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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0209, 1946-01-20.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0862

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No. 862 Date: 20 Jan 46


ITEM 1 The Emperor System by Noguchi, Hachiro - Mainichi Shimbun - 17 January 1946. Translator: S. Hirata.
Full Translation:
I. The Emperor System Representing the Interest of Landowners and Bourgeoisie.
Although democratic reforms are urged by the Allied Powers, JAPAN is still controlled by a combination of three factors, namely, the absolutism of the Emperor system, landowner ship by landlords and exclusive capitalism. Here in JAPAN, the imperialistic financial oligarchy combined with the totalitarian bureaucracy has established the most singular polity in the history of the world. It is this very state which became a reactionary element of the world, side by side with GERMANY and ITALY, and here, the dictatorship of landowners and bourgeoisie over the working class, no less than the fascism of other capitalistic countries, has been established. This political structure was established by the Imperial Constitution promulgated in 18-90. It is a political organization based on absolutism which claims the Emperor to be the sovereign and the owner of supreme authority. It is this Emperor system which formed the closest and most permanent bloc with the upper members of bourgeoisie and landowners. Representing the interest of these two classes with considerable flexibility, this system maintains an absolutist character somewhat disguised by a constitutional appearance. That the Emperor system is still in force as the expression of Japanese imperialsim shows that the particular economic and social foundation of this absolutism is still firmly in power. In order to augment the dignity of the Emperor, many fables, glorious rites, Shintoism, and the legend of"the field in the heaven" (from which the forefathers of the Emperor descended) etc., were devised. It is because of the educational and punitive system that such fables as even primary school children promptly suspect, can openly pass, but fundamentally it is due to the existence of the singular basis of the Emperor system. Moreover, it is beneficial to the class of landowners and bourgeosie to maintain a state on this footing. According to HEGEL's famous words, "Constitution is the system of mediation." In JAPAN, as in old PRUSSIA, the joint interests of the landowners and bourgeoisie were fostered by the mediation of the Emperor system, and Japanese capitalism and imperialism has been formed, established and developed under the guardianship of this system.
II. Absolutism in JAPAN.
Japanese capitalism since the MEIJI Restoration has been forcibly fostered by militaristic capitalism thriving on the land of half-serfish, small cultivators. But it was developed by the MEIJI Government which was formed as the result of the Restoration and which adopted the political form of absolutism that succeeded the Serf system under the

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POLITICAL SERIES: 209 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
TOKUGAWA Regime on a nation-wide scale. In the final stage of feudalism, the absolutism, on the whole, in accordance with the development of a productive mode of capitalism, destroys the antiquated feudal system, carries out the national unification and exists in the form of unification of the nation under the bourgeoisie. It stands upon a feudal or semi-feudal footing, acts as the source of the intrinsic acquisitiveness of capitalism and works as the compelling economic force and as the suppressive organ of resistance of the farmers and urban workers.
It is this state-structure acting as a military power that constructs wars for commercial ambition. It always appears at the stage of imperialistic development of capitalism in world histroy. (In ENGLAND, since 1485, and in FRANCE since 1570.) As long as it tries to maintain and to strengthen the half-serfish state-form of feudalism, it is necessary for countries where capitalism is highly developed (as in ENGLAND and FRANCE) to carry out fundamental social reform in order to develop capitalism. On the contrary, in countries such as PRUSSIA, RUSSIA, etc., where the growth of bourgeoisie was retarded, even the importation and furtherance of capitalistic production methods was carried out by absolutism itself, keeping pace with the development of world economy. This was enforced in the field of militaristic capitalism in accordance with the character and necessity of absolutism. Therefore, when capitalism began to decline and the activities of absolutism were restricted in development, both capitalism and absolutism were devoid of their capacity to carry out drastic reform for fear of opposing proletarian forces. Hence, democratic reform was achieved only by the forces from below.
Japanese absolutism was established after the middle of the 19th century in 1863 when world capitalism had already fully developed. Thus the capitalism which it fomented was exclusively militaristic, and this militaristic capitalism achieved its development by relying on the absolute Emperor system, and made further progress along the lines of imperialistic policy. Absolutism is the state-form prior to capitalism in the history of the world, but in this country it developed very quickly into the imperialistic stage that is the highest form of capitalism. It has an epoch-making meaning in the history of the world, more important than that of RUSSIA, in its faithful prosecution of exclusive capitalism as well as in its forming the reactionary force in the world by the combination of the above two factors.
III. The Development of Absolutism in JAPAN.
That the Japanese state-structure adepts the form of the Emperor system and that, based on such a foundation, it takes the dictatorial form of landowners and bourgeoisie, shows the fact that the economic and material foundation of the Emperor system consists in the semifeudal exploitation and suppression of the people. In fact, the financial policy adopted b[illegible]the absolute Emperor system, when first established, was nothing but a rearrangement of the feudal tribute system which had been the exploitation policy of the dcfunct Shogunate Government. Consequently, the nation-wide riots b[illegible]the farmers which broke out from 1869 to 1874 against the Government's harsh exploitation afterwards became a struggle against landlords, governors and usurers.
The time-old tribute system was abolished by the land tax reform in 1873 because it was more suited to the purpose of furthering capitalism. Thus, a modern tribute system was carried out on a nation-wide scale, but no substantial decrease took place in the Government's revenue. Added to that, in the enforcement of the land tax reform, the landowners monopolized the possession of land in which both the landowners and cultivator farmers were interested, and in cases where the permanent tenancy had been established, by fortifying the landowners' class structure, it adopted a measure to secure its own position. Such
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POLITICAL SERIES: 209 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
being the case, the farmers' revolt was directed against this confiscation of the right of cultivation, the new land-tax and other miscellaneous taxes. They also rose against the conscription ordinance and labor-exemption tax, etc., until various revolutionary campaigns for the cause of freedom and civil right were carried out between 1822 and 1884. (E.g., the FUKUSHIMA Incident, the KABAYAMA Incident and the CHICHIBU Riot, etc.) Afterwards, the government taxation system was reformed in accordance with the development of capitalism, and the status of land-tax and country-tax was lowered. But feudalism and the exploitation by the state which retains the character of tribute still exist today, and the whole bureaucratic administration has been utilized for tax collection. As regards the exploitation of farmers, the prefectural duty especially was the object of heavy taxation; and, above all, the levying system by the number of houses was its characteristic form.
In the era of TAISHO which entered upon the imperialistic stage, the farmers' movement became active again, and farmers' associations were organized all over the country. In alliance with the urban proletarian class, they began to fight against the administrative power. The Emperor government b[illegible]the military clique and bureaucrats succeeded for a time in suppressing this movement by force, but as soon as they started war for their selfish purposes, the doubled the exploitation of farmers by force and fraudulence. Thus, the requisition of rice from the people and the compulsory transportation of rice have been enforced.
This absolutist exploitation was directed not only against farmers but also against small urban producers, workers and even against fishermen. Indirect duties on consumption were established in various absolutist countries in western EUROPE, and were adopted in JAPAN as early as 1868. After the taxation system was imperialistically readjusted, duties were enlarged extensively and brought up to date. The utilization of the waters surrounding JAPAN is monopolized by the state, and the fishermen are liable to pay tax on fishing rights. But these are other forms of feudalism in cperation. However, that feudalism has worked in a more forcible manner upon the colonial people is testified to by the number of acts of "high treason" perpetrated not only against the government under the Emperor system, but also against the; Emperor himself by the people and revolutionists in KOREA or FORMOSA.
IV. The Basis of the Emperor System; the Bureaucratic Policy.
When a certain class of people is protected and benefitted by this system, such a class becomes the bulwark of the Emperor system in all matters of exploitation and requisitioning. With the exception of the poor farmer class, owner-farmers of the middle and upper class in small and isolated rural communities form the social footing of the Emperor system as its mainstay because of the powerful patriarchal system among those who lack representatives for their interests. However, this middle class of owner-farmers began to collapse rapidly since the MEIJI Era due to the intrinsic acquisitiveness of absolutism and to the increased exploitation by the capitalists. If only to protect the foundations of bureaucracy to prevent collapse, some efforts have been made for this class since the middle of the MEIJI Era. The same thing may be said about small urban merchants and producers.
Principal relief measures which were taken by the bureaucrats are as follows: 1. Trust Company Law after the panic in 1890 and 1897; 2. Commercial Association Law; Owner-Farming Establishment Law in the postwar panic period since 1920; 4. Industrial Association Law; 5. the lend-tax reform in the country-wide panic period since 1929; 6. concession and alleviation from the prefectural tax and the abolition of the taxation system by the number of houses; 7. the Industrial Association Movement; 9. Commercial Association Movement; 10.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 209 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
the establishment of the Northoastern Bureau; 11. the Cereal Price Adjustment Law; 12. the Price of Thread Stabilization Law, etc.
Farmers and the petty bourgeoisie put considerable faith in these relief measures. Notwithstanding, absolutist bureaucrats knew full well that these measures could not give help to the farmers and petty bourgeoisie who had been their mainstay. Accordingly, they found their supporters in rich middle class farmers or small urban producers, and adopted a policy which placed the stress upon the protection of petty enterprise operated by parasitic landowners and by the feudal wholesale system. But the military clique and the absolutist bureaucrats, on seeing that the above policy was insufficient to secure a basis for itself, invaded CHINA and KANCHURIA directly by the force of arms. The land which they plundered from the people in these countries was given to armed immigrants from JAPAN for the establishment there of a puppet state which they pretended to be the model kingdom. It resulted in the present catastrophe, and the hope of rehabilitation is eternally test for the Emperor system.
(To be continued.)
Mr. NOGUCHI, the writer of this article, graduated from the TOKYO Imperial University in 1929, practiced as a progressive solicitor for a time, is now a member of the Social Science Investigation Institute and concurrently a member of the CHINA Investigation Institute. As a writer, he contributed to "'Proletarian Science," "The Economic Review," and "The Science of History."
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0209, 1946-01-20.
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