The Autobiography of Ozaki Yukio: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in Japan

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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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The Birth of Constitutional Government in Japan
In Preparation for a National Parliament
Around the Time of the Security Ordinance
The Early Days of the Parliament
From the MatsukataOkuma Government to the OkumaItagaki Government
The Birth of the Seiyukai
The Era of the RussoJapanese War
The Movement to Protect Constitutional Government
The Okuma Cabinet Era
The State of Domestic and Foreign Policy after the War
The Suffrage Movement and Arms Control
From Taisho to Showa
Japan in the Storm
The Pacific War and Its Aftermath

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About the author (2001)

Fujiko Hara is a professional interpreter and the granddaughter of Ozaki Yukio. She translated this work with the assistance of Martin Blakeway. Marius B. Jansen, Emeritus Professor of Japanese History at Princeton University, is the author of Sakainoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration, Japan and Its World: Two Centuries of Change (Princeton), and The Making of Modern Japan.

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