So I was reading this fanfic that had a female OC compare Kages in Naruto to Military Dictators in the real world. For some reason, I found this notion incredibly annoying, so, using my term of Politics lessons spent studying Facism, I shall try and refute it.
So heres a list;
- Hidden Villages are not Countries
Hidden Villages resemble more a large mercenary organisation than they do a country. For starters, the economy of Hidden Villages is implicitly largely reliant on income form missions, additionally, civilians seems to make a relatively small proportion of the population. Also, the population of the Hidden Villages is too small to really compare with most RL countries, Konoha, the most populous village according to the data book, only has 32,000 people at most.
Furthermore, the whole purpose of the military is Konoha is entirely different to that of a modern militarised state. In RL countries, a military may exist for a variety of reasons, but generally it comes down to necessity and has to be paid for by civilian tax payers. In Konoha, by contrast, being a shinobi is a way of life, particularly for the clans, and provides revenue for the village.
Hidden Villages are also under the authority of the Daimyo, at least nominally. All in all, it would be profoundly weird if the leader of the Hidden Villages didn’t have a military background, they just wouldn’t be qualified
In short: the military serves a country, the military is a Hidden Village
- Different Historical and Ideological Context
Hitler, Mao, Lenin, Enver Pasha, Kim-il Sung, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein…What do they all have in common? They rose to power on the back of revolutions, ideologies and coups. Kages in Naruto are nothing like that, the Hidden Villages have had Kages since their founding and the position is now a tradition. Additionally, democracy doesn’t seem to be well-known idea in the Naruto-verse, so dictatorship is more of an inevitability than an ideological stance, as it is in real life.
Additionally, villages, again, not countries. The foundation of the villages, or at least Konoha, can be described as many small mercenary organisations reaching a truce and merging to form a larger one. Villages, and by extension Kages, are not the reason shinobi exist, shinobi exist because of culture, history and tradition.
- They don’t act like totalitarian states
Totalitarianism is the bedrock that dictatorships are founded upon, at least the bad ones anyway. The Kages in Naurto at no point suggest that they ought to have control over every aspect of village life, on the contrary, we rarely if ever see the Kages intervening in the day to day lives of civilians or even the personal lives of ninja. Furthermore, the Kages seems to have the council to act as a check on their power, as the whole Uchiha massacre incident demonstrates.
Kages are appointed on the basis of experience, although nepotism does seem to have a role. They don’t ‘take over’ and, in general, maintain their authority through public trust not military might. This contrasts heavily with real world dictators whose authority is often built on fear and intimidation as opposed to respect, at least before a cult of personality develops.
Also, we don’t actually know that much about the inner workings of the village. Who regulates planning permission? Are there layers of local government? Who manages the sewage system? Obviously, shinobi have to have some kind of input; even the most civilian of matters are likely to have security implications in a world of ninja but to what extent?
This was a really rambley post…oh well…I needed to vent.