|“||The Taisei Yokusankai movement has already turned on the switch for rebuilding a new Japan and completing a new Great East Asian order which, writ large, is the construction of a new world order. The Taisei Yokusankai is, broadly speaking, the New Order movement which will, in a word, place One Hundred Million into one body under this new organisation that will conduct all of our energies and abilities for the sake of the nation.||„|
|~ Excerpt from the November 6, 1940, issue of Shashin Shūhō.|
The Taisei Yokusankai (also known as the Imperial Rule Assistance Association) was Imperial Japan's para-fascist organization created by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe on October 12th, 1940 to promote the goals of his Shintaisei. ("New Order") movement. The party was created from a merging of all of Japan's other political parties at the time such as the Rikken Seiyukai, Rikken Minseito, Kokumin Domei, Shakai Taishuto.
Konoe originally conceived the party as a reformist party to overcome the differences of the many different parties in Japan during the war, but it evolved into a "statist" ruling political party which aimed at removing the sectionalism in the politics and economics in the Empire of Japan to create a totalitarian single-party state, in order to maximize efficiency of Japan’s total war effort in China. When the organization was launched officially, Konoe was hailed as a "political savior" of a nation in chaos; however, internal divisions soon appeared. The party nationalized Japan and helped prepare the country for total war against China.
Based on recommendations by the Shōwa Kenkyūkai (Shōwa Research Association), Konoe originally conceived of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association as a reformist political party to overcome the deep-rooted differences and political cliques between bureaucrats, politicians and the military. During the summer of 1937, Konoe appointed 37 members chosen from a broad political spectrum to a preparatory committee which met in Karuizawa, Nagano. The committee included Konoe's political colleagues Fumio Gotō, Count Yoriyasu Arima and ex-syndicalist and right-wing spokesman Fusanosuke Kuhara. The socialist and populist left wing was represented by Kingoro Hashimoto and the traditionalist military wings by Senjūrō Hayashi, Heisuke Yanagawa and Nobuyuki Abe.
Konoe proposed originally that the Imperial Rule Assistance Association be organized along national syndicalist lines, with new members assigned to branches based on occupation, which would then develop channels for mass participation of the common population to "assist with the Imperial Rule".
However, from the start, there was no consensus in a common cause, as the leadership council represented all ends of the political spectrum, and in the end, the party was organized along geographic lines, following the existing political sub-divisions. Therefore, all local government leaders at each level of village, town, city and prefectural government automatically received the equivalent position within their local Imperial Rule Assistance Association branch.
As soon as October 1940, the Imperial Rule Assistance Association systemized and formalized the Tonarigumi, a nationwide system of neighborhood associations.
In February 1942, all women's associations were merged into the Greater Japan Women's Association which joined the Imperial Rule Assistance Association in May. Every adult woman in Japan, excepting the under twenty and unmarried, was forced to join the Association.
Likewise, in June, all youth organizations were merged into the Greater Japan Imperial Rule Assistance Youth Corps (翼賛青年団), based on the model of the German Sturmabteilung (stormtroopers).
In March 1942, Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō attempted to eliminate the influence of elected politicians by establishing an officially sponsored election nomination commission, which restricted non-government-sanctioned candidates from the ballot. After the 1942 Japanese General Election, all members of Diet were required to join the Yokusan Seijikai (Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association), which effectively made Japan a one-party state. The Imperial Rule Assistance Association was formally dissolved on June 13, 1945.
During the Allied occupation of Japan, the American authorities purged thousands of government leaders from public life for having been members of the Association.
Later, many of the leaders of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association became major members of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party.