Home > Publications > NDL Newsletter > No. 202, October 2015

National Diet Library Newsletter

No. 202, October 2015

Materials available in the Modern Japanese Political History Materials Room (3)

Modern Japanese Political Documents Division
Reader Services and Collections Department

This is a partial translation of the article in Japanese
in NDL Monthly Bulletin No. 632 (November 2013).



The National Diet Library (NDL) holds Kensei-shiryo -- personal papers of former politicians, high-ranking officials, and military officers from the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate to the modern period. This article introduces materials newly available in recent years in the Modern Japanese Political History Materials Room in the Tokyo Main Library.1

UEHARA Yusaku Papers
(marshal of the Imperial Japanese Army / 219 items / donated / available since January (partially February) 2013

UEHARA Yusaku (1856-1933) was an Imperial Japanese Army officer in active service during the Meiji and Taisho eras (late 19c. to early 20c.) and served as War Minister, Inspector-General of Military Education, Chief of Staff, etc. He was especially known as the War Minister who forced the Second Saionji Cabinet (August 1911-December 1912) to resign in the course of discussion on two additional army divisions in 1912.

Letters and documents2 held by the Library and Information Center of the Tokyo Metropolitan University had been well-known as Uehara's personal papers until the publication3 of his diaries left to his family who donated his own diaries and outgoing letters, as well as documents related to Uehara Yusaku's oldest son Shichinosuke (1898-1945, Member of the House of Peers), through the Shoyu Kurabu Research Office (a general incorporated association rendering assistance to Japanese studies especially in history) to the NDL. Materials collected for compiling Uehara's biography were also donated to the NDL by researchers who engaged in editing the Uehara diary publication, and made available for reading in the Modern Japanese Historical Materials Room at the same time.

Photo 1 shows his diary for 1925. In the entry for April 8, he wrote that the Emperor's Military Advisors meeting was held to discuss the matter of the appointment of Imperial Japanese Army General TANAKA Giichi (see the heading below) as the president of Rikken Seiyukai (the third political party then) in succession to TAKAHASHI Korekiyo (1856-1936, Member of the House of Peers, Member of the House of Representatives, Prime Minister, Minister of Finance opposed to the military over the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 1936 and finally assassinated by young army officers).

For related materials on Uehara Shichinosuke, the NAKAMURA Korekimi Papers have been available in the NDL since October 2012. The collection contains letters from Shichinosuke's father-in-law Nakamura to him and his wife Aiko.

<<Photo 1: Diary for 1925 [NDL call no: UEHARA Yusaku Papers 129]>>

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TATSUKAWA Unpei Papers
(Member of the House of Representatives, chair of Dalian city council, lawyer / 16 items / donated by his family / available since August 2013)

Native of Awaji Island in the sea off Kobe, and later based in Komoro, Nagano Prefecture, TATSUKAWA Unpei (1857-1936) played active roles in the democratic movement of the Meiji era. On the occasion of the publication of his biography (TAGAWA Goro. 2011. Saigo no minken seijika Tatsukawa Unpei. Chuo Koron Jigyo Shuppan and Tatsukawa Shosuke [NDL call no: GK136-J26])4, his family donated papers to the NDL.

The main parts are incoming letters during his time in the Diet, and they are pasted up on three scrolls. They show Tatsukawa's broad circle of friends including statesmen like OOKA Ikuzo (1856-1928, lawyer, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Minister of Education), KONO Hironaka (1849-1923, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Minister of Agriculture and Commerce) etc., wife of ITAGAKI Taisuke (1837-1919, a leader of the popular rights movement, Home Minister), novelists like SHIMAZAKI Toson (1872-1943, generally called just "Toson") and IWAYA Sazanami (1870-1933), as well as his draft article on labor problems in Dalien, China, where he moved after his retirement from the Diet.

Photo 2 is a letter from Toson to Tatsukawa dated May 27, 1911. In this letter, Toson mentions information about mutual acquaintances at the Komoro Gijuku school founded by KIMURA Kumaji (1845-1927, Toson called him "Kimura Rosi," literary elderly great teacher). Kimura was a Christian educator who had great influence on Tatsukawa so much as he was baptized, and later invited Toson to Komoro as a teacher. Additionally, Tatsukawa is considered to be the model for Representative ICHIMURA in Toson's novel "Hakai."

<<Photo 2: A letter from Toson to Tatsukawa dated May 27, 1911
[NDL call no: TATSUKAWA Unpei Papers 1-7]>>

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TANAKA Giichi Papers (owned by the NDL)
(Prime Minister, marshal of the Imperial Japanese Army / 142 items / purchased / available since August 2013)

TANAKA Giichi (1864-1929) was a four-star general in the Imperial Japanese Army and moved into politics to serve as both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during 1927-1929, when foreign relations between Japan and China raised tension, while the domestic matters of the amalgamation of two political parties, the Seiyukai and the Seiyu-honto that had split during an attempt to form a cabinet by three pro-constitution parties, got more and more complicated.

In 2012, the NDL purchased this collection that was estimated to be held by Tanaka’s family.

The core of this collection is in incoming letters from 1925, when he was appointed president of the Seiyukai, to 1929, when he resigned as Prime Minister taking the blame for the bomb-assassination of Zhang Zuolin (1873-1928, then highest ranked military officer in the Republic of China) by a colonel of the Kwantung Army of the Imperial Japanese Army. The materials give us a wide range of information covering internal personnel issues in the Seiyukai, foreign and military affairs, and the amalgamation issues of the Seiyukai and the Seiyu-honto. It also includes a letter from HARA Takashi (1856-1921, Prime Minister, President of Seiyukai, assassinated by a suspected right-winger) to ITO Hirobumi (1841-1909, Prime Minister, Resident General in Korea, assassinated by a Korean) during Ito's business trip abroad, a letter from KATSURA Kogoro (later KIDO Takayoshi, 1833-1877, a political leader, an advisor to the cabinet) sent to another person at the end of the Edo era, and documents related to Tanaka Giichi's oldest son Tatsuo.

Photo 3 shows a letter from YAMAGATA Aritomo (1838-1922, Prime Minister, President of the Privy Council, political leader against the Seiyukai), who came from the same hometown Hagi in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Yamagata wrote Tanaka how "Kyuchu Bo Judai Jiken (lit. A kind of serious incident in the Imperial Household)" occurred during the Hara cabinet. The incident was a political conflict triggered by the engagement issue of the Crown Prince Hirohito (later Emperor Hirohito in the Showa era) and Nagako from the Kuninomiya family. Since Yamagata had some influence on the imperial household, it was commonly thought that Yamagata was behind this incident; consequently, people criticized him.

The letter is dated February 12, 1921, two days after the Imperial Household Ministry stated that their determination on the engagement of the Crown Prince was unchanged, and it tells of Yamagata's mortified feeling as a royalist.5

Furthermore, the Modern Japanese Political History Materials Room (Kensei-shiryoshitsu) purchased materials formerly held by TANAKA Giichi's oldest son Tatsuo (TANAKA Tatsuo Papers, 86 items, including documents when he was working for the Kikakuin (lit. Planning Authority) and the Ministry of Military Supply), and they have been available since April 2013.

<<Photo 3: Yamagata Aritomo's letter to Tanaka Giichi, dated February 12, 1921
[NDL call no: TANAKA Giichi Papers (owned by the NDL) 141] >>

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TERAMITSU Tadashi Papers
(lawyer / donated)
1st batch: 581 items / available since August 2012
2nd batch: 102 items / available since August 2013

TERAMITSU Tadashi (1908-1996) graduated from Tokyo Imperial University, and later experienced various posts including a warden of the Kawagoe Juvenile Prison, then entered the Secretariat of the House of Peers. After serving the House of Councillors as Director General in charge of the proceedings and additional other important posts, he became a lawyer. His family donated these materials to the NDL in two batches.

His time in those two secretariats was the turning point from the Imperial Diet to the National Diet. After the war, Teramitsu was working under KOBAYASHI Jiro (Chief Secretary of the House of Peers, Secretary General of the House of Councillors) and negotiated with U.S. Army officer Justin Williams, who was working for the Government Section in the GHQ/SCAP and famous as the key of Japan's parliament reformation. In a book published later in Williams' life, he looked back on Teramitsu as "an able and personable member of the House of Peers secretariat."6 The second batch includes diaries and notebooks kept during 1942-1948.

"Materials related to the enactment of the Rules of the House of Councillors" (Photo 4) tells how the rules were enacted at that time. "A Book for precedents of the House of Peers" (Photo 5) published in 1939 has his own handwritten notes, and illustrates his efforts to understand the precedents by jotting on it.

Teramitsu became a lawyer in 1950, and engaged in the revision of the so-called Prison Law. The first batch includes council records for the revision, as well as newspaper clippings.

<<Photo 4: Materials related to the enactment of the Rules of the House
of Councillors (June 1947) [NDL call no.: TERAMITSU Tadashi Papers 23] >>

<<Photo 5: Kizokuin Senreiroku (classified compilations of precedents of the House of Peers);
from 1st to 74th Imperial Diet Sessions. 1939. Secretariat of the House of Peers.
[NDL call no.: TERAMITSU Tadashi Papers 3]>>
Note: Some pages are filled with his handwritten notes.

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YOKOO Tosaku Papers
(explorer around the South Sea Islands / 229 items / donated / available since December 2012)

YOKOO Tosaku (1839-1903) was famous for his unique career as an explorer around the South Sea Islands (Nanyo in Japanese), and his family donated personal papers to the NDL. He was a member of the samurai class in the Sendai clan and taught at a local English school. During the last battle of the Boshin Civil War (between the defensive Tokugawa shogunate and the coup d'état Meiji New Government) at Hakodate-Goryokaku (star-shaped, western style fortress in Hakodate) that ended in June 1868, he took sides with the Tokugawa shogunate, and fought against the Meiji New Government that attacked the fortress. Later his deep interest In the South Sea Islands expedition encouraged him to sail aboard the motorized steel sailboat Meiji-maru in 1887 to explore islands including Iwo Jima. This collection contains incoming letters from ENOMOTO Takeaki (1836-1908, a naval officer of the Tokugawa Shogunate, who later went over to the Meiji New Government and held various ministerial posts in charge of communications, foreign affairs, education etc.) , TAGUCHI Ukichi (1855-1905, historian, economist, Member of the House of Representatives), and other supporters of his exploration.

Photo 6 shows a letter from HATTORI Toru, also known as an explorer who visited the Izu Islands, Sumatra, Taiwan, etc. This is a kind of invitation letter to urge him to join the South Sea Islands project which was about to be confirmed by Education Minister Enomoto (see above) and TAKASAKI Goroku (1836-1896, the Governor of Tokyo). It also shows a personal interchange between the two explorers.

<<Photo 6: Letter from Hattori to Yokoo (dated February 2, 1890)
[NDL call no.: YOKOO Tosaku Papers 69-2]>>

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KAIHARA Osamu Papers
(official of the Defence Agency / donated)
1st batch: 4,437 items / available since October 2012
2nd batch: 1,193 items / available since May 2013

KAIHARA Osamu (1917-2006) was an official who served as Director General of the Bureau of Defense Policy, Chief Secretary to the Director of the Defense Agency, Director General of the National Defense Council under the Cabinet, and other important positions. His family donated these materials in two batches.

This collection contains documents related to national security matters of critical importance including National Defense Build-up Plans (second to fourth), and also related to U.S.-Japan negotiations in June 1957 when Prime Minister KISHI visited the United States. Those materials will help researchers to trace the history of Japan's national defense policy.

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KASE Toshikazu Papers
(diplomat, ambassador, diplomacy commentator / 86 items / donated / available since July 2012)

KASE Toshikazu (1903-2004) was a diplomat who began his career in the pre-war era. In the European countries and the United States where he was sent, he attended the London Naval Conference in 1935 as one of the Japanese delegates, and engaged in a move for ending the war as a close staff of then Foreign Minister SHIGEMITSU Mamoru (1887-1957, diplomat, Member of the House of Representatives). After the war, he was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, and later Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He was well-known as a commentator on foreign affairs.7

This collection contains documents related to national security matters of critical importance including National Defense Build-up Plans (second to fourth), and also related to U.S.-Japan negotiations in June 1957 when Prime Minister KISHI visited the United States. Those materials will help researchers to trace the history of Japan's national defense policy.

<<Photo7: Diaries (1947) [NDL call no.: KASE Toshikazu Papers nos. 4-7]>>

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MATSUMOTO Shigeharu Papers
(journalist / 5,748 items / donated / available since July 2012)

MATSUMOTO Shigeharu (1899-1989) graduated from Tokyo Imperial University, and then studied abroad, including Yale University in the United States. In 1932, he joined Shimbun Rengo Sha (a member of the World League of Press Associations, later amalgamated into Domei Tsushin Sha, the exclusive news agency in Japan during WWII). He won fame as a journalist when he got a scoop of the Xi'an Incident in the year-end of 1936 in which the leader of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek, was confined by Marshal Zhang Xueliang, a former warlord of Manchuria, and Commander of the North Eastern Army, who had fought against the Japanese occupation of Manchuria.

He engaged in the China-Japan peace initiative, and also in maneuvers to prevent the outbreak of the U.S.-Japan war as one of the staff of KONOE Fumimaro (as a former Prime Minister, KONOE made a proposal to the Emperor Hirohito to end the war half a year before the end of WWII). After the war, Matsumoto made an effort to promote international cultural exchanges by establishing the International House of Japan ("I-House," "Kokusai Bunka Kaikan" in Japanese) and other activities.

This collection almost entirely consists of materials created after the war and range widely including documents and letters relating to the Mimpo magazine he started, and business correspondence of I-House activities.

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ASHIDA Hitoshi Papers (deposit)
(diplomat, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 47th Prime Minister of Japan / 298 items newly added in November 2012)

In November 2012, the Modern Japanese Political History Materials Room (Kensei-shiryoshitsu) of the NDL added a new batch to the ASHIDA Hitoshi (1887-1959) Papers available in the room since 1995. This brings the number of his deposited papers available there to 2,691.

The additional batch contains letters and documents created during the pre-war era. In the document part of the papers, users will find election-related materials which date back to his first campaign to become a Diet member, just after he resigned as a diplomat in 1932, as well as some notes for public addresses and radio speeches. Ashida’s activities in the pre-war era can be understood from his diaries published in February 2012 in a five-volume series.8

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SHIINA Etsusaburo Papers
(official, Member of the House of Representatives, Vice-President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan / 47 items newly added in August 2012 / donated)

In August 2012, the NDL added a newly cataloged and opened batch to the SHIINA Etsusaburo (1898-1979) Papers which had been available since 1983. The total of SHIINA Etsusaburo Papers available in the Modern Japanese Political History Materials Room (Kensei-shiryoshitsu) now comes to 137 items. At the same time, the originally-deposited materials were donated to the NDL.

This additional batch includes notebooks from 1963 to 1979, incoming letters, and documents. His notebooks from 1964 to 1966, when he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the third Ikeda Cabinet and the first Sato Cabinet, show what he thought about the Vietnam War and the China-Japan relationship, while those dated before the formation and around the resignation of the Miki Cabinet (1974-1976) contain detailed information such as dates, times and notes of meetings with then-Prime Ministers (TANAKA Kakuei, MIKI Takeo) and other important persons. These prove SHIINA's movements as Vice-President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, whose support was very important to PM Miki for maintaining his Cabinet.

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Transcription of Oral History of the Formulation of the Constitution of Japan (Speaker: Frank Rizzo)
(1 bind / available since July 2013)

From 1954 to 1957, the NDL conducted oral history projects of the people relating to the formulation of the Constitution of Japan, and has made the recordings and summaries available since 1977. They are now accessible in the Modern Japanese Political History Materials Room (Kensei-shiryoshitsu).

To date, the NDL generated and opened oral history transcripts of SATO Tatsuo (Director General of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, President of the National Personnel Authority), IWAKURA Norio (secretary to the Cabinet, President of the National Archives of Japan), and KANAMORI Tokujiro (see below). The interview transcript in 1954 of Frank Rizzo (see below) has also been available since 2013.

During his engagement in the Government Section, Rizzo worked out the "financial clauses" of the GHQ draft of the Constitution of Japan, and was later appointed Chief of the Government Section. The main interviewer is KANAMORI Tokujiro, then-Librarian of the NDL, with experience in responding to questions as Minister in charge of the New Constitution during the 90th Imperial Diet session the so-called "constitutional session." In the interview, Kanamori asked Rizzo about the constitution revision schedule, as well as the process and the interpretation of the GHQ draft.

Related articles from the National Diet Library Newsletter:Fifty years of Oral History of Politics in Japan: interviews with political leaders (No.186, December 2012)
See also: Online Gallery of the National Diet Library "Birth of the Constitution of Japan"

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  1. Related articles from the National Diet Library Newsletter:
  2. Reference for partial reprint: Uehara Yusaku Kankeimonjo Kenkyukai (edit.). 1976. Uehara Yusaku Kankeimonjo: University of Tokyo Press [NDL call no: GK144-4]
  3. Reference for reprinted diaries during 1917-1931 except 1921 and 1923: Shoyu Kurabu (edit.). 2011. Uehara Yusaku Nikki: Fuyoshobo Shuppan [NDL call no: GK144-J10]
  4. See also: "Honya-ni-nai-hon." National Diet Library Monthly Bulletin 610 (January 2012):29
  5. Reference for the letter: KOBAYASHI Michihiko. "Yamagata Aritomo's letter dated February 12, 1921, addressed to Tanaka Giichi" (at the end). Nihon Rekishi 781 (June 2013): commentary on frontispiece [NDL call no.: Z8-255]
  6. Williams, Justin (author). Japan's political revolution under MacArthur. 1979. University of Georgia Press: 140 [NDL call no.: GB566-A2]
    Japanese translation: ICHI Yuki, HOSHI Kenichi (translators). Makkasa no seiji kaikaku. 1989. Asahi Shimbun: 212 [NDL call no.: GB566-E8]
  7. Avoid confusion with KASE Shun'ichi (1897-1956, diplomat, envoy to Switzerland, ambassador to Mexico, ambassador to West Germany), whose name is written with the same characters as KASE Toshikazu.
  8. ASHIDA Hitoshi (author), FUKUNAGA Fumio, SHIMOKOBE Motoharu (editors). 2012. Ashida Hitoshi Nikki 1905-1945 (in five volumes). Kashiwashobo. [NDL call nos.: GB631-J91 / GB631-J92 / GB631-J93 / GB631-J94 / GB631-J95]

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