The Autobiography of Ozaki Yukio: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in Japan
Princeton University Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 455 pages
Ozaki Yukio, who was returned to his seat in the Japanese Diet twenty-five times, served in that body from its inception in 1890 to 1953. He was several times a cabinet member and, for ten years, mayor of Tokyo. A strong advocate of representative government, he both witnessed and propelled Japan's transformation from a late feudal society to a modern state. His autobiography, available in English for the first time, gives an insider's account of key episodes and leaders over seven decades of Japanese history.
Ozaki's political life spanned the Meiji rise to power and Japan's defeat in World War II, and he played a significant role in each phase of that epic. As a young reporter, he gained preeminence with incisive calls for supremacy in East Asia. A European trip that showed him the devastation of World War I converted him to advocacy of arms reduction and international cooperation. He watched with dismay as Japan encountered isolation and military disaster. Known for the courage of his convictions, he became a marked man, carrying a death poem in his pocket. His sturdy independence survived the American Occupation, as he deplored his associates' readiness to heed occupation dictates.
Ozaki's story reverberates with the immediacy of his personal knowledge of every major Japanese political figure for three-quarters of a century. It is the account of a man who made history as well as writing it. His story is the story of modern Japan. Through it, readers will gain first-hand knowledge of Japanese constitutional history, one with rich relevance for contemporary Japanese politics.
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