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Networking for War Criminal Amnesty: The Establishment of Japan’s War Convicted Benefit Society

April 1, 2020
Volume 18 | Issue 7 | Number 1
Article ID 5383

Précis: This article makes use of network analysis to examine the establishment of the War Convicted Benefit Society (Sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai), an influential advocacy group in the popular movement that pushed for amnesty for Japanese war criminals from 1952 to 1958. By graphing the networks created by members of the Society, I demonstrate that early Occupation policies, precisely those that convicted and purged these old elites and resulted in the detention of many of them in Sugamo prison, actually created a new network of conservative power figures by linking the otherwise unconnected old mid-rank military network and the old colonial/political elite network to rally around their common experience of being “prosecuted.”


Keywords: war crimes, war criminals, war responsibility, Allied Occupation of Japan, right wing, civil society, nationalism, amnesty, social movement


In May 1955, the government of the Netherlands approved the release from Sugamo Prison of ten war criminals under its jurisdiction. Sugamo Prison was where most Japanese war criminals were detained after the war crime trials, including the famous International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), or the Tokyo Tribunal. While eight of the ten departed from the prison by the end of the month, the other two, both of Korean nationality,1 refused their release because the Japanese government declined to offer them the financial aid that was available to war criminals of Japanese nationality. As the two sides bargained, activist groups (mainly consisting of already released or paroled Korean-national war criminals) supporting the two began to hold demonstrations in front of the Diet building in Tokyo. As the event was spinning out of the government’s control, an organization called the “War Convicted Benefit Society” (戦争受刑者世話会Sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai, hereafter “Society”) stepped in. It offered each of the released war criminals holding “third nationality” (第三国人daisangoku-jin, which referred to Koreans and Taiwanese, former colonial subjects of Japan and has become a derogatory slur today) a onetime gift of 20,000 yen (roughly equivalent to 400,000 yen or $4,000 today)2 upon their release. Soon after, at the request of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (kōsei-shō), the Society established a subsidiary organization to manage government funds totaling 6,450,000 yen (roughly 129,000,000 yen or $1,290,000 today) to resolve the problems related to released war criminals with “third nationalities,”3 enabling both de facto governmental aid to this sensitive category of people and the de jure official absence of the government from involvement in issues that were apparently too politically risky for it to handle publicly. An obscure organization almost buried in history, the Society was actually notable for the participation of members both famous and powerful in postwar Japan, including Kishi Nobusuke, the later Prime Minister of Japan.

Few would deny that the war crime trials across Asia and the Occupation’s policies—such as disbanding the Japanese military and punishing and purging those branded as right-wing, war-collaborating elites—dismantled “militarist” control in politics and economy in Japan. But some scholars have complicated this conclusion by demonstrating that the defeat and the Occupation did not completely reshuffle the power structure in Japan. In order to decipher the power complex that continued to exist, one must look deeper, not only into politicians and government organs but into groups in “civil society,” including those playing crucial roles in the popular 1950s movement for the amnesty of war criminals. While studies of Japan’s war crime trials and war criminals have flourished in the last two decades thanks to the surfacing of new sources,4 this 1950s popular movement and the supposedly “civilian” advocacy groups in it have rarely been studied in the Anglophone literature and only sporadically examined in the Japanese literature.5

In Anglophone academe, scholars in the 1990s, such as John W. Dower, engaged in the debate on Japan’s “long postwar” and provided broad-stroke and comprehensive studies of Japan’s transformation in the 1940s and ’50s after defeat. More recently, scholars such as Franziska Seraphim, Barak Kushner, and Sandra Wilson have built on this debate and delved more deeply into concrete topics such as postwar memory politics and war crime trial systems across Asia and have provided overviews of this 1950s movement. Japanese scholars, such as Nakadate Yuki, Oe Hiroyo, and Kaneda Toshimasa, have dealt with this movement in more detail by laying bare the structures of the government agencies that supported it. 

This study builds on this previous scholarship and takes it a step further by examining the establishment of The War Convicted Benefit Society, an organization crucial to the war criminal amnesty movement. Doing so sheds light on how Occupation-period policies affected the networking of right-leaning political agents who laid the foundation for how the Japanese government has handled its colonial and wartime legacies throughout the postwar era. Using network analysis techniques, this paper argues that under the surface, early Occupation policies, precisely those that judged and purged these old elites and resulted in the incarceration of many of them in Sugamo prison, actually enabled its members to rally around their common experience of being “prosecuted” and thus created a new complex of conservative power figures by allowing otherwise unconnected right-wing networks, such as colonial elite networks and mid-rank military networks, to merge into a “parastatal complex.”6 Serving as the state’s commissioner in the sphere of civil society and tackling issues like the discontent of war criminals of “third nationality,” this “parastatal complex” also helped the government to evade thorny issues and maintain its ambivalence towards Japan’s negative colonial and war legacies. 

The first published account of the establishment of the Society was by Toyoda Kumao (1901-1995), a veteran and later a bureaucrat, in his memoir Additional Records of the War Crime Trials (Sensō saiban yoroku) published in 1986.7 According to Toyoda, it was Hara Chūichi, a former Vice Admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy (海軍中将kaigun chūjō) and a convicted war criminal tried in Guam and sent back to Sugamo Prison to serve his time, who spearheaded the founding of the Society after he was released from Sugamo in April 1951. Hara then visited Shōriki Matsutarō and Fujiwara Ginjirō for donations to help the war criminals still detained. Shōriki held tremendous power in the sphere of police institutions and the business world (as the head of the Yomiuri Shimbun) before the war. In the postwar period, he would become the don of the Japanese Baseball League and a key figure in advancing nuclear power (as a CIA asset). Fujiwara was a tycoon in the paper-making business whose Oji Paper held 80% of Japan’s domestic market share at its height before the defeat. He was also very active in politics, advising several wartime cabinets on business advancement in Japan’s colonies. Both Shōriki and Fujiwara, who had been deeply involved with multiple wartime cabinets, were arrested and detained in Sugamo Prison as suspects of war crimes but were never charged. After convincing the two to donate, Hara also reached out to Kishi Nobusuke, Ayukawa Yoshisuke, Ino Hiroya, Gōko Kiyoshi, Murata Shōzō, and Ishihara Hiroichirō, and all eight started to donate to the detainees in Sugamo. Like Shōriki and Fujiwara, these were powerful figures of the prewar upper social echelon. Kishi, a key power broker in the colonization of Manchuria, would later become the Prime Minister of Japan. Ayukawa, an associate of Kishi in Manchuria, was similarly influential in business and politics. Ino had been the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and the Minister of Colonial Affairs. Gōko was the head of Mitsubishi Industries. Murata held several ministerial posts and was the top adviser for the occupation of Philippines. Ishihara was a mining tycoon who made his fortune from Japan’s colonies across Asia. All of them people were deeply involved in Japan’s projects of colonization and war in Asia, which were what made them wealthy and powerful. This also made them easy targets for the GHQ: all eight were arrested and detained in Sugamo Prison by the GHQ for suspected Class A war crimes, although they were never charged in the end. Instead, they were purged from politics in the early Occupation period. This group founded the Society after the conclusion of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952, which, to the disappointment of incarcerated war criminals (many of whom expected full amnesty), stipulated that the jurisdiction of Japanese war criminals would remain in the hands of the Allied nations that tried them, and the newly “independent” Japan would be responsible for carrying out their remaining sentences.8 The Society, along with many other advocacy groups, worked with government workers such as Toyoda to raise money for war criminals and their families, lobby the Diet, and publicize the plight of incarcerated war criminals throughout the 1950s until all were paroled or released in 1958. 

From sources in the National Archive about the Society, one can gain a more detailed picture of the Society’s inception. Before its official founding, a “Preparation Committee for the (Working Title) War Convicted Benefit Society” (Sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai (kashō) junbi iinkai) was established with Ino Hiroya as the chairman and Hara as assistant to the chairman. According to its bylaws, the Preparation Committee was tasked with drafting the prospectus and bylaws of the Society, identifying people willing to become founders (発起人hokkinin), persuading them to do so, fund-raising, etc. All of the regular members (一般委員ippan iin) of the Committee later became executive directors (常務理事 jōmu riji) of the Society.9 The Preparation Committee reached out to a wide network of prominent social figures, a large number of whom agreed to serve as “voluntary founders” (発起有志hokki yūshi).10 With 342 people agreeing to be founders, the Society was officially established in May 1952 with Fujiwara Ginjirō, a paper-making tycoon, as its president, a board of twenty-two executive directors (常務理事jōmu riji) tasked with the operation of the Society, and a board of fourteen regular directors (理事riji) who were not as involved as the former group but who could attend the Society’s meetings and assist with its activities.11 Figure 1 summarizes this process. 


Figure 1. Establishment and Organization of the Society (click to expand)


All eight of the original donors became both executive directors and voluntary founders. However, none of the names of the regular members of the Preparation Committee, with the exception of Ino Hiroya, appear in the list of signatures of the “voluntary founders.” 

This is likely because most of the members in the Preparation Committee were not as socially prominent as the “voluntary founders.” For example, while all the former military officers in the “voluntary founders” group were either generals in the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) or admirals in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), the ranks of those on the Preparation Committee were never higher than lieutenant general in the IJA or vice admiral in the IJN. Although it was Hara who initiated the founding of the Society by reaching out to the eight prominent figures, he only served under Ino Hiroya, the chairman of the Preparation Committee, who had been the Minister of Colonial Affairs among many other top government posts. Nonetheless, the regular members of the Preparation Committee did become executive directors of the Society, indicating that they were involved in the core operations of the Society. This speaks to the different functions of and relationship among the different committees. As Figure 2.1 shows, the Preparation Committee consisted of Hara and many other mid-level former military men and bureaucrats who had been involved in wartime cabinets. 


Figure 2.1 Background of Preparation Committee Members (click to expand)


For example, Nukada Hiroshi, was a military official in the Army and ended up in the First Ministry of Demobilization after the war. In contrast, except for Ino Hiroya, who chaired the Preparation Committee (although the chair may have been an honorary post), none of the original eight sponsors of the Society were on the Preparation Committee, but all of them became executive directors. They also signed the letter to raise funds and recruit other founding members. Rather than day-to-day operations and logistics, the role of the executive directors was apparently to use their prestige to network with other socially prominent figures like themselves. 

Nonetheless, the Preparation Committee was certainly not just a group of clerks dealing with paperwork. Its members served an important function through their unique networks. Outside of its official members, the Preparation Committee also had a Supporting Committee (贊與委員会 sanyo iinkai) that consisted of bureaucrats from the Ministry of Justice (法務府hōmufu, later法務省hōmushō), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (外務省gaimushō), and other government agencies. How did these connections come to help the Society? The career trajectory of Toyoda, who wrote the first polished account of the Society, can shed light on this. Toyoda served in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and steadily ascended its ranks, reaching the rank of colonel (taisa) in 1944. After the end of WWII, he was demobilized and given a job in the Second Ministry of Demobilization (第二復員省 daini fukuinshō) and soon the Second Bureau of Demobilization (第二復員局daini fukuinkyoku). Toyoda was hardly an exception in terms of his career trajectory. After defeat, the huge military-related ministries, the Ministry of the Army (陸軍省rikugunshō) and the Ministry of the Navy (海軍省kaigunshō), were disbanded per the terms of the surrender. However, as the demobilization of thousands of Japanese soldiers also had to be carried out, preferably by people with relevant bureaucratic knowledge and skills, the government retained these former military bureaucrats and restructured the two ministries into the First Ministry of Demobilization (第一復員省daiichi fukuinshō), which specialized in the demobilization of former army officers, and the Second Ministry of Demobilization (第二復員省daini fukuinshō), for the demobilization of former navy officers. Toyoda ended up in what would become the Judiciary and Legal Affairs Investigation Unit in the Second Ministry of Demobilization, which later went defunct on paper, but in fact continued to exist as collated fragments in the government: a sizable number of bureaus, units, and personnel from the demobilization agencies were transferred and merged into other ministries such as the Ministry of Health and Welfare. In many of these governmental organs, the former military officers formed powerful cliques pursuing their own agendas, usually characterized by efforts to offer rehabilitation and reparations, both financial and symbolic, to former military personnel. Hata Ikuhiko offers one such example in his account of the Yasukuni controversies, in which he argues that the clique of former military officers (kyū gunjin gurūpu) in the Ministry of Health and Welfare played an important role in negotiating the enshrinement of war criminals and the installment of pension and governmental benefits for war criminals and their families.12 This has been buttressed by more in-depth studies by Nakadate Yuki on the Society’s and the Investigation Unit’s roles in the Yasukuni enshrinement of Class B and C war criminals and in the war criminals amnesty movement.13

As Figure 2.1 and Figure 2.2 show, of fourteen members of the Preparation Committee, half, or seven, were mid-upper-level military bureaucrats before Japan’s defeat (five in the IJN and two in the IJA). 


Figure 2.2 Networks in the Preparation Committee (click to expand)


Of the five members of the supporting committee, two were former military officers: Inoue Tadao was a former lieutenant general (大佐 taisa) in the IJA who had become Toyoda’s colleague,14 and Ichikizaki Hidemaru was a former commander (中佐chūsa) in the IJN and later a vice admiral (海将 kaishō) in the Maritime Self-Defense Force. Although not a military man himself, Masaki Hideki was the son of Masaki Jinzaburō, a former IJA general who was suspected and arrested for Class A war crimes (but not charged). He became a staff in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then the interpreter for the Shōwa emperor in the postwar era.

 As Nakadate succinctly points out, field-officer-level bureaucrats in the former military, the “mainstays” of the army and navy (kyū-teikoku rikukai-gun no chūken-sō ni ataru sakan-kyū kanryō) like Toyoda, played a key role in the establishment of organizations such as the Society after they became civilian bureaucrats in the reformed postwar ministries.15 People like Toyoda, Inoue, and Ichikizaki not only helped with the paperwork and investigation necessary to jumpstart the Society, they also contacted bureaucrats in the prefectural demobilization and welfare agencies—namely the people with backgrounds similar to their own—for help with connecting to families of war criminals living outside metropoles. In this way, they effectively networked the Society into local societies across Japan from the very beginning.16 While the Occupation dramatically reorganized the Japanese government and the old military institutions seemingly crumbled, old networks stemming from the pre-defeat military did not disappear but infiltrated into the new bureaucratic structure, exerting their influence in places where state and society meet. 

While this old military network secured bureaucratic support for the Society, its connection to the prewar political elite network made the Society more coherent and powerful. If what linked Hara and Toyoda was the old military network that was superimposed onto the reorganized bureaucracy during the Occupation, what enabled Hara to approach and convince the original eight patrons (all of them prewar political and colonial elites) to support Sugamo detainees was the patrons’ common experience with the war crime trials. As previously mentioned, all eight were suspected of Class A war crimes, and Hara was himself convicted of Class B war crimes and served his sentence. Such experiences were common among the members of the Society. Figure 3, a graph of the Society’s directors (both regular and executive) at the founding and their experiences with the issues related to war crimes, indicates that personal experiences of being suspected or charged with war crimes or being purged were a likely a point of solidarity for members of the Society. 


Figure 3 War Crimes-related Experiences of Members (click to expand)


As one can see, only fourteen out of the fifty-two members were neither purged from public office nor suspected or charged with war crimes. Fourteen were purged from public office under the Occupation but never incarcerated, and twenty-two had been detained in Sugamo Prison, mostly because they were arrested for suspected war crimes. Furthermore, nineteen were either charged or suspected of Class A war crimes, and three, all middle-upper level former military men including Hara, were convicted of Class B or C war crimes. Few convicted (in contrast to suspected) Class A war criminals were in the Society at its establishment because most were either executed or still detained in Sugamo Prison (Shigemitsu Mamoru was paroled in 1951 and thus in the Society). The fact that many of the Society members had been detained or purged indicates that they had some level of involvement with the wartime cabinets, and thus many of them already known each another. However, their shared experience with the war crime trials that connected them to the network of mid-rank military officers (with whom they otherwise would not have networked) laid the groundwork for the Society, linking them together with a more personal and concrete common cause. If the experience of being suspected as a war criminal or barred from public office made these directors sympathize with other convicted war criminals (like Hara, who approached them in the beginning), then the more concrete and physical experience of being arrested and detained together in Sugamo Prison must have brought them even closer together. 

The common experience of the war crime trials bound together the prewar mid-rank military and the upper-echelon elite networks and created a “parastatal complex,” which enabled its members to accrue political capital by doing the government’s job in the civil sphere. The best example of this is the incident of the so-called “third-national” war criminals introduced at the beginning of this article. Like those two prisoners, Korean and Taiwanese war criminals, with their respective support groups, pushed the government to offer them and their families the same level of pensions and benefits available to war criminals with Japanese nationality. Many proclaimed that they would protest with sit-ins in Sugamo, even after being released or paroled, until a bargain was reached. When discussions reached a gridlock “to the extent that chaos might ensue,” the Society offered to pay these “third-national” war criminals if they were willing to be released on time in order to “resolve the affair in peace” (jitai wo heionri ni shūshū suru tame).17

However, the issue did not end with the Society bailing out the government. The Society’s payments only temporarily resolved the affair. Although it prevented a protest sit-in in Sugamo Prison, the issue of governmental benefits remained unsolved and support groups for “third-national” war criminals continued to negotiate with the government. In the end, the government agreed to provide temporary housing for them when they were released or paroled and to set up a fund to be managed by “capable civic organizations (foundations)” (財団法人zaidan hōjin) to support their daily life. The Ministry of Health and Welfare then submitted an “unofficial [or unpublicized] request (非公式に申し出hikōshiki ni mōshiide)” to the Society, asking it to be such an organization. After some negotiation, the two sides agreed that the Society would help to set up a new subsidiary foundation to manage the fund.18 In the end, the government fund came to be managed by the Rehabilitation Aid Society (更生助成会kōsei josei-kai), a subsidiary organization established by the Society, and was eventually funneled into Society of Pure Companionship (清交会Seikō-kai), an organization established to support released Korean war criminals, and Society of Friendship and Harmony  (友和会Yūwa-kai), established to support released Taiwanese war criminals.19 These two groups provided financial support and employment guidance to released Korean and Taiwanese war criminals (many of whom chose to stay in Japan) but did not push for their inclusion in the new pension and benefit laws for Japanese veterans.20

This is but one of the cases of the Society collaborating with the government.21 In this manner, the Society served a vital function by allowing the government to evade thorny issues such as dealing with former colonial subjects. As shown above, the ultimate problem with the Korean and Taiwanese war criminals was that although they served as Japanese soldiers and were sentenced as Japanese war criminals, the postwar Japanese government unilaterally revoked their Japanese nationality after the conclusion of the Peace Treaty and thus denied them inclusion in the postwar benefit system for Japanese veterans.22 On one hand, because the Japanese government at the time was famously bent on building a mono-ethnic postwar nation and excluding former colonial subjects,23 inclusion of Korean and Taiwanese residents in the pension and social security system and the elimination of nationality clauses in veteran benefit laws were simply not possible. On the other hand, denying any aid to colonial subjects, who had “sacrificed” for the former empire by fighting as its soldiers and serving time as war criminals, must also have felt distasteful to the former military bureaucrats and Society members who personally went through the war crime trial system. The Society thus stepped in as a “parastatal complex,” a network that wove together the supposedly mutually exclusive spheres of “state” and “society,” to fill the government’s role. By funneling governmental funds into “civilian” organizations aiding the “third-national” war criminals, the Society allowed bureaucrats to “solve” the problem of the “third-national” war criminals while shielding the government from officially addressing greater problems that came with the abrupt end of the Japanese empire and the decolonization of its former colonies. In other words, the Society did the government’s job for it and let the government evade what many would call its “postwar responsibility.”24 Simultaneously, members of the Society gained political capital by assisting in governmental projects and dealings. This may be able to partly explain the swift reentry of many members of the Society, such as Kishi Nobusuke who later became the prime minister, into the political world. 

While this article does not directly deal with the war crime trials and purge policies themselves, the example of the Society gives us a new perspective on the effect of these trials. In the establishment of the Society we find the great paradox of the IMTFE and the policies of the Occupation to destroy “militarist institutions” in Japan. The policies—namely the war crime trials and the purge—designed to dismantle a certain form of pre-defeat elite network served instead as a rallying point for prewar elites and former military bureaucrats to consolidate their originally separate networks. That the war crime trials by and large did not achieve their stated goal of making the convicted realize their culpability for an aggressive war and wartime atrocities and instilling in them repentance is now common knowledge among historians. Utsumi best illustrates this by summarizing Tsurumi Kazuko’s study on The Last Testament of the Century (Seiki no isho), a sizable collection of last words by executed war criminals: of all the executed war criminals, 87.4% still approved in some way the old military ideology and its view on the war, and only 8.9% criticized or directly expressed disapproval of these views. Only 3.4% expressed anti-war views. Moreover, of those expressing anti-war views, none acknowledged that they were guilty of the crimes with which they were charged. Of the 2.1% who acknowledged their guilt, none expressed anti-war thoughts.25 From the analysis in this article, we can take such a conclusion a step further: not only did the war crime trials and other related Occupation policies fail to reform the majority of those who were sentenced, arrested, or purged, they injected a sentiment of common suffering that the convicted could rally around and which gave them a sense of mission: righting the victor’s justice imposed on war criminals. The name of the Society amply illustrates this view: instead of using the conventional term for war criminals (戦犯 senpan), the Society invented a new term (戦争受刑者sensō jukei-sha) for them, which directly translates to “those who are suffering punishments due to the war.” 

Furthermore, these Occupation policies that prompted the establishment of groups like the Society also allowed for the formation of a “parastatal complex” in postwar Japan that supported its conservative-dominated politics and bureaucracy. As demonstrated by the case of the “third-national” war criminals, groups like the Society essentially became commissioners for the bureaucracy, operating in the sphere of civil society. The Society was certainly not the only group occupying such a niche even with respect to the issue of the war criminals. For example, the Society of the White Chrysanthemum (Shira Kiku Izokukai), an organization for the families of detained or executed war criminals, led by Imamura Hisako who was the wife of Class A war criminal Imamura Hitoshi, was also a key member of the Society. The National Society for Supporting the War Victims (Zenkoku sensō gisei-sha engo-kai), a group established by Society member and former military bureaucrat Nukada Hiroshi (after the dissolution of the Society in 1958), served a similar function.26 While such “parastatal complexes” helped the government handle thorny issues through “civilian organizations,” their more profound effect was to allow the government to continue to evade and postpone reckoning with the difficult problems of war and colonial responsibility, and to adopt an ambiguous attitude towards these negative legacies; stances that even today continue to bear consequences for international relations in Asia and beyond.



In this period, the definition of “nationality” or kokuseki in Japan was undergoing drastic changes. What I mean by this term here is that they were the former colonial subjects of the Japanese empire and had ethnic Korean origins. Some with Korean and Taiwanese origins who were convicted of war crimes for their conducts and association with the Japanese imperial military had lived on the Japanese archipelago, while others had never been to the archipelago before their incarceration. Those who settled in Japan would be later categorized as zainichi, while many others returned to their places of origin after they completed their sentences. 


`Dai ni jimu hōkoku (5 . 6. 7 gatsu)'“jukei-sha sewa-kai Shōwa 29-nen sensō jukei-sha sho taisaku,” National Archive of Japan 「第二事務報告(5.6.7月)」『受刑者世話会・昭和29年・戦争受刑者諸対策』 国立公文書館 本館-4B-024-00・平11法務07280100; conversions from “Shōwa 40-nen no 1 man-en o, ima no okane ni kansan suru to donogurai ni narimasu ka? ” Nipponginkō “昭和40年の1万円を、今のお金に換算するとどの位になりますか?” 日本銀行. 




Newly available sources include 戦争犯罪裁判関係資料 (The Records of War Crimes Trials) transferred from the Ministry of Justice to National Archive of Japan in 1995. Notable Anglophone scholarship includes Barak Kushner, Men to Devils, Devils to Men: Japanese War Crimes and Chinese Justice. Harvard Univ. Press, 2015. John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. W.W. Norton & Co./New Press, 2000. Recent Japanese works include 林博史『BC級戦犯』岩波新書: 2005 [Hayashi Shirobumi. BC kyūsenpan. Iwanami Shinsho: 2005]. For a list of Japanese works, see footnote 1 to 7 of the article大江洋代, 金田敏昌「国立公文書館所蔵「戦争犯罪裁判関係資料」の形成過程とBC級戦争裁判研究の可能性」Oe Hiroyo, Kaneda Toshimasa (The Records of War Crimes Trials in the National Archives of Japan : The Formation Process of the Depository and Its Potential as a Source on BC Class War Crimes Trials) 『歴史学研究』 = The journal of historical studies (930), 19-33,39, 2015-04.青木書店. 


For English-language literature dealing with this topic, see Franziska Seraphim, “A ‘Penologic Program’ for Japanese and German War Criminals after World War II” in Joanne Cho, Lee Roberts, and Christian Spang, eds. Transnational Encounters and Comparisons between Germany and Japan, 1860s-2000s. Palgrave, 2015, pp. 185-206. Sandra Wilson, R. Cribb, B. Trefalt., D. Aszkielowicz. Japanese War Criminals: The Politics of Justice after the Second World War. Columbia University Press, 2017. Sandra Wilson. “The Shifting Politics of Guilt. The Campaign for the Release of Japanese War Criminals” in Barak Kushner and Sherzod Muminov, editors. The Dismantling of Japan’s Empire in East Asia: Deimperialization, Postwar Legitimation and Imperial Afterlife. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017. pp. 87-106.
Japanese literature on the topic includes 中立悠紀「戦犯釈放運動とメディア : メディアから読み取る戦犯に対する「世論」」Nakadate Yuki (Liberation Movement of the War Criminals and the Media)『日本史研究』 = Journal of Japanese history (686), 26-53, 2019-10. 中立悠紀「旧帝国陸海軍軍人と靖国戦犯合祀の関係 : BC級戦犯合祀の経緯」Nakadate Yuki (The role played by former Imperial Army and Navy officers in the collective enshrinement of war criminals at Yasukuni Shrine)『史学雑誌』 128(7), 1101-1126, 2019-07.


Here I use the concept liberally to denote a network that spans both the traditionally understood sphere of the “state” and the “society.” For the use of the concept, see Peter Holquist. Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia’s Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2002. p.4


豊田隈雄『戦争裁判余録』(泰生社、一九八六年)Toyoda, Kumao. Sensō Saiban Yoroku. Itō Takuji, 1986. Also see 中立Nakadate, 2019


豊田 Toyoda, 1986. pp.445-447


Sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai (kashō) junbi iinkai kaisoku'“sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai ni kansuru tsudzuri (hōmu chōsa-ka) ” National Archive of Japan「戦争受刑者世話会(仮称)準備委員会会則」『戦争受刑者世話会に関する綴(法務調査課)』国立公文書館、平11法務06298100


` (Sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai setsuritsu hokkinin e no shūnin yōsei bun'“jukei-sha sewa-kai sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai kankei tsudzuri” National Archive of Japan「(戦争受刑者世話会設立発起人への就任要請文」『受刑者世話会・戦争受刑者世話会関係綴』国立公文書、平11法務07314100 `Riji kōhoshamei-bo (an)'“jukei-sha sewa-kai sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai kankei tsudzuri” National Archive of Japan「理事候補者名簿(案)」『受刑者世話会・戦争受刑者世話会関係綴』国立公文書館、平11法務07314100


`Hokkinin meibo (sho 27. 5. 21 Genzai)'“jukei-sha sewa-kai sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai kankei tsudzuri” National Archive of Japan「発起人名簿(昭27.5.21現在)」『受刑者世話会・戦争受刑者世話会関係綴』 国立公文書館、平11法務07314100 ; `Jōmu riji ninmu buntan (an)'“jukei-sha sewa-kai sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai kankei tsudzuri” National Archive of Japan「常務理事任務分担(案)」『受刑者世話会・戦争受刑者世話会関係綴』国立公文書館、平11法務07314100


秦郁彦『靖国神社の祭神たち』東京: 新潮社2010 Hata Ikuhiko, Yasukunijinja no saijin-tachi Tōkyō: Shinchōsha. 2010.


中立 Nakadate, 2019.


Nakadate also identifies Inoue as the key governmental employee who provided support for popular movements advocating the release of war criminals. See 中立 Nakadate, 2019.


中立 Nakadate, 2019 p.3


中立 Nakadate, 2019 p.8.


`Burēkunī fānesu ryōshi to no kondan shiryō'“jukei-sha sewa-kai Shōwa 29-nen sensō jukei-sha sho taisaku” National Archive of Japan「ブレークニー・ファーネス両氏との懇談資料」『受刑者世話会・昭和29年・戦争受刑者諸対策』国立公文書館 平11法務07280100


‘Daisankoku-jin senpan jyukeisha ni taisuru nariwai shikin no kashitsuke ni tsuite'“jukei-sha sewa-kai senpan kankei (senpan kankei o izoku no tegami, kaikei hōkoku (29 - 5 - 26 Nihon kurabu no riji-kai) nado) (sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai) Shōwa 29-nen 3 gatsu ~ 33-nen 2 gatsu” National Archive of Japan「第三国人戦犯受刑者に対する生業資金の貸付について」『受刑者世話会・戦犯関係(戦犯関係御遺族の手紙、会計報告(29-5-26日本倶楽部の理事会)など)(戦争受刑者世話会)・昭和29年3月~33年2月』国立公文書館平11法務07306100




`Sensō kankei-sha no kyūjutsu engo ni kansuru sewa dantai no setsuritsu ni kansuru kōsō ni tsuite'“jukei-sha sewa-kai sensō jukei-sha sewa-kai kankei tsudzuri” National Archive of Japan「戦争関係者の救恤援護に関する世話団体の設立に関する構想について」『受刑者世話会・戦争受刑者世話会関係綴』国立公文書館所蔵、[請求番号] 平11法務07314100


Other studies have amply demonstrated the Society’s crucial roles in the 1950s movement advocating for the early release of war criminals, such as assisting the Ministry of Health and Welfare in enshrining the executed war criminals in the Yasukuni Shrine. See 中立 Nakadate, 2019.


内海愛子『朝鮮人BC級戦犯の記録』岩波現代文庫2015. Utsumi Aiko, Chōsen hito BC kyūsenpan no kiroku. Iwanami gendai bunko, 2015. pp.224-265; Also see Chapter 2 of Seraphim, Franziska. War Memory and Social Politics in Japan, 1945-2005. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Asia Center, 2006.


For example, see Ri Yongmi, “Politics of Immigration Control and Detention in Post-war Japan: The Mobility Experiences of Koreans”. University of Santo Tomas, UNITAS, No89. vol.2 2017.12. pp.153-188.


 Japanese scholars and activists have been using the term “戦後責任 sengo sekinin (postwar responsibility)” in order to surpass the term “戦争責任 sensō sekinin (war responsibility),” which collapses all the negative colonial and war legacies into the problem of war, and to emphasize the possibility of holding Japan responsible for such legacies in the postwar period. See内海 愛子, 大沼 保昭, 田中 宏, 加藤 陽子戦後責任 アジアのまなざしに応えて』岩波書店 2014. Utsumi Aiko, Onuma Yasuaki, Tanaka Hiroshi, Kato Yoko. Sengo sekinin Ajia no manazashi ni kotaete. Iwanami Shoten, 2014.


内海愛子『スガモプリズン : 戦犯たちの平和運動』東京 : 吉川弘文館 2004. Utsumi Aiko, Sugamopurizun: Senpan-tachi no heiwa undō Tōkyō: Yoshikawakōbunkan 2004. pp.130-131.


`Shadanhōjin zenkoku sensō gisei-sha engo-kai setsuritsu shui-sho'“jukei-sha sewa-kai Shōwa 29-nen sensō jukei-sha sho taisaku” National Archive of Japan「社団法人全国戦争犠牲者援護会設立趣意書」『受刑者世話会・昭和29年・戦争受刑者諸対策』国立公文書館 本館-4B-024-00平11法務07280100 `Shiragiku izoku-kai kaihō dai 1-gō'“jukei-sha sewa-kai izoku kankei (Shōwa 28 ~ 30-nen) ” National Archive of Japan「白菊遺族会会報第1号」『受刑者世話会・遺族関係(昭和28~30年)』国立公文書館 本館-4B-024-00平11法務07287100

Keyao “Kyle” Pan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of Chicago, where he conducts research on the relationship between human rights discourse and engages in activism around the so-called “history problems” in Japan and Asia in general, such as those concerning comfort women and other wartime or colonial atrocities. Kyle grew up in Guangzhou, China and graduated from the University of Chicago with an AB in Economics and East Asian Languages & Civilizations. His dissertation explores how jinken (“human rights”) became a paradigm able to frame historical disputes in Asia concerning wartime and colonial atrocities by imperial Japan.