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Shidehara Kijuro (1872-1951),

Statesman and Pacifist - a Political Biography

(Summary, Original German, Dissertation, Kiel University, February 1997, published October 1998)

 DEUTSCH

The dissertation puts Japan into the context of the world, with respect to the history of political ideas, especially the idea, theory and philosophy of peace and its universal implementation ·including diplomatic and constitutional history, and the history of international law. Shidehara Kijuro was one of the major players in the international diplomatic arena, when Japan as a sovereign power was actively participating in the efforts to accommodate what some perceive as official western foreign policy objectives, i.e. ending or abolishing war and realizing an effective world organization of peace.

Chapters One and Two give the general background, in a historical perspective, and present a general history and 'Justification' of a Japanese ethic of peace. In Chapter One the author describes in detail, first, the history of the idea of peace, derived from Chinese thought and tradition. Here the undercurrent, relevant in the Confucian (and Japanese) context, which is being explored, is Mohism· i.e. the teachings of Moti (or Mo-Tzu, j. Bokushi). This is followed by a study of Buddhism and its relation to the idea of peace. Then follows Christian pacifist thinking, which became quite dominant in Japan around the turn of the century (as it found its expression e.g. in the work of Uchimura Kanzo), and finally the Japanese liberal and socialist traditions. Shidehara grew up in an environment, shaped by these traditions.

Chapter Two deals with the international environment and the emergence of modern Japan, i.e. (II.1.) the 'opening' (kaikoku) and Meiji Restauration (ishin); (II.2.) Japanese foreign relations and the reception of international law after the Meiji Restauration; (II.3.) the 'scientific' pacifist school and its following up on the organization of peace ('outlawry' of war), both in the West and in Japan; (II.4.) Japan in the League of Nations; and finally (II.5.) the new 'peace diplomacy' beginning with Shidehara Kijuro

Shidehara's actual biography is treated in chapters Three, Four, Five and Six. Chapter Three covers the period from 1872-1922, i.e. (III.1.) Shidehara's early years, schooling, university training, and his first assignment, i.e. his 'years of apprenticeship' in Korea, where he observed international relations 'in a nutshell' (III.2.) his first assignment to London, from August 1899 to December 1900, at the time of and after the First Hague Peace Conference (bankoku heiwa kaigi). The creation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague (josetsu kokusai saibansho), and its purpose of settling international disputes by the rule of law, is also investigated; (III.3.) his perceptions of world affairs, first as chief of a minor department (kacho) in the Foreign Ministry, and then monitoring the Second Hague Peace Conference as Head of the Foreign Ministry's Telegraphic and Research Departments (1904-1911). The Russo-Japanese War and its causes are also discussed; Chapter (III.4.) covers the time before and during World War I, from 1911 to 1919: (a.) Shidehara's missions to the United States (1912-13), London (1913-14), and The Hague (June 1914 to September 1915), the latter as minister plenipotentiary for The Netherlands and Denmark, witnessing the beginnings of World War I. At The Hague Shidehara seems to have been friends with Dr. John Loudon, the Dutch foreign minister, and his American wife. He sometimes met C. van Vollenhoven, too, and endorsed his ideas (as found in Vollenhoven's proposal for an international police presented at the XXe Congrès universel de la Paix in August 1913 at The Hague, his Drie treden van het volkenrecht, Martinus Nijhoff, 1919, his 'Grotius and Geneva', Bibliotheca Visseriana, 1926, and The Law of Peace, Macmillan 1936. Vollenhoven in his The Law of Peace, p. 257, states that ,,in 1925 Japan was the only country, alongside the Netherlands, Flanders and the United States, paying homage to Grotius' book. And right up to 1931, indeed, the study of Grotius was becoming continually more popular in Japan." And of course the chief exponent after World War I of Grotius' work was Vollenhoven.

         In October 1915, after his return to Japan, Shidehara became vice-foreign minister under three successive cabinets (Okuma Shigenobu, Terauchi Masatake, Hara Kei) and serving seven different foreign ministers. This shows that his policy and performance were consistent, successful and appreciated by all parties. Subchapter (b.) deals with the years 1915-1917, i.e. until China and the USA enter the war, and (e.) 1917-1919, the time before and until the armistice. During that time, Shidehara was chairman of the preparatory committee for the Post-World War I peace settlement at Versailles (Nichi-Doku seneki kowa junbi iinkai). Although Japan did not submit a plan of her own for the new world organization, it was one of the founding members of the League of Nations, whose Covenant charter was part of the Versailles peace settlement. While negotiations in Paris (Versailles) went on, Shidehara was the main connection between Tokyo and the Japanese delegation headed by Saionji Kinmochi. In Chapter (III.5.) we see Shidehara as ambassador in Washington (1919-22). In that capacity he became chief negotiator at the Washington Naval Disarmament Conference (12 November 1921 to 6 February 1922), where - among other things - his mediation averted a break-up of the conference, which was imminent because of insurmountable differences of opinion between Great Britain and America.

         Chapter Four is called 'A World Without War (senso naki sekai)' and covers the period from 1924-1931, when Shidehara was foreign minister. Like the previous Chapter it also contains a lot of American and European as well as international relations history. Following a period of 'transition' (IV.1), after his return from Washington in April 1922, Shidehara became foreign minister in June 1924. His first term in office lasted from 1924 to April 1927 (IV.2.). Having been ousted by the military faction ·Tanaka Giichi became prime minister and foreign minister at the same time, until June 1929 (IV.3.) - Shidehara was foreign minister again from 1929 to December 1931, first in the cabinet of 'Lion' Hamaguchi Yuko (IV.4.), then - after the shooting of Hamaguchi, which eventually led to his death - in the cabinet of Wakatsuki Reijiro, from April 1931.

The time from the Manchurian Crisis to the end of World War II (1931-1945) is covered in Chapter Five, which is referred to as the period of Shidehara's inner emigration' With the takeover of militarism he also had to fear for his life, though he continued to exert influence on the side of those trying to restrain the military. After 1941 he was the most prominent among Japanese extending 'peace feelers' to end the war at an early date. In (V.1.a.) the 'Manchurian Incident' (18 September 1931) and the events leading up to the Marco-Polo bridge shoot-out on 7 July 1937, marking the official beginning of the war with China, are the topic. Shidehara's letters to his friend Ohira Komazuchi are of particular interest here, as they shed light both on the events and Shidehara's own points of view. The events before and after Pearl Harbor (1937-45) are the topic of Subchapter (V.1.b.) In a second Subchapter (V.2.), the war aims of the Allies are explored, as they are relevant for the post-war both the creation of the United Nations, and the setting in Japan, when Shidehara became prime minister, and Japan was given a new constitution.

The last period of Shidehara's life (1945-51) is dealt with in Chapter Six. Chapter (VI.1.) covers the time under Allied occupation, until he became prime minister on 9 September 1945 to the end of his term on 3 May 1946. He brought about many changes under the general direction of the occupation forces, like the repatriation of the Japanese military etc. (VI.2.) deals with the International Military Tribunal of the Far East (I.M.T.-F.E.) and its final verdict, and some of the statements in the Dissenting Judgment of the Bengali Judge at the Tribunal, Radha Binod Pal are also analyzed. The controversy surrounding Article 9 of the new Japanese constitution, outlawing war, said to have originated with Shidehara, and the academic dispute concerning its origin and interpretation, are treated in chapter (VI.3.), while the next chapter (VI.4.) puts Article 9 in context, comparing it with legal provisions in other constitutions, aiming at limiting national sovereignty and preventing or even abolishing war, such as in the constitutions of France, Italy, Germany, India, Denmark etc.

Chapter Seven gives an account of Japanese pacifism and politics with regards to international peace and security after the Second World War, including some of the court trials against the Japanese Self-Defense Forces's existence, believed to be in violation of Article 9 of the Constitution, and the simultaneous upholding of and adhering to the spirit of Article IX as being part of Japan's "basic political philosophy"