlessly with a single object in mind. Here I
want to raise my voice and declare: "Carry out your duty with
the Japanese spirit."
The spirit of Bushido has been spoken of from olden times
in these words: "Among flowers, the cherry; among men, the
warrior." With this spirit hold your ground without yielding
a step, no matter what wounds you may receive, and thus make
your end glorious by carrying out your duty calmly.