The Tent of Orange Mist by Paul West, 1995, Excerpts
When questioned in class, a Staff College student at once sat to attention and shouted “Sir!” firmly grasping each arm of his chair, and fixing his eyes on the back of the person in front of him. He then bawled out what seemed a carefully rehearsed answer predicted on the taught doctrine that the Japanese were a race morally superior to all others and that the soldiers of this race, their leaders above all, were a thing apart.
After seven and a half years of the most strenuous, the most exacting and the most spartan of all military training, infantry officer-cadets at last reach the rank of second lieutenant. During these impressionable years, they have been walled off from all outside pleasures, interests or influences. The atmosphere of the narrow groove along which they moved has been saturated with a special national and a special military propaganda. Already from a race psychologically far removed from us, they have been removed still further and scarcely still belong to the humanity they came from.
Young officers were schooled for death, not stagnation in a peacetime army; but most of the Japanese Imperial Army had fought little in the past thirty years. Their officers despised socialism, which they thought effeminate, and burned to reinstate the sword as the heroic insigne. Only a military dictatorship headed by the Emperor would suit them, and this they proposed to achieve through a coup d’état mounted by junior officers. Hence the Blood Pledge Corps of 1932. Sword-making once again became a cherished art while communism became a favorite target. Japan began to buy aluminum, lead, nickel, and zinc, tin and chrome, spikes for barbed wire, tank engines, ball bearings, and, from the activated-charcoal industries of British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, filters for gas masks.