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Press translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0375, 1946-02-07.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: editorial-1174

call-number: DS801 .S82

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No. 1174 Date: 7 Feb 46


ITEM 1 (a) An Admonition Against Misunderstood Democracy (b) A Spiritless Cabinet Meeting - Provincial Newspaper-Hyuga [illegible]ichinichi Shimbun (Miyazaki) - 31 Jan 46. Translator: Y. Ebiike.
Full Translation:
Recently the word "democracy" has overflowed everywhere, and everyone is going to be democratized. But, in fact how many Japanese realize the true meaning of democracy and put it into practice? Are undemocratic actions quite reversed from the real democratic sense not carried out openly in broad day light in the name of democracy? This social phenomenon is too serious a problem to overlook. Some ignore morality, and some trade on democracy, so that the Americans are amazed by JAPAN's poor democratization in the present situation.
For example, what is the trend of productive industry which takes charge of the food in the prefectures? Regarding The District Agricultural Association and Fishery Association, both of which have started anew under autonomous management, we find a deplorable general tendency to show technical guidance. This tendency comes from a very simple but irresponsible way of thinking that the higher the profit the better, no matter how much democratic organization might decline. Such a reactionary trend as to ignore and reject the guidance of the skilled technicians, a national demand of today is traced back into the strong antipathy for bureaucratic control in the past. We cannot, however, call this ignorant and egotistic trend of thought as a misunderstood democracy.
It is natural that the more thoroughly democracy is carried out, the better is our social order will be regulated. For a simple example, in a democratic nation a person's rights and property are recognized and respected, no matter how rich or poor the individual might be. For instance, suppose there is a richman a living pros[illegible]ously who owns much rice; in his neighborhood there live many poor men who demand of A that he offer his rice for the benefit of the masses. In this case, the government in a democratic country would naturally protect the rice, and A's property, and the masses could not force A to give them rice. However, A is under obligation to pay a high tax to the government as a matter of course, and this tax income is spent for the good of the masses; thus an equilibrium is maintained. Suppose B, A's neighbor, trespasses into A's house and steals rice;- of course B must be arrested and tried. In this case the police in a democratic nation cannot torture B, the suspected criminal, to force him to confess the crime as the Japanese police used to do, but it must prove before the court that B is a criminal, by gathering evidence. Thus the right of a private person is acknowledged thoroughly in a democratic nation.
The rumor that, "the magazine SHUFUNO-TOMO (TN House-Wives' Companion) is abolished" or "SHOCHIKU Ltd. abolishes KABUKI Plays" is circulated in TOKYO, and the rumor at once spread to the provinces. The party concerned seems to be made a puppet by the rumor, and

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EDITORIAL SERIES: 375 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
sometimes it results in misunderstandings as though SCAP had issued such a directive. However, we must not forget that the right of the individual is thoroughly recognized in a democratic state. Also we must not overlook that wiping out militarism in plays and magazines is quite a different problem.
(b) The Spiritless Cabinet Meeting
Education Minister ABE, speaking at the regular Cabinet Meeting on 29 January, directly expressed his opinion concerning the plan to manage the cabinet meetings and criticized it severely. First of all, the Education Minister pointed out that the cabinet meetings lack the spirit for fundamentally settling the pressing crisis. In this regard we, the people, should like to tell the Education Minister plainly that it would be better for the cabinet to debate earnestly and freely the pressing questions which are accumulated at present, and to put their decisions into practice at once.
Secondly the Education Minister mentioned, as an example, the proble[illegible]of the Emperor System which is being discussed seriously among the people, as everyone knows. The Government view of this question should already have been determined as it is the most essential issue in revising The Constitution. The Government, however, avoids [illegible]rossing its opinions on the Emperor System as much as possible, and it takes the anti-democratic attitude of settling the issue secretly. Thus the Government is trying to evade the discussion of the problem.
Such an attitude by the Government, as the Education Minister mentioned, not only results in the present confusion in education, but also inevitably incurs the reproach that the Government is trying to maintain the status quo. We cannot possibly expect that The Education Minister's speech will have any effect on the SHIDEHAR, Cabinet which has already lost the confidence of the people, but the political significance of his speech is still worthy of notice as one which proves that the poor spirit of the Government is obvious.
ITEM 2 How We Should Study America - Provincial Newspaper - Provincial Newspaper-Kahoku Shimpo (Sendai) 2 Feb 46. Translator: K. Ketel.
Full Translation:
When American troops began the occupation of JAPAN, rumors created a somewhat anxious mental attitude among the people concerning them. However, since the occupation has been completed fear and suspicion have disappeared and surprising scenes of national friendship have developed almost everywhere. It is interesting to observe that although we were told that Americans and Britons were barbarians the present scene in JAPAN is evidence against the fact that the inhuman propaganda during the war greatly influenced the people.
We have advanced in our understanding of AMERICA as result of the defeat and efforts on the part of the American forces, but we have not yet adopted the most essential point which we ought to learn. We must receive as many lectures as possible from the democratic nations of the world in order to democratize our own country. Among these nations America is already playing an important role in teaching democracy for she is most closely connected with us in the occupation. Of course we should be more deeply concerned in our efforts to understand AMERICA, but it remains a moot question to what extent this signifies a comprehension of democracy.
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EDITORIAL SERIES: 375 (Continued)
ITEM 2 (Continued)
I think that the people in general have grasped only the superficial examples of American culture represented by jazz music and movies and have made no further advance than to admire these characteristic[illegible]Of course jazz music and movies are the forte of American culture but they do not manifest the true form of democracy. Democratization would be very simple and American democracy itself easy to achieve if we were able to turn our country into a democratic one merely by means of such superficial representations. In such a way we will never understand American culture but will lose sight of what we ought to learn. We have to investigate American democracy itself more positively and make efforts to grasp its essential points. Although it is easy for us to become familiar with American culture to a certain extent, it is very difficult to grasp the existing democratic way of life. At its base the scientific spirit is merged with an independent historic and colonizing spirits which made American life informal, creative and rational. There lies the strongest point of American democracy.
We cannot understand the peculiarities of American democracy by looking only upon the national structure. The main characteristics of American democracy li[illegible]in the highly sensible life the people, who are the source of that way of life, are leading. In our effort to be democratic we should study this system thoroughly. Their democracy originates in life. If we want to imitate it, we shall be unable to do it overnight. At any rate, however, it's necessary to do away with our tendency to represent democracy only as the frame of the nation and we must democratize our way of life by our own initiative. If for instance, only the frame of a democratic nation is constructed, like a skeleton without blood and flesh, the complete democratization of JAPAN could never be carried out. The superiority of the American way of life depends not merely on material excellence but is corroborated by the perfection of democracy in life.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Editorial Series 0375, 1946-02-07.
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