The Birth of Japan's Postwar Constitution

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Westview Press, 1998 - History - 276 pages
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This 1989 Yoshino Sakuzo prize-winning book is essential reading for understanding Japanís postwar constitution, political and social history, and foreign policy. The most complete English account of the origins of Japanís constitution, it analyzes the dramatic events of 1945Ė1946 that lead to the birth of Japanís new constitution. Koseki Shoichi challenges the simplicity of the current interpretation that General Douglas MacArthur in February 1946, faced with inept Japanese efforts at constitutional reform and Soviet interference through the Far Eastern Commission, secretly ordered his staff to write a constitution in seven days and then imposed it on Japan. Differentiating between the adoption procedure and the framing process, the author argues that the latter was varied, complicated, and rich, going beyond the actions of two nations and their representatives. It involved the clash of legal ideas, the conflicting efforts of individuals of different cultures and different political persuasions, and significant contributions by people with no connection to government.Drawing on Japanese, American, and Australian archives as well as recent scholarly research, Koseki presents new and stimulating interpretations of MacArthurís actions, the Ashida amendment of Article 9, Yoshidaís role, and much more. Criticizing Japanese conservative defenders of the old order, he explores Japanese liberal and socialist ideas on constitutional reform and reevaluates the Far Eastern Commissionís influence on MacArthurís policies and on the shaping of the basic principles of Japanís antiwar constitution.
  

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Contents

The Probing Begins
7
Restoration of the Peoples Rights Ideology
26
The Committee to Study
50
Mainichi Shinbun Breaks the Story
60
Writing the SCAP Draft
68
A Second Defeat Imposed on Japan?
98
The Struggle to Japanize the American Draft
111
MacArthur Against the Storm
141
The Draft Constitution in the Last Imperial Diet
165
Behind the Ashida Amendment of Article 9
192
Popularizers of
212
Twenty Million Booklets
218
Yoshida Shigerus Counterattack
228
The Forgotten Sequel
243
About the Book and A uthor
259
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 193 - Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
Page 84 - The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
Page 230 - The Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.
Page 20 - The Empire of Japan shall be reigned over and governed by a line of Emperors unbroken for ages eternal.
Page 88 - With regard to choice of spouse, property rights, inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and other matters pertaining to marriage and the family, laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.
Page 92 - The authority of the legitimate Power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
Page 114 - War, as a sovereign right of the nation, and the threat or use of force, is forever abolished as a means for settling disputes with other nations.
Page 114 - All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.
Page 127 - From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms.
Page 58 - 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.

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About the author (1998)

Koseki Shoichi is professor in the Faculty of Law at Dokkyo University and has authored several studies of early postwar Japan and Japanese-American relations. Ray A. Moore is professor of history and Asian studies at Amherst College and is coeditor of the forthcoming book, The Japanese Constitution: A Documentary History of Its Origins. Koseki Shoichi is professor in the Faculty of Law at Dokkyo University and has authored several studies of early postwar Japan and Japanese-American relations. Ray A. Moore is professor of history and Asian studies at Amherst College and is coeditor of the forthcoming book, The Japanese Constitution: A Documentary History of Its Origins.

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