||The Great Kantō Earthquake and Suehiro Izutarōʼs Shift from Institutional to Interventionist Reform Efforts in Taishō Japan
The Great Kantō Earthquake and Suehiro Izutarōʼs Shift from Institutional to Interventionist Reform Efforts in Taishō Japan
Morgan, JasonMorgan, Jason
麗澤学際ジャーナル = Reitaku Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies
44 , 2018-03-10 , 麗澤大学経済学会
Suehiro Izutarō ( 1888-1951 ) was a Tokyo ImperialUniversity law professor and labor activist in late Taishō and early to mid Shōwa Japan. Initially opposed to the government’s handling of tenant farmer labor disputes in the early 1920s, Suehiro eventually became a supporter of the Japanese Empire. There were two main influences upon Suehiro during his lengthy study-abroad tour of the United States and Europe: law-and-society scholars such as Roscoe Pound (1870-1964) and Eugen Ehrlich (1862-1922), on the one hand, and Suehiro’ s experiences as an observer at the Versailles peace talks following World War I, on the other hand. The first of these influences favored a more bottom-up, hands-off approach to social complexity, and allowed Suehiro, upon returning to Japan, to attempt to work within pre-existing institutionalstructures in order to ameliorate socialdisjunctures brought about by the adoption of Western political modes ill-suited to Japanese traditional realities. The second influence, however, tended towards a top-down, centralgovernmentheavy response to pressing socialunrest, as the labor turmoilin France during the early 1920s outstripped the capacity of institutional gradualism. In this paper, I argue that Suehiro hewed more closely to the first influence upon his immediate return to Japan from studying abroad, but that the Great Kantō Earthquake of September 1, 1923, prompted Suehiro, faced with the destruction of his research files and the throngs of refugees on the Tokyo University campus left homeless by the disaster, to begin moving towards the second influence. This eventually culminated in his support for the Japanese imperial project overall.