Raging Socialist Katsu Nomizu dashed up to the Speaker's rostrum, kicked Liberal Speaker Senzo Higai smartly in the shin. "Baka!"*(Idiot), screamed Liberal Shu Kara, flooring Nomizu in the aisle. "Stop! Quit! Disreputable!" shouted members from both sides of the house. But in a moment Japan's first postwar Diet session resembled a brawl in a frontier saloon, as members traded insults, shook one another, swung futile fists.

The Japanese were finding the trappings of Western democracy hard to learn, but it was not for lack of trying. And how were Orientals ever to fathom the inscrutable Western mind? Fifteen long blocks...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!