The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 23, No. 3, June 9, 2014.
Japan’s Article 9 and Economic Justice: The Work of Shinagawa Masaji1 憲法９条と経済的正義 品川正治氏が果たした役割
By Komori Yoichi
Translation by Miho MATSUGU
Introduction by Norma Field
On June 10, 2014, the Article 9 Association marks its tenth anniversary, more than ever embattled and determined. As illustrated by Alexis Dudden’s recent article on this site, “The Nomination of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution for a Nobel Peace Prize,” business people figure in the broad swath of “Japanese people who conserve Article 9” recognized as worthy of consideration for the Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Shinagawa Masaji, the subject of this memorial tribute by prominent modern literature scholar and executive secretary of the Article 9 Association Komori Yoichi, was surely the dean of progressive financial leaders of the postwar era. English-language readers who follow Japan are likely to be aware of the political clout of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), which not so incidentally supports Constitutional revision. Miho Matsugu’s generously annotated translation* of Komori’s tribute to Shinagawa following his death in August of 2013 provides a glimpse of an association, Keizai Doyukai, or Japan Association of Corporate Executives, that has often projected a contrasting sense of mission. Given the neo-liberal furor reigning over the ever bellicose US and its client state Japan (to borrow Gavan McCormack’s designation, as in “Japan’s Client State (Zokkoku) Problem”), we are right to be painfully aware of the limited capacity of capitalism to benefit all human beings—not to mention our home the earth. It is all the more refreshing, then, to learn not only about Shinagawa’s commitment to the “no-war clause” but also his years of union activism and espousal of “revisionist capitalism.” His example prompts wide-ranging comparison, whether to Nordic models (see the intriguing comparison recently published on this site of Sweden and Japan’s policies in the face of financial crisis) or in another era of US capitalism, Henry Ford’s brand of investment in anti-union employee well-being and espousal of pacifism, albeit a pacifism fundamentally flawed by anti-Semitism.
It is worth emphasizing Shinagawa Masaji’s impassioned commitment to both the antiwar and economic justice causes because popular understanding tends to separate advocates of the two. The antiwar camp is imagined to be populated by intellectuals, mothers, students, radical activists—in other words, people with the wherewithal to invest, however modestly, in a cause unrelated to their daily bread and for whom association with such a cause would not be detrimental in the workplace. In the era of mass movements—from 1945 to the early 60s, say—the antiwar or antinuclear cause had broad support that made it seem as if it transcended ideology, and at the same time, was essential to the identity of the then influential political parties of the left and their associated labor unions, for which safeguarding workers’ rights and the social safety net was equally indispensable. With the dramatic waning of the organized left—still committed to both sets of issues—and the rise of widespread insecurity and actual poverty thanks to neoliberalism—putting energy into defending Article 9 may seem an irrelevance, a luxury, or ideologically risky if not downright wrongheaded. And, following a dismally familiar pattern, conservative forces have whetted the appetite for nationalistic expression as a distraction from the economic race to the bottom. It was in such circumstances that the Article 9 Association was organized. Although Shinagawa is hardly alone as a corporate figure supporting Article 9, his stature made his commitment to both causes especially noteworthy.
Komori Yoichi (photo by Norma Field)
The historical background to the distinctive leadership Shinagawa came to embody emerges in a moving account of prewar higher school culture and a lifelong friendship between Shinagawa and author Komori Yoichi’s father, Komori Yoshio. This, in turn, lends personal as well as a more familiar political historical depth to Komori Yoichi’s commitment to the cause of Article 9. Komori, having burst on the scene of modern literary scholarship with a visionary reinterpretation of the classic work of modern Japanese literature, Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro, has since produced multiple influential titles of literary scholarship as well as works reflecting his increasing prominence in antiwar, social justice activism. The Article 9 Association he mobilized is now approaching its ten-year anniversary. Not only have regional affiliates emerged all over the archipelago, but Article 9 groups have sprung up on scales large and small for medical professionals, artists, musicians, scientists, religious, people in the travel, film, or agriculture-forestry-fisheries industries, alumni of various institutions—groups covering the range of occupations and social institutions. In the course of this decade, Komori has been centrally involved in planning and organizing Association activities, but he has also traveled every single weekend and national holiday with the exception of the first three days of the New Year to lecture on safeguarding and revitalizing Article 9. No wonder, given this indefatigable commitment, that Komori expresses such respectful warmth for the senior figure who, despite his age, gave the same cause his all—a senior figure who, together with his own father, epitomized the determination to make a new world from the grief born of war.
Article 9 Makes Possible a Post-American-style Nation
A passage in this tribute provides a glimpse, or rather, a statement of Komori’s emotional response to Shinagawa’s account of his unforgettable first encounter with Article 9 as a demobilized soldier ordered to read the entire draft Constitution out loud together with his mates while still on board ship. Sometimes, the mere statement of strong emotion roused by an incident comes to life by reverberating with the account of another incident, far removed in time and space. The recounting of one reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, presented in an exhibit at the American History Museum in Washington, DC** provides an example:
"On New Year’s Day 1863, African Americans at Beaufort, S.C., witnessed the moment when the Emancipation Proclamation became law. Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson went before the assembled crowd and solemnly read the president’s proclamation. He remembered that ‘there suddenly arose ... a strong but rather cracked & elderly male voice, into which two women’s voices immediately blended.
My country ‘tis of thee
Sweet land of Liberty
...the quavering voices sang on, verse after verse; others around them joined; ... I never saw anything so electric; it made all other words cheap ... the life of the whole day was in those unknown people’s song.’"
The circumstances are, to be sure, different: soldiers returning from having participated in a brutal war of aggression waged by their country, and slaves, themselves the children and parents of slaves, in the midst of a brutal civil war. What they have in common, the way in which they resonate with and augment each other is this: both episodes remind us of the spine-tingling power of words of principle uttered publicly, against all expectation.*** And yet, such words, sanctified by authority (the Proclamation and Article 9) or tradition (“My country ‘tis of thee”), can languish through indifference and cynicism, for it is only too evident that the promulgation of a law will not by itself change reality. Forced, over and over, to recognize as much, we are tempted to turn our backs on the promises themselves—the genuine abolition of slavery, the abolition of war. That is why the vicarious experience of first encounter with world-changing principle needs to be repeated and transmitted, to keep alive the spark of possibility that inspires us to renew our commitment to realizing those promises, however slow or compromised the process.
Lastly, in order to situate Shinagawa in ongoing debates, it might be worth asking how he viewed the US-Japan Security Treaty. Many Japanese evidently support both Article 9 and the Security Treaty without a sense of contradiction. According to translator Miho Matsugu, Shinagawa does not seem to have opposed the Treaty outright. In his 2006 book, Article 9 Makes Possible a Post-American Style Nation: The Views of One Financial Leader (Kempo 9jyo ga tsukuru datsuamerikagata kokka: Aru zaikai rida no teigen), Shinagawa acknowledges that it is “undoubtedly the cornerstone of Japanese security.” Nevertheless, he goes on to express his belief that the Japanese people “have not forgotten that the Treaty exists to maintain peace in the Far East, indeed, in Asia and the whole world, and that it is not an agreement for waging war.” In Postwar Journey (Sengo rekitei), published shortly after his death in 2013, he writes ruefully of his own responsibility for the defeat of the 1960 struggle against forced passage of a revised US-Japan Security Treaty, a defeat that revealed a “nation unable to free itself from subjugation to the US along with the history of a security treaty vitiated as a military alliance, the transformation of the land into a military base, and, finally, an unfeeling willingness to let the people of Okinawa serve in a slave-like capacity to the US military.” As far as Shinagawa was concerned, the Security Treaty struggle represented the culmination of a series of defeats—from failure to secure a truly inclusive peace treaty, to stem the tide of the reverse course, to prevent passage of the Subversive Activities Prevention Act (1952).
It was his refusal to be reassured that some progress had been made that led his wife Shizuka to urge him to throw himself into the labor movement. In the Afterword to Postwar Journey, Shinagawa, observing the structure of “1% vs. 99%” now prevailing in Japan as well as in the US, with the Japanese 1% utterly subservient to American authority, expresses this hope: “I will be leaving this world shortly. My only wish is that those who come after me will continue to safeguard Article 9 and stand in the frontlines of peace in Japan, in the Orient, in Asia, and throughout the entire world, including the United States.”
What do these words suggest? Wishful thinking? Naïve optimism? Translator Miho Matsugu writes, “I can’t help thinking these views come from his experiences as head of household [family, union, company], informed, moreover, by the memory of fighting at the frontlines as a soldier, where his actions led to the deaths of both his comrades and of Chinese people” (personal communication): an honorable man, in other words, who did his principled best within the constraints of a system both chosen and not.
* Readers will find that the annotations provide numerous clues for further investigation of familiar and unfamiliar aspects of wartime and postwar history.
** “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963” (December 14, 2012-September 7, 2014).
*** Another recent example: Fukui district court judge Higuchi Hideaki, in finding for the plaintiffs against the restart of two reactors at Oi nuclear power plant, declared that it was “legally impermissible” even to “entertain arguments weighing people’s right to exist against the cost of electricity” (21 May 2014).
In Memoriam: Mr. Shinagawa Masaji
Mr. Shinagawa Masaji, former president of The Nippon Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd (The Nippon Fire),2 and lifetime governor of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives),3 died on August 29, 2013.
When I heard the news, the first words that came to mind were those of Kono Yohei, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and former President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)4: “I’d like to express my appreciation to Mr. Shinagawa for his advocacy for our Constitution and for speaking out boldly throughout the country about Article 9.” I remember Mr. Kono’s emphatic tone on that occasion, a gathering to celebrate Mr. Shinagawa’s 88th birthday at the Gakushi Kaikan Building in Hitotsubashi, Tokyo, on June 7 the prior year.
I, too, expressed my heart-felt gratitude to Mr. Shinagawa at his bedside, though given his condition, I could not be sure that my message reached him.
Now, I have decided to write this essay to share, however inadequately, the thoughts that can no longer be delivered to Mr. Shinagawa. I want to share them with all of you readers of Sekai, a journal he began reading with the inaugural issue, dated December 1945.5 I also write out of a sense of responsibility to the lifelong friendship between my father, the late Komori Yoshio,6 and Mr. Shinagawa, a friendship that dates back to their student days at an Imperial Higher School.
Meeting Mr. Shinagawa
It was on June 10, 2004, in the middle of the rush to go public with the Article 9 Association that I first met Mr. Shinagawa Masaji.7 When I told my father about plans for forming the Association, his response was, “Go meet Shinagawa and get his advice.” He handed me a note with Mr. Shinagawa’s home phone number.
What he told me at the time was only that Mr. Shinagawa had been senior to him at the dormitory of the former Imperial Third Higher School, that theirs was a close friendship founded in trust, and that Mr. Shinagawa had played an active role in the financial world.8 From aside, my mother Kyoko9 added, “I’ve been sending him the Sunday edition of Akahata.”10 I called immediately and secured an appointment to meet the next day. Since the place we were to meet was a building familiar only to people in the financial world where someone like me would never set foot, I was tense and agitated as I got off at Tokyo Station and walked towards Marunouchi.
As soon as he sat down, however, Mr. Shinagawa began talking to me as if I were an old friend. He embarked on a story about how he had submitted a letter of withdrawal from the Third Higher School in Kyoto, which resulted in his being sent to the front in Henan Province in China as a soldier of the Imperial Army. In minute and precise detail, he recounted how he had taken a direct mortar hit as Chinese soldiers charged at the Grenade Unit to which he was attached. He pointed out the spots on his body where fragments were still embedded.
He also talked about an experience he had on the boat for demobilized Japanese soldiers that brought him back from Shanghai to Japan in April 1946. They were kept on board for some time and during that period, on April 17, the entire text of the draft Constitution was published in the newspapers. Their commanding officer ordered them to read it out loud, all together, from beginning to end, in declamatory fashion. When they finished reading Article 9, all the demobilized soldiers wept.11 Mr. Shinagawa’s account of his first encounter with Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan was so overwhelming that I could not even nod in response.
Mr. Shinagawa further told me about the birth of his late son Toru. It was in July of 1950, when the Korean War had just begun, and there was a debate about whether Japan should participate.12 He reminisced fondly about how he and his wife Shizuka13 kept reciting Article 9 into their newborn baby’s ears. “Article 9 was our lullaby,” he said with feeling.14
On the business card he handed me at this meeting was printed, “Executive Director and President, International Development Center of Japan.” To my great shame, it was only through our conversation that day that I learned that Mr. Shinagawa had served as Vice Chairperson and executive director of Keizai Doyukai from 1993 to 1997.
Activism on Behalf of the Article 9 Association
At that first meeting, Mr. Shinagawa Masaji said that the Article 9 Association was precisely the kind of movement needed at present, and he kindly promised to help us as much as he could. After we went public with our appeal for the Association, inaugural members began lecturing in major cities starting with Tokyo. Regional and workplace branches of the Article 9 Association began to be established in various forms.
Among groups organized by business, one of the earliest was “The Article 9 Association of Property and Casualty Insurance Companies” (Sompo kyujo no kai).15 At a post-lecture get-together, I learned that this particular Article 9 Association got its early start thanks in part to Mr. Shinagawa’s strong encouragement. I also heard many vivid memories about Mr. Shinagawa’s activist path after he started working for Nippon Fire.
Hagerty Incident (1960) [Source]
It was 1949 when Mr. Shinagawa entered that company. As chief of the Youth Division of the Tokyo Branch of the Property and Casualty Insurance Labor Union, he stood at the frontlines of union activity and from 1956, worked full-time as a union official. During the struggle to oppose passage of the revised US-Japan Security Treaty in 1960, he coordinated the action of both workers and college students as the Union's vice chairperson.16 Despite violent rightwing provocations, he managed numerous crises without a single arrest. What was astonishing to me was how people who had worked with him told these stories as if they were the most important episodes in their own lives.17
In 1962, Mr. Shinagawa left his full-time position with the union and went back to his workplace. In 1963, he became head of the Planning Division,18 and then went on to the positions of vice chief, chief, director, general executive, and vice president, becoming president of Nippon Fire in 1984. Following his retirement in 1989, Mr. Shinagawa served as Chairman until 1991. From 1993 until 1997, he was Vice President of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives.
As The Asahi Shimbun editorial board member Yasui Takayuki has written, “[Mr. Shinagawa] was also an outspoken critic of the American style of management and the strategy of structural reform. While stockholders and capitalists monopolize most of the fruits of American-style capitalism, in postwar Japan, everyone shared in the gains. In the so-called lost two decades after the bubble burst, this postwar Japanese managerial style was rejected without a shred of hesitation, and the state and most companies followed the lead of the United States. Mr. Shinagawa was tireless in posing this question: ‘Reform for whom?’ His focus was always on whether policies were likely to lead to the happiness of employees as human beings” (Yasui 2013).
At the end of July 2005, when I came back to Tokyo to organize an Article 9 Association lecture event at Ariake Coliseum for ten thousand people, I asked Mr. Shinagawa to appear on our fliers and posters. In the speakers’ waiting room at this event, Mr. Shinagawa declared he would take the lead on the lecture circuit for us. He ended up delivering about four hundred lectures.
Article 9 Association lecture event at Ariake Coliseum (2005) [Source]
Fierce Opponent of Maneuvers for Explicit Constitutional Revision19
“It takes human beings to start wars. It also takes human beings to try to prevent them, as well as to stop them. Which side are you on? This is the question that has guided my postwar actions.”20 It was with these words that Mr. Shinagawa would begin his lectures, words that went straight to the hearts of his audience.
In September 2005, the LDP and New Komeito won control of more than two thirds of the seats in the Lower House of the Diet as a result of the “yes or no to postal privatization” election orchestrated by the Koizumi Jun’ichiro administration. At the end of October, the Koizumi administration announced the draft revision of a “New LDP Constitution” and made clear that it would push for explicit constitutional revision. Against this backdrop, Mr. Shinagawa devoted himself ever more unflaggingly to the lecture circuit, which gave me many opportunities to converse with him. The depth of his historical understanding never failed to move me. At every venue to which I accompanied him, I could feel his words—“The flag of Article 9 is in tatters, but we can’t afford to let it go”—persuade his audience with the force of a new revelation.
In campaigning for the LDP presidency, Abe Shinzo pledged that he would achieve constitutional revision during his term. The first Abe government, formed in September 2006, pushed through a revised Fundamental Law of Education in December.21 Perhaps in response, by 2007 there were more than 6,000 branches of the Article 9 Association throughout the country. The annual poll on the Constitution conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun in the first week of April showed that opposition to constitutional revision had increased three years in a row, while support had decreased, putting the two sides in a dead heat.
Immediately thereafter, Ozawa Ichiro, then head of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), announced that his party would not support the Abe administration’s move for explicit constitutional revision. Although the administration railroaded through Parliament the National Referendum Law22 in preparation for constitutional revision on May 14, opposition parties, including the DPJ, prevailed in the Upper House election in July 2007. In September, after President George W. Bush told Prime Minister Abe at the U.S-Japan summit meeting in Sydney to dispatch Self Defense Forces to the battlefield in Afghanistan, Abe suddenly resigned, using illness as an excuse.
The Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors23 Revised: An Incident at the Third Higher School
That summer (2007), my father, who was trying to write a book on his own war experiences, had a lengthy telephone conversation with Mr. Shinagawa. It was about the incident that caused Mr. Shinagawa, who was then head of the student body, to leave the Third Higher School in 1944, with my father succeeding him in that position.
In February 1944, the Third Higher School was subject to an inspection conducted by the commander of the Kyoto Division of the Imperial Army.24 During the ceremony, the students were told to recite the Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors.25 The student who raised his hand to volunteer was a boy named Asanuma Minoru, a student who had been a grade ahead of Mr. Shinagawa in middle school but was now in the same grade because he took an extra year to enter the higher school. He was known for his outstanding gift in mathematics.26
“Asanuma-kun” began to recite as follows: “From reign to reign our Emperor is there wherever the Army leads.” The original sentence in the Rescript reads, “Our Army is there wherever the Emperor leads.” He had reversed the roles of supreme command, the most crucial issue in the Rescript.
The inspector who had called on the student had not noticed the switch and was about to pick the next reciter. Other students, including my father, had no idea what had happened. But one of the high-ranking inspectors had noticed. “Say it again,” he pressed.
From reign to reign our Emperor is there wherever the Army leads. Is that not correct? …Where is the Army trying to take this country in the name of the Emperor?”
His face burning with rage, the inspector dashed toward the student with his hand on the hilt of his saber, but he stopped short and shouted, “Inspection suspended. All dismissed!”
Fearful of being held responsible, the Division banned all publicity about the incident. That did not make the situation any less serious. For those who do not know the atmosphere of the time, this may appear to be nothing more than the youthful mistake of a student with a rebellious spirit and a sharp mind. Yet the teachers, including the principal, and I were prepared to have the Third Higher School shut down (Shinagawa 2013: 6).27
Serious discussions took place over many hours in the principal’s office, with Mr. Shinagawa included as head of the student body.
How Are Citizens Mobilized for War?
According to Mr. Shinagawa, Principal Maeda Kanae28 defended the student, saying “Asanuma’s expulsion from our school is unavoidable, but I don’t think of him as guilty of wrongdoing or lacking in loyalty. Indeed, he showed the spirit of a true patriot” (Shinagawa 2013: 6). At this meeting, Mr. Shinagawa said, “Mr. Principal, I will submit a petition to the Army. In it, (1) I will take responsibility, as head of the student body of the Third Higher School, for this incident and withdraw immediately; and volunteer for the Army, and (3) ask to be sent to the front” (7).29
My father had learned about this episode from Mr. Shinagawa’s book, Article 9 Makes Possible a Post-American-style Nation, and called him up to confirm the details.30 Subsequently, having read my father's description of the incident in his autobiography (Komori 2008: 59-74), Mr. Shinagawa, after my father’s death, wrote it up in further detail in his book The Road to Pacifism (Hansen e no michi), vividly conveying the tensions of that moment (Shinagawa 2010: 59-71).31 I cannot help seeing the origins of the trust prevailing between the men of Mr. Shinagawa’s and my father's generation in this episode.
Toward “Another Japan”
After the declaration of bankruptcy by the Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008 and the near collapse of the American International Group (AIG) the following day, Mr. Shinagawa's lectures became even sharper in tone. The tendency of finance capital to dominate industrial capital and the strategy of converting every risk into a financial commodity was galloping apace. Providing concrete examples as well as theoretical analysis of the workings of the system, Mr. Shinagawa was tenacious in his sharply critical discussions of “the privatization of the postal service” by the Koizumi Jun’ichiro administration as a measure geared toward contributing to Wall Street’s efforts to delay the Lehman Shock.32
From there on, Mr. Shinagawa came to thoroughly criticize the postwar Japan-US security regime whereby Japan placed itself in a submissive position before the US, always prepared to do its bidding. I believe that his decision to adopt such an unambiguous position led to his taking on the role as facilitator for “The National Forum for Peace, Democracy, and a Progressive Japan” (Zenkoku kakushin kon).33
Mr. Kumagai Shin’ichiro, a member of Sekai’s editorial board who was also the editor of Mr. Shinagawa’s account of his postwar life, Postwar Journey, told me that the last conversation he had with Mr. Shinagawa on his sick bed was about “the possibility of a politics that could lead to another Japan” and “the possibility of a politics for sustaining revolution.” As for “another Japan,”34 the ultimate theme of his life, Mr. Shinagawa writes in that book:
The four of us told each other that although we had struggled over how we could attain that hoped-for ‘other Japan’ within actual politics, about how we evaluated ‘socialism’ and ‘dictatorship,’ about whether ‘socialism’ could be realized through ‘democracy,’ and whether it was sustainable as a system, we had to admit that we had not yet been able to reach any conclusions (Shinagawa 2013: 126-127).
The “four of us” here refers to Mr. Shinagawa and his friends Komori Yoshio, Hagihara Nobutoshi,35 and Kawamoto Kazutaka.36
“I, Komori, and Hagihara, in that order, succeeded each other as head of the student body of the Third Higher School.” Joining the three was Mr. Kawamoto, a close friend of Mr. Shinagawa in middle school.
These four apparently “met regularly from the beginning of 1970 for a total of eight times.” That was clearly the period when the Cold War framework was about to change. The four had numerous discussions about the “nature of politics” and what would happen “after capitalism.”
Each of us entered the second half of our forties as emergent leaders in our fields, but we sometimes became despondent: ‘What am I living for if I can’t figure these things out?’ On the other hand, we also had occasion to look at each other and nod in mutual recognition: ‘Don’t the four of us already make up a popular front? Komori is a member of the Communist Party, Shinagawa is a corporate manager, Hagihara is a scholar, and Kawamoto is a journalist. Doesn’t the fact that we are having these discussions mean that a popular front has in fact been established?’ (Shinagawa 2013:128)
I don’t know how far this discussion was pursued among these four— Mr. Shinagawa Masaji, Mr. Hagihara Nobutoshi, Mr. Kawamoto Kazutaka, and my father. What is indisputable is that “a politics to realize another Japan” is what is most needed now.
When the second Abe Shinzo administration resorted to interpretive constitutional revision in order to establish the right of collective self-defense, an act that would effectively destroy section 2 of Article 9, Mr. Shinagawa said he would not let go his grip on the “flag of Article 9.” I myself am renewing my resolve to take on that flag, tighten my clasp, and continue to wave it in order to realize Mr. Shinagawa Masaji's dream of a “popular front.”
Recommended Citation: Komori Yoichi, "Japan's Article 9 and Economic Justice: The Work of Shinagawa Masaji," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 23, No. 3, June 9, 2014.
Komori Yoichi, born in Tokyo in 1953, is a professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School. A scholar of modern Japanese literature, he is the author of numerous books, including The Voices of the Dead, the Words of the Living: In Pursuit of Nuclear Japan through Literature (Shisha no koe, seija no kotoba: Bungaku de tou gempatsu no Nihon; Shinnihon Shuppansha, 2014); On Soseki: For Surviving the Twentieth Century (Soseki ron: nijuuisseiki o ikinukutameni; Iwanami Shoten, 2010); Remember, Protest, and Survive (Kiokuseyo, kogiseyo, soshite ikinobiyo; Shinefurontosha, 2010); The Broadcast of the Imperial Voice (Tenno no gyokuon hoso; Asahi Shimbun Shuppan, 2008); and Refugees—The “Frontiers of Thought” (Nanmin; co-authored with Ichinokawa Yasutaka, Iwanami Shoten, 2007). He is also Executive Secretary of the Article 9 Association.
Miho Matsugu has taught Japanese language and literature at Grinnell College in Iowa and DePaul University in Chicago. Her publications include “Kawabata Yasunari's House of the sleeping beauties, retold: The case of Kirino Natsuo's Sleep in water, dream in ashes.” Now living in the Bay Area, she is interested in how the edges of everyday experience found in literary texts reflect the meanings of historical and contemporary life.
Norma Field is Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor Emerita, University of Chicago and a Japan Focus Associate. The author of In the Realm of a Dying Emperor and Kobayashi Takiji: Reading Him for the Twenty-first Century (Kobayashi Takiji: Nijuisseiki ni do yomuka, Iwanami Shoten, 2009), she maintains with colleagues The Atomic Age website at the University of Chicago.
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Herbert P. Bix, Abe Shinzo and the U.S.-Japan Relationship in a Global Context
John W. Dower, The San Francisco System: Past, Present, Future in U.S.-Japan-China Relations サンフランシスコ体制 米日中関係の過去、現在、そして未来
Komori Yoichi, Rule in the Name of Protection: The Japanese State, the Ainu and the Vocabulary of Colonialism 「保護」という名の支配ー植民地主義のボキャブラリ
C. Douglas Lummis, It Would Make No Sense for Article 9 to Mean What it Says, Therefore It Doesn’t: The Transformation of Japan's Constitution 日本国憲法の変容 9条の文面は意味不明。しかるに文字通り受け止めるべからず
1 The original essay is “Tsuito Shinagawa Masaji san: Kyujo no hata o tsuide iku.” Sekai (November 2013). 285-290. All notes are by the translator. Because this piece is a memorial tribute to a senior figure with whom author Komori had a personal as well as public relationship, it reads neither as a journalistic article nor a scholarly essay, but more like an extended obituary of a close and respected figure. The translator has tried to convey that effect by preserving the original modes of address.
2 The Nippon Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd was formed by the 1944 merger of the Japan Fire and Japan Marine corporations. After Japan’s large conglomerates, or zaibatsu, were dissolved by the US Occupation, Kawasaki Zaibatsu, the owner of the former Japan Fire, withdrew from the management (Shinagawa, 2013: 57). In 2001, The Nippon Fire and Koa Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd merged and became Nippon Koa Insurance Co., Ltd.
3 Founded in 1946, Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) is one of three major groups representing Japanese corporate leaders. The others are Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), and Nihon Shoko Kaigisho (Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry). Keizai Doyukai has approximately 1,300 corporate executive members from 900 large corporations. In its tribute to Shinagawa on September 5, 2013, the association highlights Shinagawa’s work on corporate governance and ethics, especially the abolishing of corporate political donations, which was consistent with his critical stance toward the role of big business in politics (Shinagawa 2006b: 91-92 and 141-142). The tribute also refers to Shinagawa’s notion of “revisionist capitalism” (shusei shihonshugi), characterized not by the single-minded pursuit of profits and efficiency, but by the commitment to redistributing the fruits of economic growth through fiscal policy. It also states that Shinagawa never gave up his dedication to pacifism and the Constitution. On March 6, 2005 for instance, Shinagawa wrote a critique in The Nishinippon Shimbun, titled “Business world calling for constitutional revision: following the US in pursuit of profit” [Kaiken sakebu zaikai Rieki no tameni beisenryaku ni tsuizui], of Keidanren’s demand to change the Constitution and lift the ban on exporting weapons established in 1967 (see also Nakagawa and Nemoto 2005). On April 1, 2014, the Abe administration announced the discontinuation of the ban, allowing Japanese companies to export weapons under certain conditions (Fackler 2014).
4 Kono Yohei (b. 1937), as Chief Cabinet Secretary for the Miyazawa Kiichi administration in 1993, took the unusual step of apologizing for Japan’s enslavement of women in Korea and elsewhere as “comfort women” for the Japanese military during World War II. The statement, known as the “Kono danwa,” has been a target for rightwing and conservative groups in Japan, who press to have it retracted. On March 14, 2014, Prime Minister Abe said that his administration continues to abide by the statement (“INSIGHT: Abe administration maintains delicate balancing act over Kono statement.” The Asahi Shimbun. March 15, 2014). Shinagawa might have seen Kono as his political ally. The following episode may partially explain why the relationship was especially important for Shinagawa: in 1994, Shinagawa played a key role in the introduction of the controversial single-seat constituency system, which Kono opposed because he worried it would undermine opposition parties. Shinagawa was to deeply regret his role and said that one reason he wanted to speak out against the movement to change Article 9 was to redeem himself for the damage he had caused (Shinagawa 2006a: 54). Shinagawa had failed to anticipate that so many members of the House of Representatives would support a Constitutional revision (55).
5 The monthly Sekai (World) was launched in December 1945, targeting an audience of postwar liberals and left-wing intellectuals. The publisher, Iwanami Shoten, had long sought to cater to “Japan’s most incisive critics and progressive intellectuals," and had been the country’s window to “the greatest writers of the West, including Marxist as well as prerevolutionary Russian authors” since 1913 (Dower 1999: 186). As Dower describes it, Sekai began with a strong sense of critical reflection about “the powerlessness of culture, emptiness of morality, and laziness, cowardice, and irresponsibility of the cultured, intellectual class” (quoted from its inaugural issue) in Japan. For Sekai, Dower writes, “the redemptive task that lay ahead was to develop a culture and morality that the whole world could applaud” (187). Shinagawa wrote a series of essays for it entitled “Postwar Journey” that appeared almost every month from July of 2012 to June of 2013. The essays were compiled in a book of the same title. In the Afterword, written on August 10, 2013, Shinagawa said, “it was fortunate that I was able to write about my postwar journey with an eye to the totality of this country as I saw it on the pages of Sekai, which I have been reading since the first issue” (Shinagawa 2013: 179). He died nineteen days after writing these final sentences. This is the context for Komori's decision to address his tribute to Shinagawa to the readers of Sekai.
6 Komori Yoshio was born in Dalian, China in 1926. After he graduated from the Third Higher School where he met Shinagawa, Komori entered the University of Tokyo in April 1945. Shinagawa came to the university a year later. In January 1948, Komori Yoshio joined the Japanese Communist Party. He worked for the International Section of the Association of National Labor Unions from 1948 to 1950, for the Japan Publication Association for the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) from 1956 to 1961, and for the WFTU’s headquarters in Prague from 1961 to 1965. Komori is the author of The Struggle Against “Capitalism without Rules”: The History and Challenges Facing the World Labor Movement ( tono toso: sekai rodoundo no kiseki to kadai; Shinnihon Shuppansha, 2003) and How Are Citizens Mobilized for War? A Walk through the Depths of Wartime History (Shimin wa ikanishite senso ni douin sareruka; Shinnihon Shuppansha, 2008). Komori Yoshio died in January 4, 2008 after a 14-year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. Komori finished How are citizens mobilized for war? Walking the ground of wartime history in December 2007, with the help of dictation taken by his wife and son (Yoichi). Shinagawa wrote the introduction to his late friend’s book in February 2008.
7 Rising to the challenge of the mounting push for revising Article 9 or the “no-war clause” of the Constitution (“An Appeal from the ‘Article Nine Association,” June 10, 2004), the Article 9 Association (Kyujo no kai) was launched in 2004 by nine intellectuals and activists: Inoue Hisashi (1934-2010), Kato Shuichi (1919-2008), Miki Mutsuko (1917-2012), Oda Makoto (1932-2007), Oe Kenzaburo (b. 1935), Okudaira Yasuhiro (b. 1929), Sawachi Hisae (b. 1930), Tsurumi Shunsuke (b. 1922), and Umehara Takeshi (b. 1925). Visit here for video and audio clips of all of the members at a press conference held on April 22, 2005 at Gakushi Kaikan, Tokyo.
8 The imperial higher schools were roughly the equivalent of postwar colleges. In accordance with the Higher School Order of 1894, eight schools were established, with the first located in Tokyo (later becoming the college of liberal arts of the University of Tokyo), and the second in Sendai. Shinagawa was eighteen when he started at the Third Higher School, located in Kyoto and the precursor of the “integrated human studies faculty” of Kyoto University. While they were all elite schools, each had a different character. Shinagawa’s school was known to be liberal, and students were critical of militarism even in wartime.
9 Komori Kyoko (b. 1930) is a poet and peace activist. She is known for her numerous song lyrics, including the anti-nuclear song “Blue and Clear Sky” (1971) [Aoi sora wa]. Komori Kyoko has been a board member of the Poets’ Conference (Shijin kaigi), Japanese Society for the Protection of Children (Nihon kodomo o mamoru kai), and The Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuibaku kinshi nihon kyogikai). She co-authored I Want the Blue Sky to Still Be Blue When We Hand It on to Our Children (Aoi sora wa aoi mamade kodomora ni tsutaetai) with her son Yoichi (Tokyo: Gogatsu Shobo, 2005).
10 Shimbun Akahata is the official newspaper of the Japan Communist Party. Subscription to the Sunday edition costs 800 yen per month. The Sunday edition, designed as more of a weekly magazine, targets a broader readership than the daily paper.
11 The version Shinagawa and his fellow demobilized soldiers read on board ship was a draft of Article 9 announced on April 17, 1946. It was released to the press on April 18 and was not identical to the text promulgated on November 3, 1946. While the basic idea of the no-war clause is the same, the draft version was shorter and written in plain language. The most significant difference was that it did not have the controversial phrase of “[T]o accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph” in section 2, a phrase that the proponents of remilitarization have used to reinterpret article 9 (Tanaka 2005: 10). The Japanese for the draft is found here. See also “3-25 Publication of Colloquially Written Constitution Draft,” the National Diet Library’s Birth of the Constitution of Japan.
12 See, for instance, Tessa Morris-Suzuki's "Lavish Are the Dead: Re-envisioning Japan's Korean War".
13 Shinagawa Shizuka was Shinagawa’s first wife. Shizuka was born in Okayama. Her father was a bank branch manager. She studied at girls’ high schools in Kumamoto and Hiroshima following her father’s transfers (Shinagawa 2013: 114-115). Shinagawa married Shizuka on May 1, 1948, while still a student at the University of Tokyo. Shizuka had been married to a wealthy banker, in whose house Shinagawa rented a room during his student days. Critical of capitalism, Shizuka was devastated by the GHQ’s banning of the general strike of February 1, 1947 and decided to leave her marriage and live with Shinagawa (21-23). When Shinagawa was transferred to a branch office in Osaka, the couple took classes at the Kansai Workers School from 1955 to 1956. It was Shizuka who encouraged and supported Shinagawa in pursuing his studies and activism as a union organizer (45-49). After Shinagawa was transferred to Tokyo in 1956, Shizuka started working for The Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (115), while she helped Shinagawa, who at the time was mainly editing journals for his company’s union (54-55). Shizuka died on August 13, 1980.
14 Shinagawa Toru, son of Shizuka and Masaji, was born in July 7, 1950. At Toyama High School in Tokyo, Toru was chief editor of the student newspaper. He participated in the All-Japan League of Student Self-Government (Zengakuren) and was active in the anti-Vietnam War and Okinawa base struggles. He studied the French Popular Front, the André Léon Blum administration, and the Spanish Civil War at the former Tokyo Metropolitan University. His advisor was Masumi Jun’nosuke (1926-2010). After his daughter Satoko was born, Toru studied education and taught at the Open University of Japan (Hoso Daigaku) (Kobata 1999). He died in 1999 after a long battle with chronic intestinal inflammation. Shinagawa raised Toru’s daughter.
15 The group’s website is here.
16 The All Japan Property and Casualty Insurance Union was founded in November 1949 as an industry-wide union, a departure from the norm of enterprise unions.
17 Shinagawa recalls the 1960 struggle as “the most vigorous” period of his tenure as a full-time union official. “I am proud of myself not only as a participant in the 1960 Ampo struggle but as one who was at the frontlines” (Shinagawa 2013: 62). He was the chairperson of the Nippon Fire branch of the People’s Council to Stop Revision of the Security Treaty (Ampo kaitei soshi kokumin kaigi) and organized various demonstrations and rallies in Tokyo, including taking charge of a 10,000-strong strike in the Ikebukuro Station area. He was also one of the organizers of demonstrators who stopped the car of White House Press Secretary James Campbell Hagerty on his way from Haneda Airport to central Tokyo. Hagerty had arrived ahead of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to prepare for the treaty signing on June 19. The action later became known as the Hagerty Incident (63-68).
18 In this new position, Shinagawa devoted himself to a reconsideration of “the risks posed by Japan’s major manufacturing industries” with a focus on environmental problems such as air pollution, water contamination, and poisonous gas leakages from petrochemical complexes (Shinagawa 2013: 77-78). He also founded the company’s Research Center for the Eastern European Economy during the Cold War and facilitated business relationships between the company and countries such as Bulgaria, Poland, and the former Czechoslovakia (79-83).
19 Conservatives and right-wing activists have long sought to take the teeth out of Article 9 and remilitarize Japan through “revision by reinterpretation” (kaishaku kaiken) of the constitution. The first such attempt came in 1952 when Yoshida Shigeru’s administration announced its comprehensive view on “war potential” (senryoku) to justify the 1951 U.S-Japan Security Treaty and the newly established National Security Agency (hoancho) and a de facto military force known as the National Safety Forces (hoantai) (Tanaka 2005: 22-23). When Shinagawa and Komori say the “flag of Article 9 is in tatters,” they are referring to “revision by reinterpretation.” “Explicit constitutional revision” (meibun kaiken) -- that is, a change to the actual wording of the constitution -- has thus far not been possible due to lack of popular support. Even the current Abe administration, which is determined to cross the “last line of defense” (201) by asserting Japan's right to collective self-defense for the first time in its postwar history, has had to resort to “revision by reinterpretation.” “Explicit constitutional revision” has been tried only once, by Koizumi Jun’ichiro in 2005, as Komori explains. In the summer of 2006, in the midst of his struggle against this movement, Shinagawa finished his book Article 9 Makes Possible a Post-American-style Nation, in which he expressed his sense of crisis, that by “concocting a ‘revision’ of the Constitution,” preparations were being made to enable Japan to “become a country that can fight wars” (Shinagawa 2006a: 193).
20 Shinagawa explains that the first two lines are similar to the “closing words” for the permanent exhibition of the battle of Okinawa at Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum (Shinagwa 2006a: 12). For the next line, “Omae wa dochiragawa ni tatsunoka” in Japanese, I borrowed the title of the famous union song, “Which Side Are You On?” written by Florence Reece in 1931 for the union struggle against mine owners in Harlan County, Kentucky. I thank Norma Field for this information.
21 The Japan Teachers Union and other left-leaning groups opposed the revisions to the 1947 law, which was drafted during the Occupation as part of an effort to strip Japanese education of militaristic and nationalist content. Abe said the revisions were aimed at boosting “morality, self-discipline, and public-mindedness” (“Statement by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on the Enactment of the Revised Fundamental Law of Education”). For more, see Adam Lebowitz and David McNeill, “Hammering Down the Educational Nail: Abe Revises the Fundamental law of Education.”
22 On the National Referendum Law, see Craig Martin, “The Case Against ‘Revising Interpretations’ of the Constitution.”
23 The Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors (Gunjin chokuyu or Riku kai gun ni tamawari taru chokuyu) was the brainchild of Lieutenant General Yamagata Aritomo, drafted by Nishi Amane, simplified to a readable text by Fukuchi Gen’ichiro, edited by Inoue Kowashi and Minowa Jun, and issued by the Emperor Meiji in 1882, defining the status and appropriate conduct of soldiers and sailors (Umetani 1996: 1036; Ohnuki-Tierney 2002: 79-80). A translation may be found here.
24Military drill began to be taught as a subject at Japanese schools in 1925, and students were supervised and inspected by military officers by Order for Assignment of Active-Duty Imperial Army Officers to Schools (Kubo 1991: 18). Inspection (saetsu) was originally designed to evaluate military knowledge and skills, but after May 1939, when the emperor delivered the Imperial Rescript to Juveniles and Students (Seishonen gakuto ni tamawaritaru chokugo), it became a means to force students to obey the ideology of wartime imperial Japan (80). Inspectors were dispatched from the military's local division (shidan); for the Third Higher School, this was The Kyoto Division of the Imperial Army (Kyoto Shidan or the 16th Division). The divisions were locally organized and their commanders reported directly to the emperor. Established in 1888, they were the highest standing forces of the imperial army in peacetime and were semi-autonomous units prepared to fight on their own for several days. (Okubo 1985: 844).
25In the early years, officers read the Rescript aloud to their troops, but later, solders were required to memorize and recite it themselves (Umetani 1996: 1037). This practice started around the time of the Manchurian Incident and accelerated the absolute canonization of the Rescript in the mid 1930s (Yoshida 2002: 190). In 1936, for instance, an officer who made a mistake in reciting the rescript committed suicide (190-191).
26 Both Shinagawa and Asanuma graduated from the former Kobe Second Middle School (now Hyogo Prefectural High School). Shinagawa mentions that Kobori Akira (1904-1992), who was a mathematician and Asanuma's supervising teacher, said that Asanuma's father died in prison after he was arrested for thought-crimes (shisohan) (Shinagawa 2010: 68). Shinagawa reports that he frequently discussed life, philosophy, and literature with Asanuma, who in addition to being a math whiz was a devoted reader of Kant (60-61)
27 The Meiji government intended the Rescript to bolster both the monarchy and the autonomy of the military from the government against the background of growing freedom and people’s rights movements (Umetani 1996: 1036). The opening sentence, which Asanuma revised in open criticism of the Army, was the core of the Rescript, which “formed the historical foundation for the supreme command of the emperor and showed that the military commander was under the direct control of the emperor and independent from the political administration” (1037). The fear that their school could be closed because of the incident was reasonable, as Shinagawa suggests: in 1935, the Kyoto Division threatened and forced Doshisha, a leading liberal Christian university in Japan established in 1875, to restore the Shinto altar that it had removed from one of their facilities (Kubo: 48-53).
28 Maeda Kanae (1886-1961) was a professor of medicine at Kyoto Imperial University from 1915 until he became Principal of the Third Higher School in 1941, a position he held until 1946. He went on to become president of Osaka Women’s Medical University (now Kansai Medical University) between 1948 and 1958. At least five doctoral degree recipients during the several years that Maeda was dean of Kyoto University’s medical school participated in the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army, the so-called 731 Unit notorious for developing biochemical weapons (Nishiyama 2012: 81 and 85).
29 According to Shinagawa, Asanuma killed himself by jumping into the path of a train after being expelled from the school (Shinagawa, 2013: 19).
30 Shinagawa 2006a: 72-78.
31 Shinagawa wrote an autobiography of his younger days, Road to Pacifism, in 2010, based largely on a novel he had published ten years earlier in the journal Hoozue entitled “One man's song of days bygone” [Arishi hi no otoko no uta] (Shinagawa 2010: 228). Shinagawa explains, “Though I began writing the story as fiction, I was only able to write about the main character during the war years by referring to my own actual experience. I was caught by a sense of urgency similar to what I feel now: I want to tell the truth. This book eliminates all of the fictional parts from the novel I wrote based on my life.” Hoozue is a literary journal written by and for business leaders, though Shinagawa says that the only writer whose work really qualified as fiction was poet and novelist Tsutsumi Seiji, who wrote under the name Tsujii Takashi (1927-2013), and was the president of the retail chain Seiyu. Tsujii encouraged him to write “One man’s song of days bygone” for the journal (Shinagawa 2006b: 3). Tsujii helped to organize “The Article 9 Association for Mass Media” (Masukomi kyujo no kai). Shinagawa had wanted to be a novelist since his student days at the Third Higher School. One of the writers he paid close attention to was Mishima Yukio, whose years as a student at the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo overlapped with those of Shinagawa. (285).
32 In response to my inquiry about this passage, Komori provided the following comment as context: because of the large sums global financial institutions had invested in subprime loans, they could not even calculate the extent of their losses. The 330 trillion yen accumulated in Japan’s postal savings and life insurance represented actual value (in other words, it was not concealing bad loans), so it became vital to open these funds to the market. Without the privatization of the postal service, the financial meltdown might have occurred as early as the end of 2005 (April 26, 2014).
33 Zenkoku kakushinkon is an abbreviation for Heiwa minshu kakushin no nihon o mezasu zenkoku no kai, a liberal grassroots organization established in 1981 with 4.5 million members.
34 Shinagawa writes, “The Japanese Constitution of May 3, 1947 clearly represented ‘another Japan’” (Shinagawa 2013: 43). Against the old forces of the Japanese government that fought to keep the Imperial Constitution, the U.S. Occupation showed us “another Japan,” he says. But when the U.S. occupation reversed policy at the beginning of the Cold War, it moved away from nurturing “another Japan” and instead supported an “unchanging Japan.” The result was the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty under which Japan gained its “independence” in exchange for the US occupation of Okinawa (43-44).
35 Hagihara Nobutoshi (1926-2001) was a historian and biographer of figures such as Baba Tatsui, Mutsu Munemitsu, and Togo Shigenori. His last work on British diplomat Ernest Mason Satow won the Osaragi Jiro Literary Prize in 2001.
36 Kawamoto Kazutaka was born in 1924 in Kobe. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, Kawamoto worked for Kyodo Tsushin from 1951 to 1981. He served as correspondent in Cairo, Saigon, Moscow and Teheran. After retiring from Kyodo Tsushin, Kawamoto became a professor at Takushoku University.