Tokyo University and the War

Tokyo University and the War

Tachibana Takashi

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Amherst, MA



The Tōdai Faculty of Law: Taboo and Disgrace

In which the author lambastes the Tōdai Faculty of Law for its failure to respond forcefully to the attacks from the outside on one of its most distinguished professors, Minobe Tatsukichi. Minobe had already retired, but the attacks intensified after 1934. In September 1935 he resigned from the House of Peers. The author focuses on Minobe’s disciple Miyazawa Toshiyoshi and his junior colleague Nambara Shigeru. This chapter is Chapter 51 in the Japanese original. Readers should remember that they are beginning the author’s account not in mid-stream but fully three-quarters of the way across.

Going along or acting out of conviction, most Tokyo Imperial UniversityRHM: The formal title of the university before the war was Tokyo Imperial University (Tōkyō teikoku daigaku, Teidai for short). After the war it became Tokyo University (Tōkyō daigaku, Tōdai for short). To minimize confusion, I have used Tōdai throughout. professors cooperated actively with the military and the war. But some professors—albeit a minority—stood at the opposite pole. The two who deserve to stand at the top of this list are Kawai Eijirō and Yanaihara Tadao of the Faculty of Economics. Because of their fierce critical spirit, both lost their positions as professors. Kawai was forced out in 1939 and died during the war, in 1944. Yanaihara was ousted in 1937 but reinstated right after the war and after serving as dean of the Faculty of Economics and then head of the General Studies Division, became president of Tōdai (1951-57).

Japan’s sudden turn to the right and the establishment of political control by the military took place after the February 26 Incident, and Kawai Eijirō was the only person in the entire world of commentators to criticize the military head-on for the Incident. In the Imperial University News of March 9, right after the Incident, he wrote: “First of all, we feel a duty to express deep condolences on the deaths of Home Minister Saitō, Finance Minister Takahashi, and Chief of Military Training General Watanabe, slain by the cruel bayonets. Quite a few politicians have fallen victim to the violence of the last several years—Hamaguchi Osachi, Inoue Junnosuke, Inukai Tsuyoshi; but when these people were felled, it was still unclear what the ideology of the opposing side was.RHM: Hamaguchi (prime minister), shot 1930, died 1931; Inoue (former Finance Minister) and Inukai (prime minister), assassinated March 15, 1932.So their deaths were literally unforeseen. But since the May 15 Incident, fascism—particularly fascism within the military—has become obvious and cannot be covered up. The men killed this time made opposition to this fascist trend their conscious goal and likely foresaw that the result might be their own deaths; yet they faced that prospect head-on and sought with their bodies to stem the tide of fascism.”

Who Is to Blame for Defying the Emperor’s Order?

Kawai was a militant liberal, and when he first made his debut in the media, he was known as a champion in the fight against Marxism; but after the May 15 Incident of 1932, fascism and statism (state socialism) bore the brunt of his criticism. Beginning in 1933 he published essays on current events from that perspective, one after the other, in various journals of opinion; in 1934 he collected them into the book Critique of Fascism.Fuasshizumu hihan, Tokyo: Nihon hyōronsha, 1934. This book sold well, one printing after another. The infamous Minoda Muneki, leader of the right-wing assault on “leftist” intellectuals, deluged him with criticism—Kawai was an “early proponent of the tactic of the Popular Front,” a “collaborator with social democratic revolution,” a “proponent of bald-faced intervention in the prerogative of supreme command,” an “anti-military, anti-war” thinker, a “proponent of Chinese-style dependence on England and the U.S.”RHM: Minoda’s phrase shinajinteki [literally, like Chinese people] has at least a tinge of condescension. Shina for China was common, usually derogatory, usage in the 1930s. The Home Ministry, too, told Kawai through intermediaries that it wouldn’t ban his books but asked him to withdraw them voluntarily. Kawai refused to do so, saying, “If you want to ban them, be my guest!”

On the point of anti-fascism, the liberal Kawai was rock-solid. He was fierce, too, in his criticism of a military with links to fascism: “What’s wrong with fascism is many times worse when it emerges from within the military. Hitherto Japan’s armed forces have had the duty of protecting our land against foreign enemies, and they’ve been entrusted with weapons so they can perform that duty; because they are Japan’s armed forces, the nation has voluntarily given up its weapons and felt comfortable entrusting the defense of the country to the armed forces. But lo and behold, the weapons that were to be used against foreign enemies are being turned on the nation, and taken unawares, the nation that trusted the armed forces and felt comfortable entrusting weapons to them has come under attack by them.”

Further, he blamed the upper echelons of the military for allowing this revolt to happen: “When it comes to turning twelve or thirteen hundred officers into a mutinous army that defies the emperor’s order, who is to blame, anyway? The Incident didn’t just spring from nowhere; it has roots in the past. The fascism that raised its head after the Manchurian Incident: such people in the military should have been suppressed promptly by drastic measures. X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X.”RHM: Prewar and wartime Japanese censorship involved deleting passages but noting the fact and extent of deletion by means of such measures as this string of Xs. What is striking here is that the censors let any of this stand. The censor’s deletion continued beyond this point.

The sense of the deleted part became clear later in the court proceedings concerning the charge that Kawai infringed the publications law. Critique of Fascism was banned in October 1938, together with three other Kawai books, and Kawai was prosecuted for infringing the publications law. But the trial wasn’t public, so the content of this deleted passage was not generally known. Still, according to the court transcript, the sense of this passage was as follows: “Before the May 15 Incident, there were incidents of this type that were prevented before the fact; but military lawyers for the defendants in the May 15 Incident were made to state in open court that the assassins of General Nagata Tetsuzan were patriots of high ideals. If the military allows that to happen, how can it be said to have done enough to suppress fascism in its ranks?”

Kawai had already made his anti-fascist stance clear at the time of the May 15 Incident, in “Critique of the May 15 Incident.”“Go-ichigo jiken no hihan,” Bungei shunjū, November 1933. There he not only stated his own ideological position—“Along with being anti-Marxist, I also oppose right-wing renovation”—but also took sharp issue with “direct action using military force” as a method of social renovation. Kawai’s critique of the February 26 Incident developed his critique of the May 15 Incident, but its fundamental points are the same. When we read this essay today, Kawai’s assertions sound absolutely common-sensical, but at the time no one else was criticizing the military’s involvement in politics so openly, and Kawai was regarded as extremely brave for doing so.

“The Tōdai Faculty of Law, Too, May Be Hit”

In Nambara Shigeru Remembered,Kikigaki: Nambara Shigeru kaikōroku, ed. Maruyama Masao and Fukuda Kanichi; Tokyo: Tokyo daigaku shuppankai, 1989. Maruyama Masao, Nambara’s protégé who at the time of the Incident was an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law, speaks of these issues with Nambara, who compares the right-wing attack with an assault on a moated castle:

Nambara: At the time of the Takigawa Incident, the outer moat was filled in, and at the time of the Minobe Incident, the inner moat too was filled in.RHM: In other words, first the outer defenses were dismantled, then the inner. At the university, silence reigned. At the time of this incident only Kawai Eijirō criticized the military boldly. He really hung in there.

Maruyama: The students too were astonished that he hung in. And Japan plunged ahead into the fascist era…

Nambara: […Kawai’s critique of Marxism, too, was amazing], not to mention that when he turned to fascism as target, the debate took on a different tone. In particular, right after the February 26 Incident, he attacked it in the Imperial University News and then elaborated in essays he published in various magazines.

Maruyama: His was a fierce critique of statism: if the army has a greater voice than the nation as a whole because it has weapons, you can’t say that speech has been publicly guaranteed unless you give weapons to the entire nation. Statism exists at the root of the evil that let this terror to go unchallenged….

Nambara: At the time, no one else was making that criticism. That’s how resolute he was. On that point you have to give him very high marks…. And as a result he incurred the displeasure of the military.

Why did so few critical voices arise from Tōdai? At the time, quite strong rumors had it that if something happened, Tōdai would be hit by right-wing terror. The Emperor-Organ Incident and the February 26 Incident were virtually simultaneous; in content, too, they had deep links. In a word, both issued from the idea that Japan was in essence a divine, emperor-centered state, so it should be reconstructed accordingly (the clarification of the kokutai). The emperor-organ issue rejected a legal scholar who distorted the kokutai in his emperor-organ theory, and the February 26 Incident marked the trend, via coup d’etat, to a state actually ruled directly by the emperor.RHM: Kokutai (form of state; polity) was increasingly at issue in the 1930s, with right-wing nationalists arguing that Japan’s unique kokutai precluded democracy. The emperor-organ issue involved Minobe Tatsukichi’s argument that the emperor was an organ of the state; right-wing nationalists like Uesugi Shinkichi held that the emperor was the state and hence could not be considered an organ. The February 26 Incident of 1936 was an attempted coup d’état in which some 1,500 troops occupied central Tokyo, assassinated former prime ministers Takahashi Korekiyo and Saitō Makoto and General Watanabe Jōtarō. The revolt was put down on February 29.

Throughout this period the attacks on the Tōdai Faculty of Law by Minoda Muneki, who touched off this issue, continued unabated. According to Minoda, the Tōdai Faculty of Law traditionally took an “academic tone antipathetic to the kokutai,” aroused China’s “anti-Japan, scorn-Japan, resist-Japan” ideas, spread anti-kokutai ideas that would turn Japan into a democracy (since emperor-centered politics was Japan’s original kokutai, democracy was anti-kokutai), and rejected and despised the national spirit of its own country. The Faculty of Economics had become the general headquarters of the Comintern’s Popular Front tactic, so Minoda called for the dissolution of Tōdai.

In virtually every issue, Minoda’s Genri Nihon named Tōdai’s famous professors—Takagi, Yokota, Kawai, Miyazawa, Rōyama, Suehiro, Yabe—and attacked them as enemies of the state. In fact, via such attacks, Minobe was consigned to oblivion as a scholar, and he was set upon by right-wing thugs riding that wave of agitation. The rumor that the Tōdai Faculty of Law would be attacked couldn’t be dismissed as crazy.

Maruyama: Just before the February 26 Incident, Minobe was assaulted by the right wing.

Nambara: Yes. February 21, 1936. Thugs stormed into his house, Minobe was shot, and he was taken to the Tokyo University Hospital.

Maruyama: For some time before then, there had been talk that if something happened, the Tōdai Faculty of Law too would be attacked; was there talk within the Faculty of Law about the February 26 Incident—consultation or talk about what came next?

Nambara: There was a big snowstorm before dawn. Right off, I went to the university: snow was falling, there were serious news reports, and there was almost no one at the university…. I too had encountered political incidents my whole life, but the morning of the February 26 Incident was in some sense graver than the later day, December 8, when war was declared. That’s my feeling.

Maruyama: Among the students, reports flew that Tōdai might be shut down. I also heard rumors that Police Headquarters had telephoned several Tōdai professors to tell them the police couldn’t guarantee their safety, so please hide somewhere….

Nambara: That sort of thing apparently did happen. Indeed, I went to my study, and it was still dark. Snow was falling; no one was around. By chance I met only Takagi; I don’t know about the younger faculty, but no other professors showed up. The two of us talked, then phoned former president Onozuka and asked him to seek refuge somewhere. And then we thought that Yasaka and Miyazawa—those two were always in the crosshairs of the right wing and the military—should do something. Gossip was flying, and reports came in that the Asahi newspaper and the Tōdai Faculty of Law were targets. In fact, they did hit the Asahi.

Even the police worried for the safety of the professors, so at this time people knew you couldn’t get away with spouting anti-rightist, anti-military words. The Incident happened, yet everyone kept silent.

At the end of the previous essay, Kawai shoots his critical arrows at the intellectual class that kept silent about February 26: “Today the nation stands at a crossroads and must pick one of two futures: the will of the nation or the violence of one group…. At this time one often hears the intellectual class whispering: how powerless we are in the face of this violence! But in this sense of powerlessness lurks a dangerous psychology that exalts violence. This is the hotbed that breeds fascism.”

When we look back on history, we can say that after the February 26 Incident the intellectual class became as Kawai described it. Engrossed in their sense of powerlessness, doing nothing at all, either they were pulled along by the trend of the time or perceiving the trend of the times early on, they chose to ingratiate themselves with that trend. No matter which route they took, they contributed to the rise of fascism.

Minobe’s Prime Disciple Reflects

I’ll talk later about those who curried favor, but I want to say something now about those who gave in to a sense of powerlessness and were swept along. There were two types of people who were swept along: a minority who long after the war reflected deeply on what they did and wrote about it, and the large majority who didn’t reflect at all (or merely reflected a bit and rationalized in their own heads what they did) and wrote nothing at all.

As representative of those who did reflect, I offer Miyazawa Toshiyoshi, constitutional scholar and Minobe Tatsukichi’s prime disciple. Miyazawa started his career as instructor under Minobe, became assistant professor in 1925, and in 1934, after Minobe reached mandatory retirement age and retired, became professor and succeeded to Minobe’s chair. So long as Minobe was healthy, he was of course the leading advocate of the emperor-organ theory, so on the emperor-organ issue he continued to be attacked fiercely by Minoda Muneki and the anti-emperor-organ people. Hence, at the time of the February 26 Incident, both friends and officials warned him to hide.

And when Minobe’s books were banned and the emperor-organ theory disappeared simultaneously from courses on the constitution at every university, Miyazawa too jettisoned the emperor-organ theory. The Tōdai constitution course continued to exist but avoided virtually anything related to the emperor system, even the constitution’s basic stipulations about the emperor system. Minoda’s Genri Nihon wondered whether Miyazawa deserved the title professor of constitutional law at Tōdai. Minoda wrote:

Miyazawa Toshiyoshi succeeded to Minobe Tatsukichi’s constitution chair at the Faculty of Law of Tokyo Imperial University, but in the last several years has published virtually no study—even in the Law Faculty’s own Law Association Journal—on the imperial constitution that is his specialty but publishes vacuous critiques of the day in low-brow magazines; worse than that, most recently he has written mainly film criticism and occasional pieces and published a collection of these essays. Especially in this day and age, can we say that Miyazawa is fulfilling his scholarly duties?

In the Program of Lectures on the ConstitutionMiyazawa Toshiyoshi, Kempō kōgian: Kōgiyō. 1 1938. RHM: Article 1: “The Empire of Japan shall be reigned over and governed by a line of Emperors unbroken for ages eternal.” Article 4: “The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in Himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present Constitution.” that Miyazawa used for his university course in 1937, of a total of eight pages on the emperor, five concern succession, and one each concerns reign names and imperial landholdings. For Article 1, the fundamental principle of the imperial constitution, he simply posts its text and gives not one word of explanation. For Article 4, he doesn’t even post its text. By contrast, in dealing with the Imperial Diet, once past the introduction he divides the discussion into nine parts and devotes seventy pages to it, but not one word refers to the legal relation between emperorRHM: To indicate respect for the emperor, Minoda leaves the space immediately above the word ‘emperor’ blank. and Diet. Despite this ignorance of the Imperial Constitution’s principles, he holds this chair and squanders his time on criticism of film prizes. Inauspicious events continue to occur at home and abroad, from the Manchurian Incident down to today’s China Incident; does he have a scholarly conscience about Japan’s internal and foreign crises of the last several years? (Italics in original.)

In short, until the war ended, Miyazawa avoided the constitution and the emperor system completely. After the war ended, he was once again active as the holder of the chair of constitutional law at Tōdai, and until his retirement (in 1959—after retiring from Tōdai, he became professor at Rikkyō University), he was considered the chief interpreter of the new constitution.

For Miyazawa the issue of his own flight from the emperor-organ theory seems to have remained a lifelong trauma, and immediately after he retired from Rikkyō University in 1969, he published the huge two-volume Emperor-Organ Theory IncidentTennō kikansetsu jiken: shiryō wa kataru, 2 vols., Tokyo: Yūhikaku, 1970-71. that collected all the materials concerning the issue. In its final summation, Miyazawa writes: “People who look back on this incident now will surely be shocked at the crazed nature of the attack on the emperor-organ theory and at the spinelessness of the officials and party leaders in the face of it. Moreover, they’ll wonder why the resistance of the scholarly world and the journalistic world was so weak. On the one hand, the fascist forces propelled by leaders of ‘real power’—the military—were so strong that they suppressed not only opposition argument, of course, but all criticism; on the other hand, love of ‘liberty’ had not sunk its roots very deeply into the Japanese society of the day.

It wasn’t only in the conclusion; in the text, too, he says this of his own spinelessness at the time:

At just that time, I was asked to write a column “Comments on Current Events in Journalism” in the Tōkyō Asahi newspaper, and I skimmed the pages of various magazines. I happened on Sassa Hiroo’s article “On Minobe Tatsukichi.”“Minobe Tatsukichi-ron,” Chūō kōron, March 1935. I was struck by his view of Minobe—“standing tall like a towering tree, withstanding even the gale, not afraid of the blizzard…fearing nothing, believing in the right, expressing what he has decided is the truth—it certainly never comes from the superficiality of an intellect that seeks to parade its ideas.” Irritated by events in the Upper House, I wrote the following: “In the Diet some members are criticizing Minobe’s theory as infringing the kokutai. I think they are simply buying into this slander by a group that has ulterior motives; but these were speeches in the Imperial Diet, so they had considerable impact. Probably for that reason, Professor Minobe attempted ‘A Personal Explanation’ from the dais of the House of Peers and tried at great length to enlighten some of the critics. As I listened to Minobe’s explanation, which he reduced to the simplest terms possible, I thought that if there were any who still thought Minobe’s explanation infringed our kokutai, they were either ignoramuses beyond redemption or people seeking to use the term kokutai to wreak personal harm. No matter which, there was no difference between them insofar as the grave poisoning they administered.”These emphases were not in the original but were added by Miyazawa himself when I was putting this book together.

This column in the Asahi was the only thing Miyazawa wrote in support of Minobe. After writing it, he became increasingly spineless. He remembers:

Right after I delivered this manuscript to the Asahi, I was summoned by Dean Suehiro. The dean warned me kindheartedly: this latest incident in the House of Peers is a political issue with very deep roots, so it’s best for you to be very careful what you say or do. When I mentioned this manuscript, he said, well, if you’ve already submitted it, there’s nothing to be done.

When the essay ran in the newspaper, I immediately received several letters calling it “disgraceful.” I thought, yes, indeed, this incident does go deep. When my essay ended, the Tokyo Asahi immediately ran an essay by Imaizumi Teinosuke. I don’t recall the details, but it was an attack on constitutional theory of the Minobe stripe. I heard they had to run something like it because of criticism my essay engendered.

Thereafter, spineless, I kept silent. Of course, under such conditions, no journals commissioned me to write. I wrote journalism only as requests came in, so since there were no requests, you might say it was natural that I stayed silent; but it’s also true I didn’t take the initiative myself to write.

What did Miyazawa do in this period in which, spineless, he maintained his silence? Believe it or not, he became an avid ballroom dancer and frequented dance halls: he confesses so in Testimony on Shōwa Intellectual History. (A commentator in the press found out about it and ridiculed him mercilessly.)

Here I’d like to note that Dean Suehiro of the Faculty of Law kept Miyazawa from further writing. For one thing, even before the Minobe issue, Minoda and his crowd had made fierce attacks on Suehiro, painting him as a Marxist who stressed “Communist-style expropriation of land without compensation,” who “taught the tactics of fierce dispute as a substitute for communist revolution,” who spoke of “the military as parasitic” and advocated “the acceptance of crimes committed by the property-less.” The issue had been taken up in the Diet by members of the Upper House affiliated with Minoda; so Suehiro probably didn’t want to exacerbate things. For another, it was likely related to another situation I’ll speak about later.

For Miyazawa, the trauma from the emperor organ incident seems to have been large, so before completing his book, he spoke as follows in the Asahi Journal’s “University Autonomy—Events and People:” “Professor Minobe was no longer at the university, so this incident didn’t involve the university directly. But for a university, myself included, not to do anything, to hunker down, and withdraw without saying what needed to be said…. In retrospect, the feeling that we had no self-respect is always with me. In that sense, I reflect as a university person, couldn’t there have been a bit more action? That’s what I thought after the fact. … We kept silent, well, we were without self-respect… As university people, we had no self-respect. It’s not an experience to be happy about, and I think it should make us reflect.”“Daigaku no jichi—jiken to hito,” Asahi Jyaanaru; Asahi jyanaaru henshūbu, ed, Daigaku no jichi, Tokyo: Asahi shimbunsha, 1963.

Disciples Who Jettisoned Minobe

Among those who, like Miyazawa, felt a strong sense of guilt and often talked of it is Nambara Shigeru, first postwar president of Tōdai. Here’s what he says in Nambara Shigeru Recollected:

Tsuji Kiyoaki: Next, the emperor-organ issue. This, too, we can call a showdown between the military and the university. The starting point was criticism of Minobe in the Army Ministry’s pamphlet, “On Strengthening the Fundamentals of National Defense.”

Nambara: When I think of the trouble Minobe encountered for the emperor-organ theory, I confess, I have very great remorse. Why didn’t I defend his theory? Was there no way to do so? He was already then an emeritus professor and had left the university—but how could those of us who were direct disciples not defend him? We in the Tōdai Faculty of Law, colleagues, disciples of his, weren’t able to give him a bit of protection. To this day, it’s a source of absolutely unending regret.

After all, the only thing we did—I’m embarrassed to say this—was give a dinner party to console him. Sympathizers in the Faculty of Law, including also Ōuchi and others from the Faculty of Economics, invited Minobe to dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Ueno. There were about ten of us. We consoled him, trying in that inadequate way to make it okay. No, we consoled each other—that’s all it amounted to. Minobe said not a word about his own anguish and of course not one word of resentment; without asking our aid, he conversed with us lightly and calmly. I thought it was noble of him. That’s stuck in my memory to this day. Inside lay truly sorrowful feelings, feelings he couldn’t acknowledge himself. In a sense, that’s how grave the situation was. We didn’t make a formal issue of it; we could only offer him vague consolation.

Was this truly all they could have done? Nambara himself says he was “embarrassed,” and it’s the greatest disgrace of the Tōdai Faculty of Law that this was all they did.

The tale continues with deference for the anguish of Miyazawa Toshiyoshi:

Tsuji:  When Professor Miyazawa reached retirement age and left Tōdai, at his final Faculty Meeting he recalled those days. It sounded as if he was speaking for the first time of the anguish he had been living with as the direct inheritor of Minobe’s constitutional theory. It was very poignant.

Nambara: I think he took just the right tone. It wasn’t just Professor Miyazawa; the rest of us bear the same guilt. It’s something unconscionable we’ve been living with. What was it that Miyazawa said?

Maruyama: He’d been called in by Hozumi Shigetō, then dean of the Faculty of Law, who said, “If you become an issue, please resign. Don’t involve the Faculty of Law.” What he meant was that earlier, Minister of Education Matsuda Genji had responded to questions in the House of Peers as follows: “In the Imperial University there’s virtually no professor left who believes in the emperor-organ theory. If there is a problem, it’s only Miyazawa.” Probably, it was just after that that Hozumi spoke. Miyazawa replied, “Of course I’ve no intention of involving the Faculty of Law.”

Tsuji: In short, it may be strange to say he laid down his pen, but if he himself kept silent, the peace of the Tōdai Faculty of Law would be maintained, and if anyone asked him about this attitude, he’d resolved to keep silent. Since then, Miyazawa said, he’d always held to that resolve.

Nambara: So what happened between him and Minobe…?

Maruyama: Miyazawa said nothing explicitly….

Tsuji: As for the details, he didn’t want to cause trouble. About Minobe, nobody ever said anything to me. It was precisely as if it was a taboo at the Tōdai Faculty of Law, wasn’t it? Was it ever an issue at Faculty Meeting?

Nambara: Minobe was never an issue in Faculty Meeting. I don’t think there was ever even a report. He was called a “scholarly renegade,” chased from the Upper House, and accused of lèse majesté; truly isolated and without assistance, he fought the battle on his own.

Maruyama: In that day everyone who believed in the emperor-organ theory lost their jobs. The head of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, quit, too.

Nambara: It was the year after February 26. Before and after, the atmosphere was inexpressibly stifling. To an extent unthinkable today, no voices were raised in protest—in academia, among commentators, in the press, in society at large. It’s absolutely unconscionable.

I must comment here that it’s not the case that both academy and commentariat immediately “fell silent and did not speak” about the emperor-organ theory. Even in the documents in Miyazawa’s Emperor-Organ Theory Incident, several distinguished commentators decried this trend of the times in roundabout or indirect fashion. Meriting particular mention here is the resounding criticism of Kawai Eijirō. It appeared in “Critique of the Minobe Issue,” in the Imperial University News of April 15, 1935. Unlike today’s University News, the Imperial University News was recognized widely as a newspaper of the first order and drew broad public attention. Kawai begins with a general discussion of “How Legal-Theory Argument Should Be Treated” and then proceeds in order concretely, with “Has Minobe’s Theory Been Properly Understood and Studied?” He criticizes the critics sharply: “If we stigmatize his theory merely because its words and terms go against common usage, that would be truly hasty and unfair. … For the past thirty years this theory has reigned unchallenged; it’s not something you can erase and wipe off the earth overnight merely by stigmatizing it…. To think that with pressure and coercion one can eradicate a scholarly theory is a sacrilege against all learning.” Moreover, since this issue concerns the kokutai, a more serious treatment is necessary. In general, critics of the emperor-organ theory assert that Minobe’s theory infringes the kokutai, but Minobe himself asserts that it does not—why should the two parties make diametrically opposed assertions? “What is the source of this difference? Is it that, based on a common assumption about the kokutai, there’s a difference in judgment of whether it infringes the kokutai? Or are different assumptions at work? I hold that there’s no difference in belief in the kokutai but that there is a difference in the concept of what the kokutai is.”

Framing the issue in this way, he asserts: “Minobe’s theory has been accepted and gone unchallenged for thirty years because it was thought not to infringe the kokutai, and one concept of the kokutai figures in this judgment. But suddenly this year, when it is claimed that the theory does infringe the kokutai, the premise is a different concept of kokutai. When the prime minister and cabinet ministers say in the Diet that they oppose Minobe’s theory but that it does not infringe the kokutai, they base themselves on the former concept of kokutai. Here there are two concepts, and the two are not distinguished but conflated.” Thus, we should begin by ordering these conflated concepts, not by standing on one and condemning the other: “The proper order is first to clarify the kokutai and only then judge whether the kokutai is infringed. Declaring that a specific theory infringes the kokutai and using this to clarify the kokutai turns that order upside down.”

Having pointed out the logically nonsensical nature of right-wing assertions that simply shout “clarification of the kokutai,” he counter-attacks: “In commenting on this incident, the communists are said to smile with satisfaction that the issue of the kokutai has at last come to the forefront of discussion. Hearing this, I break out in a cold sweat. I’d like to believe the good intentions of some of the kokutai people, but if they cause people to feel even one drop of unreason or unnaturalness about belief in the kokutai, that is not simply their responsibility; it is a loss for the nation as a whole. The kokutai people think again.” Here for the first time the rhetoric of the anti-communist Kawai takes wing.

Along with “Critique of the February 26 Incident” and other essays, this essay of Kawai was collected in The Times and Liberalism, published in 1937 and banned the following year. That not one essay of this sort emerged from the Faculty of Law is the disgrace of the Faculty of Law; without Kawai’s essay, the disgrace of the Faculty of Law would have been all the greater. (The Faculty of Economics originally was a part of the Faculty of Law, and people thought of the two as one unit. Kawai was a graduate of the Faculty of Law.)

The Takigawa Incident: Behind the Scenes at Tōdai

Let me list one more disgrace of the Tōdai Faculty of Law: the Takigawa Incident. The Takigawa Incident (also known as the Kyoto University Incident; 1932-33) involved conservative reaction against the teaching of Takigawa Yukitoki (1891-1962) and led to his firing and the resignations of most of the Faculty of Law. It was the first great issue of academic freedom, and the Tōdai Faculty of Law did virtually nothing. Indeed, that fact left a trail that led all the way to the issue of the emperor-organ theory. In the Nambara Shigeru Recollected passage about the emperor-organ theory, there is the following: “To be sure, we—especially the younger people—all worried, tacitly, whether there wasn’t something we could do. But at the time we couldn’t even convene an informal faculty gathering. At the time of the Takigawa Incident, we’d actually managed to convene an informal faculty gathering, but this incident happened after the Takigawa Incident. In the less than two years after the Takigawa Incident, the times had suddenly gone straight downhill. When I think what the result might have been had we issued a joint declaration, for example…but it was nothing like the Takigawa Incident.”

What happened at the time of the Takigawa Incident? Tōdai was apathetic.

Tsuji: According to what I heard rumored, the Tōdai Faculty of Law was extremely apathetic.

Nambara: That’s right. Among the younger professors, Yokota and Miyazawa and I stirred. The issue arose of whether for the sake of Kyoto University, we should make contact and try to help. Then in Faculty Meeting, consideration was given to some formal step, but in the end we held an informal faculty gathering. The dean was Hozumi, and we younger professors led by Yokota argued fervently that the Tokyo Faculty of Law should lend its support to Kyoto University, that we couldn’t do nothing. But we were checked by our elders’ argument in favor of prudence: think of what may result if the Tokyo Faculty of Law acts; when all is said and done, we must be prudent. We lost overwhelmingly. There was nothing more we could do. … We younger men were a tiny minority. At the time Minobe as senior professor swung to the side of the senior professors against the younger professors who wanted to support Kyoto University. In addition to Minobe, Onozuka Kiheiji (political science), then president of the university, swung against the younger professors. In Onozuka Kiheiji: The Man and the Accomplishments, there’s this: “The issue was what Tōdai’s stance toward this incident was to be. In the Faculty of Law, an informal faculty gathering was convened, but in the end the senior professors’ argument for prudence held a large majority, and no action ensued. The words of Minobe, published later, that ‘Its main cause was concern lest Tōdai too be drawn into the whirlpool, that professors would resign en masse, that students would be led to jeopardize their futures,’ can be taken to represent the argument for prudence….”

When one compares this with events of years pastThe Sawayanagi Incident: at that time the Tōdai faculty cooperated with the Kyoto University faculty and won out against the Ministry of Education., one senses in the attitude of the Tōdai Faculty of Law toward the Takigawa Incident a wholly different world. That’s how much it speaks of the gravity of the times, and on this point the previous opinion represented by Minobe probably matches reality; but the author and others today still doubt and rue the fact that the Faculty of Law was unable even to issue a declaration.

What was President Onozuka’s frame of mind and policy toward this incident? Popular opinion seems to have expected something of Tōdai, and especially of Onozuka; but he likely had his hands full defending Tōdai.

What did this “hands full defending Tōdai” mean? Already at this time the fierce assault on the Tōdai Faculty of Law by Minoda and his ilk had begun, it was taken up in the Diet and the Home Ministry, and a movement had begun to fire problematic professors. It would not have been strange had a second and third Takigawa Incident arisen at Tōdai, and Onozuka, operating behind the scenes, was attempting to prevent that from happening: “The next spring after the Incident, in the president’s speech to the university on University Commemoration Day, March 1, 1934, he said, ‘I don’t believe it appropriate to speak to you of the details, but I am doing everything I can.’ From this statement one can see his satisfaction and confidence that he was fulfilling his own duty in this Incident. Therefore in the same speech he could say also, ‘In order for the university to fulfill its destiny faithfully, I feel acutely the need to maintain a dauntless attitude that does not curry favor with the age, does not flatter power, does not bow to tangible or intangible violence, does not go astray in propaganda.’”

In concrete terms, what did Onozuka do? The same book introduces this episode: “…the Ministry of Education made an issue of a foreign-language economics textbook that then-Assistant Professor Arisawa of the Faculty of Economics was using and investigated it. At that time, fortunately, nothing came of it, but several years later, recalling that time, Onozuka said, ‘What caused me the greatest worry in my time as president was being able to keep the Takigawa Incident from spreading to Tōdai. It was good nothing happened to Arisawa at that time.’”

President Onozuka Kiheiji’s Secret Pact

But were Onozuka’s all-out, behind-the-scenes efforts to keep the Takigawa Incident from spreading to Tōdai so great? In order to beef up military training, the military had arbitrarily increased the trainers sent by the military, so Onozuka protested strongly, even threatening to resign as president, and got the army to back down. On that issue, when the talk of resigning or not resigning took place, he said in University Council (Tōdai’s highest decision-making body) that some things in the course of the Takigawa Incident still hadn’t become public. The record says:

On the Kyoto University issue, Onozuka said, “That issue isn’t wholly resolved yet, and there is some concern that in some form it will cause problems for university officials hereafter, so I’ll mention the secret steps I have taken,” and he mentioned especially the following two points:

1) At appropriate times I have advised the Minister of Education directly or indirectly via the chief secretary (honest counsel concerning the Ministry’s actions and proposed solution).

2) Via the chief cabinet secretary I have advised Prime Minister Saitō (arguing the universality and the importance of the Kyoto University issue, I said that it was not proper to use force to shut down the Kyoto University Faculty of Law and warned him in advance that even if it came to that eventuality, Tōdai was utterly unable for several reasons to admit the Kyoto Law students).

This account is not comprehensible by itself, but the unclear parts become clear in Nambara Shigeru Recollected. Nambara is speaking: “At just that time—1933 to January 1936—I was elected to the University Council…. So I had a good many chances to speak with Onozuka. Onozuka was confident he had done what he had to do. What that was—the prime minister of the time was Saitō Makoto, and Onozuka had acted preemptively, meeting with Saitō and reaching an agreement. First, Tōdai would not allow such an incident to arise. The Office of Instruction in the Ministry of Education had a list of those to be fired after Takigawa. At Tōdai it was Minobe, Ōuchi, Yokota, Suehiro, in that order. He got them to withdraw that list. Second, even if because of this incident they shut down the Kyoto University Faculty of Law, Tōdai would not accept those students. The sense was, Don’t send the Kyoto students to study at Tōdai; so he supported Kyoto University indirectly. Professor Onozuka was close to both Prime Minister Saitō and Minister of Education Hatoyama, and he knew them well, so he made that preemptive move in good conscience.” In short, what Onozuka did was to conclude a secret pact between the government and Tōdai. Tōdai would not do what it had done in the earlier Sawayanagi Incident—join with Kyoto University and cause the Ministry of Education utterly to lose face. In return, the government wouldn’t start a second Takigawa Incident that would draw its victims from Tōdai.

How widely was this pact known? To judge from the record of the University Council meeting and from Nambara’s testimony, it was known at the level of the University Council. And this pact lay in the background of the action Miyazawa Toshiyoshi testified about earlier, Suehiro’s taking steps to prevent bad things from happening; Suehiro must have known of it.

Yanaihara Tadao’s Critique of February 26

In the light of history, was entering into this secret pact really the right thing to do? After all, because of this pact (well, not merely because of it; chicken-heartedness and lack of courage probably factored in, too), even as the trend of the times turned more and more in a strange direction, the prominent professors who served on the University Council all kept their mouths shut and didn’t raise their voices in protest. And in the February 26 Incident, both Prime Minister Saitō Makoto and the former prime minister—the government officials who were party to the pact—were assassinated, so the pact too ceased to exist, and for a long time Tōdai continued to fear a second Takigawa Incident.

To mention one more thing here, it wasn’t the case at the time of the Takigawa Incident that there was no move at Tōdai to support Takigawa. Nothing happened on the side of the professors, but on the student side a great uproar arose. At Kyoto University the students of the Faculty of Law rose up in support of Takigawa, supported the professors who made bold to resign en masse, and there was a major commotion in which the mass withdrawal of students was threatened. The students sent delegations to all the imperial universities in the country and called for joint struggle. At Tōdai, too, in response to this call, the students rose up, and the resulting commotion was said to be the largest in the prewar history of the student movement.

According to the report in the Imperial University News, this is what happened:





21st (Wednesday): Professor Minobe’s lecture in front of about 700 first and second year Law students began as usual at 10 a.m., but suddenly at 10:20, at one student’s signal, a dozen or so students stood up around the hall, rushed up onto the dais, surrounded Minobe, and declared that the lecture was over; at the same time, with heavy rope produced from their bags, fifty to sixty students sealed all the exists, and with a rope ladder they’d prepared, a student climbed to the second story and hung ten-foot white banners from the north windows—“Reinstate Professor Takigawa Immediately!” “Don’t Disrupt Academic Freedom!”—and with a salutation by a student representative from the Faculty of Law, a student mass meeting was opened in the packed but quiet hall. As handbills were distributed— “Defend the Moderator!” “Toward an All-Japan Boycott!” “Student Mass Meeting, Banzai!”—representatives from Kyoto and Tōhoku Universities gave brief, ardent reports of what had happened and called for support; then came speeches by representatives of the higher schools, and to large applause the following resolutions of the Student Assembly of the Faculty of Law were read out:

—Defend to the death academic freedom and the freedom of research!

—Urge professors to rise up!

—Law Faculty Student Assembly, Banzai!

The Takigawa Incident was five whole years after the March 15 Incident, so at Tōdai, the Shinjinkai organization had been crushed, the Japan Communist Party organization too had been crushed, and the student movement was as good as extinct. Makise Kōji was the leader of the Communist Youth Alliance, the only organization remaining at the university; he writes of conditions at the university shortly before the Takigawa Incident: “I remember well the first demonstration at the university in which I took part. In a lavatory on the side of the Faculty of Economics arcade, I unfurled very fearfully the red banner that had been slipped to me. Indeed, it had written on it, ‘We Oppose Imperialistic War Absolutely!’ At the predetermined hour, one student began a speech in the arcade. It was a matter of only a minute, no more. More than a minute was dangerous. The students who were in the area, apparently nonchalantly—I too was one of them—gathered with a sudden cry, raised the red flag quickly; there wasn’t time to form up, and like a strong wind we raced toward the main gate. We crossed the road, and in front of the third or fourth building that was the student co-op came the cry, ‘Run for it!’ It was instantaneous. In the twinkling of an eye, a truckful of police from the Motofuji Station drove up. We fled, each man for himself, as fast and as far as possible, out of the jurisdiction of the Motofuji Station.”Watakushitachi no Takigawa jiken, ed., Takigawa jiken Tōdai henshūiinkai (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1985).

In a situation where normally it wasn’t possible to give even a one-minute speech, it was absolutely unheard of that seven hundred students gathered and held a mass assembly of this order. The background factors that made possible so large a mass meeting include of course the impact of the Takigawa Incident—it was big news in the press, but also an all-out organizing project of the entire Communist Youth. (In the previous two days, many small meetings had been held by students gathered according to the higher school from which they had graduated.) At that time in the Tōdai Communist Youth, an underground press printed the Tōdai cell organ—Warriors of the Red GateRHM: Tōdai’s historic gate was the Red Gate.—in mimeograph, handbill-like, and the normal run was eight hundred copies, but at the time of the Takigawa Incident, the run expanded to all of one thousand copies. This, the sole medium, was most effective in assembling the students.

Inside the lecture hall sealed from inside, student leaders made impassioned speeches one after the other, and the scene was one of wild excitement—several hundred students stamping their feet on the floor, applause, cheers; but after only about thirty minutes of this mass meeting sealed in the lecture hall, police squads and guards suddenly surrounded the hall, forced the doors, peeled off the students one by one, and arrested them. This was the end of the student movement before the war; afterwards, there were simply no comparable events.TT: Many students took part in this mass meeting, and among the authors of the book Our Takigawa Incident, which contains the recollections of participants in a commemoration fifty years later, are many noteworthy names, including Ōkōchi Kazuo (Tōdai president), Nakamura Akira (Hosei University president), Ōgiya Shōzō (commentator), Imai Tadashi (movie director), and others.

To return to our story, as I stated earlier, Kawai was the only person to criticize the February 26 Incident head-on. Though not head-on, one other person did criticize it sharply: Yanaihara. In his privately-circulated newsletter Dispatches, Yanaihara wrote as follows of his own experience on the final day of the February 26 Incident:

Feb. 29, 1936: Morning—someone told me, “Today’s the day the government will put the revolt down.” The children had set out for school but returned right away—“The trolleys aren’t running.” It will be military force against the band of young army officers who on the 26th led their units to occupy the center of Tokyo after they attacked and killed or wounded important high officials and senior councilors ….

They acted to clarify the kokutai. But they themselves resisted direct orders and showed that they were great kokutai-unclarifiers.

Out of hatred, they killed even Takahashi (Minister of Finance), who pushed for the reconciliation of national defense and finance but whom they considered a leader in estranging military and people. However, their conduct shows that they themselves were the greatest estrangers of military and people.

Hot-blooded daring they have, but not righteousness; faith, but not knowledge; relying on violence, they seek to steer state policy. It must be the responsibility of thinking people to declare firmly in the face of this trend that they go counter to justice. But since the May 15 Incident there have been several incidents of this type, and now the assassination of Chief of Military Education General Nagata: we cannot say it’s enough to proclaim justice, to say that evil acts will inevitably be punished, to point to the right path. There’s no authority above, there’s no order below, and now the situation is close to civil war. They simply cry at the top of their lungs, in a formulaic manner, “Clarify the kokutai!” But at a time when the conscience whereon the state rests has become empty, even the vastest military and state too must collapse from within, of their own weight and corruption. Thus those who chant ‘Clarify the kokutai!’ are in reality destroyers of the kokutai.

When I think of the country’s present and future, my heart breaks in anger. From unfathomable depths the tears well up, and it is as if the flame in my heart dies. As I stand alone in the great drifts of snow piled up in my yard, angry and grieving, the despairing cry “Perish!” that the young prophet among us left behind resounds like the incoming tide.RHM: The young prophet was Fujii Takeshi, close disciple of Uchimura Kanzō; “Perish!” is a refrain in his poem “Perish!” See the discussion in Chapter 2, below.

These are impassioned and fiery words. This was a private journal with a circulation of only several hundred, so officials didn’t learn immediately of its contents, and these words caused Yanaihara no problem. Yanaihara continued to write severe criticism afterwards in this private newsletter, but eventually, because of what he had written in this journal, he was forced to resign.


Yanaihara Tadao: A Christian Against the Establishment

In which the author describes the remarkable career of a prominent economist and Christian whose convictions led him to oppose Japanese imperialism and colonialism. The author treats briefly Yanaihara’s student days (and romantic entanglement with another prominent figure in this tale) and his hair-raising encounter with “bandits” in Manchuria. Yanaihara’s reading of the Manchurian Incident differed sharply from that of Hijikata Seibi, his future antagonist. This background sets the stage for the author’s subsequent account (in Chapter 3) of Yanaihara’s expulsion from Tōdai.


The Man Appointed Assistant Professor on the Basis of One Letter

Let me introduce Yanaihara Tadao. The Tōdai Faculty of Economics was founded in 1919 and included a chair in colonial policy. Its first occupant was Nitobe Inazō (1862-1933), economist and ethicist and educator and Christian, who had lectured on colonies at the professional schools that later merged to become Tōdai. After studying at Sapporo Agricultural College, Nitobe studied economics at Johns Hopkins University in the U. S. Then, as brain trust for Gotō Shimpei, chief of the civil government section of Japan’s colonial administration in Taiwan, he was involved in policy across the board. He himself became chief of the Sugar Bureau and worked to expand Taiwan’s sugar production. That and other accomplishments gave him rich practical experience and made him ideally suited to teach colonial policy. But the next year, 1920, he was appointed to the very important post of Under Secretary General of the League of Nations, a first for a Japanese. He resigned from Tōdai and left for Geneva.

To succeed Nitobe in the chair in colonial policy, the Faculty of Economics chose Yanaihara, a 1917 graduate in political science. After graduating from Tōdai, Yanaihara had entered the Sumitomo home office and then been assigned to the Besshi Mine in Shikoku. At First Higher and then at Tōdai, he had been a disciple of Nitobe, and from his student days he had been interested in the colonies; after graduating, he intended to become a hands-on colonial administrator. His first choice was Korea, but personal reasons led him to sign on for a while with Sumitomo. From First Higher School days, he had been close to Maide Chōgorō, who had become an assistant professor of the Faculty of Economics at the time of its founding, and the negotiations to hire Yanaihara bore fruit quickly. But the way the decision was reached was quite informal. In Speaking of Myself, Yanaihara gives this account:Yanaihara, “Onore o kataru,” Zenshū, 26. “Nitobe had gone to Geneva for the League of Nations, and the Tōdai chair in colonial policy was vacant. The Tōdai Faculty of Economics looked for his successor, and it became a matter of ‘How about Yanaihara? He’s a disciple of Nitobe—how about it?’ At the time, it took serious work if you wanted to become a university professor—writing up research, and the like. At the time I’d written nothing. Because for three years I’d been at the mine. They said he hadn’t studied colonial policy, but he’s Nitobe’s disciple; he must have written something. I hadn’t studied very hard, so I hadn’t written anything. Well, he must have written letters. So they looked at a letter I’d written a friend and concluded, Well, okay. It’s true: I became a Tōdai assistant professor on the basis of one letter.” Becoming a Tōdai assistant professor on the basis of one letter: it had never happened before, and never since. But once he joined the Faculty of Economics, Yanaihara quickly distinguished himself.

Spirited Debate on Colonial Policy

At about the same time, Ōuchi Hyōe quit the Finance Ministry and became an assistant professor; he wrote the following recollection: “When Yanaihara began to lecture, the students were amazed at the freshness and depth of his theories. And Colonial Policy immediately became a Faculty of Economics classic. In fact, he holed up in his study every day from early to late, drawing up his lectures with a will; not only that, but he published scholarly writings, one after the other. His Colonies and Colonial Policy, New Foundations of Colonial Policy, and The Population Problem are monuments to his efforts in these years, and each is a classic of high quality.”Ōuchi Hyōe, “Akai rakujitsu—Yanaihara Tadao no isshō,” in Yanaihara Tadao: Shinkō, gakumon, shōgai (Iwanami).

Before returning to the university, he hadn’t published a thing; but now good books appeared, one after the other. Among them the most famous were the practical books on Japan’s administration of its colonies. Here is Ōuchi: “In the decade after 1926, he planned studies of the administration of Japan’s colonies and decided to set out himself to do them; in each colony he cast his net broadly—people and materials. This is how his famous four-part work came to be: Taiwan Under Imperialism, The Manchurian Issue, Studies on the South Pacific Islands,RHM: As a result of Japan’s alliance with Britain in World War I, Japan had taken over Germany’s colonies in the South Pacific. India Under Imperialism. Each of these was a major scholarly work and in essence a critique of Japan’s colonial policy grounded on solid research. The talk of the town was about how very scholarly they were and about how very alarming they were to the colonial officials, about how most of these books were banned from import into the colonies they dealt with and were translated in China and Russia, about how Studies on the South Pacific Islands became the prime reference guide for the staff of the American Occupation after the war—implicitly, a high evaluation of these books.”

Yanaihara criticized the administration of the colonies sharply, so if he went to do on-site research, Japan’s various colonial administrators kept an eye on him; before you could say Jack Robinson, he would be tracked by spies. Reportedly, spies even made their way into his Tōdai courses, and as for foreign students from the colonies taking his courses, they in particular were investigated rigorously and blocked. I’ll say more about that later, but first I want to touch on his student years.

 “Boy-Love” Relation with Kawai Eijirō

Immediately on entering First Higher School, Yanaihara joined the Debate Club. Kawai Eijirō, two years ahead of Yanaihara, was a club member. Written twenty-five years after Kawai’s death, Egami Teruhiko’s Biography of Kawai Eijirō first made public the fact that in his First Higher years Kawai had homosexual proclivities.RHM: The Japanese term is “youth-love” or “boy-love” (shōnenai). It has far less of a pejorative connotation than (in the U.S. in the modern era) the term ‘homosexual.’ All the parties in this account went on to contract long heterosexual marriages. In the biography, Egami references Socrates, Plato, and Greek boy-love and states that Kawai was sometimes the older lover, sometimes the younger loved. The voguish term ‘homosocial’ may be useful here. Shōnenai relations began with the homosocial and shaded off into the homosexual. In the 1930s physical contact was rarer in Japan than in some societies, so embraces are of greater significance. (Those close to him had known all along.) It shocked Kawai fans, but this biography was based on Kawai’s unexpurgated diary, to which the family had given Egami special access; so the account is reliable. (To protect Kawai’s privacy, his students had made considerable deletions in the diary as printed in his Collected Works. Those who have read the uncut original say there are many other sections that can’t be made public, so full publication is either impossible or will happen at best some decades from now.) Egami writes clearly of Kawai’s sexual orientation, setting out concrete examples such as the following. His partner at the time was Nasu Shiroshi, who was to become a professor in the Tōdai Faculty of Agriculture. I give Nasu’s name because—as will become clear—this relation has significance for the Kawai Incident of 1939. Nasu was two years ahead of Kawai, and the two spent the summer vacation in the same lodging in Akagi, the mountain resort in Gumma Prefecture. Egami writes: “Thus Nasu, for whom he’d been pining, finally came to the Igaya Inn. Hearing the innkeeper’s daughter say, “Nasu-san…,” he hesitated for a moment, then rushed to greet his beloved. … Eijirō was in seventh heaven. He was ecstatic to spend time—even if only briefly—under the same roof in this chalet far from the bustle of the city, with a friend with whom he shared brotherly love…. He and Nasu slept side by side, holding hands, and he found even the violent rain that thundered in the air and rattled against the rain shutters quite like a symphony wishing him joy in that love….

“The two went boating on the lake and crossed to a small island. In the silence—all they could hear was the twittering of birds—they embraced and kissed, sank into an enchanted, charmed world, lost track of time…. The relation between them at the time was indeed close to the passionate love between a man and a woman. But when things got too sensual, Eijirō had second thoughts, felt shame, even feared that the relation might harm Nasu, and proposed a total break. Nasu didn’t agree. He said, ‘Don’t threaten that! I’ll agree to whatever conditions you want to set. But I simply can’t agree to a total break.’ And he started to cry. Theatrically, Eijirō flung aside the hat he’d been wearing hugged Nasu, and said, ‘Please let’s go back to the way we were.’ In the woods above Numajiri, the two spread a cloak on the ground, sat on it, and spoke again of the foolishness that their brotherly love had led to and how they had come to speak of a total break.”

Citing Egami’s biography, Kasuya Kazuki writes:Nasu, Kawai Eijirō den. “He formed passionate attachments; he was a seeker after Eros. Adonises: they too had value, and he was a pushover for Adonises who were smart.” It began in his First Higher School years with his boy-love relation with Nasu, and it continued throughout his life. It’s why those of his students he liked particularly were bright Adonises. He summoned them to his home and even bathed with them (one of them, reportedly, was a later director of the Bank of Japan). And he sought close emotional ties with his disciples. (He wanted to be loved by his opposite numbers as much as he loved them. Both sides invaded the privacy of the other and wanted their own privacy invaded.) If that hope was not met, he sometimes got violently angry. I’ll have more to say about the fact that at the time of the Kawai Incident, some disciples were ostracized because they aroused that anger.

When Yanaihara arrived as a first-year student, the same sort of relation developed between Kawai and Yanaihara. In Yanaihara’s diary of his First Higher years, there’s the following:

At about two in the afternoon I was invited by Kawai and went to talk with him in his room in East Dorm…. We talked until six, then went to eat together. Again on his invitation we set off for Kawanishi’s place.Kawanishi had been ahead of Yanaihara in middle school. Talked until eleven…. Back to dorm at twelve, and at the entrance to South Dorm he invited me once more to go to the athletic field, where we squatted and talked. Talk turned to life in Akagi; I’m dying to go this summer and see what it’s like, and the desire to live the pure life with my dear Kawai in beautiful Akagi grew phenomenally strong. For the first time Kawai used my given name Tadao. He said at first he had been in awe of me and didn’t think he could hold hands with me….

It was a dark night, not a star in the sky, and on the gentle slope of the athletic field he embraced me, and as in a dream I imagined what a clean and ideal friendship in Akagi might be. The houses across the way loomed like a chain of hills. Ah—truly trance-like. I had no sense of time. I wasn’t sleepy; I wasn’t cold; I was in ecstacy.

When roosters crowed and the folks who did winter outdoor training were about to appear, I came to and looked at my watch—already five a.m. We stood up on the dewy field and entered my room again for a bit. Light showed in the east, the steam heating came on, people got up, and finally at six we parted. We’d talked from two in the afternoon to six the next morning. I don’t remember much of what I said or heard. On parting, Kawai hugged me and said, “Tadao. Please stay pure at all costs. I love your purity.”RHM: Twice in this final passage, Yanaihara uses the English word ‘pure.’

They talked for sixteen hours straight, holding hands, at times embracing; so at one bound, the two had developed quite a relation. When you look at contemporary photographs of Yanaihara, he was indeed an attractive young man—one of those “bright Adonises” Kawai favored. There are other accounts in the diary reporting that later, too, they—although not for so long a stretch—and talked for hours. But one can infer that Kawai was the more ardent of the two, that Yanaihara wasn’t so ardent. There’s this entry for another day: “I don’t think I’m lukewarm, but I am relatively indifferent [on sexual matters]; I’m philosophical. In contrast with Kawai’s ardent sincerity, I am even rather unresponsive. Kawai said he’d serve me utterly. Then he said I should treat him in any way I wanted, that if I did so, our friendship would flourish.RHM: The words ‘serve’ and ‘friendship’ are in English. But I simply couldn’t conceive that Kawai existed for my sake alone. Kawai was my respected elder brother; could I treat him selfishly? The decision is difficult. But maybe I need to be candid with him. I’ll never forget Kawai’s love, his sincerity; Kawai did win a place in my heart.”

But in his First Higher years, Yanaihara was closer to classmate Mitani Takanobu than to Kawai. In his biography of his father, Yanaihara Isaku writes as follows: “Beginning about February of his first year, he became close to the upper-classman Kawai Eijirō; but at this time he truly felt love and affection for his classmate Mitani.TT: Mitani served in the Foreign Ministry before becoming Grand Chamberlain in the Household Ministry. For example, in his entry for March 4: ‘In the afternoon walked toward Yanaka with Shin-san [Mitani]. Returned after about four hours. Ah, Shin-san, the Shin-san I respect; my equal Shin-san, laconic Shin-san; I love Shin-san—more than Kawai.’ He met ‘Shin-san’ occasionally, went to the public bath with him, together paced the athletic field at night, together read the Bible.”

Yanaihara Becomes a Christian, a Disciple of Uchimura Kanzō

Mitani was a fervent Christian, and invited by him, Yanaihara was drawn deeply into Christianity. First, with Mitani, he joined the First Higher Christian Club, then became a disciple of Uchimura Kanzō. That event determined his entire life thereafter. Yanaihara writes:“Watakushi wa ika ni shite kirisuto shinja to natta ka.” “In October 1911 Uchimura threw open the doors of his Kashiwagi congregation. At the opportunity, I went with friends and fortunately was admitted. Soon thereafter, in January of the next year, Uchimura’s beloved daughter RutsukoRHM: The name Rutsuko was a Japanese approximation of the Biblical Ruth. died; the memorial service was held at the Non-Church building. Uchimura appeared intensely grief-stricken and in a strong voice said, ‘This isn’t Rutsuko’s funeral but her wedding.’ This was my first Christian funeral, and I was stunned to hear such unexpected words, and then when the coffin was taken to Zoshigaya Cemetery and interred, Uchimura took a handful of dirt and raising his hand high, shouted in a voice as if squeezed from the pit of his stomach, ‘Rutsuko, Banzai!’ As he did so, it was as if I was struck by lighting, and my whole body was transfixed. Solemn feelings took me captive: this is a huge thing; Christianity is amazing; this isn’t something to respond to half-heartedly. I began to attend Uchimura’s Bible meetings with great seriousness.”

Up till then, Yanaihara had gone to church half-heartedly, looking to find new friends; thereafter, he confronted Christianity head-on and for that very reason grew deeply worried. Two months later, his mother died back at home. She died knowing nothing of Christianity. Could she not go to Heaven? Yanaihara’s love for his mother was particularly strong, so he worried constantly. In his diary he wrote: “Will God admit Mother to Heaven? Or will only those who know Christ be resurrected and not Mother? I’d have no hope of being reunited with her…. She’d never said Christ’s name, so he wouldn’t take pity on her? If so, what of those people who lived before the birth of Christ? What of those righteous people in remote areas who never knew Christ?”

Agonized, he went to Uchimura and broaching his agony, asked Uchimura to respond. He thought he’d learn quickly that such-and-such was the way it was, but to his surprise Uchimura answered, “I don’t know.” And then he said, “You’ll learn the answer after a lifetime of faith.” Yanaihara writes: “‘Even Uchimura doesn’t know!’—this was a major discovery for me. I had to learn directly from God myself. And faith—one doesn’t understand all at once, in a flash. You have to study for a long time.”

Yanaihara resolved then to spend his life as an independent proselytizer. Yanaihara’s life has three facets: scholar, educator, and in the Christian world, independent proselytizer in the Christian tradition a la Uchimura. Uchimura never belonged to any church, emphasized Non-Church-ism, and on each Sunday convened his private Bible Study group; he dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel via a magazine Uchimura published himself. Following his example, many of his disciples, too, carried on with their own private Bible-study groups and proselytized via private journals and assemblies. By means of such activity, the Non-Church movement had and has a unique influence in Japanese Christianity. From the time of Uchimura’s lèse-majesté incident at First Higher School in 1891, many First Higher students became his disciples; when Yanaihara returned to Tōdai as assistant professor, quite a few Tōdai professors, assistant professors, and students were members of the non-Tōdai Bible study group Uchimura convened. So Yanaihara proposed that if there were that many people, then why not a Bible study group at Tōdai? And beginning in 1924-25, the Tōdai Bible Study Group was formed. Among its chief members, in addition to Yanaihara, were Nambara Shigeru, Tanaka Kōtarō, and Takagi Yasaka; many prominent figures joined. This group lasted until 1937, when Yanaihara was driven out of Tōdai; among the younger members who had joined in the interim were Ōtsuka Hisao and many others who became distinguished professors. In its final stage, the group changed into an assembly where Yanaihara preached the Gospel. In addition, from 1933 on, Yanaihara held home gatherings on the second floor of his home, and these too were popular; he had to limit the attendance to forty-two or -three people lest the second floor  collapse.

Many people wanted to hear Yanaihara’s talks, but only a limited number could be accommodated in such gatherings, so after 1933, when the meetings began, Yanaihara created the private journal Dispatches to take the place of letters in conveying his doings and distributed it to those interested. Gradually it grew to a circulation of about a thousand. It was this private journal that ran his essay on the February 26 Incident (see the previous chapter) and this journal, too, that ran the stenographic record of “The Land of God,” delivered at the lecture meeting away from Tōdai that became the grounds for driving Yanaihara from Tōdai.

How did Dispatches get its start? In September 1932, after the Manchurian Incident, Yanaihara went to inspect Manchuria. The Southern Manchurian Railroad train on which he was riding between Xinjiang and Haerbin was attacked by bandits, and Yanaihara escaped miraculously with his life. This event was reported in Japan’s newspapers, too, and there were banner headlines, YANAIHARA MISSING; so many acquaintances worried and inquired. It would have been difficult to try to answer these all one by one, so he said he’d print something—it became the inaugural issue of Dispatches.

In 1932, the year after the Manchurian Incident, Manchukuo had been established, and as soon as that happened, the Kwantung Army had invited professors from the Tōdai Faculty of Economics, wanting to learn from them about running the new state. Those invited were Yanaihara, Ōuchi, and Hijikata Seibi. (All three were key figures in the Faculty of Economics strife I’ll tell about later. In the expulsion of Yanaihara that set off the strife, Hijikata was the chief figure pushing for his expulsion. Ōuchi supported Yanaihara.) Hijikata had set off happily for Manchuria, but Yanaihara and Ōuchi declined the invitation. Why did Yanaihara say no? Because from the time the Manchurian Incident arose (the incident at the Marco Polo Bridge), he had thought it suspect. He wrote:“Watakushi no ayunde kita michi.” “When the Manchurian Incident took place, I was suspicious. In light of the past history of the Japanese administration of Manchuria, or of Taiwan or Korea—it was the same in the colonies of foreign countries—if you studied their histories, in view of the situation at the time in Manchuria, it was not likely that the troops of Zhang Zuolin would bomb the Southern Manchurian train tracks; I doubted it. As a scholar, I also doubted that the ethnic Manchus would create an ‘ethnic state.’ Hearing and seeing things, making on-site observations, I was really dubious.”

After turning down the Army’s invitation, he set off himself for Manchuria to investigate—after all, he knew many people working for the Southern Manchurian Railroad. The more he investigated, the more he grew convinced it had been an Army plot. It was on this trip that he came under bandit attack. According to “Attacked by Bandits” in the inaugural issue of Dispatches, this is what happened: “I awoke suddenly to a fierce juddering of the coach. The train stopped, and the lights went out; it was pitch black…. The train had stopped and the lights gone out because the bandits had sprung the rails and were waiting in ambush; we had derailed…. With the sudden stop, we came under small-arms fire from the left.… The bandits fired for a while, then stormed the train, shouting a strange shout. They numbered, it was said, a hundred or so. We locked the compartment from the inside and kept quiet. Bandits kicked at the door two or three times and cried, “Open up!” but then they went away…. Here and there came the ominous sound of windows breaking, and then an eerie interval passed when we didn’t hear a single voice roaring or weeping.”

The attack ended after less than an hour: “When we went to the next railcar, one Japanese passenger had been speared through the skull—a grisly corpse lying face up. His blood had splashed and dyed the white skirt of a Russian girl. We went to the first- and second-class coaches at the front of the train, and they appeared to have been the target of the bandit attack; they had received much gunfire that broke windows and compartment doors and wounded passengers…. From front to rear, virtually the entire train, fully loaded with five hundred passengers, had been overrun and pillaged: four of the Japanese soldiers on board and one passenger had been slain; two Russians had also been killed…. Our compartment with its four occupants in the center of the train was the only compartment totally overlooked, so none of us was injured, and there wasn’t even damage to our luggage; we hadn’t been threatened by pistols waved in our faces—no, we hadn’t even seen a bandit face or been seen by one. It was truly a miracle.” This event deepened Yanaihara’s belief that God was protecting him, and he reaffirmed his resolve to believe in God and communicate His word.

A “Fighting Principle” Learned from Christ

This inspection trip to Manchuria deepened Yanaihara’s conviction that the Manchurian Incident was an army plot, as he had sensed at first, and after returning to Japan, he treated the Manchurian problem in a topics course in 1932-33. In the next year, 1934, he worked those lectures up and published them as The Manchurian Problem.Manshū mondai, Tokyo: Iwanami, 1934. In the preface he wrote: “What I wish to convey to you here is not materials, not data…. What I wish to convey is simply and solely a critical spirit. Because the danger of blindness is greatest where criticism is lacking.” This book is very critical on the Manchurian issue: he states that “It’s already clear that Japan is essentially an imperialist state” and argues that Japanese capitalism has reached the stage of monopoly capital, that the Japanese Army is deeply implicated in the Manchurian issue, that the newly established Manchukuo is “a country rare in world history,” founded on principles that don’t fit with the principle of national self-determination, and that as concession-holder, Japan is deeply complicit in that founding.

Naturally, the military expressed displeasure at this course, and a strange situation arose: when Faculty of Economics students took military drill, their instructors (active-duty officers) ordered them not to attend Yanaihara’s lectures. Inoki Masamichi, then a student, writes as follows:Yanaihara Tadao: Faith, Scholarship, Life.

In April 1934, when I entered the Tōdai Faculty of Economics, there was a convocation for new students. The speakers were Yanaihara Tadao and Kawai Eijirō…. After welcoming remarks by those in charge, Yanaihara took the podium. Yanaihara began to speak, with what appeared to be notes in one hand, and gradually it dawned on us that they were final exams from the previous year.

It’s now thirty years in the past, so I don’t remember his precise words, but two impressions are still crystal-clear today. One, rapping those exams in his right hand loudly on the podium, he exclaimed, “It’s a disgrace!” As a topics course in the academic year 1933, he’d chosen the theme, “The Manchurian Problem.” He’d been reading those exams and discovered from some of them that military officers assigned to Tōdai had told students, “Yanaihara’s lectures are unpatriotic, so don’t go.” He exclaimed, “How can they call someone in the same university unpatriotic? It’s a disgrace!”

With the Manchurian Incident, Yanaihara’s life changed decisively. In “Battle Scars,” Yanaihara writes of this episode with the military instructors:“Ikusa no ato,” Zenshū 26. “From that time on, my scholarship and my faith became a united force and caused me to confront the Manchurian Incident…. I said publicly what for the sake of truth I needed to say. But even if I was criticized or impugned for that reason, I said not a word in defense or protest. I had determined to take that attitude. In later battles, too, I held generally to that principle, and the result—for the public and for me as an intellectual—was more often a plus than a minus. It goes without saying that this was a fighting principle I’d learned from Jesus.”

“A Word” on which He Risked Everything

Yanaihara’s life thereafter was devoted to “saying publicly what…I needed to say.” But in Japan after the Manchurian Incident, freedom of speech was rapidly being lost, and it wasn’t all that easy to say “what I needed to say.” Moreover, what Yanaihara thought “needed to be said” was not roundabout criticism of national policy via lectures in the Faculty of Economics on “The Manchurian Problem” but more head-on, the assertion that Japan’s national policy after the Manchurian Incident was fundamentally wrong. This was a matter not simply of criticizing policy mistakes but of asserting that Japan as a state should be denounced for having become a state utterly unjust before God.

At the time, when nationalism was hounding all Japan, it took great courage to say that. Still, beginning with the ceremony marking the third anniversary of the death of his master Uchimura Kanzō, Yanaihara began to make that assertion publicly. To do so required firm resolve. Yanaihara writes:“Omoide,” Zenshu 26. “On March 26, 1933 we held an assembly on the third anniversary of Uchimura’s death, and Mitani Takanobu and I were two of the four speakers…. I had tried to turn down the invitation to be a speaker, saying that I wasn’t a proselytizer, that I was a younger generation, and that I was sorry; but they simply wouldn’t take no. The deepest reason for my declining was that if I took the podium, I had only one thing to say. Moreover, that was given me with great clarity. I feared saying that thing. It would jeopardize my social standing, of course, but also my physical freedom.”

What was that thing? His son writes:Yanaihara Tadao den. “It was that since the Manchurian Incident, which had been cheered on by an extreme nationalism that took the emperor as absolute, Japan’s policy was based on falsehood…. Yanaihara spoke for twenty minutes on ‘A Man of Sorrows.’ He spoke for twenty minutes, throwing his heart and soul into his words. Thinking back on this lecture, he wrote: ‘I wept for Japan—since the Manchurian Incident, it had been sinning in the eyes of God. It was a lecture I gave fully resigned to the consequences, and after we returned home, my wife said of her thoughts as she listened, ‘For a brief moment I grew tense, but I resolved that whatever happened to the family was okay and prayed with all my strength to God.’ I was grateful for her words. Not looking back, instead setting my face toward Jerusalem, I confronted the trend that was heading rapidly and violently toward fascism.’” What did “setting my face toward Jerusalem” mean? At the end of his life Jesus headed for Jerusalem and set his course toward Jerusalem.RHM: The references here need some explaining. “A man of sorrows” is from Isaiah 53:3 and has been interpreted as a prefiguration of Jesus. To set one’s face toward Jerusalem is from Ezekiel 21:2: “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, and speak against the sanctuaries; prophesy against the land of Israel.” Again, it is an Old Testament verse taken to be prefiguration. In the New Testament, Jesus sets his face toward Jerusalem knowing he is going to his death.

What did he say in “A Man of Sorrows”? Yanaihara writes: “Amid such chaos, the one who sees the reality of things and speaks the truth is indeed a man of sorrows. A man of sorrows is not someone who bemoans personal matters…. When lies fill the world and no one understands the reality of things, a man of sorrows is the one person who perceives the true state of human affairs, who speaks up when everyone else keeps silent. Truth isn’t something that all people in this world can understand easily. Truth itself has its sorrow. Therefore the man who knows the truth is necessarily a man of sorrows.”

For Yanaihara, Jesus Christ is the paradigmatic man of sorrows, who realized that there was no hope for all mankind living in sin and unrighteousness unless he himself died on the cross; he became a man of sorrows. And amid general derision he ascended the cross. The prophet Jeremiah foresaw that if it continued on its course, his fatherland Judea, filled with unrighteousness, would be destroyed by God; but no one believed him. Jeremiah was hated, ridiculed, killed. And Judea was destroyed. Uchimura Kanzō was the epitome of a man of sorrows: preaching pacifism during the Russo-Japanese War, he was termed a traitor, a rebel.

Now, by clamoring that in the Manchurian Incident Japan had sinned, Yanaihara sought to join this lineage of men of sorrow. He knew, of course, that he would be called a traitor. He writes: “Not a single country supported Japan at the League of Nations. Japan stood isolated…. What made Japan isolated? Foreign countries said Japan didn’t keep its promises…. All the countries of the world speak badly of Japan…. Should our beloved country have made a mistake, if today’s crisis arose from Japan’s violation of God’s righteousness, what should we Christians do?… Anyone at all can do it: if the nation makes a mistake, bear guilt for it. Die for it. This is the man of sorrows.”

Further, Japan’s nationalism was the greatest evil: “The essence of Japanese ideas lies in the concept of the state. This is probably the most beautiful of Japanese ideas. But where there is the most beauty, there will be the greatest evil also…. If in the case of individuals, greed and lies are bad thoughts, national greed, national lies are profoundly bad ideas. Moreover, dressing up and justifying greed is an extreme sin…. If Japanese Christianity is to protect and perfect Japan’s unique state concept, it must renounce with all its strength the concept of state greed and lies.” In short, the Manchurian Incident is a great evil that the state, carried away by greed, has committed. To cloak what it did out of greed in the guise of justice is to commit great sin.

Slightly modified, these words appeared later in Dispatches; they weren’t word-for-word what he said at the ceremony. Watanabe Miyoji was in the audience that day and asked on the spot to become one of Yanaihara’s disciples. We can gather from the thoughts of that Yanaihara’s words were in fact more bitter, more impassioned:Yanaihara Tadao: Shinkō, Gakumon, Shōgai. “In ‘A Man of Sorrows,’ Yanaihara pointed out the unrighteousness of Japan in the Manchurian Incident. Struck by his fierce vigor, I listened with sweaty hands, praying for his safety. For me, into whom had been pounded the thought that the state was supreme, what he said then—that the Christian God transcended the state, that if the state committed unrighteous acts it could not escape God’s judgment—was a thunderclap out of a clear blue sky and caused me to tremble, body and soul; my eyes were opened. Yanaihara made known to me the existence of a living God who governs history; I received a clear sign that I must follow this teacher.”

Grappling Head-on with the Issue of the Emperor

Just before that memorial service, Yanaihara wrote an essay “The Backward-Yearning and the Progressive in the Japanese Spirit” (January 1933). His statements there about Japan’s statism were even more impassioned. He lined up the arguments glorifying the Japanese spirit: “All of them take the state to be the root of our Japanese culture, the Japanese spirit, set the emperor at the center of the state, and make the emperor either the highest good as the true self of the people or the source of executive power or the majesty of the state. Hence the core of our Japanese spirit is taken to be the statism of a state commanded by the emperor and that has its unity in him. So the concept of kokutai forms the core of studies of the Japanese spirit, and the focus of kokutai studies must be state supremacy and the divinity of the emperor.” At the time, fearing they’d get burned, no intellectuals apart from the emperor-believers touched these issues—the kokutai, the divinity of the emperor, statism; but Yanaihara addressed them head-on.

Even more than was the case with the speech we’ve just considered, Yanaihara girded up his loins to write this essay. He reflects: “I remember particularly the essay ‘The Backward-Yearning and the Progressive in the Japanese Spirit’ that I published in the January 1933 issue of Risō. This was an issue I had to address, and I thought carefully and wrote resolutely. The issue was the fundamental relation between Christianity and the kokutai. This essay is included in my The People and Peace, and when that book was referred for legal penalty, this essay was the most problematic. I myself value this essay most highly.”

It’s an essay that makes tough reading, so I won’t discuss it here in detail, but its essence is the issue of the divinity of the emperor. For Yanaihara, a Christian, the stumbling block was that he simply could not set the divinity of the emperor on the same plane as the divinity of the Christian God. If the emperor was divine, he argued, it was a different divinity from the divinity of the Christian God—the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe. To begin with, when emperor-believers said, “The emperor is universal morality and must be followed,” weren’t they assuming “the existence of a universal morality that transcends the emperor, that provides a foundation for the emperor, that the emperor too must follow?” The emperor-believers also argued that the emperor was majesty personified. If that was the case, “The fact that the emperor is majesty itself—is that the ideal emperor? Or is it the real emperor? Is it a standard the emperor should follow? Or is the emperor the very standard?” Thus: “The foundation of the divinity of the emperor is not his person but his office, and the foundation of the emperor’s humanity is not his office but his person. The actual emperor is divine in his state office, but that is not to say that as a person he is divine—most-sacred, most-loved, all-knowing, all-powerful. In life and person, he, like all human beings, has personhood relative to the God of creation.” This was his conclusion. Before the creator-God, the emperor too has the same personhood as all human beings, so the emperor’s divinity isn’t in conflict with Christian morality.

Moreover, statism “gives birth to the assertion that morality is what the state wants, what is to the state’s benefit,” and “this statism conflates the ideal state and the real state…so it becomes in the end the assertion that morality is what benefits the state…. This is a very shallow view of morality and the state; it’s like a self-complacent, egotistical view of human life. True patriotism recognizes morality as a universal axiom that transcends the state, and it criticizes the actual state in terms of that morality; where the actual state contravenes morality, it must point that fact out and remonstrate and so draw nearer to the ideal of a moral state, letting the light of morality shine out from within. So true patriotism does not consider state benefit; it considers state morality.” True patriotism thinks first of the morality of the state, not its benefit.

Perhaps because it was a difficult essay built up on very fine logic, this essay didn’t cause the journal that ran it to be banned; moreover, the book that reprinted this essay—The People and Peace—didn’t suffer immediate ban, either. (It was published in 1936; the ban came in 1937.) As per usual, lengthy criticism was published in Minoda Muneki’s Genri Nihon, including “Scholarly Critique of Former Tōdai Professor Yanaihara’s Blasphemy, Anti-Military and Anti-War Ideas, and Argument for Giving Up the Colonies.” And because that was an abstruse critique of an abstruse essay, it didn’t win much popular acceptance. So—unlike the Takigawa Incident and the Minobe Emperor-Organ Incident that Minoda’s attacks had occasioned—it didn’t occasion a sensational Yanaihara Incident. Still, this essay should be remembered as a counter-blow aimed directly at the tenor of kokutai-absolutism, at the out-and-out celebration of statism.

Between 1933, which saw the publication of this essay and Yanaihara’s speech on the third anniversary of Uchimura’s death, and 1937, Yanaihara spoke out vigorously. In his own words:“Omoide.” “In the four years and eight months after my speech on the third anniversary of Uchimura’s death, in discourse and lectures, in books and travel, I worked very hard. In this span of less than five years, I think I produced as much as most people produce in a lifetime. Looking back now, I think I did really well. It was work I couldn’t have done without divine assistance.”

The Contrast: Hijikata Seibi’s Evaluation of the Manchurian Incident

1937 concluded that period of amazing activity. Yanaihara aroused the ire of officials with the essay, “The Ideal State,” which appeared in Chūō kōron, and with the stenographic record of the speech, “The Land of God,” which ran in Dispatches and led to the ban on publication. 1937 was also the year Yanaihara’s resignation from Tōdai became unavoidable. I’ll have more to say about that later. What I want to mention first is the visit to Manchuria of Hijikata Seibi, point man in driving Yanaihara out in the great dispute (it was about to begin) at the Tōdai Faculty of Economics.

Yanaihara and Ōuchi Hyōei rejected the invitation to Manchuria, but Hijikata accepted with pleasure. That event appears in Hijikata’s memoir, and reading it, one sees how different his thinking about Manchuria was from that of Yanaihara and Ōuchi. Hijikata writes: “The Manchurian Incident had roots reaching back to the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05; our ancestors shed much blood, left many of their bones to bleach on the plains of Southern Manchuria…. Via the noble sacrifices of the Russo-Japanese War, Japan had secured a foothold in Southern Manchuria, and for a while peace was maintained. In the Lansing-Ishii Agreement of 1917, the United States, too, had recognized the ‘special interests’ of Japan in Southern Manchuria. Under the Zhang Zuolin regime, not only was the right of Japanese to own land not recognized, but peace and order tended to break down; it was feared that in the attempt to oust Japan from Southern Manchuria, Japan’s several decades of managing Southern Manchuria would come to naught. Even if there were actions of the Japanese military during this time that should be criticized, the sense of the great majority of Japanese was that, at best, we should not renounce Southern Manchuria.

“So the great majority of Japanese who heard of the Manchurian Incident did not stint in their applause. To be sure, opinion on the Manchurian Incident among intellectuals critical of the military’s action was divided. Even if they didn’t support the military’s action entirely, some recognized it as a fait accompli and thought it right to establish a regime that pacified Manchuria and planned the development of resources and the betterment of the residents; others rejected the military’s action categorically. I was among the former.”

Even though the vast majority of Japanese shared this opinion, from Yanaihara’s point of view it accepted “the state lie (the immorality) that disregarded morality and focused on state benefit.” The basic evaluations of the Incident differed completely between the two men; Yanaihara refused the invitation of the Kwantung Army, and Hijikata accepted it. And when he went to Manchuria, Hijikata got an astonishing welcome. He writes: “That evening a reception to welcome the delegation was held at the Yamato Hotel. Beginning with commanding officer General Honjō, all the headquarters officers attended—Itagaki Seishirō, Ishiwara Kanji, and so on. By blind chance, my seat was directly opposite Gen. Honjō….RHM: Honjō was commander-in-chief of the Manchurian Army (1931-32) and was arrested as a war criminal in 1945; he committed suicide in November 1945. Itagaki was a chief plotter of the Manchurian Incident; he was tried by the U. S. as a war criminal and executed in 1948. Ishiwara was a chief plotter of the Manchurian Incident.

“Next morning in the Yamato Hotel in Mukden, a knock came on my door. I opened the door, and it was Colonel (later General) Ishihara Kanji; it was our first meeting. He was energetic, his face ruddy, and he told me the following: some idiots were talking nonsense, that Manchuria was Japan’s lifeline (at the time in Japan, it was often said that Manchuria was Japan’s lifeline). but he himself had never said that or thought it. Manchuria was only a foothold. Now we must advance to Shanxi and Shaanxi.RHM: These two provinces lie southwest of Beijing, on the other side of Beijing from Manchuria, so Japan would need to control Beijing, too. Shaanxi’s southern border abuts Sichuan Province and is not far from the Yangzi River. Ishihara’s plans are indeed large. In Shaanxi rich oil fields were said to exist; the colonel’s ambitions for managing the continent were very large.” Already at this time, shockingly, the grand plan was already formed in Ishiwara Kanji’s head: to advance into Shanxi and Shaanxi and control even oil. And Hijikata hadn’t the slightest criticism of that plan; he admired it without reservation.

Thus, sucked in by military policy, university professors, too, moved steadily rightward. It is natural, of course, that even those who at the start of the Manchurian Incident had their doubts moved steadily in the direction of rationalizing the Incident (greed over morality). Hijikata writes: “It goes without saying that the Manchurian Incident and the establishment of Manchukuo that ensued differ significantly from the Russo-Japanese War. Formally, of course, sudden military intrusion into another country’s territory is invasion. But it wasn’t carried out entirely without reason. Over more than twenty years, Japanese had lent a helping hand in the development of Southern Manchuria. The foundation they had built and managed laboriously was being shaken by the policy of the Zhang Zuolin regime…. Thanks to the Kwantung Army, banditry was suppressed, and peace and order maintained. The Manchurian Incident was an explosion of public indignation on the part of the Japanese people at unfriendly treatment at the hands of the Zhang Zuolin regime. At the time, China had not been unified territorially under the Guomindang regime, and the north was divided among warlords. There was no reliable peaceful regime, and Russia threatened from the north; so the fact that with Japanese cooperation an independent and peaceful regime was established in Manchuria was a further consideration…. On these grounds I approved the Manchurian Incident and subsequent Army actions in Manchuria.”

The appraisals of the Manchurian Incident and the military of Yanaihara and Hijikata differ so greatly that one senses that a head-on collision between them was inevitable.


Yanaihara’s Expulsion at the Hands of the “Fat Pig”

In which the author reports on how Japan’s war in Asia came to Tōdai. He describes Tōdai’s increasing involvement in the war effort—in personnel, ideology, curriculum. Within the Faculty of Economics, the “Renovationist” faction around Dean Hijikata Seibi led the charge against those who opposed increasing involvement in the war effort;in the ouster of Yanaihara Tadao it achieved a first victory. The author analyzes the standard explanation for Yanaihara’s forced resignation and finds that the true reason lay elsewhere.

“Marxism” vs. “Liberalism”

After the Manchurian Incident in 1931, Japan entered its time of emergency, its quasi-wartime footing. And after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in July 1937, it plunged into the era of true war. In that process, Japan’s nationalism grew ever fiercer, and Japanese society top to bottom moved to wartime footing. Tōdai was no exception. Within the university, the renovationist clique of professors with connections to the military (the name came from the desire to renovate Japan into a state of total mobilization for war) came to rule the roost; pacifists and war-shunners grew fewer in number.

This use of the terms “renovation” and “renovationist clique” differs completely from their use today. The same issue will come up later, too, but to say a bit now by way of explanation: the leaders of Tōdai’s renovationist clique were Hijikata Seibi (dean of the Faculty of Economics), the key figure in driving Yanaihara Tadao out, and the bunch of professors in league with him—Honiden Yoshio, Tanabe Tadao, and the others. They founded the journal Renovation (its inaugural issue appeared in October 1938), and the lead essay of that first issue, “The Mission of the Renovation Association,” gives the essence of their views. First, to speak of Japan’s current situation, Japan is fighting a war that began on the continent and preparing for the even greater war with the Allied Powers that will arise in the future. Such a situation makes “Japan’s fundamental renovation unavoidable.” What should be renovated? How? “The existing economic structure is organized basically for the goal of profit.” With it, Japan is unable over the long run to ensure “the large-scale production of military goods and the provision of robust fighting men.” To build a wartime structure for the long haul, it is “necessary first of all to change the existing structure in favor of the state, so selfishness no longer governs.” At the same time, it is necessary to “rebuild today’s unjust society from the roots up” and, in addition to expanding the production of military goods, satisfy the lives of the common people, “construct a true national community,” and thereby “accomplish the true mobilization of the state.” In order to prepare for the war already being waged and the war against the Allies that is foreseeable, it is necessary to reorganize totally the economy and the state—up till now, these have been governed by personal profit and self-interest—and build a totalitarian structure centering on the state. In short, turn Japan into a totalitarian state similar to fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Hijikata, it so happens, was also well-known as an expert on Italian fascism.

Notice the difference in awareness. In today’s society, “fascism,” “Nazism,” “totalitarianism” are all negative terms, but at the time that was not the case. Rather, they were all positives pointing the way to a new age. Taken together, they meant “renovation.” With links to the military, the renovationist clique pushed for the creation of a totalitarian state as war goal. The Faculty of Economics included not a few professors—Ōuchi’s Marxist-sympathizer group and Kawai’s liberal group—who loathed the renovationists and their goal, and the two factions clashed. It developed into major strife, and the Tōdai Faculty of Economics nearly collapsed. In any case, in the Hiraga Purge (1939) that was the climax of that strife, a total of thirteen faculty—professors, assistant professors, and others—were fired or resigned. Of these, eight were dissuaded from resigning and in the end stayed on.

In the Faculty Group Incident of one year earlier, Ōuchi and three other left-wing professors aligned with the Rōnōha had been arrested, so the Tōdai Faculty of Economics was short on faculty and nearly collapsed.On the Faculty Group Incident and the Rōnōha, see Chapter 4. When they hear “Tōdai strife,” postwar generations are likely to summon up the great riots of 1969 (the all-university strike, the blocking of the entrance examinations) and the Tōdai All-Student Alliance’s fight to seize and defend Yasuda Auditorium.RHM: Zenkyōto was the umbrella alliance of student organizations at the center of the 1969 student riots. But generations a bit older, when they hear “Tōdai strife,” will think first of the strife in the Faculty of Economics that began in 1937 and continued for several years.

The Expulsion Drama Hijikata Orchestrated

The expulsion of Yanaihara lit the fuse of this great strife. The drama of the expulsion of Yanaihara stemmed from confrontation between Yanaihara and Hijikata, dean of the Faculty of Economics. In The Agony of Democracy, Minobe Ryōkichi summarizes what happened at Faculty Meeting: “Dean Hijikata pulled from a purple furoshiki the September issue of Chūō kōron and said, ‘In time of crisis Yanaihara’s essay in this issue [“The Ideals of the State”] is not an appropriate view, I think, for a professor to hold. I respect Yanaihara as scholar, and in this essay he doesn’t say explicitly that he’s talking about Japan; but in fact he says that public opinion on the war is being controlled and that the war is not just—it’s surely satire about Japan; it’s anti-war. What do you say, colleagues?’”

Ōuchi took more detailed notes at the Faculty Meeting that day (November 24) and tells what came next:Ōuchi Hyōe, “Yanaihara kyōju jishoku no ikisatsu” (“The Events of Yanaihara’s Resignation”),  in Nambara Shigeru, ed., Yanaihara Tadao: shinkō, gakumon, shōgai (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1968). “In response, several professors stood up valiantly and said, ‘This essay may be written in the abstract, but it’s clearly an argument against Japan’s current war.’ And this: ‘This essay has serious implications for Japan’s official policy.’ These advocates and the dean were of course on precisely the same page: there’s no need to criticize Yanaihara’s essay in detail; we should simply decide by majority vote that Yanaihara is not fit to be a professor. Oppressed by this atmosphere, mouth agape, I couldn’t stop myself but said, ‘Discussion about the essay—shouldn’t that happen after we’ve read it?’” The “several professors” who joined immediately in Dean Hijikata’s attack on Yanaihara were Honiden Yoshio and Tanabe Tadao, whom I introduced earlier as the renovationist faction.

Establishing New Specialties and Courses at the Behest of the Military

To understand what was happening at Tōdai at the time, you need to know what was happening in Japan. The Japan-China Incident that began at the Marco Polo Bridge in July 1937 quickly developed into full-scale war with China. In a major mobilization involving several stages, hundreds of thousands of troops were sent to various parts of China, and from then until 1945, normally about 1,000,000 troops were fighting in China. It was called an incident, but from 1937 on Japan was at war.

The flames of the Incident leapt first to Shanghai, and hoping to bring about a quick end to the fighting, the Japanese Army landed in Hangzhou Bay and then aimed for Nanjing: capture Nanjing, the chief city of the Chinese Republic, and China would surrender. But even though Japanese forces occupied Nanjing (December 1937), the fighting did not stop, and the war rapidly became a quagmire. The next year, 1938, Japan passed a national mobilization law, and in every sense Japan went onto wartime footing. After August 1937, when the national spiritual mobilization movement was started, the whole society suddenly moved to wartime footing.

If you read the diary of Nagayo Matarō, Tōdai president at the time, you’ll understand and be fascinated by what happened—things unimaginable today—as the university was engulfed in the wartime order. For example, take this entry from October 28: “Today I addressed the following telegram to General Terauchi, Supreme Commander for North China, General Matsui, commander for Central China, Vice Admiral Hasegawa, commanding officer of the Third Fleet, and Major General Ōkōchi, Commander of Land Forces: ‘In victory after victory, the fierce fighting of our loyal Imperial officers and men has reaped great fruits of war and enhanced national prestige greatly. It is truly everlastingly moving. Representing all the employees and students of Tokyo Imperial University, I hereby express our deep gratitude.’”

This isn’t a telegram Nagayo sent as an individual; it’s a formal telegram of gratitude that as president, representing all the staff and students of Tokyo Imperial University, he sent to the entire China command of the Army and the Navy. Since the imperial universities were created by the state as special organs of the state to study and teach (in the words of the university decree) “the theory and application of the scholarly arts essential to the state,” the enhancement of the prestige of the state was something very much worth congratulating.

And note well: formal mobilization had begun, and from the universities, too, men were heading quickly, in droves, for the battlefield. According to the Imperial University News for October 11, 1937, at the end of August the number of students drafted from universities nation-wide had already reached 1,000; the universities at the top of the list were Tōdai with thirty, Kyōto University with forty-three, Osaka University with twenty-four, Kyushu University with twenty-one. The “call-up of students” came in December 1943, but that meant merely that the “student deferment” (for university students, postponement of the military physical until the age of twenty-seven) was no longer operative; even students were drafted when they turned twenty. Even before that time, many students had taken the field. Once the call-up came and they were drafted, students who had already passed the military physical and entered the reserves (a few graduate students—particularly medical students—past the age of twenty-seven) had to head immediately for the front. According to the Imperial University News for October 25, 1937, counting Tōdai students, faculty, administrators, and employees, two hundred-fifteen (sixty-six of them students) had been called up already; most numerous, at eighty-two, were those in medicine. Tōdai—the entire institution—had already been engulfed by the war.

Moreover, in terms of education and research, there were parts of Tōdai that could not avoid becoming engulfed wholly by the war. This was because in the university at the time, the study of military affairs (weapons) was a major field of research and education. For example, the ship-building curriculum included a course in the design of battleships. Nagayo’s successor as president, President Hiraga—with the “Hiraga Purge,” he put an end to the turmoil in the Faculty of Economics—was Japan’s leading battleship designer and had set his hand to battleships Nagato, Mutsu, Yamato, Musashi; he was called “the battleship god.” When Nagayo was president, Hiraga was dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and together the two were invited to the christening of the battleships. From Nagayo’s diary:

November 16, 1937

Tuesday. Clear.

Attended christening of battlehip Hiryū at Yokosuka Works. There and back by car. Dean Hiraga of Engineering went with. …

Progress in Japan’s shipbuilding knowledge is astonishing. It’s not simply the independence of the ship-building industry; setting new standards in submarines, cruisers, and the like, it now builds world’s finest ships—astonishing. …

Today’s launch completely according to plan, not even tiny miscalculations, ended without incident. They say Hiryū tests new design features.

In passing, let me note that it was not only the shipbuilding curriculum that studied military arts. The aeronautics curriculum studied planes for military use; there was also the ordnance curriculum, a curriculum specializing in the study of weapons. Traditionally, the ordnance curriculum studied gunnery and gunpowder and bombs, but soon an independent explosives curriculum was set up in the study of explosives, but , distinct. Moreover, the fifth ordnance course carried on the study of chemical weapons.

Military studies were carried on in close conjunction with the military, of course, and as “commissioned students,” many military men from both Army and Navy were admitted to study at the university. There were only thirty “commissioned students” in 1938, but they increased year by year, and by about 1942, there were more than 120. On graduating, the military’s “commissioned students” were commissioned Naval Ordnance ensigns and Army Gunnery lieutenants. In these fields of study, it was not merely the students, but also the faculty: military men joined the university ranks as professors, lecturers, and the like. Hiraga Yuzuru himself was a military man with the rank of vice-admiral. After graduating from Tōdai, Hiraga entered the Navy, became a naval officer, studied abroad at the British Naval Academy, and learned the world’s finest ship-building arts. While a military officer, he became a Tōdai professor and trained many officers. Virtually all the World War II ship-builders were Hiraga’s disciples.

A further index of the close ties between university and military at this time is the special-researcher system for graduate students. Upon promising to enter the military after graduating, a faculty’s outstanding students were allowed to advance to graduate school. While they were in graduate school, the military paid not only for their tuition, but also for their living expenses. (At a time when the salary of a university instructor was 70 yen, they received 90 yen.) Each year from 350 to 400 were selected, and always one quarter of them were Tōdai students.

Moreover, in response to requests from the military, the Faculty of Engineering also established a new curriculum. In the section on the Faculty of Engineering in the Tōdai Centennial History, there is the following: “Beginning in 1942 with the establishment of a course on oil, the establishment or expansion of courses in each of the existing specialties continued to advance at an unusual pace, virtually all in response to requests from the military; the rationales for the changes teem with phrases that reflect the times: ‘modern scientific war,’ ‘excellence in scientific weapons determines victory or defeat,’ ‘to establish a national defense state of a high order,’ ‘in the attempt to respond to the urgent demand of the state,’ ‘to contribute to the great work of establishing the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere,’ and so on. There was even a course ‘Chemical Weapons.’ Here is an example from the fifth shipbuilding curriculum: the rationale gives ‘The military’s intent regarding the establishment of this curriculum.’ The establishment of this course in large-scale production of weapons is due to ‘the fervent demand of the military,’ and this statement is appended: ‘If by any chance budget overruns might lead to the elimination of this program, we wish this program to continue even if the funds have to come from the Army budget.’ Here we can see how much the military clamored for the establishment of this program.”

In 1942 various specialties and lecture courses had been established in response to the demands of the military. Not only that; in response to the demands of the military supplies industry as a whole for more students in science and engineering, an entire second science and engineering department was established—Engineering II. President Hiraga established it, and in his report to the Ministry of Education he stated explicitly that the goal in creating Engineering II was to foster human talent for the prosecution of the war: “In Chiba, Tokyo Imperial University has set aside over 80 acres of land and is bending every effort to establish Engineering II, new, on a greater scale than the existing Faculty of Engineering, thereby increasing the fostering of the human talent the state needs and responding to the strong demand of the state. If we turn this plan into reality, three years from now we will be able to offer the state four hundred twenty useful human talents per year and contribute thereby to the sacred task of constructing Great East Asia.”

In fact, this creation of Engineering II, too, began earlier in Nagayo’s term as president. Here is a passage from Nagayo’s diary:

May 8, 1938: Sunday. Cloudy, then clear.

Yesterday at 11 Dean Tamba of Engineering came.

Feeling has arisen among core of faculty that in present crisis and to improve future state fortunes, faculty cannot sit idly by, and in March former Dean Hiraga set up a curriculum plan for Engineering II. Tamba and new and old representatives to the University Council all in agreement. Before consulting Faculty Meeting, he wanted to ask my opinion and showed me outline of his curriculum plan for Engineering II.

1938 was the year the national mobilization law was implemented, and in the form of an attachment to the national mobilization law, an “Ordinance Controlling the Employment of Graduates” was established by Imperial decree. It focused on military production. Because the competition for science and engineering students had become intense, rather than leave the choice of employer of science and engineering students to the free choice of the individual, it regulated employment, focusing on the state. Each business reported to the Ministry of Health the numbers and specialties of the new graduates it needed for each factory and office, and the Ministry of Health made the allocation. During the Soviet era, Russia had this sort of system, with the state controlling the careers of university graduates in letters and in the sciences. This is one reason it’s often pointed out that there are similarities between Japan under national mobilization and communist countries (communist countries virtually always have mobilization systems). While national mobilization existed, the state controlled the distribution of labor power (the places that hired graduating students).  Even after this system was set up, science and engineering students were very much in demand, far too few to meet the demand, so then there was no alternative but to create Engineering II.

The Issue of a Procession to the Meiji Shrine

But as in the Nagayo diary that I quoted earlier, behind this plan lay an impatience on the part of some university people. Large-scale war had already begun: “Was it enough simply to sit idly by?” From the very start of the Japan-China Incident, there began an across-the-board shift in mood toward greater cooperation in the war effort.

Earlier, when left-wing student movements flourished, it was unthinkable that the university actively cooperate in the war, send congratulations to the military, or shout, “Long live military victory!” But as the Japan-China Incident progressed, such things became taken for granted. Consider the entry from Nagayo’s diary for the day Tōdai celebrated the fall of Nanjing:

December 16, 1937. Thursday. Clear.

We hold a ceremony to commemorate the fall of Nanjing.

Platform set up on north side of athletic field, 5,000-6,000 employees and students line up in designated places, at 9:45 the university brass band played the Kimigayo twice, my message, three shouts of “Long Live the Emperor,” three shouts of “Long Live the Imperial Army and Navy,” ceremony ends. Most present form procession, walk to palace, bow at Nijūbashi, then process to Yasukuni Shrine, break up there.

After ceremony, accompanied by the chief cabinet secretary, I present letter of thanks from Imperial University to Army and Navy and say words of gratitude to Army Minister Sugiyama in Army Minister’s official residence, and to Admiral Yamamoto, vice minister, in Navy Minister’s official residence (Navy Minister was at palace today), chat briefly about the war, return home.

The backlash against Professor Yanaihara, advocate against war and for peace, arose in this changed time and mood.

The occasion for the first great collision between the anti-war professors and the renovationist professors was the issue of processing to the Meiji Shrine for that year’s Meiji Ceremony (November 3, the birthday of Emperor Meiji). In fact, at the November 24 Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics that dealt with the expulsion of Yanaihara, the main topic there, too, was the visit to the Meiji Shrine. At issue in the visit was that both “Friends of Economics,” the autonomous student organization of the Faculty of Economics, and Ōuchi had declined to take part. For that reason Ōuchi, as we saw earlier, kept a careful memo about the day’s give and take.

What was the issue of the visit to the Meiji Shrine? Let’s consult then-dean Hijikata’s The Events Are Long Behind Us:Hijikata Seibi, Jiken wa toku narinikeri (Tokyo: Keizai ōraisha, 1965).

In 1937 the Japan-China Incident spread to the Shanghai front, and wearying of the siege, our military fought a very tough battle; in the attack the three brave soldiers carried the bomb.RHM: The incident of the three brave soldiers became an icon of the war: during the siege, the three joined forces to carry a large bomb to the base of a rampart, blowing up the rampart at the cost of their lives. Praying for the eternal success and the victory of the imperial forces, public-spirited students tried to organize a visit to the Meiji Shrine in anticipation of the November 8 Meiji Ceremony ….

But at first Tōdai officials vetoed the plan. I don’t really understand why, but I heard it was probably because it was proposed by right-wing students, and a decision of the Deans’ Council vetoed it…. But whatever the reason, at the meeting of the university’s University Council several days later…the issue arose of whether to allow a visit to the Meiji Shrine by students who wanted to go. Representatives of the Faculty of Natural Sciences raised the question, “Why not permit it?” But the Faculty of Law was strongly opposed, and the majority leaned against permitting it. … Then I stood up and said I couldn’t help it if the majority rejected the plan, but I wanted to be told explicitly, there and then, the reason for the denial. This was a visit that was voluntary (not mandatory) for public-spirited students who wished to go to pray for the military success of officers and men at the front. The speculation that, for example, it was the scheme of a few right-wing students was no reason to deny it. If it was, it might be said that to deny it was to express anti-war ideas. Indeed, I’d like to be given a clear reason for the denial. This was a question directed to the president. Then the president responded, “Hmm, if that’s the case, let’s approve it.” (Emphasis in original.)

The condition for the president’s permission was that the students conduct themselves in a way befitting students. If that was to happen, it was thought that a professor should accompany them, and given the circumstances thus far, that responsibility fell to Hijikata (Honiden volunteered to go along, too).

Hijikata’s account continues:

That November 3 the rain fell pretty heavily all morning….I too thought that on a day like this, when it had rained all morning, few would join the procession to the shrine. But as luck would have it, or perhaps because the concern of the students for the crisis was higher than that of their highnesses, the professors, those who defied the rain and gathered…became a large procession of more than a thousand. That day President Nagayo came to the entryway of Yasuda Auditorium to see the procession off; he said to me, “Hijikata, thank you.” I responded, “We’re off.” … When it left via the main gate, the procession was occasionally brought to a halt by the phalanx of photographers from newspapers and elsewhere, but with all of us very calm and with no ostentatious flag-waving apart from a single banner, we walked in the rain to the Meiji Shrine and paid silent obeisance at the shrine and then disbanded. Of course, that day’s evening editions and the next day’s morning editions reported on the procession and ran photographs.

Indeed, this procession of 1,000 Tōdai students to the Meiji Shrine and their prayers for victory were reported prominently in the general press. But strangely, if you search the Imperial University News, there’s not a single line about it. It seems the student mainstream ignored this great patriotic event that Hijikata writes up here so grandiosely. In any case, Hijikata was furious that virtually no students from the Faculty of Economics had taken part.

When he looked into the matter, the meeting of the committee of the Friends of Economics that discussed whether it should take part appears to have been taken over by left-wing students who forced a decision against participation. Hijikata summoned the members and admonished them: “I have long regretted that some people in the university lack patriotic ardor. No matter what the situation in normal times, I thought that in this time of national crisis, patriotism would blaze up. But on this issue of the procession to the Meiji Shrine, the committee didn’t show the slightest patriotism; without even sticking to its own rules, it decided against participation. To encourage soul-searching, I call on all its members to resign. From now on I want you to keep in mind Article 1 of the University Law—‘The university should give heed to the cultivation of state thought’—and not have anti-state, anti-patriotic feelings.” As I wrote earlier, the first topic of the November 24 Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics that criticized Yanaihara’s essay, “The Ideal of the State,” was in fact this issue of replacing the members of the committee of the Friends of Economics.

Perhaps because this had happened, the atmosphere within Tōdai thereafter became more and more patriotic, and as in the Nagayo diary I cited earlier, on December 12 all students and faculty participated in the ceremony to commemorate the fall of Nanjing. After the ceremony, all 6,000 processed to the plaza in front of the palace, together bowed to the palace, and then all marched to Yasukuni Shrine to bow. Such events took place, and no one objected. Tōdai, too, had rapidly turned patriotic.

Non-Confidence in Ōuchi as University Council Representative

To return to the story of the November 24 Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics, there was a second major item on the agenda. It was to oust Ōuchi from his seat on the University Council. The University Council was the university’s highest decision–making organ; it included two representatives of each faculty. At the time, Ōuchi was a representative of the Faculty of Economics. The issue was the attempt to kick him out. Hijikata thought that the Marxist Ōuchi was unquestionably behind the anti-war left-wing students in the Faculty of Economics and wanted to oust him. In the colloquium University Autonomy Daigaku no jichi, ed. Tanaka Kōtarō (Tokyo: Asahi shimbunsha, 1963). Participants included Tanaka, Suekawa, Wagatsuma, Ōuchi, Miyazawa. held in 1963, Ōuchi speaks as follows: “I first became an issue at the Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics of November 24, 1937; it was the same day as the Yanaihara Incident we’ve discussed, and the political background was precisely the same. The right-wing professors around Hijikata apparently wanted to make me resign at the same time as Yanaihara, so they had to pin something on me. As I said before, in Yanaihara’s case they made it an issue that his essay was not patriotic; so they pinned something else on me. It was that on November 3 of that year, at the time of the Meiji Ceremony, there was a proposal that the ‘Friends of Economics,’ the association of Faculty of Economics students, form up and go en masse to pay obeisance at the Meiji Shrine, and when they asked what the faculty thought of it, Hijikata said by all means do it…but I said it’d be okay if only those who wanted to go went. Hijikata said of this statement that if such an unpatriotic fellow represented the Faculty of Economics, he would not serve as dean, so he would resign. I said the whole thing was utterly silly, but he said he was resigning, period. In response, Honiden and Tanabe argued that there was no need for Hijikata to resign but that I should resign.” This was all a charade acted out by Hijikata, Honiden, and Tanabe. As we’ve seen, in the attack on Yanaihara, too, the same charade was acted out. In Ōuchi’s Fifty Years in Economics, he speaks once again of this time and quotes Honiden and Tanabe: “At the time of the Yanaihara Incident, Honiden and Tanabe said in Faculty Meeting, ‘We must now drive England out of China. Once we’ve done that, we’ll deal with the Tōdai scholars who preach peace.’ Listening to their grandiose statement, I thought they must have lost their minds, but thinking about it afterward, those fellows had been truly prophetic. At the time they were prophets who already believed firmly in the victory of fascism.”

Hearing these statements, today’s young folks may all think, with Ōuchi, that these people “must have lost their minds,” but at the time such thinking was not rare: the “renovationist” faction, the university’s renovationist faction, and the military’s renovationist faction all thought basically that way. Japan’s chief enemy was England, which ruled the world, especially with huge colonies all over Asia, and Japan’s historic mission was to liberate the colonies from England. The lead essay in Renovation, “The Mission of a Renovationist Society,” which I introduced earlier, also started off: “Japan is the last bastion defending the East from foreign invasion, and the liberation of Asia is the historic mission assigned Japan.” Also in that first issue of Renovation, “The Fundamental Principles of Japan’s Economic Renovation,” a long essay contributed by Tanabe, argued, “The stage that the Japanese economy is facing is development toward a controlled economy for the sake of preparing for war;” the war for which Japan must prepare was the war of intervention of the Allied Powers that would follow the China Incident. “In short, according to our firm belief, the current incident is not simply a conflict between Japan and China. It is a conflict, in part camouflaged, with England and Russia, and we cannot predict when those two countries—perhaps along with France and the United States—will intervene.” The renovationist faction within the military often voiced the same thought; it was the common sense, so to speak, of all the renovationist factions. In the final analysis, the greatest point of difference at this time between the leftist faction—Ōuchi and the others—and the renovationist faction—Hijikata and the others—was their different takes on the war and the crisis.

Yanaihara Writes His Apology

In My Resume, Ōuchi recapitulates: “At the time in the Faculty of Economics, these three professors—Hijikata, Honiden, and Tanabe—were at the center of a movement advocating that Tōdai’s cooperate in the war effort. We had no interest in that and didn’t join so foolish a movement. Then they attacked us publicly and privately, saying that because those fellows Yanaihara and Ōuchi weren’t interested, the students too weren’t interested, and Tōdai as a whole was negative and critical about the crisis. But we hadn’t the slightest idea that they, who were saying these things, would go farther and stir up trouble.

“It was, I think, November 1937. A full meeting of the Friends of Economics—the organization of Faculty of Economics students—was held…and at that time Honiden gave a speech saying that Tōdai should cooperate a bit more in the crisis. But I just thought I didn’t have to cooperate in the military’s aggressive war. One day in Faculty Meeting right after the meeting of the Friends of Economics, Hijikata suddenly produced a copy of the September issue of Chūō kōron, pointed to Yanaihara’s essay, and came out with, ‘The guy who wrote this essay is not fit to be a professor. I ask that the Faculty Meeting make that decision.’”Watakushi no rirekisho.

Yanaihara’s essay, “The Ideal of the State,” that the dean made an issue of: it was supposedly so problematic, but it simply wasn’t. On reading it, you understand that at once. But it isn’t an easy essay to read: it quotes the Old Testament copiously and is hard to make sense of. Even if you want to make an issue of it, it’s hard to do so in a way that everyone will understand. To hear Hijikata, who sank his teeth into it at the Faculty Meeting, he says this: “When I read this essay through, I thought it was inappropriate for the times. To be sure, if you read it today, it’s entirely unexceptionable, harmless. It’s different if it’s a critique of a happy, peaceful age. But at the time it was a problem. It’s a satire that cites the words of the prophet Isaiah to suggest that Japan is fighting an unjust war. Of course, it’s one thing if he addressed a memorial to the government making an anti-war argument point-blank. Was there a single person in Japan then so brave as to do that? But this essay in a mass-circulation journal, satirical and sneering at the crisis, stirred up people’s emotions to no purpose, merely sapped the fighting spirit of our officers and men at the front, and didn’t help in coping with the crisis.”Hijikata, Jiken wa toku narinikeri (1965).

Yes, Chūō kōron was banned simply because it included this essay, but did this essay seal Yanaihara’s fate? No. Given that even his adversary Hijikata calls it “harmless,” it can’t be of much use as clincher. In fact, at the Faculty Meeting in question, most people hadn’t read it. Ōuchi asksed, “Shouldn’t we read it first?” and the issue of Yanaihara’s “Ideal of the State” was tabled until the next Faculty Meeting. In the meantime, Ōuchi rushed about saying Yanaihara had agreed to write a letter of apology to President Nagayo—this we can divine from the Nagayo Matarō Diary. The Yanaihara issue had already come to the attention of the Minister of Education (Kido Kōichi, later Privy Seal), and Nagayo had been a close friend of his for many years, so with Kido’s consent Nagayo could seek a satisfactory solution:

Nov. 27, 1937: Saturday. Clear.

University. Three professors Ōuchi, Maide, Mori appear. Make presentation about problem in Faculty of Economics. Exchange opinions, promise to act prudently.

10:30: appointment at Minister of Education Kido’s home. … Also on Yanaihara issue: Minister is always in touch with me, and if said person intends to express sincere apologies to me and Faculty Meeting, we wish to warn about future conduct and settle issue amicably. Even if as result of negotiations with Interior Ministry, incident grows more serious and punishment necessary, I express hope Ministry of Education will respect university autonomy and not be heavy-handed…. Seek agreement of Minister of Education. Kido: “I agree fully.”

Back to university, summon Dean Hijikata immediately….state my view that once Yanaihara has gone through formality of apology to Faculty Meeting and president, I’d like harmonious solution, with any further steps taken in consultation with me. Hijikata says he agrees in general, but two or three professors have very decided opinions, and he will exert every effort to see that nothing arise contrary to my will.

Return home. Ōuchi and Maide appear at 3. Consult on solution…. If the two can get Yanaihara to present letter of apology that satisfies me, then ask their full cooperation in satisfactory solution to crisis….

Nov. 28. Sunday. Clear.

*Yanaihara Issue.

Ōuchi Hyōe comes. Yanaihara grateful for my good will, intends to express very respectful contrition; presents text of Yanaihara’s handwritten apology. I cut one sentence of original, express satisfaction with rest.

At this point, agreement had been reached to settle the matter with the presentation of Yanaihara’s apology. The apology was actually written and is included in Nagayo’s diary:

Nov. 30, 1937.

Your Honor, President Nagayo:

I regret sincerely that my published words have caused trouble and occasioned you worry. It goes without saying that I prize obedience to the constitution and laws of the land, and I love Japan deeply…. But because the method of expressing my ideas was inadequate, I was unable to convey my true intent and have been delinquent in not living up to the responsibilities of a professor, so I have caused you concern. I humbly express my regret. It is my true intention to exercise full caution henceforth.

Yanaihara Tadao (seal).

Hijikata still was dissatisfied and expressed his strong opinion, but by main force Nagayo got him to accede to this proposed solution. In his diary Nagayo writes of his reason for this proposed solution, and to read what he says is to understand that Nagayo was an extremely perceptive man.

University self-control and self-discipline are necessary. But when that takes the form of a response to pressure from outside, it destroys university autonomy and is not something I can tolerate.

He did not break the laws of the state. If the university as a whole rides the current of the times, it is in trouble. Not right to paint everything the one color of patriotism and the militarists.

When no person who embraces liberal ideas can be a university professor, academic freedom collapses. I am extremely patriotic and extremely worried for the country.

The individual concerned apologizes for inappropriate speech. It is wrong to go further.

Yanaihara is a fine scholar. His reputation overseas is high. It is narrow-minded to drive out those with different ideology. Unity in diversity is university ideal.

President Nagayo Reconsiders

By November 30, agreement had been reached. But suddenly on November 30, another report reached officials, and everything fell apart. The next morning, abruptly, Yanaihara wrote out his resignation.

From Nagayo’s diary:

*It Is Decided Yanaihara Will Resign.

4:30: returned home. 5:00: Yamakawa appeared.

He reports: as result of consultation at official residence of Minister of Education, apology is wholly insufficient; passages in two writings apart from Chūō kōron are completely irreconcilable with spirit of kokutai; should questions arise in the Diet, there is absolutely no justification, and the university too will not escape getting embroiled in the matter. There is no alternative to Yanaihara’s resignation.

Looking at these two writings, I too find them utterly unacceptable. Decide his resignation is only alternative. …

Immediately summon Ōuchi and Maide, tell them the situation, decide to have Yanaihara submit resignation prior to tomorrow’s Faculty Meeting; together we visit Onozuka; he too agrees entirely with me…

Home at 10 p.m. (Italics: Tachibana.)

What were the two writings that caused it all to fall apart? One is the essay that appears in the following passage from Ōuchi’s “The Events of Yanaihara’s Resignation”: “Things changed suddenly the next day. At 5:30 on Nov. 30, Maide and I were summoned by phone to the president’s home. The president said sternly to us: ‘I’ve tried till now to protect Yanaihara, but now this apology is simply not enough. Even prior to the Chūō kōron essay, there is the text of another speech by Yanaihara. And the officials in the Ministry of Education say it leaves them no room to defend Professor Yanaihara in the Diet. I too read it, and it was absolutely wrong of Yanaihara. Given its existence, there is no alternative but to ask Yanaihara to resign; I regret it, but impossible is impossible; I can’t allow the government to be put into a quandary on his account.’ Up till then, I too hadn’t known of this speech; it was a passage from a eulogy for Fujii Takeshi. Yanaihara himself probably never ever expected it might become an issue.”

Fujii Takeshi was a disciple of Uchimura Kanzō and older than Yanaihara; he was the disciple Yanaihara respected most highly. After graduating from the Tōdai Faculty of Law, Fujii entered the Home Ministry and served as a prefectural official but soon resigned to become an independent preacher. He turned to Uchimura Kanzō and until Uchimura’s death was close to him. Soon after Uchimura’s death, Fujii too died, as if following Uchimura in death. He was a great inspiration to Yanaihara, and the two were also close personally, so close that Yanaihara had married Fujii’s younger sister.

Fujii had strong passions, on the order of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah; he lamented the rottenness and rampant evil of this world and exclaimed that as things stood, Japan would incur the wrath of God and perish. Among his fiercest prophetic poems is “Perish!”, with the refrain: “Perish! Country of soiled virgins, country of young men without self-respect / Country of beasts and insects that do not know true love! / Perish!” Yanaihara responded strongly to this poem. The reflection he wrote the day of the February 26 Incident was to this poem—“The quatrain ‘Perish!’ that the young prophet among us left behind resounds like the incoming tide.”

Each year thereafter, on the anniversary of Fujii’s death, Yanaihara held a memorial service, and the following problematic words from the 1937 memorial service appeared in his private newsletter Tidings: “Today, in a world of lies, we sit at the funeral of the ideals of the Japan we all love, the Japan that has lost its ideals. I am beyond anger. I am beyond tears. Please, everyone, if you understand what I’ve said: to give life to the ideal Japan, please first consign this country to the grave!”

The True Reason for Yanaihara’s Resignation

According to the standard explanation, this passage from the speech became the decisive factor in Yanaihara’s expulsion. But I don’t think that’s true. As you understand if you read Nagayo’s diary closely, the problem was two writings over and above the Chūō kōron essay, “Ideal of the State.” And the problem was the kokutai. The problematic writings contained “passages that are completely irreconcilable with the kokutai.” But this memorial address contains not a single line that infringes the kokutai. The true problem, it’s clear, was not this memorial address but something else. Ōuchi’s account continues as follows about “Ideals of the State”: “If you don’t get caught up in the trivialities of words and grasp what Yanaihara wants to say, it is clear at first glance that it does not come from an unpatriotic heart.” “Please consign Japan to the grave!” may be immoderate, but it’s mere rhetoric, isn’t it?

What sealed Yanaihara’s fate is another book, Nation and Peace, that was laid on the chopping block at this time. “The Nostalgic and the Forward-Looking in the Japanese Spirit” has a series of vehement passages that reject Japan’s kokutai head-on and say the emperor isn’t a god. It fits to a tee the description “passages that are completely irreconcilable with the kokutai.” In this essay Yanaihara discusses various theories of the Japanese spirit: “They all say that the state is at the root of our nation’s culture, of the Japanese spirit, that the emperor is the center of the state; so they make the emperor either the highest good as true ego of the nation, or the person who is the source of action, or the object of the state’s highest reverence. Hence they hold that the core of our Japanese spirit is a belief in the supremacy of a state led by the emperor and finding its unity in the emperor. Thus I take the concept of kokutai to be the center of studies of the Japanese spirit, and the center of kokutai studies must be the state as highest value and the emperor as sacred…”

Yanaihara addresses the issue of the emperor first: “The basis of the emperor’s divinity is not his person but his status, and the basis of the emperor’s personality is not the status but the person. The reigning emperor is god in his state status, so it is not the case that he personally has all-sacred, all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful divinity. In life and person, he is the same as all humans and has human life relative to the Lord and Creator.” Then he turns his attention to the issue of the state: “[The view that the state is supreme] gives birth to the assertion that what is moral is what the state wants, what benefits the state…. This is an extremely shallow view of morality, of the state; it is like a complacent, egotistic view of human life. True patriotism recognizes as morality a universal self-evident truth transcending the state and criticizes its own actual state in terms of that morality; by pointing out and correcting what is contrary to self-evident truth, it approaches the ideal state and must try to let the light of morality shine out from within the state. So true patriotism thinks not of state good but of state morality.”

The book was banned the next day, so we can tell that it was on this very day that the officials too grasped its problematic nature. Yanaihara himself wroteYanaihara, “Omoide: 4,” Yanaihara Tadao zenshū, vol. 26. that the work is “something I wrote on mature reflection, fully resolved to take the consequences,” and “when that book incurred judicial penalty, this was the most problematic essay. I myself set the most store by this essay.” From this, too, we see that “The Nostalgic and the Forward-Looking in the Japanese Spirit” was the real problem.

The above becomes clear on reading the Tokyo prosecutor’s office’s “Documents Concerning the Cases of Infringement against the Publication Law involving Yanaihara Tadao and Several Others.”Gendaishi shiryō 41: Masu mejya tōsei 2 (46 vols.; Tokyo: Misuzu shobō, 1962-80). Yanaihara’s writings—

A: essays in the Iwanami volume The Nation and Peace;

B: the private newsletter Tidings; and

C: “The Ideal of the State” in Chūō kōron

—were investigated for infringing the publication law on the following two counts: profaning the dignity of the Imperial House; and upsetting public peace and tranquility. Half of A and all of B and C were investigated only for “upsetting public peace and tranquility.” The only passages in The Nation and Peace investigated for the greater crime of “profaning the dignity of the Imperial House” (Article 26 of the publications law) were in the essay, “The Nostalgic and the Forward-Looking in the Japanese Spirit.” The documents state explicitly that it was considered criminal that “despite writing and publishing [these passages] rejecting the absoluteness of our country’s emperor and profaning the dignity of the Imperial House, he still hasn’t changed his mind.” The issue is crystal clear.

Why, then, have all those involved maintained that the problem was the memorial address, not the essay that rejects the godhood of the emperor? I think it’s because identifying the latter as the problem was too dangerous. Had that passage become famous, it wouldn’t have been surprising if something had happened, such as fanatic rightists coming to run Yanaihara through. Nor would it have been surprising if university officials at the presidential level and even the Minister of Education had been called to account. To divert the public gaze from an abstruse essay that few had read (it appeared first in Ideals, a small-circulation journal of theoretical philosophy), everyone maintained in unison that the issue was the easier-to-understand, less-dangerous memorial address—“Look! Look! Here’s the problem!”—and that became the standard explanation.

On December 2, the day after he submitted his resignation, before three hundred people filling Lecture Hall #7 to overflowing, Yanaihara gave his final lecture. The Imperial University News ran a very detailed report on its content and wrote as follows about the final moments: “Now every head in the entire lecture hall was bowed, and in the silence faint sobs began to be heard…. ‘I fear with all my heart that after I have left the university will become fascist. I fear absolutely…that the university—especially the Faculty of Economics—will move at the whim of the currents of the outer world. If that happens, scholarship of course will perish…. I depart, taking my leave of the university, my study, colleagues, students. But for me myself, this is not important. I do not fear those who can kill the body but not the soul. If I fear no one, neither do I hate or grudge. Rather, I scorn those whose bodies alone are fat, their souls thin. Don’t become that sort of person.’”

Long afterwards, Hijikata wrote of this peroration as follows: “In his farewell lecture to students, Yanaihara satirized me harshly—‘I scorn those who are fat as pigs and whose souls are thin,’ wrote ‘I don’t like marching at the head of a parade,’and left Tōdai. Those with fat souls really are different from us ordinary mortals.” Was that the image Hijikata had of himself? Unaware he was doing so, he changed “fat” to “fat as pigs.”

Ōkōchi Kazuo was a member of the Faculty of Economics amid this turmoil; long afterward, he became president, and in a graduation speech—by general consensus a great speech—he said, “Don’t become a fat pig; become a thin Socrates.” That passage alludes to this exchange between Yanaihara and Hijikata.


Spy H., Who Sent Professors of Economics to Prison

In which the author completes the story of Yanaihara Tadao’s expulsion from Tōdai. He then reviews the mass arrests of the first Popular Front Incident (December 1937), which included many members of the non-Communist left, and the arrests of three professors of the Faculty of Economics in the Faculty Group Incident (February 1, 1938). The Tōdai spy Hashizume Akio takes center stage, along with the arrest of Ōuchi Hyōe. Throughout this period, Japan’s war in China has a major impact on events at Tōdai.


In the Lecture Hall, Scattered Applause

One of those present at Yanaihara’s final lecture of was Ōgiya Shōzō, for many years editor in chief of Weekly Asahi and architect of that magazine’s golden age. At the time, Ōgiya was a novice reporter for the Tokyo Asahi; he had graduated two years earlier from Tōdai’s Faculty of Letters with a specialty in Japanese history. Long afterward, in an essay about Yanaihara’s resignation, he wrote as follows“Tōdai hikkashi” (The Publication-Indictment Issue at Tōdai), Bungei shunjū, October 1955.:

I rushed to the lecture hall. Students came streaming in. There were also some people in suits. … Among them were likely Special Police from the Motofuji Station, eagle-eyed men in threadbare suits. …

10:30. Professor Yanaihara Tadao arrived. His slender frame was bent, and he seemed sad. “I think you know. Yesterday, not wanting to cause further trouble for the university, I submitted my resignation….” Then he turned to his lecture, serenely. It was about the role of bank capital in colonies…. The lecture went on for an hour.

He said, “I’ll stop here. In conclusion….” And then, raising his head, he spoke to this effect: “The mission of the university lies in criticizing the policies of the actors of the day from a higher, comprehensive viewpoint. Sometimes that involves criticizing even war itself. Sometimes such criticism is useful to the actors, sometimes not. That’s unavoidable in the world of the university…unavoidable.” In the term ‘actor’—specifying neither government nor military—I sensed a sign of the times.RHM: Other translations of Yanaihara’s jikkōsha include executor, performer, implementer, even policy-maker. The hall had become very quiet… Scattered applause was heard in the hall.

“But at this parting, students, I want to say only one thing to you. No matter how your body may be stained, may you keep your souls unstained. I respect such people. And I despise those who—no matter how splendid their bodies—have souls that are stained…”

Thunderous applause. A storm of applause—as if a dam had burst. Amid it, seeming a bit cheered up, Yanaihara left the building.

The Mass Arrest of Four Hundred Rōnōha Members

Within a scant two weeks of Professor Yanaihara’s final lecture, mass arrests of Rōnōha people nationwide were carried out (the first Popular Front Incident), and at one fell swoop four hundred people in eighteen prefectures were arrested on suspicion of infringing the Peace Preservation Law. Among those arrested were famous left-wing men of lettersRHM: Tachibana mentions, among others, Yamakawa Hitoshi, Ōmori Yoshitarō, Sakisaka Itsurō, Arahata Kanson, Suzuki Mosaburō. and sitting representatives in the Diet: Kuroda Hisao (Social Mass Party) and Katō Kanjū (Japan Proletarian Party). Virtually all those arrested were leading members of the Japan Proletarian Party or of labor unions affiliated with the JPP or of the national council of labor unions. Among those arrested: virtually all the powerbrokers of the non-Communist left.RHM: Tachibana mentions Inemura Junzō, Yamahata Hideo, Shimagami Zengorō, and Akamatsu Isamu, who after the war all became Socialist Party Diet representatives.

What was the Rōnōha? In a word, Rōnōha was a collective term for the non-Communist left that sought no ties with the Comintern—that’s the most understandable and accurate description. It wasn’t a factional group with any organization of its own; this label was applied by journalists.

Under the influence of the Comintern, those in the socialist movement met in 1922 and formed—illegally—the Japan Communist Party. But it splintered quickly over the issue of whether to make the abolition of the emperor system a slogan, and it dissolved under the shock of the official terror against the socialist movement that arose after the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923. In 1926 the party was reestablished, but there was a confrontation over the direction to take thereafter between two factions—Yamakawa-ism, which advocated proceeding as a mass political movement based on the labor movement (for this faction, socialist revolution became a distant goal), and Fukumoto-ism, which argued a two-step revolution, first a bourgeois revolution that overturns the monarchy, with progressive revolutionary party members taking the lead, then a rapid transformation to socialist revolution. The movement split. In the end, via a ruling of the Comintern, Yamakawa-ism was rejected as opportunism, and under the leadership of the Comintern, the Japan Communist Party moved forward as a Leninist party of professional revolutionaries aiming at a two-stage revolution.

Put simply, the Rōnōha was Yamakawa-ism, which parted ways with the Comintern at this time; among the strands—labor movement, farm movement—of the mass movement, it was consistently stronger than the radical movement led by the Communist Party. The Communist Party had greater leadership than the Rōnōha only among students and intellectuals who favored a radical idealistic movement.

Government officials drew up the Peace Preservation Law specifically to control the Communist Party and create a structure that could suppress political parties that hoisted such slogans as “a change in the kokutai” (i.e., abolition of the emperor system) and “non-recognition of private property” in particular. In 1928 they added the death penalty. But the Rōnōha aimed at a legal mass movement with a legal political organization and didn’t call for abolishing the emperor system or not recognizing private property, so it couldn’t get tripped up by the Peace Preservation Law.

The Popular Front—the Comintern’s Major Policy Change

So why did officials apply the Peace Preservation Law to the Rōnōha at this time and make large-scale arrests nation-wide? In the background lay a major change by the Comintern. The Comintern’s previous policy had called for breaking up the social democrats: the social democratic parties were the revolutionary party’s greatest enemy, so crushing them was the shortest path to revolution. In July-August 1935, the Seventh Congress of the Comintern turned instead to the anti-fascist Popular Front: in order to fight fascism, make common cause with all political forces that oppose fascism; form a Popular Front.

In Japan at this time, the Communist Party had already been destroyed; the end of the Communist Party was the December 1933 incident when Party members tortured two suspected Central Committee spies and murdered one of them.RHM: In December 1933 Party members tortured two members and killed one accused of betrayal. The last member of the party’s central committee was arrested in March 1935, so when the seventh congress of the Comintern adopted the tactic of the Popular Front, there existed in Japan no party organization to follow that guidance.

But with this change in Comintern tactics, the fierce fighting in Europe between Communist Party and social democrats disappeared, and the great political fault line became fascism vs. Popular Front. In 1928 the Fascists came to power in Italy; in 1933, the Nazis took power in Germany. In France and Spain the Popular Front won electoral victories, and even in China, thanks to the Comintern’s change in policy, national unity arose for the sake of the resist-Japan hate-Japan policy; up till then, there had been fierce opposition and civil war between Guomindang and Communist Party.

In the absence of the Japan Communist Party, the Comintern’s policy change was communicated to Japan by various routes and had a major influence on the remaining non-communist left. Nosaka Sanzō’s “Letter to Japanese Communists” was delivered through the American seaman’s union, but more general newspapers and magazines had a much greater role in communicating this change; the mass media reported on the policy change itself steadily throughout 1935. A bit later, in October 1936, Kaizō put together a thirty-page special issue, lining up articles by such luminaries as Arahata Kanson and Minobe Ryōkichi.

The general election of 1936 was held a scant few days before the February 26 Incident. In part as a result of the Comintern’s change in policy, the Social Mass Party made great gains, growing from five seats in the Diet to eight. In this election Katō Kanjū ran on the ticket of the most left-wing Proletarian Party with an anti-fascist slogan and won the most votes nationwide. In 1935, Katō had gone to the United States at the invitation of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and at that time met Nosaka Sanzō, then in the United States; he heard from him firsthand about the Comintern’s change of policy. Katō’s election battle was the Popular Front epitomized in Japan.

The election returns likely frightened officials. In November that year the Japan-Germany pact was signed. This mutual defense treaty is formally the “German-Japanese pact against international communism” (i.e., the Comintern), and the heart of the pact is that the two parties cooperate in sharing intelligence and taking the defense measures necessary to confront the Comintern. A secret annex provided that if either country were attacked by the Soviet Union, both countries would respond. The Soviet Union and the Comintern were seen as one and the same.

The Japan Communist Party was the Japan branch of the Comintern, so the Communist Party was under the control of the Comintern and received its support: manpower, material, ideology. Under the Peace Preservation Law’s rubric of “associations that aim to change the kokutai and reject private property,” the Japan Communist Party was included, of course, but also the Comintern itself. And in the “crime of pursuit of ends” of the Peace Preservation Law, actions on behalf of the Comintern were also covered.

This meant that after the Seventh Congress, once the Popular Front became formally a Comintern tactic, it became possible to use the Popular Front to charge the Rōnōha under the Peace Preservation Law. A December 22, 1937 news release made the connection: “Since its founding, the officers of the Japan Proletarian Party have worn a mask of legality, based on the directive of tactical camouflage issued by the Comintern, headquarters of world communism, and have been engaged in a strange communist movement. Aware of this, officials have exerted every effort at surveillance and just recently seized evidence that, based on the guiding principles of the Rōnōha that serve communism, the Japan Proletarian Party is engaged in secret maneuvering to change the kokutai. Now, after careful deliberation with officials of the Ministry of Justice and in view of the current crisis, the officials have finally lowered the boom on the entire party” (Italics: Tachibana). It reported that the Japan Proletarian Party had been declared illegal under the Peace Preservation Law. Unlike the Japan Communist Party, the Rōnōha didn’t have a superstructure, so the Japan Proletarian Party was singled out as the core organization.

In addition, a page-two report, “Intent to Mobilize the Masses Aiming at Communist Revolution,” explained this policy change at the Comintern’s Seventh Congress. This wasn’t Asahi commentary; it was the explanation put out by the Home Ministry’s press office: “[The Comintern] made a major change in its previous policy and took a policy similar to that of the Rōnōha, so the activities of the Rōnōha since then have gained strength and rapidly intensified.” Noting that the anti-fascist Popular Front struggle that the Japan Proletarian Party boasted of matches Comintern policy precisely, it said: “Recently, based on the ideology of the Rōnōha, the Japan Proletarian Party gives evidence of intending to change the kokutai, and it has become clear that the establishment of the anti-fascist Popular Front, the central movement goal, is exactly the same as the Comintern’s new policy—to mobilize the masses for communist revolution.” The Rōnōha movement had always been a legal organization and legal movement, so sophistry was necessary to ensnare it in the Peace Preservation Law: Japan Proletarian Party equals Rōnōha equals communist revolutionaries equals anti-fascist Popular Front equals Comintern Popular Front equals goal of communist revolution equals goal of changing the kokutai equals infringement of the Peace Preservation Law. But at every stage, this sophistry makes very large logical leaps and factual mistakes.

In fact, in both word and deed the Rōnōha had always drawn a line between it and the Communist Party and taken pains to preserve its legality, so such sophistry wasn’t so easy to sell. As we shall see later, this sophistry was stretched to the limit when applied of all Rōnōha members to the Faculty Group. There were eleven members of the Faculty Group—Ōuchi, Arisawa, Wakimura, Uno Kōzō, Takahashi Masao, Abe Isamu, Minobe Ryōkichi, and the others, and it was for this reason that all except Abe and Arisawa were found innocent in the first trial: “it is not recognized that they were aware that the Rōnōha was a society with the aim of realizing a proletarian revolution.” Then in appellate court, the Rōnōha itself was not “recognized as a society with the aim of changing the kokutai,” and all were found innocent. The rest of the group—Yamakawa Hitoshi, Katō Kanjū, Suzuki Mosaburō, and the others—fought till the end; but while the fight was still going on, the war ended, and the Peace Preservation Law lapsed. So all had the charges against them dismissed.

To return to the earlier article, the italicized part—“in light of the current crisis”—of course referred to the fact that beginning with the Sino-Japanese Incident (July 7, the Marco Polo Bridge incident), Japan went onto war footing. By December 15, when these Rōnōha mass arrests were carried out (the news accounts came one week later), the war was already in full flood. In fact, the mass arrests were carried out two days after the fall of Nanjing.

The Man Who Tailed Ōuchi, Arisawa, and the Others

The account in the last chapter—that all Tōdai held a ceremony to commemorate the fall of Nanjing, with faculty and students processing from the ceremony to the palace and to Yasukuni Shrine, bowing at the palace and praying at the shrine: all that took place on the day after the Popular Front Incident. In the first Popular Front Incident only former—not current—members of the Tōdai Faculty of Economics were arrested: Ōmori Yoshitarō, former assistant professor, and Sakisaka Itsurō, former instructor (he became a professor at Kyushu University and resigned in the March 15 Incident).

The second Popular Front Incident occurred on February 1, 1937, a scant two months after the first Popular Front Incident; on that day current professors—mainly from Tōdai—were arrested. Ōuchi was considered the “authority in Marxian economics” and was the central figure of the Faculty Group. In My Resume, he says of the events:

Ōuchi: Meanwhile, in December Rōnōha members were arrested. And I was Rōnōha, and a motion was introduced at Faculty Meeting calling for Rōnōha professors to resign. Amid this panicky state of affairs, in the evening edition for January 29, 1937, an article appeared saying that the Faculty Group, I and the rest, would likely be arrested. I thought that was strange. On the one hand, I thought that they’d never arrest us, but given the disorganization of the authorities of the day, they just might.

Takahashi: Tell us about the arrest.

Ōuchi: At that time, it had already been in the air for two or three days, so even though I thought it wasn’t necessary, I prepared against all contingencies and did make preliminary plans with Arisawa and Minobe. We agreed on what to say and how to say it.

But afterwards that caused real trouble. A spy found out about it. To this day I still don’t know the details…but they knew it all: where I ate, what I said and when.

In the arrests nationwide in the Faculty Group Incident that day, thirty-eight people got picked up, but the focus was the Faculty Group of the Tōdai Faculty of Economics: Professor Ōuchi and Assistant Professors Arisawa and Wakimura. In addition, Minobe Ryōkichi and Abe Isamu, professors at Hōsei University, were arrested, too, but they were Ōuchi disciples of the Tōdai Faculty of Economics and until recently had been Tōdai teaching assistants, in the same group as Ōuchi and the others; so “Faculty Group” equaled “Ōuchi Group.” Arisawa’s specialty was statistics, and he was a major expert on controlled economies; in the next day’s papers he was identified as “a Marxist authority on war economy.” Arisawa had long been known as a central figure of Marxist economics at Tōdai, and he had been implicated earlier, too, in the Takigawa Incident; at that time he was Tōdai’s most prominent red professor. Later, looking back on that time, then-president Onozuka Kiheiji made the famous comment, “I’m glad nothing happened to Arisawa.” In the speech of Miyazawa Yutaka in the Lower House of the Diet criticizing red professors, the speech that triggered the Takigawa Incident, there is this passage: “A middle-aged assistant professor who handles statistics in the Tōdai Faculty of Economics uses a book by Marx as text and criticizes the theory of marginal utility unmercifully; he praises Marxist economics and is the worst red professor.” It was clear to those involved that this was a reference to Arisawa. In the symposium of retirees in Fifty Years of the Tōdai Faculty of Economics, Arisawa remembers that time this way: “Even the students sensed that I was in trouble, and some even said, ‘Professor Arisawa, this is the last class, isn’t it.” The owner of the second-hand bookstore Shimazaki said, ‘Professor, it’s over.’ (The store was in front of the Red Gate; its proprietor had taken a course with Arisawa.) In response, I said boastfully, ‘Don’t talk nonsense. They can’t touch me.’ But one day Dean Mori summoned me and said, ‘You’ve been made an issue of in the House of Peers, and there’s been an inquiry from the Ministry of Education. What text are you using?’ The text was Diehl and Mombert Wert und Preis [Value and Price], a book of readings, and it actually did include an essay by Marx, but there were also pieces by Böhm-Bawerk, Marshall, Ricardo, and others.RHM: Ausgewählte Lesestücke zum Studium der politischen Ökonomie, eds. Karl Diehl and Paul Mombert (Karlsruhe, 1913 and later editions). I knew because I’d read it. I explained, ‘It’s a book Faculty Meeting accepts as a textbook. And we read it from page one; right now, actually, we’re reading Marx.’ Then Mori said, ‘I just don’t know what to say. I do understand.’ And that was the end of it. Several days later I bumped into him in the corridor and he told me, ‘Arisawa, that matter is settled.’”

Arisawa had escaped arrest in the Popular Front Incident, but at the time he’d had a strange premonition. In “My First Night in Custody,”“Kambō no daiichiyo,” Keizai seisaku nōto. Arisawa writes of his arrest as follows: “Yesterday I met in the study with Professor Ōuchi and Wakimura. A report had come in from a news organization that the Popular Front Incident appeared likely to spread, that the day was near when several Tōdai professors would be arrested. That’s what we discussed. We wondered—if people were going to get arrested, who would it be? The three of us agreed that Ōuchi and I were most in danger. Ōuchi said to me, ‘If I get arrested, I’m going to dig my heels in and fight. I won’t resign.’ I said yes, of course—me too, and left. That night I went to a meeting. Also at that meeting was N., who had made his name as commentator on economics and somehow or other was up on the doings of the Metropolitan Police. N. warned me: Arisawa, your Economics colleague H. is stirring up trouble. You’re in grave danger; be careful. At the time H. was also serving as a part-time employee of the Police, completely outside his specialty. I thought, there’s no more room for doubt. There’s been a shadow following me, and I’m its target. The only thing I don’t know is when the attack will come.”

H. was Assistant Professor Hashizume Akio, and his field was banking and currency. He had become an assistant professor in 1925 and would become professor in 1939, so promotion to professor took fourteen whole years (it normally took five or six); it’s possible he became a Home Ministry Police employee out of disaffection on that account (I can’t get promoted because of the Ōuchi’s group’s opposition, so I’ll get them!). During the turmoil in the Faculty of Economics, Hashizume acted as shadow advisor to the renovationist faction—Hijikata and the others; when the Hijikata faction, too, disappeared in the Hiraga Purge (1939), his path opened up, and he was promoted to professor. During the war, he ran the Faculty of Economics as dean, and with the war’s end, he took responsibility and resigned. The fact that Hashizume had become an employee of the Metropolitan Police was well-known; everyone involved knew it. In order for a university professor to become an employee of another government agency, Faculty Meeting had to approve; so the Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics had duly approved. I’ll speak later about that.

Let’s continue now with Arisawa’s sinister story of his arrest:

On New Year’s Day, a holiday, I was flying a kite with the children in the vacant lot in front of our house, and a man in a suit came along and asked where Mr. Arisawa’s house was. I replied I was Arisawa, and he said, “Oh?” and left. I thought, he’s a queer one, but he was another of the shadows lurking near me. Just two or three days earlier, at close to midnight, a man had routed my wife’s family out of bed and inquired where I lived and whether I was home. This guy said he was a newsman, but when my wife’s mother said she’d guide him to my home nearby, he said no and left. The next day she came and told me he was an ominous fellow. He too may have been one of the dark shadows. I found it intolerable to wait, sitting on my hands, for the dark shadows to reveal themselves at a time of their choosing—Today? Tomorrow?

When I heard the horn of the tōfu peddler, I thought, I’ve escaped for another day.RHM. Tōfu peddlers made the rounds in the early morning, to provide food for breakfast. That’s because arrests for thought crimes always took place at dawn. The night before I’d been late getting home, so I thought, I’ll go back to sleep. Just then the doorbell rang, piercingly. That must be them, I thought, and in the entryway I heard the footsteps of the maid who went to answer the door. My wife, who had got up, shook me awake, and said, “They’ve come for you.” Footsteps clomped at the back door and stormed into the garden of the detached building.

I told my wife, “Don’t wake the children,” and went into the living room. I remember thinking how dim the lights seemed. In front of the table in the middle of the room sat an unpleasant-looking fellow. Four or five guys stood beside him, expressions hard, legs spread wide.

Who Was the Spy?

To return to Hashizume: the proposal to allow Hashizume to become an employee of the Home Ministry was submitted to Faculty Meeting one week before the Yanaihara Incident occurred. Perhaps it’s better to say that the Yanaihara Incident occurred one week after Hashizume became a Home Ministry employee. This passage from the symposium of emeritus professors shows us that everything that took place then was a linked series. The speaker is Wakimura Yoshitarō, and he’s talking about right after he returned from study in Europe (October 29, 1937)Gojūnen.:

Wakimura: A fellow appeared who’d been in my seminar. He was a classmate of Sakomizu Hisatsune and other officials and was close to some mid-level bureaucrats; he came to my home and warned me: They’re drawing up a list now of liberals to be purged under wartime thought control—mainly the Home Ministry’s Metropolitan Police Bureau; it’s very, very big, so take extreme care. That was at the end of January 1937. These two events meant that something bad would happen; while I was thinking that, at the university the renovationist movement surfaced and brought a sort of fascism to the university.

Ōtsuka: You mean, the journal Renovation appeared?

Wakimura: No, I think that happened a bit later. In 1937 the visit to the Meiji Shrine was the issue, and we were told to join the renovationist movement. I refused….

I had some prior knowledge, so when the issue of Yanaihara arose—no, one week before it arose—when E.’s becoming an employee of the Metropolitan Police was presented to the Faculty Meeting, I thought, Now we’re in for it. Someone—who was it?—asked the question, how did E.’s specialty “relate to the Metropolitan Police?” The explanation was, “Price controls have now become a major problem for Japan’s peace and order, so it’s necessary for the Metropolitan Police to hire an economist.” Then one week later—the dean brought his purple furoshiki to Faculty Meeting. Even now I can’t forget that furoshiki.

The E. here is Hashizume. And what was wrapped up in the purple furoshiki the dean brought to Faculty Meeting? I told that story in Chapter 3: in order to kick Yanaihara out, Hijikata brought to Faculty Meeting a purple furoshiki that held the September Chūō kōron with Yanaihara’s problematic essay, “The Ideals of the State.”

Whether the story of the spy that emerged in Ōuchi’s My Resume refers to Hashizume or to another spy, I don’t know; but both are possible (probably both were true). By which I mean that as an indication that official spies were involved, Fifty Years has this passage. Arisawa is talking:

Suzuki Kōichirō: You learned later that spies had attended your lectures. Would you tell us about that?

Arisawa: Then—when was it?—students warned me that spies were attending my lecture. I asked, “Really—spies?” They said one day a man they hadn’t seen before was at the lecture, so when it ended, the students followed him all the way, and near Yūrakuchō he entered the office of the Metropolitan Nichinichi newspaper. They told me, “So, Professor, you’ve got to be careful.”

Even before then, I’d been very careful in lectures with my statements and choice of words—a long tradition of Professor Ōuchi. So I was confident that I wouldn’t get tripped up by my own words.

Andō: The Peace Preservation officials had got hold of lecture notes from professors they were checking on at various universities—Tōdai, Kyushu University, and the rest—and duplicated them and distributed them to senior councilors and high officials. After the war these notes turned up among materials politicians donated to the National Diet’s Constitutional Documents Room. I think they included notes from you Tōdai professors. To judge from them, it appears the police sometimes sent spies, sometimes bought notes from students.

Hashizume became an employee of the Metropolitan Police not merely to supervise price controls but also to be a thought control spy. Again, we know that from The Road I’ve Traveled, the oral reminiscences of Tanaka Kōtarō, who as dean of the Faculty of Law at the time was involved in issues of the Faculty of Economics. Tanaka wrote:Ikite kita michi (Tokyo: Ōzorasha, 1997 [Sekai no Nihonsha,1950]).

The professors with right-wing connections said that once they got Yanaihara, O. and K. would be next. O. was Ōuchi; K. was Kawai. And from that time on the issues of O. and K. moved forward….

Again—it was the end of January 1938—the following appeared as an article in the Asahi: “A storm of mass arrests will soon hit the remnants of the Popular Front. It involves some dozen or so university professors. In this time of the China war, the prosecutor’s office is making an issue of the communist movement.” We could pretty much guess who the problem professors were. In the Faculty of Law, after two or three interested parties had checked the basis for the article, we knew that the suspects were Ōuchi, Tsuchiya, and Arisawa. As a counter-policy, we decided to have the president ask Minister of Education Kido to use all his influence. But the president was sick, so Takagi Yasaka and I—I was dean—got briefed by the president and went to meet Minister Kido. This was on February 1. And it was on that morning that Ōuchi phoned my home: “The police are here.”

At nine that morning I went with Takagi to Kido’s residence, explained that Ōuchi was a great person and scholar, and asked whether the news item was true or false; should such a thing occur, we urged him to exert every effort. In response, Kido said he couldn’t ask the Home Ministry to free Ōuchi on the ground that there was no factual basis, and if the Ministry of Education were to undertake to punish him, it would set a bad precedent of Ministry pressure on the university; so he couldn’t do that, either. With these euphemisms, he rejected our request. All we got was a vague response that he’d try. It’s from that meeting that I remember Kido saying, “The problem is there’s a pipeline from within the university to the Metropolitan Police.”

This last sentence, everyone agrees, refers to Hashizume.

Ōuchi’s Arrest

To return to Ōgiya’s “The Publication-Indictment Issue at Tōdai,” from which I quoted at the beginning of this chapter, Ōgiya too writes of the fact that behind the Incident lay the band of renovationist professors and Hashizume: “The actions of the band of renovationist professors, not simply within the university but also in conjunction with forces outside the university, lit a signal fire of ‘university renovation.’ If the research and the comments in Faculty Meeting of individual professors were communicated to right-wing and official forces outside the university, it was clear where the agitation would lead. And the person who functioned as intermediary between these right-wing forces inside and outside the university was said to be the renovationist faction’s H.”

The Asahi article I mentioned that appeared earlier in Tanaka’s memoirs was by a colleague of Ōgiya. Ōgiya heard about the impending arrests of the Faculty Group from a reporter covering the Home Ministry: “It was a few days after the Yanaihara Incident. Out of the blue came a report from an older reporter who covered the Home Ministry. That afternoon, I rushed to see Ōuchi at the Tōdai Faculty of Economics. When I told him in brief the content of that memo, he said, “Yes, I see…” and hand to forehead, looked grave. His dimly-lit office with its mountains of Western books looked so dignified, even eighteenth-century; I can still see vividly his broad forehead as it turned ashen.” Ōgiya doesn’t note precisely when that took place, but it’s undoubtedly the day before the arrest.

Ōuchi immediately told President Nagayo about the report. The entry in the president’s diary for January 31 reads: “Ōuchi had news that he was in danger and would be arrested the day after tomorrow, but he wanted, he said, to reassure me he would never cause problems for the university. When I asked where he had heard the report, he said it was from an Asahi reporter. I said that was really too bad and that if by any chance it really happened, he should take earnest care for his health, and we parted.”

Ōgiya, who had passed the word to Ōuchi, was sleeping on night duty when he was told to go to the scene to report Ōuchi’s arrest:

I was on the night shift, and was roused from sound sleep around 3:30 a.m. It was the head of the Metropolitan Police desk. Six or seven police-beat reporters stood around, imposingly. The desk officer quickly and crisply passed out the assignments: “This morning they’re rounding up the Faculty Group. Seems Ōuchi is the most ‘eminent.’ You know him, so cover his house.”

I shook like a leaf, embarrassingly. “Excuse me, but…I…really…why not make me the contact person in the office?”

“What’s the matter?” In the eyes of the older reporters, out for blood, I probably appeared unreliable in my incoherence. As it turned out, the desk officer and I would wait in the office as contact people, and I heaved a sigh of relief.

Dawn broke. Arisawa was arrested. At Sugamo Commercial Higher School, so-and-so was arrested… At Sendai, Uno Kōzō…but no word came in about Ōuchi.

“The police went into the house. Don’t know why, but they left empty-handed.” I felt relief. And soon: “He asked whether they had brought an arrest warrant. The police left, apparently to get one. He’s a university professor, after all.”

And along with that report, an article flowed in over the phone: “Professor Ōuchi smiled and said to his wife and high-school-age son Tsutomu…: ‘What? It’s not a big deal. I’ll be right back,’ and changed into an Ōshima kimono….” Taking it all down, I went weak.

Here I’ll jump ahead in time and write about what happened six years later, after the appeals court returned a verdict of innocent. As I said earlier, the Faculty Group were all found innocent. And the Rōnōha itself was found not to be an organization to which the Peace Preservation Law applied (i.e., an organization aiming to change the kokutai), so that was the same as saying the whole incident was built on air.

Normally, if such a verdict of total innocence was handed down, it was a matter of course that professors who’d been indicted and forced to resign from Tōdai would return to the university. But that wasn’t the case with the Ōuchi group. I’ll have more to say about that later, but here I’d like to think about who was behind the incident. Ōmori Akira was the oldest son of Ōmori Yoshitarō, who died tragically of cancer in July 1940, while the case was still in the courts; Akira was a reporter, then an author, and wrote about these events. He surmises: Ōmori Akira, Rōnōha no Shōwashi (Tokyo: Miki shobō, 1989).

Who set this up? The main actors, those with the greatest responsibility, were Abe Genki, the “Japanese Himmler,” head of the Home Ministry Police, and Tomita Kenji, chief of the Police’s Civil Order Bureau. Then Tomita’s subordinate Inohata Keijirō of the Civil Order Bureau added ardor to the Rōnōha arrests, as was attested to after the war by the former Special Police section of the Police. Also in the background was pressure from the Army.

Their acts were driven, of course, by thirst for the fame associated with promotion, and about ten days after the Rōnōha arrests, Abe was promoted to Police Superintendent and Tomita, to chief of the Police Affairs Bureau. Abe had long been welcome at Kido Kōichi’s home since they both came from Yamagata Prefecture, and afterwards Tomita became governor of Nagano and won favor with Konoe Fumimaro, who spent time in Karuizawa; he became a torch-bearer for Konoe’s new-structure movement and moved up in the world.

This Tomita Kenji was not the lightweight that ‘torchbearer’ implies. He was chief cabinet secretary for the second and third Konoe cabinets, and afterwards, too, he was a key figure in the Home Ministry; his name appears at every turn in the Hosokawa diary, the Prince Takamatsu diary, and elsewhere. He was also the prime disciple of Hiraizumi Kiyoshi, the Tōdai Law Professor who was one of the leading intellectual figures in the wartime national-essence movement.RHM: Hiraizumi was Tanibana’s focus in the five chapters immediately preceding the chapters I have translated. Knowing this background, you know that the Rōnōha arrests (the Popular Front Incident) were an enforcement tactic carried out with the backing of vast state will and in full awareness of the legal unjustness (in the words of the former disciple loyal to Wakimura Yoshitarō, it was a purge of liberalism in the interests of thought control under the wartime order): “According to the recollections of the Special Police, planning for the arrests began about the time the Japan-China Incident began, and in History of the Home Ministry (published postwar), the arrests of the Popular Front movement began in June 1937. Minobe Ryōkichi points to the preparatory stage—‘About the spring of 1937 Assistant Professor Hashizume Akio of the Faculty of Economics became an employee of the Home Ministry and was a sort of advisor to Civil Order Bureau Chief Tomita.’At the time, Tomita was still chief of the Peace Preservation Bureau. Except that according to Wakimura, who had a good memory, the issue of Hashizume’s becoming an employee of the Home Ministry came before the Faculty Meeting at the end of November, about a week before the expulsion of Yanaihara.

“Hashizume’s employment by the Police probably began formally, as Wakimura says, toward the end of November, but there wasn’t time after that to begin an investigation. Tomita’s use of Hashizume as spy to investigate the Marxist professors of the Faculty of Economics and so on did begin, as Minobe says, in spring 1937. By the fall, it was pretty much set. Excepting that the spying likely began much earlier.” (Italics in original.) If even Hashizume had direct contact with a man like Tomita, we know he was no run-of-the-mill rat.RHM: The phrase “no run-of-the-mill rat” [tada no nezumi] normally means “no run-of-the-mill person,” but here the double entendre is surely intentional.

Ōuchi Doesn’t Regain His Professorial Status

To return to the tale of the three professors—Ōuchi and the others—who were found not guilty on appeal, about then (1940) the Tōdai presidency had passed from Nagayo to Hiraga to Uchida Yoshikazu, who had come up through the Faculty of Engineering, and Uchida quickly sought a meeting with Ōuchi, back from being found innocent. Uchida said, “It’s great you’ve been found not guilty. It’s also gratifying for the university…. I’ve been wanting to welcome you back to school if possible; but conditions inside the university and outside make that impossible. I’d really like you to submit your resignation. It’s very difficult to speak concretely about those conditions inside and outside; it’s all very vague. But the opinion—albeit informal—of the Faculty of Economics that I’ve heard from Dean Hashizume is that your return would cause trouble. Moreover, you can probably imagine the opinion of the Ministry of Education. In view as well of other conditions, I do hope you’ll acquiesce in my request.”Ōuchi Hyōe, Watakushi no rirekisho (Tokyo: Ōdosha shoten, 1951).

Ōuchi responded:

First, why did I move heaven and earth fighting for seven long years on this tough issue? To clear myself of false charges. And when I say myself, it’s myself as university professor, not myself as private individual. … In short, I fought so hard because I thought that settling this issue was important for the university.

Now, having achieved victory, I’ve come back to the gates of the university. I want now to have my say about this matter as someone inside the university. That is, I want to attend Faculty Meeting and clarify responsibility for this issue. No matter what I do over and beyond that, submitting my resignation right away is no way to clarify the issue for the university.

Second, you said that in making this decision you’d asked the opinion of two professors in the Faculty of Economics. Those two are simply not the right people…. Hashizume clearly is opposed to me, and he’s one of the chief culprits in this matter. Together with Tanabe, Hijikata, and Honiden, he denounced me in Faculty Meeting, and at a time when no one outside the university was calling me Rōnōha or anything, he wanted to purge me from the university for being Rōnōha, saying that was the Home Ministry’s opinion, and presented evidence in support of it. That’s Hashizume.

And he presented to the Home Ministry documents that my ideas were alarming. On this point, when I was interrogated at the stationhouse, it was clear from the words of people the interrogating me; they said, “There’s been sufficient investigation of your ideas, and we’ve heard as well from someone at the university.” This someone at the university—who was it? It was Hashizume, who was then an advisor to the Metropolitan Police. It’s natural that such a person not rejoice if I return to my post. So if you decide this issue after asking only such people for their opinions, it’s absolutely unfair to me; I can’t accept it.

What and how much did Hashizume squeal to the officials? The words of the officials who interrogated him had made that clear to Ōuchi. It’s not unreasonable that he wanted to teach Hashizume a lesson, but President Uchida resolutely refused to permit that. The war was in its final stages—Saipan and Tinian had already fallen, Japan’s defeat was certain, and the Tōjō Cabinet had resigned en masse; and the level of intellectual freedom in society as a whole, compared to when Ōuchi and the others had entered prison, had dropped dramatically. President Uchida knew immediately he couldn’t accede to Ōuchi’s demand. In Fifty Years an Economist, Ōuchi writes as follows:

The next day we agreed on a joint statement, handed it to President Uchida, and left the university for good. In fact, we had resigned ourselves long since to the idea that this is what the university would do. Had we returned to the university, we couldn’t have existed in a Faculty of Economics in which fascism ruled. So we weren’t particularly angry at the president’s attitude.

But we had lived here and made scholarship our life’s work for twenty, even thirty years. Moreover, we’d had to fight, no matter what the cost, for the sake of the freedom of the university—that’s what we’d thought and devoted all our strength to for these seven years. Then the moment we came back, having won the battle, our true parent disowned us. That was truly the grief of a lifetime.

We grieved not for our personal defeat but for the defeat of liberty at storied Tōdai, in particular Tōdai’s Faculty of Economics where we’d led the way in the twenty years since its founding, for the defeat of the liberalism we’d fought for. In this sense we took our expulsion from the university sadly but with cool heads. And with cold hearts we took our final leave of the Faculty of Economics.

After that we never again passed through the Red Gate. Nor did we have any contact with the people of the Faculty of Economics that had decided to bar our reentry. In the war’s final stages, we were completely unemployed and worthless lumpen bourgeoisie.

The day of Japan’s defeat arrived less than a year later. Under occupation by the U. S. Army, the wartime order was completely overturned. And those at all levels of society who were tied to the wartime order—one after another, they were purged.

The Tōdai Faculty of Economics After the War

The Tōdai Faculty of Economics too was completely upended. The professors who had been forced out for ideological reasons during the whole agitation were all reinstated: from Ōuchi on down, Yanaihara, Yamada, Arisawa, Wakimura, Tsuchiya, Kimura—seven in all. And as if trading places, seven professors tied into the wartime order departed, beginning with Hashizume. (The main “renovationist” group of Hijikata, Honiden, and Tanabe, and the others had already been forced out in 1939 in the Hiraga Purge; about them I’ll have more to say later.)

Maide Chōgorō, who succeeded Hashizume as dean, was originally a quasi-member of the Ōuchi group, and after the reconstruction of the Tōdai Faculty of Economics, the Ōuchi group became its core. That’s why for a long time after the war the Tōdai Faculty of Economics was heavily Marxist.


The Collapse of the Kawai Faction; the War Economy Study Group

In which the author describes personnel issues within the Faculty of Economics, notably Dean Kawai Eijirō’s failed attempt to promote three disciples (after the war, one of the three became Tōdai president). This event led to a realignment of factions within the Faculty, Kawai’s resignation as dean, and the election of Hijikata Seibi as his successor. The net result within the Faculty of Economics was cooperation with the increasing militarization of the Japanese economy and society. The chapter concludes with a look back at the February 26, 1936 revolt and the strikingly different reactions of Kawai and Hijikata.RHM: I have not translated Tachibana’s Chapter 55, which focuses on the roots of the factional strife within the Faculty of Economics.


At the root of the factional fighting in the Faculty of Economics lay personal relations, struggles for promotion, and ideological confrontation, and these factors intertwined in complicated ways. There were also changes in the makeup of the factions. So that makes a consistent exposition quite difficult. Examining the documents and records, you often find completely different stories depending on who’s doing the telling…

As of 1931, there were thirteen slots for in the Faculty of Economics. There were thirteen professors, and twelve of them were in their forties. Normally, there were a few open slots, and the age spread was wider. If no one resigned or died, there could be no promotion from within unless the number of slots increased. If professors didn’t leave or die, assistant professors basically couldn’t hope to be promoted. If assistant professors didn’t move up, instructors too would be frozen in place. In fact, in the seven years from 1932 to 1939, when the Hiraga Purge was carried out, there were no changes at either professor or assistant-professor level. So there came to be permanent assistant professors, permanent instructors. According to the Centennial History, this stagnation in personnel was the primary root of the factional fighting.

Among the Unemployed, a Future Tōdai President

Thanks to this freeze in personnel, a man who became an instructor was unable to become even a permanent instructor (there was such a category). Such was the case of Ōkōchi Kazuo, eighteenth president of Tōdai: “My term as instructor ended, but even then I couldn’t get hired as assistant professor.… Among the professors in the Faculty of Economics, the factional fighting on personnel issues was fierce, so for example, even if my mentor, Kawai, recommended me for promotion to assistant professor, if other professors who opposed Kawai’s recommendations in personnel matters got together and opposed his recommendation, at that moment I’d have no job or have to seek a job at another university: it was one or the other. Of course, even I didn’t know whether Kawai had recommended me or not, nor had I asked; to speak in terms of results, I didn’t become an assistant professor. So each month I received a research grant from a university fund and beginning in the spring of 1932 became a part-timer in the Faculty of Economics. … For several years thereafter, I was a part-timer, a very unclear, unsettled position, and my monthly stipend of 100 yen didn’t change.”Ōkōchi, Kurai tanima no jiden (Tokyo: Chūō kōronsha, 1979). What Ōkōchi states here in general terms—“Even if Kawai (then dean of the Faculty of Economics), recommended me for assistant professor, if other professors who opposed Kawai’s recommendations in personnel matters got together and opposed his recommendation…”—actually happened.

But what Ōkōchi writes here, that he didn’t know whether Kawai recommended him, hadn’t asked, and so on, is not the truth. The recommendation was submitted formally to the Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics (February 17, 1937; the recommendation had been entered at the Faculty Meeting one week earlier, on February 10). This personnel recommendation was unusual, and the process in which after fierce debate it was voted down was also unusual, so there wasn’t anyone in the Faculty of Economics who didn’t know about it. Ōkōchi knew, too.

In essence, before the Faculty Meeting Kawai summoned the three—Ōkōchi and Kimura Kenkō and Yasui Takuma, the other two disciples he was recommending for promotion at that meeting—and spoke of his plans; Ōkōchi and Yasui were moved to tears by what he said. In Kawai’s diary:

February 8-18. It was at Faculty Meeting on February 3 that the personnel issue reached the final stage.

February 8: Invited Ōkōchi and Yasui (Kimura was ill) to my house, spoke of the situation, and gave my opinion. All three of us wept aloud. Both are sterling people. It’s a delight to have such disciples.

February 10: Proposed promotions to assistant professor. Faculty Meeting seemed surprised. But I had taken the initiative, acted as dean should.

February 17: A day to remember. All three recommendations voted down. That evening with the four of them—Yanagikawa, Ōkōchi, Kimura, Yasui—went to Tokyo restaurant, bathed, then dined. Fight is over. I’m exhausted. The result notwithstanding, I think I fought well. That’s only thing I’m happy about.Kawai, Kawai Eijirō zenshū  (24 vols., Tokyo: Shakaishisōsha, 1967-70), vol. 23.

Why was the Faculty Meeting surprised by the proposal to promote these three? Because all were Kawai’s direct disciples, and there were only three openings. This proposal meant allocating all three assistant professorships to his own disciples. In the world at large, if there is factional conflict, it’s normal in allocating positions to maintain the balance among factions. But in this case, it meant keeping all the available slots in the hands of Kawai and his disciples, so everyone was shocked at Kawai’s arbitrariness.

Kawai’s Thwarted Ambitions

At the actual Faculty Meeting, Kawai’s ambitious scheme failed. Why? Because in the week after Kawai recommended assistant professor status for the three and before his recommendation was voted on, an anti-Kawai alliance came into existence. Kawai had become dean at the March 1936 Faculty Meeting; at that time he had received nine of twelve votes (all of the “majority faction”), and he became dean with the support of an overwhelming majority. Thereafter Kawai came to wield such power in the Faculty of Economics that it was said, “If you’re not a member of the Kawai faction, you can’t get promoted to professor.” Kawai himself likely thought that even this recommendation—to promote three disciples to assistant professor at one go—was sure to pass. Had his plan worked, all three would have become professors (normally that process took three years), so Kawai alone would have had overwhelming power in the Faculty of Economics. (At the time, Kawai had a majority only in alliance with the Hijikata faction.) But at the very last moment, the vote went the other way. Why? Because in a sort of common-law marriage, the Hijikata and Ōuchi factions formed a common front against Kawai.

Araga Chōgorō’s “Tales of the ‘Hiraga Purge’”“'Hiraga Shukugaku’ monogatari,” Kaizō, March 1939. gives the following inside account: “One snowy day, a sedan stopped, its brakes grating on the ears in the cold morning air. A swarthy gentleman opened the car door, stepped out, and entered a gate that bore the nameplate ‘Ōuchi Hyōe.’ A large German shepherd growled threateningly, startling the gentleman; but when he realized there was a metal fence separating them, he seemed relieved, rang the bell, and asked to see Ōuchi. The calling card he handed in read ‘Hijikata Seibi.’

“It was early spring 1937. At this meeting an anti-Kawai bloc in the Faculty of Economics was formed. But why in the world did two men who seemed ideological opposites find it necessary to join in a ‘Red GateRHM: The Red Gate was a main entrance to the Tōdai campus, so “Red Gate” was often used as metonym for the university. Popular Front,’ as students termed this alliance?”

The immediate occasion was Kawai’s recommendation of promotions to assistant professor for Ōkōchi and the two others. Araga writes: “Ōkōchi’s promotion to assistant professor came up when Hijikata and Honiden had finally become unhappy with Kawai’s arbitrariness in the administration of the Faculty of Economics. At the time there were three vacancies in that rank, and Kawai tried to force through the appointment of the three—Ōkōchi, Yasui, and Kimura—all disciples. With this as turning point, the Hijikata-Honiden faction left the Kawai faction to work in concert with the Ōuchi faction. … Seven votes to six. The allied forces of Hijikata and Ōuchi advanced on all fronts. Virtually all the faculty’s officers were members of the allied forces: dean (Hijikata), University Council representatives (Ōuchi, Ueno), chair and vice-chair of the Friends of Economics.”

These details were known widely among the students. In a symposium of March 1939, “Student Views of the Hiraga Purge,”“Hiraga keigaku o gakusei wa dō miru ka,” Chūō kōron, March 1939. one student of the Faculty of Economics spoke as follows:

Ōgi (Economics): Until two or three years ago the Faculty of Economics had three giants and a three-way split. Professors bind their own seminar students to them in master:disciple relations; from their seminar students they pick their own disciples, build their own power. The three-giant, three-way split held for a long time, but finally it became a very great problem. Cooperation between the Ōuchi and Hijikata factions at the time of Kawai’s firing: there’s no way you can say that was a scholarly matter, rather simply a matter of relations among factions….

Higashi (Law): The Faculty of Economics is vulnerable to ideological control, so I’d see it as academic schools manifesting themselves as factions.

Ōgi (Economics): But the state of affairs in which Hijikata and Ōuchi joined hands was based on the special conditions of the time and can’t hold from here on. Professor Kawai himself recommended only his own instructors for assistant professor status, and for that reason he was opposed by Hijikata and Ōuchi.

The situation was known in this detail by students in the Faculty of Economics, so it wasn’t the case that Ōkōchi didn’t know.

But it’s still strange that Hijikata and Ōuchi, generally regarded as sworn enemies, should suddenly have linked up. In point of fact, there was an old and long-standing tie between these two. Ideologically they were far apart, but personally they had once been close. Here is Ōuchi: “Hijikata and I had had a special connection. A good friend of mine from middle school had gone to Sixth Higher School and become close to Hijikata. When he and I began cooking for ourselves at Yoyogi, Hijikata came and joined us. For two years we ate at the same table. Thanks to that, we had no secrets from each other, but I was two years older and played the part. Then, when Hijikata came back from France, he taught me the new public finance. But he disappointed me, and on various issues he and I went our separate ways, and in later years, as you know, Hijikata denounced me sharply. I don’t remember incurring Hijikata’s enmity, so it’s entirely on account of the ideas I embraced, on account of Hijikata’s patriotism.”Ōuchi, Keizaigaku gojūnen (Tokyo: Tokyo daigaku shuppankai, 1960).

What did the two agree to at that meeting? In fact, we don’t know everything. The honeymoon between Ōuchi and Hijikata was very brief, and the two became enemies once more. So neither one liked to remember the time when, strangely, they joined forces. Still, in the emeritus symposium, Ōuchi spoke as follows: “A. [Hijikata] came to my home and said, ‘I want to block B. [Kawai]. I’d like your help.’ When I agreed to become one of the University Council representatives, I was really acting in good faith.” In short, when Hijikata came seeking Ōuchi’s cooperation in blocking Kawai, Ōuchi agreed in good faith.

Hijikata’s take on this issue is the following. Hijikata didn’t say anything at all about the blocking of the Kawai faction as the top goal of a Hijikata-Ōuchi detente and explained it as follows. Personnel issues in the Faculty of Economics had been frozen, but there was a single professorship open. President Nagayo had demanded many times that the Faculty of Economics fill that position as soon as possible. The first candidate was the most senior assistant professor, Sasaki Michio (minority faction; business accounting); but the majority faction was opposed, so his promotion had long been stalled. In particular, Kawai was absolutely opposed. His reason: business accounting wasn’t true scholarship, so the professorship shouldn’t go to it. Hijikata writes: “On other personnel issues, Kawai held strong opinions, and on the matter of instructors becoming assistant professors, unless the individual had Kawai’s confidence, he wouldn’t yield an inch. The Faculty’s personnel matters would stagnate, indeed were already stagnated, and when Honiden and I were considering whether there wasn’t some way to break the logjam, to create a bit more give on personnel matters, Kawai’s one-year term as dean came to an end.

“Prior to this, the minority had opposed the majority’s proposals in each case, and within the majority Kawai didn’t yield an inch on his opinions. So there was no way to move forward on personnel matters. As a result of conferring with Honiden on ways to break the impasse, we decided we couldn’t do anything about ideology but that on personnel matters we’d let bygones be bygones and cooperate with Ōuchi so that personnel matters might go smoothly. Such being the case, since I had once eaten at the same table as Ōuchi, I took on the job of negotiating with Ōuchi on this issue and—I think it was in March 1937—went to Ōuchi’s home.”

Secret Pact

What did the two talk about? According to Hijikata: “At this meeting I said, ‘From now on I want promotions to go smoothly, majority and minority cooperating—assistant professors becoming professors, instructors becoming assistant professors. Let’s follow generally the order in which they were hired. But there will be times when we’re not necessarily able to follow that principle, so let’s consult each time on these issues. For the next term—that is, beginning in April 1937—let’s make Honiden dean. I won’t become one of the two representatives to the University Council, let alone dean. I ask you, Ōuchi, to be one of the representatives to the University Council.’ That was the broad agreement. I had the impression Ōuchi agreed with these general points.”

According to the terms of this agreement, the two factions would cooperate in making Honiden the next dean. But notice: that isn’t what actually happened. After graduating (Tōdai Faculty of Law—specialty: politics), Honiden had spent five years in the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. There he developed a warm friendship with Kawai, and one year after Kawai moved from the ministry to Tōdai, Honiden moved to Tōdai with Kawai’s backing and became assistant professor; between 1922 and 1939 he was responsible for European economic history. In personal terms, he was at first much closer to Kawai, but beginning about 1935 he moved closer to Hijikata than to Kawai. In the end, Honiden became a central figure in the renovationist faction, so ideologically, too, there were aspects that made for incompatibility with Kawai.

In Kawai’s diary Honiden appears repeatedly as the initial H., and until 1935, it’s clear, the two consulted and agreed on internal university issues. But at the end of 1934, there’s a note, “Goodbye to 1934,” in which this appears: “The first half of the academic year, up through Karuizawa [Kawai’s vacation residence], was a half year of gloom. At the university, the estrangement with H. was central. A. [Araki Kōtarō] moved closer to Hijikata and became isolated within the Faculty. Last year’s Takigawa Incident and the developments involving the military probably provided turning points.Kawai’s anti-military speeches and writings became unacceptable to Hijikata, Honiden, and the pro-military faction. Even Araki, who had been the closest to Kawai, moved closer to their side. I clashed head-on with H. on the issue, first, of the status of Kimura and Yasui, the membership of the Friends of Economics committee, the publication of Friends, the admission to the library stacks of those who weren’t instructors. They told me I was oversensitive and not political enough.”

From this point on, relations between Kawai and Honiden cooled rapidly. The fracture didn’t happen right away, but as of 1937 Honiden joined the Red Gate political alliance of the Hijikata and Ōuchi factions; he received the support of both, and it was agreed that Honiden would become the next dean. At the Faculty Meeting at the end of February, Kawai’s own recommendations were all voted down by the Red Gate Popular Front, so Kawai resigned as dean and immediately called a Faculty Meeting to determine his successor. Thereupon events took an unexpected turn. According to Hijikata, it was this:

In due course, at the end of March 1937 Kawai convened a Faculty Meeting to elect the next dean. Before the Faculty Meeting, which was to begin at 1 p.m., I was waiting in my study. It was about ten minutes before the Faculty Meeting was to begin at 1:00. Ōuchi knocked on the door of my room and entered. I wondered what was up. ‘We (Ueno, Yanaihara, Maide, and the others) have discussed this matter, with the result that none agree with recommending Honiden as dean. Please give up all thought of making him dean.” I responded, “That changes things. Who on earth will become dean?” He said, “You.” I was speechless. Faculty Meeting was only minutes away. I had no time to consult with anyone. All I could do was enter the meeting with an air of nonchalance. Had it been a Faculty Meeting I convened and had I submitted the recommendation to be decided on, I might have withdrawn the election item and postponed it; but it was a Faculty Meeting convened by Kawai to vote on his recommendation, so I was powerless. In the vote, I was elected dean, and Ōuchi and Maide were chosen as representatives to the University Council. When the meeting ended and I retired to my study, Honiden came rushing in and demanded, “What on earth came over you?” Honiden’s surprise and anger were natural. But given what I’ve mentioned, I could only explain my conduct by saying that I’d been completely powerless. Though unhappy, Honiden too promised me he’d cooperate and left.Hijikata Seibi, Jiken wa tōku narinikeri (Tokyo: Keizai ōraisha, 1965).

This is the back story of how after Kawai resigned as dean, a strange coalition regime came into existence with Hijikata as dean and Ōuchi and Maide as the two representatives to the University Council. On personnel issues, there was a secret deal that the Hijikata and Ōuchi factions would work together, and all the groundwork had been done; then, at the very last moment before the Faculty Meeting and on the single issue of who would become dean, Ōuchi suddenly changed his mind and scored a tactical triumph. This back story was never revealed by the Ōuchi side, and after the war the turmoil in the Faculty of Economics came to be talked of solely from the viewpoint of the Ōuchi faction, so even today it’s not widely known. This tale makes clear that Ōuchi was a master schemer. Only minutes before the Faculty Meeting convened, he made a proposal that Hijikata, even though surprised, couldn’t reject, and suddenly it was a done deal.

But why should Ōuchi have chosen Hijikata as dean? He likely thought that he could manipulate Hijikata more easily than Honiden, to whom he had little personal connection. And wasn’t it perhaps also because Honiden had stronger fascist tendencies than Hijikata? To continue with Hijikata’s account: “A ‘coalition cabinet’ was set up, and Ōuchi and Maide became the representatives to the University Council—that’s as I’ve recounted. Ōuchi also served as convenor of the Friends of Economics, and to its assemblies he invited people regarded as left-wingers and often seemed to work to lift left-wing spirits. In contrast, Honiden and Tanabe berated me on this issue: ‘Hijikata—what are you doing? Show some nerve!’” Ōuchi used the fact he had made Hijikata dean adroitly.

The Yanaihara Incident arose under this regime. In that incident, Hijikata took the lead in destroying Yanaihara. He’d probably made up his mind to sever ties with the Ōuchi faction. Precisely because Hijikata felt strongly that to that point he’d had been wholly had—had been used—by Ōuchi, he probably thought he needed to show strength. Conversely, the Ōuchi side felt strongly that it had been betrayed by Hijikata. Given the basic ideological tendencies of Hijikata and Ōuchi, it wasn’t a surprise that Hijikata stood on the side denouncing Yanaihara. What was strange was rather the fact that the two had joined hands even temporarily. Continuing the passage quoted earlier, Araga writes: “The Yanaihara Incident arose in July 1937, due to the intensification of controls on speech. No sooner had it arisen than the ‘Red Gate Popular Front’ came utterly unraveled; Hijikata and Honiden rallied the Kawai faction’s Tanabe, Nakanishi, and Araki to the banner of Japanist economics and set about purging yesterday’s friends—Yanaihara and Ōuchi—for their unpatriotic ideas. The Hijikata faction had used the Ōuchi faction to oust the Kawai faction. The Hijikata faction was a minority, but its strength came from using the crisis as its shield. On the Yanaihara issue, it mounted a concerted attack from within and without…. In the end, having succeeded in its attack on Yanaihara, the Hijikata faction turned to purge Ōuchi and Kawai.”

On this occasion, a complete reset of the human relations of the factions in the Faculty of Economics took place. Now the main axis of confrontation wasn’t personnel issues or Marxism, but nationalism/anti-nationalism. And as I wrote earlier, the Faculty Group Incident, an event unprecedented in Tōdai history, followed right on the heels of the Yanaihara Incident: at one fell swoop Ōuchi and Arisawa and Wakimura were arrested. At this time the issue arose of whether to fire the three from the university. In legal terms, even if a university professor was caught up in an incident, his status did not become an issue before he was indicted (after he was indicted, his status was forfeit).

With the exposure of the Faculty Group Incident, the Red Gate Popular Front dissolved completely, of its own accord, and Hijikata took the lead in arguing that Ōuchi should be fired before he was indicted. But Kawai, on the contrary, stood up to defend Ōuchi: it was not proper in terms of the principle of university autonomy to fire him before he was indicted. Here a second reshuffling of factions took place—Ōuchi faction plus Kawai faction vs. Hijikata faction, and Hijikata resigned as dean. The “Tale of the ‘Hiraga Purge’” continues: “In the February 1, 1938 arrests of the second Popular Front Incident, Ōuchi and Arisawa and Wakimura were detained by the police…. The Hijikata faction argued that such anti-patriotic professors should be fired immediately. In response, in alliance with the Kawai faction, the old Ōuchi faction expressed its opposition based on pure reason: to decide on punishment before the decision to indict was made was to jettison the university’s academic freedom; punishment of professors must be by vote of Faculty Meeting. People called this faction the ‘pure reason faction’ and the opposing Hijikata faction the ‘renovationist faction.’ The pure reason faction held the majority. So Hijikata resigned as dean, and Maide replaced him.” In short, in the last days of the Kawai regime, the Hijikata and Ōuchi factions joined forces (the Red Gate Popular Front) and chased out the Kawai faction and gave birth to a Hijikata regime, and now the Kawai faction plus the (old) Ōuchi faction joined to bring down the Hijikata regime.

In the process, there were ideological realignments in both the Hijikata and Kawai factions, and a new faction was born—the renovationist faction. Here “renovationatist faction” denoted the new Hijikata faction, and it’s important to note that it differed ideologically from the old Hijikata faction (which, in terms of ideology, had been simply anti-Marxist). As the passage from the “Tale of the ‘Hiraga Purge’” indicates, it was made up of different people. In addition to Hijikata and Honiden, three from the Kawai faction—Tanabe, Nakanishi, Araki—joined, and, under the flag of “Japanist economics,” it became the renovationist faction. Its axis of agreement was “Japanism,” “nationalism”—or, one might say, a strong affinity for Japan’s new order after the outbreak of the Japan-China War, for the war economy, and for the military leading it.

The original Kawai faction was made up of six: Kawai himself plus Honiden, Tanabe, Nakanishi, Araki, and Yamada Fumio. So the fact that Honiden, Tanabe, Nakanishi, and Araki formed the renovationist faction meant that save for Kawai and Yamada, the entire Kawai group had moved, lock, stock, and barrel, to the renovationist faction (or had created the renovationist faction with themselves at its center).

The Birth of the War Economy Study Group

What sparked these developments was what I described earlier—the January 3, 1937 (Meiji Day) procession to the Meiji Shrine to pray for victory in the Japan-China War, led by Hijikata and Honiden. The fact that a considerable number of students did not take part in the procession was due to conscious opposition by the left-wing leadership of the Friends of Economics. Seizing on that fact, Hijikata convened a Faculty Meeting and proposed punishing the students who had been so imprudent: I’ve touched on that, too. And in the Yanaihara Incident, what lit the fuse was that in Faculty Meeting one day, Hijikata suddenly produced the issue of Chūō kōron with Yanaihara’s essay, “The Ideals of the State,” called it anti-war, and criticized it as unbecoming a professor in a time of crisis. The demand that all the committee members of the Friends of Economics be replaced and the criticism of Yanaihara’s essay took place at the same Faculty Meeting.

In fact, there was a third proposal at that Faculty Meeting. It was a motion by Hijikata that he resign as dean: up till then, as dean and representative to the University Council, Hijikata and Ōuchi had cooperated in administering the Faculty, but because their opinions differed too greatly, they were no longer able to cooperate. This issue was not decided on the spot but tabled for the next meeting, and in the interim Ōuchi and the others were arrested in the Faculty Group Incident.

At the Faculty Meeting at which these three issues were raised, there was discussion of still another important issue. From the time the China Incident began, the university had been a bystander, watching the progress of the war; the proposal was that the university as university stop being an onlooker, address actively the problems the war brought, and make suggestions to the government (about how to deal with the crisis).

The day after the Faculty Meeting, the Asahi ran an article under the banner headline:





The article discussed in detail this new current in the Faculty of Economics. At the center of this development were Hijikata and Honiden, and the two spoke by turns to the reporter: “Candidly, there are among us two views of this Incident. One is that as scholars we should maintain to the end a cool, observer’s view. The other is that we should use everything from our areas of expertise to contribute actively in some way or other to Japan’s current situation, even if we don’t take a leadership role in dealing with the Incident. On this point, as a result of extended debate in the most recent Faculty Meeting, we decided that the university belongs to the state, so research as research should proceed for the most part in the latter direction. In fact, some of us as individuals have concrete ideas about how to address the Incident.”

One month later the Asahi ran these headlines—




The article reported the following actions: the agreement of a band of professors at the Tōdai Faculty of Economics to conduct research in accord with state policy has attracted attention both within and without the academy, and a Study Group on Economic Issues (tentative title) proposed by Honiden is increasingly expected to start next spring. The members are the five professors Honiden, Hijikata, Tanabe Tadeo, Araki Kōtarō, Nakanishi Torao. Supporters include, in addition to Hashizume Akio of the same faculty, many in the Faculties of Law and Letters—in a word, the “renovationist faction.” All the factional tangles within the Faculty of Economics were reflections of the shock the university received from the great change in conditions—that war had begun. With the opening of hostilities, every faculty member had to rethink his view of the state, and the renovationist faction (also called the “crisis faction”) was steering the university in the direction of commitment to the state that had gone to war.

The “Study Group on Economic Issues” that this article predicted would start the following spring actually started in May 1938, and the name had changed to “War Economy Study Group.” The Asahi reported its opening ceremony this way: “The professors of the crisis faction in the Tōdai Faculty of Economics who are regarded as the groundbreakers of the university’s new direction during the crisis gained the support of Tōdai grads who are now professors at private universities, and on the 2nd at 6 p.m. in Kanda Academy Hall conducted the opening ceremonies of the War Economy Study Group, taking the first step in the direction of the state policy line they have long admired. Present were Professors Hijikata, Honiden, Tanabe, Nakanishi, Araki, Assistant Professors Hashizume, Yūmoto, Yanagikawa…eighteen in all… At today’s meeting Hijikata was named chair and the Tanabe’s Tōdai library office was designated its office. After the group has used Tōdai Economics grads to conduct the promised base studies, it will appeal to other universities.”

In October 1938 the journal Renovation started, and the first installment of Tanabe Tadao’s “Essentials of Renovating the Japanese Economy”—a manifesto-like document of the renovationist faction—was published. That essay began with the sentence, “The stage the Japanese economy now faces is development into a controlled economy for the sake of preparation for war,” and argued, “From now on economic life is the cooperative life of all Japanese serving the sacred goals of the state.” Tanabe discussed how to create a structure of national mobilization for total war.

In “The Renovationist Stance” in the same inaugural issue, Honiden began, “The renovationist stance is the stance of the state” and made explicit his absolute support of war: “War is an opportunity to experience with our entire selves the state that is invisible to the naked eye. For that precise reason, on the occasion of this war, the movement for statist renovation too gains yet more strength.” As leaders of the “renovationist faction,” Hijikata, Honiden, Tanabe, and Araki and Nakanishi—five professors in all—played important roles in steering the field of economics in Japan, then embarking on a war footing, toward a pro-war economics. Note that four of these professors, not including Hijikata, constituted the old Kawai faction. For these people, the central issues now were state and war, and the traditional factional opposition eased willy-nilly.

The China Incident Changes Everything

How did these events look when seen through the eyes of the old Kawai faction? In an essay of March, 1939,Yamada, “Tōdai keizaigakubu mondai no shinso,” Kaizō, March 1939. “The Truth about the Tōdai Faculty of Economics Issue,” Yamada Fumio of the old Kawai faction described the situation as follows:

The majority:minority opposition lasted through the terms as dean of Mori (two years), Hijikata (three years [his first term as dean]), and Kawai (one year). When it got to the last, Kawai deanship, the majority faction that had held for many years finally collapsed. The immediate cause of collapse was the issue of promoting Assistant Professor Sasaki to professor.

For whatever reason, President Nagayo requested of Kawai that Sasaki be promoted…. Kawai valued faculty autonomy, so it was natural that he should refuse to agree. Four professors—Tanabe, Nakanishi, Araki, Yamada—thought Kawai was right; all the others felt the Faculty of Economics should accede to the president’s proposal. At this point the majority faction dissolved; Kawai and the four became the new minority faction, and the other eight (the previous minority faction plus four from the majority faction) formed a new majority faction. Kawai resigned immediately because a majority of the Faculty Meeting did not agree with him and explained the logic of his resigning. Hijikata became the new dean, and Ōuchi and Honiden became the two representatives to the University Council.

In terms of ideology, of the character of the respective professors, and of past estrangements, this new majority reconciled irreconcilables, so it was extremely unnatural, strange. It was expected to splinter sooner or later, but it fell apart even sooner than expected. The changes in society that accompanied the sudden outbreak of the China Incident made Hijikata feel uneasy about an alliance with the Marxists under Ōuchi. The procession to the shrine that increased the emotional distance between Hijikata and Ōuchi and then the Yanaihara issue intensified the opposition between the two. Hijikata and Honiden and others thought that the ideas of Ōuchi and Yanaihara were dangerous and wanted to kick the two men out of the university. Three in the new minority faction—Tanabe, Nakanishi, and Araki—were in sympathy with Hijikata and Honiden. Thus, these five formed the so-called renovationist faction, and after Yanaihara’s departure from the scene, they turned their fire on Ōuchi. After the arrest of Ōuchi in February of last year, the attack became ever fiercer, with them arguing that he should be fired immediately.

What changed matters decisively was the “sudden outbreak of the China Incident” and “the changes in society” that accompanied it. The moment war began, social conditions changed greatly, all of a sudden, and people too changed radically. The Kawai faction, originally a group of anti-Marxists and considered a collection of liberal idealists, disappeared into thin air, and its members became supporters of the wartime order.

What Made Kawai Decide to Become Dean?

            It’s well-known that amid these radical changes in people and in society, only Kawai, mentor of these feckless disciples, towered over all to the last. Irie Tokurō was a newspaper reporter; though not a Kawai disciple, he looked up to Kawai. Irie writes as follows:

It was in 1936…that the February 26 Incident occurred. At the time I was a student in the Tōdai Faculty of Letters. I had virtually completed my senior thesis, and on a rare snowy morning I was lying in bed when a friend and fellow-lodger burst into the room to report that young officers were in revolt. Shocked, I remember going out in the snow to see.

An even stronger impression on me was the essay, “Critique of February 26,” that Kawai Eijirō published after the incident in the Imperial University News. It was a bitter denunciation of the violence…. The February 26 Incident shocked the public, but from the journalists of the day came virtually no sharp criticism. People were afraid to speak out. In that climate, Kawai’s sharp criticism caused a sensation. Students fought to buy the Imperial University News sold at the Main Gate, and they fixated on this essay.

Students had various reactions: the unavoidable impression that here was the conscience of the university and of scholars; respect for Professor Kawai’s bravery and fear that criticizing the military so sharply would have consequences. Revenge came quickly. For seven years Kawai had served on the Higher Civil Service Examining Committee, but in May of that year he was kicked off it. In March of the following year he left the deanship of the Faculty of Economics. His term wasn’t up; it was an abnormal shake-up [TT: it wasn’t a shake-up, but a resignation]. And the next year—1938—in the House of Peers Baron Iida Iwakuzu held up three of Kawai’s books—Critique of Fascism, The Crisis and Liberalism, and Second Student Life—and subjected them to all-out criticism.

The Ministry of Education asked Kawai to let the three books go out of print, but he refused. The Police Office of the Home Ministry banned them, but Kawai did not yield an inch: “I can’t think my theories are mistaken.” Even when the Ministry of Education recommended resignation, he again turned it down: “It’s regrettable that the Ministry ignores Faculty Meeting.” At their wits’ ends, the officials of the Ministry of Education finally put the issue before the Higher Civil Service Committee, rammed through his firing, and drove him from the university.

Toward the end of his prolonged court battle thereafter, Kawai fell ill. In that era of the dark valley, he did not live to see the dawn of the new day.

As journalist Irie Tokurō writes, the one of Kawai’s many accomplishments that left the strongest impression on the world then and now is that after the February 26 Incident, when no one would utter words critical of the military, he dared to criticize the military and continued to support liberty. (In fact, even before the February 26 Incident, from the time of the May 15, 1932 Incident, Kawai alone dared to keep criticizing the military. And at the time of the issue of Minobe’s emperor-organ theory, he was virtually alone in defending Minobe.)

Kawai became dean of the Faculty of Economics in 1936, and his deanship cannot necessarily be called a success. But why did Kawai want to become dean? In fact, February 26 played a large role. In Kawai’s diary, there is a memo, “Memories of 1936,” in which he wrote: “From that time on, what I’ve been going back and forth on (in my mind) is whether or not to be dean next year. I didn’t feel like it, but the group of five urged it, and at last when I saw the February 26 Incident, I thought that if I didn’t grasp power, I wouldn’t be able to defend university freedom; so I decided to accept the job.” The “group of five” here is the Kawai faction: Honiden, Tanabe, Nakanishi, Yamada, Araki.

Kawai first resolved to become dean on February 22, a scant four days before the February 26 Incident. Here is that day’s diary entry: “February 22. Today for first time sat down with Hijikata and H. [Honiden] and had an honest discussion of what was on our minds. In today’s conversation I began to think maybe I should become dean. Afterward I went to see Minobe, and met with the group of five…and decided to accept the deanship.” Minobe had been hospitalized after being attacked and nearly killed by right-wing thugs. Kawai’s strong consciousness of the danger posed by the emperor-organ issue and this violent attack led him to accept the deanship (to defend freedom of speech, freedom of the university).

This consciousness of danger grew still stronger at the time of the Incident, and in his diary for February 26, Kawai resolved to proceed even though he foresaw that his own life would be in danger:

February 26

A day to remember. Morning: on way to university, learned of today’s events; at Faculty Club heard rumors. At meeting of entrance exam committee, various people had stories. I kept silent, thinking of future of university.

Tanabe later came to my room, said I’d better leave for weekend, better to avoid being harmed in some unpleasantness; Ōkōchi also worried and came, and Araki and Yamada. I was grateful for their concern.

Snow falling heavily. Deciding after all to go home, I go by taxi. In the cab have feeling that perhaps time has come and think constantly about what I should do—resign?

Once I got home, the children came home from school with various stories, indignant. Consulting with [wife] Kuniko, I decided after all to come to Kōzu [in Kanagawa, along the coast near Odawara], and decided, one, to think things through at leisure, two, to study. To phone Araki, I left the house in the evening. Going back and forth in my head: when time comes, do I live or die? Surrender or resist? Next, the state of the university after things calmed down, and the related issue of my status. And what about the deanship? I’ll accept it with no worries for myself.

On evening radio, report of assassinations. It will likely end, like May 15 Incident, in catastrophe. In any case, I’ll watch situation for few days and judge.

No matter what the situation, must be smart. Hope I can conduct myself throughout with no concern for personal safety. The rest is fate.

Hijikata’s February 26 Incident

            Hijikata’s recollection of the February 26 Incident makes for a fascinating comparison:

It was about 10 a.m. on February 26, 1936. I hired a car and driver and, through the snow that had been falling since before dawn, we drove along the palace moat in the direction of Tōdai. Soldiers with fixed bayonets came running, ordered the car to stop, peered inside, and then said, “Proceed.” When I asked what was happening, the driver said, “Don’t you know? Last night was something! Lots of soldiers on the march in the middle of the night.” He told me part of the story. Come to think of it, the site where the car was ordered to stop was in front of the official mansion of Suzuki Kantarō, Grand Chamberlain, who was attacked at dawn on that day.RHM: Suzuki was a prime target of the rebels, who shot him, leaving him gravely wounded but not dead. At the Faculty Meeting, I learned for the first time the outlines of the incident…. In chitchat before the meeting, Honiden said, “This is how coups d’etat succeed, isn’t it.” I said, “We don’t know yet that it’s succeeded,” and Ōuchi agreed with this…. When I got home, the radio was broadcasting the movements of the “Rebel Units.” That evening soldiers loyal to the government, with fixed bayonets, came and filled the area inside the gate of my house, on alert all night—unbelievable. Anyway, wild rumors were flying; the Faculty secretary said, “Some Law professors are saying you’re an advisor to the rebel army.” Even well-intentioned professors were thinking and saying such nonsense! I thought some of the rumors were malicious.

In terms of their thinking, Hijikata and the other members of the renovationist faction had much in common with the military’s renovationist faction (the young officers behind the February 26 Incident). Hence Honiden’s remark that “This is how coups d’etat succeed”—he virtually believed it had succeeded—and the rumor that Hijikata was the mastermind of the rebel army.

I own a copy of the tome—it’s over 1,000 pages long—Overview of the Economic Resources of Greater East Asia,Daitōa keizai shigen taikan (Tokyo: Nisso tsūshinsha, 1942) for which Hijikata was chief editor. In the preface he wrote: “Along with the glorious triumphs of the Imperial Army, the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere marches proudly and steadily toward construction. Japan’s Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere of today has no parallels in bloc-building, encompassing as it does so many diverse elements. Nay, our country is replacing England as leader of this great co-prosperity sphere that includes so many and such varied peoples and cultures. We Japanese who will lead Greater East Asia must first of all appreciate this Greater East Asia.” A direct line runs from Hijikata’s experience of the February 26 Incident to this preface.


The Travails of Tsuda Sōkichi, Attacked as ‘Traitor’

In which the author traces the actions of Tōdai’s right-wing critics, most notably publicist Minoda Muneki and his colleagues on the journal Genri Nihon. They accused the Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Law of harboring professors whose thinking was treasonous and formed an Alliance for an Imperial University Purge. The Minister of Education joined the assault, only to be outmaneuvered by Tanaka Kōtarō, dean of the Faculty of Law. Much of the action focuses on Tsuda Sōkichi, distinguished historian-anthropologist from Waseda University, who was brought to Tōdai as guest lecturer on Asian political thought and ran into student opposition organized by the right.


The Detailed Account of Hayashi Kentarō

Behind the great turmoil in the Tōdai Faculty of Economics lay the factional fight among the three factions of Ōuchi, Hijikata, and Kawai. But these three factions experienced changes in members, coalitions, and name changes, so don’t think of them too schematically. To chart the currents of the day in terms of major events:

1937: Japan-China War. Yanaihara Incident.

1938: Faculty Group Incident (the arrests of Ōuchi, Arisawa, Wakamori). Banning of Kawai’s four books. Minister of Education General Araki Sadao’s university reform.

1939: Hiraga Purge (firings of Kawai and Hijikata; protest resignations of professors, assistant professors, instructors—thirteen in all). Indictment of Kawai. Beginning of criticism of Tsuda Sōkichi (the following year, banning of his books).

To chart the factions during these years: at first, opposition between the Marxist, Ōuchi faction, on the one hand, and the anti-Marxist Hijikata and Kawai factions, on the other. Then, when the Ōuchi and Hijikata factions joined hands and excluded the Kawai faction, the Kawai faction splintered, with one part joining the Hijikata faction to form the renovationist faction that favored cooperating with the war economy.

The power chart was redrawn: the Ōuchi faction and what was left of the Kawai faction combined and seized hegemony. It happened in the political fight over whether to fire Ōuchi and Arisawa and Wakimura, who had been arrested in the Faculty Group Incident. Hayashi Kentarō (later the 20th president of Tōdai) was serving at the time as an assistant in the Western History Department of the Faculty of Letters. According to his memoirs: “Thus, while an unusual political fight was playing out among the professors of the Faculty of Economics, barely twelve in number, there came the arrest of the ‘Faculty Group’—Ōuchi and Arisawa and Wakimura …. For Hijikata and the renovationist faction, this was the perfect opportunity to drive out the left-wing professors; puffed up with success, they acted too arrogantly. From a bit earlier, this renovationist faction had made contacts with newspaper reporters and not only published their renovationist views, but even let reporters know what happened in Faculty Meeting and criticized colleagues, albeit not by name. Then, with Ōuchi’s arrest, they began a movement in Faculty Meeting to fire him immediately.”

Why does Hayashi make his appearance now? Because in the end the issue of firing Ōuchi was not confined to the Faculty of Economics but as a university issue came before the University Council. (For the details, see Chapter 10.) Imai Toshiki played a decisive role in the University Council, and Hayashi was an assistant to him; Hayashi observed this incident at close hand from beginning to end and left a detailed account….

The arrest of Ōuchi (the arrest of the Faculty Group) was a major event, the first time in Tōdai’s history that a regular Tōdai full professor had been arrested, and the newspapers of the day gave it exceptionally heavy coverage. At the time, the Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics was controlled by the Ōuchi and Hijikata factions, but cracks in that alliance had already appeared. So Hijikata and the renovationist faculty, who controlled (or thought they controlled) the majority in Faculty Meeting, tried to seize this opportunity to fire at one fell swoop Ōuchi and the Ōuchi faction, sympathetic to Marxism. The Kawai faction was fundamentally anti-Marxist, so the renovationist faction apparently felt that on this issue they’d surely go along.

Minoda Muneki’s Hatred of Tōdai

At Tōdai, where professorial rank was concerned, faculty autonomy ruled: in every faculty, only faculty meeting had the power to hire and fire professors. In its origins, Tokyo Imperial University was a comprehensive university created when colleges that had been different schools (different in both origins and histories) amalgamated, so each faculty (each formerly a college) was a sort of independent state with its own powers, and each faculty meeting refused to let go of the right to hire and fire professors. The roots of university autonomy lay in freedom of research and freedom of teaching, but a third important freedom, supporting those two freedoms, was the freedom to hire and fire professors. Faculty meeting alone had the right to hire and fire professors, and outside forces, including the state, must not interfere in any sense in the hiring and firing of professors: that was the great principle of university autonomy.

If outside forces, notably the state, tried to intervene, great turmoil arose and shook the university. The issue of Minobe Tatsukichi’s emperor-organ theory arose after Minobe had already reached the mandatory retirement age of sixty and left, so it did not involve firing a professor; but it was a problem that went to a freedom more important than hiring and firing—the freedom of research, the freedom of teaching. Nevertheless, the university response was so slow that the freedom of the university was battered and then battered some more. At the same time, freedom in the world at large was rapidly going down the drain. When the emperor-organ theory became an issue, the outside force interfering in university freedom was not the state but right-wing statists linked to the military. Above all, it was the Genri Nihon group, with Minoda Muneki in the lead, and the national-essence members of the Upper House.

Earlier, before the Emperor-Organ Incident, they had stirred up the Takigawa Incident at Kyoto University and driven out seven professors; in the Emperor-Organ Incident, they drove all the professors who advocated the theory from the faculties of the universities of the entire nation and purged the emperor-organ theory from the curricula of all Faculties of Law. Their power was overwhelming. The attack on the emperor-organ theory became a great public campaign that drew in the military and the right wing, and under pressure, the government twice was forced to issue declarations on the clarification of the kokutai (1935).

According to these declarations, all government activity must be judged in terms of clarification of the kokutai. Education both in the schools and for the public was reorganized to conform with clarification of the kokutai. For university education, a Consultative Council on Educational Reform was established (President Nagayo, philosopher Watsuji Tetsurō, Hijikata, Hiraizumi, Kakehi Katsuhiko, and others served as members) and a report was issued: “The great Empire of Japan serves the divine will of the emperor and the Sun Goddess of the one dynasty through all time, which rules eternally. This is our kokutai unchanging through all time. … Our education has its source in the kokutai and takes the Japanese spirit as its core.” And it set about redesigning all university education to “embody the true meaning of the kokutai.” The university reform of Minister of Education Araki, which we’ll talk about later, also has its origin here.

Not only in education but in controls on speech, too, clarification of the kokutai became the new standard, and from then on, the charge “contrary to the kokutai” led to the easy suppression of speech of all sorts. Article 26 of the publication law read, “When books or drawings are published that blaspheme the dignity of the Imperial House and try to destroy the government or throw the constitution into confusion…” and mandated imprisonment for up to two years and fines of up to 200 yen for authors, publishers, and printers. Its Article 27 read, “When books or drawings are published that disturb the public order or corrupt social mores…” and carried imprisonment for up to six months and fines of up to 100 yen for the same parties. These two provisions were of great use in controlling speech, and from then on these were applied much more strictly.

The Tsuda Incident involved Article 26, and the Kawai Incident involved Article 27, but what was at issue in both cases was books published far earlier, books that until then had been utterly unproblematic. Now, suddenly, legal proceedings were brought against them. Why? Once clarification of the kokutai was made the fundamental social standard, everything changed, including the very standard of judgment—“What does blaspheming the dignity of the Imperial House mean?” “What does disrupting public order mean?”

After the February 26, 1936 Incident and the beginning of the Japan-China War in 1937 (the incident at the Marco Polo Bridge), Japanese society as a whole moved onto war footing. The national spiritual mobilization movement began at the same time as the fighting, and in 1938 the national mobilization law was enacted; through these measures, Japanese society from top to bottom and in all its nookks and crannies was put on wartime footing. This great transformation of society, placing the whole society on war footing, was the greatest background factor for the whole series of incidents from 1937 to 1939 listed at the beginning of this chapter.

Under these conditions, the Genri Nihon group led by Minoda stepped up its tenacious attack on Tōdai. Its fundamental belief was that Tōdai was the nucleus of anti-kokutai scholarship, that all the communist-sympathizing professors preached Marxism themselves or taught that it should be tolerated; so Tōdai was the general headquarters of the movement to turn Japan red. Hence in order to prevent the communization of Japan, it was necessary to destroy Tōdai (in particular, its Faculty of Law). In the Yanaihara Incident, too, the attack on Yanaihara by Genri Nihon had been the spark. At this time Genri Nihon intensified its attack on the Faculty of Law—on Yanaihara and also on Miyazawa, Tanaka, Yokota, Rōyama, and Yabe; its attack on Kawai of the Faculty of Economics was particularly fierce.

Both Democracy and Representative Government Are Anti-Kokutai

What did they criticize? In a word, anything they thought didn’t suit the kokutai. To listen to Minoda and the others, Japan’s kokutai made the authority and will of the emperor unconditionally supreme—theirs was a belief system centered absolutely on the emperor. So of course the emperor-organ theory was unacceptable, as was democracy, too. (It was unacceptable for the “people” to be “chief.” The “chief” had to be the emperor.RHM: “Chief” here (or “head”) is the second character of the four characters of the Japanese word for democracy: people-chief-ism.) It was also unacceptable for the Diet to be the center. The Diet was permitted only to assist emperor-centered government. Miyazawa still seemed not to have discarded the emperor-organ theory, and Rōyama preached democracy centered on the Diet; neither was acceptable. Yabe advocated democracy under the name of “majoritarian government”: not acceptable. Tanaka, who advocated world law, placed world law above the emperor: unacceptable. And international lawyer Yokota, too, placed international law above the emperor: unacceptable. (“It is fiendishness, worse than the ‘emperor-organ theory, to say there is natural law or international law superior to the constitution of any given country.’”).

In short, virtually everything being taught at the Tōdai Faculty of Law was anti-kokutai, so the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Economics should be shut down. Even should they be permitted to continue to exist, unless changes were made, other faculties might be infected by communist-sympathetic ideas, red ideas; so Tōdai as comprehensive university must be broken up and Law and Economics allowed to exist only in isolation from the other faculties. Moreover, custom and the concept of “the autonomy of the university” held that the university itself had the power to hire and fire, but such action infringed the kokutai and the constitution’s explicit words that the emperor has the authority to hire and fire officials. So independent power to hire and fire must be stripped from the university and returned to the Minister of Education, a direct servant of the emperor. Such were their assertions.

The Reform Plan of Minister of Education Araki; Tanaka’s Secret Plan

The chronology at the head of this chapter lists under the year 1938 that General Araki Sadao became Minister of Education and pushed “university reform.” What Araki wanted to do, in fact, was precisely to destroy university autonomy in personnel decisions. Araki was a leader of the Army’s Imperial Way faction, but after the February 26 Incident, he had withdrawn from center stage (retired to inactive duty) and been on his best behavior. Why did he become Minister of Education and set about university reform? In University Autonomy,Daigaku no jichi (Tokyo: Asahi shimbunsha, 1963). Ōuchi explains: “1938: Japan invaded China, and Chiang Kai-shek resisted stubbornly, so nothing came of it…Educational renovation was absolutely essential to military aggression. But as we’d already seen in the Yanaihara and Ōuchi incidents, Tōdai wasn’t an unstinting advocate of militarism, and it didn’t suit the military that there were places where liberalism existed. … So the military resolved to put General Araki, considered the most thorough-going militarist in matters of education, at the forefront of this issue. On May 26…Araki marched into the Konoe Cabinet. At the time Araki was fiercely energetic, and he tried to push through Japan’s intellectual revolution at one fell swoop. The first thing he set his hand to was university administration; at its core, he thought, lay the hiring and firing of university presidents. So the Minister of Education immediately summoned President Nagayo and handed him his proposed university reform.

Araki was close to the Genri Nihon group, and what he asserted was word-for-word the reform of the imperial universities that Genri Nihon had long been advocating. The point of Araki’s reform proposal was to end the system of choosing imperial university presidents via faculty election. (The practice began in the early 1910s at Kyoto University and spread gradually to Tōdai and all the imperial universities). Democratic methods such as election infringed upon imperial prerogative, so they were contrary to clarification of the kokutai. The controversy continued for several months thereafter, but in the end the university won. This issue arose at virtually the same time that the university was shaken by the Ōuchi issue, and in order to know where the essence of university autonomy lies and why it’s so important to defend it, more important elements are involved. So let me speak first about these other issues.

Why was the university able to resist the pressure of the Ministry of Education on this issue? For one thing, the university united quickly, locking arms behind the scenes, and even though the Ministry schemed to break down that unity, the unity held. Second, the university devised a resolution of the issue that preserved the honor of the Minister of Education (the university discarded university autonomy in name but kept it in substance). In this entire process, the leader on the university side was Tanaka, then dean of the Faculty of Law (after the war Minister of Education, Diet member, and chief justice of the Supreme Court). He was a leader with great knowledge and pluck. He was also the one who drew up the grand design of the Hiraga Purge, which we’ll discuss later; along the way, it looked any number of times as if the Hiraga Purge would collapse, and it was he who supported it to the end. So let me introduce him.

Yoshimura Sachio’s “Tales of Tōdai II,Daini Tōdai monogatari,” Nihon hyōron, April 1939. written after the Hiraga Purge, describes how Tanaka fought against heavy odds. Yoshimura writes as follows of Tanaka’s activity at the time of Araki’s university reform: “Tanaka Kōtarō, the sphinx—he’s truly wasted as a university professor. Were he to enter politics, he has the strategy and fighting spirit to become a true leader. One observer appraised the young, highly-talented Tanaka as a man as to be feared, as likely to come to grief by his own hand… He is a scholar filled to overflowing with tenacity and fighting spirit, like a viper. At the time of the university reform, from summer last year into the fall, he faced the Ministry of Education single-handedly and fought stubbornly to preserve university autonomy….” Ministry of Education officials threw the proposed solution, which I’ll describe later, back in their faces: “This does not suit the Ministry’s intent for reform of the university, so please take it back with you!” Of the three Tōdai representatives there at the meeting with high Ministry officials, university secretary Eguchi trembled, and Dean of the Faculty of Letters Kuwada stuck out his hand as quick as could be. But Tanaka bit off the words, “We’ll never take that proposal back!”

“Take it back!”

“No, we won’t!”

With that back-and-forth, Tanaka made to leave, taking the others with him. One of the Ministry officials said, “Well, if you simply won’t take it home with you, we’ll send it back by registered mail; it’s the same thing.” Tanaka: “Do as you please. But I say for the record: taking it back involves the will of the university; but if it’s mailed to us, it isn’t the will of the university but something over which we have no power. Don’t confuse the two!” With these parting words, Tanaka left, and the Ministry side stared after him, open-mouthed.

Tanaka was also the Faculty of Law professor who for some time had been the object of the fiercest attacks of the Genri Nihon group led by Minoda. The prime reason was that Tanaka was a Catholic. Because he was a Catholic, he rejected strongly the general custom, widespread in Japan, of paying shrine visits. In his Law and Religion and Society,Hō to shūkyō to shakai seikatsu (Tokyo: Kaizōsha, 1927). he argued that all modern states guarantee freedom of religion, and the religious practices of specific religions should not be compelled, so the shrine visits by primary-school children often carried out in Japan should be ended. In the same way, visits to shrines by officials in their official capacity should also stop. For Minoda and the national-essence people, “Japan, land of the gods” was a land of shrines, so this was absurd. That’s why, for some time, Tanaka had come under fierce criticism by Genri Nihon.

On the issue of university reform (specifically, whether presidents should be elected), Tanaka took the lead in the negotiations between the university and the Ministry of Education. The record of the give-and-take is to be found in University Autonomy, and the argument that “university autonomy is the very life of the university” developed there is telling, so let me summarize it here. According to Tanaka, autonomy for the university is similar to independence for the judiciary. Judges of local courts do not take orders from the Justice Minister. Only when judicial independence exists can legal fairness be guaranteed. He writes:

In constitutional terms, university professors differ from judges, but in terms of their official duties and in substance, they are similar. Judges judge right and wrong; university professors judge true and false…. If professors are influenced by public opinion or become subject to official influence, we cannot hope for the healthy development of the state’s learning. Education, too, must be separated from politics. …

University professors have no constitutional protections such as judges have, and of course, they must not infringe public order, sound customs, or the essentials of the kokutai; but within the permitted sphere, they must be free. Based on their years of scholarly experience, senior professors can give guidance and encouragement to their juniors, but they cannot order them. If you tell a painter who can paint apples to paint Mt. Fuji, he cannot produce a fine picture. Nothing good results if you strip the freedoms to create and to conduct research from painters and scholars. Administrative officials differ greatly: it doesn’t matter if they find what they’re doing fascinating; if ordered by their superiors to stop, they must obey. Even though both professors and bureaucrats are officials, they differ on this point. The unfettered independence and spirit of scholars is their lifeblood, and it comes from a disinterested attitude toward scholarship. …

The virtues essential for the professions are not the same: for administrative officials, obedience; for judges, fairness; for scholars and artists, unfettered independence. Unless that is the case, they will be lickspittles and not benefit the state. They will exert a bad influence on a country’s culture and bring about its ruin. The spirit of university professors is nourished in the autonomous society they form with their colleagues. …

Autonomy sounds legalistic, but essentially it is the spirit of family. The relations among professors within the university differ from the superior:subordinate relations among government officials; they are the relations of colleagues, the relations of senior, junior, student, not the relations of submission to authority. There are, of course, differences in levels of closeness; one discipline is ancillary to others; the others make use of the one. So the recommendation of professors and assistant professors is to elect as president those who help them. For themselves and for their colleagues, to be able to choose one who is suitable in terms of character and scholarship is key.

In essence, the university is in these ways a society organized according to completely different principles than society in general. The election of university presidents by professors and assistant professors: that has a meaning completely different from elections in society at large. So Tanaka dreamed up a unique compromise that discarded the name but kept the substance: it gave the Ministry of Education the name; the university kept the substance. Elections in the university are elections, but they mean solely that each person recommends a person suitable for the position. So stop calling it an election and call it a recommendation. Instead of a ballot, call it a “position paper.” Have each person write a position paper on who is suitable; collect the position papers, total them up, and decide. This is the very essence of an election, but its form differs.

When this proposal was submitted, the Ministry of Education suggested it was necessary to make responsibility clear—who was recommending whom, that ballots not be anonymous. Moreover, so this kind of selection process not leak outside and cause problems later, the procedure should be secret. It was squaring the circle—sign the ballots, record the ballots, keep the vote secret. The solution to this dilemma was to use perforated ballots so that at the time of voting the two parts could be separated. But how to leave a record of who voted for whom if people submitted their ballots torn in two? The passage in University Autonomy continues as follows:

Tanaka: In the end the problem boiled down, as I touched on earlier, to anonymous ballots versus signed ballots. For our part, it was our thinking that unless the voting was anonymous, you couldn’t expect a true and fair recommendation—we avoided the term election and spoke of recommendation—so to the extent possible, maintain the reality of anonymous ballots. So at Tōdai we decided—well, it may be a slight evasion of the law—to make perforations in the middle of the ballot so you could separate the part with the candidate’s name from the part with the recommender’s name, put the two in separate bags, and keep the signatures absolutely secret. The voters’ names were written—these were signed documents, but in reality they were anonymous (chuckle). With this contrivance, we kept the reality of anonymous ballots.

Wagatsuma: Whose idea was that? (chuckle)

Tanaka: The Faculty of Science’s, I think.

Wagatsuma: Distribute the ballots. And the ballots have perforations down the middle. Write your own name on one half and the candidate’s name on the other half; the same number is on both halves. Then tear it down the middle and put the halves in separate containers. And seal hermetically the halves with signatures and take only the halves with the candidates’ names and add them up, and then it’s a matter of who got the most recommendations—recommend that person. But the number’s the same on the two parts of the ballot, so if you go looking and put the two halves together, you can tell who recommended whom. Once there’s an official announcement of the winner, burn the ballots. That serves the goal of anonymous voting splendidly. Whoever thought that up was a clever man! (Chuckle.)

Miyazawa: …In reality, it’s a completely secret ballot.

Wagatsuma: So it saved the face of the other side and made them back off.

Suekawa: Really, a brilliant idea.

Wagatsuma: I wonder what bright person thought it up.

Suekawa: Good idea, but a bit complicated.

Wagatsuma: It meets the needs of the other side. You sign your name, but keep it secret, so, yes.

Tōdai: Domestic Enemy

Let’s return now to the attack on Tōdai by the right-wing national-essence people. Minoda’s State and University,Kokka to daigaku: Tokyo Teikoku Daigaku Hōgakubu no minshushugi mukokka shisō ni taisuru gakujutsuteki hihan, co-author Matsuda Fukumatsu (Tokyo: Genri Nihonsha, 1938). published right after the second Popular Front Incident, bears the subtitle, “An Academic Indictment of the Democracy and Anarchism of the Tōdai Faculty of Law!” The whole book is an attack on the Tōdai Faculty of Law, and the fifth section of Chapter 1—“The Traditionally Anti-Kokutai Academic Style of the Tōdai Faculty of Law”—includes the following (italics in original): “Very recently, too, on January 31 three members of the Tōdai Faculty of Economics, along with professors of imperial and private universities around the country, were arrested under the Peace Preservation Law. Far from being mere agitation—the “evil practice of a university interfering in politics”—it in fact became a movement, in time of crisis, to ‘change the kokutai’ in collaboration with an enemy country.”

He’s speaking of the arrest of Ōuchi in the second Popular Front Incident and says that in time of war that incident is the equivalent of trying to stir up a revolution, in collaboration with the enemy, “to change the kokutai.” War began between Japan and China because in China a “communist or communist-sympathizing popular front” (the Guomindang and the Communist Party joining hands) had come into existence. Since then, “anti-Japan, hate-Japan, resist-Japan” ideas had spread to all China. Behind the spread of these ideas lay the fact that Japan’s imperial universities and Japan’s major newspapers and magazines (run by graduates of imperial universities) were spreading these ideas. And he asserted: “That a country’s national universities have a traditional academic style of denouncing and slandering their own country’s kokutai and national spirit and of fundamentally repudiating and denouncing its state policies, and that for a half century the country has done nothing to change this officially permitted and recognized academic style: is any similar university and state to be found in history, old or new, Eastern or Western?” In “The Empire’s National Policy and the Imperial Universities’ Academic Style,”“Teikoku seifu no kokusaku hōshin to teidai gakufū,” Genri Nihon, December 1937. Minoda says that very recently Chinese radio had broadcast: “Several days ago two Japanese soldiers, graduates of imperial universities, gave themselves up voluntarily to the Chinese army and said they wanted to work for the Chinese army for the sake of Asian harmony.” This was without doubt a propaganda broadcast, but what it transmitted was “regretfully, not without foundation ideologically.” Minoda cited Minobe Tatsukichi’s comment in the Asahi (June 14, 1931) just before the Manchurian Incident: “It appears the army believes strongly that it must maintain order in Manchuria and Mongolia traditionally, by force, but nothing is more damaging to the state.” Minobe said the very fact that Japan is ruling Manchuria and Mongolia by military force causes great damage to Japan; so graduates of such a university, having been taught this, think that it will further Asian harmony if, rather than staying in the Japanese Army and continuing to fight, they throw themselves instead into the arms of the Chinese. According to Minoda, this is not at all surprising. Similarly, Minoda cited the following passage from Kawai: “Quite recently, Kawai Eijirō, whose most important four books have been proscribed because they were judged to be ‘no different from communism,’ spat out these preposterous lies, too, in Critique of Fascism, the third edition of which was issued on October 15 of last year, after the Incident: ‘I certainly hope the countries of Asia regain their independence. But I don’t agree with their depending on Japan to do so…. If they throw out Great Britain and the United States only to substitute Japan, then they’ll likely prefer Great Britain and the United States… We absolutely must avoid a war that takes Japan as its focus.’”Kawai, Fuasshizumu hihan, p.365. According to Minoda, if you’ve had that kind of education, it’s not surprising that after graduating you throw your lot in with the enemy.

The moment war began in China, the criticism of Tōdai from this point of view became frighteningly fierce. The essays collected in State and University are all attacks on Tōdai from this angle. Mitsui Kōshi, a Genri Nihon colleague who contributed a postscript to State and University, argued that Tōdai was Japan’s domestic enemy: “Germany (in World War I) was not defeated by enemy armies; it was defeated and ruined by the deliberate policy of the domestic enemy, the Social Democratic Party. The anti-kokutai, internationalist professors of Tokyo Imperial University, the domestic enemy, are the ones who nourish, teach, and lead judicial and administrative officials. I repeat this crucial fact here and appeal to my countrymen.”   All the essays in this volume had run in Genri Nihon in the previous several years. Thereafter, too, Genri Nihon put out a special issue on “the Imperial University Revolution Problem” (September 1938), lining up articles criticizing Tōdai, beginning with Minoda’s “Tokyo Imperial University’s Scholarly Inability to Govern Itself,” as well as an issue, “Proclamation of an Imperial University Revolution” (April 1939). In every issue, the attack on Tōdai continued ringing the changes. The following speech by Diet member Inoke Toshie, member of the Diet’s budget committee, ran in the “Proclamation of an Imperial University Revolution” issue; it drew on Genri Nihon essays and is a plain-spoken précis of the Genri Nihon group’s attack on Tōdai at this time: “The current state of affairs at the imperial university is truly grave. Minister of Education Araki may be thinking of purging Tōdai, but I can’t believe that the number of pinko professors there has shrunk in the least. People who have studied at this university take the higher civil service exam administered by pinko scholars and enter government service; many even enter the Ministry of Education and become high officials. These officials guide and supervise their subordinates, so even if Minister of Education Araki wants to do things with the correct ideas, he can’t. Nor is it at all the case that even cabinet ministers are immune from bad ideas; there were strange folks in the previous cabinet. In the current cabinet, only Prime Minister Hiranuma and Minister of Education Araki are solid. I surely hope these two men carry out their duties loyally.”

Tsuda: “Worse than the Emperor-Organ Theory”

It was just the same throughout as in the issue of the emperor-organ theory: once the Genri Nihon group of Minoda and the others decided on the target of their attack, it sent its attack essays everywhere under the sun and did everything possible to stir things up. It aroused its members in upper and lower houses of the Diet to raise the issue there; it incited the Home Ministry and the Justice Ministry to prosecute formally—was it really right to allow such books to be published? Even Tanaka’s Law and Religion and Society that I talked about earlier: on the day the second Popular Front Incident took place, Baron Mimurodo Takamitsu cited the book in the Upper House and attacked it, and it was immediately banned (details later, Chapter 9).

The Kawai Incident and the Tsuda Incident, which became major issues at this time, both developed in that manner. The former I’ll deal with later; here I’ll write about the latter. Tsuda considered virtually all of Japan’s ancient history, including the age of the gods, to be myths spun by the imperial house to justify its political control. Beginning with Studies in the Kojiki and Nihongi,Kojiki oyobi Nihon shoki no kenkyū (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1924). his books shook the foundations of the thinking of Minoda and the emperor-centered people, so they reacted in the fiercest of ways. They published an expanded issue of Genri Nihon with the scary title:

THE TREASONOUS THOUGHT OF TSUDA SŌKICHI, PROFESSOR, FACULTY OF LETTERS, WASEDA UNIVERSITY, VISITING LECTURER AT TOKYO IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF LAW: SCHOLARLY CRITICISM OF THE ERASURE OF THE AGE OF THE GODS AND ANCIENT HISTORYRHM: In the original, part of the title, “The Treasonous Thought of Tsuda Sōkichi,” is bolded in an unusual way. The background on which the letters rest is black, the letters themselves are white. The final line is indented to demonstrate respect for its first character: jin/kami (gods神). And with each mention of emperor or imperial house in the following passage, Genri Nihon leaves a blank space immediately preceding these terms, thus demonstrating respect.

They introduced Tsuda’s arguments and were censorious in the extreme: “In this way, regardless of the truth or falsity of his contentions, Tsuda’s argument that ancient history including the age of the gods is a forgery—that is, his erasure of it—is disrespect of the most evil kind toward the most august ‘imperial house’ that ‘created’ the Kojiki and Nihongi. It does not recognize the existence of the earliest imperial ancestors.” The attack goes on to compare this blasphemy with that of the emperor-organ theory: the emperor-organ theory did recognize the existence of the emperor, saying merely that he was not the subject of sovereignty, yet the cabinet still criticized it—“It indeed contravenes the principles of our sacred kokutai.” But in contrast, “When it comes to this argument of Tsuda, it rejects fundamentally and utterly the historical facts of ancient history, including the age of the gods, the very source of Japan’s kokutai, thereby erasing the existence of Emperor Jimmu and the first fourteen imperial forebears, and hence also the sacred meaning of the palace and the imperial tombs. So this is a case of ideological treason unprecedented in our history.”

Right-wing Students Storm the Classroom

The strange thing is that Studies in the Kojiki and Nihongi had been published in 1924, all of fifteen years earlier. Since then, consistently, Tsuda had never hidden these assertions. In fact, he had said the same things in another book back in 1913. So why was it made an issue now? Because it was one facet of the Genri Nihon group’s criticism of Tōdai. Tsuda had become a Waseda professor in 1918 and held that position straight through to the time of the Incident. In 1939 a new specialty was established in the Tōdai Faculty of Law, “History of Asian Political Ideas,” and he was invited to be the lecturer. The title of Tsuda’s course was “The Political Ideas of the Early Qin [Chinese] Dynasty,” so there was absolutely no connection to Japan’s ancient history. But perhaps because Tsuda had gained public attention, Iwanami Books decided in the spring of 1938 to issue an expanded edition of Studies in the Kojiki and Nihongi, which had long been out of print.

The attack by Minoda did not begin immediately on the book’s reissue. The initial attack from Genri Nihon began from the point of view that Tsuda’s Asian ideas conflicted with the concept of the new order Japan was trying to create in Asia. And suddenly, in late December, when the course that began in October was about to end, the Genri Nihon group launched its concerted attack .

Even at the Faculty of Law there were some right-wing students connected with Genri Nihon, and when they went to the classes of professors likely to become the object of Genri Nihon attack, they obstructed in all sorts of ways, asking malicious questions and the like. This student group came en masse to Tsuda’s final lecture. Maruyama Masao, then an instructor assigned to assist Tsuda, accompanied Tsuda to the lecture. Here is what he remembers:

Maruyama: Tsuda said, “I’ll stop here. Are there any questions?” At that moment, hands went up in unison from all sides. I think there were fifteen or sixteen questioners. It wasn’t that they had listened to the lecture and were reacting. They had set it up, from the first. Intentionally taking the occasion of this last lecture, they had come to make a concerted attack. The ones clamoring were a bunch I doubt had attended the earlier lectures. Some were from the Faculty of Letters; some had clearly already graduated.

Nambara: Was Odamura Torajirō there, too? [Odamura was a notorious right-wing student in the Faculty of Law. He took his lead from Minoda and had attacked quite a few professors.]

Maruyama: No. Odamura had already been suspended and wasn’t there…. But his buddies were—the Student Co-operative Association that Odamura had organized with the ShōshinkaiRHM: The name of this student organization approximates “society of true believers.” of First Higher School as its core; it was a student organization that took Mitsui and Minoda as its leaders. These guys were members of it, beyond a doubt.

Fukuda: What questions did they ask?

Maruyama: I don’t remember all of them…. “Japan is now prosecuting the China Incident and is trying for national unity in order to create a new moral order in East Asia. Despite that, not to recognize the ethical ideas that traditionally have linked Japan and China: isn’t that to deny the foundation of the New Order in Asia?” From the first, it was a campaign of attack on Tsuda. I knew immediately it was the Co-op bunch. But Tsuda responded scrupulously. It went on for fifteen minutes—when one questioner was finished, another and then another kept asking the same sort of question. Finally, I jumped out of my seat, stood in front of the dais, and said, “Questions like these aren’t scholarly questions. Professor Tsuda has gone to great pains to give these lectures for the Tōdai Faculty of Law. It’s impolite to ask him questions that have nothing to do with his lecture.” And I put my arm around Tsuda and led him to the Faculty Lounge.”Kaikō Nambara Shigeru.

But fourteen or fifteen students followed and stormed noisily into the lounge, saying, “We’ve got more questions.” Good-natured man that he was, Tsuda answered questions there, too.

Maruyama: I sat next to Tsuda, and the bunch took seats around the table, hemming us in. It was students plus outsiders. Then a prolonged kangaroo court began. In brief, Tsuda’s stance was fundamentally the Marxist view of history and not compatible with the spirit of clarifying the kokutai. Tsuda said no, he didn’t think the materialist view of history was scholarly and responded for all he was worth. But their goal from the first was accusation, so there was no way they’d buy it. They were saying things like “The spirit of the Jinnō shōtōki was such and such…”RHM: Jinnō shōtōki is a work of the fourteenth century by Kitabatake Chikafusa; it deals with the imperial lineage and in the nineteenth and twentieth century became a favorite text of right-wing nationalists. It went on for more than three hours…. It was endless, so I said, “Professor Tsuda, there’s no point in a conversation with such fanatics. Let’s get out of here.” And by main force I dragged him out. They didn’t obstruct us by force, as I’d expected, but jeers followed us. I don’t remember this, but afterwards Tsuda spoke of the moment in these words, “You wrangled with those guys.” I was hot-headed then, so I might have given that impression… But the next day, an account of that last lecture appeared in the Imperial News. The all-out attack of that bunch, with Minoda in the lead, had started.

Nambara: And as soon as the course at Tōdai ended, in February 1940, Tsuda’s main books were banned. And in March he was indicted under Article 26 of the publication law for profaning the dignity of the imperial house and so on.

This was just about the time of the Kawai trial, and it was the same sort of incident, so we decided to bring the two into contact and gathered at Iwanami Books and compared notes…

Maruyama: While Tsuda was in Tokyo, I apologized to him for the trouble he’d encountered in the incident, “If you’d never come to the Faculty of Law, you’d probably have been fine…” Silently, he smiled and nodded. He didn’t say explicitly that that was the case, but I think he thought so.

In fact, this incident did arise because Tsuda came to Tōdai and caught the eye of Minoda, who was already confirmed in his hatred of Tōdai; had Tsuda stayed at Waseda, it never would have happened.

The Alliance For a Tōdai Purge

Right after he published the special expanded issue of Genri Nihon attacking Tsuda, Minoda put together an “Alliance for a Tōdai Purge” made up of one hundred and forty influential figures from various worlds who had been cooperating with Genri Nihon for some time. It included nineteen members of the Diet, among them people who had been active at the time of the issue of the emperor-organ theory, famous military men, and major right-wing figures.RHM: Tachibana lists Diet members Kikuchi Takeo, Mimurodo Keikō, Inoue Seijun, Iida Kōnan; military figures Hayashi Tetsujūrō, Tatekawa Yoshinaga, Kashii Kōhei; and right-wing figures Toyama Mitsuru, Iwata Ainosuke, Imaizumi Teisuke. The alliance issued a proclamation “On the Erasure of Ancient History, including the Age of the Gods,” and called Tsuda’s essay “an authentic erase-Japan, erase-Asia argument” that “destroys the foundation of the kokutai.” It argued that those who brought “this person who embraces these evil ideas” from Waseda University and made him lecturer at the Tokyo Imperial University should take responsibility for their action and said: “This alliance appeals to the sense of responsibility of cabinet members for advising the emperor—Prime Minister Abe, the Home Minister, the Justice Minister, the Minister of Education—and calls the attention of Army and Navy officials, demanding that they deal quickly with this issue and carry out a resolute, fundamental, and thorough reform of education. It demands further that those who have recommended and encouraged Tsuda’s writing and research—university officials, the publishers, the Ministry of Education, Japan Library Association, and Japan Academy—come forward and take responsibility.” It called upon officials and public opinion to rise up, as in the Emperor-Organ Incident, and denounce Tsuda history. It distributed this proclamation to 5,000 influential figures in all fields, got much reaction, and printed the reactions in Genri Nihon:

Other literary figures also commented.Tachibana lists, among others, Hagiwara Sakutarō and Kataoka Teppei,

Against the background of voices such as these, the Alliance for an Imperial University Purge issued demands of the government, one after the other, requesting that the Home Minister ban Tsuda’s books, that the Justice Minister take immediate legal action, that the Minister of Education strip Tsuda of his professorial rank and his degree.

The renovationist faction within the Faculty of Economics and the right-wing nationalist forces outside were apparently not linked organizationally, but they had deep ideological ties. All through these years, Tōdai was harassed both from within and from without.


The Great Purge of the Faculty of Economics by Hiraga Yuzuru, Battleship President

In which the author discusses the Hiraga Purge (January 1939), the Draconian measure that ended the factional fighting within the Faculty of Economics. He traces the purge’s roots to the presidency of Nagayo Matarō and the strategizing of Tanaka Kōtarō. Given the virulence of Kawai Eijirō’s critique of the military, it’s no surprise that Kawai was purged. What is surprising is that the purge removed as well the leading “renovationist” on the Faculty, Hijikata Seibi—this despite the fact that on the surface at least, both President Hiraga and Minister of Education Araki were his ideological allies. Thirteen (of nineteen) members of the Faculty of Economics were purged or resigned in protest. The Hiraga Purge was then and remains today an issue on which opinion divides sharply.


Day after Day of Headlines

A great many incidents intertwined chronologically in those three years: the Yanaihara Incident in 1937, the Faculty Group Incident (the arrest of Ōuchi) and the ban on publication against Kawai in 1938, the Hiraga Purge and the Tsuda Incident of 1939. These incidents were so many and so complex that try as you can, it’s virtually impossible to make the ins and outs easy to understand. This chapter is mainly about the Hiraga Purge. Let me state at the outset: it followed a more complicated course than did the other incidents, so it’s particularly difficult to understand, and there are many aspects we still don’t understand.

But historical truth lies in complexity. To put it differently, the truth of history is very hard to grasp. On any number of issues the judgment of history is still pending, but for the Hiraga Purge more than any of the others, historical judgment varies with the historian. The critics call it the rash act of a military officer-president who understood neither the value of scholarship nor the raison d’ètre of the university; those who praise it say it saved Tōdai. Without the Hiraga Purge, the Faculty of Economics would probably have been destroyed, and the trouble would have spread, with profound consequences, to the Faculty of Law, too.

Regardless, no contemporary Tōdai event shocked the eyes and ears of the world more than the Hiraga Purge. The Faculty of Economics came close to complete ruin. Day after day the newspapers ran headlines and reported events as they happened. They reported everything, even what was discussed at Faculty Meetings and University Council meetings—a first in Tōdai history.

I’ve already laid out the bare facts of the Hiraga Purge, but let me summarize. At the time, as a result of complicated factional struggle, the Faculty of Economics had become dysfunctional. In December 1938, succeeding Nagayo Matarō, twelfth president of the university, Hiraga Yuzuru (formerly dean of the Faculty of Engineering) became thirteenth president. The conflict within the Faculty of Economics seemed at an impasse; fed up and in blaming-both-sides fashion, Hiraga fired the bosses of the two opposing factions.RHM: The term kyūshoku 休職means (temporary) suspension from duty, but in these cases the “suspension” was permanent from the first. Note Tachibana’s use of the phrase “have their heads,” which I have translated as “firing.” Assistant professors and instructors submitted their resignations in protest and left, one after the other. The first to be fired were Hijikata, of the Hijikata faction, and Kawai, of the Kawai faction. The third faction in the three-headed Faculty of Economics was the Ōuchi faction. Shortly before, in the Faculty Group Incident, its members— Ōuchi and the others—had all been arrested; with those arrests and the Yanaihara Incident just before, the faction had dissolved. The Hiraga Purge and the events before and after brought a sudden end to the factional fighting, and factional conflict, the chronic curse of the Faculty of Economics, vanished as if it had never existed. (Remnants of the factions remained, but they no longer had the strength to fight as factions.)

Still, the most crucial thing that university autonomy protects is the status of professors. The fundamental principle of university autonomy is that the hiring and firing of professors was the sole prerogative of faculty meeting, so even if the president wants to fire a specific professor, he can’t. The momentous Hiraga Purge was the exception to all exceptions in the history of the university.

It was an act of President Hiraga, and Tanaka, dean of the Faculty of Law and Hiraga’s brain trust, was sitting right at his side; so everything went according to proper legal form. But it was a series of break-through tactics, carried out in total disregard of previous customary practice, main force in the extreme. There was major debate in the Faculty of Law, hours long, over its legality and appropriateness, and one influential professor went to the president and argued that Hiraga should take responsibility for having caused great chaos and resign.

President Nagayo’s Plan to Dissolve the Faculty of Economics

From the day the Hiraga Purge was carried out, there were a great many news reports about it, but most were merely superficial factual reporting and then comment, and the story behind the story did not emerge in full clarity. The sources for the story behind the story were too few. For example, virtually all the conditions that were the context of the Hiraga Purge (the strife in the Faculty of Economics, the Yanaihara Incident, the Ōuchi Incident) had arisen in the presidency (1934-37) of Nagayo Matarō, and the most important primary source there is his diary; but it wasn’t published until 2002. Until then, the most well-known contemporary appraisal of President Nagayo was Ōuchi’s comment criticizing Nagayo’s unsteadiness at the time of the Yanaihara Incident: “Nagayo was a very well-intentioned person, but he offered no resistance to pressures from within or without and in the end was unable to formulate his own judgment or carry it out; he went one way, then the other, and wound up complicating things. Not only did he forfeit trust within and without toward the university and himself, he also fell sick on that account, resigned, and died of illness. He was an eminent scholar, and a good person, too; but as university president, he was a failure.”Daigaku no jichi (Tokyo: Asahi shimbunsha, 1963). Nagayo became the very model of a poor president.

But read the whole diary, and you’ll find that in each situation Nagayo ponders deeply and acts prudently. It’s Ōuchi’s evaluation that’s mistaken. As one bit of evidence, consider this passage I’ve already noted when he was agonizing over the Yanaihara Incident: “It’s bad if the entire university is abandoned to the currents of the times. We can’t paint it all the single color of patriotism, of the military cliques. When no one who embraces liberal ideas can become a university professor, the university’s freedom of scholarship collapses.”

At the time, Nagayo heard about the situation from various quarters and knew that behind the problem lay the factional antagonism in the Faculty of Economics that had put down deep roots some years earlier. He wrote in his diary: “November 27, 1937. Saturday. Clear. Internal unrest in Faculty of Economics has its origins at deep level in existence of rival barons. In future, too, strife will continue. Unless we carry out major organizational change (for example, splitting present two faculties—law and economics—into three—law, administration, and commerce), starting from scratch again with hearts and minds and jettisoning the petty in interest of some great common objective, there won’t be any fundamental improvement.” Coming up against the deep-rooted strife within the Faculty of Economics that he was virtually powerless to do anything about, Nagayo thought that to eradicate the problem he might have to reconfigure the Faculty totally. I think this— the need for radical change—is the source of the Hiraga Purge.

Not all that much time elapsed between the Yanaihara Incident, when Nagayo made these comments in his diary, and the Hiraga Purge—just about a year. In that one year, thanks to the Ōuchi and Kawai Incidents, the strife in the Faculty of Economics grew even more bewildering. That year was also the year the Sino-Japanese War became a quagmire and Japanese society moved, at an accelerating pace, onto war footing. In the Faculty of Economics, too, one more major axis of confrontation was added—that between those who supported the drive toward a war economy and those who opposed it. The factional opposition became all the more difficult to uproot.

In concrete terms, a group leaning strongly to nationalism (the renovationist, Japanist-economic, controlled-economy faction) emerged from the Hijikata faction and one part of the Kawai faction, and it became difficult for that faction to make peace with Kawai, who continued his fierce critique of the military, nationalism, and fascism. The major reason lay here: after 1938, the majority—it had been made up by the Kawai faction and the Hijikata faction—fell apart, most of the Kawai faction joined the renovationist faction, and Kawai himself moved closer to the Ōuchi faction. There was an additional reason for moving closer to Ōuchi—the consciousness of defending university autonomy. I’ll treat that later.

The procedures of the Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics distinguished two types of measure: measures that could be decided by simple majority, and measures that required a two-thirds vote. Important personnel matters required a two-thirds vote. That is, important personnel matters could not be decided so long as a hard-line “anti” faction controlled one-third of the votes. This was the biggest reason the stalemate in the Faculty of Economics continued: important matters simply could not be decided. The longer the stalemate went on, the more attractive the idea of cutting the Gordian knot—that drastic, even radical, measures were the only way to solve the problem. This background made radical solutions such as the Hiraga Purge more palatable.

The Design for the Hiraga Purge

It’s not clear precisely who got the idea for the Hiraga Purge or when or how, who worked that idea up in what way, then turned it into reality. But it’s possible the concept emerged during President Nagayo’s term in office. The Hiraga Purge was carried out on January 28, 1939: on that day, without any decision by the Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Economics, Hiraga forwarded directly to the Minister of Education his decision to fire Hijikata and Kawai. That is, he submitted a so-called formal report (of which more later). Hiraga had been inaugurated president on December 20, 1938, so he’d been in office only a month. But in that period he had taken all the steps necessary to carry out the purge.

In concrete terms, he had convened a University Council and reached an understanding that he had carte blanche to solve the strife in the Faculty of Economics, that the president had the authority to take “the appropriate action at the appropriate time.” Similarly, he had convened a deans’ meeting and struck an understanding that the president was in sole charge of the final decision to resolve the “strife in the Faculty of Economics.” Further, he had met with the Minister of Education (General Araki Sadao) and from him too got sole discretion.

At the time, the biggest issue the Faculty of Economics faced was Kawai. Kawai’s four books had all been banned, and from the right wing came fierce attacks: how can this anti-kokutai, virtually communist, liberal scholar be a Tōdai professor? From the Ministry of Education, too, came pressure to punish Kawai. But punishment meant following legal procedures. Punishment had to be for a reason. If Kawai had engaged in criminal activity that infringed criminal law, that would be reason for punishment (suspension or firing). But in that case the law (the higher civil service code) provided that punishment follow indictment by the authorities. Did the fact that his books had been banned constitute such a reason? Normally not. The act of writing books that merited proscription was not itself a crime. Even at this late date, there was still that much freedom of speech.

To find a reason to punish Kawai, Hiraga created a committee of inquiry and had it investigate Kawai’s four proscribed books to see whether it could find sufficient reason to strip Kawai of his status as professor. The committee was made up of six people in all: the deans of Law and Economics and the two delegates to the University Council of each of these faculties. The conclusion they issued after reading his four books was the very vague statement, “In his method of expression and way of thinking, there are aspects that are not appropriate for a professor and cause misunderstanding among the general public.” So far as his being unfit to be a university professor, that’s it. But with this report as sole basis, Hiraga submitted a formal report to the Minister of Education that Kawai should be fired, and Kawai was fired. Imperial university professors were imperial appointees, so their status could be changed only by order of the emperor. Specifically, that power was exercised by order of the Minister of Education, and there was a stipulation that the Minister of Education act in accordance with the formal recommendation of the university president (a recommendation with attached explanation of the situation). The formal recommendation of the president normally accorded with the decision of the appropriate faculty. But in this case that step had been skipped. That fact gave rise to the charge that the Hiraga Purge was a punishment carried out by main force in the extreme, the exception of all exceptions.

Virtually all the professors who resigned in protest at the Hiraga Purge were from the Faculty of Economics. But Kawai’s friend Rōyama Masamichi resigned from the Faculty of Law, too, on the grounds that such a purge was not justified and should not be carried out. He wrote an essay, “The Tōdai Purge and My Frame of Mind.”“Tōdai shukugaku mondai to watakushi no shinkyō,” Bungei shunjū, May 1939. There he points out that the committee of inquiry was not appropriate: “To investigate the intellectual content of the problematic books, the president, acting in great haste right after the New Year’s holiday, established an ‘expert’ committee made up of six members in all, the deans and the University Council representatives of the Faculties of Law and Economics. He chose this as the way for the university to investigate, for the first time ever, the appropriateness of a professor’s ideas that ‘spontaneously’ had become an issue with the public. … Are these members truly the appropriate experts to examine Kawai’s writings? Were they experts, those who happened at the time to have become dean or representative? They held chairs in commercial law, civil law, diplomatic history, history of economics, accounting, and insurance. It’s crystal clear that deans and faculty representatives are proposed for office to handle administrative or official business, not to investigate scholarship and ideas. … To put it in extreme terms, that is a structure best suited to functioning in secret, in the dark.”

The make-up of the committee was problematic, so the conclusion it reached was problematic. The vagueness of its conclusion was also problematic. But its conclusion held that there were “issues of appropriateness,” so the president pressed Kawai to retire voluntarily. Kawai refused, so he was called before the committee and given the opportunity to defend himself. Still, the final conclusion was that there were “inappropriate” aspects, so having issued Kawai a final notification, the president made his formal recommendation to the Minister of Education that it was appropriate to fire Kawai. Thus, after becoming president, Hiraga had proceeded, one by one, with all the formal steps so he could say he had done everything possible. Simply completing all these procedures takes easily a month, so after becoming president, Hiraga had no time for the tedious business of first investigating the situation and then working out an appropriate solution. The outline for the Hiraga Purge had already been completed before Hiraga became president, that is, during Nagayo’s presidency. While the university was responding to the events of 1938, the options boiled down to this as the only possible policy.

Nagayo’s Distrust of Hijikata

Nagayo’s distrust of Hijikata is clear in his diary, so let’s follow it there. The arrest of Ōuchi happened at the beginning of 1938. At that time there was a clash between Hijikata, who argued that Ōuchi should be fired—before he was indicted—and Nagayo, who held that it was not right to fire him before he was indicted. In the course of the dispute, Nagayo’s distrust of Hijikata grew. For example, in his diary for February 22, 1938, he writes (I summarize): Hijikata said that Ōuchi was clearly a Marxist, that he wanted the Faculty Meeting to discuss Ōuchi’s ideas, that these ideas were inappropriate for a professor, that a decision should be rendered. I argued it should not. Not only was it not proper to discuss a professor’s thought, there were differing points of view and no unity in public opinion or in opinion within the university; so if you were so rash as to discuss someone’s thought at such a time and render a decision, “You only stir things up needlessly and increase public and university unrest.” During the argument, “Hijikata lost his composure and continually got excited.” I suggested it was okay to discuss the Ōuchi issue in the Faculty Meeting, but not to vote on appropriateness or take other steps: “Ōuchi is a Tōdai professor. He’s not merely a professor in the Faculty of Economics. His tenure differs from that of an instructor; it involves the president directly.”

The distinguishing characteristic of the Hiraga Purge was that the president intervened directly and—on an issue of professorial status, which essentially should be handled in Faculty Meeting—went over the head of Faculty Meeting, assembled reports himself, and, based on them, submitted a formal recommendation to the Minister of Education. The idea arose here that the president has such authority and on important personnel issues should exercise it. Nagayo writes: “In normal times faculty appointments are decided by each faculty, and hiring and firing are done with the president’s sanction; but so important an issue as this is a matter for the entire university, not simply the faculty directly affected. All the faculties and particularly the president feel profound responsibility and have an interest; it calls for careful consideration and no mistakes in dealing with it. When the Faculty of Economics can’t come to a decision, it’s natural that the president step in. Moreover, now it’s become an issue not simply for the Faculty of Economics but for the entire university.” This passage concerns the issue of Ōuchi, but later, using this logic, Hiraga developed what became his model of presidential leadership: if need be, even if Faculty Meeting does not agree, the president can intervene by main force and submit a formal recommendation to the Minister of Education.

In June Nagayo thought up a “fundamental solution.” According to it, the factions undertake sincere and thorough negotiations and make mutual concessions. This is a “fundamental solution” that can only be called optimistic, but what’s fascinating is that suddenly, in the proposal’s final lines, there appears the radical plan that all should resign: “7. If all else fails, resignation of entire Faculty of Economics; president takes responsibility. In this case, study ways to rebuild the Faculty.” There were these words in explanation: “The persons responsible if things don’t work are the president and all Economics professors.… In Economics, factional fighting hasn’t ended for years, and Faculty can’t govern itself. Examples plentiful. That is underlying source of problem. … Punish only one group, and there will never be peace.” A second characteristic of the Hiraga Purge is that when two competing factions fight over what is right, don’t investigate which side is truly right and declare that side the winner; if useless fighting continues, both sides are to blame. Using that rationale, punish both sides. That idea likely originates here. In short, if you find one side guilty and castigate it, that side stores up a grudge and you can’t hope for future peace. So punish both sides—a very Japanese solution!

A memo on a separate sheet of paper left in the diary includes several radical solutions:

If Economics absolutely can’t govern itself and strife continues, abolish Faculty of Economics and set up second track within Faculty of Law.

Try for peaceful solution… If the above is absolutely hopeless:

a. I assume responsibility and seek reconsideration on part of Economics.

b. Blame all Economics professors. At this point I, too, of course take blame.

In August there is this entry:

For several months I’ve been pondering a purge of Faculty of Economics. … It’s clear that if we don’t purge Economics, forces will continue to denounce the university. Ponder considerations.

Two proposals—

a. Leaving Economics as is, force several retirements. In this case, start by demanding all professors submit letters of resignation.

b. In finding worthy successors, selection crucial. To that end merge temporarily with Faculty of Law.

Moroever, at this time, as a result of an exchange of opinions with Tamba Shigeteru, dean of Engineering, Nagayo left the following in a memo:

a. Voluntary resignation of five men (Ōuchi, Hijikata, Honiden, Tanabe, Kawai).

b. Resignation of all professors.

The second is naturally easier to manage. It’s for different reason (inability of Economics to govern itself) than Ōuchi issue.

Step by step, a solution emerges that approximates what actually happened in the Hiraga Purge. Hiraga was the next dean of Engineering after Tamba, and Hiraga then became president; so it’s likely of course that on this issue he consulted both Tamba and Nagayo. In Nagayo’s diary the day after Hiraga’s becoming president was decided, there’s this note: “Morning: Hiraga comes to call; spent an hour discussing in detail the true state of affairs on several pending issues, projects, and the like.” It would be only natural if the “true state of affairs” discussed “in detail” at this time included the proposals I’ve mentioned.

After the Hiraga Purge, Nagayo wrote: “I rejoice that thus Faculty of Economics issue has come to end of chapter. With changes in conditions and with support of public opinion, difficult problem calms down for present, thanks to President Hiraga; for me, too, a great delight. … Even if method is open to criticism, for Hiraga that’s okay; important that right man was in right place at right time. After sober reflection Hiraga did what he believed best.” Nagayo compared it with what he himself had done as president: given those conditions and his health (halfway into his presidency, Nagayo developed inflammation of the inner ear, was hospitalized, and wasn’t able to perform his duties fully), he himself couldn’t have done other than what he did. He wrote: “Since last spring I too had felt keenly the need to reconstruct Economics and had studied various proposals; the method President Hiraga chose this time was among those proposals.” It’s clear from the previous quotations that this was in fact so. In short, when things reach such a pass, there are few conceivable solutions. The issue is to choose a course of action and carry it out resolutely. On this latter point of carrying it out resolutely, the military president, the “battleship god,” was able to do what Nagayo couldn’t.

Moreover, Nagayo wrote the following review of the entire situation: “Taking the larger view, under the influence of the crisis of the times, Tōdai encountered one difficult problem after another. Yanaihara, Ōuchi, Kawai, and so on: none had done anything that in normal times would merit resignation; as professors, all were excellent in ability and scholarship; in Economics they were of the first order. That they were all forced out was on account of the crisis, and that the renovationist clique got all stirred up, too, was on account of the crisis (ever since the Manchurian Incident, and especially since the outbreak of the China-Japan War). Those of a liberal tendency and the clique that burned with ‘consciousness of the state’ departed from traditional relations of deep amity, and each side presented a united front.” This could well be a backward glance from when the war was already over; but it’s from 1939, shortly after the Hiraga Purge. This alone shows that Nagayo was really quite a man, that he could see the larger picture.

Battleship President

I’ve mentioned Hiraga earlier, but let me introduce him once more. Hiraga was born in 1878, the son of a naval officer, and entered the Tōdai shipbuilding. He got his commission while still in school; before graduation he had become a naval lieutenant, junior grade. After graduating, he continued building warships at the Navy’s arsenals in Yokosuka and Kure. Right after the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, he went abroad to study shipbuilding at the British naval college. England learned the lessons of the battle of the Japan Sea (May 1905), when the Japanese Navy under Admiral Tōgo sank 35 of 38 Russian warships, and was developing faster ships with greater firepower (this development raised the curtain on the era of big ships with giant cannon—the class of battleships called dreadnoughts). Hiraga studied this development in detail and, after returning to Japan, became the leader in Japan’s battleship construction. From Mutsu and Nagato to Musashi, Japan’s most important battleships all were designed by Hiraga, and Hiraga became known as the “battleship god.” From early on, Hiraga served concurrently as adjunct faculty member of Tōdai’s shipbuilding program, and he recruited the brightest students one after another to be the Navy’s “commissioned students.” Basically, all the Navy’s ship-building officers were Hiraga’s disciples (or disciples of his disciples). In later years, Hiraga transferred from the Navy to the university (his status changed from adjunct to regular faculty), and he became dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Ōuchi issue arose just then, and the University Council (composed of all the deans plus two representatives from each faculty) was convened to consider whether it was proper to fire Ōuchi before he was indicted. There Hiraga’s statements caught people’s attention, and after Nagayo resigned, he became a candidate to replace Nagayo.

Tanaka Kōtarō, at the time dean of the Faculty of Law, was right-hand man and advisor during both the Nagayo and Hiraga presidencies. In the symposium University Autonomy, Tanaka quotes the records of the University Council and says: “Next Hiraga made a noteworthy statement. He was then dean of the Faculty of Engineering and later, as you know, president. ‘Hiraga: It’s a most regrettable climate, the tendency of late to jump to the arbitrary conclusion that someone is “anti-state.” Deciding that a university professor is anti-state is very serious and calls for care. If in actions and intent someone is anti-state, he should be dealt with; hence the time to ascertain the facts in this case is after a decision by the judicial officials.’” This University Council was convened to consider whether to fire Professor Ōuchi, arrested in the Faculty Group Incident, before he was indicted; Hiraga took the position that it was not right to do so.

Tanaka’s Support of President Hiraga

Tanaka thought very highly of Hiraga’s statement. In the symposium he says, “At the time, I thought Hiraga an extremely strong, dependable person.” And in the election that followed Nagayo’s resignation, Tanaka became a key figure in luring Hiraga into running. After Nagayo resigned, the Faculty of Law came to think that given the nature of the issue pending (how to handle Kawai), the next president should be conversant with legal and economic scholarship and with the state of affairs in the two faculties. Tanaka tried first to entice Yamada Saburō, an eminent predecessor in the Faculty of Law who had been president of Seoul University. In the election, Yamada received good support in other faculties and received the most votes. But Yamada absolutely refused to accept. Here is Tanaka: “He said he wasn’t the right person, that in particular he was unable to deal with the Kawai issue, and refused to accept the position. Rumor had it that when Kawai married, Yamada had served as matchmaker. … Even without that connection, Yamada’s character made it a distasteful task, and I think he avoided it intentionally. In short, he was elected president but declined ‘resolutely.’ So then we had to vote again…”

Hiraga was the next candidate Tanaka lured: “We of the Law Faculty came to think Hiraga was the man. His statement on the Ōuchi issue at University Council on March 22 remained vividly in my mind, and whoever was president simply wouldn’t be able to weather the crisis at that time unless he had convictions, bravery, and decisiveness: that was my thought…. In persuading colleagues, I remember saying, ‘Well, if it took Yamada Saburō ten minutes to understand something, it might take Hiraga thirty minutes. But once it’s explained to him and he understands, he’s reliable and will surmount any difficulty and make it happen.’”

Tanaka worked with great ardor, but the crucial Faculty of Engineering was unmoved. They considered “battleship god” Hiraga a person of national-treasure class. Most felt it was inexcusable to make such a man stain his closing years with demeaning work and that he himself probably didn’t want the job. So Tanaka met personally with Hiraga to ascertain whether he was willing. Hiraga didn’t say clearly yes or no, but Tanaka got the sense he’d do it (Hiraga had said he’d think about it).

When Tanaka conveyed that sense to the Faculty of Engineering, it too finally got serious. The Faculty of Engineering included lots of important people, so when it got serious, it had clout. The result of the election was that Hiraga came in first and was elected. But Hiraga didn’t accept the job immediately. For ten days he talked seriously with each of the deans about the problems and opinions of their faculties. Tanaka: “Since I knew him from before, from his time as dean, we could talk easily. I think all the deans tried hard to persuade him. Nasu Shiroshi was a Faculty of Agriculture representative on the University Council, and he and I set out together and worked to persuade Hiraga. Since the Faculty of Law had connections to the issues in the Faculty of Economics, Hiraga was very concerned about my views as dean. He called me and said, ‘Meeting you, I hope to make up my mind; what do you think about relations with the Ministry of Education?’” Hiraga appeared to feel it wasn’t worth it if he was being asked to continue fighting the Ministry. “On that issue I said if something was right even though it was the Ministry saying it, then cooperate; I hadn’t the slightest objection. In short, in dealing with issues, do things that were on the right track and made sense in terms of university autonomy, but if they didn’t, then don’t. If they made sense, then work with the Ministry as harmoniously as possible. Hiraga seemed relieved.”

When things got to this point, Hiraga decided to become president. Given these circumstances, it was natural that Tanaka become Hiraga’s brain trust, his font of wisdom. In other words, Tanaka was the one who sketched out the Hiraga Purge. It was also Tanaka who said that in dealing with the Kawai issue, begin by creating Tōdai’s own committee of inquiry and have it make its own evaluation of Kawai’s four proscribed books. It was also Tanaka who thought of dealing with Kawai and Hijikata simultaneously, in the form of blaming both sides:

Saying the university must defend its autonomy to the utmost, I turned to the issue of how to deal with Kawai. I recommended, “On the issue of whether to fire Kawai, the university itself should decide. It would be appropriate first to set the issue on the proper track, establish a committee, investigate fairly and objectively whether Kawai must pay the price, and based on that report decide university policy.” And I added, “The reason the Kawai issue has become this large, it’s crystal clear, is the machinations of some on the Economics Faculty, and the university can’t ignore that. If you take up Kawai only, it’s truckling to the times, and university autonomy will be damaged; so you’ve got to take up these two issues together. Not only that. It’s the professor who wants to topple Kawai who really needs to be purged, so I hope you take that course.” When I said that, Hiraga said, “This is a huge problem; it demands careful consideration.”

“The professor who wants to topple Kawai” was, of course, Hijikata. But it wasn’t all that easy to punish Hijikata at the same time as Kawai. To quote University Autonomy again:

Tanaka: On the factional issue, Kawai had to pay the price. But another major professor and several of his followers were responsible, too. In particular, that professor bore responsibility. These two were unable to co-exist peaceably in the Faculty of Economics. Hiraga had to do something. But at the time it was very difficult to punish an Economics professor who was riding the wave of the times …. The Ministry of Education had absolutely no problems with that professor. To deal with him required decisiveness on Hiraga’s part.

We in the Faculty of Law thought that it wouldn’t do to invoke the factional issue among the reasons for punishing Kawai, sacrifice Kawai right off, but let the boss of the opposing faction go scot-free…. To use the vernacular, it had to be “a curse on both your houses”—dealing with both at the same time. You couldn’t give the public the impression you were sacrificing Kawai but, fearful of the times, letting the other side go untouched. Wasn’t it better for both sides to pay the price at the same time? That was my advice to the president.

Wagatsuma: So that means you helped Hiraga resolve to act. “Tanaka’s low-down conspiracy”—that’s what a certain professor wrote.

Suekawa: He wrote that?

Wagatsuma: Yes indeed. Not only that. There’s criticism even now. But I think that in the context of the university as a whole, Tanaka was right to help Hiraga.

Hijikata’s Counter-Attack

The “certain professor” in whose book the phrase “Tanaka’s low-down conspiracy” appears is Hijikata, and he writes that Tanaka was the behind-the-scenes mastermind of the Hiraga Purge. In Tales of the Academic World,Gakkai shunjūki: Marukushizumu to no kōsō sanjūyonen (Tokyo: Chūō keizaisha, 1960). Hijikata writes as follows of Hiraga’s request that he resign:

Suddenly on January 29, a phone call from the president: come to his office at 11 a.m. Half-foreseeing that what was to come had come, I went to the president’s office, and it was a request, “I’d like to ask that you take responsibility for the long years of strife in the Faculty of Economics and submit your resignation.” I responded, “What do you mean, responsibility for the strife?” He responded, “In government agencies, it’s normal in such cases not to state the reason.” Moreover: “Don’t speak of this to anyone. We need the help of others in rebuilding the university.” I thought to myself, this guy may be clever at designing battleships, but he thinks in frightfully bureaucratic terms. He doesn’t even recognize the difference between the university and other government agencies. I said, “I have no intention of resigning, and I’ll answer categorically once again: I can’t follow your request that I speak to no one.” (This was so that I could consult with Honiden and Tanabe, who had acted in concert with me.) And I left.

At that time Hiraga also said, “It’s the desire of professors of the entire university that you leave the university.” That this was a bare-faced lie is crystal clear from the fact that when this notification of resignation became known, professors, assistant professors, lecturers, and instructors from the Faculties of Law and Economics—thirteen of them, all at one go—submitted their own resignations, and from the fact that there was a bitter fight in the Faculty of Law.

As Hijikata declares here, when he was notified of his resignation, he immediately notified his confederates. His confederates gathered one after the other at Hijikata’s home, and the talk turned quickly to resignation en masse: “When I reported that I’d been asked to resign, my colleagues gathered quickly at my home. Among the professors, Honiden, Tanabe, Nakanishi; among the assistant professors, Hashizume, Yūmoto, Watanabe, Yanagikawa; instructors Naniwada, Takamiya. Of course, reporters from all the papers rushed to my house, and it was a scene of utter confusion and great agitation. … Indeed, those who assembled urged in unison that I not resign; we’ll fight it to the end. And they decided that they too would resign en masse. That I coerced them to resign—that’s a bare-faced lie. In the first place, I wasn’t that powerful…. The next day the people who had gathered at my house the previous evening approved their letter of resignation and carried it themselves to President Hiraga’s house. At Hiraga’s house, Hiraga himself didn’t appear, but a maid came out, said ‘Thank you,’ and accepted the letter with a smile.”

In the next day’s paper banner headlines read



and there was a very long article complete with photographs. In The University Disease,Daigaku to iu yamai: Tōdai funjō to kyōju gunzō (Tokyo: Chūō kōron shinsha, 2001). Takeuchi Yō depicts vividly the state of affairs that night at Hijikata’s house:

The entryway of the Hijikata home was filled to overflowing with shoes. Reporters jammed in to hear the declaration to be issued. Two rooms were used, with the intervening sliding doors removed. The cigarette smoke was dense.

Hijikata’s father-in-law Hijikata Yasushi, soon to turn 80, was also encamped. His white hair flowing, he ranted left and right in his usual loud voice, “The university’s truly a disgrace. The Ministry of Education, too, is a disgrace…. The idea of chasing out a Japanist professor who denounced Communist Party elements! Absurd! Astounding!” The two Hijikatas and all the members of the united renovationist faction, it goes without saying, prided themselves on being crucified patriots: “It’s the renovationist faction that’s up to the crisis, so the government, of course, and popular opinion, too, should be sympathetic to it.”

At 8:30 p.m. Professors Honiden, Tanabe, and Nakanishi sat in chairs and standing behind them were assistant professors Yūmoto, Watanabe, Yanagikawa, and Hashizume, and instructors Naniwada and Takamiya. Honiden, a big name in the renovationist faction, angrily read out the declaration. “We’ve just come from the president’s house, where we submitted our resignations.” Flashbulbs went off one after the other. Reporters copied the declaration down in their notebooks.

The newspapers covered the activities of both Hijikata and Kawai factions, but the Hijikata faction was far larger; up till then, press coverage of the Kawai Incident had been far greater, but from that day on the coverage of the Hijikata faction grew by leaps and bounds. In the symposium, Tanaka says, “Hiraga carried out the purge of the Faculty of Economics at the same time as he dealt with Kawai. And public attention turned away from the Kawai issue and moved completely to the purge of the Faculty of Economics. Kawai must have felt lonely…. He was a sacrifice in the cause of university autonomy, but attention shifted to the purge of the Faculty of Economics, and public attention to Kawai grew very, very sketchy.”

That day’s flashy group picture of the Hijikata faction had an underside readers didn’t know about; Arata wrote as follows: “The renovationist faction published its declaration and photograph, the group full of energy, flaunting its unity. But pull back the curtain, and a different picture emerges: They had assembled because Hijikata had summoned them; once they were there, press photographers had been called all of a sudden to photograph the scene; and then they read aloud a declaration that had been prepared ahead of time…. Pull back the curtain, and in reality the renovationist faction was surprisingly unpopular. Photo and declaration cost them the sympathy they might have gotten otherwise. They didn’t get the support of the Tokyo newspapers or of the students, of whom they’d had hopes. People showed sympathy for the reasoned statement Professors Kawai and Yamada issued but didn’t make an issue of it. That’s how eagerly people awaited the purge of the Tōdai Faculty of Economics.”‘Hiraga Shukugaku’ monogatari.”

Emotionally, Minister of Education Araki must have sided with the renovationist faction. But this was what was fascinating about the Hiraga Purge: at the denouement, the professors of the renovationist faction submitted their resignations en masse, and for that very reason Araki turned his back on them completely. Tanaka: “Minister Araki was very angry with the professors of the renovationist faction. Professors going on strike? The idea! Outrageous! And he wound up swinging all his support behind President Hiraga. In the meantime, Hiraga too had gone to Araki, had a friendly chat that lasted all of four or five hours, and got his consent. Without Araki’s support, he simply couldn’t have done what he did. When you think about it, Araki didn’t support the people of the renovationist faction, that is, the right-wingers who were swimming with the tide. For the people of the renovationist faction, that was completely unexpected. This was Minister Araki’s traditionalism: professors shouldn’t go on strike….”Daigaku no jichi. Because Minister Araki supported Hiraga completely, the Hiraga Purge was a success. And under its military president, Tōdai afterwards committed itself deeply to Japan’s war footing. As I described in Chapter 3, the merging of military and university advanced steadily under President Hiraga.

The Purge: Bold Decision or Foolish Act?

Judgments of the Hiraga Purge depend on one’s point of view and vary widely. For example, Tanaka, who was Hiraga’s right arm and poured his energy into the purge, praised it uncritically: “Hiraga’s defense of university autonomy continued thereafter… To pass judgment here on Hiraga: there have been few presidents like Hiraga in the past, and none can be expected in the future—that’s how great a president he was.”

And even Ōuchi, who criticizes him for firing Kawai, gives him high marks overall: “Kawai’s firing was unfortunate for the university. Was Hiraga able to stop the damage there because he was the kind of person he was? Or had he carried out the purge simply because he was a military man? It’s hard to discuss this objectively. Still, he did get rid once and for all of Hijikata and his faction—Tanabe and Honiden—who, hiding behind the aegis of the military, had so trampled on the freedom and autonomy of the university; it was a decisiveness unprecedented in the history of the university. I say ‘the kind of person he was’ because I esteem greatly the fact he fired these people; in fact, without a doubt his act contributed to the reestablishment of Tōdai’s autonomy after the war.”Daigaku no jichi.

But Nambara Shigeru, professor in the Faculty of Law (and later fifteenth president of the university), gave him a very low grade: “He was sincere, a samurai-like person who got things done. However, he was, after all, a military man. It’s regrettable that he didn’t understand the university. He differed from us in respect for university autonomy and academic freedom. Perhaps he wasn’t one to look with far-seeing eye into the future. I can only think that in this case he acted imprudently.” Nambara simply could not make his peace with the purge, and he went alone to Hiraga’s home and said: “I well understand your distress. However, some things can’t be undone. Now that things have got to this point, if you really have the interests of the university at heart, please resign.”


Tanaka Kōtarō, Guiding Spirit of the Hiraga Purge, Beset on All Sides

In which the author focuses on Tanaka Kōtarō, whom he credits as the mastermind behind the Hiraga Purge. He traces Tanaka’s stellar career—Tōdai professor of law, Minister of Education, Supreme Court justice, judge on the International Court of Justice. Tanaka, a Catholic, specialized in international law, a fact that set him on collision course with the right-wingers around Minoda Muneki. The national-essence people equated Japan’s war in Asia with their domestic agenda to “clarify the kokutai,” and Tanaka opposed both. The chapter concludes with an account of Tanaka’s battering during the purge at the hands of his colleagues.


Tanaka’s Glittering Career

Tanaka Kōtarō, Dean of the Faculty of Law, enticed Hiraga into being university president and generated the grand design of the Hiraga Purge. Moreover, at the time of the Purge, Tanaka was sitting at Hiraga’s right hand, supporting him all the way. In this sense, Tanaka may have been the true protagonist of the Hiraga Purge. So let’s say something more about Tanaka.

Today what ordinary people remember about Tanaka is solely his postwar career. It was so glittering that merely writing a bit about it shocks people. First, in the immediate postwar period Minister of Education Maeda Tamon asked Tanaka to become Chief of the Bureau of Education while he was still a Tōdai professor (at the time it was possible for a professor to be simultaneously a Ministry official). Chief of the Bureau of Education was a post newly established in a Ministry of Education that sought a fundamental rethinking of education, and it oversaw the whole range of educational administration: from primary and elementary schools to universities and specialist and technical schools. For a while after graduating, Tanaka had worked in the Home Ministry, and in those years Maeda had been Tanaka’s superior; they had a relationship of deep trust. Tanaka burned with zeal for educational reform and thought that with Maeda as his boss he could accomplish whatever he wanted, and there were conditions within the university that made the university inhospitable, so he transferred from the university to the Ministry of Education. It’s a bit of an aside, but the conditions that made it inhospitable contribute to an understanding of Tanaka’s character, so let me touch on them.

At the end of 1945, the last year of the war, an issue arose regarding the promotion of Assistant Professor Yasui Kaoru, who taught international law at the Faculty of Law. This was the same Yasui Kaoru who after the war became secretary-general of Gensuikyō and was spectacularly active. Tanaka opposed his promotion fiercely. Not only Tanaka but also Yokota Kisaburō, the chief professor of international law (and later a third-generation justice on the Supreme Court). The reason for their opposition was the same: they didn’t trust Yasui. In Nambara Shigeru Remembered,Gensuikyō原水協—Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. Nambara Shigeru kaikoroku. there’s this passage:

Nambara: …The first reason was Yasui’s opportunism. There was no coherence about him; his ideas had no internal consistency. Sometimes he was neo-Kantian, and just when you thought that he was enamored of the Soviet Union, he’d praise the Nazis. At that time his legal position was quite national-essentialist or Greater East Asian… The criticism was that you couldn’t get away with that.

And then another reason: since the essay that earned him promotion to assistant professor, he’d produced almost no scholarly writing…. Moreover—it’s strange to call it extra-university work, but—that’s all he was doing….

Tsuji: At that time “extra-university” meant military, didn’t it? … I heard the rumor that he had connections to the military, to the young officers; how true was that?

Nambara: Yes, that was certainly one reason for opposing him.

Maruyama: …He was also involved in Konoe’s New Order. So when it came to promoting Yasui, both Yokota and Tanaka thought that the forces of the times were very strongly at work in the background, that the Ministry of Education and the military were pushing strongly.

Postwar people have virtually only the image of Yasui Kaoru as leader of the peace movement and secretary-general of Gensuikyō, but earlier there was another Yasui Kaoru. In fact, when the war ended, Yasui was investigated for his words and deeds and barred from public office.

Tanaka and Yokota said that if Yasui was promoted to professor, they’d resign, and they went around persuading other members of the Faculty Meeting to vote no. In response to their lobbying, some professors said, “To promote Yasui and make Tanaka and Yokota resign would be like exchanging lead for silver.” But many professors considered their methods threatening and highhanded and reacted negatively. Faculty Meeting approved Yasui’s promotion. At that time in the Faculty of Law, there were few who like Tanaka and Yokota were finicky about those who truckled to the wartime order (since its founding the Faculty of Law had traditionally been close to power), so it may be only natural that many professors curried favor with the establishment.

Tanaka and Yokota had been absolutely sure they couldn’t lose, so they had announced that they’d resign if Yasui was promoted; but when in fact Yasui was promoted, they were really in a fix. Some people (virtually all the assistant professors) smoothed things over, and both Tanaka and Yokota stayed on, but the situation wasn’t a comfortable one.

Hawkish Postwar Supreme Court Justice

To return to my tale, Tanaka became Chief of the Education Bureau and exerted all his energies on education reform. According to Tanaka’s My Resumé,Tanaka Kōtarō, Watakushi no rirekisho (Tokyo: Shunjūsha, 1961). the cause most on Tanaka’s mind at this time in regard to education was to take education out of the hands of the Ministry officials and restore it to educators, people with actual experience educating and studying about education. And he had the following aspirations: “In addition to purging militarism and extreme nationalism from education ideals, my chief aspirations were for education to be independent, that is, liberated from the control of central and regional educational bureaucrats, for basic reform of teacher training, which had suffered, and for better treatment of educators.” In Tanaka’s time as bureau chief and then as Minister of Education, postwar Japan’s new educational structure basically had its path mapped out.

In 1946, when the first Yoshida cabinet was formed, Tanaka (he was then fifty-five) became Minister of Education at the personal request of Yoshida. Tanaka thought that primary school had killed the army (by turning it into a organization in which one obeyed only when watched and resisted passively otherwise) and that in the same way teacher-training schools were the root of evil in Japan’s education. Pouring his energy into abolishing them and establishing the 6:3 system, he created the basic educational law, the schools’ education law, and so on.

In April of the following year, 1947, the first election to the House of Peers under the new constitution was held, and Tanaka ran, unattached, in the nation-wide division. His supporters were many and varied, and he received much volunteer support from Catholics and students of Sophia University and Chūō University, and even though he spent far less than the legal limit, he was elected easily. (He came in sixth in the nation-wide division. He won the most votes of any Tokyo candidate.)

Once elected, he assembled Diet representatives who did not belong to any political party, formed the Fresh Breeze Association, and wrote its charter. Pursuing middle-of-the-road politics and leaning neither left nor right, the Fresh Breeze Association became the largest faction in the House of Peers. In the Upper House he served as chair of the Education Committee (and later as chair of the Education and Culture Committee). Halfway through his term in office, in 1950 (he was 59), he was appointed to the Supreme Court and served over ten years as Chief Justice. During that time, he participated in the Court’s verdicts in many famous cases…. Some of his judgments were majority, some minority; but he was a classic justice of the hawkish wing. Since he continued to make bold and honest statements, he was subjected to sharp criticism from the reform camp. Although hawkish, he was a person of deep conviction, and at the core of his convictions was a firm Catholic faith. Since before the war, he had been strongly anti-communist, but at the same time he reacted with unusual force against the right wing national-essence believers, too. During the pre-war and war years, Tanaka fought them most fiercely. The Hiraga Purge was part of that fight.

The Soul-Searching Behind Educational Reform

Why did Tanaka throw himself into the world of educational administration and, rising to become Minister of Education, exert all his energies on educational reform? Because he had thought long and hard during the war about why Japan had gone wrong and felt that the heaviest onus of all lay on education. Right after the war, shortly before becoming Minister of Education, he wrote “Education and Worldview,”“Kyōiku to sekaikan,” Chūō kōron, April 1946. and his feelings are exhibited clearly in a passage at the beginning of it: “People generally are beginning to realize that everything stems from mistakes in education. The nation hoped for what it should not have hoped for…began a war it should not have begun, ruled the peoples of the colonial territories by methods that should not have been permitted, and fought until just before final catastrophe a war it should have brought to an end. Fortunately, people of good will have begun to reflect that these crimes and misdeeds have their origin, ultimately, in years of misguided education.”

In the period right after the war, there was continuous and vociferous argument over the true cause of the defeat: the technological gap, the lack of national power (economic power), an unfavorable international environment, the poverty of our politics… But for Tanaka these arguments were all unimportant details. He wrote: “The true cause of the defeat lies in the fact that we started a war that basically should never have been started, a war impermissible from an ethical standpoint. That is, the true cause of the defeat lies squarely in the ethical shortcomings of the people. The issue is of a moral character.”

From this point of view, the “search for the cause of the defeat” was misguided. Why? To the extent that one thought in terms of searching for the cause of the defeat, it meant that had we won the war, there would have been no soul-searching. But even had we won the war, the very act of having gone to war was the mistake: “It’s not the case that we are bad because we lost the war. If a war lacks justice, even victory is a disgrace. Win or lose, we fought when we should not have fought, so we acted unjustly and must be ashamed. We are ashamed before the Allies and before all humanity, but we must also be ashamed before truth and before God. At this time we must remember in particular the words Fiat justitia pereat mundus (Let justice be done even if the world perish).RHM: The Latin phrase was in use in the 16th century and (in slightly different form) was the motto of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I. Immanuel Kant used it in Perpetual Peace (1795): “Let justice reign even if all the rascals in the world should perish from it.” Up till now, our education—the education of the past fifteen years, of course, but farther back, education since Meiji—did not permit that way of looking at things.” From its very beginnings when Japan set out as a modern state, Japan’s education was able to nurture only people who could not think about things from this point of view, only people unable to speak out.

With the string of incidents that arose in the years after the Emperor-Organ Incident of 1935, Japan began to rush headlong toward a war order: the February 26 Incident, the start of war with China (that period coincided precisely with the Hiraga Purge). And because Japan’s educational system produced only such people, it became impossible for anyone to say a word against the forces—the alliance of the military and the right-wing national-essence people—driving us to war. In that period Tanaka Kōtarō came under the heaviest attack from Minoda Muneki and the right wing national-essence people: that’s a topic for later.

Let’s return to Tanaka’s sterling postwar career. In 1960 Tanaka retired from the Supreme Court at the mandatory age, and immediately on retiring, as if it had been waiting for him to retire, he was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit.RHM: One of Japan’s highest cultural awards, voted on by the cabinet; it has been declined only rarely (novelist Ōe Kenzaburō in 1994). The citation for the award read: “His contribution to the progress of commercial law. His establishment of an original philosophy of law grounded in natural law. His contribution to the development of modern legal studies with books such as The Theory of International Law.” Soon thereafter Tanaka was elected Japan’s first judge of the International Court of Justice, was sent to the Hague in Holland, and served for nine years. Four years after returning to Japan, he died at the age of eighty-three. At the funeral at the National Academy, Nambara Shigeru (first post-war president of Tōdai; at the time president of the Academy) said in his eulogy: “In your lifetime you climbed, one after the other, the highest peaks of life.” What a career!

“World Law” vs. “Clarification of the Kokutai

At the time of the Hiraga Purge, this glittering resumé came within a whisker of crashing to earth. My Resumé contains the following passage about the day Ōuchi Hyōe was arrested in the Faculty Group Incident: “As soon as I heard from reliable sources that Ōuchi’s arrest was imminent, I went with Takagi Yasaka to the private mansion of his friend, Minister of Education Kido Kōichi and requested that Kido do everything possible. … While we were talking, a phone call came from Ōuchi. It was word that the police were making their raid. We returned to the university thinking there was nothing we could do now.” The problem was something that happened on this same day, after they returned to the university: “While we were eating, reporters arrived. I thought they were there about Ōuchi, but it was about me. It was the news that my Law and Religion and Social LifeHō to shūkyō to shakai seikatsu (Tokyo: Kaizōsha, 1927). and Theory of World Law had been attacked by rightwing members at a plenary session of the House of Peers.” On the morning of the day Ōuchi was arrested, Baron Mimurodo Takamitsu, member of the House of Peers (earlier he had attacked Minobe on the emperor-organ issue), attacked Tanaka, dean of the Faculty of Law, by name, asking whether he understood the kokutai. Mimurodo addressed himself to Minister of Education Kido: “There’s a man named Tanaka, dean of the Faculty of Law, who does not understand the kokutai.”

In what context did this question arise? When you read the transcript a bit before Mimurodo’s question, it’s clear that there’s a direct connection with the emperor-organ issue. “Recently, under the positive influence of the times, bad ideas are gradually being eradicated, and it’s certain we are moving gradually in a good direction under spiritual mobilization, even on the clarification of the kokutai that we—with what slight influence we possess—have been calling for. However, it is only moving in the right direction, isn’t complete yet, and to be specific, bad still lingers in places, a school of thought that comes from the emperor-organ theory.” In short, he attacked Tanaka as a university professor who had drunk from the Minobe stream and gone against the kokutai. “What is it that he says? His book is titled Law and Religion and Social Life; on page 132, he writes, ‘It is wrong to cause the entire nation to worship at shrines.’ He is a professor at an imperial university. He is dean of the Faculty of Law. On page 130 of his book: ‘It is wrong to cause the entire nation to worship at shrines.’ And on the next page he writes, ‘It is not right that the state gives shrines special benefits different from other religions.’ With what frame of mind does he write these things? … Again on page 145 he writes, ‘In short, the best policy is to abolish the custom of having primary schools pay group visits to shrines. To decide that shrines are the state religion and compel obedience is to make the nation servile, to prevent the healthy development of the nation’s spiritual life.’ And so on. This is the kind of thing he writes. I say again, the writer is Tanaka, dean of the Faculty of Law at Tokyo Imperial University, established by the state.”

To go back a bit: three years earlier, in 1935, Minoda Muneki joined hands with Mimurodo and a bunch of members of the House of Peers to denounce Minobe’s emperor-organ theory. The emperor-organ issue gradually developed into the movement to clarify the kokutai, and “clarify the kokutai” became a slogan that swept the field. After the February 26 Incident, the right wing and the military lined up the attack phrases for people they didn’t like—“anti-kokutai,” “counter to the kokutai”—and hinted at the use of force, and they were able to stifle most speech.

The basic thinking of Minoda and the Genri Nihon group was that law faculties of the imperial universities (including both Tokyo and Kyoto) were the source of the evils ruining contemporary Japan, leading society in an anti-kokutai direction; unless these were crushed, Japan wouldn’t recover. Having tasted victory in the Takigawa Incident and the emperor-organ issue, Minoda then attacked professors of the Tōdai Faculty of Law, one after the other.

If we sample Genri Nihon, headlines such as these appeared in virtually every issue of this period:







In addition, Professors Yabe, Miyazawa, Rōyama and Kyōto University Professors Tanabe, Sasaki, and others came under occasional attack. Among the Tōdai professors, Tanaka came in for especially fierce attack.

It began about 1928, soon after Law and Religion and Social Life was published in 1927, and the denunciation by Baron Mimurodo in the House of Peers that I cited earlier was a virtual replay of the attack on Tanaka that Minoda reiterated from then on. As had been the case in the emperor-organ issue, when Genri Nihon and the House of Peers members joined hands, what resulted, fundamentally, was a play written and staged by Minoda Muneki.

After the publication of Theory of World Law in 1934, the attack on Tanaka became qualitatively fiercer. The very advocacy of something like world law, they thought, was anti-kokutai. Published by Iwanami in three volumes between 1932 and 1934, Theory of World Law was Tanaka’s magnum opus. As soon as it appeared, it received high praise in the field; in 1935 it won the Asahi Prize. It was reported to be the provisional winner also of that year’s Emperor’s Award of the Japan Academy, but then the fierce attack of the Genri Nihon group began, with waves of protest falling on the Asahi, so talk of the Emperor’s Award died out.

This was a most ambitious book. It examined the concept of world law—at the time, still not established internationally—thoroughly and from many angles. Why did Tanaka set his hand to this field? Basically his field was commercial law. Commercial law included one sector that developed in order to facilitate commercial transactions among different countries, ethnicities, cultural blocs. That sector was quite close to world law. In the field of international private law that is part of commercial law, world law (maritime law, air law, sea trade law) was already germinating to allow international trade and international markets to function smoothly. (In the world of bank bill law, here and there a movement was beginning toward establishing unified world law.)

Moreover, at this time various international laws arose to smooth relations among states, and a legal world of international public law was coming into existence. So analyze and organize the important basic legal concepts making up the world of international private law and international public law and extract the universal human legal concepts common to all state law: do that, and reorganize the whole, setting everything in its proper place. Might one be able to construct along these lines a world of world law that would make it possible to turn universal human society into a single legal community? This world of world law transcended states and nations. On the one hand, looked at realistically, all existing law presupposed and made use of actually existing laws and states and nations. But it was foreseen that henceforward the interdependence of human societies, their solidarity, would grow deeper and deeper, and that an age would surely come that called for all human societies to be brought under one universal legal structure (unified world law). This book considered the possibility of such world law, what sort of thing it would be, and examined where its limits were likely to be. Also, it argued in detail such things as how to reconcile statism and internationalism, nationalism and international humanitarianism. It was a pioneering work with no parallel worldwide.

Hearing such ideas today, most people will respond quickly, “Of course. Makes sense.” But at the time confrontations between countries were severe, and wars had already broken out; it seemed that in the future, too, the fires of war would spread. Many people dismissed world law as an illusion that ignored the forces of the age. And from another direction entirely, the national-essence people like Minoda criticized it sharply, calling it nonsense.

The issue was the source of law (the basis, the origin that makes law law). World law must be law that applies universally to human society, so it’s only natural that its source, too, must be universal to human society. Thus, the sole conceivable source of law is the concept of ‘natural law’—the legal principles that all human beings, transcending race and culture, can be convinced are essential and the workings of reason. If you seek the source of law in God or the like, it is the reality of the world that peoples worship different gods; so unified world law can’t emerge. In Theory of World Law, too, much space was devoted to examining natural law as foundational.

But for the national-essence folks, this is nonsense. Why? Because in Japan the source of law can only be the emperor. Of course, the emperor is the source of law in the case of imperial decrees, which are the emperor’s orders. In the case of positive law that the Diet creates, the emperor exercises the actual lawmaking as part of his sovereignty, and the Diet merely cooperates (Article 4 of the Meiji Constitution). Laws become laws only with the emperor’s sanction, and both their promulgation and their carrying out are done on the emperor’s orders (Article 6). In short, the source of all law in Japan can only be the emperor. That is what the constitution established. And if you ask where the constitution comes from, it was an authorized constitution created by the emperor and granted to his subjects. Here too the emperor is the source of law. And where did the emperor get the constitution? In the Meiji Constitution, the words “imperial proclamation” echo like an incantation, and they indicate its origin; thereby it becomes something granted by “the sacred spirits of the imperial ancestors.” In short, the source of law in Japan can only be the emperor and his ancestors (their spirits).

But in Theory of World Law Tanaka states clearly that in the age of world law that will someday arrive, “one must think of the world as the standard for the human legal order,” so when that day dawns, the old theory of law based on states and peoples “must be overturned.”

More “Treasonous” than the Emperor-Organ Theory

This is what Minoda pounced on. In “State and University,”“Kokka to daigaku,” Genri Nihon rombunshū. an essay critiquing Tanaka Kōtarō, he attacked: “He infringes the emperor’s august will that is sovereign over the state and that establishes law, and he does not recognize the basic spirit of Japanese constitutional law, which must follow the august imperial will. He announces his lawless and treasonous intent to ‘upend’ and ‘destroy’ our kokutai, constitution, and law from the foundation up. Because it takes as the origin and source ‘worldism, universalism,’ which fundamentally does not recognize sovereignty and racial spirit, Tanaka’s theory should be treated as more anti-state, more anarchist than the emperor-organ theory. Even though that theory considers the emperor to be an organ, it still recognizes sovereignty, national sovereignty.” Tanaka’s Theory of World Law is lawless, treasonous theory incomparably worse than Minobe’s emperor-organ theory. This attack on Tanaka is the same in tone as the attack on Minobe’s emperor-organ theory, and because it started in unison in both Diet and right-wing media, too (Minoda also ran the Imperial News, and there were other similar right-wing media), the Emperor’s Award of the Japan Academy became unthinkable.

Not only that. Tanaka came close to being murdered by extremist right-wing military people stirred up by Minoda’s fierce attack. In 1941, just before the outbreak of the Pacific War, talk arose of exchanging professors with French Indochina (which Japan had occupied) as cultural interchange between Japanese and French Indochinese universities. Tanaka would go from Japan, and a French archeologist would come from French Indochina to Japan. According to My Resumé, this was the story:

Having inquired about the experiences of a professor the previous year, I prepared several draft lectures in French and made plane reservations. One week before I was to depart, the bureau chief of the Information Agency said he wanted me to cancel the flight. I had become one of the Army’s marked men. Reports came in that the army on the spot was angry that I was coming and would not guarantee my safety. The then-commander in French Indochina was Chō Isamu, a daredevil officer who later died in battle in Okinawa.Chō was a violent right-wing officer who belonged to the Sakurakai and was elected chief of the shock troops in the 1931 “October Incident”—an attempted coup d’etat that misfired. This fellow, it was said, had “rubbed people out,” so I had a close shave.

I was a believer in world law and a Catholic, so I was on the military’s blacklist, and police spies did tail me. I sometime imagine that had the war lasted another three or four months, I’d not be alive.

Things had come to such a pass that after Minoda’s attacks began, Theory of World Law, newly out, was treated just as if it had been banned and didn’t appear in stores. It was only when it was reissued after the war (1947) that everyone could read Theory of World Law. In the preface to that printing, Tanaka writes as follows:

Fifteen years have passed since I published the three volumes of this book. Volume I appeared in 1932, the year after the outbreak of the Manchurian Incident. It stirred up the statist-nationalist camp—at that time they had begun to poke their heads up—and became the object of attack from that quarter. In the spring of 1935, when this work was awarded the Asahi Prize, this attack became all the more intense, and the ramifications affected the Asahi; moreover, it caused problems for senior colleagues who had shown support for this work.TT: Those who had recommended this work for the Japan Academy prize also came under attack. Since then and down to the present day, in disregard of the progress of the times and despite the fact that the hopes and resonance of the scholarly and public worlds for this work had been demonstrated, it has been as good as out of print.

Crazed howls that I was unpatriotic were heard even in academic circles. But otherwise, as soon as it was published, there were more than a few friendly critiques by scholars in the field…. Amid all this, the China Incident broke out and developed into the Pacific War, and given the torrent of divinely-inspired statism, this work seemed on the surface of things to disappear from the scholarly world.

Embarked on and continued in disregard of the demands of reason, the war met its providential end, and the political and intellectual worlds did an about-face. Like the public, this work enjoyed freedom and daylight for the first time. Today we can discuss world law and a world state without fear. A state of affairs we could only dream of ten years ago—no, three years ago—is now reality.

In this preface to the re-issue, Tanaka clearly takes honest joy in living in an age in which world law and a world state can be discussed freely. In Theory of World Law he foresaw that a “court to handle world law independent of state sovereignty” would someday appear. And that court had in fact appeared: the International Court of Justice (institutionally speaking, it was born in 1945, at the same time as the United Nations; Japan became a member in 1953). He surely never dreamed that twelve years after this work’s reappearance, he himself would head to Holland to serve as judge on that court.

Tanaka’s Critique of Minoda

Let’s return to our story of the age in which advocating world law meant being virtually a traitor. In 1937 two essays were published in quick succession in Genri Nihon: “Tanaka Kōtarō’s Crafty Anti-Kokutai Thought and Intent” and “Tanaka Kōtarō’s Fundamentally Anti-Japan, Resist-Japan Thought.”RHM: “Tanaka Kōtarō-shi no inken naru han-kokutai shisō ishi,” “Tanaka Kōtarō-shi no genriteki hai-nichi kō-nichi shisō.” The sudden increase in the ferocity of the attack on Tanaka was because that year he became dean of the Faculty of Law: for the right-wing national-essence folks, Tanaka’s name recognition increased, and he became a great target.

Shortly before, Tanaka had written in an essay in Shisō: “I don’t think there’s a particular shortage of the kokutai concept in the contemporary world of ideas.” Since the emperor-organ issue, no one had tried to attack the actions of Minoda and his friends—let sleeping dogs lie; but Tanaka criticized them head-on. In his essay Tanaka had also written: “The communist phenomenon has waned for a while; at such a time, as if taking on the entire nation, clarification of the kokutai is raised as a political slogan and asserted as concrete state policy. But it’s inconceivable that the kokutai has become so unclear that its influence has to be spread to the educational system. Nevertheless, one group of politicians and people with a finger in politics takes for granted that the kokutai is not clear or at least is so unclear that it’s necessary to start a clarification movement.” (These italics were added by Minoda when he quoted it.)

The right-wing national essence-people of the time were running around saying, “Clarify the kokutai!” In response, Tanaka spoke heresy. Or rather than heresy, he tried to bring the argument back to the factual level: did such a degree of non-clarity about the kokutai exist? Unable to respond effectively, Minoda wrote this essay, menacing words without meaning–“[Such an objection] is truly treacherous and lawless.” In short, from beginning to end this essay displays Minoda’s usual forte of fault-finding, barking and biting, stringing insults together and heaping abuse. Like Minoda’s other essays, it does not withstand close reading.

In reading Genri Nihon of this period, I noticed that the September 1937 issue that carried “Tanaka Kōtarō’s Fundamentally Anti-Japan, Resist-Japan Thought” ran a declaration by Genri Nihon with the title:


THE IMPERIAL ARMY: ACTION TO CLARIFY THE KOKUTAI“Jinrei wa kokutai meichō ishi de ari: Kōgun wa kokutai meichō ishi kōdō de aru.”

This was the first issue to appear after the Incident at the Marco Polo Bridge, and this proclamation shows clearly how Minoda and his ilk saw the China Incident, how they characterized this war. Reading it, you understand the fundamental mode of thinking of the right-wing national-essence people of the time, and you understand the extremes of meaning of the “clarification of the kokutai” they were advocating at the time. I’ll analyze it later, but first let me quote the text:

It’s a well-known fact that the cause of the China Incident is China’s Guomindang government, the Soviet Union’s international Communist Party, and the anti-Japan will and propaganda linked to them. Anti-Japan means resist-Japan, and Japan means not only territory but Japan’s kokutai tradition and spiritual culture. So “Japan” is the “Japanese kokutai,” and “anti-Japan” is “resist the Japanese kokutai.”

For this reason, the object of the Imperial army’s chastisement is this will to resist Japan’s kokutai. The “righteous” war of the Imperial army is a war “to clarify the kokutai.” …

The “Imperial ancestors” that defend Japan, land of the gods, represent the “will to clarify the kokutai,” and for subjects, the “way of the gods” that follows the will of the gods is “the way of the loyal subject.” The kokutai is that all Japanese are subjects, except for—let it be said with due reverence—his majesty the emperor. Hence, the Japanese ethic is “the way of the loyal subject.” Moreover, democratic government with sovereignty in the people and Marxist communism, its offshoot, are the objects of the Imperial army’s chastisement; in reality, the “China Incident” is a “war to clarify the kokutai” and crush the resist-Japan will that is incompatible with this kokutai.

It’s a passage that’s quite impenetrable, and the meaning is hard to grasp; but in short, the China-Japan War is a war for the clarification of the kokutai. The China-Japan War is military action undertaken to crush the will to resist Japan that is spreading throughout China. “Japan” equals “Japanese kokutai,” so “resist-Japan” is “the will the resist the Japanese kokutai.” The goal of the military action of the Japanese Army (the emperor’s army) is to crush this will to resist the Japanese kokutai, so it’s a war to “clarify the kokutai.” The war to clarify the kokutai—up till then it had spread within Japan—had been extended abroad: this is what the China-Japan War was. The domestic enemies of the war to clarify the kokutai were the “democratic concept that sovereignty resides in the people” and “Marxist communism.” In the foreign war to clarify the kokutai, the enemy was China’s resist-Japan movement.

The Greater East Asian War Is “War to Clarify the Kokutai

In terms of the flow of history, Japan spread war to all Asia, an extension of the China-Japan War, and fought “the Greater East Asian War.” According to the previous logic, this means that war to clarify the kokutai spread to all Asia. The “Greater East Asian War” was war to clarify the kokutai beyond the national borders. As is well known, the slogan of the Greater East Asian War was “eight corners under one roof.” Eight corners under one roof meant to place all (the eight corners) of the earth under one roof; these words express founding emperor Jimmu’s aggressive will to advance eastward and bring all of Japan under his control. By advancing eastward, Emperor Jimmu made all of Japan one communal society; that these precise words were used as the slogan for the “Greater East Asian War” expressed the aggressive intent that in the same fashion the Greater East Asian War would make all of Asia (and someday the whole world) one communal society. And the communal society it aimed for was a family community that looked up to the Japanese emperor at its apex. It was the aim eventually to make all Asia, the whole world, into a single emperor-system communal society. In that future world emperor-system community, not only would the reigning emperor be worshipped, but the imperial ancestors since the first emperor’s descent from heaven must be worshipped; so it followed that in every area shrines to worship Amaterasu Ōmikami had to be established.

This is why in various places in the countries Japan occupied by war (including Manchuria), shrines to Amaterasu Ōmikami were set up and the godhead of the Ise Shrine divided: nowadays, few people know this. These shrines were especially numerous in Manchuria—in all, more than five hundred of them. The gods they worshipped varied, but Amaterasu Ōmikami was by far the god most worshipped. Katō Kanji, known as the “father of colonial development,” set up shrines in all corners of Manchuria. Katō was leader of the Mongolia-Manchuria Development Board and head of the Young Men’s Patriotic Training Institutions in Manchuria and Mongolia; he was a follower of Kakehi Katsuhiko, Tōdai’s old Shinto scholar of emperor-ism who preached “the way of the gods.” Under Kakehi’s guidance, Iyasaka Shrines were set up at training institutions, and the Mongolia-Manchuria development officials who received training there were indoctrinated with Kakehi-style belief in the emperor. In 1937 Kakehi traveled to Manchuria, made a two-week tour to “pioneer communities” all over the country, and taught belief in “the way of the gods.” In 1938 Kakehi was invited to Manchuria again by the Kwantung Army, went to Manchuria a second time, and this time gave long lectures on “the way of the gods” to the Manchurian emperor, Pu Yi. Pu Yi was influenced by Kakehi, and when he visited Japan, Pu Yi made a pilgrimage to the Ise Shrine with a special mirror brought from Manchuria and received a portion of the spirit of Amaterasu Ōmikami to be worshipped as the sacred dynastic founder of Manchuria. According to Kakehi’s old Shinto, the religions of the entire world—Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism—all had their source in Japan’s ancient Shinto. So he appears to have thought that if Amaterasu Ōmikami was worshipped in Manchuria’s founders’ shrine, then the Manchurian dynasty and Japan’s Imperial dynasty would be one in their religion, too.

Such a unification of belief in imperial divinity between Japan and Manchuria was considered a model to be realized in the future in the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. The world of “eight corners, one roof” that would be realized by the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere would spread belief in imperial divinity to all Asia, and a world of divine political rule would be realized, with military control (Imperial army control) and political control united in the emperor. The Greater East Asian War, which would bring about that reality, spread to all Asia, which meant the clarification of the kokutai was spread to all Asia.

Seen globally, the belief in a divine emperor is no more than one Asian people’s belief in its ethnic god, but the radicals of right-wing national-essentialism of the time used war to pursue their ambition to spread Japan’s military and political sphere of influence to all Asia and to make an ethnic god (the emperor) a world god. Making the Japanese ethnic god the world god was the polar opposite of what Tanaka attempted in Theory of World Law. He sought to create a universal human society by discarding the thought of each people’s ethnic god as source of law and seeking a more universal source of law elsewhere. Because the polar opposition was clear to both sides, the war between the advocate of world law, Tanaka, and the right-wing national-essence people could only be a fight to the finish.

Tanaka’s Defiant “Kill Me If You Dare!”

In the Hiraga Purge, Tanaka took the extreme tactic of striking down at one go the Tōdai Faculty of Economics renovationist bunch, starting with Hijikata. Hijikata and the renovationist faculty group, he felt, were the same breed of badger as Minoda and the right-wing national-essence people, who in the Emperor-Organ Incident had slaughtered Minobe and now had turned their fangs on Tanaka himself and all the anti-fascist members of the Faculty of Law. He felt acute danger: if he didn’t get them, they’d get him.

Faculty Meeting of the Faculty of Law right after the Hiraga Purge became its final battleground. Yoshimura Sachio’s “The Tōdai Story, Part II”“Tōdai monogatari II,” Nihon hyōron, April 1939. paints those meetings as the climax of the Hiraga Purge:

The Faculty of Law met six times about the purge and had a truly horrendous time, even though that fact wasn’t reported clearly in the press. Even in the Law Faculty, some professors had ties to the renovationist clique. Moreover, it’s natural that in a Faculty of Law people should argue this issue from the standpoint of pure reason. In the gathering storm, voices rose in favor of holding a faculty meeting to denounce “disregard of Faculty Meeting.” But as dean of the Law Faculty, Tanaka did not respond. [Tanaka’s prime objective was to push through the Hiraga Purge no matter what the cost, and although voices calling for convening a faculty meeting to discuss this matter increased daily in number, he did not respond and did not respond.] The discontent became unsupportable, and finally he did convene a meeting. No sooner had he done so than rhetorical arrows came flying in unison against the Hiraga Purge faction—Tanaka, Wagatsuma, and Yokota—from Nambara, Yanaihara, Takayanagi, Kamikawa, Suehiro, Ono, Sugimura, Hozumi, Rōyama: “Shame on you for ignoring Faculty Meeting!” “Isn’t the reconstruction being carried out very much along party lines?” “Isn’t the treatment of Hijikata and Kawai extremely uncollegial? Aren’t there more moderate means befitting a university?” “The changes in the recommendation—how on earth will that matter be settled?” And so on. In this argument the opposition had the upper hand numerically and won the battle logically, too; Tanaka had few dependable defenders, and none of them was a truly strong polemicist. Smeared in blood, Tanaka stood alone.

Throughout these six sessions Tanaka was beaten to a pulp. Leading the charge in this pummeling was Nambara—Tanaka’s close friend of thirty years—who pressed cogently: “Dean Tanaka’s current action absolutely cannot stand.” There were many times when even Tanaka, it is said, could only turn pale, lips sealed, at a loss for a response.

The meetings were in fact awful; even Nambara speaks of what happened as follows:Nambara Shigeru kaikoroku. “… The meetings of the Faculty of Law at the time were something. Late into the night, under the electric lights, we argued about the Hiraga Purge. Tanaka supported the action of Hiraga and spoke out for it. Instantly, strong opposition came from Suematsu: personnel matters of the university are to be decided in Faculty Meeting, and actions infringing that principle can’t be justified. Hozumi, too, spoke in opposition, albeit elliptically. Most of the senior professors were opposed. But some spoke strongly in defense and supported Tanaka, and some agreed with the dean and supported him silently. As always, I was a party of one and argued that in terms of university justice, at least, the method of this solution was a mistake. … I remember raising my voice in anger.”

What made Nambara angry? “The Tōdai Story, Part II” records the give-and-take as follows: “Tanaka thought—‘I’m the one, of course, who’s defending Tōdai in the larger sense. If we don’t carry out the purge, scholars will be stripped away from Tōdai, one after the other. In that sense, I’m the defender of Tōdai, and you fellows are merely defending the autonomy of one small faculty.’ But this idea was destroyed utterly and completely. Nambara arose and counter-attacked: ‘I don’t want to be protected at the cost of jettisoning university autonomy. If we can’t defend university autonomy with Faculty Meeting and recommendation as our shield, then we should all share Kawai’s fate and resign. Tanaka: how could you!’ That statement was the last word.”

Normally, if you’re spoken to like that, it’s time to give up the deanship of the Faculty of Law; but in order to defend the Hiraga Purge, Tanaka resolutely refused to quit:

The day the fourth faculty meeting ended, the professors the lecture hall disgorged at dusk reflected: “We’re flabbergasted. We can’t believe he’s so gutsy! The issue’s been argued out, and he’s been utterly and completely defeated, and he still won’t quit. He thinks: I can’t quit so long as quitting might have a negative impact on the Hiraga Purge. His attitude: say whatever you want! Here I am, spread-eagled, at your mercy: ‘Kill me if you dare!”’ Assistant professors who couldn’t speak at the meeting thought: “Tanaka’s bold tenacity is far more interesting than the argument.”

From first to last, with Tanaka spread-eagled in Faculty Meeting and defiant—“Kill me if you dare!”—the opposition swarmed and sliced away at him and beat him thoroughly with the whip of pure reason or, if they were members of the renovationist faction, the club of sympathy. Then thinking “Tanaka must be dead,” they stop slashing at him and pull back. And Tanaka, who by all rights should be dead, springs back up, smiling defiantly, and starts once again to restate his argument. Again they slice away at him and again leave thinking he’s dead, and again he gets back to his feet.

This happened six times, and Tanaka outlasted six thorough Faculty Meeting thrashings.


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.”“Tōdai shukugaku no mondai to watakushi no shinkyō,” Bungei shunjū, May 1939. 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:“Tōdai shukugaku no mondai to watakushi no shinkyō.” “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:Kikigaki: Nambara Shigeru kaikoroku (Tokyo: Tōkyo daigaku shuppanbu, 1990). “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:Ikite kita michi (Tokyo: Ōzorasha, 1997).

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.Tachibana mentions Nasu (Agriculture), Yabe (Law), Ōkōchi (Economics).

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:“Gakusei bankakyō,” Chūō kōron, April 1939. “Ijūin Hitoshi” is a pseudonym. “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.”“Tōzai keizaigakubu jiken to Imai Tōshiki,” in a pamphlet entitled Imai Tōshiki. 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,Gakkai shunjūki: Marukushizumu to no kōsō sanjuyonen (Tokyo: Chūō keizaisha, 1960). 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.”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.

But if you gather all the evidence, Maide’s role wasn’t all that great. Yoshimura says:“Daini Tōdai Monogatari,” Nihon hyōron, April 1939. “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:“Keizaigakubu mondai no shinsō,” Kaizō, March 1939. “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.


Kawai’s Shrewd Plan: “Either Not Guilty or a Heavy Sentence”

In which the author focuses on economist Kawai Eijirō. Arrested in 1939 and purged from Tōdai, Kawai died in 1944. The author traces Kawai and his “gargantuan” appetite and energies from his teens through his years at Tōdai; only very late in life did Kawai learn that his thyroid was to blame for the appetite (he had Graves disease). The author describes Kawai’s ambition to be a man of action, not merely an intellectual, praises him for his outspoken criticism of Japan in the war years, and speculates on the counter-factual question: what if Kawai had survived the war?


Intellect, Emotion, Will: The Works

To return once more to the great strife in the Faculty of Economics of 1938-39: this time I’ll write about another major actor: Kawai Eijirō. Up till now I’ve touched any number of times on Kawai, but there is much still to write. I don’t have the space to deal with it all, but I’ll pick the important things. What I’ll discuss now is Kawai the man. In the history of Tōdai in those years, he’s not only an important figure, but a fascinating one. His life is fascinating in that it is dramatic, but more than that, for his character—intellect, emotion, will: the works. Especially now, when more than sixty years have passed since his death, the meaning of his life has become clearer than ever.

First let me compress the flow of time before 1939:

1920 (twenty-nine years old). Becomes assistant professor, Faculty of Economics. In 1926, after three years of study in Europe (England, Germany), becomes full professor at the age of thirty-five.

1932-33 (forty-one to forty-two years old). Second European stay (in many countries including the Soviet Union, but mainly Germany). Studies mainly Marxism. On the scene when in Germany the Nazis become the lead party and Hitler seizes power. Holds strong misgivings about world conditions as fascism raises its head.

1933 Immediately after returning home, develops lively career speaking and writing. Quickly becomes darling of the press. Then for six years until 1939, when he is indicted in the publication ban incident, Kawai’s writings command attention.

1936 (forty-five years old). Dean of the Faculty of Economics. From here on, the Faculty of Economics strife continues, involving Kawai, Hijikata, and Ōuchi factions, right up to the Hiraga Purge of 1939. In that purge Kawai is fired.

The later data I’ll list chronologically:

1939 (forty-eight). January: the prosecutor’s office begins investigation in the publication ban incident. February: indictment. Preliminary hearing begins. July: open trial begins. Defense lawyer: Unno Shinkichi. Special counsel: Kimura Takeyasu.

1940 (forty-nine). February-March: writes the 500-page For Students in less than a month, publication rushed in June.Gakusei ni atou, Nihon hyōronsha, 1940. Astonishing sales (22,000 copies in two months). Publishes four books. This year’s income breaks previous high, up to about 30,000 yen (in terms of today’s cost of living, about $750,000). Able to pay for both heavy court costs and daughter’s wedding. October: first judgment—not guilty. Even Kawai himself, resigned to being convicted, shocked. Prosecution immediately appeals.

1941 (fifty). March: appeal begins. April: Appeal to the Nation, completed all the way to the bound-copy stage before publication is stopped. This year publishes three other books, but this is last year publication is possible. What he writes hereafter gets no paper ration and can’t be published (reissue of earlier books also not possible). What he writes remains in manuscript form and is published only after the war. May: diagnosed with diabetes, hospitalized briefly. October: guilty verdict at appeal trial. Immediate appeal.

1942 (fifty-one). July: diagnosed with Graves’ disease.

1943 (fifty-two). June: appeal rejected (Supreme Court). From here on health fails rapidly. Income cut off, he begins to have trouble making ends meet; disciples raise funds, plan research institute. First heart attack.

1944 (fifty-three). January: research institute established. February: death from heart attack brought on by Graves’ disease.

This chronology shows that Kawai died astonishingly young. His youth—Kawai was in his energetic forties—enabled him to surmount the tempestuous era after 1933.

Gargantuan Appetite

Among the disciples of Kawai’s very late years were two women, Akiyama Kiyoko and Doi Michiko. They have left a record of Kawai’s last years. Popular with women, Kawai established a monthly “Day for Meeting Women” and met with all the women who wanted to see him. Akiyama and Doi write: “The members of the group were mainly from the teacher-training schools of the day—Girls’ Higher School,Jokōshi, later Ochanomizu University. Japan Women’s University, the women’s section of Meiji University; in addition, some women Kawai knew. The topics…first the news of the war and criticism of it, next each person’s reflection on books Kawai had written, then the problems of life, employment, love, reading, education, trips, and the like—all sorts of problems. Issues were raised, such as ‘What makes a person distinguished?’ and each person had to respond.”

Akiyama and Doi, who were then students at Girls’ Higher School, joined the group at Kawai’s home beginning about 1938 and were favorites of his. For two months in the last year of his life, he even tutored them in Kant’s philosophy. Their diary-style account became Record of the Words and Deeds of Kawai Eijirō. Doi Michiko and Akiyama Kiyoko, “Kawai Eijirō: Genkōroku, IV,” Kawai Eijirō zenshū VIII: gappō 17. Here is one passage quoting Kawai: “If something like this is going to happen, I think now’s the very best time. A few years from now I’ll be over fifty; you’ve begun to decline and don’t have the energy to start something new. In your forties, you’re still strong. And in your thirties, after all, you still aren’t your own person. They say you come into your own at thirty, but at thirty you’re still not ready. Yes, the latter part of your forties is the very best time.”

How robust was Kawai in his forties? In “Kawai Eijirō’s Life and Thought,”“Kawai Eijirō no shōgai to shisō,” in Shakaishisō kenkyūkai, ed., Kawai Eijirō: Denki to tsuisō, Tokyo: Shakaishisō kenkyūkai shuppanbu, 1948. Kimura Takeyasu writes the following:

In his youth Kawai was robustness incarnate. He was on the short side—5’2”, but he was congenitally sturdy. From his thirties on, he gradually gained weight—not fat but muscle; he appeared hard, rocklike. His complexion was ruddy, his eyebrows bushy; from behind large thick glasses for nearsightedness, his eyes gave off a penetrating gleam; his nose was high, his thin lips always set, determined.

From his thirties into his forties, he and others all acknowledged his good health: he almost never had to see a doctor; he didn’t even catch colds. In his thirties and forties, he led a very busy life—it defied description. He himself considered the daily life of a professor utterly irregular and normally worked through the night once or twice a week. Even on the other days, he normally went to bed at two or three in the morning. As a tradeoff, he was late getting up—nearly noon. Despite this extreme irregularity, he was never tired, and when he went to bed—even at dawn—he fell immediately into a deep sleep; even after two all-nighters in a row, his voracious appetite—he ate enough breakfast for two people—never suffered at all. So he had the utmost confidence in his own health, and although those around him urged him to take care of himself, he never listened.

Indeed, the young Kawai was filled with astonishing vigor. His disciple Inoki Masamichi says that if you don’t understand that, you simply don’t understand Kawai: “If you overlook Kawai’s robust physicality and the explosive vitality behind it, you absolutely can’t understand Kawai’s militant liberalism. On this point Kawai is much closer to Fichte than to Kant or Hegel. ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’RHM: English Standard Version (2001). The quotation is from 1 Peter 4:18, which is itself an elaboration on Proverbs 11:31. A difficult passage: “even the righteous” barely merit salvation, and the “evil” not at all.—that was Kawai’s stubborn belief. That’s why he scorned and despised timid people, those who won’t say clearly yes or no. Kawai never was serene, perfect; the fact that he was an active, imperfect, daimonic fighter rests first of all on this. Indeed, his appetite was daimonic; he ate two and a half pounds of beef in less than no time, virtually without chewing. Tangerines and the like—without even peeling them, he threw them down his throat the way a frog devours mosquitoes or flies.” Kawai’s daimonic appetite did not weaken even in later years after his health had broken down; in his diary for May 1942, he writes: “Took a walk; returned after an hour. Cutlet and rice, two bowls of noodles, two bowls of rice—even for me, a stomach-full.”

Journal of an Agonizing Struggle with Illness

Kawai was once the very picture of health, but beginning in the latter half of his forties, he suffered from diarrhea and other physical problems; it may have been brought on by the stress of the strife in the Faculty of Economics, which began at that time. From Kimura Takeyasu’s account: “After 1939, when he was chased out of the university, his physical problems began to be obvious even from the outside. The body that until then had been fatter than normal now was extremely thin; his suits hung on his frame. His cheeks sank, and the circles under his eyes grew dark; his hair turned white and thinned. Only his penetrating gaze reminded one, barely, of the old Kawai. After he appeared in court in his first trial, the press described him as ‘the haggard Professor Kawai,’ and he was displeased; but even if in spirit he was not at all haggard, in the flesh everyone could see he was indeed haggard. Because he appeared very languid in the trial of the appeal, Defense Counsel Unno finally had him admitted, half by force, to Keiō Hospital.” He was hospitalized for about ten days (May 1941), and in addition to diabetes, he was told his digestive track had been damaged. They said that was the cause of his lengthy bouts of diarrhea.

In the hospital they stopped the diarrhea and the rest, and for the time being he regained his health, but in early 1942 various physical ailments surfaced; he even had heart trouble. Notations that he wasn’t feeling well appear frequently in his diary:

May 5: Tried to take an afternoon nap but couldn’t sleep; perhaps because my stomach’s a bit off, I can’t be upbeat…I’d really like to be healthy.

May 31: Was supposed to leave for Ōmi today, but I didn’t feel well this morning, so I stayed in bed. Felt like not going out but decided to get up.

June 3: Felt very bad this morning; pulse racing. Utterly wretched.

June 4: This morning felt fine. If I’m like this, I’m back to normal. But when I weighed myself at the bath, I was astonished: 105 pounds! I once weighed 156!

June 8: This morning heart racing.

June 10: Supper long in coming, and I was very hungry…. Well, for the present, have to put health first. Before I entered the bath, my heart was racing.

June 12: I’ll note what I’ve noticed about my health. My digestion’s very good. But my torso is thinner, and my ribs show; when I sit, I get tired—is it because the bones of my seat are bare of flesh?

June 18: Last night pulse very high; this morning, too; so didn’t go to St. Luke’s Hospital this morning and spent the morning in bed.

Feeling that his pulse was abnormal, he had himself checked at St. Luke’s, but they said there was nothing wrong with his heart. His lungs, too, were okay, and there wasn’t any protein or sugar in his urine, so they said they thought it was nervous exhaustion. So he stopped worrying. But in fact it wasn’t normal.

In his year-end “Recollections of 1942,” he wrote: “Tsurumi Yūsuke was concerned, so I had Dr. Takemi Tarō check me out and learned I have Graves’ disease. Now that I think about it, it probably started seven or eight years ago. Once I knew and was being treated for it, I improved gradually, and after Karuizawa I was almost better. I am thin, and my face is gaunt, but my life is no longer in danger.”

“I’ll Become a Doer,” Not a Pundit

Tsurumi Yūsuke, famous author and politician, was five years older than Kawai, and he and Kawai were both on the Debate Team at the old First Higher School. The Debate Team had particularly strong ties across classes, and from student days on, Kawai was very close to Tsurumi; the friendship had deepened during Kawai’s time in New York for the Ministry of Agriculture and in his Tōdai professorial days in Europe, and they were close all their lives. Because of this close friendship, Tsurumi knows best how energetic Kawai was. For example, in New York in 1918:Tsurumi, “Kōyū sanjūsannen,” in Denki to tsuisō.

Kawai’s modus operandi after he got to New York was a wonder to behold. He had made preparations in Baltimore, so he had made up his mind, scientifically as always, who he would meet and just what he would see in New York. As always, he had importuned Americans quite brazenly for interviews.

Day after day he met people, had appointments with them and ate with them, exchanged opinions, collected material. His productivity back in Japan was the fruit of this hectic activity in New York.

But at the time I was its victim. Kawai had unbounded energy and absolutely never took into account that his companion might be sleepy. On the way back after finishing the day’s activities, he often dropped by my hotel to talk. This was after his evening appointments, so it was at least eleven p.m. and sometimes twelve; for a couple hours thereafter he’d report on the day’s activities, then leave.

Or in Berlin in 1932:

I had lost my seat in the election of 1931 and was traveling abroad, so the next year but one I went to Berlin, and Kawai came to visit. And the upshot was that he insisted on teaching me social policy, and he barged in on me every day, like a tutor, and lectured me completely and eloquently on everything in his 1931 book Principles of Social Policy. He taught me a year’s university course in barely one week. One time it lasted from eleven in the morning to eleven at night…

And when the lecture ended, he’d say, “Let’s take a walk,” and urging me on, he’d set out for a cafe. Drinking coffee late into the night, Kawai would carry on a cheerful conversation. When that ended and we left the café, he’d say, “It’s still early, so how about a walk?” and we’d walk up and down Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm. The summer dawn came at three or four, and when the sky began to brighten, he’d say, “Well, let’s go home and turn in,” and we’d come to the road on which he lived, and he’d go.

I too was pretty strong and self-confident, but those nights with Kawai about did me in. His ability to do all-nighters was astonishing. When he wrote manuscripts, he had the energy to write all night and produce 20,000 words. That resulted in an over-confidence in his own constitution and finally, I think, led that healthy person to an early death.

Kawai was a person of unlimited energies, but these episodes indicate that he was also astonishingly egotistical. Indeed, once he made up his mind, he took absolutely no account of the convenience of others and would push and push and push. In “The Latter Days of Professor Kawai,”“Bannen no sensei,” in Shōgai to tsuisō. Ishigami Ryōhei writes of the following episode: “One evening I got a phone call from Professor Kawai, so I went to see him right away, and he immediately broached the subject of marriage. ‘Please marry Miss X. If you agree, I’ll send a telegram tonight, and I’ll set off tomorrow to make the arrangements.’ The woman was a complete stranger to me, and there were only two hours left until he’d send the telegram; astonished at Kawai’s proposal, or aghast, I was in a bind. So I spoke of my current situation and argued heart and soul that I absolutely couldn’t accede to his proposal; but Kawai set forth ardently the benefits of marrying this woman and urged me to agree. I got angry and argued back.”

Marriage isn’t something to be decided on so simply. In the end, Ishigami held firm, and he learned later that at precisely that time the woman in question had agreed to marry someone else. Had Ishigami said yes, Kawai would have been in a real fix. After introducing this episode, Ishigami says, “It was both Kawai’s strength and his weakness that once he got an idea, he pushed it to the limit and couldn’t rest until he had convinced the other person.” Indeed, Kawai’s life was studded with tragicomedies that stemmed from this fierceness of conviction.

To return to my story, Tsurumi, who knew Kawai well at the peak of his energies, met Kawai again in 1942 after a long interval and was shocked at how he had changed: “A scant year before his death, I received a visit from Kawai, the first in a long while, and I was stunned by how his appearance had changed. I thought: this isn’t normal. And I urged him, then accompanied him, to see a doctor I trusted. That exam was quite different from the examinations the other doctors had made. Before, they’d told him it was nervous exhaustion. But from Dr. Takemi’s examination, Kawai learned he had Graves’ disease, without doubt. As a result of that treatment, his appetite increased, he slept better, and he gained weight. I thought he’d soon be completely well.”

Indeed, the fact that Kawai had Graves’ disease explains it all: his limitless energy, his fearsome ability to get things done, his stunning intellectual productivity, the fierceness of his convictions, his extraordinary appetite. In Graves’ disease the body produces too much thyroid hormone (which governs one’s level of mental and physical activity), causing both body and mind to become hyperactive. So the person is able to be several times more active than normal people, but at the cost of metabolism several times higher than normal. Hence he eats several times more than the normal person.

According to the doctor’s explanation, this condition is as if a steam locomotive’s firebox always got several times the normal amount of coal and ran continually at top speed: at some point, something inside will break down. When that breakdown hits the heart, the result is a fatal heart attack induced by Graves’ disease. Dr. Takemi, who was an expert on the circulatory system, would have encountered many patients of that type, so he was able to diagnose it on the spot. But the average internist of the time didn’t know much about Graves’ disease. In addition, today’s exam techniques hadn’t been developed (doctors today can tell immediately from blood and urine tests). And if there was any doubt, it was hard to add tests to confirm the diagnosis. And if there were symptoms of other diseases, there was a strong likelihood of incorrect diagnosis, as had happened with the doctors at St. Luke’s.

Be that as it may, once Dr. Takemi diagnosed Graves’ disease, he likely prescribed rest (both physical and mental), but that is what Kawai was least able to stick to. Tsurumi writes: “In February 1944, hearing suddenly of his death, I simply didn’t believe my ears. I couldn’t grasp it. But later I learned that secretly he went against his doctor’s admonition and neglected his health. Dr. Takemi had warned him not to work too hard, yet spurred on by his burning love of learning, he continued down the earlier path of monastic diligence and finally collapsed amid his books.”Tsurumi, “Kōyū sanjūsannen,” in Denki to tsuisō.

“Monastic diligence”? Kimura writes of his habits:“Kawai Eijirō no shōgai to shisō.” “After the pace of the trial slowed, rather than relax, he began to study even more fiercely, shutting himself up in his study at least ten hours a day, reading and thinking and writing, absorbed, not taking a moment’s rest. His mind was so absorbed in scholarship that quiet times with his family stopped, too; even at mealtime he was elsewhere, and if his wife or son spoke to him, he responded off the point. It was above all the attitude of one utterly in thrall to the scholarly muse. When those around him, concerned, advised rest, he responded that of course he’d take care from then on; but if the admonition became persistent, Kawai, who normally didn’t exhibit strong emotions at home, would burst out in unexpectedly harsh language: he knew full well how bad overwork had been for his health, but in his own present life, scholarship was his sole raison d’être, and if scholarship were forbidden him, he’d rather die.”

Kawai’s death, a heart attack brought on by Graves’ disease, was truly sudden. At the time, those disciples who looked up to Kawai as their life-long teacher gathered twice a month in the Kawai home for a study group, the Blue Sky Club. The participants were a core group of those in Tokyo whose names have already come up many times—Kimura, Tsuchiya, Inoki, Seki Yoshihiko, Ishigami Ryōhei, Shiojiri Kōmei—plus disciples from outside Tokyo who appeared periodically: dozens of people in all. “The meetings began with one person giving a paper, and then discussion focused on the paper; Kawai himself read papers on such topics as Kant, the philosophy of Nishida, and idealism. He was always at the center of the discussion, and in the company of his young disciples, he usually spoke in a loud voice and discussed vigorously. When the discussion was over, the topic moved to genial chatter. Tsuchida Kiyoshi, who as a reporter for the Asahi was up on the news of the day—the war and politics and economics, joined in and presented the latest news, and so the whole group learned in concrete detail about war advances and retreats and the urgency of Japan’s crisis, and they grew more deeply anxious. Based on Tsuchiya’s reports, Professor Kawai knew what was going on, added his harsh criticism of the crisis, and often let slip insightful opinions. But no matter how worth hearing Professor Kawai’s opinions were, he couldn’t carry them one step outside his study, the meeting place of the Blue Sky Club.” (At the time Kawai’s movements were under surveillance by the Special Police.)“Kawai Eijirō no shōgai to shisō.” The meetings of Kawai and his disciples, centering on the Blue Sky Club, continued without interruption all through the trial and through the war, but because his death came so suddenly, none of his chief disciples was present when he died.

“Turn the Radio Off!”

Those present when Kawai died were his family and Yoshida Shōgo, a Tōdai graduate who happened to be visiting at the time. A paymaster captain on short-term duty with the Navy, Yoshida was about to get married and had invited Kawai to be guest of honor at his wedding. That night they were consulting on the arrangements. Yoshida writes of his memory of that day:“Gosaigo no yoru,” Zenshū XV, Gappō 5.

As always, Kawai had a calm face and smiled and asked this and that about my recent doings. Immediately I noticed that he had become gaunt, cheeks sunken, somehow lifeless, so when I asked, anxiously, he replied, “I’ve not been well since returning from Hakone.” … It seemed he had not recovered entirely from Graves’ disease.

Kawai said he was listless but thought it was beriberi; then we talked of the shortage of food, the war, and the air raids…. Eventually we turned to the issue of my wedding, the main subject of the day, and I answered Kawai’s shrewd questions. …

Suddenly: “Ah, I feel ill.” Then: “Excuse me a moment.” He stood up and left the room. Shocked at the unexpected development, I could hear his voice from the other room: “Spread out my bedding! Turn off the radio!” Then a long silence and a period of uneasiness!

Some time later I heard his wife’s voice phoning urgently. Right after that, suddenly, impossibly, Kawai’s screams struck my ear. I jumped up, in a rush, and ran out to find a doctor. … When I returned from seeking a doctor, it was only to confirm futilely that there was no need for a doctor.

Tsurumi continues the earlier passage about learning of Kawai’s death this way: “It was a great regret for me. Because if he had been a bit more prudent, had shown more restraint with his scholarship, today [1948] he could have been enormously active as one of the great leaders of a Japan in disarray.” Tsurumi says this because he knows well that Kawai’s secret ambition lay in that direction. In May 1919, on Kawai’s return to Japan, Tsurumi spoke these words to Kawai: “You can become a Bentham or an Edmund Burke. Coming back to Japan, please work hard and achieve greatness.” Tsurumi meant a first-rate scholar or critic, but his words didn’t sit well with Kawai. Tsurumi writes:

Kawai looked greatly displeased: “I will become a man of action.” He wouldn’t become a critic like Edmund Burke. I think he meant an actual politician like Gladstone or Wilson.”

That was Kawai’s mindset at the time. After returning to Japan, he created Japan’s first labor law bureau and took over its operation himself, and in the future as a politician who held that progressive stance, he’d fight for the welfare of the Japanese masses. He burned with such sky-high ambition. So when he finally set sail from Seattle, he sent me a letter and spat out this fierce fighting spirit: “I have the feeling Japan is waiting for me.” Those were brave and tragic words.“Kōyū sanjūsannen.”

“Japan Will Lose Taiwan and the Ryūkyūs, Too”

At the time, Kawai burned with ambition. But things didn’t work out the way he expected. Returning to Japan, Kawai immediately clashed with his superior at the Ministry of Agriculture and, after publishing his letter of resignation in the press, left government employ and sought his next arena of activity in the academic world. His first attempt to become a man of action foundered, but after his time as university professor, Kawai dreamed once again of becoming a doer. He was chased from the university in the Hiraga Purge, hauled before the court in the publication ban incident, and even barred from publishing his ideas. Yet despite all this, Kawai’s spirits were high. Why? Because Kawai clearly anticipated Japan’s defeat in the war and foresaw that his own debut would come in the great social unrest that would occur after the defeat.

In “Militant Liberal,”“Riberarisuto-miritanto,” in Kawai Eijirō denki to tsuisō (Tokyo: Shakai shisō kenkyūkai shuppanbu, 1948). Inoki Masamichi’s memoir of Kawai, there’s the following: “At the time the China-Japan War broke out in July 1937, Kawai intuited that the worst had come and foresaw long ahead of time the situation we face today [1948]. In the very midst of the North China operation, for reasons of his own, he inspected the battlefield. I think the militant spirit inside him wouldn’t let him rest. At the Industrial Club in January 1938, right after returning from North China, he gave a speech on the crisis. In it, he alarmed the roomful of entrepreneurs by saying, ‘As a result of this war Japan will lose Manchuria and Korea, of course, but also Taiwan and the Ryūkyūs.’ I still remember how shocked I was on hearing this from my uncle, who was in the audience. My uncle said, ‘Those in the audience thought, “Kawai really goes to extremes. Most university professors don’t go to extremes but generally wind up just about right. Kawai’s liberalism is dangerous thought—it preaches extremes and confuses people.” So much for ‘winding up just about right’! Seven and a half years later, everyone knew that Japan had tumbled into the pit of hell, just as Kawai had predicted.” It was a shock that at that time in the Industrial Club, the very summit of Japanese capitalism, anyone said openly anything so bold.

This speech’s lead was that “As a result of this China-Japan War, Japan will plunge into war with Great Britain and the United States;” it made clear his view that war with Great Britain and the United States was inevitable.Inoki, Kaisetsu,” Vol. 14 of Kawai’s Zenshū. Kawai’s Appeal to the Nation was printed and bound before being banned by pre-publication censorship. In the page proofs included in the Collected Works, there is the following clear statement: “The fate that is impelling us onward a step at a time is a danger truly unprecedented in Japanese history. … The world conditions surrounding Japan, I feel, have already driven Japan into an inescapable dilemma. … In today’s Japan, there are two roads ahead, and only two. What are they? The first is the fate of Germany in the fall of 1918.” Kawai explains in detail the result after World War I, when Germany accepted defeat and signed the Versailles Treaty: “Its territory was lopped off on all sides,” and it was also made to pay astronomical reparations. Even if all the German people sweated for decades, they could not pay the reparations, and Germany fell into a state from which it couldn’t recover. Kawai writes: “We must not think of the fate of Germany after the last Great War as if, like a fire on a distant shore, it bears no relation to us. … Japan took the first step in the Manchurian Incident of 1931, the second step in the China Incident [1937], and the third step with the German-Italian-Japanese military alliance [1940].” If you conclude an alliance such as this with one side in Europe in the midst of a hot war already under way, “in the eyes of England and the United States, Japan is no different from Germany in the last Great War, and they clearly see Japan as a disturber of world peace. … From the point of view of the Japanese people, we are not yet fighting Great Britain and the United States as enemies, but Great Britain and the United States already consider Japan an enemy country and psychologically are at war with Japan.”

Asking what it means “to be at war with Great Britain and the United States,” he writes of the time in 1918 when he himself visited the United States and remembers witnessing with his own eyes as President Wilson on a large stage addressed a great crowd: “All of the several thousand in the audience wept and sobbed. … He was a leader not only politically but also morally. As I watched that scene, I thought, ‘There may come a time when this country and my native Japan go to war, and at such a time it will not be easy to have this leader and this crowd as enemy.’”

Kawai wrote the same thing he’d said in his talk at the Industrial Club: in the end, launching the China Incident had set Japan on the fateful path to unavoidable war with Great Britain and the United States. If you start war with a country like the United States, it’s wholly unwinnable. Ultimately, Japan will lose all its overseas territories and be driven into national bankruptcy. When we think of what actually happened thereafter, we needn’t explain that it all happened as Kawai predicted. Kawai had a shockingly acute eye.

Looking Ahead to Post-war Activity

The speech before the Industrial Club was bold, but he said even bolder things in private. For example, his widow Kuniko writes,“Otto: Kawai Eijirō,” Chūō kōron, Jan. 1950. “He never said anything hopeful about the trial; only once—I can’t remember when—he said, ‘I hope the verdict is innocent; if not, I hope for a jail sentence, the longer the better.’ When I asked him why, he answered, ‘After the war Japan will be in major disarray, so the longer my sentence now, the greater my voice then.’”

In fact, he said the same sort of thing more clearly to his disciples. For example, Seki Yoshihiko writes:“Onshi Kawai-sensei,” in Denki to tsuisō. “When I was about to leave for active duty on Borneo, thinking I might not see him again, I went to Professor Kawai’s house to take my leave, and he said something to the effect that I shouldn’t worry about Japan after the war because he would work to the best of his ability…. He foresaw the end of the war. He told of his thought after the verdict at the court of appeals: ‘I believe I’m innocent, but if I’m found guilty, I hope for imprisonment, not a fine. The harsher the sentence, the more weight my words will have after the war when I speak to foreign countries.’ Because I kept these words in mind, I wasn’t worried when I went off.

“There hasn’t been a day since I was demobilized that I haven’t thought, ‘If Kawai were alive today….’ If he were alive today, we can imagine from the above comment, he wouldn’t simply have returned to the university but would have been active politically. But at the same time I have the feeling that today too he’d have had bad things said about him and might be surprisingly unwelcome in Japanese society.”

It’s fascinating to speculate: what if Kawai had lived into the postwar years? People have given various answers to that question. Many think he’d surely have gone into politics. Fundamentally, Kawai’s political ideology was socialism of the non-Marxist stripe—in other words, European-style socialism. So in terms of the existing political parties that arose in postwar Japan, he’d be right Socialist or close to the Democratic Socialist Party (perhaps today’s Democratic Party). Kawakami Jōtarō, long-time postwar leader of the Socialist Party, was a close friend who at First Higher School belonged to the Speech Club with Kawai, and his son Kawakami Tamio attests that he let slip before he died, “Had Kawai lived into the postwar years, he might have become chairman of the Socialist Party.”

Had he lived and gone into politics, isn’t it likely that his fearsome vitality would have altered the postwar political scene greatly? As is well known, in the political world right after the war, the Marxists regained all their power, and among political party factions, the Communist Party and left Socialist Party saw their strength surge, but the right Socialist Party didn’t flourish. The right Socialist Party had no true leaders, and the base of the right Socialist Party was the ridiculous labor union leaders of the prewar era—the “corrupt” bunch—and the politicians’ organizations of establishment socialists with links to those labor union leaders; their image was very bad. It paled in comparison with that of the Communist Party group who had spent eighteen years in jail and the Socialist Party’s Popular Front group that burned with indomitable spirit and fought gamely.

When it came to comparing favorably with the group that had spent eighteen years in prison, there was no one among the socialists who measured up to Kawai—well-known and burning with fighting spirit. Had Kawai set out into the political world, he would have burnished his resume of struggle and wielded to the full his gift for political action, his fighting spirit, his vitality, his logical ability, his tactical ability and immediately become a political leader beyond compare among the socialists. There is even the possibility that in 1947, in the political developments at the time the Katayama Cabinet came into existence, there might have been a Kawai Cabinet instead.

Warning Against a Revival of Marxism

In Appeal to the Nation, one of the political developments Kawai predicted as possible in the Japanese political world after the war’s end was the rebirth and expansion of the Marxists. In Germany after World War I, the Communist Party rose in revolt, the German Revolution took place, and Imperial Germany was upended. The same thing was likely to happen in Japan—Japan’s Communist revolution and the overthrow of the emperor. That development was what he most cautioned about in postwar Japan, so he argued that steps must be taken now to prepare against that eventuality. If you think of political developments right after the war, this again was right on the money. In 1950 when the Cominform criticized the Japan Communist Party’s path of peaceful revolution, the mainstream of the Communist Party turned to armed revolution, and secret organizations were created to prepare for armed struggle; many young men dreamed of revolution and joined.

What should one do in a chaotic era? Kawai had considered that early on. I wrote above about how he gathered his disciples and formed the seminar, Blue Sky Club; part of the background seems to have been that Kawai wanted to use that group to launch himself into politics. Tsuchiya Kiyoshi writes of the Blue Sky Club:“Kokō rinzen taru bannen,” in Denki to Tsuisō. “It was Kawai who named our group Blue Sky. It was the symbolism of the Young Japan Party, and in Kawai’s mind, undoubtedly, there floated the image of Disraeli of years past standing at the head of the Young England Party. In notes left out on a shelf at the time of his sudden death, he had written of his hopes for a single great people’s movement: ‘I’d like to embark on work that would give full rein to my own powers—careful planning, decisive action, true insight.’ This too hints at Kawai’s frame of mind toward the postwar disarray. Of course, there’s no way of knowing what sort of plan that would have been. But had the torch of Kawai’s idealism, liberalism, and individualism been held high, it surely would have evoked a sympathetic reaction in the great hopes of the young people who shouldered the reconstruction of the homeland. What an enormous loss his death was for advancing democratic revolution!” When no one else was thinking realistically of Japan’s defeat, Kawai had already thought ahead to how to shape political conditions after the war. For that reason Kawai had even calculated that losing in court and being sentenced was an advantage. If you think of how much respect the Communist Party headquarters group garnered after the war on emerging from their eighteen years in prison, this calculation was surely accurate.

Tsuchiya writes: “Early on, Kawai foresaw the outcome of the Pacific War. And he embraced for himself a keen sense of post-defeat mission. For the four or five years he was banned from the university, his world was restricted to the narrow confines of his study and the occasional trip, and as for contact with people, our meetings of the Blue Sky Club of disciples were virtually it. But in the midst of this, Kawai never lost his deep interest in reality, and his judgment and insight were extremely accurate. In June, 1943 the sentence of fine was confirmed at the grand court of appeal, and with the death of Admiral Yamamoto (April 1943) and the Japanese withdrawal from Attu and Kiska (May 1943), the war situation was worsening by degrees. Concern showing on his face, Kawai said, ‘The war’s already lost. I believe I’m absolutely innocent. But if I’m found guilty, it’s better if it’s several years of hard labor than if it’s a fine. Because in the future, when Japan has lost, if I’ve been sentenced harshly by the military and the authoritarian government, my voice will be that much more effective in pleading Japan’s case to the Allied Powers—they’ll pay more attention to me.’ At the time, I didn’t understand what Kawai was saying, but now when we really need a politician of vast intelligence and strong convictions able to recover Japan’s independence in today’s fierce international standoff, I feel keenly for the first time what Kawai must have been thinking.” Had Kawai’s calculation been entirely on the mark, today’s Japan might have become a European-style socialist country. Kawai had so much potential that even that possibility seems conceivable.


Hiraga’s Tōdai: Flourishing under the Wartime Order

In which the author explains his decision to make August 15, 1945 the end point of his series and explores the other—patriotic—side of Hiraga’s Tōdai: how it flourished during the war. He contrasts the tragic fate of liberal arts students with the far happier future of students in science and engineering and describes Tōdai’s role in the military-industrial complex—budget, courses, military presence on campus. He quotes from the patriotic speeches Hiraga himself gave to the students. The author concludes with consideration of Listen to the Voices from the Sea, the classic collection of writings of student-soldiers, and thoughts on the falsification of history.


My Own End Point: August 15

For some time I’ve planned to make August 15, 1945 the end point of this series. But I’m writing non-sequentially, so in terms of content, I’ve already made it to August 15 a number of times. This is a people-centered history, and when I was writing about Ōuchi or Hiraizumi or the other currents, I extended my remarks into the postwar era. From long ago, from my youth, I’d harbored the greatest doubts about how the war began and how it ended. On August 15, 1945, I was five years old, and I’ve virtually no memory of what it meant, but I do remember clearly a strange scene: many adults gathered in the Japanese quarter in Beijing, sitting in rows of chairs, listening intently, in stony silence, to a voice on the radio.

Of course, there are perfunctory explanations from many quarters about the causes of the war, and I’ve read a good many of them. None of them quite convinced me. But when, in writing this series, I came to think I pretty much understood, the resolution formed in my mind to stop with August 15. If I’ve gone back and forth in time while writing about Tōdai during the war, it wasn’t because the endpoint wasn’t clear; rather, I’ve been like an airplane circling lazily over a prospective landing site, checking out the topography.

Tokyo Imperial University and the Postwar Tōdai

Why do I place such importance on August 15? Because on that day Japan changed fundamentally. Japan took the official stance that it accepted the Potsdam Declaration on condition that the kokutai be maintained (this was the Japanese side’s understanding; the U.S. side’s understanding is another issue), but that is a formalistic argument. Japan’s kokutai changed fundamentally.

In Japan before August 15, only the emperor possessed absolutely free will. For the rest, all Japanese were subjects absolutely obedient to the emperor. Japan was a country that had only emperor and subjects. According to Uesugi Shinkichi,Kokutai seika no hatsuyō (Tokyo: Rakuyōdō, 1919). the emperor’s absolute control was Japan’s kokutai:

This was the essence of Japan’s kokutai. The emperor alone possessed free will; the people had absolutely none. They could only obey.

But once Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration, the will of that absolute emperor became “subject to” SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General Douglas MacArthur), so Japan’s kokutai changed fundamentally. After that day, both the emperor and the Japanese government had to obey all the many orders MacArthur issued. At the same time, the structure of Japan after the Occupation ended was to be decided by the will of the entire Japanese people, freely expressed (as was explicit in the Potsdam Declaration). From a land in which the emperor alone was sovereign, Japan became a “democratic” country in which the will of the entire people ruled. This was a fundamental change in the kokutai.

Such fundamental structural change had taken place only a very few times in all of Japanese history—when in ancient times the clan system first gave rise to an emperor system, or when the Kamakura shogunate arose and control by court nobles changed to control by samurai clans. In modern times the only comparable change is the Meiji Restoration. In 1868, the return to imperial government meant that the curtain fell on the seven hundred years of samurai rule since the Kamakura shogunate, and an era began of pseudo-ancient direct imperial rule. With the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution in 1889, the quasi-ancient emperor state at one leap became a modern constitutional state, the Great Empire of Japan.

In 1945 the curtain fell on this Great Empire of Japan. When the Great Empire of Japan disappeared, the imperial university disappeared with it. Tōdai changed from the old Tokyo Imperial University to the new Tokyo University and continues to exist to this day, but between the two lies a huge discontinuity in structure and in personnel. Between the old Teidai and the new Tōdai, the very raison d’être of the university is different. In the imperial university, the raison d’être of the university was clearly stated in the Imperial University Act: to conduct research “crucial to the state” and educate human talent crucial to the state. The university existed for the sake of the state (the empire).

But for the new university under the new constitution, the education of human talent for the sake of the state is not the primary goal. That is only secondary. The university exists primarily for the sake of individuals who wish to receive an education. The old university was an educational organ the emperor had established for the glory of the empire, to fulfill the needs of the empire; the new university is an educational service organ created to fulfill the desire, based on Article 26 of the Constitution, that the people have the “right to receive an education correspondent to their abilities.” It exists primarily to fulfill the educational desires—for a course of study, for research—of the students who pass the entrance exam and matriculate; it is not an educational organ the state created with the primary object of advancing a state good.

Again, according to Article 23 of the Constitution, “Academic freedom is guaranteed” faculty who teach students; “freedom of study,” “freedom to publish scholarly theory,” “freedom to teach,” “freedom [of students] to be taught” are guaranteed one hundred percent. Hence, the great prewar collisions between state and university that arose again and again over academic freedom—the subject of this book—no longer arise. August 15, 1945 is indeed the end of the Meiji state. It is fitting that this series, too, which began with the making of the Meiji state, end in 1945.

Emperor and University

In retrospect, one of the protagonists in this series was Tōdai, and another was the emperor. When I say the emperor was a protagonist, I’m talking not about individual emperors—Meiji, Taishō—but about emperor as system, emperor as kokutai. In order to underline that relation, the title of this book is Emperor and Tōdai.RHM: The title of Tachibana’s Bungei shunjū series that became the book The Emperor and Tōdai was “My Tōdai” (“Watakushi no Tōdai”).

The Meiji state was in essence an extreme emperor-centered state. Collisions between Tōdai and the state, too, arose solely about issues of the emperor (kokutai). “Revere the emperor” was the central ideology of the Meiji Restoration. Its basic idea was to return the fundamental structure of the state from samurai politics centered on the shogunate to direct imperial rule, as in ancient times. The 1868 proclamation of the restoration of imperial rule epitomized this court coup d’état. In this sense, the Meiji state was born with emperor as ideological backbone, and with the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution, a country emerged that institutionalized that ideology.

This was the emperor system, modern Japan’s kokutai that held fast until 1945. In Japan before World War II, the contradictions involved in the emperor system erupted time and time again on kokutai issues. Finally, in the guise of the movement to clarify the kokutai, and as if they had carried out a virtually bloodless coup d’etat, emperor-centered people more radical than the emperor (the right-wing ultranationalist extremists) created a structure that controlled politics, the social structure, and national sentiment. After the China War and in conjunction with the military, they created a totally mobilized state. This was Japanese fascism under military leadership.

In the era of Taishō democracy, the modern constitutional aspect of the Meiji state had progressed to the point of cabinets formed by the political parties. But it died in mid-course: the May 15 Incident was the end of party cabinets. The kokutai was changed once again, temporarily. Via the right of supreme command in the express provision of the Meiji Constitution, the emperor should have had absolute control over the military. But the military ran amok time after time—the Manchurian Incident, May 15, February 26, the China War—and was beyond control by the emperor. Running amok bred running amok; in the end, it led to the declaration of war against England and the U.S. In deciding to end the war (by using his right of command over the military), the emperor recouped his ability to control affairs. Until that imperial decision, the fundamental structure of Japanese politics reverted from direct imperial rule to an age of samurai government by a shogunate—the army. If we set the beginning of the army’s running amok at the Manchurian Incident, this period lasted fourteen years. Incidents symbolizing this era of rapid change arose repeatedly with the university as stage. These were academic freedom issues that pitted state against university; in a sense, it was inevitable that this series of events arose in this era. The university is the modern element of the Meiji state, and the state order that tried to turn back the clock rejected the university.

Why did the Meiji state create universities? The goal of the Meiji state in its early period was to advance the creation of “a modern state as quickly as possible that will be able to treat with the advanced countries of Europe on an equal basis.” The university was an educational organ to import all knowledge and technology necessary to that goal and to teach them to the Japanese people; moreover, it was also an organ to nourish the human talent to enable Japan constantly to replicate and to develop that knowledge and technology in Japan.

In the case of Japanese universities, not only was the university system itself an import, but the knowledge and technology taught there were entirely imported (including the fields of arts and letters—law, economics, philosophy, literature, history). The university tended to be an emporium, a general store, for imported “Western knowledge.” “Western knowledge” was half of the early Meiji slogan of civilization and enlightenment—“Japanese spirit, Western knowledge.” The “Japanese spirit” part was not integrated smoothly into the university curriculum, which focused on “Western knowledge;” except for Japanese history and Japanese literature, it was as good as missing. The right-wing ultranationalist folks harbored great dissatisfaction with this state of affairs in the university, and from the early Meiji era on, they sought university reform. As basis for their argument, they invoked repeatedly the unhappiness the Meiji emperor let slip when he made his inspection of Tōdai in 1900: don’t teach only disciplines infected by the West; teach more about Japan and Japanese culture.

Despite the right-wing attack, the university’s focus on Western civilization in actual instruction changed not at all. But the right wing deployed political power to try to change it by force. The first confrontation was the incident of 1881 involving the suppression of New Theory of the Kokutai, by Katō Hiroyuki, first president of Tōdai. The argument at the time over what Japan’s true kokutai was and what it should be developed in grander form in the Emperor-Organ Incident of 1936. In the 1881 incident, Katō bowed to pressure and let the book go out of print, but the structure of the university itself changed virtually not at all. The content of textbooks did change, in virtually token ways; the fundamental structure of university education was left untouched.

But the ultranationalist people, represented by Minoda Muneki, were just as dissatisfied, and the sparks that caused that dissatisfaction to explode were the Takigawa Incident at Kyoto University and the Emperor-Organ Incident at Tōdai. This time their political power threw the university for a loop and furthered their ideas. After the Emperor-Organ Incident, the attacks of the right-wing national-essence people became an across-the-board assault, and all Tōdai professors with left-wing or liberal tendencies came under attack. In the face of this attack, the university retreated and then retreated some more. The tide of the times swung, and Japan fell under the control of the extreme right wing and the military.

The Grim Fate of Liberal Arts Students

Here I’ll say a bit more about the relation between Tōdai and the war. Many people have this image of the wartime university: that the campus fires went out when students were mobilized and left for the front. But at Tōdai, no matter what the fate of the liberal arts students, that was not true of the students of the sciences and, in particular, engineering. In a sense, Tōdai flourished as never before in its history. In fact, no solid research has been done concerning the actual state of mobilization and call-up at Tōdai. Basic information—how many students were mobilized, who died in battle—is not readily available.

The “departure of the students for the front” was in fact merely the end of the student deferment system, so students returned to their hometowns and took their physicals. If they passed, they were called to the colors immediately, to designated units, and sent to the front or to other places of duty. (Their status as students did not lapse; they were treated automatically as being on leave.) In essence, the students whose deferments were ended reverted to the status of individuals of draft age and faced the military as loyal subjects. In bureaucratic terms, there was no provision for the university to intervene for them, so there are no university records to indicate their subsequent fate.

But that situation was not acceptable, so for the first time beginning in 1993, on the 50th anniversary of the call-up of students, a five-year inquiry was conducted, and its results became the huge tome, Tōdai’s Student Call-up and Student-Soldiers.Tōkyō daigaku no gakuto dōin, gakuto shutsujin (Tokyo: Tōdai shuppanbu, 1998). This volume contains all the available data, but since so much time had elapsed, there was nothing to do about missing records; as the editors state time and time again, the study was not necessarily satisfactory.

To  cite a few noteworthy statistics from this volume, the call-up of students tilted overwhelmingly against students of the liberal arts. In August 1944 the student enrolment was 8,798, of whom 3,157 had their deferments rescinded and entered the military. Listed in numerical order by faculty, here is the result (the figures in parentheses give the ratio of those called up to the total number of students in that faculty):

Law: 1,433 (66.8%)
Economics: 846 (70.91%)
Letters: 648 (54.96%)
Agriculture: 162 (25.71%)
Engineering: 32 (2.49%)
Engineering II: 17 (1.34%)
Physical Sciences: 12 (2.6%)
Medicine: 7 (1.7%)

Those sent to the battlefield came overwhelming from the liberal arts; science students had their deferments continued and overwhelmingly remained in Japan proper. (Of course, science students too were forced to cooperate in the war in various ways—as mobilized labor, mobilized scientists, mobilized researchers.) In war deaths, too, the liberal arts students formed the overwhelming majority. Of 1,307 student war-dead, 937 were liberal arts students.

Why this heavy tilt to liberal arts students? As the war progressed, it became clear that there were far too few technicians in Japan to support military production, so to the extent possible, science students were protected for future use. How inadequate were the human resources? Even in 1939 there were 90,000 job openings for 12,000 new graduates; thereafter, free choice for businesses was outlawed, and under the mobilization law, the future of new grads was entirely under state control. Given this situation, young scientists were left virtually untouched despite the war. That the Japanese economy was able to rebound rapidly after passing through the immediate postwar economic confusion owed greatly to the activities of this technical manpower that had been left untouched.

By contrast, the fate that awaited the liberal arts students sent to the front was harsh and tragic. Not only were there many war dead, but most of them died as members of special attack units. Special attack raids began formally in the battle of Leyte in October 1944, one year after the call-up of students; the loss rate was extraordinarily high, so the units had to be replenished constantly. So to a shocking extent the special attack soldiers were made up of those given accelerated training. The called-up students were best suited for accelerated training.

Here is the explanation from the Tōdai volume: “First was practice in take-off and landing, and for the individual trainee there was a total of about thirty minutes a day in the pilot’s seat; virtually all soloed, the quick ones within one week, the slower ones within two weeks…. Both Army and Navy pinned their hopes on minds flexible enough to hold up under such frighteningly fast training and accustomed to abstract thinking; higher-school grads qualified and were trained as pilots.” In The Call-up of Students Ninagawa Jukei writes: “The one-way pilots of the special unit raids are calculated at 1,316 in the Army, 2,033 in the Navy—a total of 3,349; 40% were officers. Of the 632 Army officers, about 70% (449) were military cadets and pilot cadets; of the 769 Naval officers about 85% (655) were naval cadets or called-up students.”Gakuto shutsujin: sensō to seishun (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1998). The figures demonstrate how many called-up students served in the special-attack units.

Thus, the university’s liberal arts students were sent to the front and died in large numbers; by contrast, science students increased in number. In particular, in order to address the shortfall of technicians, Engineering II was established at Tōdai specifically to train technicians for the war. That faculty was established from scratch, engineering courses increased in number, and student numbers jumped. The Tōdai volume depicts Tōdai at the end of the war as follows: “In 1944 new-student enrolments were: Law 654, Medicine 199, Engineering I 509, Engineering II 421, Literature 360, Sciences 196, Agriculture 224, Economics 404—a grand total of 2,957 students. Compared with earlier figures, there was no decline. Those actually on campus in 1945 numbered 12,131. Insofar as concerns the structure of the university, its organization, and its numbers, Tokyo Imperial University did not contract during the war; it expanded steadily.”

The Wartime Structure President Hiraga Created

The man who expanded Tōdai so rapidly during the war, focusing on the sciences and engineering, was President Hiraga of the Hiraga Purge. Hatano Isamu’s The Modern Japanese Military-Industrial-University ComplexKindai Nihon no gun-san-gaku fukugōtai (Tokyo: Sōbunsha, 2005). is a major work that makes full use of Tōdai’s vast “Hiraga archive” (donated by Hiraga’s surviving family and others and totaling some twenty large cardboard cartons), and it depicts in detail how great a role Hiraga played in Tōdai’s wartime expansion. Hiraga is most famous as naval architect—“Battleship god”—and as the president of the Hiraga Purge, who dealt with the chronic strife in the Faculty of Economics by taking decisive action, firing at one go Kawai and Hijikata and thirteen faculty members belonging to one side or the other. But read Hatano’s book, and it seems that Hiraga’s true historical role in Japan at that time lay far more in creating a great military-industrial-university complex and making Tōdai the technological center of Japan’s wartime order. Based on the advice of the Scientific Council and the Scientific Research Group, the country handed out vast research monies via Ministry of Education research grants to all the sciences; government financial involvement led the way in setting research priorities. Even today, the framework Hiraga created is still in effect as the basic mechanism of Japan’s governmental policy to encourage science.

Everyone involved in science today knows that virtually all of Japan’s grants for fundamental scientific research are disbursed via this framework (Ministry of Education scientific research grants), and the total sum has grown to 183,000,000,000 yen (the 2004 budget [roughly $2.4 billion]). This framework is an extension of the framework Hiraga created in 1939. The Tōdai Centennial History says this: “In the Shōwa era, along with the advance of total war mobilization, various policies were followed to encourage scientific mobilization; Tokyo Imperial University formed one link in that chain. The establishment of Ministry of Education scientific research grants resulted in the infusion of vast research grants into Tōdai.” It specifies, with detailed figures, the changes in those research grants; the sums are breathtaking.

Earlier, as similar state grants to encourage science, there had been Science Research Encouragement Funds. From 1931 to 1938—the eight-year period—the sum total was a scant 47,000 yen [roughly $25,000]; but in the two years 1939-1940 the Scientific Research Grants set up in 1939 suddenly handed out 500,000 yen [$250,000]—a quantum leap. Moreover, the sum increased yearly: in the one year 1943, 550,000 yen; in 1944 1,850,000 yen [$900,000]. The increases skyrocketed.

How did such vast research sums come about? The mobilization law was enacted in 1938, and mobilization was born; it decreed that in time of war (including the 1937 China War), all human and material resources could be mobilized simply by state order. Not merely resources: all businesses were included. Businesses included the service industries—transportation, communications, finance. Not only that, but the order included the education and training carried out in the university and the tests and research carried out in research facilities. Under this law, all these activities were subject to mobilization in wartime or quasi-wartime. Modern war requires the support of science and technology in every sense, so as the war progressed, the mobilization of science and of research came to be regarded as all the more important. In 1940 the guidelines for scientific mobilization were established by cabinet order, and the Planning Agency (the cabinet office that controlled national mobilization) became the focus, taking charge of the mobilization of science.

In 1942, when the battle of Midway took place and the bitter fight for Guadalcanal was continuing, that structure didn’t fill the bill, so the military and the university established direct ties. In the October “Consultation on New Weapons” convened by the Army Ministry, ten professors took part; Tōdai, too, was represented, and the records attest that agreement was reached on new weapons—anti-tank, anti-air, anti-sub weapons, and methods of detecting enemy air attack.

University research commissioned by the army grew steadily. In August 1943, as the war situation grew steadily worse, the cabinet approved “Emergency Urgent Measures for Scientific Research.” It went so far as to state the “clarification that scientific research should have the one absolute aim of prosecuting the war.” (Italics added.) At the conference of presidents of imperial universities convened in response to the emergency act, it was decided that “Scientific research in the universities and other scientific research institutes has as its sole absolute goal the prosecution of the Greater East Asian War, and we pledge to cooperate in furthering it.” Basic research, which the universities had prized before then, was set aside for the time being, and it was resolved to direct resources preferentially to “research that contributes directly to increased military strength.” The crucial act in the centralization of political control in the Meiji Restoration was the “return of the fiefs [to the emperor],” which took place in 1869. Drawing on that parallel, scientists termed this great change of 1943—tying the goal of scientific research directly to the war—the “return of research.”

To encourage research that related directly to the war, even the “instruction of students” that constituted the basic duty of the university was temporarily neglected. In fact, in August 1944, very late in the war, a plan was created—“The mobilization of student knowledge”—whereby 1,000 students, sophomores and up, were mobilized; on the basis of cooperation among Army, Navy, Military Procurement Office, and Health Ministry, they were sent to military-goods factories, research institutes, hospitals, and the like. In short, when it got to this point, all scientific researchers had to set aside everything else and concentrate on military research of immediate value.

What were the results? According to the same book, in the Tōdai earthquake research center, even so famous an earthquake scientist as Hagiwara Takahiro, later director of the center, addressed topics such as “a mechanism to record the vibration of torpedoes and bombs,” “the measurement of the velocity of rocket bombs,” “the construction of stabilizers for airplanes.” The other professors at the earthquake center had similar assignments: “rocket bombs,” “tracer-bullet casings,” “rotary cylinder bullets,” “bullet-proof construction.”

This is the way things were even in the earthquake research center, so in other research facilities of the Faculty of Engineering, it was military research ‘on parade’: in the electrical engineering branch, “electric wave night surveillance systems;” in the practical science branch, “phosphorescent bodies used for night-time heat-ray surveillance;” in the practical science oil engineering branch, “Vitamin B for submarine protection;” and in the practical physical chemistry ordnance branch, “waterborne explosives” and “methods of dampening sound waves aimed at submarines.” Moreover, studies in using a powerful magnetron to produce “lethal rays” were also conducted (it’s said they got as far as killing rabbits).

As this sort of direct military research came to be carried out steadily in the university, research money from the military flowed directly to the various parts of the university. For example, in sectors with deep relation to military technology, such as the airplane research institute, the money sometimes was greater than that from the Ministry of Education’s research grants. The more the war progressed, the more research funds came flowing into Tōdai’s various engineering branches from various channels. As mentioned earlier, both the rapid increase in faculty positions and the increase in special courses in every branch of the Tōdai Faculty of Engineering arose from this increase in research funds. By the late stages of the war, the union of Tōdai and military advanced still further. Several Army and Navy branch research centers were established within the university; in March 1945, there were nine of them. That’s how closely Tōdai and the military merged.

Hiraga was not forced to be the banner-bearer for this sort of military-industrial-university complex. He himself thought that such a structure was absolutely necessary to achieve victory in this war. The Modern Japanese Military-Industrial-University Complex writes as follows: “In the military-industrial-university complex and Hiraga, who embodied it, there were two facets. These were nationalism and internationalism, coexisting and yet in opposition. Hiraga undoubtedly was a military person in essence, even though by training he was a technician; his creed was vehement nationalism and loyalty to the emperor.” The fact that Hiraga was vehemently nationalistic and loyal to the emperor is expressed well in many of the formal addresses he made as president. For example, at graduation in 1940 he said, “The China War has already gone on for two and a half years, and the emperor’s forces are fighting hard on land and sea and in the air, garnering sparkling victories…. Those bright deeds of arms are truly unbearably moving,” and foreseeing the day when students would head for the battlefield, he said this: “However, most of you, I think, will be called up in the not too distant future into the emperor’s forces and will bear the honor of entering the forces and departing for the front. At that time, it goes without saying, you will leap up; as your ancestors sang, ‘Today I go to serve as the humble shield of the emperor; I shall not return.’”

The Shōwa Emperor Visits Tōdai

In October of 1940 the emperor made an imperial visit to Tōdai, his first such visit in twenty-two years. Hiraga was his host and greeted that day with the profoundest emotion. As he left his house that morning, he “said to his family, ‘If anything untoward happens, I’ll throw myself from the roof of Yasuda Auditorium.’”Naitō Hatsuho, Gunkan sōchō: Hiraga Yuzuru (Tokyo: Bungei shunjū, 1987). The emperor was to be protected to the utmost and venerated boundlessly, and Hiraga was ready to die for that belief. When Hiraga spoke of the emperor, he was the very epitome of an emperor-worshipper.

In his convocation address in 1941, he took exactly the tone of the right-wing kokutai people of the day: “When we ponder the matter reverently, our country has been ruled for 10,000 ages by one family of emperors, in succession. The basic meaning of the relation between emperor and subject is eternally clear; that’s why during that time our country has been filled with warm feelings, as between parent and child—‘Righteousness between emperor and subject; love between parent and child.’ … This is why our country is a family-state; it is the essence of our kokutai, without peer in the world.” The essence of the kokutai lay solely in the family-state—on that point he was fully in sympathy, and he emphasized that at Tōdai, too, all faculty and staff and all students must unite and become a university where the whole school was one family.

In a speech on University Commemoration Day in 1942, four months after the opening of hostilities, he began in a tone that matched exactly that of the right-wing emperor-ists: “In its meaning, as also in its conception and its tactics, the Great East Asian War indeed has no parallel in history. Today, under the august virtue of the emperor, brilliant war gains are being realized….the nations are all being set in their proper places; the people are all made to live in peace. The great spirit of Japan’s founding is made manifest to the world.” At the end he told the students, “Etch on your hearts the grace of Imperial favor…always serve the Imperial will, be fully conscious of the crisis, and whenever the time comes when you are called up, head for the battlefield in high spirits, having strengthened your resolve to die for the empire… Thereby, I hope fervently, you prepare yourselves to fulfill with reverence the important duty that is laid upon you.” Thus he urged them to steel themselves for war. It was quite as if he foresaw the day the students would take the field.

Later Hiraga’s chronic tuberculosis worsened, and he died suddenly on February 17, 1943; so the one who actually saw off the students departing for war was his successor, President Uchida Yoshikazu (a Tōdai graduate in architecture). Hiraga was the first president to die in office, so the first university funeral was carried out: over 2,000 students, faculty, and staff lined the route along the gingko arcade from the Main Gate to the auditorium and saw off the urn containing Hiraga’s ashes. An aside: at the request of the Faculty of Medicine, Hiraga’s brain had been removed and preserved, and to this day it sits in the Specimen Room of the Anatomy Theater.

The Truth About Listen to the Voices from the Sea

I haven’t got space to write in detail about the sending of students to the front, but I will say a word about that very famous book, Listen to the Voices from the Sea. As is well-known, Listen to the Voices from the Sea is a collection of the letters and papers of students who died in the war; it was published first in 1949 by the Tōdai Cooperative Association Press, then reprinted by Kōbunsha and by Iwanami Bunko and is a best-seller boasting total sales of several million copies.RHM: There are translations of this book into English: tr. Tanaka Seitarō, Voices from the Sea: Letters and Diaries of Japanese Students Killed in the War, Tokyo: Eihōsha, 1964; and Midori Yamanouchi and Joseph L. Quinn, trs., Listen to the Voices from the Sea: Writings of the Fallen Japanese Students, Tonawanda, New York: University of Scranton Press, 2000. There is also a translation into French: trs. Suzanne Audrey and Jean Lartéguy, Ces voix qui nous viennent de la mer: le Japon et ses morts, Paris: Gallimard, 1954. There is even an English translation of Ces voix: The Sun Goes Down: Last Letters from Japanese Suicide-Pilots and Soldiers, tr. Nora Wydenbruck, London: W. Kimber, 1956. “From the sea” is only an approximation of the Japanese wadatsumi; that term goes back to the 8th century and refers to the gods of the sea (of the water, the rain, and so on). So its use in the title lends an animistic/religious patina to the subject. Alternative translations might be Listen to the Voices of the Gods of the Sea, and Hark! Voices from the Beyond. I too remember being deeply moved when I read it as a child, and, and I saw the film version (1950, directed by Sekikawa Hideo).

Since then it has come to light that the earlier editions were in fact not faithful reproductions of the documents left by the students who died in the war but that the editors had edited them quite deliberately, even making deletions. Iwanami Bunko’s new edition, published in 1995, claims to be the “definitive edition” that restores all the deletions. I went right out and bought it, read it, and compared it with the old editions. I was astonished to discover that starting with the opening sentence of the first student, Uehara Ryōshi, it was quite different. The first sentence of the new edition had been deleted from the earlier editions—“Chosen for the Army Special Attack Unit that can be called the outstanding special attack unit of the glorious fatherland Japan, I feel acutely that no greater honor can come to me.”

The earlier editions have a preface written by Watanabe Kazuo that states, “At first, I argued that it was ‘fair and proper’ to include everything, even some short pieces that were quite intemperately Japanist and at times came close to glorifying war; but the people at the press didn’t agree with me. Their rationale: it wouldn’t do to exert even the slightest bad influence on the current state of society…. It’s natural to take such influence into account, and we too thought we couldn’t bear to publish these extremely painful records; so we acquiesced in what the publishers wanted.” Reading between these lines, you could see that the original records contained passages that were “intemperately Japanist” or “came close to glorifying war” and that they had been deleted; but when I read that statement in the earlier edition, I had absolutely no idea what, in fact, it meant.

However, comparing the new and old editions, I saw the specific deletions and knew, “Aha! Here’s what they deleted.” To use the case of Uehara, a passage sharing the ambitions of militarist Japan—“My ambition that the beloved fatherland Japan would become a great empire like the former British Empire was in vain”—was missing, as was this passage: “Indeed, a friend said that special attack pilots in the sky are merely pieces of machinery, instruments. Instruments to do the steering, without personality or emotion, of course without rationality—merely metal pieces in magnets locked onto enemy aircraft carriers. If you think rationally, it’s unthinkable….it’s something that can be found only in Japan, land of spirit.” Such passages were cut apparently because they were judged “Japanist” or “bellicose.”

But in my own opinion, it’s precisely when such passages are included that we can call the documents true, materials that allow us a peek into the true feelings of the people of the time. Cutting here, cutting there on the arbitrary scruples of editors of a later generation makes us see the age through the rose-colored glasses of the editors. Odagiri Hideo was one of the editors of Listen to the Voices from the Sea, and in the afterword to the Kōbunsha Kappa Books edition (1959-63) he wrote: “This book contains many documents that record doubts and distrust and criticism and despair about the war, rather different from the average Japanese students of the day, who were wholly mobilized and wholly indoctrinated—by elementary school and university, family and newspapers, magazines, radio, neighborhood associations—educated and shaped militaristically and believed literally in the ‘holy war.’”

Explaining how the difference came to be, he discusses the situation about which Watanabe wrote. At the time Odagiri agreed with Watanabe in following the judgment of the publishers, but as time passed, he came to feel it had been a mistake. He gives these reasons: “There were in fact a great many such passages glorifying [war], and in order to examine the war experience across the board it was necessary to include those passages, too. If you publish them all, the relation between war and human beings, the relation between militaristic education and the younger generation, and so on—these relations become apparent, their appalling inhumanity and misery all the more clear.” Indeed so. To write this book, I’ve had to read many raw materials, documents from that era, and virtually all that I think represent truly the feelings of the young men of that day are militaristic in tone. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand the age.

So why such rewriting? Hosaka Masayasu’s The Postwar History of “Listen to the Voices from the Sea” (1999) offers a detailed investigation. To put it simply, the work of editing Listen to the Voices from the Sea and the organization and work of the association to commemorate the student-dead that centered on this book were under very strong Communist Party control and were one facet of the peace movement directed by the Communist Party. Elements thought not conducive to the promotion of the peace movement (such facts as that most of the student-dead were patriots, that they went to their deaths gladly for country and for emperor) were deleted quickly. It amounted to the falsification of history.

Who Falsifies History?

As I accustomed myself to documents of the time, I came gradually to understand that that age was more right-wing, more ultranationalist than our later generations think. It’s not that there was a minority of right-wing ultranationalists. It’s that to an extent unimaginable today the ways of thinking and feeling of everyday people were right-wing. They were emperor-worshippers. The theory that the common people of the time were all duped, that they were forced to say what wasn’t in their hearts, has been spread widely after the war; there was a time when it was considered the standard historical view. But that’s not how it was. Virtually all the common people of the time seem truly to have believed what today one can only think of as extreme right-wing views. When I understood that, I knew truly, at a gut level, what caused the war.

In this book I’ve written about the emperor and the right wing in more detail than is usual in history books because I thought they were the key to unlocking the history of that time. I was born in 1940. I was five when the war ended, so I have virtually no real memories from that time. I’m of the generation that received a purely postwar democratic education from elementary school on, so I received no militarist elementary education at all. Hence when I try to understand that age, there are many aspects utterly absent from my mother wit. They are all things that—had I been of the same generation as those who were adults at the time—I would have known instinctively.

What things? This passage from Tsurumi Shunsuke’s Intellectual History of Wartime JapanSenjiki Nihon no seishinshi (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1982; tr. [no translator credited], An intellectual history of wartime Japan, 1931-1945, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986). is most helpful: “For Japanese—I’m not saying all Japanese, but Japanese over forty today [Tsurumi was speaking to a Canadian audience in 1980]—memories of wartime are bad memories. They—I include myself, so let me say we—have a strong latent desire to bury these memories in the deepest, darkest part of our hearts. We hate confronting memories of that time, once again and head-on. On this point, there are generational differences among Japanese. Some younger Japanese educated after the war want to quiz their fathers to learn exactly what they did during the war. When questioned, a great many of the parents—at least, the fathers—find they hate to reply. Investigating how they remember the events of the war, how those memories have been transmuted in their hearts into something else, how they interpret them, how they express them offers one clue to understanding Japanese culture.”

I’m already in my mid-sixties and belong, in Tsurumi’s phrase, to “the younger generation educated after the war.” I am among those “who quiz their fathers to learn exactly what they did during the war.” But my generation has come to feel frustration that no matter how we quiz our fathers, we never get satisfactory answers. What I’ve finally come to understand is that, as Tsurumi says, those of my father’s generation don’t like to recall memories of that time, so they either bury them deep in their hearts and don’t want to remember, or they transmute those memories in their hearts into something different; that’s how they have conducted themselves in society at large. So the image of that time that’s been handed down to our generation has been skewed.

All along, consciously or unconsciously, the people of that generation have practiced historical falsification. Historical falsification is carried out by the left and by the right. Falsification from the right has given rise to the current issues of historical consciousness and of textbooks; falsification from the left—this is merely one example—is the rewriting of the Listen to the Voices from the Sea. (There are many other examples of falsification from the left.)

Real history probably lies between the two falsifications. To put it a different way, in a sense history and falsification are doomed to be inseparable. History is essentially the narrative of later generations. A narrative is inseparable from the subjectivity of the narrator. Subjective narration is inseparable from value judgment. For this reason, A.’s sincere (or supposedly sincere) narration is B.’s falsification of history. “Insincere narration,” “wholly fictitious narration,” “narration with political coloring,” and the like intermix, so when historical consciousness and politics intertwine, they become exceedingly difficult to unravel.

In “The Declaration of War and the Dispatch of Students to the Front,” Nambara Shigeru pointed out that like individuals, whole peoples can commit crimes, and he invoked the following episode.RHM: In the mid-18th century, Leopold von Ranke gave lectures on world history to the future King Max of Bavaria. The king’s question: “What should we expect of Nemesis in history if not only the leading personalities but the people as a whole commit national crimes and act unjustly.” The historian Ranke was asked by the king: in such a case, what should we do? Ranke responded, “The whole people will have to suffer on that account.” Back then, clearly, Japan committed the national crime of starting the war. My generation was not directly involved, but for some time to come, we will have to take responsibility for the nation and go on suffering.


President Nambara and the Argument that the Shōwa Emperor Should Abdicate

In which the author considers the war experiences of Tōdai’s medical students and the memories of those who were on campus and heard the emperor’s August 15 broadcast there. In contrast to the vast majority of Tōdai people who were stunned and stupefied by the defeat, one person stands out: Nambara Shigeru. The author discusses several of Nambara’s postwar speeches and the impact they had before turning to Nambara’s call for the Shōwa emperor to abdicate at an appropriate moment. He concludes by introducing the efforts of Nambara and a few Faculty of Law colleagues to hasten the end of the war.


The War Dead of the Tōdai Faculty of Medicine

In the last chapter, I wrote that to this day, even after the research of Tōdai officials, we still don’t where and how the called-up students died. A reader wrote me to report that a five-year study by the alumni association of the Faculty of Medicine turned up all the names of its war dead and the places they died and that a memorial engraved with all their names had been erected at the Yayoi Gate (across campus from the Main Gate). I went to see it.

According to that study, the war dead of the Faculty of Medicine numbered two hundred and thirty-two, and they died in all the war zones: Manchuria and China, of course, but also New Guinea, the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Burma, Attu, Iwojima, Okinawa, Siberia. Medics had to go absolutely everywhere. Simply by looking at that list and at the map of the places they died, one understands immediately how vast this war was. To my surprise, twenty-one of the dead died in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In the course of research, the report says, “many painful facts became clear.” The report gives the following examples: “One of the men was a medic on Etajima [the island in Hiroshima Bay that was the site of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy], and just after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, he followed orders, entered the bombed area, and worked on the relief effort for several days; he died after the war, having returned to school. A second man, in Manchuria after the war ended, protested sharply on the way out of Manchuria against the Soviet army’s arrests of young women and was shot through the heart on the railroad tracks; trains ran over his corpse. There was also a doctor, recently graduated, last seen operating in a field hospital in an Okinawan tomb just before Okinawa fell.” Moreover, the writer of the report reflected: “To have to listen to superficial comments of new Japanese, who sing the praises of a peace (constructed atop the deaths of those who died in the war), in which they have all the food they can eat, that these war dead are dead merely because they chose to involve themselves in an evil war, makes my grief for these classmates deeper and stronger.”Tōkyō daigaku igakubu sembotsu dōsōsei tsuitaku kikin saishū hōkokusho. It’s a fact that both today and in the past, many people voice such superficial words. These people are Japan’s shame, as are the many people, both today and in the past, who have no second thoughts at all about having started the war.

At the opposite pole is Nambara Shigeru, Law professor and first postwar president of Tōdai. The greatest trauma of Nambara’s life was his powerlessness to prevent the call-up of students. He spoke again and again of his feelings at the time. First, let’s look at his memory of the send-off ceremony conducted at Tōdai for the departing students (November 12, 1943). Nambara did not attend the ceremony: “On that day the entire university assembled in Yasuda Auditorium for the send-off ceremony. President Uchida read words of farewell. I simply couldn’t bear to enter Yasuda Auditorium. … So I sat quietly alone in my office, and at last, as they all left, I stood under the arcade of gingko trees to see them off. In high spirits, I tell you, they all went out the Main Gate. It gave me an inexpressible feeling.”Kaikoroku. When the war ended, Nambara was dean of the Faculty of Law. Soon after the war, there were second thoughts about the wartime order, and the storm winds of a series of internal purges arose and roared through Tōdai. When that chaos had settled a bit, Uchida resigned in the middle of his term, as was fitting. And Nambara garnered an overwhelming majority of votes and was elected president.

Yasuda Auditorium: The Emperor’s Broadcast

Here let’s quote a bit about Tōdai right after the war from the Centennial History:Tōkyō daigaku hyakunenshi. “At noon on August 15, 1945, the Emperor’s broadcast announcing the end of the war took place. On that day, the faculty and students remaining on campus, from President Uchida on down, gathered in the auditorium and listened. The Imperial University News wrote, ‘With heads bowed, reverently, faculty and students listened to the emperor’s voice; hearing his most important words of concern for the people, his imperial solicitude, all maintained silence and were swept by heartbreak.’ Then ‘President Uchida stood up, unable to wipe away copious bitter tears,’ and made the following remarks: ‘Hearing most reverently the imperial proclamation in the voice of the emperor, even the humblest person is unable to hold back tears of gratitude toward the emperor… In obedience to the imperial proclamation, we must be united in unquestioning obedience to his wish, fulfill our duties as subjects calmly, press on with our vocation as students…and reassure the imperial heart.’”

On hearing the emperor’s broadcast announcing the end of the war, couldn’t the president of Tōdai have said something a bit less objectionable? These lamentable words of his first statement tell the measure of Uchida. A graduate in architecture, he had succeeded Hiraga in March 1943 and carried on unchanged the Hiraga line (the alignment with militarism—“The entire university pledges unanimously to repay the country with their deaths”). At the graduation ceremony that was moved up to accommodate the call-up of students, he could say this: “Our country today, united, is striving to carry the holy war to a successful conclusion, and [the fact that despite everything the students have managed to graduate] is thanks solely to the infinite benevolence of the emperor… Indeed, I hold the unshakable belief that we will redouble our determination, pledging with grateful tears to offer up our lives to the Empire.”

With the war over, what should Tōdai do? Immediately after the emperor’s broadcast, the deans all gathered in the president’s office to confer on the best policy for the future, but they had absolutely no idea how to proceed. In their haste, they simply decided on the obvious: “1. Instruction will be continued as per usual. 2. There will likely be unease among the students, so tell them ‘to apply themselves to their studies calmly and with composure.’ 3. Wartime research will be halted.” The very fact that this was all they could decide is evidence of Tōdai’s stupefaction.

One of the students listening to the emperor’s broadcast in Yasuda Auditorium was Ishizaka Kimishige, who later became an internationally famed expert on immunization and professor at Johns Hopkins University. He wrote: “The faculty and those students then on campus gathered in Tōdai’s Yasuda Auditorium to listen to the emperor’s broadcast. Up until the previous day, we had thought, ‘We’ve only a few months more to live.’ Among our classmates in middle school and higher school were some who had died as special-attack pilots. I myself thought my chances of dying were 99%, and I didn’t fight that fact. Told suddenly that the war had ended, I had no idea what to do. I was absolutely stupefied.” Everyone was stupefied.

Among a people so stupefied, the only person with a cool head, able to offer guidance on what to do, day after day, was Nambara Shigeru, dean of the Faculty of Law. It was only fitting that he should be elected the first postwar president of the university. Before becoming president, Nambara had been a great inspiration. Barely two weeks after the defeat, Nambara wrote an essay in the Imperial University News under the title, “The Destiny of the University in the Postwar World—Advice for Decommissioned Students.”

Nambara’s Historic Speech

Beginning the very first days after the war ended, demobilized student-soldiers had appeared on campus, one after the other. As I’ve said, students had been conscripted with their status as students intact, so when the war ended, they had the right to return to the university. Like everyone else, the demobilized students didn’t know how to think or what to think. The same held true for ordinary Japanese outside the university. Nambara’s essay was passed from hand to hand and had the greatest influence on people of the day. Here’s how it began:RHM: Full translations of this Nambara speech and the other speeches Tachibana cites are available in Richard H. Minear, ed. and tr., War and Conscience in Japan: Nambara Shigeru and the Asia-Pacific War (Lanham [Md.]: Rowman & Littlefield and Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 2011).

August 15, 1945: what did that day mean for us? It was the accursed “day of doom” in the glorious history of Japan, more than 2600 years. We Japanese who had lived to see that day: to what can we compare our resentment and great sorrow? It was a day our country had never before known, a day of defeat and surrender.

First, must we not face this reality squarely and, without cloaking it vainly in some mystic mantle, accept fact, honestly, as fact? The shock and bitterness we suffered are too deep, too big…

But what can resurrect Japan from the ruins? It’s probably no different in any age, but for our country now, its territory reduced, its armaments abolished, its industry most likely sharply limited, it all comes down to scholarship and education: that is axiomatic. Such being the case, the meaning and mission of the university—the nation’s highest academic institution—have never been more important. …

Our true battle as scholars began the day the military laid down the sword.

First, every one of us must become a person of free and independent spirit. Where such people are born, a state increases its inner toughness and becomes strong… We needn’t necessarily lament having too little land or too much population. Where people of autonomous spirit dwell, the world and nature will let themselves be reclaimed by them… We were defeated, but we need not engage in the slightest flattery or obsequiousness. Let us stand resolutely and walk, eyes straight ahead…

Young people! Students! Have hope. Don’t lose sight of your ideals. Your ancestors never faced a more difficult time, but then no age was ever assigned a more glorious task, either.

Soon our comrades will return from the continent, from the islands of the South Pacific. The day isn’t far off when they will fill the lecture halls once again, burning with passion and ideals for rebuilding the homeland and diligent in their studies. However, when we think of those brilliant ones who will never return, we are infinitely sad. They all fought and died as warriors, bravely. They were warriors, but to their dying day they never discarded their dignity as scholars. They believed firmly and unswervingly that in the final analysis, it is truth and righteousness that revive a country. …

For people living the reality of that age, these words of Nambara’s were like manna; they took strong encouragement from these words and remember this statement of his even today.

In the immediate post-war age, Nambara’s words had astonishing power and sank into the hearts of a desolate people. Each time Nambara spoke in his official capacity, what he said got big headlines. It’s inconceivable for those who know only a much later day in which Tōdai presidents have lost virtually all influence on society, but in that chaotic era Nambara’s words had great power and guided society.

Ishiguro Takeo, who entered the Faculty of Law right after the war and later became an attorney, writes as follows:

            Professor Nambara became president of Tōdai in the winter of 1945, the year of defeat, and from then on decommissioned soldiers returned one after the other to the university. In the burned-out city of Tokyo, there was neither food nor lodging, and though we had come back alive, albeit in tattered military fatigues, we had no textbooks, no notebooks. …

At just this moment in time, President Nambara delivered his speeches, about once a month, in Yasuda Auditorium. February 1946—Empire Day; March—ceremony for the student-dead; April—University Founding Day and the emperor’s birthday; May—convocation for new students; September—graduation. Each was aimed at the Tōdai students, but the next day’s newspapers all ran the texts in full and reported on them, and they made a deep impression on students, educators, and intellectuals across the nation. The content of the speeches naturally varied with the ceremony but bespoke Nambara’s penetrating insights into the post-defeat reconstruction of the homeland and the future destiny of the nation; I remember he preached respect and yearning for scholarly truth and the importance of building character, with an emphasis on justice. …

Among his topics was “What Will Revive the Homeland,” and a small volume of his speeches was published under that title [Feb. 1947] and sold very well. I remember buying up, with difficulty, dozens of copies, taking them home with me; people thanked me, and we discussed it and agreed that a new day had dawned.Newsletter accompanying Nambara’s Collected Works.

The First Postwar Celebration of Empire Day

If we pick statements that had a particularly large impact, there is first of all the speech on Empire Day, February 11, 1945. In the imperial proclamation issued at the beginning of that year, the emperor had rejected his own godhood. The emperor himself declared that the idea, commonly accepted during the war, that he was a living god was an “empty concept.” For those who believed firmly that the emperor was a living god, this proclamation must have been the greatest of shocks, and Nambara turned this human-emperor statement into Japan’s religious reformation.

In those days Nambara said continually that the greatest cause that had driven Japan to war was the fact that the Japanese people as a whole were not yet independent spiritually. That was the reason Japan had followed mistaken leaders blindly. What had to happen first of all now was that each and every Japanese become independent spiritually. In the history of Europe, the Renaissance and the Reformation had made people independent spiritually. But modern Japan had experienced no comparable development. To rebuild Japan after the defeat, Japan too needed those two elements, and the emperor’s human-emperor statement would serve as that religious reformation.

During the war virtually all Japanese had venerated the emperor as a living god and offered up to him everything, even their lives. It was as if the people had all become fanatic emperor-worshippers. With the end of the war, fanaticism departed, and free speech blossomed. “Human-emperor proclamation” equals “Japan’s Reformation”: this analysis made even former believers in emperor worship think, “Indeed, that is true.”

The Asahi carried Nambara’s speech under banner headlines:


After the Manchurian Incident, the militarists and state-supremacists gained political control…the China War occurred, the Pacific War was begun, and events led in the end to today’s catastrophe and collapse. Things got to this point not only because of the distortions brought on by a few, but also because of the people’s profound internal shortcomings. … The development of independent human nature, the establishment of a consciousness of being human had not taken place, so the Japanese people were fooled by the false propaganda of the few and came to follow their lead blindly.

Seen in this context, the imperial declaration at the beginning of this year has very great historical significance. The emperor himself denied that he was a “living deity.”…

In the European Renaissance, religious reformation was carried out; in the same way, Japan too must have religious reformation. In Japan since the Meiji Restoration freedom of religion has been guaranteed, but it is merely a form and not integrated into the lives of the people. In Japan everything collapsed with the defeat. Given this situation, what will enable Japan to rise from the ashes? We have no alternative but to create a new history.

Japanese history lies in the creation henceforth of a history; it must involve a Shōwa Restoration in the true sense, a revolution in the Japanese spirit itself. This is…an intellectual religious reform of the people’s essence.

If the Japanese people remain in this state of stupefaction and exhaustion, what awaits us is the misery of slaves and finally the doom of the nation. … Life or death? Eternal shame or the recovery of freedom and independence? We stand now at that crossroads. Which we choose is up to you.

To this point, I’ve based myself on the articles in the Asahi in order to see things as ordinary people of the time saw them; but reading the original text, I learned that the speech spoke of far greater things. Nambara gave this speech with enormous fervor. He was keenly aware that this was an Empire Day speech coming right after the emperor’s proclamation that he was not a god. Formerly in all Japan’s schools, from primary schools to universities, Empire Day was celebrated with splendor. But this was right after the human-emperor proclamation, and in 1946 virtually all schools canceled the celebration.

However, Nambara, who had only just become president, celebrated Empire Day with fanfare: “At Tōdai, too—at the time, it was still Tokyo Imperial University—most people figured not to celebrate. But I said the opposite. Our country’s first-ever defeat, the first Empire Day thereafter—celebrate the national rite, but give it a new meaning. I wanted to use it to proclaim within and without the attitude of the university: what should the university do? I proposed to the deans that we hold the ceremony, and we agreed to do so. On that day we celebrated the holiday boldly, in a big way: Hinomaru flags fluttered at the Main Gate. Students packed Yasuda Auditorium.”

In Nambara’s own words, here is what he said:

I gave that speech the title ‘Creating a New Japanese Culture’ and called for the return of the nation’s self-esteem, its confidence. The historical issue—“Is it in fact the 2600-something-eth birthday?”—should await scholarly, empirical analysis, but we shouldn’t deny meaning to the nation’s myths, its traditions. The Japanese nation’s consciousness of a divine destiny and belief in the continuity of the nation—what we might call the people’s individuality—should not be lost. A nation that loses its individuality will die. At the same time, the psychological shortcomings of the Japanese nation up till now—that each person lacked the human consciousness of being an independent person, the absence of a human ideal—led to a unique concept of the kokutai and blind obedience to the few and became the great fundamental cause of the current war and the defeat. This situation calls for deep reflection. The fact that feudal spirit and system still exist in our country and society is the best evidence. Now is the hour Japanese should carry out a Renaissance and then a Reformation. The construction of a new Japan based on world universals, not nationalism in the narrow sense, the people shaping itself as a people and simultaneously as world citizens: shouldn’t today be Year One, when we set out on that course? That was the intent with which I wanted to celebrate Empire Day, a sense different from what had gone before. Kaikoroku.

Citing the original text but putting it in the simplest possible terms, this is what Nambara said: Up till now, the militarists and ultra-statists who controlled Japanese politics had used Empire Day to take Japan’s national myths and “misuse them, twist them, boast of the people’s superiority, and propagandize that Japan has a destiny to rule East Asia and indeed the world.” The slogan of the Greater East Asian War—“the whole world under one roof”—meant the construction of a world empire, that is, a greater Japanese empire with the emperor at its apex. That was “nothing else but a dogmatic chosen-people concept, a vast delusion.” That mythical consciousness of the world led to the war, led Japan to catastrophe. The era of celebrating that sort of mythical Empire Day was over.

The emperor’s “human-emperor” proclamation at the beginning of that year was “the emperor’s own liberation from that sort of Japanese theology and from Shinto upbringing, a declaration of human independence.” At the same time, it was the liberation of the Japanese and Japanese culture. Liberation from what? In terms of the past, it was “liberation from Japanese theology;” in terms of the future, it might also be called “liberation toward a new ‘universality.’” Why? Till now Japanese culture has been shackled by something “national/religious,” but Japanese culture has escaped and gained the foundation that will allow it to become from now on a universal culture understood broadly throughout the world. “The human-emperor proclamation has provided the basis whereby the people can simultaneously be a people and shape themselves as world citizens.”

If you rethink Empire Day from this viewpoint, it should no longer be a day to celebrate 2000-some years since the mythical founding, but a day to celebrate the new birth of a reborn Japan that has discarded that past. Today is Year One of the reconstruction of the homeland. Our country’s history is not in the past but in the future. Japanese history will be built from now on. We have just begun the “‘birth of a country,’ united and new.” The road to this reconstruction of the homeland must be built atop a “revolution in the Japanese spirit itself, the creation of a new national spirit.” So we need to leave “the world of the Japanese spirit” in the national and religious frame it has occupied till now and enter the “world of universal human world religion.” To that end, we must start a “spiritual revolution—internal, intellectual, religious.” By passing through this spiritual revolution, we must make it possible for “lives once considered lighter than a feather and offered up to the state” to “contribute through the homeland to world humanity.” Via “the creation of a new Japanese culture and the building of Japan as moral state,” Japan can contribute to world culture and peace. Therein lies our nation’s awakening and new life. “Our nation has committed crimes,” but when we’ve reached that point, “it will be able to recover its honor before the world.” “We become able to rejoice at being born into this nation and to love this nation boundlessly.”

Nambara concluded the speech this way: “If we remain in this condition of stupefaction and exhaustion, what awaits us is the misery of slaves and finally the doom of the nation. If, on the contrary, you students come to your senses and confront this situation with hope and self-confidence, you’ll witness within your lifetimes the rise of a people unembarrassed before the world. … Life or death? Eternal shame or the recovery of freedom and independence? We stand now at that crossroads. Which we choose is up to your own free decision.”

This speech evoked a huge response. In Nambara Recollected, there is this exchange:

Fukuda: There was a large response, wasn’t there?

Nambara: The press made it a lead item. It dominated the metropolitan news pages—probably the first time in Japan that a university president’s speech got that sort of coverage. All things considered, Japan as a whole back then was in a state of utter chaos, so I think perhaps we can say it looked to my speech for direction. I got a lot of mail in response—sympathetic and encouraging letters.

The Spiritual Underpinning Nambara’s Speech Provided

The students who heard this speech as it was given were greatly moved. Kubota Kinuko, Nambara’s last disciple, reports she was unable to hear the speech that day herself but asked about it from a disciple who did. It changed her life:Newsletter accompanying the Collected Works. “Excuse my talking of personal matters, but my family was huddled together—mother and children alone, with no means of support. The defeat and the social chaos that accompanied it were particularly tough. How to survive? The suffering of daily life was one thing, but even more than that, concern about the future weighed heavily, and we continued to suffer—alternately despairing and impatient. The long cold winter passed, and Empire Day came round. At the time my younger brother was a student in the Faculty of Medicine and came home from the university ceremony. … His face alight with excitement, he told me about the president’s speech that day. This was the great speech known later as Nambara’s Empire Day speech, “Creating A New Japanese Culture.” I was able to read it in the newspaper soon after, and I, who was tormented by all the uncertainty, found in it for the first time hope and something to live for. How many times since then have I reread that speech! My future and the reconstruction of the people: they lay, I was told, in my own hands, and I swore to the early spring sky that no matter how tough things were, I’d make it through cheerfully.” She writes that the people who listened to Nambara’s speech with these emotions became the true motive force of Japan’s recovery: “At the time, the Japanese were living an animal existence, in utter confusion, having been plunged into a state of exhaustion by the shock of defeat. In this speech Nambara preached in fiery words of a new national spirit—a spiritual revolution, internal, intellectual-religious. ‘Life or death? Eternal shame or the recovery of freedom and independence? We stand now at that crossroads. Which we choose is up to you.’ So many people took encouragement from those words, recovered strength and hope to live, regained self-confidence as a nation! In a sense, it’s no exaggeration to say that they became the motive force that brought about today’s Japanese economic development.” In Japan right after the war, this speech had the same effect as Fichte’s “Addresses to the German Nation,” which in 1807 called on the German people to have pride and rebuild a state that had been utterly and totally demolished by Napoleon’s armies, forced to cede territory, and was in the depths of destruction.

The speech at the ceremony of the emperor’s birthday on April 29 evoked a similarly strong reaction. The next day’s Asahi headlined it:


It gave the following report on its content. Although it’s clear that the emperor bears no legal or political responsibility, the emperor does bear moral responsibility. He bears responsibility toward his ancestors—the successive emperors before him—and toward the people. But at the same time Nambara speculated that it is the emperor himself who feels the responsibility most acutely of all and on some future day, of his own volition, he will accept that responsibility and abdicate: “It’s clear that in this recent war the emperor bears no responsibility politically and legally, but I suspect that the emperor feels moral and spiritual responsibility most strongly toward his ancestors and toward the people for the fact that such an enormous war arose in his reign and plunged the people into the terrible situation of total defeat, the first ever in Japanese history. His ministers do not recognize ministerial integrity and do not accept their responsibility, but the fact that alone among them, the emperor has his own consciousness of responsibility is an expression of the country’s supreme morality and the reason we venerate the imperial house as the heart of the people; from now on the spiritual cornerstone in rebuilding the homeland rests solely on this. He himself is fully aware of this, will bear up quietly under the difficulties, and I conjecture that as he leads this chaotic age of historic change toward constitutional revision and beyond, if possible, to the conclusion of a peace treaty, he will fulfill his own solemn duty. The emperor’s spirit leaves me in tears.” Asahi, April 30; emphases added.

The Emperor’s Moral and Spiritual Responsibility

Nambara didn’t speak in a straightforward manner, so his point may be difficult to grasp. But if you read this speech with the emphases I’ve added, the emperor already feels his moral responsibility in full, and that intense sense of responsibility becomes the spiritual cornerstone of Japan’s reconstruction. Moreover, in order to make that responsibility clear, he will undoubtedly abdicate when the peace treaty is signed or at some other occasion. Because Nambara surmises this, his tears come unbidden. This is what Nambara was saying.

The expression was roundabout, so even though this was what he wrote, some may doubt whether that is its true meaning. But that Nambara argued openly for the abdication of the emperor was a fact well known to the people around him. For example, there is this passage in the autobiography of Abe Yoshishige, who at the time was close to Nambara. Abe too thought that the emperor should abdicate: “The emperor had issued the declaration of war and ordered the people to fight even at the cost of their lives; now, when everyone rejects the supposed meaning of this war, there is no way he can escape that responsibility. … Fortunately, the imperial house survived, but this has been from first to last the thought I cannot banish from my mind: in terms of the true relation between sovereign and subjects, the emperor should abdicate.” For this reason, Abe even went to the home of Senior Councilor Makino Nobuaki to ask him to appeal to the emperor to abdicate. In setting this episode down, he mentions that Nambara was of the same mind: “Nambara Shigeru set out clearly the argument in favor of abdication and talked to me, too. Thus, quite recently, when there was a proposal for Nambara to give a lecture in the emperor’s presence, Nambara said he wanted to talk with the emperor one-on-one; this was probably because he wanted to make that argument to the emperor. Whether this idea of Nambara’s reached the emperor’s ear or not, talk of his giving a lecture in the emperor’s presence came to an end.”

It does appear that it was Nambara’s intent to recommend abdication to the emperor in person. In fact, we don’t even need Abe’s account: Nambara stated clearly that he thought the emperor should abdicate. He explained first his reasons for going out of his way at Tōdai to commemorate the emperor’s birthday:Kaikoroku. “Of course, even then, too, the thought existed—as one university’s way of handling the issue—of not commemorating the emperor’s birthday. But I took it upon myself to hold the ceremony. The motive was, first of all, to express the people’s esteem for the emperor for his human-emperor declaration, to offer heartfelt birthday congratulations. No emperor has ever had to bear as tragic a fate as his highness, this emperor. Soon after he was enthroned, the Manchurian Incident broke out, and from then on came a succession of wars. The young emperor had to bear both the May 15 Incident and the February 26 Incident. Then came the Pacific War and defeat. During that time, from first to last, he was at the center; indeed, he saved Japan from scorched earth and ashes. That I thought merited sincere congratulations from us as a university on the emperor’s birthday. That sense is half, the first half, of the lecture I gave on the emperor’s birthday.”

The other half, he said, lay in discussing how to think about the emperor’s moral responsibility. That was because of the reality that the Tokyo trial was finally nearing its end.RHM: This is Tachibana’s error. The Tokyo trial had only just begun; it delivered its verdicts in late 1948. At the Tokyo trial, those sitting in the dock were the high officials who, under the Meiji Constitution, had the “duty to advise.” They “advised” in order that the emperor not bear legal responsibility. In all matters, they kept the emperor from making subjective decisions but in his stead made the actual decisions and advised him on the formal decisions to hand down. In other words, they were the people who were assigned to bear responsibility in lieu of the emperor. The trial’s decision would be handed down in short order. It would probably be one death sentence after another. The question was how the emperor should respond:

As for the other half, the Tokyo military tribunal was about to start. I wanted to state here, for myself, that legally and politically the emperor bore no responsibility at all for the war. I said here that the emperor had conducted himself throughout wholly in accord with the constitution. And I stated how much as an individual he had loved peace. … But at the same time I surmised that the emperor himself felt moral and spiritual responsibility. That was his statement at the time of accepting the Potsdam Declaration: “No matter what happens to me….” This was gut instinct on my part. With that clue, it was not difficult to surmise that, to that extent, the emperor—newly declared a human emperor—felt great responsibility. Moreover, the fundamental cornerstone of Japan’s reconstruction undoubtedly rested on moral responsibility, on the moral issue. That cornerstone needed the emperor himself to set aright the relation between sovereign and subjects.

In the final analysis, this was a problem for the emperor himself to decide, but as a practical matter, I spoke of wanting the cabinet ministers in particular to consider it in the near future as a major point of integrity. This was the second half of my intent in holding the commemoration of the emperor’s birthday.

The last part of this speech runs as follows: “At the same time, we hope that at this historical turning point, in the midst of tempestuous change and chaos, the emperor will provide the foundation for the monumental task and, as focal point of the nation’s moral and spiritual life, make clear the emperor’s righteousness. In this way, I hope, the spiritual bonds of the nation’s morality that have been severed will be joined and this void in our brilliant history filled. And having passed, it is true, through this great darkness, the emperor’s reign will become verily an age when the daybreak of Shōwa turns into the full light of day.” Here is the sense that at some future time the emperor should abdicate (make clear the emperor’s righteousness) and restore the trust between people and emperor. If that didn’t happen, Nambara was saying, wouldn’t the spiritual bonds between people and emperor remain severed? If that didn’t happen, wouldn’t that remain as a large, unfillable void in history?

This passage is very circuitous and difficult to understand, but in Nambara Recollected, Nambara speaks of the emperor’s war responsibility in very straightforward language: “This speech was also my critique of what the then conservative faction was saying: ‘one hundred million souls repenting.’ At a time when the whole country is at war, there’s no one without responsibility, even we who have positions in the university, and the people—of all classes. But even so, ‘one hundred million souls repenting’ is an evasion of responsibility: it means that no one takes responsibility. In responsibility there is naturally a hierarchy. Naturally, there is responsibility morally/spiritually for primary school teachers as teachers, university professors as professors, and especially the emperor who represented the country. The emperor himself actually said, ‘No matter what happens to me…’ I think this issue is one of very great significance. Isn’t it an issue that still remains today? Above all, millions of soldiers died in the emperor’s name. That is a problem. In addition, one more point: in postwar Japan the concept of political responsibility became very attenuated. This point, too, merits thinking about. The issue of the source of morality remains today as before. We must show that as Takagi says, ‘Power does not trump morality.’ Isn’t this something all people of conscience agree on?”

The War-Ending Effort of the Tōdai Seven

In fact, this issue of the emperor’s abdication had already been considered just before the war ended in the efforts to end the war of seven Tōdai professors, among them Nambara. The line that appears at the end of Nambara’s statement—“As Takagi says, ‘Power does not trump morality’”—is an expression stemming from that effort. (Takagi was a central figure in the war-ending machinations.)

Fukuda: At the time you seven professors were working to end the war, had you already considered the abdication of the emperor?

Nambara: Yes. We thought of it as the final step and mentioned it to Privy Seal Kido. But in the last analysis this was a matter for the inner circle, those close to the emperor, the cabinet of the time. Because, after all, the emperor awaits advice and proposals, and such a huge issue must be announced as the emperor’s own initiative.

Fukuda: I’ve also asked Takagi about this, and he says, “Power does not trump morality—we want to have the only source [of morality] demonstrated in this way; that is our hope.” Was that an idea you held in common?

Nambara: That’s something we’d long agreed on. Even today, I think that feeling probably still lurks in each of our hearts. It’s an issue for future historians: which course would have been better? I do think it’s important for Japan’s long-term future.

As Nambara says, this issue remains today. The issue of the war responsibility of the Japanese nation still hasn’t been addressed. That’s why visits to Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese prime ministers continue to be the most sensitive problem in Japan’s relations with China and Korea.

Let’s leave talk of the war-ending effort for later, and return to our story. The last line of “Advice to Decommissioned Students,” which I quoted earlier, applies to the student-soldiers. As we can see from that line, the call-up of the students was Nambara’s single most bitter memory. Accordingly, soon after becoming president, Nambara himself presided over a “Ceremony for the Souls of Those Who Died in the War or at Their Posts” (March 30, 1946). In his declaration at that ceremony, Nambara spoke as follows:

And yet at the outbreak of the war that followed on the long war between China and Japan and finally sealed the nation’s doom, the atmosphere on this campus—despite the victories in the opening phases—was grave rather than light, and you were not stirred up. The children “piped to you, and you did not dance.”RHM: Matthew 11:17. The topic is the unfriendly reception of John the Baptist, and Jesus says (RSV): “He who has ears to hear, let him hear. But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’” … Because particularly those specializing in the study of philosophy, politics, law, and economics knew too well from the start how absurd and reckless it was. You simply attended quietly to your own realm, your duties as students, and that’s what we teachers had advocated, taught you to do.

However, once your student deferment ended and you were called up and, summoned to fight, you exchanged the pen for the sword and set out solemnly on that brave path. At that point, not one of all the students sought to evade his duty as subject by refusing to offer his life, as did happen in other countries. You all obeyed loyally the will and order of the state. Were we who had long argued in favor of that course right or wrong in doing so? I don’t know.

But you were different from ordinary soldiers who knew nothing. You were simultaneously soldiers and students. You didn’t fight aimlessly or with arbitrary and fanatical “absolute faith in victory.”RHM: “Absolute faith in victory” was a wartime slogan. Nambara seems here to speak of the Pacific War as primarily against England and the U.S., thus eliding Japan’s China war. Although you were at odds, of course, with the determination that the war, once decided on, “had to be won,” you prayed above all for the victory of right and truth. However, right and truth unfortunately were not on our side, but instead on the side of England and the United States. It was not simply that “might makes right;” it was the clear “verdict of reason” in world history, and we had to receive that pronouncement grimly amid the intense grief of defeat. …

When I think back, some of you came in great haste to take your leave, saying you were off for the battlefield: that was our final parting. How many times we have wept over the letters you sent us, composed so earnestly at the front! … Occasionally we couldn’t resist the impulse to call out your names and plead your case to heaven and earth.

But in this war, such was the sacrifice our people had to pay—sacrifice to atone for our nation’s guilt. In place of your fellow-countrymen, you stepped forward to pay it and went with a smile to the land of the dead. It’s as if you are speaking to us. “Now is not the time to begrudge anyone or blame anyone. Let the entire university, the entire nation unite and set about the task of rebuilding the homeland. This is our eternal, earnest prayer.” Yes, we must construct the homeland anew atop your noble sacrifice. We must not let the homeland die.

In short, the war was the national crime the Japanese people committed, and the dead student-soldiers can only be thought of as a sacrifice to atone for that crime.

The Great Tokyo Air Raid: Turning Point

I want to quote one more speech, the much later “You Who Inherit the Legacy of the Students Who Died in the War” (1963), at the ceremony commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the call-up of the students. That’s because there Nambara went into greater detail about the line in his memorial speech, “Mourning the Students Who Died in the War:” “Were we who had long argued in favor of that course right or wrong in doing so? I don’t know.” He stated: “But the doubts and apprehensions about the war of most earnest students I knew were already serious even before the beginning of the Pacific War, from the time the Axis Alliance was signed [September 1940]. At that stage, as they awaited the time when they would all lay down their pens and take the field, how could we respond to their doubts and apprehensions about the war? How could we counsel them?

“For us professors, that was the most bitter, most difficult task in the whole war. I couldn’t say to them, ‘Act according to your own consciences even if that means refusing to obey the state;’ no, I didn’t say it. Had I said that, I should first have stood up myself and criticized the country’s war policy. On reflection, it may be that I myself, out of cowardice, lacked bravery; but on the other hand, down to the present I’m still uncertain that that was the right attitude to take.”

Nambara was not a man of action, and particularly after becoming a university man, he instinctively avoided actions that had political coloration. Even when he concerned himself with the unrest in the Faculty of Economics, it never became public. After the Faculty of Economics unrest, when Tanaka, Dean of the Faculty of Law, took responsibility and resigned, many voices called for Nambara to be his successor, but Nambara held firm and did not yield. To stay in the ivory tower and continue his research: that was Nambara’s personal wish.

These were his thoughts when he had to see off the students who were being called up, and they led to the reflection that “I was a coward and lacked courage.” On March 9, 1945, succumbing to the thought that from now on he ought to take a bit more action, he became Dean of the Faculty of Law. And he embarked at the same time on the surprisingly bold action of an effort to end the war. Of course, had the war-ending effort been exposed at the time, it meant the danger certainly of arrest and possibly of death. Yet fully aware of that danger, he undertook a plot. There was one more element in the background when he embarked on this bold act:Kaikoroku.

The war was only getting fiercer. Then came March 9, and now the exceptional time was at hand: I must undertake some slight service. I think it’s okay to say that was my mindset in accepting the deanship. At the time, my thought was how to stop the war. At least as the Tōdai Faculty of Law and in our capacity as professors, wasn’t there something we could do, even in secret? I told no one, but I made that resolve and accepted the deanship.

But it happened that the next day—March 10—was the morning of the unprecedented great air raid. Virtually all traffic stopped; trains were moving, barely, on only one of the Tokyo lines. I got to the university, going as far as Ueno by streetcar. On the way home, I walked as far as Mejiro. The whole stretch from Hongo to Koishikawa was a burned-out wasteland. The smell of gunpowder was still strong, and corpses lay on the roadside, covered merely with straw mats. … That air raid deepened my conviction, my deep emotion: wasn’t there something I—dean of the Faculty of Law—and the Tōdai Faculty of Law could do, even if not in an official capacity?


The Emperor Learns of The War-Termination Maneuvers of the Tōdai Seven

In which the author tells of Nambara’s conspiracy with Takagi Yasaka and others to bring about an early end to the war. He discusses Takagi’s career as a pioneer in American studies, his connection with Privy Seal Kido, and his attempt before Pearl Harbor to forestall war with the U. S. What the professors recommended in 1945 proved far more realistic than actual government policy, and although Nambara concluded that their efforts had been fruitless, the author argues that these efforts did come to the emperor’s attention and hence had an effect. He concludes—this is his final chapter, followed only by an epilogue—with reflections on history as “double weave.”


Nambara and Takagi

The book Verbatim: Recollections of Nambara Shigeru has this to say about the war-termination maneuvers of the seven Tōdai professors, of whom Nambara was one. Nambara is speaking: “This maneuvering to terminate the war we Law Faculty colleagues did completely on our own…. Takagi, Tanaka, Suenobu Sanji, Wagatsuma Sakae, Oka Yoshitake, Suzuki Takeo, and I. It required, of course, extreme secrecy, so it had to be underground. It took plenty of awareness and resolve on that point and careful planning, so these acts would be buried forever. We couldn’t leave records. We agreed among ourselves that it would be covered up forever, that we’d act as if it hadn’t happened.

“Among them, Takagi was my closest confidant, the most important person. Takagi was a specialist in American studies, and as a classmate of Kido KōichiRHM: Throughout the war, Kido was Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, closest advisor to the emperor. Sentenced to life imprisonment at the Tokyo Trial in 1948, Kido was released for health reasons in 1953. at Gakushūin, Takagi was close to him, and like me he grieved at the progress of the war; he had influence and was a kindred soul. At first the two of us drew up the skeleton of the idea and gradually expanded our numbers until there were seven of us.” The seven gathered secretly in the Reception Room on the second floor of the main library, pooled reports and analyzed them, and discussed the officials they should contact and who should do the contacting. The central actors were Nambara and Takagi.

Takagi was born the second son of Kanda Naibu, Japan’s most famous English-language educator. Kanda was a baron, the first student sent to study in the U.S., who accompanied the Iwakura Mission in 1871 and stayed for eight years. After returning to Japan, he was a professor of English at Tōdai, Tokyo Higher Commercial, and Gakushūin. Takagi studied at Gakushūin since middle school and was a close friend of Kido Kōichi, later Privy Seal. Takagi graduated from the Political Science division of the Faculty of Law of Tokyo Imperial University, then entered the Finance Ministry, serving for a time in the banks division, then became an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law. He studied abroad at Harvard, where he earned his M.A. He had many acquaintances among important government figures in Japan and the U.S.

Takagi appeared at the Tokyo trial as special counsel for Kido. At that time he presented a sworn affidavit to the court, and in it he wrote as follows: “5. Marquis Kido is a lifelong friend. In 1871 his father and my father went to the U.S. accompanying Mori Arinori. … He too has been greatly influenced in his fundamentals by English and American culture; in general, he leans to English and American thought, so basically he is liberal… Beginning when Kido was Minister of Education,TT: Kido was Minister of Education October 1937-May 1938, at the time of the Yanaihara resignation, the Popular Front Incident, the arrest of Ōuchi. I had countless consultations on university issues and later as international relations became more important, with the idea that it was one of my duties to tell Kido what I thought based on my research on the U. S. Every time we met in time of crisis, I advised earnestly and spoke my opinion particularly on policy toward the U.S. And after Kido became Privy Seal, I continued to do so diligently.”

The Push into the Dutch East Indies Invited U.S. Involvement in the War

Takagi’s actions are substantiated by the Kido Diary and the Documents Relating to Kido Kōichi presented as evidence to the court. For example, in the Documents there is a long position paper Takagi delivered to Kido’s home with an attached memo, “The Hour is Already Late.” The date is October 1941, two months prior to the opening of hostilities between Japan and the U.S. “In this time of crisis I wish to draw your attention in particular to two points. First, the idea that if we seize the Dutch East Indies swiftly, England and the U.S. will not embark on the road to armed opposition is mistaken. This opinion is the basis for those currently advocating an advance south and a hard line toward the U.S., but if you sum up the reports from many U.S. magazines and the like that I have recently got hold of, the attitude of England and the U.S., especially after the Atlantic Conference, is to abandon the policy of appeasement and press on instead to a policy first of economic war and then if necessary of armed conflict: on this point there can be virtually no doubt. Concerning the recent experience when the occupation of French Indochina gave rise to so great a collision and to resistance, that experience should serve as a good and significant lesson at decision time in this critical moment…” [emphasis Tachibana].

At the time, relations between Japan and the U. S. were touch-and-go. When the Second World War began in Europe in September 1939, the German Blitzkrieg swept over Europe. France surrendered barely nine months after the opening of hostilities. Japan proclaimed its non-involvement in the European war; but when France surrendered (June 1940), Japan used its advantageous position (the alliance between Japan and Germany) to seize control of Asia and immediately embarked on military occupation of French Indochina (September 1940). So long as that involved only northern Indochina, the U.S. merely protested forcefully; but when in June 1941 the occupation spread to Southern Indochina, the U.S. considered it contrary to international law and retaliated by freezing Japanese assets in the U.S. It prohibited all oil exports. England and Holland followed suit. The underlined portion of Takagi’s memorandum—to so great a collision and to resistance—points to these retaliatory measures. England, the U.S., and Holland controlled virtually all the world’s oil resources, and their ban on shipments to Japan meant that Japan had only enough oil for one or two years. In the face of the oil embargo, there arose in Japan the strong contention that Japan should occupy the Dutch East Indies and seize the oil. The judgment: if Japan acted with lightning speed, England and the U.S. would not intervene.

Takagi’s memorandum argued that this point of view was utterly mistaken, that it was inevitable that as soon as Japan intervened in the Dutch East Indies, England and the U.S. would go to war. That year U.S.-Japan relations were troubled, and Takagi met time and again with Kido and suggested policy toward the U.S. According to the Kido Diary, Takagi met with Kido right before the opening of hostilities four times. This was only one small part of Takagi’s efforts to avoid the outbreak of war; during this time Takagi worked for the easing of tension between Japan and the U.S. not merely with Kido, but also with Prime Minister Konoe, U.S. Ambassador Grew, Japanese Ambassador to the U. S. Nomura Kichisaburō, and others. His sworn affidavit contains the following:

6. In late January 1941, at the time Ambassador Nomura departed [for Washington], I presented my views on U.S.-Japan relations to him, as I always tried to do at such a time… I met with Kido and stated my views. Kido showed strong sympathy. Later, I actually met more frequently with Konoe than with Kido, and although my abilities were limited, as one scholar I did everything I could to improve U.S.-Japan relations.

In late May, in view of the international crisis that at the time added to the tension…I advised Kido in particular. …

In August that same year, at the time of the sending of the Konoe message, I too took part in planning the Konoe proposal. Down to the present, I have been unable to shed my regret that at the time we were unable, via the statesmanship we attempted, to find a way out. Both before and after, I met a number of times with Ambassador Grew, exerted my unworthy efforts as a scholar for U.S.-Japan understanding, and based on my opinion that was undergirded by those contacts, I presented my sense of things to Kido.

The “Konoe message” of August was the proposal that Japan and the U.S. hold a summit conference: regretting the fact that U.S.-Japan relations were getting steadily worse, and letting bygones be bygones, Prime Minister Konoe and President Roosevelt would meet face-to-face somewhere in the Pacific and try to solve at one go all outstanding issues between Japan and the U.S. This Konoe message moved President Roosevelt temporarily—“The president praised Konoe’s message as ‘absolutely splendid’ and said he’d like to meet with Konoe for about three days. Konoe says, ‘That moment was the closest Japan and the U.S. came.’” That’s how important the Konoe message was. And Takagi was among those who drafted it.

Izawa Takio, elder statesman among Home Ministry officials, was charged—should the meeting take place—with boiling down the agenda for the two men; he said, “The bottom line was that Roosevelt would have to betray America 40% and Konoe would have to betray Japan 60%.” Izawa said to Konoe, “If you do this, it’s a foregone conclusion you’ll be murdered.” Konoe replied, “It will be worth it.” Which shows how anxious he was to proceed. Yabe Teiji, Konoe Fumimaro (Tokyo: Jiji Tsūshinsha, 1952). But the talks never happened.

In actual fact, it was only for a very brief moment, on the occasion of this Konoe message, that Japan and the U.S. showed an inclination toward rapprochement. Beginning immediately thereafter, the hawks seized control of national policy in both Japan and the U.S., and the situation worsened, snowballing downhill toward the opening of hostilities between Japan and the U.S. at year’s end.

Takagi was meeting frequently with Kido when this Konoe message was sent. In the Kido Diary for this period, there is a memo that is likely Kido’s recording of his own thoughts. Reading it, we understand well what Kido was thinking at the stage when it was touch-and-go whether war between Japan and the U. S. could be avoided. We can see that Kido took fully into account Takagi’s proposals—his judgment of the tension between Japan and the U.S. and the absolute need to avoid war:

We should exert all efforts to do the following:

In short, there’s no alternative but determination and perseverance (expanding national power in the meantime). It’s all too clear to us today, knowing what really happened in that war, all the way to horrific defeat, that at the time this was the only correct policy choice. But at the time, people thinking this coolly were in the minority; unable to restrain the military and pulled along by an overly rosy estimate of the situation, the majority rushed into war.

Opposition to Mediation by the Soviet Union

As I’ve said, the maneuvering to terminate the war was carried out in total secrecy. It came to light at the Tokyo trial. The defense presented evidence (Kido’s affidavit, the Kido Diary, Takagi’s affidavit, etc.) to prove that Kido was not a central promoter of war but until the very last had searched for possible ways to peace, and that evidence brought to light the fact that such maneuvering had taken place. For example, in Takagi’s affidavit, there is the following: “7. In May 1945, I consulted with Konoe and several other political figures about terminating the war, and after considering carefully what I’d learned, I paid a visit to Kido on June 1 to present a peace proposal. There was no difference between the marquis and me on the policy to pursue. I could see his determination clearly. He thought that ‘a purge of the Army equals peace’….

“On July 31 I talked with Konoe at Karuizawa about the urgent need to decide the official response to the Potsdam Proclamation.RHM: Meeting outside Berlin, the British, U.S., and Chinese leaders (the Soviet Union was not at war with Japan) had issued the Potsdam Proclamation on July 26. I stressed acceptance of the Proclamation; in turn, the prince suggested that I meet Kido and state the same opinion.

“On August 3 I met with Kido and stated that we should of course press on with a peace policy that took the U.S. as opposite number.”

At the very end of the war, some Foreign Ministry and Army officials who had begun to grope blindly for peace planned to ask the Soviet Union to act as mediator. Their plans got as far as opening talks at the ambassadorial level and planning to send an emissary (Konoe) to Moscow. But the Tōdai professors condemned the idea strongly. In Nambara Shigeru Recollected, there’s this passage:

Maruyama: What did you recommend?

Nambara: First, the timing of the termination of the war. We were active from the end of March 1945 into April and May [TT: actually, until August], and we thought the German collapse would come in May. We thought that the German surrender likely presented the best opportunity for a Japanese peace proposal. At the latest, before the Americans landed on Okinawa—we were agreed on that.

Second, how to make the war-termination contact with the Allies. We thought it best to deal directly with the U.S. If that proved absolutely impossible, Switzerland or some other country would be okay, but make an offer to the U.S. through a third party. To say it the other way round, avoid the Soviet Union. We judged that it wouldn’t do to complicate matters. We discussed this thoroughly with Foreign Minister Tōgō, and we had such a warm conversation that Tōgō himself asked if we wouldn’t please think about concrete methods.

The people favoring Soviet mediation believed that with the neutrality pact between Japan and the Soviet Union in effect and the two countries still maintaining diplomatic relations, the Soviet Union—if asked—would serve as mediator. But in fact, at the Yalta Conference in February, the Soviet Union had promised to enter the war after the German surrender, so that option simply didn’t exist. On August 3, when Takagi and the others met with Kido for the last time, Soviet troops were already massing on the border between Japan and the Soviet Union in preparation for the attack that came five days later, and it was already clear that the Tōdai professors, not the Foreign Ministry officials and Army officers who favored Soviet mediation, had made the right call.

We know from other materials that when Tōgō, attracted by the Tōdai professors’ proposal, asked them to think about concrete methods, he was really asking Takagi, Isn’t there some way you can use your personal connections to contact the U.S.? The Takagi affidavit continues: “The last two or three times I visited Kido, I went with my close friend Nambara, then dean of the Tōdai Law Faculty. Nambara and I had virtually the same opinions on domestic politics and international relations, so especially after May, we favored terminating the war and repeatedly went together to visit politicians.”

Immediately after these facts came to light in the courtroom, the University News ran the headline:


The article said: “The Takagi affidavit that is a high point of the Tokyo trial makes clear how Professors Nambara and Takagi of the Tōdai Faculty of Law offered advice on the termination of the war, and how at the time of the termination of the war, unexpectedly, Tōdai, citadel of truth and reason, roused itself to action in the homeland’s moment of danger, its practical action shot through with academic fervor so befitting that reason.” The existence of the war-termination maneuvering came to light at this time, but even thereafter, in keeping with their original promise “to bury this act forever,” those involved did not come forward to speak of the facts. The facts were spoken of in full for the first time in Nambara Shigeru Recollected (1989).

Maruyama: I returned to the university from my first conscription in November 1944RHM: Maruyama was conscripted twice. and remember hearing from you in very broad terms ideas about terminating the war…. You said that the only strategy to suppress the Army’s do-or-die resistance was to use the court and the senior councilors. If the Army simply wouldn’t obey, you said something about there being no alternative to using the Navy’s power….When had you begun to have such thoughts and plans?

Nambara: …I broached it in concrete terms to my faculty colleagues after becoming dean… There was a group of us who lamented the war in the same way as I. As individuals we gathered reports tirelessly, exchanged them in secret, and studied them. …I thought, let’s try gathering them systematically.

This initiative developed into the meetings, mentioned earlier, in the Reception Room in the library.

Maruyama: Did you meet regularly, on a given day?

Nambara: No. It wasn’t regularly. It wouldn’t do to attract attention to the fact that all seven of us were meeting, so we decided to meet three or four at a time…. The conclusions we’d reached by collecting the most reliable reports possible and analyzing them accurately we spoke of to Konoe first of all, to the sympathetic senior councilors and cabinet ministers, and to people who—though not in the cabinet—had influence.

The point of working on people in authority, as in Maruyama’s earlier statement, was that the only strategy was to use the senior councilors and court and the Navy.

Maruyama: How did you approach the senior councilors?

Nambara: We divided them up, and each of us approached sympathetic people in secret and appealed to them. Generally, I went round with Takagi. To speak only of the visits I remember, Konoe twice—once in his villa in Odawara we talked for quite a long time. Another was Wakatsuki Reijirō. The first time was a visit with Tanaka Kōtarō to his villa in Izu; thereafter, we visited his Tokyo home two or three times. Again, I received a call from Suzuki Takeo, and we called on Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Ishiguro Tadaatsu. Also Foreign Minister Tōgō Shigenori, Privy Seal Kido Kōichi, General Ugaki Kazushige—they were my chief targets.

Evidence of these activities of the Tōdai professors appears, for example, in the Kido Diary for May 7, recorded in simple fashion: “Three p.m.: once again to the office. Professors Nambara and Takagi came. Consulted. The path ahead in the war, etc.” Or on June 1: “2:30. Tōdai Professors Nambara and Takagi came to my office; spoke of their opinions on prospects for the war, policy in response, etc.” No matter what the topic, the Kido Diary includes only simple notes of this sort. As to the precise content of their war-terminating maneuvers, the professors left no notes, and the senior councilors who listened to their appeals left no true notes, either. But it’s not the case that the content is unknown. We do have a single document that dates from that time.

War-Terminating Maneuvers Even the Navy Promoted

That document is a memo left by Admiral Takagi Sōkichi, former Chief of the Education Bureau of the Navy Ministry, who on secret orders from the Navy Minister, Admiral Yonai Mitsumasa, had a hand in war-terminating maneuvers at the end of the war. Takagi was one of those targeted by the seven professors, and in his diary and the documents appended to it, published in 2000, there are two detailed memos from the time he was approached by Nambara and the others. In Nambara Shigeru Remembered, Nambara speaks of Takagi as follows: “At that time Admiral Takagi Sōkichi was Yonai’s brain trust, so Takagi and I—the two of us—met him three times and told him we’d like the Navy to act. The Navy too was deeply worried, so although in the end he took no action, Admiral Takagi saw the larger picture unusually well for a military man. So he understood what we said and kept things secret.”

In fact, at this time Admiral Takagi, too, was involved in secret plots (from the dump-Tōjō movement to plans to assassinate Tōjō), so even though he was approached by Nambara and the others, he couldn’t respond. Later, in the newsletter that accompanied Takagi Yasaka’s collected works, Admiral Takagi wrote as follows: “From 1944 on, as is well known today, Japan’s war situation had fallen into the worst possible state, and people of influence who took a comprehensive view of world conditions felt acutely the need for Japan’s policy to make a 180-degree turn, from prosecuting the war to searching for peace; but on account of the terror tactics—Military Police, Special Police—of the then government, it was an exceptionally dark atmosphere in Japan. To express that view in word or deed was to risk your life. In this atmosphere, I received a visit from Nambara of Tōdai on June 8, 1945, and on June 15 Takagi and Nambara visited my office at the Naval University.”

Admiral Takagi and Takagi Yasaka had met earlier.RHM: Despite sharing the surname Takagi, the two men were not related. The naval officer took the name of the family into which he married. From 1938 to 1939 then-Captain Takagi Sōkichi held the important position of Chief of the Emergency Research Bureau in the Navy Ministry. At that time he summoned talent broadly from outside official circles and initiated a sizable project to depict what the Navy’s (and by extension Japan’s) grand design for the future should be. The project was divided into six sections (focus groups) and assembled sixty people—only the best and brightest of the day; at that time the most influential member of the foreign policy discussion group was Takagi Yasaka. The Navy took the U.S. as hypothetical enemy, so American studies was essential knowledge for naval officers, and Takagi’s Introduction to U. S. Political History (1931) had long been required reading. That’s how highly the Navy already thought of Takagi Yasaka.

As part of their war-termination maneuvering, Takagi and Nambara visited Takagi Sōkichi at the Naval University on June 8 and 15: “At that time, citing the writings of former ambassador Grew and Dr. Reischauer, the professors emphasized that U.S. postwar planning was not thinking about changing our kokutai root and branch and that we should negotiate with the U.S. as direct opposite number, that we should negotiate with Great Britain focusing on respect for the imperial house, and that continuing the war was not advantageous. Nambara made the point that the Suzuki Cabinet wasn’t up to a courageous decision to change state policy, so he hoped an Ugaki Cabinet would emerge.

“On top-secret orders from Navy Minister Yonai and Vice Minister Inoue in August 1944, I had encouraged research and promotion of maneuvering to terminate the war, but that was utterly secret even within the Navy; so although I was thoroughly sympathetic to the concerns of the two professors, I couldn’t take them into my confidence.”

The True Relation between Sovereign and Subject in the Imperial Declaration Ending the War

The memo of the June 8 meeting preserved by Admiral Takagi contains as the professors’ analysis of the situation, “Germany is done. The Soviet Union will swing to the enemy side.” That is what happened. Moreover, concerning the domestic scene, the memo states, If the policy is to be 100,000,000 glorious deaths,RHM: “100,000,000 glorious deaths” was a late wartime slogan touting the supposed willingness of all Japanese to sacrifice their lives. it will reach an impasse at the kokutai, that grave issue.And the following: “If it comes to 100,000,000 glorious deaths, then in American and British eyes, the imperial house will have served no purpose; its continued existence will have no point. Seen through Japanese eyes, too, we should listen to the voices of ordinary subjects. It’s become a matter of what goes in the emperor’s ear. If it’s to be 100,000,000 glorious deaths, then resentment against the emperor will erupt. Distrust abroad and at home will shake the foundations of the kokutai.”Takagi Sōkichi, Takagi Sōkichi nikki (Tokyo: Mainichi shimbunsha, 1985). Again, in terminating the war, the true relation between sovereign and subject is crucial, and a draft imperial proclamation to display the true relation emphasizes these points: “I do not intend that our allies die and our country fight on alone… For the sake of humanity… To save the people from falling into great misery.” Again: “Even though Germany lost the war, the culture of Kant, Hegel, and Goethe endures. What will get Japan get back on its feet?” There’s also this:

5. The senior councilors, too, are considering termination of the war. After the battle of Okinawa, we hope the Navy will offer the emperor its tactical opinion on the direction the war is taking.

6. After the battle of Okinawa, if the Navy reports to the throne on the war’s prospects, the senior councilors will act accordingly.

And it mentions the sense the professors had gathered from making the rounds of the senior councilors—that the senior councilors, too, were already leaning in the direction of terminating the war; that if the Navy took the lead, the senior councilors would respond.

In the memo from the meeting of June 15, when both Nambara and Takagi Yasaka were present, there are these comments: “1. Since the beginning of last year [1944], in discussing Japan, American draft plans for the postwar world pay particular attention to the kokutai argument, to wit:

And then comes Takagi’s analysis specifically of the kokutai issue. In essence, there are various opinions about this issue in the U.S. domestically, but if we take the U.S. on directly as opposite number and express Japan’s true intent candidly, the basic thought of the core makers of Japan policy isn’t anti-emperor; so the discussion will undoubtedly bear fruit.

What’s important here is the issue of moral justification on the emperor’s side—why the decision to terminate the war? “The Imperial House wishes to save the people from further war damage, so if it orders a ceasefire, if it orders peace, it is to save the situation.” The imperial proclamation should stress that the decision to terminate the war is not for the sake of preserving the emperor’s status, but above all for the sake of the people, to avoid further war damage to the people.

Another key point is whether the surrender is conditional or unconditional and, related to that, the issue of what happens to the emperor system. Here is Nambara:Nambara Kaikoroku. “In the matter of conditions for terminating the war, it’s probably better not to insist on conditions—in other words, we thought ‘unconditional.’ Our conclusion was that it’s best to terminate the war as early as possible. As to form, we thought it most desirable in Japan’s case that it be the emperor’s decision—that is, via the issuance of an imperial declaration. In the imperial declaration at the time of his decision, the emperor should make clear to the world and to Japan his own responsibility. The sense that he should abdicate at an appropriate time after the end of the war was there implicitly. But we did say let’s defend the emperor system—we’d probably have to limit the constitutional authority of the emperor sharply—but defend the emperor system. We didn’t use the phrase ‘defend the kokutai,’ but we were saying, why not take that position?” Defend the emperor system as system, but in the war-termination proclamation have the emperor make clear his responsibility. And have him abdicate at an appropriate time. In addition, limit greatly the postwar emperor’s power—this with an eye to the postwar revision of the constitution.

As I explained in detail in the last chapter, Nambara had long thought the emperor should take responsibility for the war and abdicate at an appropriate time. That feeling surfaced most clearly after the war when Nambara was elected to the House of Peers and debated the new Imperial House Law. Nambara found it strange that this draft law contained no provision at all for the abdication of the emperor, so he asked, What would happen in case the emperor contracted an incurable disease? Or if as a free individual he said he wanted to stop being emperor, what then? Nambara argued as follows: “Should the emperor encounter a grave incident and feel strongly his own moral responsibility, and should he wish to say so even at the risk of his position, the fact that that path is blocked, I think, is equivalent to blocking such a supremely moral act on the part of the emperor. What is the government’s position?” This, of course, is to ask what would happen if the emperor feels war responsibility and says he wants to stop being emperor.

Further, Nambara made this clear statement:

I have to think about this particularly in the context of the recent war. It is clear from an interpretation of the existing [Meiji] constitution that the emperor bears no political or legal responsibility for the war. In particular, the people all know full well that he more than anyone wanted peace from first to last and that he took on himself the suffering of the state. Nevertheless—no, for that very reason—we can speculate that he must have felt the strongest spiritual and moral responsibility toward his ancestors above and the people below for the fact that the greatest misfortune ever in the history of our country arose during his reign.

Now the people all are wading in the depths of material and spiritual disaster. Most especially, wounded soldiers, innumerable war refugees, and survivors of the millions of war dead, fill our streets. They know that in the time of military rule, the leaders were mistaken, but every last one of them invoked the name of the emperor and fought and suffered for the emperor. And beginning with the senior councilors and close advisors, leaders all over the country are facing death in harsh legal trials or are being purged. Still for a while, during this period of extraordinary change and even while being made to shoulder incalculable grief and sense of responsibility under these conditions, it’s the emperor who is attending to national affairs all by himself.

Thus, Nambara’s point was that for the emperor’s sake, too, there should be provision for abdication. But in fact no such provision was made, and presumably also partly for that reason, the Shōwa emperor did not abdicate.

The War-Termination Maneuvering of The Tōdai Seven: Were They Themselves Satisfied?

To return to the story of the war-termination maneuvering of Nambara and the others, they thought bringing about an end to the war was probably too much for Suzuki Kantarō, then-prime minister and a Navy man. The greatest obstacle to surrender was clearly the Army, which trumpeted the final battle on the home islands and 100,000,000 glorious deaths. Thinking it would take a strong cabinet with Army ties to bring about the termination of the war, Nambara tried to entice Army elder statesman General Ugaki Kazushige:

Ishida: Who went to see Ugaki?

Nambara: I went alone…. Something had to be done: he did listen carefully to what I had to say, and we were in general agreement…. Not simply Ugaki but Konoe, too: …we as scholars truly grieved for the country…and had concluded that this was the only possible route; they all agreed wholeheartedly. Especially Wakatsuki was greatly moved and showed full-blown sympathy—something had to be done, so let’s work together. All the people I paid calls on promised very seriously to cooperate.

But in retrospect, May and June passed while we were doing this….Time passed, right up to August 15. In other words, in reality it was the dropping of the atomic bombs that brought about the end of the war. When all is said and done, what we did had no effect. Nothing more than our own self-gratification—frankly, nothing more than that.

So because it produced only their own gratification, Nambara’s own evaluation of their war-termination maneuvering was quite low.

But was that really the case? I think it was not something to be so modest about. To be sure, their maneuvering did not become the occasion when events began to move suddenly, amid general applause, toward an end to the war. However, if you look at the actual movement toward ending the war that developed several months later, elements that the Tōdai professors had thought of did come to pass. For example: the Navy’s rising to the occasion and working in cooperation with the court and senior councilors to suppress the resistance of the Army; using the form of termination via imperial decision, persuading the people with the force of an imperial proclamation; ending reliance on Soviet mediation and pinning hopes on direct negotiations with the U.S.; putting no conditions on surrender but accepting unconditional surrender. That the actual process was so similar to what the professors imagined means we can say that the work of the professors had not a direct but an indirect effect, lingering like an after-image in the minds of the important people.

At first I thought that, as Nambara said, their war-termination maneuvering had had no real effect, that it produced only their own self-gratification. But when I read the Shōwa Emperor’s Monologue (1991), my thinking changed. That’s because in its section, “The Argument over the Potsdam Proclamation,” the emperor’s own words are noted as follows: “The Foreign Minister says we can accept this proposal [the Burns reply]; the Army says we can’t. Kido’s position is that we ought to accept it. If I may add a word to the argument at this time, Nambara, dean of the Tōdai Faculty of Law, and Takagi Yasaka have visited Kido and expressed the opinion that we had at all costs to sue for peace. Again, Arita HachiroRHM: Arita had been foreign minister three times between 1936 and 1940. had come to Kido to tell him we had to sue for peace directly with the British and Americans.… Thus, among the people the mood to sue for peace had intensified.” The appeal of Nambara and the others had reached the emperor’s ear. And it became one reason the emperor moved conclusively to accept the Potsdam Proclamation.

I said to myself, “Aha!” I thought I knew the basis of the emperor’s words at the end of the war, at the time of his second Imperial Conference decision. The first imperial decision at the end of the war was handed down on August 9: “We accept the Potsdam Proclamation on the understanding that the emperor system [kokutai] will be maintained.” In responding three days later (August 12), the Allies said nothing directly about the desire to maintain the emperor system but simply reiterated the principles: “From the time of surrender, the sovereignty of the emperor and the Japanese government will be subject to the control of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers,” and “The ultimate form of the government of Japan will be decided by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.”RHM: This phrase was from the reply of Secretary of State Byrnes.

The Japanese side split sharply in interpreting and evaluating this reply. At the second Imperial Conference (August 14) there was a clear difference between the opinion of the Army—“It’s not clear from this whether the kokutai will be maintained, so we need a second reply making that explicit”—and the opinion of the Foreign Ministry and Navy—“This is sufficient, so without requesting a second response or doing anything to ruin the talks, we should accept this reply.” The emperor’s second decision was that this reply was sufficient.

At the time he issued the second imperial decision, the emperor explained, “It’s not that I don’t understand the views of those uneasy about whether this truly protects the kokutai, but I believe firmly that this truly protects the kokutai. I believe firmly this is the true intent of the Americans.” This statement checked those who opposed accepting the Burns note. But in fact the basis for his full confidence was nowhere made clear. However, that basis becomes clear when we know that the logic of the arguments the Tōdai professors used in their war-termination maneuvering was communicated to the emperor. Takagi had emphasized these points. He investigated closely what the U.S. officials of the time had said up till then, explained which person had which thoughts and how government opinion changes in terms of political dynamics, that with people friendly to the emperor system in positions of power, if now Japan approached the U.S., the emperor system would undoubtedly be maintained, but that if Japan involved the Soviet Union, which opposed the emperor system, the emperor system would be endangered. In time of chaos, a revolution might arise.

It can only have been Takagi’s argument, reaching the emperor via Kido, that gave the emperor firm confidence that the U.S. side intended to maintain the emperor system. There could be no doubt, given his birth and personality, that Takagi was a firm supporter of the emperor, and we can surmise that the emperor trusted him. The fact that Takagi’s name appears in the emperor’s statement I quoted earlier from the Shōwa Emperor’s Monologue is, I think, the best possible proof.

Secret Support for the Emperor System from the U.S. Side

In “My Proposed Amendment to the Draft Revision of the Constitution,”“Kempō kaisei hōan ni taisuru shūsei shian,” Chosakushū 4. RHM: Takagi’s two terms are kunmin dōchi and kunmin ittai. Takagi speaks of his own view of the emperor as follows: “What is the essence of the emperor system? To try to cover it in a phrase, the emperor system is the system that in Japan emperors from time immemorial have ruled with virtue and with the advice and assistance of generations of Japanese; in a bit more detail, the emperor himself doesn’t rule but in each age entrusts rule to bearers, yet he continues of course to exist and rule as the lead force spiritually and morally—this is our political system. We can express this most simply with the words ‘sovereign-people same rule’; it also should be called the product of our people’s historical development stretching over the past 2,000 years, the central unique reality of our kokutai. This form of state can also be comprehended in the words ‘sovereign-people one body.’”

This formulation is virtually the same as what the emperor-centered believers put forward during the war. Because that was his position, Takagi’s private constitutional revision excluded popular sovereignty from the new constitution, and if you were to ask people today, they would be tempted to call it a substitute whereby democracy was merely patched into the Meiji Constitution. Takagi’s draft preamble began, “The Japanese emperor and people form one sovereign-people body…’ and Article 1 says, “Japan takes the emperor as head of state and is a peaceful democratic state that takes the emperor as symbol of national unity based on the will of the people.”

To listen to Takagi, that slight mismatch between Japan’s conditional acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation and the American response (the Burns note), which did not address that condition, was an adroit policy of maintaining the kokutai, created by exquisite political craftsmanship. (It did not shout out ‘maintain the emperor system,’ but in fact it did maintain the emperor system: it was a foregone conclusion that if the Japanese people expressed their will freely, the emperor system would be maintained.) Via the Burns note, he said, the kokutai was maintained, beautifully. As for the theory that August 15 brought about change in the kokutai, that “subject to the control of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers” meant a change in the kokutai, Takagi said that was nonsense: it “completely ignored both the strenuous effort in which our subjects had poured out their lifeblood and the cooperation of sympathizers abroad.” In fact, concerning the line in the Burns note that “the sovereignty of the emperor will be subject to the orders of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers,” Secretary of War Stimson said later, “The response of the Allies made no promise at all beyond the condition already stated in the Potsdam Proclamation, but at the same time, it stated that the sovereignty of the emperor will be subject to the orders of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, and it accepted the status of the emperor implicitly” (emphasis added).Gaimushō, ed., Shūsenshiroku. Indeed, precisely in line with Takagi’s analysis, Japan policy-makers in the U. S. had made the preservation of the emperor system their basic policy.

Yet what would happen under their rule when the Allied forces in fact came to Japan? That wouldn’t be known until the time came. (In particular, would the emperor system be maintained when the new constitution came into being?) Even after the arrival of the Allies, Takagi took many turns on stage—his English was excellent, and he had many acquaintances in the core of the Occupation. He was fully engaged at every turn, including constitutional revision. Takagi’s talents were on full display especially in the process whereby the symbolic emperor system was created. For example, Takagi was deeply involved, along with Konoe and the others, even in the very first stage of constitutional revision. Nakamura Akira writes as follows in Who Created the Symbolic Emperor System?:Nakamura Akira, Shōchō tennōsei wa dare ga tsukutta ka: ikitsuzukeru kisōsha no shisō to shinnen (Tokyo: Chūō keizaisha, 2003). “With Takagi, Matsumoto Shigeharu, and others, Konoe was in close touch with the relevant diplomatic officials on the U.S. side—George Atcheson and the others. When Konoe heard about the fundamental policies of constitutional revision as planned by the U. S. in late October of that same year [1945], Takagi says, ‘In the car on the way to Hakone, deeply relieved that the State Department did not intend harsh, high-pressure non-recognition of the emperor system, Konoe let slip a huge sigh—“Thank goodness!” It left an indelible impression on me.’”

As before, the government brain trust too was worried about the continued existence of the emperor system, and when the Takagi group was shown by the U.S. side the passage, “Head of the state [sic] should take action pursuant to authority delegated to him by the constitution,” it deepened their sense that the U.S. intended that the emperor continue to exist.

As I wrote in the last chapter, Takagi—fervent supporter of the emperor system, one of the planners of the postwar symbolic emperor system—thought that the emperor should take responsibility for the war and abdicate in order to show that “power does not trump morality.” And in fact Privy Seal Kido, too—Takagi’s dear friend and the emperor’s closest advisor—thought that the emperor should take responsibility and abdicate, which may or may not have been the influence of Takagi. This surprising fact came to light first in the late portions of the diary Kido continued to keep in Sugamo Prison after October 1951, after the signing of the peace treaty; in 1948 at the Tokyo Trial he received a sentence of life imprisonment and immediately began serving it.

It was Shōwa historian Awaya Kentarō who deciphered this fact and announced it in the notes to Documents of the Tokyo Trial: the Kido Kōichi Interrogation.kyō saiban shiryō: Kido Kōichi jinmon chōsho, ed. Awaya Kentarō (Tokyo: Ōtsuki Shoten, 1987). According to him, Kido had been saying to the emperor in person, since right after the war, that he should abdicate. Kido did so too at the farewell dinner the emperor held for Kido immediately before Kido was arrested as a war criminal:

At this time of parting from Your Highness, I wish to say that Your Highness bears responsibility for this recent war, and when the Potsdam Proclamation has been completely carried out—in other words, at the time of the conclusion of a peace treaty—I think it is right that Your Highness take responsibility toward your ancestors and toward the people and abdicate…. With that act the families of the war dead and the war wounded and the families of those missing in action and the war criminalsRHM: This is a reference to those leaders about to be tried at the Tokyo Trial. will feel some consolation, as if they have received some recompense, and it should make a very positive contribution to national unity centering on the Imperial House. If that does not happen, the Imperial House alone will not have taken responsibility in the end, and it will leave a lingering unease, and I fear it may even become a permanent source of evil. At all costs, even if right now such action on Your part is not possible, if Your intention is leaked, the positive impact on the people’s hearts and minds will be enormous. Even though now it is not my place to say this, at an appropriate time I do hope Your Highness will act in accordance with my thinking.

In October 1951 Kido communicated to court officials his wish that they pass this on to the emperor. Thereafter, too, any number of times, he recommended through intermediaries that the emperor abdicate. Taking his loyal advice, the emperor intended to abdicate, but MacArthur and Prime Minister Yoshida feared negative political effects for themselves and blocked that action.

Then when the emperor spoke at the 1952 ceremony commemorating the peace treaty, at two or three places at first in the draft of his speech there was the expression, “I apologize deeply to the Japanese for responsibility for the war,” but his advisors revised and revised, and such expressions disappeared entirely; it became a sentence that seemed as if it was about other people: “In particular at this time I believe we should reflect deeply on past transitions, be on our guard together, and deeply etch on our hearts that the mistake not be repeated.”

The section of the draft that disappeared is the passage that caused such a large reaction when it was published in the July 2007 Bungei shunjū, “Draft of the Imperial Apology”: “Earlier we lost the goodwill of our good neighbors and caused trouble with the Allied powers, ending finally in bitter defeat: the terrible torment has come to the extreme we know today…. The suffering and distress of all my people is truly a disaster unprecedented for my country, and when I think of it calmly, my sadness burns like fire. I am deeply ashamed before the world for my lack of virtue.”

In prison, Kido learned of the disappearance of the apology to the people and sent Matsudaira Yasumasa, Grand Master of Court Ceremony, this message: “The emperor takes war responsibility and expresses it for the time being in formal apology. His Majesty’s feelings should be preserved as historical evidence. Constitutionally, he cannot abdicate, but it is necessary to rectify the true relation between sovereign and people. Otherwise, we lost the war but did not acknowledge our fault, and responsibility is zero; if it stops there, it will be a problem for future history, too.”

Nambara’s speech in the House of Peers where he urged the abdication of the emperor—we quoted from it earlier—continues as follows: “Particularly for us educators, from primary school to the university, who regard moral duty as holy, this is a grave issue. The war has weakened our sense of responsibility, our sense of duty, and the whole society shows signs of moral decadence; I believe it is no exaggeration to say that the future fate of the fatherland depends solely on whether we have a moral and spiritual revival.” In today’s Japan the moral senses—responsibility, duty, and the like—are flickering. We can’t say it’s solely for this reason. Even so, we can’t say for sure that it’s unrelated. In recent years, people speak now and then of the absence among Japanese of historical consciousness (of their obliviousness to the people’s responsibility for the war), and I think that this issue also plays a significant role there.

History as Double Weave

Using Tōdai as axis, this study has depicted over one hundred years of this country’s history, and when I look back, I’m struck by how this country has had to bear up under an indescribably immense fate. If we compare it to a novel, it’s like a stormy serial that leaves you in a cold sweat. And yet it has its fascination, and in terms of its historical main actors from time to time, it’s a serial too serious to sum up as merely “fascinating.” Tōdai as university gets both praise and blame, but in every age this university continues to produce leading historical figures—in that sense, it provides a very convenient stage on which to watch history.

When you write history, the world seems to be a double weave of discontinuity and continuity. Even in an age like 1945, when it seems there is great rupture in every facet of society, if you look again from a slightly changed angle, society in every aspect is continuous.

After all, history all relates to “now.” While I’ve been writing of various eras, my thoughts have leapt any number of times to Japan’s “now.” In order truly to understand Japan’s “now,” I’ve had any number of times to place “now” atop that historical double weave—discontinuity and continuity—and amend my view.

Epilogue: The Day of Defeat: For Japan and for Tokyo Imperial University

In this epilogue the author describes the experiences in August 1945 of Tōdai students and professors. He reports the threat that the American Occupation of Japan might requisition the campus for its headquarters, a threat Tōdai parried adroitly. Ōuchi and Arisawa, two former members of the Faculty of Economics, had fascinating experiences, Ōuchi in the Bank of Japan in August and Arisawa in the immediate postwar years of economic recovery. The author concludes with further thoughts on the “double weave” of history and a pessimistic view of Japan’s leadership in 1945 and sixty years later.


The Emperor’s Broadcast, Heard in Yasuda Auditorium

In Chapter 14 I mentioned Tōdai on August 15. On August 15 the professors and students still at Tōdai gathered in Yasuda Auditorium and listened together to the emperor’s broadcast. I quoted from the memoirs of Ishizaka Kimishige, formerly professor at Johns Hopkins University. As I copied down those words, history suddenly felt real. Some of those who witnessed that historic scene are still alive and speak to us of history in the first person, and when they do so, history changes. Ishizaka surely wasn’t the only person there who is still alive today. Thinking it’d be fascinating to find others and hear their stories, I began to gather data.

Yet most of the students who were in Yasuda Auditorium that day have died, and even if still alive, they are already in their 80s; so there are issues of health and of memory, and gathering the data isn’t easy. As I proceeded to check the graduation lists of the various faculties, I learned that a good many were still alive, but not many of those had actually been at Yasuda Auditorium that day. To begin with, liberal arts students—mobilized into the services or into labor battalions—weren’t on campus. As for the students of the science faculties, some had left the city from the start, such as virtually all the students of Engineering II (they were in Chiba). In some cases a faculty’s students had been evacuated out of Tokyo. For example, mathematics students had been evacuated to various spots in Nagano Prefecture and at the request of the military were calculating bullet trajectories and the like. Even the faculties still on the main campus had seen labor mobilization take most of their students, so many who technically were still on the school’s rolls weren’t on campus on that day at that hour.

Experimenting on Medical Students

First, let’s single out people who indeed did listen to the emperor’s broadcast that day in Yasuda Auditorium. As we know from the fact that Ishizaka was there, quite a few students of the Faculty of Medicine were present. For example, there’s Hosoya Kensei (1949 graduate, Tōdai professor emeritus). Hosoya explains why many medical students were present:

We had matriculated into the Faculty of Medicine in 1945—about 160 of us. The largest war-year class. Ishizaka was one of us. No entrance exam. We got in based on the recommendation of the faculty of the old-style higher schools. When we matriculated on April 1, we had first of all three weeks’ labor service; then instruction commenced. We proceeded at a frantic pace and in June completed the basics: introduction to surgery, diagnosis of internal diseases, emergency treatment, ob-gyn. We did all the basics and were given accelerated training so that in September we could be mobilized into the medical corps. May, June, July, August, September—a scant five months.

The war, too, was in its final stages, so they wanted to send as many medics as possible to the front—with an accelerated five months’ training. The army was trumpeting “the fight to the finish on the home islands” and “one hundred million glorious deaths.” They needed every last medic.

We really studied. Starting mornings at 8, ending at 4:30 or maybe 5. Some took no time off for lunch but simply listened to lectures. Most worked through the night. There might be an air raid or whatever, but the professors worked through the night, too, so we had class. No one cancelled class. Students stayed up all night and studied at the foot of the stairs or wherever—didn’t matter. But there weren’t any textbooks. We went to nearby doctors and borrowed old textbooks that had survived the firebombings.

In class, we learned emergency treatment thoroughly: for example, as soon as the all-clear sounded and people emerged from the shelters, some fainted dead away, so at those times you gave them lightly salted water to drink; or you could take the rubber tube of a stethoscope and fashion it into a stomach pump.

He points to a burn the size of a nickel on the inside of his left wrist.

Do you know what this is? This was a test of mustard gas on live people. The army pushed through the development of protection against mustard gas—“purple light,” “red wave”—and did live experiments: they split the class up into three groups: a “purple light” cohort, a “red wave” cohort, and a third cohort that inhaled nothing. Mustard gas causes skin blisters, so how to prevent that? That was the issue. And that’s why we still have the scars. Everyone in our class has these scars on their wrists.

And on August 15, too, class started at 8. The administration sent a notice at 11:30, saying that the emperor was going to make a broadcast, so stop instruction ten or fifteen minutes early. We were told to go to Yasuda Auditorium and we went, but we couldn’t get in, so we got them to turn the large radio, used to listen for air raid warnings, out the window, and we formed a circle on the lawn outside the Pathology Lecture Hall and listened. Fifty or sixty of us.

Listening to the emperor’s voice, I thought, “I didn’t die a senseless death, thank goodness.” But what a wishy-washy voice the emperor had! When the broadcast ended, we went straight back to our studies. We’d been told beforehand that “After the emperor’s broadcast, we’ll go right back to work,” and that’s what happened. The 16th and the 17th we did the same. It was beginning in September that we returned to normal, not accelerated, instruction, so we redid all of anatomy and physiology.

In 1999, Hosoya and his classmates produced a 50th reunion book of essays. It contains memories of August 15:

On the morning of the day the war ended, I listened to the Imperial Proclamation at Yasuda Auditorium. Some classmates were crying, and the sense of prostration and emptiness was strong. Professor Ogawa’s histology lab on was scheduled for that afternoon. I wondered whether he would hold it on such a day and went to the lab; lo and behold, the professor appeared on time, and without a word about the Imperial Proclamation, directed us quietly, as usual. I remember being struck once again—this is how a true scholar acts.

—The late Nejime Shigeto, head of obstetrics and gynecology at Yokohama General Hospital.

From Yasuda Auditorium some students did not go back to class but headed for the Imperial Palace.

We who at Yasuda Auditorium on the 15th had heard the Imperial Proclamation ending the war headed for the Imperial Palace—I don’t know whose idea it was. It was a hot, cloudy afternoon, leaden. When we got to the plaza in front of the palace, we prostrated ourselves.

The war was over. In the evening, lanterns appeared here and there in parts of Tokyo we had thought were burned out, and we sensed the future wasn’t entirely dark.

—Hirosawa Isakichi, former chief medical officer, Shizuoka Prefecture.

In the internal medicine lecture hall, after a lecture on diagnosing internal diseases, they told us there was to be an important broadcast, so we gathered in Yasuda Auditorium. Who was to broadcast and what he would say had been pretty much rumored before the fact. It was no surprise that afterward we didn’t feel like going to class and hurried right off to Nijūbashi in front of the palace. A whole lot of people must have felt as I did, and they gathered in twos and threes, most of them squatting on the gravel. I too approached Nijūbashi, prostrated myself, and bowed my head. Sweat was flowing because of the great heat, and tears were running down my cheeks because of uncertainty about what would happen now and wretchedness at being utterly powerless; the gravel in front of me grew wet, turned dark.

—Fukuda Masatoshi, former professor of medicine, Ryukyu University.

Some didn’t go to the palace but tried to return home. Mishima Saiichi, who came from Awaji Island near Osaka, wrote this:

On August 15 the war ended. The stress we’d been under disappeared—poof!—and I felt a sense of relief. For people who had fought the war in deadly earnest, it was probably a heartbreaking ending. I think they cried heartfelt tears, but we had no such thoughts. Thinking there’d be problems if we simply stayed in Tokyo, three or four of us who came from the Kyoto area got together to see whether there wasn’t some way to get home. In the end, after two or three sleepless nights, we were able to get train tickets. The train was full, and all the people had large sacks on their shoulders, so we had to stand for the sixteen or seventeen hours.

Once October arrived, a letter came from a classmate in Tokyo: there hadn’t been a single day off from classes at the university, so come back quickly. It was a big shock that in those chaotic days the professors had kept on lecturing. Recently a friend showed me his notes from the August 1945 lectures of Professor Tsuzuki: even after the end of the war he met his classes without a break, and the fact that among his lectures was one on the atomic bomb gave me a very strange feeling—I couldn’t help feeling respect and awe for the professors back then.

—The late Mishima Saiichi, dean of the Tōdai Medical Faculty.)

Professor Kinoshita Mokutarō and the Air Raid Shelter

Another medical student in Yasuda Auditorium on August 15 was Mannen Hajime, who was a third-year student when the war ended and later Tōdai professor of dentistry. Two days before the end of the war, on August 13, 1945, a red card—that is, a call-up notice—arrived at the Mannen home. He was to report on August 17 to the Yamagata Regiment. When he checked with his father, his father said, “Don’t go right away. Let’s wait a bit and see how things develop,” and Mannen went to the university. Mannen’s father was an army doctor, so he’d probably heard reports that the end of the war was near. Mannen gives this account:

            Yasuda Auditorium had two floors—main floor and balcony; I remember the main floor was packed. When I entered the auditorium, there was a radio on the platform—a radio and nothing else.

Inside the auditorium, faculty, staff, and students were all mixed together. Several rows in front of me I saw Ogawa Teizō. Ogawa was the Japanese authority on the brain and on anatomy, and I was in awe of him. Later, after graduating, I joined the brain research center and became his pupil. I noted, “Aha, Professor Ogawa’s up ahead,” but I’ve forgotten who else was there. Inside the auditorium, it became very quiet, indeed hushed; no one spoke. And then the Imperial Proclamation of the end of the war was broadcast.

I didn’t catch a good bit of it, but thinking, “Ah, we’ve lost the war,” I raised my head and looked forward: Professor Ogawa’s shoulders were shaking. I thought, “It’s hit him very hard, too.”

[What follows is summarized from conversations with Mannen.] Ogawa had been a research fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation just before the war, studying at Northwestern University in Chicago, so he knew a lot about the United States, and from early on even in his lectures, he said, “This war is not an easy one,” meaning we can’t win. Yet when the defeat actually came, even Ogawa appeared deeply shocked.

Mannen speaks: “I too was full of ‘goddamns’ and resentment. Many of my buddies, close friends, had died in the air raids. That non-combatants had been made to suffer so—I couldn’t be indifferent about that. For example, at the time of the great Tokyo air raid of March 10, I was constructing a model of the brain of homing pigeons. I’d remove a pigeon brain, slice it up in fine sections, and stain it; I was taught the technique by assistants at the Tōdai Brain Institute. The assistants were young women, two of them; one was named Edogawa, and on the 9th she beamed when she saw I had finally mastered the technique. As she left that day, she said, “See you tomorrow.” Then came the great air raid. On the morning of the 10th, worried about the university, I went to see. At the Red Gate, I was shocked. The buildings that had lined the road to school all the way to Ochanomizu had burned down. The Nikolai Cathedral and the cedars of Yushima Shrine, which up to then had not been visible because buildings blocked the view—they were in plain sight. Three or four days later, when I went to the institute, a woman assistant said, “Edogawa-san hasn’t showed up since the raid.” I was aghast. Edogawa-san never did show up. Then, too, I muttered, ‘Goddamn!’”

After a while, when Mannen was making the rounds of the medical offices, the air raid alarm sounded. He took refuge immediately in a nearby air raid shelter: “Right beside me a man was squatting awkwardly. His head was large for his emaciated frame, and he was wearing a large air raid hood to boot; he had on white woven gaiters over his khaki civilian uniform. I knew immediately it was Professor Ōda. Ōda Masao—he was a poet with the pen-name Kinoshita Mokutarō. Mokutarō was taking deep, calm breaths, absolutely still, eyes closed. The bombers appeared to fly off eastward.”

The all-clear sounded. Mannen returned with a sigh of relief to the dermatology office, and Mokutarō too returned and plopped himself into a chair. Turning to Mannen and seven other students he asked them, “Done your homework?” For Mannen, wiped out as he was by air raids night after night, it was already a major achievement simply to get to school; doing homework was out of the question. They all hung their heads, and Mokutarō said, “A time of crisis like this is precisely when you must do your homework. Study hard, and you’ll have no regrets even if you die tomorrow.RHM: This is a loose quotation from the Analects. Today that’s precisely our situation.” And he continued, “You need to distinguish between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge increases without limit so long as people carry on mental activity. But no matter how much knowledge you accumulate, it’s only the illusion of knowledge. That’s no good. For knowledge to become useful, you need wisdom. But how study wisdom? By getting to know the classics. The classics are packed with the wisdom of the human race.” Having said this, Mokutarō stood up and blew out of the room. “That scene is crystal-clear even now. It’s the deepest impression from my student years, and it served as a revelation for the rest of my life, too.” Thereafter, no matter how busy he was, Mannen continued to read the classics.

In 1943, the student deferment was lifted (it still held for science students), and at the end of the year the draft age was lowered to 19. “One day in the Faculty of Medicine’s East Lecture Hall in the two-story wooden structure, Mokutarō entered angrily and without saying a word wrote on the blackboard, in large characters, three blocks of four Chinese characters: ‘Superior doctors treat the state; middling doctors treat people; inferior doctors treat illness.’ Then he translated it into Japanese and spat out: “There are institutions for treating the state, and it’s not at all easy. But you students at least must aim to treat people. In today’s world, there are only inferior doctors.” It was an extraordinary attitude for a professor who was normally calm and sometimes even cynical. I learned afterward that at the time someone in the Army Ministry had said of the Tōdai faculty, ‘There’s no need to teach medical students difficult stuff—lectures, praxis, theory. It’s enough if they know how to give subcutaneous and intravenous injections, so graduate them and send them to the front.’ That’s what had made Mokutarō so angry.”

Even after he heard the Imperial Proclamation ending the war, Mannen went to school virtually every day. “I well remember August 30, MacArthur’s arrival at Atsugi Air Base. It happened that one person in the group I was close to was commuting from Saitama Prefecture. He said, ‘I’ve got hold of some cooking oil. Why don’t you all come over for tempura?’ We were all starving, so we were delighted and headed for Saitama, caught a bucket full of crawfish, fried them in deep fat, and washed them down with cheap saké. It was then we heard on the radio the news of MacArthur’s landing at Atsugi. At the same time, it was reported that GHQ was considering setting up shop at Tōdai and so had spared it from the air raids. Why choose Tōdai? Because it was spacious, with room for parking. On hearing this, one of the group grumbled, ‘That idiot MacArthur doesn’t know the difference between college and garage.RHM: the Japanese transliterations and pronunciations of the two English words are almost identical—カレッジand ガレッジ. Inexcusable!’ But no one laughed. Drunk on the cheap saké, we could say only, indignantly, ‘Goddamn! Goddamn!’”

Soon after that, on the afternoon of October 10, with the fall colors deepening, Mannen happened to go past the clinical dissection theater. The door was ajar. Without thinking, he pushed it open and looked in, and a dissection was under way, with people crowded around the dissection table. “The second floor of the dissection theater was a balcony, and from there you could observe dissections. When I looked, to my surprise there lay the body of Mokutarō, and they were just sawing open his skull to remove his brain. From seeing him in life, I had the impression that his head was large, but the brain itself was really large; I was amazed. The lab preserved the brains of exceptional people—Natsume Sōseki and others. It preserves Mokutarō’s brain to this day, and it was sheer chance that I was among the witnesses.”

Crisis: Would Tōdai Be Requisitioned by GHQ?

            It came up briefly in Mannen’s remarks that the Occupation Army thought for a while about making the Tōdai campus its general headquarters; that much is fact. Consider the following exchange in the book, Nambara Remembered.

Fukuda: Did the U. S. Army give formal notice that it wanted to requisition Tōdai?

Nambara: No, it didn’t. … A place like Tōdai with large facilities that hadn’t gone up in flames—it’s natural GHQ should want to use it: that was communicated to us. In fact, U.S. military men with Japanese officers as guides planned to come and inspect the Tōdai campus, and reports were afloat that MacArthur’s headquarters would be located at Tōdai. At the same time, technicians from the Tokyo regional office of the Communications Ministry came and began to study how to increase the number of telephones.

In haste, the Tōdai authorities appealed to the Ministry of Education. They argued that the postwar reconstruction of Japan had to focus on education, culture, and scholarship. That being the case, Tōdai would be a most important core institution of reconstruction, so it should not be requisitioned. Moreover, during the war the government had not stationed army or navy units on campus. It had not once been used for the military purposes of the Japanese military, they stressed, and the Occupation Army should give that fact full consideration. Nambara remembers: “In the end, the clincher was that during the war Tōdai had never let its land and facilities be used for military purposes. That was a good thing. … We held firm: should the U.S. do what even the Japanese military had not?”

As Nambara states, during the war Tōdai had narrowly missed being requisitioned by the Army. Here is Nambara again: “That was just at the end of June (1945). Officers from the Eastern Army—four of them, I think—came to the university and said that for defense of the capital area, Tokyo was to be divided into four sectors, with units stationed in those sectors, and they wanted us to agree to the requisitioning of Tōdai and the placing of one sector headquarters here. The headquarters would include 3,000 officers and men, so Tōdai was the only suitable place.”

Tōdai rebuffed the military’s demand on two accounts. The first was that although the arts and letters students had departed, the numbers of science students had greatly increased; so there was no room on campus. The second was the hospital. During wartime, the function of the hospital was of even greater importance to society. Given the mission assigned the Faculty of Medicine, Tōdai couldn’t be evacuated. As I stated earlier, there were orders from military headquarters to produce as many military doctors as possible as quickly as possible. The Eastern Army backed off.

Nambara Remembered records one other startling incident at the end of the war. That is what Assistant Professor Maruyama Masao went through at the end of the war. Maruyama was called up in 1944 and at the end of the war was serving as a private first class in the army transport headquarters at Ujina, port city of Hiroshima. So on August 6 he experienced the atomic bomb. Fortunately he was at some distance from Ground Zero, so he survived, and right after the war the following took place: “… I was a PFC on the planning staff of the army transport HQ and had been summoned by a lieutenant in the general affairs section and told that the university had asked that I be exempted from the call-up, but that in the end that hadn’t been possible. But perhaps on that account, on the day after the war ended, a staff officer called me into his office. He said: I know your profession. I’m giving you absolute freedom to speak, so I want you to give me a course on how this war happened and what will become of Japan from now on; for the duration you’re excused from other duties. So for a whole week I had to give lectures to that officer—we were on either side of a desk. A PFC lecturing a staff officer: officers who came to report to the staff smiled wryly.”TT: I’ve collected a great deal more information from witnesses to “Tōdai on August 15,” and there’s room here only to state that fact. So I’ve set up a page “The Day Tōdai Lost” on the Bungei shunjū website (ōdai0815) to record the experiences and thoughts of Tōdai students of the time.

The Activities of Ōuchi, Who’d Been Forced Out of Tōdai

There’s one person at the faculty level with unique experiences to recount: former Professor Ōuchi Hyōe of the Faculty of Economics. In 1938 Ōuchi had been arrested in the Faculty Group Incident; in 1944, after a long trial, he’d been found not guilty. Having tried unsuccessfully to return to Tōdai, he cut off relations with the university and for a while became a researcher at the Ōhara Institute for Research. In April 1945, with the end of the war near, he joined the Bank of Japan at the sudden request of Shibusawa Keizō, then chair of the Bank of Japan; Shibusawa had been a student in Ōuchi’s undergraduate seminar. Ōuchi remembers:Keizaigaku gojūnen. “It was in April of 1945, I’m certain, that Inoue, trustee of the Bank of Japan (and now vice chair) suddenly came to see me: Shibusawa wanted to see me, had a request concerning some research. So I went to the Bank and met Shibusawa…. Shibusawa said, ‘The war is finally nearing its end. There will be many difficulties after the war. I want to pick your brains about them.’”

The Bank of Japan had summoned an eminent scholar of public finance and begun to prepare for the economic chaos that would follow defeat. Ōuchi was given several assistants and a room next to the Bank’s Research Division and began to study inflation. While he was engaged in this study, August 15 arrived: “It must have been the morning of August 15. On some minor errand, I entered the Directors’ Room at the bank. Doing so was not permitted normally, of course. I’ve forgotten why I went in, but I did go in. A board meeting was in progress. At that moment, a private secretary entered carrying a single sheet of paper. He presented it very respectfully, ‘This is the text of the Imperial Proclamation of the end of the war that the emperor will broadcast this noon.’ Board meetings were conducted around a round table, and Chair Shibusawa took the sheet of paper and read the proclamation…. At points, overcome with emotion, he had to stop. And when he got to the part—‘The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death and all their bereaved families, pains Our heart night and day’—he was so overcome with emotion he couldn’t go on. Forcing himself to go on, he swallowed his tears and said, ‘What does ‘Gonai’ mean?RHM: The archaic Japanese term means literally ‘honorable inside.’ The official translation renders it as “Our heart.” Does it mean inside the body?’ This scene is most vivid to me today.” Afterwards, too, thanks to being in the bank, Ōuchi witnessed one dramatic scene after another. For example, this happened right after MacArthur occupied Japan: “Then—it was two or three days after MacArthur landed, I think—when I went to the bank, all the bank officers were confined to one room. And soldiers of the Occupation army stood up and down the corridor, bayonets drawn. Someone from the Occupation army came to the Board Room in which they were being detained. Apparently the chief account books were being carried in.”

Japan’s central bank had been put under the total control of the Occupation army. The event symbolized defeat and occupation. Following on this passage comes this eyewitness account: “Something else astonished me. It was the number of Bank of Japan notes issued in the two weeks from the end of the war on August 15 to about the end of the month. It was a torrent of 100-yen notes. The back entrance of the Bank of Japan on the west side opened, and trucks entered, one after the other. Onto these trucks were loaded new wooden boxes, one after the other. The 100-yen notes in those boxes the bank had got ready at full tilt since 1944. Where did those trucks go? Needless to say, they went mainly to the Army and Navy Ministry and to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. And the notes were paid out to decommissioned military, military dependents, factories producing military goods, and the financiers of the military industries. They went to pay for guns and airplanes that weren’t finished yet, of course, and sometimes they were exchanged for checks the service ministries had issued without vouchers or receipts. The statistics show, too, that in those two weeks inflation suddenly increased; reckless military expenditures—that’s the sort of thing it was. Each day I went to work in the Bank of Japan’s research room under which the trucks passed. And I kept thinking, Inflation! Inflation!”

Thus began the horrendous hyperinflation of the immediate postwar. 100 yen then was more than $1,000 today: unless you know that, you won’t grasp the enormity of this episode. So the next problem was how to control this inflation.  Ōuchi created that occasion: “About October 10 a Japan Broadcasting Company man came to me at the Bank of Japan asking if I wouldn’t do a broadcast… I asked, “About what?” “Anything at all will do,” he said, “Anything you want to say to the public.” Okay, so on the evening of October 17, I made a 15-minute broadcast, ‘Assignment for Finance Minister Shibusawa.’ The gist of the broadcast: ‘From now on inflation will grow larger and larger. It will take reckless valor to check it. Half-hearted thinking won’t cut it. Please take forceful action now. During the war, the state incurred government debt of 120,000,000,000 yen [$60,000,000,000] to companies producing military goods; please cancel that debt now.’”

In short, to raise money for wartime military expenditures, the government had used the Bank of Japan to print mountains of government bonds. The money thereby created had been spent like water on the industrial world. And at the end of the war, the government paid off that debt at one stroke, with no backing. The vast expansion of currency that caused inflation, so there was no alternative but to declare a halt to such payments. “The cancellation I proposed of bonds that had financed military expenditures immediately became a political issue; there was much discussion, and GHQ too approved it. The government went back and forth on the issue, but ending the debt aside, it leaned to the idea that lowering the interest rates was a good idea, and that’s all it did. Two years later, at long last, the war debts were actually cancelled.

“Afterward, too, from the same viewpoint, I wrote On Breaking Up the Zaibatsu. And On Establishing a Wartime Profits Tax and On Ending Military Pensions. Each was a policy to combat rapid bourgeois inflation, and each had some degree of socialist coloration. These were my economic policy for Japan ‘in the early post-defeat years’ or ‘in the early reconstruction.’ They were anti-inflationary policies that formed a single structure.” So the Marxist economist most reviled by public finance people produced the wisdom and proposed the actual policies that rescued the Japanese economy in its bankruptcy just after the war.

In my concluding chapter, I wrote that in the end, history is a double weave of discontinuity and continuity. This sort of thing is what lay behind that phrase. I didn’t have space in the series to say this in such detail, but I did assemble these materials intending to write of the flow of history, of losers becoming winners and then winners becoming losers. In turn, the winners became losers. After the war, the Tōdai Faculty of Economics under Ōuchi’s lead became a bastion of Marxist economics, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Cold War system, Marxist economics too lost its sway. So Marxists disappeared from its mainstream. Today adherents of the various currents of contemporary economics have become the mainstream of the Tōdai Faculty of Economics.

Arisawa Hiromi’s Research that Foresaw Defeat

To return to the period immediately after the war: the Marxist economists who had been forced out of academia took the stage in spectacular fashion as the central figures who bore the economy on their shoulders; in this sense, Assistant Professor Arisawa Hiromi, who had been arrested and indicted along with Ōuchi and the others in the Faculty Group Incident, had by far the largest presence.

What rescued the Japanese economy from its postwar collapse was priority production, and Arisawa was the one who thought it up. Priority production meant focusing investment first in economic resources for the sake of production of coal and steel and later setting the whole economy on an upward course. Nowadays Arisawa has a high reputation—he is considered perhaps the man most responsible for the recovery of the postwar Japanese economy. But at the time of the Takigawa Incident, he was attacked over and over in the Upper House and elsewhere as a “famous Marxist professor who makes his nest in the Tōdai Faculty of Economics.” When witch hunts were carried out at Tōdai, Arisawa was always at the top of the list of those to be arrested.

In fact, Arisawa had been involved in state policy since before the war. He was a Marxist, of course, but he was a specialist in war economy, planned economy. From about 1934 on, he produced one after another Plan to Mobilize Production, On Japanese Industrial Controls, Japan Under Economic Controls; from early on, he was seen as the leader in the field. So given the China-Japan War and the beginning of total state mobilization, he was called upon to take a hand in state policy. The fundamental conception of socialist economy, communist economy, lies in managing the economy and in controls to force compliance; so Marxist economy and planned economy were not so different.

Arisawa’s original involvement in state policy came in 1937 at the time of the sudden spike in the prices of military materiel, when in the attempt to control prices the government created an “Emergency Committee on Price Policy.” He became a member of that committee. As the wartime order developed, Arisawa’s role in state policy grew. In September 1939 when the Army established an economic research unit—the Akimaru Unit under Lt. Col. Akimaru Tsugurō, he joined it. This unit, directly subordinate to the General Staff, set up its office on the second floor of a bank, and operating in non-doctrinaire fashion, brought together opposition scholars. Its goal was to collect objective data, mainly on economics, and provide the army the most useful reports on which to base judgments of future changes in world conditions. In Europe, World War II had already started, and it seemed at first glance that Germany would continue its swift and violent advance.

The economic research unit had four desks—Japan, Great Britain/U.S., Germany, and the Soviet Union; Nakayama Ichirō was in charge of the Japan desk, and Arisawa Hiromi, of the Great Britain/U.S. desk. Arisawa was out on bail, but the military affairs chief of the General Staff approved his involvement. Earlier, the army had sent Akimaru to audit courses at the Faculty of Economics. From the first he respected Arisawa’s knowledge, so he protected Arisawa throughout even though the rightwing camp inside the military and outside was greatly displeased with the decision to use him.

In September 1941 the Akimaru unit issued an interim report. The interim report of the Japan branch said that Japanese productivity could not be increased further. The interim report of the German branch said that German war power was at a peak. The interim report of the Great Britain/U.S. branch said that in contrast to Japan, which had already cut civilian consumption 50% to finance the war, the U.S. had cut consumption only 15% to 20%. Not only could it continue sending military supplies to Europe at its current pace; it could supply $35,000,000,000 in new funds. This sum in new funds was roughly 7.5 times Japan’s ability to raise war funds. Akimaru made this interim report at the end of September at a meeting of Army Ministry officials, from Chief of the Army General Staff Sugiyama Hajime on down. Arisawa writes:Arisawa Hiromi no Shōwashi: gakumon to shisō to ningen to (Arisawa Hiromi no Shōwashi henshū iinkai, Tokyo: 1989). “Sugiyama said he found this report and its method of reasoning largely unimpeachable, without holes. But its conclusion ran counter to state policy, so all copies of the draft should be incinerated immediately. When he returned from this meeting, Akimaru was said to be despondent. And because he retrieved all copies of the draft team members had been given and burned them, not even I have one….

“The Army brain trust had already decided to cross the Rubicon. Once that resolution had been made, a report documenting the danger of crossing the Rubicon does great harm and no good. That’s what it meant—the strict order to burn all copies.” The entire Army general staff knew before the war began what this episode meant. Afterward, on personal orders from Gen. Tōjō Hideki (Army Minister), Arisawa had to stop working on the research unit, and thereafter until the end of the war, no matter where he went, the secret police paid him a visit once or twice a month.

Arisawa Bolsters the Postwar Economic Research Association

At the end of 1943 Arisawa received a special assignment from the Takahashi Economic Research Institute to rethink Japan’s postwar economic issues, was given a room in the Institute, and began his research. In September 1944, because air raids loomed, Arisawa rented a farmhouse outside Tokyo, put his family and his books on a truck, evacuated, and made his life there. He planted vegetables in a small plot and provided for himself. He writes: “By day, carrier planes swarmed to the attack…. Finally, August 15 arrived. At long last the war ended. And government lost its authority. Well, what will become of Japan now? I didn’t go to Tokyo but worked away on my garden. I wanted to wait and see.”

But from before the end of the war, Arisawa had been studying the postwar economy, and before long he received a summons from a group that was thinking about postwar economic policy. “The first time I was called to Tokyo was for a seminar on the postwar economy that the Foreign Ministry’s Research Group #2 convened. This seminar was set up just before the end of the war, and once the war ended, it began serious research. A large number of scholars gathered.” Arisawa was unable to make the first session, but Ōkita Saburō made a special trip to urge him to come, and he attended from the fourth session on. Afterward, this research group came to revolve around Arisawa. Through late 1945, there were forty sessions in all, and in March 1946 a report was completed for which Arisawa was the key figure: “Fundamental Problems of the Japanese Economy.” This report received very high praise as a grand design giving clear direction to the people in leading positions in financial and government circles; with the end of the war, they had sunk into a state of lethargy. While the group’s discussions were still going on, Hatoyama Ichirō came to Ōuchi and Arisawa, saying he wanted to talk. Hatoyama intended that he himself form the first postwar cabinet (in November he formed the first postwar political party and became its chair).

The Birth of Priority Production

In fact, as is well known, right after this, Hatoyama was purged and was unable to grasp political power. Instead, Yoshida Shigeru took over. Yoshida thought even more highly of Arisawa than had Hatoyama and asked him any number of times to become chief of the Economic Stabilization Board, command center of the postwar economic recovery; but Arisawa declined. He refused to become chief of the Economic Stabilization Board, but he joined the Round Table Conference, which was made up of a small number of scholars about Yoshida.

At one meeting Yoshida said he wanted to pick their brains. From GHQ had come permission to import many of the resources Japan desperately needed. When he gathered requests from the various ministries, the list numbered several hundred items. It was his desire to winnow these down to a very few. The scholars chose five: iron, smokeless coal, heavy oil, rubber, and buses. But GHQ did not permit emergency imports of three of these items. Steel was in short supply in the U.S., too. If Japan imported heavy oil, GHQ said, it would overwhelm Japan’s coal production. In fact, Arisawa had advocated forcefully for these two. According to Arisawa, the greatest bottleneck in the Japanese economy at the time was coal. If Japan were permitted to import heavy oil, that would advance the production of steel, and that steel would be invested in mining—via this roundabout route, a great increase in coal production would become possible, increasing coal production to 30,000,000 tons. If coal production increased to 30,000,000 tons, industrial production could rise to half of the prewar total (at that time it had fallen to one-third of the prewar). This was the basic concept behind what later came to be called priority production.

In response, GHQ said the concept was interesting. If GHQ included heavy oil and the government promised to realize coal production of 30,000,000 tons, then heavy oil would be approved. Reading this response, Yoshida said that since this was his friend Arisawa’s assertion, he wanted Arisawa to take responsibility and make coal production of 30,000,000 tons a reality. Here is Arisawa: “I too thought this wasn’t an easy task but that I had to take it on; so I told the prime minister I’d do it, but he’d have to support me wholeheartedly on the issue of coal. Smiling, Yoshida said, ‘If you say so, we can do anything at all: if you say, “Face left!,” we’ll face left; and if you say, “Face right!,” we’ll face right.’ That’s how I became chair and how the Coal Council was established.”

Thus the Coal Council was established, with Arisawa as chair; thereby the Japanese economy was able to take its first step toward true recovery. A Marxist, on the one hand, and the government and GHQ, on the other, set the Japanese economy, then in vast stagnation, on the track to recovery. Yet both before and after they were antagonists.


Today [2005] we are about to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of August 15, and what I feel acutely is the utterly hopeless irresponsibility of Japan’s leaders. Whose responsibility was it, that first lost war? They decided it was okay to leave that issue unclarified, that there be “collective atonement of 100,000,000 Japanese,” with no individuals taking responsibility. And how about the second lost war—the no-action no-plan for the “lost decade” (a decade that is already fifteen years long) after the bubble burst in 1991? Has responsibility for the second lost war been pursued? Has the Japanese economy emerged from this second lost war? The reforms of the much-ballyhooed Koizumi-Takenaka combo of 2002: have they been as successful as those of the Yoshida-Arisawa combo that enabled Japan to emerge from the confusion of that first lost war? I doubt it.


Glossary of Names, Terms, and Events

Glossary of Names, Terms, and EventsI have used Tokyo University or Tōdai東大 throughout—for the early years before it was Tokyo Imperial University, for the years it was Tokyo Imperial University 東京帝国大学, and for the postwar years when it became Tokyo University東京大学. Complete biographical data for many of the people who figure in this account is not readily available. Where nothing was available, I have omitted the name.

Abe Genki. 1894-1989. Bureaucrat. Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1920). Home Ministry, 1920-45 (superintendent general, Police, 1937-41). Home Minister, Suzuki Cabinet, 1945. Arrested as Class A war criminal but never prosecuted.

Abe Isamu. 1902- . Marxist economist. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics. Arrested in Faculty Group Incident, 1938.

Abe Yoshishige. 1883-1966. Philosopher, educator. First Higher School (graduated 1905); Tōdai Faculty of Letters (graduated 1908). Faculty: Keiō, First Higher School, Hōsei, Seoul. Principal, First Higher School, 1940-. Minister of Education, 1945-46. 

Alliance for a Teidai Purge (Teidai shukusei kisei dōmeikai帝大粛清期成同盟会). Front group for Genri Nihon push to rid Tōdai of its leftist professors.

Andō Yoshio. 1917-1985. Economist. Hirosaki Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1941). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1947-78.

Araki Kōtarō. 1894-1951. Economist. Tōdai Faculty of Economics. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Agriculture, then (1935) Faculty of Economics. Member, Kawai faction, then Hijikata faction.

Araki Sadao. 1877-1966. Army officer, politician. Key figure in Imperial Way faction; placed on inactive list in 1936. As Minister of Education, 1938-39, pushed for end to university autonomy. Key actor in Hiraga Purge. 

Arisawa Hiromi. 1896-1988. Marxist economist. Second Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1922). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1922-38. Arrested in 1938 and fired from Tōdai. Assisted Army planning (1944-45) and was key figure in Japan’s postwar economic recovery.

Arita Hachirō. 1884-1965. Diplomat, politician. First Higher School (graduated 1905); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1909). Diplomatic service, 1909-. Foreign Minister, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940.

Atcheson, George. 1896-1947. Diplomat. University of California, Berkeley. Foreign Service, 1920- ; China, 1924-39; Assistant Chief, Division of Far Eastern Affairs, 1941; charge d’affairs, U.S. Embassy, Chungking. SCAP, 1945-47; chief, Diplomatic Section, 1946.

Awaya Kentarō. 1944- . Historian. Tōdai Faculty of Letters. Faculty, Kobe University, Rikkyō daigaku.

Blue Sky Club (Seijitsukai製日会). Study group set up by Kawai Eijirō, after his expulsion from Tōdai; mainly former students living in Tokyo. 

Chō Isamu. 1895-1945. Military officer. Army Officer School (graduated 1916). Founder of Sakurakai 桜会 (1930); planner of March and October Incidents, 1931 (disciplined). Committed suicide, Okinawa , 1945. 

Comintern. Communist International, 1919-43. Policy of popular front—alliance with all “anti-fascist” forces—adopted by seventh world congress, 1935. Dissolved by Josef Stalin, 1943. 

Council on Tenure of Higher Civil Servants (Bunkan kōtō bungen iinkai 文官高等分限委員会). Bureaucratic organ overseeing firing of higher civil servants; played role in firing of Kawai Eijirō. 

Deans’ Council (Gakubuchō kaigi学部長会議). Bureaucratic organ including all Tōdai deans and the president. 

Emperor-organ theory. Constitutional theory associated most closely with Minobe Tatsukichi, that the emperor is one part of state, not superior to state; long accepted (in law schools and civil service exam before the 1930s) as standard doctrine. Attacked by far right in 1935 and after. 

Engineering II. Second Tōdai curriculum in economics, set up during war to increase flow of engineers for war effort. 

Faculty Group Incident (Kyōju grūpu jiken 教授グルウプ事件). Arrests in early 1938 of many faculty members, including (at Tōdai) economists Ōuchi, Arisawa, and Wakimura. Also called Second Popular Front Incident.

February 26 Incident. Army revolt in central Tokyo, February 26-29, 1936. Assassination of three major figures (home minister, finance minister, military training chief).

First Higher School. Chief preparatory school (ages 17-20) for Tokyo University; crucial in education of many Tōdai professors who figure large in this account.

Five Ministers’ Council (Gosō kaigi五相会議). 1933. Composed of prime minister, foreign minister, finance minister, and the two service ministers.

Fresh Breeze Association (Seifūkai清風会). Organization of unaffiliated Diet members set up by Tanaka Kōtarō; pursued middle-of-the-road policies. 

Friends of Economics (Keiyūkai経右会). Association of students in the Tōdai Faculty of Economics; subject to control of Dean of Faculty of Economics.

Fujii Takeshi. 1888-1930. First Higher School (Non-Church Christian; disciple of Uchimura Kanzō); Tōdai Faculty of Law graduate. Home Ministry. 1915-20: aide to Uchimura. Proselytizer.

Fukuda Kanichi. 1923-2007. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Law. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law (political science). Editor (with Maruyama Masao) of books on Nambara Shigeru.

Fukumoto-ism. Doctrine, associated with Fukumoto Kazuo (1894-1983), calling for two-step revolution: bourgeois revolution, then rapid transformation to socialist revolution. Backed by Comintern over Yamakawa-ism.

GHQ. General Headquarters, American Occupation of Japan. Shorthand for Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur, Supreme Commander for Allied Powers (SCAP).

Genri Nihon原理日本. Journal founded by Minoda Muneki that became bellwether of right-wing attack on Tōdai in the 1930s. 

Gensuikyō 原水協(Gensuibaku kinshi Nihon kyōgikai原水爆禁止日本協議会). Japanese Council against the Hydrogen Bomb, founded 1955 in response to U.S. testing at Bikini; split in the early 1960s over whether to protest Soviet nuclear weapons.

Grew, Joseph C. 1880-1965. Diplomat. Groton; Harvard College (graduated 1902). Ambassador to Denmark (1920-21), Switzerland (1921-24), Turkey (1927-32), Japan (1932-42).

Hashizume Akio. 1899-1975. Economist. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics; Hijikata faction. Home Ministry spy at Tōdai; later dean. Resigned at war’s end. 

Hatoyama Ichirō. 1883-1959. Politician. First Higher School (graduated 1903); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1907). Diet member, 1915- . Minister of Education, 1931-34. Prime Minister, 1954-56. 

Hayashi Kentarō. 1913-2004. Historian (Marxist, became anti-Marxist after the war). First Higher School; Tōdai (graduated 1935). Faculty, First Higher, then Tōdai. Tōdai president, 1973-77.

Higher schools. Under pre-war education system, prepared elite students for university. Offered three-year general course (usually, ages 17-20) prior to three-year university course; comparable to U.S. undergraduate colleges.

Hijikata faction. Members: Hijikata, Honiden, Yamada, Tanabe, Araki, Nakanishi.

Hijikata Seibi. 1890-1975. Economist, dean, target of Hiraga Purge. Sixth Higher School (Ehime), Tōdai Law (economics). Married daughter of Hijikata Yasuji, president of Hōka daigaku 法科大学, which became the Tōdai Faculty of Law. Assistant professor (specialty: economic theory), 1917-21 (three years’ study in U. S. and Europe), professor 1921-February 1939. Forced out in Hiraga Purge. Taught thereafter at Hōsei University (during and after the war) and other universities.

Hiraga Purge. January 1939. Firing of Hijikata and Kawai, and subsequent voluntary resignations of many of their respective adherents. End of bitter factionalism in Faculty of Economics.

Hiraga Yuzuru. 1878-1943. Naval architect (known as “Battleship god” for role in designing Japan’s great battleships); dean of Faculty of Engineering; Tōdai president. First Higher School, Tōdai Engineering (graduated 1901). Worked at Yokosuka and Kure shipyards; Royal Naval College (Greenwich; 1905-1908). Lecturer, Tōdai (1909-); professor (1918- ). Promoted to rear admiral, naval construction (1922) and vice admiral (1926); reserves (1931). Tōdai president, December 1938-February 1943 (died in office).

Hiraizumi Kiyoshi. 1895-1984. Historian. Fourth Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Letters (graduated 1918). Advocate of Imperial-Japan history with focus on emperor. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Letters, 1923-45 (resignation). Purged by Occupation, 1948-52. Focus of five Tachibana chapters preceding the chapters translated here

Home Ministry. 1873-1947 (abolished by Occupation). Government office with jurisdiction over the police; home minister second only to prime minister in prestige and power.

Honiden Yoshio. 1892-1978. Economist. First Higher School (graduated 1912); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1916). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1921-1938 (resigned in protest); Hijikata faction.

Hozumi Shigetō. 1883-1951. Legal scholar. First Higher School (graduated 1904); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1908). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1908-1943; dean, . Justice, Supreme Court, 1949-51.

Ida Iwakuzu. 1881-1964. Baron; Army officer. Army College (graduated 1901). Member, House of Peers, 1925-45. Arrested as Class A war crimes suspect, 1945; released, 1947.

Imai Tōshiki. 1886-1950. Historian. Tōdai Faculty of Letters (graduated 1911). Faculty, First Higher School, 1919-12; Tōdai Faculty of Letters, 1923-47.

Imperial University Act (Teikoku daigakurei帝国大学令). 1886, revised 1919, and revised again after the war.

Imperial University News 帝国大学新聞(Teikoku daigaku shimbun [1920-44], then Daigaku shimbun 大学新聞). Prewar Tōdai publication, serious and respected journal.

Inner Government Council 内政会議 (Naisei kaigi). Informal decision-making body for domestic affairs in Saitō Cabinet (1932-34).

Inoki Masamichi. 1914-2012. Political scientist. Third Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1937). Member, Kyoto University Faculty of Law, 1949-71. Fulbright advisor of translator, 1964-66.

Inoue Kiyozumi. 1880-1962. Naval officer; politician; baron. Naval College (graduated 1901). Member, House of Peers, 1925-46.

Ishida Takeshi. 1923-  . Political scientist. Student, Tōhoku Imperial University Faculty of Letters and (after the war) Tōdai Faculty of Law. Student of Maruyama Masao.

Ishidō Kiyotomo. 1904-2001. Journalist, editor. Fourth Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Letters (graduated 1927). Member, Communist Party, 1927; arrested March 15, 1928; committed apostasy, 1933. Nihon hyōronsha (publishing house), 1934-38; Manchurian Railway Research, 1938-43 (arrest).

Ishigami Ryōhei. 1913-82. Political scientist. Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1936). Professor, Seikei daigaku, 1949-67.

Ishizaka Kimishige. 1925- . Medical professor. Seikei Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Medicine. Chief, National Institute of Infectious Diseases; professor, Johns Hopkins University, University of California.

Izawa Takio. 1869-1949. Bureaucrat, politician. Third Higher School; Todai Faculty of Law (graduated 1895). Entered Home Ministry, became prefectural governor, Ehime, Niigata. Member, Peers, 1914-45. Privy Councillor, 1940-45. Purged, 1947.

Japan-China Incident. “China Incident” that began in summer 1937 and became all-out war between Japan and China, 1937-45.

Kakehi Katsuhiko. 1872-1961. Constitutional lawyer, Shinto theorist. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1897). Professor, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1903-32.

Kanamori Tokujirō. 1886-1959. Bureaucrat; constitutional lawyer. First Higher School; Todai Faculty of Law. Entered Home Ministry; forced out (1936) over adherence to emperor-organ theory.

Katō Kanji. 1884-1965. Agrarian thinker. Fourth Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Agriculture (graduated 1912). Advocate of Manchurian colonization; trainer of potential colonists.

Kawai Eijirō. 1891-1944. Economist, dean, victim of Hiraga Purge. First Higher School, then Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1915). Ministry of Trade and Industry, 1915-1919 (resigned when the Ministry rejected his draft labor law, made public his reasons for resigning). Tōdai Faculty of Economics, assistant professor, 1920 (study in England, 1922-1926); dean, 1933-1934. Liberal; outspoken critic of military. Books proscribed by Interior Ministry in 1938. Forced from Tōdai in Hiraga Purge (1939). Court case ended in defeat (on appeal, 1943). Died February 1944.

Kawai faction. Kawai, Honiden, Nakanishi, Araki, Tanabe, Yamada, Yasui, Kimura, Ōkōchi.

Kawakami Jōtarō. 1891-1965. Politician; right-wing socialist. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1915). Faculty: Rikkyō, Kansai universities. Member, Lower House of Diet, 1936-65.

Kido Kōichi. 1889-1977. Bureaucrat, politician; Minister of Education, 1937; Home Minister, 1939-45. Defendant in Tokyo trial, sentenced to life imprisonment (released 1955).

Kimi ga yo君が代. Japan’s national anthem (prewar). In Basil Hall Chamberlain’s translation: “Thousands of years of happy reign be thine; / Rule on, my lord, until what are pebbles now / By ages united to mighty rocks shall grow / Whose venerable sides the moss doth line.”

Kimura Takeyasu. 1909-1973. Economist. Fukuoka Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1931). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1932-43; First Higher School, 1943-45; Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1946-69. Resigned in protest when Kawai was fired (1938) but stayed on; disowned by Kawai.  

Kiyosawa Kiyoshi. 1890-1945. Journalist. U.S. stay, 1911-18. Asahi, 1927-29; free-lance reporter/commentator. Author of noted wartime diary.

Koizumi Shinzō. 1888-1966. Economist. Keiō gijuku daigaku (graduated 1910). Faculty, Keiō, 1910-47; president, 1933-47.

Kokutai, clarification of. Kokutai国体: literally, form of state/country, supposedly distinct from seitai 政体(form of government), but code for Japan’s supposedly unique relation between emperor and people. “Clarification of the kokutai” 国体明徴the shibboleth of anti-liberal forces around Genri Nihon; led to Emperor-Organ Incident.

Kubota Kinuko. 1913-85. Constitutional lawyer. Nihon joshi daigaku graduate; Tōdai Faculty of Law (first female student; graduated 1949). Faculty member: Tōdai, Rikkyō, Tōhoku gakuin daigaku.

Kushida Tamizō. 1885-1934. Economist. Tokyo gaikokugo gakkō (graduated 1908); Kyoto University (graduated 1912). Faculty, Dōshisha University, 1914- ; dean, Law Faculty, 1916. Lecturer, Tōdai, 1919-20 (resigned in Morito Incident). Ōhara Institute for Research, 1920-1934.

Kwantung Army関東軍. Military command tasked with “defending” Japanese interests in Manchuria, 1906-1945; training ground of activist right-wing officers.

Listen to the Voices from the Sea 聞け渡津見 の声(Kike wadatsumi no koe, 1949). Compilation of letters and diaries of university students who became kamikaze pilots; immensely influential in post-war Japan.

Maide Chōgorō. 1891-1961. Economist. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1917). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1917-52; dean, 1938-39 (succeeding Hijikata; resigned); dean, 1945-1948.

Makino Nobuaki. 1861-1949. Politician. Tōdai; (graduated 1880). Foreign Ministry (1880). Prefectural governor, Fukui, Ibaraki; ambassador to Austria, Italy. Minister: Education, Industry, Foreign Minister, Imperial Household, Home.

Manchurian Incident. September 1931. Explosion staged by Kwantung Army and blamed on Chinese “insurgents,” which led quickly to all-out Japanese invasion of Manchuria, declaration (1932) of state of Manchukuo, and Japan’s departure from League of Nations (1933).

Marco Polo Bridge. Bridge ten miles southwest of Beijing, scene (July 7, 1937) of opening of what became full-scale war between Japan and China.

Maruyama Masao. 1914-1996. Political scientist (intellectual history of Japan). Son of prominent journalist. First Higher School (1934), then Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1937). Disciple of Nambara Shigeru. Mobilized twice (Korea, Hiroshima) during the war. Assistant professor, Tōdai, 1944; professor, 1950-1974.

May 15, 1932 Incident. Revolt by young naval officers that resulted in assassination of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi.

Mimurodo Takamitsu. Baron, politician; active in attacking Minobe Tatsukichi and Tōdai and calling for “clarification of the kokutai.” Purged by Occupation.

Ministry of Education. 1871-2001. Bureaucratic organization with jurisdiction over Japanese education, including imperial universities; led during Hiraga Purge by Gen. Araki Sadao.

Minobe Ryōkichi. 1904-84. Economist, politician; son of Minobe Tatsukichi. Second Higher School (graduated 1923); Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1926). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1926-32; Hōsei University Faculty of Economics, 1935-38 (resigned after arrest in Faculty Group Incident). Tokyo Prefectural Governor, 1967-79.

Minobe Tatsukichi. 1873-1948. Constitutional lawyer; member of the Upper House. Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1897). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1900-33. His emperor-organ theory the focus of major ideological struggle after 1934. Attacked by right-wing thugs and severely injured, 1936.

Minoda Muneki. 1894-1946. Journalist; editor of Genri Nihon. Fifth Higher School; Tōdai (law, then literature). Graduate work at Tōdai Faculty of Law (mentor: Uesugi Shinkichi). Lecturer (logic, psychology) at Keiō University and Kokushikan University, 1932-1941. Founded Genri Nihon (1925); led attack on Tōdai. Committed suicide, 1946.

Mitani Takanobu. 1892-1985. Bureaucrat. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1917). Home Ministry; Foreign Ministry. Ambassador: Switzerland, 1940; France, 1942.

Miyazawa Toshiyoshi. 1899-1976. Constitutional law. First Higher School, Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1923). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1929-1959.

Mori Arinori. 1847-89. Samurai from Satsuma sent to England to study in 1865. First ambassador to the U.S., 1871-3; first Minister of Education. Assassinated,1889.

Morito Incident. Firing of Morito Tatsuo (1888-1984; Tōdai graduate [1914] and professor, 1916-20) after he published translation of Kropotkin essay; cause célèbre among students and faculty, with Uesugi Shinkichi attacking and Yoshino Sakuzō defending.

Nagayo Matarō. 1878-1941. Pathologist; Tōdai president. First Higher School; Tōdai (1904). Professor, Faculty of Medicine; Tōdai president, 1934-1938. Named baron the day before his death.

Nakanishi Torao. 1896-1975. Marxist economist. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics Kawai faction, then Hijikata faction.

Nakata Kaoru. 1877-1967. Legal historian. Tōdai (graduated 1900). Faculty, Tōdai, 1902-37. 

Nakayama Ichirō. 1898-1980. Economist. Tokyo Commercial University (now Hitotsubashi; graduated 1923). Faculty, Tokyo Commercial University, 1923-; president, 1949. Lecturer, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1939-49.

Nambara Shigeru. 1889-1974. Political scientist, dean, president. First Higher School (1910); Tōdai (Law, 1914). Convert to Christianity (Uchimura Kanzō), Non-Church Movement. Home Ministry, 1914-1921. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1921-1951; dean, February-December, 1945; president, December 1945-1951. 

Nasu Shiroshi.  First Higher School (graduated 1920); Tōdai (graduated 1913). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Agriculture, 1923-46; dean.

National spiritual mobilization 国民精神総動員運動 (Kokumin seishin sōdōin undō). Policy of Konoe Cabinet initiated September 1937 as part of response to China Incident, with slogans: “Eight corners [of the world] under one roof,” “A nation united,” “Iron will.” 

Nitobe Inazō. 1862-1933. Agronomist, educator. Sapporo Agricultural College (later Hokkaido University; conversion to Christianity); Johns Hopkins University and Halle University. Faculty, Sapporo Agricultural College, then Tōdai; technical advisor to Taiwan colonial government. Principal of First Higher School (1906-13); Tōdai Faculty of Economics (colonial policy, 1913-20). Undersecretary, League of Nations (1920-26). Among members of his Bible Study Group: Yanaihara Tadao, Takagi Yasaka, Nambara Shigeru.

Non-Church (Christianity) movement. 1901- . Founded by Uchimura Kanzō; movement without liturgy, sacraments, clergy. Members included Yanaihara Tadao, Nambara Shigeru.

Odagiri Hideo. 1916-2000. Journalist, critic. Hōsei University. 1943: drafted; 1944: POW.

Ōgiya Shōzō. 1913-92. Journalist. Tōdai Faculty of Letters (graduated 1935). Asahi, 1935-68.

Ōhara Institute for Research 大原社会問題研究所研究所 (Ōhara shakai mondai kenkyūjo). Founded 1919, Osaka, by Ōhara Magosaburō; moved to Tokyo in 1937. Provided research home for, among others, Ōuchi Hyōe, Morito Tatsuo, Rōyama Masamichi.

Oka Yoshitake. 1902-90. Political scientist. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1926). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1926-63; dean, 1955-57.

Ōkita Saburō. 1914-93. Bureaucrat, economist. First Higher School (graduated 1934); Tōdai Faculty of Engineering (graduated 1937). Communications Ministry, Greater East Asia Ministry, Foreign Ministry (August 1945-47). Active in postwar economic research.

Ōkōchi Kazuo. 1905-84. Economist. Third Higher School; Tōdai. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, until 1939. Resigned in protest at time of Hiraga Purge but persuaded to stay on (decision meant permanent break with Kawai). Returned to Tōdai faculty, 1949; president, 1962-68.

Ōmori Yoshitarō. 1898-1940. Marxist economist; commentator. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1922). Member, Faculty of Economics, 1922-1928 (resignation). Arrest sought, March 15, 1928 incident. Arrested, Popular Front Incident, 1938.

Onozuka Kiheiji. 1871-1944. Political scientist. First Higher School; Tōdai. Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1901-34. Dean; president 1928-34. Among his disciples: Yoshino Sakuzō, Nambara Shigeru, Rōyama Masamichi, Yabe Teiji.

Ōtsuka Hisao. 1907-96. Economic historian. Third Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Economics (student of Honiden Yoshio; convert to Non-Church Christianity; graduated 1933). Faculty, Hōsei daigaku, 1933-39; Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1939-68.

Ōuchi faction. Ouchi; Maide, Ueno, Arisawa, Wakimura.

Ōuchi Hyōe. 1888-1980. Marxist economist. Fifth Higher School; Tōdai Law (specialty: economics, 1913). Finance Ministry, 1913; Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1919. 1920-1922: fired from Tōdai for involvement in Morito Incident. 1938: arrested in Faculty Group Incident, fired from Tōdai. Found not guilty, resigned Tōdai, 1944. Reinstated Tōdai, 1945-1949. President, Hosei University, 1950-1959. 

Peace Preservation Law治安維持法. 1925. Targeted at socialism, anarchism, communism; amended in 1928 to include death penalty.

Popular Front. Policy adopted by the Comintern (1935) to embrace all anti-fascist forces in a united front against fascism.

Popular Front Incident 人民戦線事件. Arrests of some 400 leftists (mainly non-Communists) in December 1937, followed by Faculty Group Incident (sometimes called Second Popular Front Incident): the arrests of professors on February 1, 1938, including Tōdai Faculty of Economics members Ōuchi Hyōe, Arisawa Hiromi, and Wakimura Yoshitarō.

Publication Law 出版法 (Shuppanhō). 1893. Article 26 established penalties for blaspheming the dignity of the Imperial House; Article 27 established penalties for disturbing the public order or corrupting social mores.

Red Gate Popular Front. Tōdai student shorthand for the Popular Front at Tōdai, including the three professors arrested in January 1938: Ōuchi, Arisawa, and Wakimura.

Reischauer, Edwin O. 1910-90. Japan scholar. Oberlin College (graduated 1931); Harvard Ph. D., 1939. Member, Harvard University faculty. Ambassador to Japan, 1961-66.

Renovationist clique. Within Tōdai Faculty of Economics, those professors favoring active collaboration in wartime economy; published journal Renovation. 

Right of supreme command 帷幄上奏(Iaku jōsō). Right of supreme command under Article XI of the Meiji Constitution: “The Emperor has supreme command of the Army and Navy.” Emperor—not prime minister or Diet—controlled military.

Rōnōha 労農派. Literally, labor-farmer faction (named after journal Rōnō労農, established 1928); non-Communist left in prewar Japan, subject of arrest and suppression in Popular Front Incident, 1938.

Rōyama Masamichi. 1895-1980. Political scientist. First Higher School (graduated 1917); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1920). Faculty, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1920-39 (voluntary resignation to protest Hiraga Purge); Ōhara Research Institute. Purged by Occupation, 1947-48.

Sakisaka Itsurō. 1897-1985. Marxist economist. Fifth Higher School (graduated 1918); Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1921). Faculty, Kyushu University, 1922-28 (resigned under pressure). Editor/translator in Tokyo; Rōnōha. Arrested 1937 in Popular Front Incident.

Sakomizu Hisatsune. 1902-77. Bureaucrat; politician. Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1925). Finance Ministry, 1925-44. Chief Cabinet Secretary, Suzuki Cabinet, 1945. Purged by Occupation, 1947-51.

Sasaki Michio. 1897- . Business accounting. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics,   .

Sassa Hiroo. 1897-1948. Political science. Fifth Higher School (graduated 1917); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1920). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1920-  ; Kyushu University Faculty of Law,    -1928 (purged as communist).

Satō Kanji. 1876-1967. Agricultural economics. Tōdai Faculty of Agriculture (graduated 1904). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Agriculture; dean; acting president, 1938. 

Sawayanagi Incident. 1913-14. Dispute at Kyoto University between President Sawayanagi Masatarō and faculty over his attempted dismissal of seven professors. At issue: the faculty prerogative in hiring/firing professors. Mass protest resignations at Kyoto University and support from Tōdai led to reversal of firings and resignation of Sawayanagi.

Seki Yoshihiko. 1912-2006.

Shibusawa Keizō. 1896-1963. Financier. Third Higher School (graduated 1918); Todai Faculty of Law (Economics, graduated 1921). Banking, 1921-1945; executive director, Bank of Japan, 1944-45. Finance Minister, 1945. Purged, 1946-51.

Shinjinkai 新人会. Literally, “new men’s group.” Student organization 1918-29, primarily at Tōdai; liberal, then radical politics. Dissolved after mass arrests of Communist Party members of March 15, 1928.

Shiojiri Kōmei. 1901-69. Todai Faculty of Law graduate. 

Shōwa Research Group 昭和研究会 (Shōwa kenkyūkai). 1933-40. Konoe Fumimaro’s brain trust, established by Gotō Ryūnosuke, to work within constitutional limits for reform of existing political parties.

Social Mass Party社会民主党 (Shakai minshūtō). 1926-32.

South Manchurian Railroad (SMRR). Railway connecting Port Arthur and Harbin, built by Russia (1888-93); transferred to Japanese control (including South Manchuria Railway Zone) in 1905. Management of the railway expanded after 1931 to include virtually all aspects of Japanese “nation-building” in Manchuria.

Special Police 特別高等警察 (Tokubetsu kōtō keisatsu or Tokkō特高). 1911-45. Police reporting directly to Home Ministry (spread to all prefectures in 1928) with primary concern of controlling “anti-government” activity.

Students. Call-up of: December 1943. End of draft deferments for university students. Commissioned students: Rubric under which active-duty military officers enrolled in courses at Tōdai. Special-researcher system: Wartime system of preference for students who committed themselves to careers favored by the military. Liberal arts students: once draft deferment ended, constituted vast majority of student-soldiers and of kamikaze dead.

Suehiro Gentarō. 1888-1951. Civil law. First Higher School (graduated 1909); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1912). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1914-46; dean, 1942-45.

Suenobu Sanji. 1899-1989. Law professor (English and American law). Fifth Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1923). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1925-60.

Suzuki Kantarō. 1868-1948. Naval officer; politician. Prime target in February 26, 1936 Incident, wounded but not killed. Prime Minister, April-August 1945.

Suzuki Kōichirō. 1910-83. Marxist economist. Yamaguchi Higher School (graduated 1930); Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1934). Ōhara Institute for Research, 1935-40. Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1947-71; dean, 1963-65.

Suzuki Takeo. 1901-75. Economist. Third Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1925). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1927-45 (withdrew), 1957-62.

Suzuki Tōmin. 1895-1979. Journalist, labor politician. Todai Faculty of Economics. Osaka Asahi, Yomiuri. Anti-Nazi activity.

Takagi Sōkichi. 1893-1979. Naval officer. Naval Academy (graduated 1915).

Takagi Yasaka. 1889-1984. American studies. Son of Baron Kanda Naibu. First Higher School; Tōdai (graduated 1915). Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1918-49. Quaker. 

Takahashi Masao. 1901-95. Marxist economist. Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1925). Member, Faculty of Economics, Kyushu daigaku, 1928-38 (fired after arrest in Faculty Group Incident). Reporter, Osaka Shimpō, 1940-44. Member, Faculty of Economics, Kyushu daigaku, 1946-65.

Takigawa Incident. 1932-33. Attack on Kyoto University Faculty of Law Professor Takigawa Yukitoki by right-wing forces, notably Kikuchi Takeo. Ministry of Education instructed Kyoto University president to fire Takigawa. Eight professors (of fifteen) and thirteen assistant professors (of eighteeen) resigned in protest. Tōdai Faculty of Law took no concerted action.

Tamba Shigeteru. Dean, Tōdai Faculty of Agriculture.

Tanabe Tadao. 1891-1967. Economist.Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics; Kawai faction, then Hijikata faction.

Tanaka Kōtarō. 1890-1974. Commercial law; philosophy of law. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Law (1915). Home Ministry 1915. Tōdai Faculty of Law 1917- ; dean, 1937 (resigned in aftermath of Hiraga Purge). Minister of Education, 1946; member, Upper House, 1947-1950; justice, Supreme Court, 1950; justice, International Court of Justice [the Hague], 1961-70. Non-Church Christian; then Catholic.

Tōgō Shigenori. 1882-1950. Diplomat, politician. Seventh Higher School (graduated 1904); Todai Faculty of Letters (graduated 1908). Diplomatic service, 1912-45; Foreign Minister at war’s beginning and at end. Defendant in Tokyo trial, sentenced to 20 years.

Tomita Kenji. 1897-1977. Bureaucrat, politician. Kyoto University Faculty of Law (graduated 1921). Home Ministry, including police in Ishikawa and Osaka prefectures. Chief Cabinet Secretary (to Konoe Cabinet), 1940-41. Member, House of Peers, 1941-46.

Tomizu Incident. 1905. Tomizu Hirondo (1861-1935), professor of Tōdai Faculty of Law, who (along with six others) criticized as insufficiently forceful the government’s policy toward Russia and the peace settlement at Portsmouth placed on leave, then fired. Widespread protest by imperial universities led to reinstatement (1906). 

Tsuda Incident. 1939. Guest lecturer on East Asian history at Tōdai, Tsuda attacked by right-wing forces at Tōdai and outside. His books were proscribed; he was indicted. Court proceedings led to finding of guilty of infringing Article 26 of Publications Law), finding upheld on appeal (1942).

Tsuda Sōkichi. 1873-1961. Historian; anthropologist. Tōkyō semmon gakkō (later Waseda University; 1891). Taught in various middle schools (to 1908); researcher, Southern Manchurian Railroad. Faculty, Waseda University, 1918-40 (forced resignation). Guest lecturer, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1938; subject of right-wing attack.

Tsuji Kiyoaki. 1913-91. Political scientist. Third Higher School (graduated 1934); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1937). Faculty, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1942-

Tsurumi Yūsuke. 1885-1973. Bureaucrat, politician. First Higher School (graduated 1907); Todai Faculty of Law (graduated 1910). Elected to Lower House, 1936 and later. Purged by Occupation. After war, Diet member and Minister for Health in Hatoyama Cabinet.

Tsūshin通信 (Tidings). Private newsletter of Yanaihara Tadao. 

Uchida Yoshikazu. 1885-1972. Architect. First Higher School (graduated 1904); Tōdai Faculty of Engineering (graduated 1907). Member, Tōdai faculty, 1911-45; president, 1943-45.

Uchimura Kanzō. 1861-1930. Christian educator, proselytizer; founder of Non-Church Movement. Sapporo Agricultural College (graduated 1881); Massachusetts Agricultural College, Amherst College (graduated 1887), Hartford Seminary. Faculty, First Higher School, 1890-1891 (fired in lèse majesté incident).

Ueno Michizuke. 1888-1962. Economist. Tōdai (graduated 1911). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1917-49.

Uesugi Shinkichi. 1878-1929. Constitutional scholar. Fourth Higher School (graduated 1898); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1901). Faculty, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1903-1929. Adherent of theory of imperial sovereignty; opponent of emperor-organ theory.

University Council 大学評議会 (Daigaku hyōgikai). University deliberative body made up of dean and two elected representatives of each faculty.

Unno Shinkichi. 1885-1968. Lawyer, human rights activist. Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1908). Active in defense of Kawai Eijirō, the Popular Front, Tsuda Sōkichi, among others; active, too, after the war.

Uno Kōzō. 1897-1977. Marxist economist. Sixth Higher School (graduated 1918); Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1921). Faculty, Tōhoku Imperial University Faculty of Economics, 1924-38. Arrested in Popular Front Incident, February 1, 1938; found not guilty. Tōdai Social Sciences Research Center, 1947-58.

Wagatsuma Sakae. 1897-1973. Civil law. First Higher School (graduated 1917); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1920). Faculty, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1922-57.

Wakatsuki Reijirō. 1866-1949. Bureaucrat, politician. Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1892). Finance Ministry, 1892-1911. Member, House of Peers, 1911- ; Finance Minister, 1912- ; Home Minister, 1924-. Prime Minister, 1926-27, 1931. Senior Councilor, 1932-45.

Wakimura Yoshitarō. 1900-97. Economist. Third Higher School (graduated 1921); Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1924). Faculty, Faculty of Economics, 1924-38 (arrested in Faculty Group Incident with Ōuchi and Arisawa), 1945-61.

War Economy Study Group 戦時経済研究会 (Senji keizai kenkyūkai). Established 1938 by Hijikata to facilitate Faculty of Economics cooperation in the war effort.

Watanabe Jōtarō. 1874-1936. General. Chief of Military Training; assassinated in February 26, 1936 Incident.

Watanabe Kazuo. 1901-75. Scholar of French literature. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Letters (graduated 1925). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Letters, 1942-62. Author, preface to Listen to the Voices from the Sea.

Watanabe Shinichi. Assistant professor, Tōdai Faculty of Economics; Hijikata faction.

Yabe Teiji. 1902-67. Political scientist. First Higher School (graduated 1923); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1926). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1928-1945 (voluntary resignation).

Yamada Fumio. 1898-1978. Economist. First Higher School; Tōdai Faculty of Economics. Member, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1930-1938 (resigned in protest). Member, Hijikata faction. 

Yamada Moritarō. 1897-1980. Marxist economist. Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1923). Member, Faculty of Economics, 1923-1930 (driven from Tōdai). Arrested 1936. Reinstated Tōdai, 1945-57; dean, 1950.

Yamakawa-ism. Doctrine, associated with Yamakawa Hitoshi (1880-1953), at heart of Rōnō movement: emphasis on mass political movement based on labor, with socialist revolution a distant goal. Read out of the Communist Party by Comintern as opportunism in favor of Fukumoto-ism.

Yanaihara Incident. Forced resignation of Yanaihara from Tōdai in 1937.

Yanaihara Tadao. 1893-1961. Economist, Tōdai president. First Higher School (and conversion to Christianity by Uchimura Kanzō); Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1917. Sumitomo, 1917. Faculty of Economics, 1920-37 (forced resignation). Reinstated November 1945; Tōdai president, 1951-1957.

Yanaikawa . Assistant professor, Tōdai Faculty of Economics (1938). Present at formation of War Economy Study Group.

Yasuda Auditorium. The large auditorium beneath the tower at the center of the Tōdai campus, scene of many historic gatherings.

Yasui Kaoru. 1907-80. Lawyer; activist. Osaka Higher School (graduated 1927); Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1930). Member, Tōdai Faculty of Law, 1931-47; professor, 1940. Purged by Occupation, 1947. Board chair, Gensuikyō, 1954-65; winner, Lenin Prize, 1958.

Yasui Takuma. 1909-1995. Economist. Tōdai Faculty of Economics (graduated 1931). Faculty, Tōdai Faculty of Economics, 1931-44 (transfer to Tōhoku University). Member, Kawai faction.

Yonai Mitsumasa. 1880-1948. Naval officer; politician. Naval College (graduated 1901). Navy Minister, 1937. Prime Minister, 1940. Navy Minister, 1944-45.

Yoshida Shigeru. 1878-1967. Diplomat, politician. Prime Minister, 1946-54. Tōdai Faculty of Law (graduated 1906). Foreign Ministry, 1906-39. Foreign Minister, September 1945-52; Prime Minister, 1946-54.

Yūmoto Toyokichi.   Assistant professor, Tōdai Faculty of Economics; Hijikata faction.

Zenkyōtō (Zengaku kyōtō kaigi; All-Student Alliance). 1968-69. Student umbrella organization behind radical and sometimes violent action on campuses in years of Japan’s greatest postwar student unrest.


Tōdai Presidents, 1928-1977

December 1928-November 1934 Onozuka Kiheiji
December 1934-November 1938 Nagayo Matarō
November 1938 (acting) Satō Kanji
December 1938–February 1943 Hiraga Yuzuru
February 1943 (acting) Terasawa Kanichi
March 1943-December 1945 Uchida Yoshikazu
December 1945-December 1951 Nambara Shigeru
December 1951-December 1957 Yanaihara Tadao
December 1957-November 1963 Kaya Seiji
December 1963-November 1969 Ōkōchi Kazuo
November 1969-April 1973 Katō Ichirō
April 1973-April 1977 Hayashi Kentarō



Deans, Faculty of Economics, 1933-1953

April 1933-March 1936 Hijikata Seibi
April 1936-March 1937 Kawai Eijirō
April 1937-March 1938 Hijikata Seibi
April 1938-February 1939 Maide Chōgorō
February 1939-February 1940 President Hiraga Yuzuru (acting)
March 1940-February 1944 Mori Sōsaburō
March 1944-September 1945 Hashizume Akio
September 1945-September 1948 Maide Chōgorō
October 1948- September 1949 Yanaihara Tadao
October 1949-September 1950 Arisawa Hiromi
October 1950-September 1951 Yamada Seitarō
October 1951-September 1952 Wakimura Yoshitarō
October 1952-September 1953 Ōkōchi Kazuo