Hidaka Rokuro, 1917-2018 – The Life and Times of an Embattled Japanese Intellectual


November 1, 2018

Hidaka Rokuro, 1917-2018 – The Life and Times of an Embattled Japanese Intellectual
Hidaka Rokuro, 1917-2018 – The Life and Times of an Embattled Japanese Intellectual

Volume 16 | Issue 21 | Number 4

Article ID 5215


Hidaka Rokuro was born in Qingdao, China, 11 January 1917 and died in Kyoto, Japan, 7 June 2018. His life therefore spanned much of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st. He was a witness to the Japanese empire at its height and to its catastrophic collapse and the subsequent rise of a different sort of Japan, as economic superpower and close ally to its former enemy the United States. From the time he entered Tokyo Imperial University (as it then was) in 1938, for 31 years he observed momentous events from the perspective of student, assistant, then professor, at the nation’s key institute of higher learning. Eventually, and dramatically, he resigned in protest against its crackdown on the then burgeoning student movement in 1969. His greatest travails were then still to come. They are discussed in the following under the heading of “The Hidaka Affair.” This essay does not purport to be a biography but hopes to shed some light on moments in the life of a remarkable individual living in remarkable times.

1. Part One: 1917-1945


Hidaka Rokuro’s father, Kenkichiro, born of a landed family on Iki Island in Nagasaki prefecture in 1875, graduated from the foundation class in Chinese at the College of Foreign Languages in Tokyo (established 1899), worked for a time in the early years of the century in the Japanese mission in Beijing1 and then, in poor health, retired to live in in the Chinese port city of Qingdao, returning to Japan in 1943 and dying in 1951. Little is known of Rokuro’s mother, Yukiko (ca. 1888-1965). Kenkichiro and Yukiko had five boys:2 Ko, sometimes referred to as “chokei” or elder brother, (1906 or 7 to ?), Sen (ca. 1910 to ca. 1922) who died of dysentery in his 6th year of primary school, Saburo (1914-1944), Rokuro (1917-2018), and Hachiro (1920-1997) on whom more below. Ko and Sen were apparently names chosen from the pages of the Chinese classic, the Shi-ji, and the following three were years of the Taisho emperor’s reign (commencing 1912). Thus Saburo and Rokuro (literally “3rd” and “6th” boy) were born in the 3rd and 6th year of Taisho respectively and the youngest, Hachiro, in the 9th year but called “8th” because father Kenkichiro decided that being called “9th” (Kuro, which happens to be a homonym for the word meaning “hardship”) would be a heavy burden for the child to grow up with.3

“Elder brother” Ko studied in Tokyo at Tokyo Bunrika University (which became Tokyo University of Education in 1929), graduating in 1932 in the latter’s foundation class. He was for a time editor of the student paper, and was also arrested, interrogated, and possibly tortured under the draconian “peace preservation” legislation of 1925 over involvement in a “SR” (Socialist Reading) group, leaving a mark against his name such that he remained without regular employment to the end of the war (though “employed” as a ghost writer for the prominent novelist, Kikuchi Kan), after which he taught at a university in Yokohama.4 Saburo, several years Rokuro’s senior, had strong interests in literature and poetry, studied at Toyo University in Tokyo and is said to have developed a strong research interest in the Nara-era statesman and poet, Otomo no Yakamochi. He served several spells in the army, interspersed with a period teaching at a Middle School in Yamanashi prefecture and, conscripted into the Kurume Division on the eve of Pearl Harbour in December 1941, he died in Yunnan in China in 1944.5

Younger brother Hachiro seems to have been a remarkable child. Rokuro recounts with some pride Hachiro’s founding of a “newspaper,” Akatsuki(Dawn), in the autumn of 1931, when Hachiro could not have been more than 11 years of age (and Rokuro himself was in his 15th year). Aided by his brothers and father, Hachiro’s painstakingly hand-written text, “published” twice monthly and comprising about 12 pages of essays and poetry, was modeled on journals of culture and politics published at the time in Tokyo. Though circulated only within family circles, it was treated as a serious commitment and maintained for about five years (over 100 issues) until late 1936. By then, the climate had become so hostile to free-thinking criticism and ideas that Akatsuki was judged too risky to continue.

Sixty-odd years later, to Rokuro’s delight, Hachiro presented him with a copied set of Akatsuki. A book Rokuro published in 2005 reproduced a late 1935 short article by Hachiro. For the 14 or 15-year old child Hachiro then was, it was a remarkably sophisticated and subtle essay:

Manchukuo and Japan” 6

“It seems to be always the case, for both people and states, that the most dangerous time is when they get puffed up with arrogance and self-importance.

Someone once told us that Manchukuo is a dependency of Japan, which might look on the surface like an independent country but soon is destined to become a second, third, or even fourth Korea.

What was our response on being told this? Some laughed scornfully, some bragged of Japan’s achievements or said that Japan is taking over the entire world, others commented asking who cares if Japan is a crafty country.

We might not have gone so far as to refer to Manchukuo as a second Korea, but how artfully Japan looked after its own interests by referring to Manchukuo’s merger with Japan as “a merger requested by Manchukuo” to which “Japan simply responded sincerely and as an equal partner.”

Might what we had been told been true? But if circumstances arose in which Japan was moving in such a direction would we not resolutely oppose it? And if by some chance Japan were to take over this place or that for its own purposes, wouldn’t we have the gumption and the faith to boldly oppose it?

When the time comes that Japan boasts of its strength and gathers momentum to take over this or that territory, and especially when there are many who laugh, or even boast of it, then Japan will start to suffer reverses, one after the other. For sure danger awaits those who begin to boast of how mighty they are.”

Hachiro died early in 1997.

Rokuro attended Japanese primary and middle schools in Qingdao in North China, (1923-1934), then went to Tokyo for high school (at the prestigious Tokyo “No 1” High School) in 1934-7. He attended Tokyo Imperial University from February 1938 to December 1941, graduating from the Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Letters just after Pearl Harbour in December 1941. In February 1942 he was called up for military service in the Nagasaki Omura Regiment but was invalided out because of pneumonia four or five months later, while “most” of his contemporaries who were then conscripted died during the war.7 He then returned to Tokyo Imperial University as an “assistant” or tutor from 1943. From autumn of 1944 he also became a part-time consultant (shokutaku) to the Imperial Navy’s think-tank, the “Technical Institute” (Kaigun gijutsusho). Initially he was assigned to help with various projects. One which he recalled (perhaps because it was characteristic and struck him for its absurdity) was entitled “A policy to rouse the national fighting spirit.” Early in 1944, he was commissioned to conduct an investigation into the situation in China.

Some time in April or May 1945 he was asked to submit his thoughts on global trends, and urged to be completely frank. He first delivered a seminar to a small group (about ten people), under the title of “A view concerning change in the National Polity” (Kokusaku tenkan ni kansuru shoken), in which he declared,

“The general trend in the world is toward democracy. Japan should make the following declaration: all Japanese military forces and civilian personnel overseas (in Asia) will be repatriated. Claims over Korea and Taiwan will be surrendered. An international appeal will be made for the complete independence of India, Burma, Indochina, Indonesia, the Philippines, and all other Asian countries The Japanese military will immediately hand back to China the territory of Hong Kong, which it is still occupying. Within Japan, absolute freedom of speech, assembly, and association and an eight-hour working day and other reforms will be implemented.”8

It was a paper astonishing for its scope and its brash radicalism. “It was,” as he put it much later ”quite the wrong place for a political proposal of this sort.” One of those in the Navy Institute audience was Hiraizumi Kiyoshi, well-known ideologue of Japan’s “national polity,” its emperor-centred divine identity. Immediately following Rokuro’s talk, Hiraizumi launched a blistering critique, saying

“your analysis proceeds from world trends, not from the imperial spirit and it amounts therefore to repudiation of the empire’s ideology. Your thinking constitutes a threat to Japan’s national polity.”9

Rokuro wrote later of fear that spread “upwards from my feet through my whole body.”10 He was presumably well aware of the arrest on 28 March of the philosopher Miki Kiyoshi by military police, although he could not have known then Miki’s fate, to be found dead on the floor of his cell six weeks after the war ended, on 26 September. However, despite his well-founded fear, Rokuro felt himself driven by “something deep inside.”

Formulating his opinion in writing, he submitted it around 15 July. But the pace of events was such that there was no immediate reaction. It was 12 August, just days before surrender, before his paper drew a response: summary dismissal.

Kurokawa So, Hidaka Rokuro 95-sai no porutore taiwa o toshite (Hidaka Rokuro – A Portrait at 95, Through Conversation), Tokyo: Shinjuku shobo, 2012.

2. Hidaka Memorandum, June/July 194511

Opinion Concerning a Change of National Policy

1. Basic Conditions of the Great East Asia War and World Trends

Fundamental changes in the domestic political system match sudden new developments in foreign policy; sudden changes in foreign policy likewise call for reform of the domestic political system. The character and purpose of the China affair and the Great East Asia War are such that inevitably the two bear an intimate relationship. This is also in conformity with the general trend of world progress. I wish now to speak frankly about the causes, character, and purpose of the China affair and the Great East Asia War and to point to the inevitability of a change in our national policy … It is my belief that the basic causes of the China affair were:

1. China was seen as the only way to break out of the impasse that our capitalist economy was in.

2. It was hoped that the internal problems and the confused situation that existed from around the time of the 26 February 1936 Incident could be solved by diverting attention to foreign problems.

3. The character of the Chinese people’s independence movement was such that it inevitably developed into an anti-imperialist movement and came to be led and to be exploited by the Guomindang and the Chinese Communist Party…

Frankly, I take the view that the basic cause of the China affair was that our capitalist economic system needed to seize the China market. The way that, from the time of the Manchurian Incident, the catch phrase “Protect our Rights and Interests” was endlessly repeated, must still be fresh in our memories. To sum it up in a phrase, the China affair was in great part, even if one would not go so far as to say totally, determined by the preoccupation with rights and interests. This is not too different from Anglo-American style imperialism. However, I do not hold the view that the China affair was just an aggressive war. It is well-known that Japanese capitalism encountered many difficulties and obstacles because it developed later than in Europe and America. And, during this period, our people in all strata of society nursed deep in their hearts the sense that it was Japan’s great mission to liberate Asia from European and American control. …

Under these circumstances, the Great East Asia War broke out … In my private thoughts, I saw the war as bearing a dual character: on the one hand, the fate of our capitalist economy was staked upon it; on the other, it was aimed directly at the liberation of Asia from European and American aggression. If the authorities were to change the character of the Great East Asia war so that it represented only the latter aspiration, a truly earth-shattering change in world history would thereby be accomplished. But unfortunately the authorities lack such discernment, and so the Great East Asia War has reached its present juncture.

Let me make myself quite clear. It is precisely this dual character of the Great East Asia War that is the greatest factor responsible for the plight the country now faces. Our war aims have undergone great advance, or a great change of character, compared to the time of the Manchurian Incident. The simple preoccupation with rights and interests has been swept aside and we talk instead of “the eight corners of the world under one roof” or “the construction of a new order in East Asia.” Why is it, however, that the number of Asian people who follow Japan in its crusade for the liberation of Asia under such slogans, and who pledge solidarity forever, are so few? It is because in terms of fundamental principle our Great East Asia war retains its dual character. In concrete terms, our policy throughout the China Affair has been dualistic, and we have given the impression not only to the Chinese people but to the people of Asia that our words are always at odds with our deeds, leading them to think that while we voice fine words what we do is to pursue our self-interest in the most crafty and contemptible ways. Since we failed utterly to win the hearts and minds of the Chinese people, other Asian people too have shown an uncooperative attitude toward our prosecution of the war …

In what direction are world trends now developing? Politically, toward the freedom and independence of peoples, economically, toward mutual cooperation without exploitation or subordination, both within countries and in relations between them. The two possess a close relationship, and one cannot be realized without the other. People may say that the influence of the middle and small nations seems to be getting ever slighter under the tyranny of the great powers or that the aggressive policies of Anglo-American imperialism, though hidden behind fine words about mutual economic cooperation, are actually being pushed to their ultimate. But, as I see it, it seems clear that Britain and the United States are already in deep trouble. The world has been thoroughly awakened to the attempt by the great powers to control it by despotism and dictatorship, despite the self-righteous desires of the United States and Britain. Further, this strategy of capitalist exploitation has reached a real impasse, both at home and abroad, and the realization is gradually growing that such exploitation is in deep contradiction with the principles of democratic freedom which they proclaim. This is especially so in the case of the British Empire. The largely unexpected Labour Party rout of the Conservative Party in the British general elections is actually just a partial expression of this distress. Thinking people can clearly foresee that after the war the United States too will experience acutely this distress which is intrinsic to the capitalist economic system. The principles of freedom, self-government, and the independence of peoples are indeed the greatest problems in Asia.

However, it is a matter for the deepest regret that there are some among our country’s wartime leaders and among our people living in the military-occupied areas who do not perceive this worldwide trend but think only of securing economic rights and interests and replacing Europe and America as masters of East Asia. It is the utmost stupidity for the great powers of the world to imagine they can forever carry on the process of scrambling for colonies. Actually, through each such scramble the colonies are gradually being liberated. There are many short-sighted people who say that the reason for the failure of our administration of colonies is that Japan is lacking experience in controlling other peoples while the British and Americans have long experience. I believe that, however skilled one may be, oppression is oppression and exploitation is exploitation. Of course there are differences. As Gandhi and Nehru put it, it is better for India to be ruled by Britain than to be ruled by Japan. However, they are not saying that for this reason they want to be ruled forever by Britain.

If only Japan would set aside its orientation toward rights and interests and not only aid the self-government and independence of peoples but also understand and give a clear lead in the direction of real social reform by granting freedom of opinion to the various nations and turning an attentive ear to their true voices, then Great East Asia would develop in reality as well as in name into an Asian liberation war, and from China through the nations to the south and to the peoples of India it would encourage the trend to participation in the movement for liberation from colonial dependence till it reached cyclone proportions. As a result, difficulties would only spur the people to greater and greater courage so that, despite their material might, the United States and Britain would not be able to withstand the trend. …

Let me make so bold as to state my opinion once again. Even if, by some misfortune, the Great East Asia War were to conclude with our defeat, its historical importance for the world would still not be lost. Half of Japan’s goals, the most important half, will to some degree have been accomplished. However inept the policies adopted in Japan itself may have been, at least Japan has given independence to oppressed peoples. Burma, the Philippines, Annam, and Cambodia are cases in point. And presently an independent government will be set up in the East Indies. Should the day of Japan’s ill-fortune dawn, Ba Maw’s Burma and Laurel’s Philippines might collapse, but it is not difficult to see that Britain, Holland, and France are deeply worried over how to go about re-establishing their control. Their slogan is liberty, and at least they will have to pay more respect than before to the wishes of the people of these regions. They may have no alternative but to grant independence. In that event, the significance of the Greater East Asia War will be seen to lie in that it was actually a positive step forward for the peoples of Asia, and at least half the honour of having given the lead will be seen to rest with Japan.

My proposal is this. If worst comes to worst and the enemy, the United States and Britain, demands unconditional surrender, we should make a bold response. We should propose a conditional peace. Under what condition? We demand the independence of the East Indies and the former French colonies. We demand self-government for the Malayan people. We demand the liberation of the Chinese people from semi-colonial subordination. We oppose the establishment of British control over Hong Kong (to this end, we should ask the naval authorities to return Hong Kong to the Chinese authorities without further delay). And Japan should recognize the independence of Korea. Concerning ourselves there is no need to add a single word. Then we should appeal to world opinion. The goal of our Great East Asia War lies in these points. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that the goal of the liberation of the peoples of Asia has been accomplished at least to some degree. We can afford to smile at the demise of the Americans and British as they lose power as a result of our demands. We may indeed lose power now, but is it not as clear as day that it is thanks to our power that independence has been granted to the people of Burma and the Philippines and elsewhere? The United States and Britain declare that they will liberate Asia, and, if they fear God, will not dare to take away the rights of independence and self-government from peoples to whom it has once been granted. So our purpose has been accomplished. As for power, I believe in the principle that the will of those without power is also just …

When we search our hearts, we must acknowledge as a fact that in the past we looked upon the granting of national independence as a means to control other peoples, and we should be ashamed of this. So, at this final stage of the Great East Asia War, what I feel bound to call for is that we should make our war aims completely simple and clear. This amounts to a reversal of national policy both at home and abroad … As I have outlined above, I believe that the major trends in world affairs and the character of the East Asia War have become clear. I have therefore set out below my detailed outline for a fundamental change in our national policy.

2. The Inevitability of a Change in National Policy and an Outline Plan

Before speaking about the inevitability of a change in national policy and outlining a concrete plan … I am absolutely convinced that to overcome the present national crisis we need sweeping reform on the scale of the Taika Reform or the Meiji Restoration … Next I point to the inevitability of a change in national policy.

1. The basic principle to be observed in effecting a change in national policy while facing the enemy is to rouse the morale of the people to the maximum by constructing a pure and unalloyed domestic order based on the essence of the national polity, while at the same time accomplishing the ideals and objectives of the Great East Asia War, both domestic and foreign, through a fundamental change in our foreign policies.

2. As stated repeatedly above, the ideal of the Great East Asia War is the liberation of the people of Asia. At the same time, the liberation of the people of Asia is an indispensable precondition for securing peace for our people for ages to come. So the most urgent problem in the prosecution of the war is precisely to restore purity and simplicity to the aims of the war, where they have become impure and dualistic.

3. The major trend in the world is toward self-government and the independence of peoples. Of course this is not national self-determination in the narrow sense that was proclaimed after the First World War. It is based on the principle of mutual economic aid between the weak nations, and it also takes advantage of incorporation as self-governing states within the big countries. Even in such a case, however, political self-government, non-exploitative economic equality, and the promotion of indigenous culture are adopted as principles. This of course is the ideal, and various struggles will still be necessary after the war before the peoples of Asia can be completely liberated. Eventually, the contradictions inherent in European and American aggressive imperialism and the awakening of the peoples of Asia will lead to the imperialist aggression of Europe and America being driven from Asia. This is recognized as a major trend in the world. Japan, for its part, must ensure that it maintains cooperative relations at all times with the peoples of Asia. We must not follow the Europeans and Americans by pursuing self-interest and distancing ourselves from the collective will of the peoples of Asia. That would lead to the worst possible results for Japan. Therefore, the Euro-American character of our domestic system must be reformed.

4. Particular attention must be paid to trends in neighboring China. We can see that the day is not far off when the forces of Yan’an will rapidly grow and eventually come to control the whole country. Among the policies now being proclaimed by Yan’an are some, such as in particular the independence and freedom of peoples and opposition to imperialism, which in their essence are also in conformity with our state policies. In my view, the ultimate basis of our foreign policy should be peace and good relations between China and Japan. I believe particular attention should be paid to this point in revising our national policies.

5. Now let us consider the economic conditions of postwar Japan. Whether we win or lose the war, our postwar economic recovery will be up against extremely difficult conditions … I will not speak here of the technical conditions needed to overcome these difficulties but will confine myself to outlining only the simplest and most basic principle. That is that the people must bear an equal share of these difficulties. The problem is one of morality and humanity, not just of economy. If on the one hand the privileged are warmly clothed and with full stomachs, and petty capitalists for whom money is everything proliferate, while on the other the starving collapse on the streets and the numbers of the unemployed mushroom, then there is bound to be a bloody catastrophe. Therefore a change of national policy to eliminate in advance the root of this potential disaster is even more urgently needed than anything to do with specific postwar economic problems.

In addition to the above memorandum, Hidaka made other proposals, which in his 1980 book he listed as:

“reform of the capitalist system so that after the war the peoples of Asia do not again become objects of capitalist exploitation; promotion of enterprise control by groups of workers (unions); state control of enterprises that is not to be equated with supervision by bureaucrats; implementation of an eight-hour working day and a weekly rest system; an end to landlordism, and promotion of owner-farmer agriculture; state-run health and education; and recognition of freedom of opinion, assembly, and organization …

In terms of foreign policy, policy towards China should be taken as the root of our foreign policy. All economic rights and interests should be returned to the Chinese people, and Taiwan and Hong Kong should be returned. Manchuria should be turned over to self-government by the people of Manchuria. The rights to independence and self-government of the people of Southeast Asia should be recognized. And in Korea, self-government should be implemented in order to promote a Korea for the Koreans …”12

For a member of an Imperial Navy institute to call at that moment for such an agenda, including not only the liquidation of the Japanese empire, the grant of independence for colonial regimes throughout Asia, the abolition of capitalism, radical land reform, and the establishment of worker management of industry, was to show courage to the point of foolhardiness. In retrospect he himself wrote of it in 1980 as “mere daydreaming,” but nevertheless perhaps “relevant to understanding the thoughts of one young man on the future of Japan at a time when the end of the war was approaching.”13 He escaped unscathed only because the end of the war was indeed imminent.

3. Hidaka 1945-2018

From 1949, Hidaka resumed his position as assistant professor (professor from 1960) in the Department of Sociology and Newspaper Research Institute of Tokyo University. Then aged 44, in 1961he married Kori Nobuko, twelve years his junior.

Hidaka Rokuro and Nobuko, Latrobe University, Melbourne, September 1983


Hidaka insists that he was never a “scholar,”14 yet he had a very long association with Tokyo University (Tokyo Imperial University as it was to 1945) as student from 1938 and as faculty from 1943 to 1969. Throughout his life he devoted himself to thinking about key questions of the individual, the community, and the state and international order, and he found himself as much at odds with conventional thought after the war as he had been before and during it. His graduation thesis for the Sociology Department in 1945, written as the imperial state and its order was collapsing around him, was entitled “On the Individual and the State.” The thesis itself has not survived but he recalled of it much later that in its 638 manuscript pages (equivalent to roughly 110,000 English words) he cited not one single Japanese author’s work and indeed only in extensive appendices – on Bergson and Durkheim – any sociological scholarship at all. His encounter with Hiraizumi, the proponent of the superior Japanese imperial way, has already been noted in the context of his trenchant report earlier that same year for the Navy Technical Institute. As he submitted his graduation thesis, he recalls the celebrations around the main (Hongo) university campus over the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, when much beer was drunk in staff rooms amid general rejoicing.15

After the war, Hidaka was uncomfortable with the lack of questioning of individual (such as Hiraizumi) and collective, institutional responsibility for it, with the narrow specialized focus of conventional scholarship, and with the generally authoritarian ethos of the institution. He saw the prewar emperor system (Tennosei) – espoused during the war by prominent Tokyo University figures such as Hiraizumi – to have survived the war intact. He quoted approvingly the popular saying: “Things that did not change after the war: Sumo and Tokyo University.”16 In 1955 he wanted to conduct a survey of incoming students on the question of nuclear weapons, but was refused permission as the matter might be “too political.”17 Eventually, in 1969, when the university authorities called on the riot police to clear the campus of occupying students, which they did by pouring tear gas on them from helicopters and attacking and arresting them by the hundreds, Hidaka resigned in protest. He recalls in disgust that the Law Faculty staff sent a formal note of gratitude (together with a box of cakes) to the local police station. Though similar scenes were enacted at universities across the country, only a few, like Hidaka, resigned in protest.

For six decades from the end of the war, he was a core figure in the peace and democracy movement, a social, political and philosophical thinker and active participant in struggles for liberal, democratic, and peace causes.18 He described his position on one occasion (in 1982) as “opposed to nuclear weapons, nuclear power, the US­ Japan Security Treaty, the Self Defense Forces, and constitutional revision.”19

His activities ranged widely, from the defence of the rights of minorities including Koreans, burakumin (members of a discriminated caste) peoples, Minamata and other pollution disease victims, support for the farmers resisting the appropriation of their land for building of the Tokyo International Airport in the 1970s, and support for the South Korean opposition political leader Kim Dae Jung when Kim was facing harsh repression, and eventually a death sentence from a military court in Seoul.20 From the mid-sixties, Hidaka was a key figure in Japan’s civic opposition to the Vietnam War. Not content simply to declare opposition, he became actively involved in civic acts of anti-war solidarity, and a core member of the “Japan Technical Committee for Assistance to US Anti-war Deserters” (JATEC) that between 1965 and 1974 encouraged, hid, and aided deserters from the US military. For some months in 1967 the Hidakas hid two such deserters in their then Kamakura home, till eventually JATEC provided them with forged passports and successfully smuggled them (and others, probably some eighteen in all) out to Europe.21

Paris was seen at the time as a kind of Mecca for anti-war organization, and the Hidaka’s themselves, unemployed since Hidaka’s resignation from Tokyo University in 1969, headed there in 1971. They had no clear plan, and spoke little French, but thought to set up a bookshop, or publishing agency for Japanese publishers, which might serve also as refuge for anti-war deserters and conscientious objectors, and might perhaps include a restaurant.22 Nothing ever became of such vague plans, however, save the actual purchase in 1973 of a suburban home (at Draveil). Their Paris plans were rudely blocked the following year in the course of what is discussed below as the “Hidaka Affair.” Fifteen years would pass before the couple was able to resume occupancy of their Paris home in 1989, by which time Rokuro was in his early 70s, Nobuko periodically unwell, and neither had made much headway in learning French.

During those years of uncertainty and frustration, Rokuro took a chair at Kyoto Seika University in 1976 and continued his engagement in social movements from that base. Though influenced by Marxist thought, he remained independent and committed to fundamental liberal and humanist principles such as those enunciated in his two 1945 reports, for the Navy Institute and for Tokyo University. Indicative of his lifelong concern over individual freedom and social responsibility were his translation in 1951 of Erich Fromm’s 1941 classic Escape from Freedom,23 and, much later, his introduction to Japanese readers of German president Richard von Weizsacker [1920-2015]’s address on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe in May 1985.24

His pacifism would appear to have been adamantine. As he said in an Australian radio interview in July 1983:

“Even if I had lived in the age of the Roman Empire I would not have supported terrorism.”25

He described his position in the following terms:

“If you ask me where I stand I can say I have been all through my life a pacifist and liberal. I love mankind and my fellow men more than a particular nation and prefer pluralistic value systems and cherish tolerance, to say nothing of democracy as opposed to despotism.”

He elaborated somewhat on this in an interview in September 1983:26

“As a social thinker I am highly idealistic, but I deal with political institutions as a realist … freedom counterbalances against control, equality against discrimination and elitism, and fraternity against separateness in relations between persons. I do not think there can be absolute liberty, absolute equality or absolute fraternity. What I emphasize is that in relative terms what is important and required is a little bit more liberty, a little bit more equality, and a little bit more fraternity.”

The question of education was always a central concern. Hidaka sympathized with the plight of a generation of youth steeped in a seductive culture of material plenty and faced with an assertive educational bureaucracy. He drew attention to what he saw as a “controlled society,” in which the livelihood, culture, education, and leisure of the people becomes standardized and passive and people’s minds are held in thrall by the vision of a “comfortable life” in an era of mass production and mass consumption. Different from an authoritarian or totalitarian society, what he saw as a “controlled society” was characterized by induced integration rather than oppressive control. Although he diagnosed a spreading sense of loss of purpose, especially among young people deprived of opportunities for self-expression and self-fulfillment, it was nevertheless to them that he looked for signs of the emergence of the new humanism.

In 1980, Hidaka’s “Sengo shiso o kangaeru” (“Thinking about Post-war History) was acclaimed as a profound humanist critique of Japan and went into multiple printings, soon exceeding 150,000 copies and later awarded the prestigious Mainichi Publications Culture Prize. In June that year he was invited to visit Latrobe and Monash Universities in Melbourne, Australia for 10 months as guest professor, funded by the governmental body, the Japan Foundation. As he was about to depart, suddenly Hidaka became the centre of a major international controversy arising from Australian government charges that he was directly connected with terrorism.

4. The “Hidaka Affair” – 1980-198327

In December 1980, Rokuro and his wife, Nobuko, applied for and were issued fresh passports from the Passport Office of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They then applied to the Australian Consulate in Osaka for the necessary visas to visit Australia. On 13 January 1981, the Australian Embassy in Tokyo cabled Canberra for advice, since “the names of both Rokuro and Nobuko Hidaka appear on the Migration Alert List.” The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) was consulted and advised against issuing the visas. On 22 January the Minister, Mr Ian Macphee, agreed and on 26th Hidaka was informed by letter that he and his wife did not meet “the normal requirements for entry.” In a brief telephone conversation he was given to understand that the reason was his connection with the Japanese Red Army.28 Neither at the time of his initial refusal, however, nor afterwards, was Hidaka able to secure any precise indication of what connection he was alleged to have with the Red Army, or of any charges that he might attempt to rebut.

Hidaka Rokuro and Nobuko, upon arrival Latrobe University, Melbourne, 1983 (with Gavan McCormack and ABC Radio producer Tony Barrell

It seems that to that point nobody in the Tokyo embassy or the Canberra bureaucracy had any idea who Hidaka was or what was his standing and reputation in Japan. From the outset Hidaka authorized the two Australian universities to examine any material prejudicial to him in the government files,29 and he continued to demand to know what he was charged with. For six months he got only indirect responses. However, John Menadue, secretary of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (DIEA), wrote to various third parties who had appealed on Hidaka’s behalf saying that Hidaka himself knew the cause of the ban but the government would “respect his privacy,”30 Hidaka was placed in the Kafkaesque position of being invited “to submit further argumentation” without knowing on what subject. The case of the Government of Australia versus Hidaka continued amid massive publicity in Australia and Japan for two and a half years until July 1983, but no charges were ever laid against him by the Government or by anyone else.

The visa refusal was the occasion for the eruption of a broad-based movement of protest, in both Australia and Japan. On 1 February 1981, five highly reputable Japanese public figures wrote to the Australian government on Hidaka’s behalf.31 It was the first salvo in a campaign that eventually brought protests from a total of over five hundred Japanese scholars, diplomats, literary figures and politicians. Reading like a Japanese Who’s Who,32 it included the name of a former (1953-1955) Japanese ambassador to Australia, Nishi Haruhiko.33

Yet the Australian government was not impressed. A memorandum from its man on the spot in Tokyo commented that “a number of people who are making representations seemed to be on the extreme left in Japan.”34 When it came to drawing up a response to Governor Nagasu, the relevant official at DIEA commissioned a reply which was to be “full of oriental curtesy [sic] combined with Ocker knockback.”35

Within Australia, the approach suggested by ASIO at the outset had been to “confer discreetly” with the universities, presumably anticipating ready concurrence with the government once national security and the “terrorist connection” was mentioned, but from the start the universities were incredulous at the ban and refused to accept official protestations of “special circumstances” justifying it.

Hidaka responded to the (indirect) Australian invitation to “submit further argumentation” by surmising that the problem must have arisen out of events which occurred in Paris in 1974.36 He and his wife had bought a house in a Paris suburb (Draveil). In July 1974, while Rokuro was on a visit to Japan, his wife, Nobuko, along with about one hundred other Japanese residents in Paris, was detained by the French police in the course of investigations into the Japanese Red Army (Sekigun), amid reports that some Sekigun members may have held a meeting in the upstairs room of the Hidaka house. This was at a time when the room in question was being used by a friend of the Hidaka’s, a professor of French literature from St Paul’s (Rikkyo) University in Tokyo. Mrs Hidaka was detained for three days (four nights) but her assurances that she knew nothing of the guests of her guest were accepted and she was released without penalty of any kind. Professor Hidaka himself was not questioned by the Japanese (or any other) police about the incident. The Australian government files on the Hidakas include translations of the sensational articles that appeared in the Japanese press about this incident at the time, but did not report that Mrs Hidaka was released after being cleared of suspicion.

In February 1975, however, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Professor Hidaka that “for the time being” he and his wife would not be allowed back into France.37 Their names would appear to have been added to some kind of “ban” list following that decision, and the Australian government appears to have based its decision on their both being on that list. It was not until April 1984 that Professor Hidaka demonstrated, by making a visit to France, that there was no longer any such ban, although it was 1989 before the Hidaka’s resumed their Paris residence under long-term residential visas, only returning to Japan in 2006, as Rokuro entered his eighty-ninth year.

But the Paris events of 1974 were not the only items in the Australian government’s case against the Hidakas. On 28 July 1981 Mr Menadue wrote to Professor Hidaka confirming that the reason for the rejection was “based on the direct association of both of you with the Japanese Red Army.” But he went on:

“You raised the incident in France in 1974 as a possible explanation of that refusal. In fact that incident does not represent the total extent of reasons for denying you both a visa. Given the nature of the information available to the Australian Government you will readily understand that I cannot disclose publicly or even to you its full extent.”38

There are two points to be made about this. First is that Menadue’s letter clearly contradicted the claim made in various letters to third parties that Hidaka was “fully aware of the reasons”, which could be, and had been, explained only to him.39 Menadue himself was sensitive to this problem, and he recorded a note on the file as this reply to Hidaka was being drafted:

“Can’t we tell Hidaka more precisely why he is not being admitted? Has he really been told as suggested in the letters?”40

Menadue obviously believed that the answer was no.

Secondly, if the Paris affair was only one element in the case against Hidaka, of what else might it have consisted? Deletions of most of the security material from the file make it hard to know for sure, but there are some interesting clues. On 10 March 1981 Mr W. A. Higgie of the DIEA entered a handwritten minute on the file saying:

“I think we also want to know clearly in writing from ASIO the activities they have been involved in. I am a little concerned at the Japanese police report which cited anti­ Vietnam activities-that’s not good enough. [Underlining in original”.

He also wrote:

“Bear in mind the need to show more than just impure thoughts”.

So Japanese police reports were taken into consideration; they focused on Hidaka’s anti-Vietnam War stance, a matter quite unrelated to international terrorism, and Australian governmental officials most closely connected with the Hidaka matter were dubious about the case from the outset.

Hidaka’s role as a critic of the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s is well known. Mr Higgie was rightly troubled that such opposition should be cited in the early 1980s as a reason for his non-admission to Australia. It is only by a (presumed) slip on the part of the government censors that this entry was not deleted, and it is impossible to know what effect the Japanese police report had on government thinking. It is the only indication to be found in the voluminous governmental records of the case of any disapproval of Professor Hidaka by any official Japanese governmental body.

Some information plainly did emanate from the United States, since a DIEA memo dated 5 February 1981 lists three sources of information: Japan, France, and the United States. So it is quite possible that the same Japanese police reports were entered on Washington’s files too.

In December 1981 the chief of the leftist investigations section in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Mr Kunimatsu Koji, made a public statement on the case.41 His views gained added significance from the fact that between 1974 and 1977 he had been in charge of political affairs at the Japanese embassy in Paris. According to Kunimatsu:

“… his department was holding no evidence against the Hidakas [sic, i.e. both Rokuro and his wife Nobuko]. Japanese police had no grounds to believe the professor or his wife associated with Red Army elements.

Newspaper reports that we gave information to the Australian Government are completely groundless.”

Later, a senior Foreign Ministry official told a Japanese newspaper that the Hidakas were in the clear as far as his Department was concerned,42 and the Minister of Foreign Affairs himself, Sakurauchi Yoshio, when questioned in the Diet, stated in response to repeated questions from the leader of the opposition, Doi Takako, that the government of Japan had no reason whatever to suspect Hidaka of any connection with the Red Army.43 Hidaka himself was seated in the member’s section of the Diet to hear himself being vindicated.

The government of Japan could scarcely do more to distance itself from the Australian government allegations against the Hidakas. Despite that, Ian Macphee, Immigration Minister, told The Australian newspaper in December 1981:

“I don’t think the Japanese ambassador [Kuroda Mizuo] wants to say anything, but I can tell you in my conversations with him, he’s absolutely endorsed my position and told us we’d be mad to let him in.”44

Kuroda later denied he had said any such thing.45 Macphee went on to say that Hidaka, in denying the allegations against him, was “a liar,” that the Japan Foundation, which had assumed sponsorship of the Hidaka Australia visit, had done so by some “bureaucratic error,” that the hundreds of prominent Japanese people who had supported Hidaka had been “misled,” and that the Mainichi newspaper group, which chose the height of the Hidaka wrangle to announce the award of its highly prestigious prize to Hidaka for his new book, was “wrong” to have done so. As I noted in 1984 of this remarkable statement, here, stripped of all “oriental curtesy,” was the “Ockerism” called for within the Immigration Department.

Macphee ‘s unguarded remarks drew an angry response from yet another prestigious group of Japanese intellectuals, in which, inter alia, they accused him of libel.46 Hidaka himself called on Macphee to “observe the proprieties” and base the discussion on “reasoned argumentation, not name-calling.”47 He also gave vent to a thought that was beginning to trouble influential Japanese who were closely following the case:

“Although there has been the suggestion that “White Australian-ism” may be an element throughout the entire case, I never took it seriously. However, I doubt that an Australian politician would use this type of abusive language in reference to British or American professors.”

Macphee ‘s vexation at the continuance of the Hidaka case was shared by others in influential positions concerned with Australia-­Japan relations. In November 1981, a special meeting of the government’s Consultative Committee on Relations with Japan took up the problem. The meeting is described in a minute dated 18 November 1981 by P. B. Eyles, First Assistant Secretary of DIEA’s “Operations and International” Division. The solitary academic at the meeting, Professor Wang Gungwu of Australian National University, joined with P. G. Henderson, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, in insisting on the importance of the impact of the affair on academic and cultural relations between the two countries. Australia’s ambassador, Sir James Plimsoll, denied that relations were really being affected. J Stone, Secretary to the Treasury, believed that the matter should be dismissed “… as being of concern only to a group of academics and of no real importance”; Gordon Jackson, chairman of the Committee, believed that the Hidaka connection with the Red Army should be accepted and Australia would “have to bear the implications” of the necessary government action. Sir Geoffrey Yeend, Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department, was of like mind, stressing that not only was the DIEA involved in the decision but ” others ” (presumably ASIO) as well. The Executive Director of the Japan Secretariat, Richard Broinowski, summed up the situation:

“[Mr Broinowski’s] own view was that in any efforts we might make to contain the situation the Japanese academics should be the main target [sic]. He felt the actions of the Japanese Government in the matter were contrary to our friendship agreement and this was a view we ought to be putting to our contacts at ministerial level.”

Broinowski ‘s position was one of absolute confidence in ASIO and in the correctness of the decision taken on ASIO advice. The publication of high-level Japanese government dismissal of the charges against the Hidakas (including the ministerial statement in the Diet) stirred only resentment, and the bizarre suggestion that Australia could, and should, put pressure on Japan to change its position and to see to it that “Japanese academics should be the main target.” In similar vein, a separate DIEA opinion was that “our best step is to put pressure [sic] on the Japanese Embassy to fix it by making some denial.”48 Here again is the assumption, as bizarre as it was offensive, that Australia was in a position to “put pressure” on Japan in order to find a way out of the problems arising from its own mistake.

Such attitudes, though of course confined to confidential official files, seemed to confirm the worst suspicions expressed by Hidaka and the Japanese intellectuals supporting him.

In the Australian federal elections of March 1983, Malcolm Fraser’s Liberal­-Country Party coalition was defeated and replaced by an Australian Labor Party government under Bob Hawke. By this time, the Japanese protesters had grown to over five hundred. The shadowy allegations against Hidaka and his wife remained unsubstantiated. Apart from the authorities of the two universities in Australia that had originally invited him, multiple university and professional bodies and individual scholars and cultural and political figures expressed their disquiet at the apparent denial of civil liberties to the Hidakas through government acceptance of unsubstantiated and secret allegations against them.49 One of the first matters facing the new Immigration Minister was the Hidaka case. Eventually, on 14 July 1983, a few days after a major ABC radio programme devoted to the affair, the new Minister, Stewart West, ordered that the ban be lifted.

After two and a half years of struggle, Professor Hidaka finally succeeded in clearing his name. Vindicated, though lacking this time the official backing and financial support of the Japan Foundation, in September 1983 he arrived in Australia to deliver his lectures at Monash and La Trobe Universities and in April 1984 spent several weeks visiting France. Not until 1989, however, were he and Nobuko able to actually resume occupancy of their suburban Paris home.

Hidaka Rokuro, Arriving Melbourne, 1983, Two and a Half Years Late

Both governments (Japan and Australia) were embarrassed by the affair. In Australia, the ignorance of the Japanese cultural and intellectual world on the part of all those connected with the case was profound. The massive files which accumulated on the affair50 show that no one had any idea who Hidaka was, or of his centrality to democratic and human rights causes over the entre post-war period. Numerous articles by Hidaka on cultural, educational, and political matters appeared in leading Japanese journals during the course of the affair, but none was translated or brought to the attention of Canberra. Furthermore, the tendency to think that the problem might be solved by putting “pressure” on Japan suggests that ignorance was spiced with arrogance and at least a tinge of racism. One unexpected fruit of the affair was the translation and publication in English of Hidaka’s 1980 book, Sengo shiso o kangaeru (literally “Thinking about Post-war Thought”) under the title of The Price of Affluence.51

5. Retrospect

In Japan throughout the “Hidaka affair,” intellectuals showed an admirable commitment to support one of their number against baseless accusations. Hidaka continued to be widely read and respected and his opinions published in the media, and the government intervened to help clear Hidaka’s name from the accusations emanating from Canberra. It seems to be the case, however, that the file contained reference to Hidaka’s anti-Vietnam War stance, as though that might be problematic. When the spokesman for the Japanese Foreign Ministry assured the Diet that this case had been “extremely exceptional” and ”will not occur again,”52 that did not necessarily mean that fundamental human rights would henceforth be better protected. A March 1982 Departmental note on the Australian file reveals that “the Japanese authorities on their own initiative have indicated that no grants will be given by the Japan Foundation until both Japanese and Australian Governments are consulted.” 53 In future, in other words, governments and their security organizations would ensure that no public wrangles occur by carefully vetting in advance applications for scholarly support. In that case, radical pacifists of Professor Hidaka’s ilk would be unlikely to be selected by the Japan Foundation in future. Since Japanese studies in Australia (and elsewhere) had come to depend significantly on the patronage of the Japan Foundation this raised serious problems about academic freedom and international cultural exchange.54 Furthermore, although the visa problem was finally resolved in 1982, Hidaka by then had spent roughly two years of his life engaged in frustrating and demanding struggle, despite which the Japan Foundation refused to restore the financial backing it initially attached to his lecture/research visit to Australia.55 This author visited the Japan Foundation office in Tokyo (late in 1982 or early 1983) to argue the case for restoring the funding, but the Foundation’s attitude was that a fresh application would have to be launched, a process which would inevitably take one or more years.

The Australian Government record makes it clear that Hidaka Rokuro’s name appeared on something called the “Migration Alert List.” Little is known of how this list is drawn up and takes effect but there is reason to think that the Hidaka case might have been merely the tip of an iceberg of cases of state violation of human rights in visa matters. Even during the affair, a delegation of 348 Japanese representatives of disarmament organizations, including the Japan Communist Party-related Gensuikyo, was refused visas to attend the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament,56 the “Pugwash Conference” organization of scientists against nuclear weapons complained that for the first time since its inception in 1957 it had suffered state intervention in the form of a refusal by the government of Canada to admit two distinguished scientists who happened to be Soviet citizens,57 and the US refused a visa to a Japanese woman anti-nuclear activist whose husband had been killed in the 1950s by the hydrogen bomb tests carried out by the US at Bikini Atoll.58 Such cases, together with that of the Hidakas, pointed to the need for procedures for the protection of the rights of individuals against the visa powers of the state. The most unusual feature of the Hidakas case may be not that he challenged the Australian and Japanese governments, but that he won.

Among the most moving pages in Hidaka’s 1980 book are those in which he wrote of the suffering victims of Minamata, not just as Japan’s problem but as part of its solution. The community of victims and aid workers that had grown up around Minamata was precisely the vision that he was proposing for the new society. There he found love and mutual respect, and believed that a unique solution to the problems of work, alienation, remuneration and co-operation was being worked out. It was indeed a radical view, but in prophetic, utopian terms quite distinct from the way radicalism is conventionally understood, certainly beyond the comprehension of the bureaucrats and officials who grappled with his thinking in the course of the “Hidaka affair.”

By the time Hidaka died, in June 2018, that “affair” had been all but forgotten in both countries. His passing was not mentioned in the Australian media and in Japan, although the significance of his life was widely acknowledged, the Australian episode rated only the briefest mention. These scattered notes on his life are written in the hope of stirring a younger scholar to undertake the proper biography he deserves and in gratitude to Hidaka Rokuro and Nobuko for having generously opened for this author many windows upon modern history, life, meaning, humanity, over meetings and discussions in Kamakura, Tokyo, Paris, Kyoto, and Melbourne.



Since Rokuro wrote that his father had been a witness to the Boxer rebellion (1899-1901) he presumably arrived in Beijing in 1901. (Hidaka Rokuro, “Ozaki Yukio ‘bohyo no kawari ni’,” Sekai, February 2000, pp. 184-198, at p. 184.)


According to Rokuro, (Kurokawa So, Hidaka Rokuro 95-sai no porutore daiwa o toshite, Shinjuku shobo, 2012, p. 37).


As Rokuro explained (Kurokawa, p. 37). See also Hidaka Rokuro, Senso no naka de kangaeta koto, aru kazoku no monogatari, Chikuma shobo, 2005.


Kurokawa, pp. 38-40


Kurokawa, pp. 46-49


“Manshukoku to Nippon,” Akatsuki, No. 80, 25 January 1935, ibid, frontispiece.


Kurokawa, p. 53, Senso no naka de kangaeta koto, p. 210.


Rokuro Hidaka, The Price of Affluence: Dilemmas of Contemporary Japan, translated and edited by Gavan McCormack and others, Kodansha International, 1984, Penguin Australia (with Foreword and Afterword by Gavan McCormack), 1985, p. 57.


Miyake Yoshio, “Higashi Ajia shisoka to shite no Hidaka Rokuro,” Sekai, August 2018, pp. 224-233, at p. 226.


Ibid, p. 227.


“Kokusaku tenkan ni kansuru shoken.” For the full text, see Senso no naka de kangaeta koto, pp. 235-257. Included here is the somewhat foreshortened version Hidaka included in his 1980 book, in my translation as originally published in 1984 in The Price of Affluence, pp. 168 to 176.


The Price of Affluence, p. 176.


Ibid., p 168.


Kurokawa, p. 88.


Kurokawa, p. 103.


Kurokawa, p. 116,


Kurokawa, p. 119.


His colleagues and contemporaries, all of whom he eventually outlived, included Maruyama Masao, Kato Shuichi, Kuno Osamu and Tsurumi Shunsuke.


Hidaka Rokuro, “Kokka wa kanri taisei kyoka,” Asahi shimbun, evening edition, 7 June 1982.


1970s and 1980s. On Hidaka’s 1974 visit to Kim Dae-jung (then under house arrest) in Seoul, Kurokawa, pp. 137ff.


Kurokawa, p. 126.


Kurokawa, p. 127.


Erihi Furomu, Jiyu kara no toso, Sogensha, 1951


Hidaka Rokuro, “Mitsu no 40 nenme -‘kioku o ikiiki to tamotsu koto’ no imi,” Sekai, September 1985, pp. 23-34.


“Background Briefing,” ABC radio, 10 July 1983


Geoffrey Barker, “An anarchist for the eighties,” The Age, Melbourne, 22 September 1983.


The Australian government record of this affair, minus certain deletions of “security” material, was released in March 1984 under a Freedom of Information Act application and constitutes the major record for the following discussion. See my Foreword and Afterword to The Price of Affluence, and in Japanese, “Demokurashi fuashizumu – Hidaka mondai o megutte,” Sekai, February 1985, pp. 254-7. For Hidaka’s own reflections, Kurokawa, pp. 133ff.


The Red Army sect was already infamous for the hijacking of a Japan Air Lines plane to Pyongyang in 1971, for the machine-gunning incident at Lod Airport in Tel Aviv in May 1972.


Hidaka letter to Professor J.V. Neustupny, Monash University, and Dr Yoshio Sugimoto, La Trobe University, 14 February 1981.


John Menadue, Secretary of DIEA, to Professor Neustupny, 9 February 1981.


Kuwabara Takeo (Professor Emeritus of Kyoto University), Maruyama Masao (Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University, and the doyen of Japanese political scientists), Nagasu Kazuji (Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture), Kato Shuichi (Professor at Sophia University), and Edo Nobuyoshi (President of Kyoto Seika University).


As one journalist put it (Ken Merrigan, The Sun, 11 July 1981).


Most of these are reproduced in the Higher Education Supplement of The Australian, edited by Dr John Bremer, whosc coverage of the affair from September 1981 was exhaustive.


Comment by Mr Horvath in Tokyo, quoted in a memorandum of 10 April 1981 on the DIEA file by Mr R. U. Metcalfe, Assistant Secretary of the Department.


“Ocker” – an Australian term meaning uncouth, uncultivated. (Mr W. A. Higgie, Memo of 28 April 1981 to Mr Metcalfe.)


Hidaka, Statement of 2 February 1981, and letter to Menadue, 30 June 1981.


Hidaka Rokuro, “Watakushi wa sono riyu o shiritai,” Asahi janaru, 24 July 1981, pp. 92-94


Text in full in “Higher Education Supplement,” The Australian, 16 September 1981.


Menadue to Neustupny, 9 February 1981.


Memorandum on file, dated 24 July 1981.


In interview with Tokyo correspondent, Alan Goodall, The Australian, 16 December 1981.


The head of the passport section of the Ministry, Asahi shimbun, 14 December 1981,


Minutes of the Budget Committee of House of Representatives, 1 March 1982. And see John Bremer in The Australian, 24 March 1982. (And see Kurokawa, p. 160.)


The Australian, 2 December 1981.


Ibid, 28 April 1982.


See The Australian, 5 January 1982


Ibid., 9 December 1981


DIEA Memo, 9 March 1982, author name illegible.


Inter alia, and apart from the original inviting institutions, Monash and LaTrobe Universities, the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations (FAUSA), the Asian Studies Association of Australia, the Japanese Studies Association of Australia, the Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand, and the School of Modern Asian Studies at Griffith University.


The eight folios of material released by DIEA covering the period January 1981 to July 1982 contain 1428 pages.


The translation was undertaken by a group of Australia-based Japan scholars as part of the struggle to reverse the visa ban. Rokuro Hidaka, The Price of Affluence – Dilemmas of Contemporary Japan, New York and Tokyo, Kodansha International, 1984, and (including Foreword and Afterword by Gavan McCormack), Ringwood, Penguin Australia, 1985.


Diet proceedings, 1 March 1982.


Memo by L. B. Woodward, “Personal Explanation for Mr McPhee,” draft for a possible statement to parliament (not in the end made), 17 March 1982.


For a further discussion of this point, see my “Our Japan scholars need funds but at what cost?” The Australian, Higher Education Supplement, 23 May 1990, p. 19.


This author recalls hearing from Hidaka at the time that no sooner had he learned of the refusal of the Australian visa than a courier arrived from the Japan Foundation to demand return (in cash) of the moneys advanced towards the Australian visit.


Asahi shimbun, 3 June 1982. Writing in that same paper a few days later (7 June 1982) Hidaka pointed out that, despite Japan being the only country to have experienced nuclear attack, it opposed the resolution against nuclear weapons adopted at the UN General Assembly session of autumn 1981 by a vote of 121 to 19, with 6 abstentions.


Ishimoto Yasuo, “Shuken no sen-etsu,” Sekai, November 1981, pp. 14-19


On this later case, of Kuboyama Aikichi, see Hidaka in Asahi janaru, 22 January 1982.

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Volume 16 | Issue 21 | Number 4

Article ID 5215

About the author:

Gavan McCormack is emeritus professor at the Australian National University and a founding editor at The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus. He is author of many works on modern and contemporary East Asia, most recently Resistant Islands: Okinawa versus Japan and the United States (co-authored with Satoko Oka Norimatsu), 2nd, revised and expanded paperback edition, Rowman and Littlefield, 2018, and The State of the Japanese State – Contested Identity, Direction, and Role, Folkestone, Kent: Renaissance Books, 2018.

The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus is a peer-reviewed publication, providing critical analysis of the forces shaping the Asia-Pacific and the world.

    About the author:

    Gavan McCormack is emeritus professor at the Australian National University and a founding editor at The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus. He is author of many works on modern and contemporary East Asia, most recently Resistant Islands: Okinawa versus Japan and the United States (co-authored with Satoko Oka Norimatsu), 2nd, revised and expanded paperback edition, Rowman and Littlefield, 2018, and The State of the Japanese State – Contested Identity, Direction, and Role, Folkestone, Kent: Renaissance Books, 2018.


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