The GSDF’s Quest for Public Acceptance and the “Allergy” Myth
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The Ground Self-Defense Force’s (GSDF) efforts to overcome the legacy of the pre-war Imperial Japanese Army (IJA, Dainippon Teikoku Rikugun) and achieve domestic legitimacy has deeply influenced the missions, structure, and even the very name of this military organization. Even while the GSDF has attempted to distinguish itself from the pre-war land army, it has also tried to prove its usefulness and relevance, not an easy task for the land army of an island nation, especially one that also happens to be aligned with the global air and naval hegemon, the USA. In all three areas, the GSDF has appealed to mass public opinion as well as elites. This chapter uses polling data to examine how the GSDF has fared in their attempt to build legitimacy and find public acceptance for its existence.