Hasegawa Nyozekan and Liberalism in Modern Japan by Tacoma Mary L. Hanneman University of Washington

By Tacoma Mary L. Hanneman University of Washington

This new in-depth research of Hasegawa Nyozekan (1895-1969) examines his existence and highbrow contributions as a pre-eminent liberal reformer via his position as a journalist and social critic, relatively in pre-war and wartime Japan.

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Finally, social conditions also played a part in shaping the national character. The Japanese state coalesced out of the “spontaneous integration of primitive races,”49 and from this integration of races developed the Japanese belief in a common ancestor. ”50 Thus, Nyozekan viewed the integration of the Japanese people as a prosaic and peaceful process and spurned the idea, hallowed by the prewar and wartime government, of Japan as a family state. Nevertheless, Nyozekan conceded that this fallacious belief, combined with a high degree of racial homogeneity, had in the past prevented social strife and promoted national unity.

2 (Tokyo: Kurita shuppankai, 1969) 36. Sera, Hasegawa Nyozekan, 68. Barshay, State and Intellectual in Imperial Japan, 163–9. Barshay, State and Intellectual in Imperial Japan, 279 Barshay, State and Intellectual in Imperial Japan, 170–2. Maruyama, “Nyozekan-san,” 285–8. Hasegawa Manjiro, “Kanri kokka e no shinka: Kokka kodo no shikeitai no daiyon, kanrikodo no tsuzuki,” quoted in Tanaka, “Seiji, shakai kakumei,” Sekai, no. 483 (January 1986) 253. Tanaka, “Hasegawa Nyozekan no janarizumu-kan,” 225.

By the mid-1960s, Nyozekan’s health began to decline more rapidly, and increasingly, he confined his activity to writing. Early in 1969, his loss of appetite resulted in dangerous weight loss, and his doctor urged him to enter the hospital. 174 At further urging, however, he entered the hospital in July, where he died on November 10, 1969, three weeks before his ninety-fourth birthday. Nyozekan’s long and productive life was eulogized by Ouchi Hyoe at funeral services several days later. ”175 Nyozekan’s life spanned three eras of modern Japan, and through his fight against fascism and his adherence to the belief that the Japanese were by nature a peaceful and democratic people, he tried to construct an ideal Japan.

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