Main Body

The Small-minded Makeshifts of Maide Chōgorō, Dean of the Deadlocked Faculty of Economics

In which the author shifts his focus to lesser and less-distinguished actors in the Purge drama. At the height of the Purge, Tanaka Kōtarō resigned as dean of the Faculty of Law, and that resignation quieted unrest among the law professors. The main attack on Tanaka (and on the Purge itself) was that the Purge had overridden standard personnel procedures, so the author describes relations among Faculty Meeting, University Council, Dean’s Council, university president, and Minister of Education. He devotes considerable time to the case of Ōuchi Hyōei and the effort to block his firing. In the process, Maide Chōgorō, dean of the Faculty of Economics, comes in for special, unflattering attention as a Marxist economist who during the war “jettisoned Marx.”

Rōyama Masamichi’s View

Among the professors of the Faculty of Law, Rōyama Masamichi (administrative law; after the war president of Ochanomizu Women’s University) was the only one who objected to the whole process of the Hiraga Purge and resigned in protest. He published the details in “The Tōdai Purge and My Frame of Mind.”[1] Rōyama was a close friend of Kawai Eijirō, so the main thrust of his criticism was the irregularity of the punishment of Kawai. Kawai was charged with the inappropriateness of the ideas in his four banned books—Critique of Fascism, Principles of Social Policy, The Crisis and Liberalism, and Second Student Life; he was also charged with and punished for his responsibility over many years for the deepening strife in the Faculty of Economics.

Up till then, both in law and in custom, the procedure in cases of professors prosecuted on ideological grounds was to wait until they were actually indicted before discussing the matter in Faculty Meeting and then firing them. (Even Ōuchi Hyōe, arrested in the Faculty Group Incident, was fired only after he was indicted.) But this time those procedures were not followed. Without submitting the issue of Kawai’s punishment to the other professors beforehand, the president and those around him made the decision virtually in secret and forwarded the recommendation to the Minister of Education. What the recommendation contained was never made clear in precise detail. Rōyama demanded of Tanaka Kōtarō, dean of the Law Faculty and advisor to the president, that before forwarding the recommendation from the president to the Minister of Education, he convene Faculty Meeting and explain affairs, but even that request was blocked. Tanaka said he would speak in private but not in Faculty Meeting. Moreover, if Kawai was to be blamed for the strife in the Faculty of Economics, Rōyama asserted, Maide Chōgorō, dean of the Faculty of Economics, was also likely blameworthy, but that issue too was never answered (eighteen days later, Maide resigned voluntarily). Rōyama didn’t go so far as to call for Maide to resign as professor; but given that Maide had stirred up such great strife, he must take responsibility as dean and resign as dean. Such was Rōyama’s argument.

Kawai had foreseen that he would receive some sort of punishment and requested, “If my head’s going to roll, I’d like it to roll on the ideological issue.” But although university officials formed a committee of inquiry and investigated Kawai’s writings, they were unable to discover sufficient reason merely on the ideological issue for his head to roll. Nevertheless, said Rōyama, the Ministry of Education was clamoring for Kawai to be punished quickly, so there was nothing for it but to add another vague reason—his responsibility for the strife in the Faculty of Economics—and punish him. That was not right.

These were the main points of Rōyama’s disagreement with the punishment of Kawai, and he asserted that the punishment of Hijikata was even stranger. At least in Kawai’s case, the committee of inquiry had summoned the professor himself and given him an opportunity for a statement and defense, but Hijikata was never given such an opportunity. Rōyama wrote:[2] “In the case of Hijikata, the Deans’ Council had decided everything, including punishment, based on evidentiary materials presented by Deans Maide and Tanaka solely in the Deans’ Council and then made its recommendation to the president. It did not ask for Hijikata to be present or even offer him an opportunity to explain his actions. Law professors take government by law, or at least respect for the law, as the golden rule; particularly for them and for people related to a Faculty of Law that preaches in class and in writing the historical and cultural meaning of the guarantee of individual rights, these extraordinary procedures are truly unacceptable…. But no matter how problematic that action, how in the world can you take people who have served the university for long years before becoming imperial appointees [full professors were imperial appointees] and punish them in a secret court without giving them opportunity to speak? Moreover, Maide had played the role of prosecutor in that secret trial, and for many years he had been in the faction opposed to Hijikata—not only does Maide know nothing of the chivalry of the warrior, but he deserves to be called cowardly…. On the above points, the Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Law had argued at white heat; the stifling atmosphere in the room was overwhelming. I, too, was not completely cool but excited.” Rōyama’s points were well taken.

Even Tanaka Had Tears in His Eyes

At the Faculty Meeting that discussed the punishment of Kawai and Hijikata, the argument was stormier than ever before. And the Faculty Meeting’s opinion that was put together in the end regretted the action President Hiraga had taken. Nambara speaks as follows:[3] “Indeed, there was a lot of argument, and we developed at long last the final agreement of Faculty Meeting. Everyone cooperated or at least consented. First, ‘The action President Hiraga took was extremely regrettable,’ and here the opinions of my colleagues and I were included. But since the disposition had been announced, it was already a fait accompli, so at that stage there was no way to go back to the status quo ante; so we passed a resolution, ‘In rebuilding the Faculty, please exercise full prudence.’ With that Tanaka left Faculty Meeting and went to the administration building. There the Deans’ Council, led by the president, was waiting to hear what Faculty Meeting had done. As soon as he saw the Faculty Meeting resolution, Hiraga got very angry. He stated that if the Faculty of Law said his action was unacceptable, he’d resign…. Even Tanaka, too, was speechless. Still, he tried hard to persuade Hiraga and, questioned by Hiraga, said that when Hiraga said he’d resign, he—Tanaka—had shed tears for the first time. Tanaka wasn’t the sort to shed tears. Really calm, no matter how he’s criticized or judged, he can take it objectively and think about it. No matter how stormy the discussion, he never turns red in the slightest; he remembers in detail who said what.” Tanaka had never once shed a tear in public but cried for the first time. In his memoir, he writes as follows about this scene:[4]

Criticism focused on me and on the president. The reason: personnel affairs were supposed to be decided by Faculty Meeting. But the fact that the president went against custom and set up a committee and dealt with the matter infringed faculty autonomy; the actions of the dean of the Faculty of Law, who had advised the president, were all the more inexcusable. Fierce attacks arose. Virtually all those who were as old as I or older were of that opinion…. It wouldn’t do to implicate the president; so I kept silent, let them talk, and tried simply not to give in. But the attacks on the president became fierce. If there was no way to vent, the good name of the Faculty of Law would be damaged, so various proposals were discussed, and the result was a statement to the effect that “The action of the president is regrettable, but the matter has been decided and there is nothing to be done; so at this time we hope he will push on with the reconstruction of the Faculty of Economics.” … As soon as he read that, Hiraga turned red: “If the Faculty of Law takes that attitude, then I don’t want this job any longer.” I had thought the president was broadminded enough to live with this, so I hadn’t expected him to take this attitude. Probably the phrase “The president’s attitude is regrettable” resonated strongly and was unbearable for his straight and simple heart. … I didn’t know what to say to the president by way of excuse. I myself admired Hiraga whole-heartedly, and I had done what I did believing truly that it would help him, but when I thought that the result might be his resignation, I could think of nothing to say and felt bitter. I, of course, but the other deans, too: we were unable to say a word and sat there in silence. Then, saying I wanted to think about the options…I left the room.

Tanaka then rushed by taxi to the home of his colleague Wagatsuma (civil law). There, with Satō Kanji of the Faculty of Agriculture, one-time acting president who was close to Hiraga, they talked late into the night and worked out a counter-plan. If Hiraga resigned, they were in trouble. “While we were talking, at about two in the morning, the course I myself should take gradually became clear. The next day I convened an emergency Faculty Meeting. There I announced my decision to resign as dean. When I said that, suddenly, the atmosphere that prevailed among some of my colleagues lightened up. Seeing that, I thought the anti-Hiraga fever, too, was surprisingly simple—it was, in essence, anti-Tanaka fever. So if I resigned, the storm against Hiraga would die down, too.” In fact, with Tanaka’s statement that he would resign as dean, the unrest in the Faculty of Law all of a sudden eased. The dean of the Tōdai Faculty of Law resigning in mid-term for a reason other than illness: such a thing had never happened before.

The Birth of the Shōwa Research Group

What became of Rōyama after he resigned from the Faculty of Law? He moved to the Shōwa Research Group, in which he had already participated for several years. The Shōwa Research Group was a policy think tank created by Gotō Ryūnosuke (at the time, director of the Greater Japan Youth Association), who had been a classmate of Konoe Fumimaro’s all through First Higher School, then Tōdai. He created it for Konoe, who it was thought surely would someday become prime minister, by assembling talented individuals broadly from various worlds. It began its activities in 1933, and then expanded quickly just before the first Konoe Cabinet was formed in 1937; in 1939 it had more than 130 participants.

Those who joined the Shōwa Research Group were many and varied—friends of Konoe, social democrats and liberals, renovationist bureaucrats, former Marxists, journalists, financiers, and the like. It pursued its research via task forces on world policy, Asian politics, the Asian economic bloc, cultural issues, political trends, economic conditions, labor, foreign policy, and the like. The fruits of this research appeared as several hundred papers—public, private, secret; they were distributed widely.

Rōyama had been a member of the Shōwa Research Group since its founding, and in his official role, he had worked to compile the papers. Rōyama was the key figure especially in what became one central Konoe policy—the “East Asian community.” After the formation of the Konoe Cabinet, dizzyingly busy days continued, so nothing suited Rōyama better than to resign from the university and become his own man. Many other Tōdai professors took part in the Shōwa Research Group.[5]

If we correlate the Tōdai unrest with political events, the Popular Front Incident arose during the first Konoe Cabinet, and the Hiraga Purge arose in the following Hiranuma Cabinet. In terms of Ministers of Education, it was the era of Kido (the Konoe cabinet) and Araki (the Konoe and Hiranuma cabinets). It was an age of upheaval: the China-Japan War began. It was an age of great social turmoil. In politics, the Konoe Cabinet was formed, and the new structure movement and the movement to form a new political party both began. Finally, the mobilization of the entire society was in process.

Had such academic turmoil arisen in the old days, students would have been drawn into it, and great riots would have taken place; but at Tōdai nothing at all happened. Why not? Because in the war boom, students of the Faculty of Economics were in great demand, and apparently all of them were settled psychologically. In “Student Kaleidoscope,” Ijūin Hitoshi writes:[6] “Even in this day of the purge of the Faculty of Economics of Tokyo Imperial University, the students are lying absolutely low. There are likely other reasons, too, but most important is that just prior to graduation the students lack interest. Some say such students are cold-hearted, but from the students’ point of view, the resignation of five or six professors may no longer be a major issue…. It’s not the strange gloomy negligence of the depression of two or three years ago. From what I hear, class attendance is good everywhere, and students are particularly avid about military studies. In some universities, the history of military tactics and the like are very popular…. It goes without saying that intellectually speaking, they may already be completely secure in their mindsets. Marxism, which for a while caused problems for the officials, has no great allure for today’s students, and one doesn’t hear much talk even about movements on the right. That’s how times have changed. The China War, the national spiritual mobilization, and the military-procurement boom have done it. That’s my opinion.” Having considered the conditions of the day, let’s return once more to specific scenes of the great dispute at Tōdai.

The Origins of University Council Intervention in Faculty Decisions

I think I’d better explain first about the Dean’s Council to which, when summoned by the president, Dean Tanaka of the Faculty of Law returned. At that time the Deans’ Council had before it the issue of whether to recognize President Hiraga’s irregular action as the will of the university. The Deans’ Council itself was not the organ that decided formally the will of the university. That formal organ was the University Council. The University Council was made up of two representatives from each faculty and the dean of each faculty, so one third of the members overlapped with the Deans’ Council; but the highest decision-making organ throughout was the University Council, not the Deans’ Council. The Deans’ Council was an informal organ; organizationally, it had no specific powers. But in the course of the Hiraga Purge, the Deans’ Council gradually assumed a large role. The legal process in the Hiraga Purge went as follows: In the first University Council (January 10, 1939) after Hiraga became president, he declared that he himself would deal with the strife in the Faculty of Economics; he received its okay when he said he would consult fully with the two deans concerned (Economics, Law) and with the University Council representatives of those two faculties. First, he set up a committee directly under the president to investigate the content of Kawai’s banned books (it would also deliberate on punishment; the president alone had the final decision); as members of the investigating committee, he chose Dean Maide and the two representatives from the Faculty of Economics and Dean Tanaka and the two representatives from the Faculty of Law.

The investigating committee issued its conclusion in two days (Kawai “lacked prudence as a professor”), the president accepted it, and adding as a reason the strife within the faculty, he recommended that Kawai resign (January 12). Kawai refused, so the president alone having the final decision, he asked the opinion of the seven deans (January 17). There, the opinion emerged forcefully (especially from Deans Tanaka and Maide) that it was unfair to fire Kawai alone, so Hiraga decided to fire both professors, and beginning January 18 he consulted with Minister of Education Araki along those lines. From then on, the informal Deans’ Council of seven (with the president alone holding the power to decide) became the equal of the University Council and the central arena of the Hiraga Purge.

Customarily, the University Council did not speak on professorial personnel matters within the separate faculties, but the sole exception was a major dispute over whether a Faculty Meeting had made the right decision. That was in the Faculty Group Incident of February 1938, the first meeting of the University Council after Ōuchi and the two assistant professors, Arisawa and Wakimura, were arrested. Hijikata was dean of the Faculty of Economics at the time, and he thought his own radical clique had a majority in Faculty Meeting; so first at Faculty Meeting, he tried to fire Ōuchi before he was indicted (in terms of legal procedure and regulations, firing followed indictment, but the Ministry of Education demanded firing before indictment). However, Hijikata’s proposal failed, five votes to six.

Up till then, an alliance of the Hijikata and Kawai factions formed a majority in faculty meeting, but on this issue Kawai swung his support to Ōuchi, so the vote flipped. In the March University Council meeting held after this meeting (the University Council usually met once a month), the issue of firing Ōuchi before he was indicted was argued, and it became the biggest University Council dispute ever. According to the records, at the start of that meeting, then-president Nagayo said the following, and when you read it, you’ll understand well the relative powers on professorial personnel issues of University Council, Faculty Meeting, and president:

On February 1 three people of this university were arrested—Professor Ōuchi and Assistant Professors Arisawa and Wakimura; that is a matter of deep regret. What the university should do about this incident of course is to be decidedultimately on the responsibility of the president; but the issue has become a matter for the entire university, and I know that some members of the University Council wish to express their opinions, so I have decided to consult with the University Council. But at the start let me set out the following two points:

1. There is no precedent for University Council deliberation on the fate of professors and assistant professors, but given the seriousness of the case, I have thought it proper as president first to solicit the opinions of the University Council. It should not set a precedent for the future.

2. The opinions today of each of you individually will be of use to the president; they are not the settled opinion or vote of the University Council. (Emphases added.)

It is clear from this statement how exceptional it was for the University Council to debate the professorial personnel of any faculty. And it is affirmed at the start that even if the University Council discussion does extend to the issue of professorial personnel, that does not bind the authority of the president (the right to make a recommendation to the Minister of Education).

At that University Council meeting, Dean Hijikata of the Faculty of Economics brought up again the proposal to fire Ōuchi that had been voted down at Faculty Meeting, arguing eloquently and forcefully. First, he spoke of the account of the incident he had himself heard directly from the top police official and the bureau chief of the Special Police. In the Popular Front Incident, it had become clear that the Faculty Group (in addition to Ōuchi and the other two, eight others were arrested nation-wide) formed an auxiliary of the national assembly of the Japan Proletarian Party, which had been exposed as a communist organization and was illegal under the Peace Preservation Act, and he explained various factual matters. Moreover, as background, Ōuchi taught public finance fundamentally from a Marxist standpoint, and it was an unacceptable theory, “adopting the class-state view of Marx and Lenin under clever make-up and denouncing the state, offending against the kokutai, and scorning the state.” The fact that many arrested Tōdai students had carried on communist activity for years was due to the fact that Ōuchi and the others spread these ideas. Hijikata requested his immediate firing.

In response, Maide (then a Council representative, later dean) stood up and argued that Ōuchi’s theories have formal similarities to Lenin’s, but if you check closely, the content differs: for example, Kawai recognizes class elements in the functioning of the state but does not adopt Marx-Lenin’s class-state concept. He added, “If Ōuchi had anti-kokutai theories or actions or anti-war thought or action, then they should be attacked, but that is not the case.” He opposed firing Ōuchi. Next to rise was Nasu Shirushi, representative from the Faculty of Agriculture. It is not possible to fire even an ordinary bureaucrat before he is indicted; doesn’t a university professor enjoy the same protection? Ōuchi’s books have been used as texts for many years, and there haven’t been any problems; have his opinions changed suddenly only recently? At the Ministry of Agriculture, too, Ōuchi has worked and contributed since 1935, and at the time of his appointment, it was concluded after examining his fundamental works that there was nothing untoward in his speech or actions. Moreover, no single Agriculture student has had his thoughts changed for the worse by Ōuchi’s lectures, and all of them are now serving the country well in Japan or in Manchuria. So he supported Ōuchi. Nasu had been dispatched to China and had rushed back to Japan by plane for the sole purpose of attending this University Council meeting. He had made it back just in time, and he delivered a fiery speech; it was great theatrics.

Next to rise was Imai Tōshiki, representative from the Faculty of Letters. He said that the most important rule for subjects of the state was to respect the laws of the state, so according to the law, punishment should follow indictment. Moreover, if Ōuchi were so bad an anti-state person, shouldn’t the entire Faculty of Economics feel responsible for having made such a person a professor and all resign?

Then Tanaka, dean of the Faculty of Law, rose. He pointed out that up to the present, Dean Hijikata had run the Faculty of Economics in concert with Professor Ōuchi, who was a Council representative; if Ōuchi were such an anti-kokutai person, why had Hijikata worked with him up till now? Moreover, the true value of the university existed precisely in competition among fellow scholars holding differing theories, so Hijikata shouldn’t criticize Ōuchi’s theories on the sly but argue them out in public.

Thus in the University Council, one after the other, the members who spoke criticized Hijikata and supported Ōuchi; so even though the University Council was to take no decision and issue no conclusion, the prevailing sentiment was obvious, and the firing of Ōuchi could not take place before he was indicted. I want to say here that these University Council speeches were lined up carefully ahead of time. The crucial figures in that lining-up were the speakers I’ve introduced—Tanaka (Law), Maide (Economics), Nasu (Agriculture), and Imai (Letters). Two or three other professors spoke as well.

Clandestine Meetings in Support of Ōuchi

That fact was kept secret for a long time, but it was revealed at last in 1984 in an article, “The Tōdai Faculty of Economics Incident and Imai Tōshiki.”[7] The pamphlet was published by a group of history buffs from Nagano Prefecture (Imai Tōshiki was from Nagano). The author was Hayashi Kentarō, a disciple of Imai in Western history and after the war 20th president of Tōdai. At the time of the incident Hayashi was an assistant in Western history:

I don’t keep a diary, so I can’t give precise days and times, but we’re dealing with the late-1937, early-1938 period. When evening came, Maide and Ueno of Economics, Tanaka and Takagi of Law, and Nasu (Agriculture) met frequently in Imai’s study in the stacks and engaged in clandestine discussion. The study was in the rear of the stacks, and in front of it was the instructors’ room; people coming to see Imai necessarily had to go past it, so there’s no mistake about this memory of mine.… We’d be told ahead of time that there would be a meeting in this back room, and the meetings sometimes lasted very late, so we took turns and waited until they ended, then cleaned up afterwards.

Of course, we didn’t know what went on in the meetings in the back room, but sometimes after the meeting ended, we burned documents on Imai’s orders, and sometimes Tanaka and Takagi made fair copies of important documents. And Imai sometimes spoke quite candidly of the situation to us young men, so we knew pretty well the situation in the university and Imai’s firm resolve. In any case, in the outside world at the time, the right-wing tide was overwhelming, and it was very difficult and dangerous to oppose that current, so we braced ourselves and kept a close eye on Imai’s activity. And we knew that Imai had his resignation written out should things fall apart.

The secret talks in this research room were not known in the outside world and today aren’t covered even in the records, but there is one important document from then that survives today…. This is something I found among documents in a drawer in the desk Imai used in the research room…

From internal evidence, this document was likely drawn up before the February 23 meeting of the Faculty of Economics. There is no indication to whom this document was presented—perhaps the president. Thus, Imai pulled together and organized the basic points and arguments agreed to at that meeting; we can surmise that it’s a sort of action plan for those who had gathered. The speeches in University Council March 22 took place exactly along these lines.

The pamphlet then published Imai’s memorandum in its entirety. When we compare it with the record of the March 22 University Council meeting, indeed, all the speeches in that meeting were worked out meticulously in advance. The Hijikata group met on its own repeatedly to plan tactics; the side opposed to it, too, held its own secret meetings and planned its tactics. Precisely because of such planning, it was possible for Nasu of Agriculture, who was off in China, to rush back by plane to attend the meeting.

There’s a strange episode in this pamphlet, “The June 29 [1938] extraordinary meeting of the Faculty of Economics.” At the time Professor Araki Kōtarō was to study in Europe. With him away, the votes in faculty meeting would be evenly split, 5-5, between the Hijikata Faction and what was left of the Ōuchi and Kawai factions. That way they’d decide nothing; so Maide, dean of the Faculty of Economics, proposed that in such cases the chair (Maide himself) cast the deciding vote (such an arrangement was customary), and he won unanimous approval on condition that it didn’t include personnel issues.

Once this resolution passed, Maide suddenly had the assistant professors leave the meeting and proposed a resolution impeaching Hijikata.

The reasons:

1. In speeches and in a gathering of December last year, after the Yanaihara Incident, Hijikata had incited the students.

2. He did the same thing to this year’s entering students.

3. He leaked the results of Dean’s Council meetings to the Imperial University News.

4. At the time of the mass resignation of the Economics Alumni Association officers, he leaked Faculty Meeting matters to students.

5. Via the newspaper he announced to students that there was an anti-war atmosphere.

6. In December he wanted to publish in Nihon hyōron an essay criticizing Kawai’s theories.

And so on.

It’s not clear what Maide’s goal was, but probably he wanted to strike fear into Hijikata’s heart and constrain his future activities.

In Tales of Academia: My Thirty-plus Year Fight with Marxism,[8] Hijikata writes that this was a preliminary skirmish in the Hiraga Purge:

The attempt somehow to get me had been underway, as we learned later, about a year before the Hiraga Purge. The attempt at Faculty Meeting on a day in June 1938 to punish me somehow for “trampling on university regulations,” as “the one responsible for unrest within the Faculty,” revealed something of that connection. What day it was I haven’t a clear memory now, but it was during the monsoon season, stiflingly hot and sticky. After the ordinary business of the Faculty of Economics meeting was finished, Dean Maide said there was one other item and asked everyone to stay. I wondered what it was; the topic was “Hijikata’s trampling on university regulations.” I heard afterward that Maide and Ueno had already proposed it to the University Council and been rejected; they were told that such matters should be handled first by Faculty Meeting. So now they had brought it before Faculty Meeting. The content of that proposal was nonsense, to the effect that I had already chased out Yanaihara…and Ōuchi [at the time Ōuchi was under arrest] and Kawai were next. If you ask what evidence they had of this, a certain student had made secret allegations, or I had talked freely at a certain meeting; if you asked the name of the student, they replied they couldn’t reveal it—indeed, for me it was an exceedingly strange and malicious prosecution with no hard evidence. … This meeting continued late into the night, and the lights turned Yasuda Auditorium bright. Had there been a vote, what would have been the result? Probably…an even split, but in the end the meeting ended indecisively, without voting. Thinking about it afterwards, I realized this was the first skirmish of the Hiraga Purge; the preparations for saying and writing things that weren’t so and attacking me, I surmised, had been going on already for quite a while.

At the time the votes were indeed evenly split, and Maide planned to cast the deciding vote as chair, but Kawai opposed that, saying it wasn’t a good idea to use this procedure to attack a fellow-professor, so the vote was called off, and the discussion ended inconclusively. In the interim between the Ōuchi issue and the Hiraga Purge, strange actions like this—filled with conspiracies and the most extreme trickery—arose simultaneously in various places.

Did Maide Render Meritorious Service to the Purge?

Note well: Tanaka drew up the written appeal in Ōuchi’s case to present to the March meeting of the University Council and took it to President Nagayo (up to that point, President Nagayo had been disinclined to convene a University Council meeting about the issue). Tanaka took the lead throughout in the discussion at the meeting. Tanaka played a key role thereafter in the unrest over the university reforms of Minister of Education Araki (from July 1938 on). Tanaka was the driving force throughout the Hiraga Purge. Without Tanaka’s multifarious activities, the events that brought on this university crisis would surely have been impossible to surmount. Some people overestimate the activity of Maide at the time of the Hiraga Purge and consider Deans Tanaka and Maide to have been Hiraga’s two arms; some even evaluated him as did Ōuchi Hyōei: “If there had been a demon-king in the courtroom of the Faculty of Economics, he’d have given Maide the Distinguished Service Cross for most meritorious service in the purge army.”[9]

But if you gather all the evidence, Maide’s role wasn’t all that great. Yoshimura says:[10] “The two, Tanaka and Maide, are called the purge’s twin deans. But in fact Maide was a weak-willed dean utterly dependent on Tanaka. The day he angrily handed in his 13-page letter of resignation, a report from one quarter brought the news—‘The renovationists are going to sue Maide for libel.’ It caught Maide by surprise, and he betook his corpulent, out-of-shape body to Tanaka’s office and said, face red: ‘The renovationist faction is charging me. I made slurs against Hijikata when I tried to get Faculty Meeting to impeach Hijikata and failed, and they could be considered libel. What should I do?’ Tanaka replied calmly, ‘Forget it. Faculty Meeting isn’t public, so it can’t be libel—“to ridicule a person in public…”’ Then, smiling, ‘But if they ever do sue you, I’ll be your lawyer.’ Relieved, Maide was on the way out the door, and Tanaka said to him, ‘Hey! Get a grip on yourself! Hang on! Don’t weaken!’”

Yamada Fumio, who resigned his Tōdai professorship in the wake of the firing of Kawai, criticized Maide more sharply. He writes:[11] “When Ōuchi was arrested in February of last year, the renovationist faction took advantage of the opportunity, and its attacks on Ōuchi were very sharp. Neither Maide nor Ueno ever demonstrated fearlessness in response…. They had neither the courage nor the fervor to respond off their own bat to the fierce attacks of the renovationist faction; it was as if, given the environment, they regarded the firing of Ōuchi as inevitable. Further, they showed absolutely no trace of great acumen in expressing eloquent, reasoned opposition to the firing. It was Kawai who showed the two how to stand in reasoned opposition, who took a decided stance against the immediate firing of Ōuchi. Before then, the two professors had treated Kawai normally as enemy; they probably were surprised that he was so principled. They were even shocked…. In the end, the two, Maide and Ueno, girded up their loins and resolved to defend Ōuchi.”

That is fact. The fundamental structure of the clash of factions in the Faculty of Economics up till then had been Ōuchi faction vs. “renovationist faction plus Kawai faction.’ So when the Ōuchi faction splintered (or was thought to splinter) with Ōuchi’s arrest, the renovationist faction (a confluence of the Hijikata faction and the Kawai faction) took heart, as if the world was their oyster, and the remnant Ōuchi faction (Maide plus Ueno) grew depressed and lost utterly its will to fight. When you apply the vote totals of Faculty Meeting on the model of the clash up till that time, the “renovationist faction plus the Kawai faction” had six votes and the Ōuchi faction five, so it appeared that the Ōuchi faction would go on losing forever.

But the Kawai faction split, and chucking its history till then, the remaining Kawai faction (Kawai plus Yamada) swung its support to Ōuchi on this issue because defending university autonomy came first. Hence it was called the pure reason faction. So the remaining Kawai faction plus the remaining Ōuchi faction defeated the renovationist faction, six votes to five. Only full professors could vote in Faculty Meeting, so the change of the votes in favor of Ōuchi that took place on Ōuchi’s arrest was in fact only minus one. Add the remaining Kawai faction (Kawai and Yamada), and it became in fact a reversal—plus one. Kawai saved Ōuchi. Later, at the time he left the university in the Hiraga Purge, Kawai told a press conference: “The thing I’m happiest about in my nineteen-year university career is that I was able to shield Ōuchi—to whom I was opposed academically—in the final year…. That gave me, as scholar and as human being, even deeper satisfaction.”

Maide Chōgorō, Ingrate

It’s clear now that this was Kawai’s true feeling. But since the struggle up till then between Kawai and the Marxists including Ōuchi had been so fierce, the Marxist side didn’t accept Kawai’s words and deeds at face value. Ōuchi, in particular, who was already in prison, didn’t know anything about Kawai’s later actions, so until the end, he was able to give Kawai only a chilly evaluation. Even in Fifty Years an Economist, which Ōuchi wrote in his last years, he said merely this: “Even close up, one couldn’t grasp his true intent accurately. That’s how political this man was. But what was clear was that from the first…Kawai absolutely feared Marx, and because he feared him, he warned himself to steer clear of Marxism… In fact, in my whole life I had no opportunity to speak with Kawai on scholarly issues. Hence in intellectual terms, too, he had no influence on me. But we entered Tōdai in the same era with similar resumes and breathed the same air, so I always observed with interest, at a distance, his patrician nature, self-righteousness, and heroism.” Kawai fought so hard in defense of Ōuchi, but there’s no trace here of gratitude.

As for Maide, far from showing gratitude to Kawai, Maide even tried to bring him low. This is Ōuchi: “According to what I heard from reliable sources, last fall at the time of nominations for president, at first Yamada Saburō was a candidate. Maide visited Yamada to say he should become a candidate; once he became president, Maide wanted him to fire both Kawai and Hijikata but suggested that if it was impossible to fire Hijikata, then Kawai alone should be fired. Yamada didn’t want the presidency if the presumption was that he would fire professors, so in the end he didn’t accept.” In the election after Nagayo’s resignation as president, Yamada was the first person elected. Soon after being elected, Yamada said he wasn’t up to the job and resolutely declined to become president, and behind that decision lay this exchange with Maide.

Maide became dean of the Faculty of Economics after Hijikata quit as dean thanks to the votes of the remaining Ōuchi faction and the remaining Kawai faction. For this, Maide showed absolutely no gratitude. So he did nothing even when firing Kawai became a topic of discussion in Faculty Meeting. Angry, Yamada wrote this: “In this way, both materially and morally, the two—Maide and Ueno—had an infinite debt to Kawai in the Ōuchi and Kawai cases. If they felt that debt, when the Kawai issue arose, shouldn’t the two of them first of all have taken the initiative to support Kawai, both from pure reason and from friendship? In my contact of more than half a year with these two, they lacked courage and had little soul, so I didn’t expect them to risk their jobs in support of Kawai. But when Kawai became an issue, was it unreasonable to expect something as passive as expressing opposition to firing?”

Maide did absolutely nothing for Kawai. It may be only natural, but Kawai’s appraisal of Maide was very low. In his diary for 1938, when the Kawai issue reached its final stage, he wrote as follows:

November 9: Talked with U. [Ueno] and M. [Maide] for several hours and pressed them to the hilt, but came to hate M.’s lack of guts.

November 11: In the evening talked with M. and U. M. asked me to kill the Chūō kōron essay. I refused but argued with M. a bit and thought M. a worthless fellow with no courage. I thought, this guy will come to a bad end.

November 18: Had dinner with M. and thought him more and more a worthless fellow. Talking with someone like him, I’m out of my element. I’d better not do it again.

In Nagayo’s diary, too, the appraisal of Maide is low. Nagayo’s account after the June 7, 1938 University Council meeting: “Maide and Ueno are both perfectly honest and extremely simple; they are too ready to blame everything on the crimes of the Hijikata faction, don’t consider the big picture and the source, are too ready to believe one-sided observations and unsubstantiated rumors, lack coolness, and on the contrary arouse opposition.” After the August 12, 1939 meeting between Minister of Education Araki and the university: “[Maide] jumps from the renovationist faction as cause of the Economics unrest to the Ōuchi issue and offends the officials. I couldn’t stand to listen and scolded him…. Maide uses the worst and most nonsensical language, and even if he himself means to be serious, he doesn’t take the time or place into account—absolutely foolish.”

This very low evaluation is in part because Maide was in fact an extremely poor talker. He was so inarticulate that it was a hindrance in his teaching. Ōkōchi writes this recollection: “Everyone went to class and had to take notes on Maide’s lectures. But his manner of speaking made note-taking impossible. A bit ago Kimura used the term stuttering, and it may have been a stutter; in any case, it was not a manner of speaking that allowed note-taking. At some points he’d speak very slowly, and at other points he’d speak at great speed; fast or slow, there was no steady pace, and it caused great problems for students taking notes. I too had a very difficult time. Sometimes he stammered. At some points he paused at the dais. The students waited with bated breath for him to resume. Trying to make his lecture go smoothly, he sweated profusely and his face turned bright red, and knowing this, the students strained for all they were worth, and they too turned bright red, and both they and he sweated.”

The Economist Who Jettisoned Marx

What caught my eye in Ōkōchi’s essay was that an edition of Outline of Theoretical Economics, Maide’s opus magnum, appeared in 1945, when the war was at its fiercest, that its contents differed subtly on such points as the labor theory of value (the expression of a quite critical if not negative attitude toward the labor theory of value) from the postwar (1948) Revised Outline of Theoretical Economics, and that therein one could sense the trend of the times. Ōkōchi commented, “On reflection, I couldn’t suppress an ominous feeling.”

The labor theory of value is the central concept of all central concepts at the basis of Marxist economics. Moreover, as I’ve said, the Ōuchi faction had deployed all its energies to crush Hijikata, who rejected the labor theory of value, and had treated him as an absolute idiot. The labor theory of value was the theme of the debate that enshrined the victory of Marxism. In that grand argument Maide had opposed Hijikata head-on and made his reputation as the young economist who defeated the then-famous Hijikata. The 1945 edition meant that during the war Maide had recanted his own theory.

I found a copy of the 1945 edition of Outline of Theoretical Economics in a used bookstore, and indeed Ōkōchi was right. In its preface (italics added): “For this reason, I do not accept the various views that overemphasize the economic, in particular, the materialistic or the economic determinist view of history. Consequently, of course, I resolutely reject making the state social organization one-sidedly the product of economics, making it basically a class product; but I am also unable to affirm the liberalism or individualism that would reject state political involvement or role in the economy absolutely and universally.” In fact, the preface proclaims that he jettisons Marxist economics and materialism and historical materialism (also liberalism and individualism). In the text Maide writes: “In short, the labor theory of value is mistaken in not recognizing the difficulties inherent in it, in particular ignoring or slighting the activity of entrepreneurs and the productivity of capital; moreover, when we consider the worldview or view of society that lies behind it, it is an arbitrary, skewed, class object that differs fundamentally from my own experience, and I am wholly unable to accept it.” Here he declares distinctly that he completely jettisons the labor theory of value. In short, at this time Maide not only discards Marxist theory lock, stock, and barrel but also attacks its worldview and its view of society as being an “arbitrary, skewed, class object.” It is an apostasy so complete one wants to say, “Stop! You don’t have to go that far…” Reading this pathetic prose, I remember the passage in Kawai’s diary, “M. too has no guts and is worthless. His type will come to a bad end.”

In the memorial issue of Friends of Economics, his disciple Suzuki Kōichirō (at the time of the commemoration, he was dean of the Faculty of Economics) indicates an “understanding” of Maide’s apostasy: “But in the difficult wartime conditions of the time, to defend the independence of the faculty was, I think, no ordinary accomplishment. Moreover, at that time the Ministry of Education demanded that Maide himself fire the one liberal professor on the pretext of the earlier value argument with Hijikata. Reminiscing about this time, Ueno says Maide was a ‘living corpse,’ and that must have been Maide’s frame of mind, too. In that frame of mind, Maide endured much humiliation, but together with Ueno he achieved the major task of preserving the independence of the faculty.”

But during his time as professor, Kawai got greater pressure from the officials, and it didn’t stop with mere warnings. In fact, even after he lost his job, he never changed his theory and dismissed the idea by saying that nothing he’d taught his students was mistaken. Even after the long legal trial—from first court appearance to last, four years—and to his dying day, he did not change his tune or become a “living corpse.” When we take this into consideration, Suzuki’s defense of Maide sounds like special pleading.

  1. “Tōdai shukugaku no mondai to watakushi no shinkyō,” Bungei shunjū, May 1939.
  2. “Tōdai shukugaku no mondai to watakushi no shinkyō.”
  3. Kikigaki: Nambara Shigeru kaikoroku (Tokyo: Tōkyo daigaku shuppanbu, 1990).
  4. Ikite kita michi (Tokyo: Ōzorasha, 1997).
  5. Tachibana mentions Nasu (Agriculture), Yabe (Law), Ōkōchi (Economics).
  6. “Gakusei bankakyō,” Chūō kōron, April 1939. “Ijūin Hitoshi” is a pseudonym.
  7. “Tōzai keizaigakubu jiken to Imai Tōshiki,” in a pamphlet entitled Imai Tōshiki.
  8. Gakkai shunjūki: Marukushizumu to no kōsō sanjuyonen (Tokyo: Chūō keizaisha, 1960).
  9. Keiyū 33-4 (commemorative issue in honor of Professor Maide Chōgorō). RHM: Emma was a sort of St. Peter, deciding not Heaven or hell but which hell people went to.
  10. “Daini Tōdai Monogatari,” Nihon hyōron, April 1939.
  11. “Keizaigakubu mondai no shinsō,” Kaizō, March 1939.


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Tokyo University and the War by Tachibana Takashi & Richard H. Minear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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