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Press translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0185, 1945-12-31.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: editorial-0579

call-number: DS801 .S82

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No. 579 Date: 31 Dec 45


ITEM 1 From God to Mortal - Kahuku Shimpo (-SENDAI) - 25 December 1945. Translator: H. Furukawa.
Full Translation:
The SCAP directive on the abolition of State SHI[illegible]TC will have a great influence upon the spiritual life of our Nation. The Emperor System is now obliged to make a new departure as a result of this directive.
The so-called "Divine Theory", which has been the ideological basis of the Emperor System, is considerably different in meaning from that of the Occident. In the "Divine Theory" of the Occident, "God" is defined as universal to all mankind, and the sovereignty of the monarch is considered to be based on the will of God. Similar in this respect is the Chinese theory of "Devine Right".
God in JAPAN denotes the ancestors of the Imperial Family and cannot be applied to other races. This difference is clearly shown in the Imperial edict en the Constitution, beginning with the phrase "Succeeding the distinguished deeds of our ancestors", which would be replaced by the usual Occidental phrase "By the grace of God". Moreover, as is widely known, a patriachal idea was adopted along with the "Divine Theory" in order to rationalize the Divine Rescript of the Imperial Ancestors, which forces the whole nation to recognize the dignity of the Imperial Household. This idea maintains that the Country of JAPAN is one large family branching off from the Imperial family, and the sovereignty of the Emperor comes from his position as the head of the rations' main family.
The "KOJIKI" and "NIH[illegible]-SHOKI" (TN. Both are records of the legendary history of ancient JAPAN.) are partly aimed at explaining this thought. In conclusion, we may say that the conventional idea of the state in JAPAN has been the "Divine Theory" combined with the patriarchal idea.
There were a few, however who intended to make a rational explanation of the state, opposing the above-mentioned ideas. The so-called "Instrument Theory", which interpretes the Emperor's position as a more instrument of the State, is one example of that. The "Instrument Theory", however, cannot stand equally with the "Divine Theory" because it is only a legal interpretation of the existing Emperor's position, the basis of which it doesn't attempt to touch.
Now SCAP has ordered the Government to completely abolish the idea of divine right. It can be understood that this directive means, in the main, the denial of support to the dignity of the Divine Rescript of the Imperial Ancestors, which restricted the people. It means the abolition of its legal coercion of the people and the abolishment of all institutions and customs based on that idea.

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EDITORIAL SERIES: 165 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
The Shrine of ISE should be limited in its character to the individual and not be national, while ministers or other Government officials should not be allowed to visit ISE or attend the festivals there in an official capacity. All these facts can be concluded from the object of this directive. Therefore, although the Emperor may he a decendant of the God and a man of the noblest family in JAPAN, it cannot he directly ascertained from this fact that the Emperor is capable of reigning over the country. Consequently, the position of the Emperor as the ruler of the country should hereafter be based on a new idea, alone with the wishes of the people.
It seems to be clear that that is the real intention of SCAP. This is true if we judge from SCAP's several declarations about the Emperor system, the fate of which it wishes to be decided by the free will of the Japanese nation, although it didn't touch on this point directly. In other words, it means the transformation of the idea of the Emperor "from God to an ordinary person". It is not lamentable, but rather delightful because we can take it as a new departure of the idea of the State. If there is something lamentable, it is only the lack of power of the thinkers in JAPAN, who couldn't execute this transformation by themselves.
We think that the "Devine Theory" is rooted in the minds of the people, as are all other thoughts, so long as they form parts of an ideology. In other words, the difference between the "Divine Theory" and all the other ideologies lies in their respective creeds. All ideologies are effective as long as the people believe in them or their own free will. Accordingly, when the people respect and trust the Imperial Household, there is no need to adhere to the "Divine Theory".
We should be rather satisfied with a more universal and rational interpretation of sovereignty than that of the Divine Theory if such can be obtained. The traditional view which regarded our country as one family is, of course, a nonsensical allegory in itself. The abolition of the "Divine Right Theory", however, may be considered a good opportunity for the renewal of the national idea, on a firm basis, since the Japanese are still united into one nation and want the symbol of this unity in the Imperial Household. The American view that the abolition of State SHINTO does not weaken in any the position of the Emperor may be true, and we earnestly hope that it is so.
ITEM 2 Constitutional Reform Must be Made by the People - Yomiuri Hochi Shimbun - 29 December 1945. Translator: K. Nagatani.
Full Translation;
The Government, having already decided the principles upon which constitutional, reform should be based, is now ready to deliberate on each article of the Constitution. The Constitutional Research Institute submitted to the Government its draft of a new Constitution covering all articles. The Communists have already published a "Foundation for a Pew Constitution". The Government's constitutional reform plan is not only still academic in connection with the sovereignty of the Emperor and the Nation, but also lukewarm in restricting the Imperial prerogatives. Under these circumstances, it is commendable that non-official institutions are making out their respective drafts of a new truly democratic constitution and that the people are becoming interested in this matter.
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 185 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
The proposed draft of the Constitutional Research Institute, which aims at the formation of a new constitution instead of constitutional reform, is extremely fresh compared to the existing Constitution. Nevertheless, it still remains questionable whether or not that draft is perfectly consistent with the current democratic revolution. This plan is not the decisive one, which has been, or will be presented by the non-official groups. Noteworthy is the fact that even within the Constitutional Research Institute, there exests a few members who intend to create a Japanese Republic. In this connection it may be recalled that in the MEIJI Era, when movements for Popular rights were prevalent throughout this country, even the Government's draft of the Constitution was as progressive in regards to sovereignty as the present drafts by the non-official groups. This progressive plan was gradually remodeled into a reactionary one by our bureaucracy. Today the civilian groups as well as the Government authorities are making a [illegible]cewarm start in the matter of constitutional reform. It is up to the people to promote a mere democratic, more progressive revision of the Constitution.
There are two possible: methods in the creation of constitutions. One is that a constitution be so created as to embody the ideals of democracy. In this case a democratic revolution is based upon to created constitution, and then democracy is established. Another was is that the constitution be established after the resolution has occurred so as to reflect the political state of affairs. It is true that if the former method is adopted the present Japanese democratic revolution will run smoothly. This method, however, requires the existence of a revolutionary regime with noble ideals. In JAPAN today no such regime exists. Accordingly, we have no alternative but to adept the latter method.
How far should the Japanese democratic revolution, which has been started with outside power proceed? The contents of the new constitution will be decided by the answer to this question, and here lurks the possible danger in the non-official institutions' drafts of a new constitution. There are many possibilities that the non-official groups will unconsciously create a lukewarm Constitution and slacken the speed of our revolution simply because they are unable to understand our revolutionary perspective. Subsequently, the non-official groups first need to understand our revolution.
Most outstanding in the proposed constitutional plans by the non-official groups are the specifications of the people's rights and some articles concerning economy. Such regulations are necessary lest we be tyranized by autocracy again. The people's right to enjoy a certain standard of living is one of the most fundamental requirements for a new democracy following the present war. Economic articles are needed to realize this ideal.
Since the new constitution is the code of our revolution, it is quite natural that a broad system of legislation, social insurance, and social policy should be established. At any rate, a new Japanese constitution must be one which places sovereignty in the Nation, insures the people's rights, including the right to enjoy a certain standard of living, and completely eliminates every remnant of feudalism, fascism, and militarism. Whatever other miner regulations there may be, our constitutional reform will be empty unless these conditions are all fulfilled.
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 185 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
Nevertheless, to our great regret, the Government is apparently creating a constitution on the basis of the present situation in order to prevent further progress of our revolution. The Government is intending to reform the current Imperial Constitution, instead of creating a new constitution worthy of our revolution. Such a stop-gap reform may he easily upset as the revolution progresses, and constitutional reforms may occur again and again in the future. If the Government cannot make a drastic reform of the Constitution on account of express previsions providing for constitutional reform, the Government should refrain, from constitutional reform. The Government need not deliberate on each article. The Japanese people themselves will revise the existing Constitution.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0185, 1945-12-31.
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