This introductory chapter discusses Grand Council of State's Conscription Pronouncement (Chōhei Kokuyu), which declared the state's intention to institute a blueprint for military service unparalleled in Japanese history. The Council castigated the dissipation of contemporary warriors in order to replace them with a conscript army drawn from the entire populace: “warriors are not the warriors they once were, and the people are not the people they once were; all are equally the people of the imperial state.” This framing of the government's new policy implied that elimination by fiat of the boundary between warrior and commoner was both unprecedented and irrevocable.
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