“The Trial of Mr. Hyde” and Victors’ Justice

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August 14, 2006

“The Trial of Mr. Hyde” and Victors’ Justice
“The Trial of Mr. Hyde” and Victors’ Justice
“The Trial of Mr. Hyde” and Victors’ Justice

By Takeyama Michio

Translated and introduced by Richard Minear

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East was the Pacific counterpart of the first Nuremberg trial. A panel of eleven judges, one each from the victor nations and from the Philippines and India (neither gained independence until after the war), heard evidence against twenty-eight Japanese prominent during the period 1928-1945, sixteen of them generals and admirals. The trial lasted two and a half years. The verdicts: seven death sentences, sixteen life sentences, and two shorter sentences. Unlike Nuremberg, the Tokyo tribunal found no defendants innocent (two defendants had died, and one—the ideologue Dr. Okawa Shumei, whom Takeyama mentions in passing—had been declared insane.)

The trial itself, I have argued elsewhere, [1] was a farce. Its law was new and applied ex post facto. Its judges were biased (e.g., the Filipino judge was a survivor of the Bataan Death March), its procedures flawed, its judgment faulty. It failed to indict the emperor or even to have him testify; it gave relatively little attention to Japan’s colonialism (Taiwan, Korea) or to its slaughter of Chinese civilians or to its bacteriological warfare. It ignored the war crimes of the Allies (e.g., fire-bombing and atomic bombing by the U.S., the Soviet Union’s attack on Japan at the end of the war and its treatment of Japanese P.O.W.s). In retrospect it was—as wartime Prime Minister Gen. Tojo Hideki stated at the time—“victors’ justice.” Whether it established useful legal precedent, placing governments on notice that they must obey the laws of war, including the prohibition on aggression, is a matter of opinion. The U.N. trials of war criminals in the Hague and the Iraqi trial of Saddam Hussein indicate some of the difficulties in prosecuting defeated enemies; the fact that prosecutors invoke Nuremberg but not Tokyo is evidence that Tokyo has little standing as precedent.

Takeyama Michio (1904-1981) is best known as the author of Harp of Burma (1947; Howard Hibbett translation, 1966), but he was also a distinguished essayist and critic. “The Trial of Mr. Hyde” is his first treatment of the Tokyo Trial. Here, in addition to Okawa Shumei and Tojo Hideki, Takeyama mentions only one other Tokyo defendant by name: Gen. Araki Sadao, Army Minister between 1931 and 1933 and Education Minister 1938-39. On votes of seven to four, the eleven Tokyo judges found both Tojo and Araki guilty. The tribunal sentenced Tojo to death, and he was executed in December 1948. Araki received a life sentence. Paroled in the mid-1950s, he and all other surviving Tokyo trial convicts were released unconditionally in 1958.

But specific legal flaws were not Takeyama’s concern in 1946, when, in the early stages of the trial, he was a spectator. His concern was more literary, more imaginative, more profound. He argued that the small men in the dock at Tokyo were not the prime architects of Japan’s tragedy. It’s not that they were innocent; rather, it’s that there were larger forces at work. Japan owed its fate primarily to being a “have-not country” and to being late in coming to “Modern Civilization.” (In an essay of 1949 reacting to Dutch judge Röling’s separate opinion, Takeyama endorsed Röling’s findings, which included dissent on the death sentence for Hirota but also the suggestion that several defendants given life sentences should have been condemned to death instead. So when Takeyama descended from the lofty point of view he takes here to examine specific cases, he was not unwilling to accept much of the Tokyo verdict.)

In 1946 Takeyama drew on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of 1886. Stevenson’s tale depicted a respectable doctor, Dr. Jekyll, whose experimental potion turned him—at first temporarily, then irreversibly—into a fiend, Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll lived in affluence; Mr. Hyde cruised the slums in search of victims. Readers in 1886 took the tale as Stevenson intended: as an exploration of the dual aspects of every human being. In early 1886 John Addington Symonds had written Stevenson: “At last I have read Dr. Jekyll. It makes me wonder whether a man has the right so to scrutinize ‘the abysmal deeps of personality.’ It is indeed a dreadful book, most dreadful because of a certain moral callousness….” Stevenson replied: “Jekyll is a dreadful thing, I own; but the only thing I feel dreadful about is that damned old business of the war in the members.” “The members” is a reference to James 4:1, which in the Revised Standard Version reads: “What causes wars, and what causes fighting among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members?” [2] But 125 years after Stevenson wrote it, the tale has other resonances, among them a questioning of modern science.
In the mid-20th century The Strange Case was likely as familiar to educated Japanese as to their European or American counterparts: in the 1930s alone, three translations of Stevenson’s tale appeared or reappeared in Tokyo. But Japanese would have understood it in its original acceptation. Though Stevenson’s tale implies a questioning of modern science, Takeyama’s adaptation of the story is, I believe, original. Takeyama must have Stevenson in mind when he comments that “at the end of the last century” some people began to question—if “only in poetic form”—the pretensions of modern science. And by mid-century, when Takeyama wrote this essay, there were many more voices questioning modern science as Takeyama does here: not that science is dispensable, but that science constitutes a double-edged sword, contributing simultaneously to human progress and to the dominance of central authorities over the people.

Between 1945 and 1952 Japan was under American Occupation. Criticism of Occupation policy was not permitted. Occupation censorship of published work was objectively less rigorous than the prewar and wartime Japanese censorship, but it was perhaps more insidious in that it left no traces. Under the wartime system, newspapers and journals indicated where censors had struck words or sentences or paragraphs: they left space blank or inserted circles or crosses in the place of the deleted characters. But the Occupation forbade that practice. Though written in 1946, “The Trial of Mr. Hyde” appeared in print only five years later, in 1951, when the censors had become less vigilant.

Writing in 1981 of “The Trial of Mr. Hyde,” the literary scholar Eto Jun suggested that in Takeyama’s mind the Occupation itself, with control of both organization and weapons, was “Hyde’s doing.” He wrote (the words in single quotation marks are from “The Trial of Mr. Hyde”): “Indeed, ‘the German, Italian, and Japanese rulers’ took Nietzsche’s insight and ‘put it into action.’ But the American Occupationaires, too, brandishing the ‘slender whip’ of the ‘idea’ of ‘democratization’ at the ‘elephant’ that was the Japanese people— weren’t they too actually ‘putting it into action’? In fact, it is precisely they, is it not, who are ‘fearsome modern men’ neither more nor less than the Nazis?” So—in Eto’s reading—the Tokyo trial becomes Mr. Hyde trying Mr. Hyde. [3] In 1946 Takeyama was certainly critical of the Tokyo trial, but in 1981 Eto misreads Takeyama’s essay for Eto’s own ends.

In the early years of the 21st century, sixty years later, “The Trial of Mr. Hyde” resonates for American readers in a way Takeyama could not have anticipated. Takeyama stresses the overwhelming force of “Modern Civilization” and the resulting powerlessness of the individual in “have-not countries,” where Dr. Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde. In today’s world the U. S. is of all “have countries” the richest, yet some of its intellectuals know now the powerlessness of which Takeyama wrote.

“The Trial of Mr.Hyde”

One day I went to observe the war crimes trial.

On this day they were holding a special hearing, so tickets weren’t necessary, and they didn’t examine personal effects, either. The courtroom set-up was complicated; for me, there for the first time, it wasn’t easy to figure out. The judges sitting on a high dais, the prosecutors and defense attorneys speaking by turns as they stood at a podium in the trough below the judges, the interpreters in a glass box up near the ceiling: the words these people spoke came via earphones in two languages, and it took a while for things to come into focus. Into the courtroom came the rays of the late-autumn sun on a day of broken clouds, at times too bright for my eyes, then dark once more.

As I looked down from the visitors’ section, I saw ruddy MPs standing in front of an array of flags, at attention like mannequins. Some thirty former generals and senior statesmen sat in the dock, their faces strangely glossy, pale and dark. Here and there electric lights, red and white, were doing their best to illuminate the dark. Typewriters sounded incessantly, like bees buzzing. Via a web of electric wires, messages were flowing back and forth. All this made me think I was dreaming….

The defendant being examined this day had not yet been reported about even in the press. There had been no photos of his face. He sat immediately behind Gen. Tojo, in the seat left vacant when Dr. Okawa exhibited signs of madness, and glared about haughtily.

He looked fearsome. He dominated the dock. The other defendants were all calm and had something of the dignity of small-minded people, and all of them exhibited a certain grimness, but they paled in comparison with this unknown defendant. His sharp and evil eye was the very image of the eye of the Mr. Hyde I had seen at the movies.

Talking wasn’t permitted, but I whispered to the person beside me: “Who is that new defendant?”
My neighbor informed me: “Modern Civilization.”

The prosecutor continued his sober and impassioned address. His main points follow.

“…This defendant, who appears in court today for the first time, bears a truly fearsome war guilt. His guilt isn’t yet generally acknowledged, and it is utterly puzzling that now, when people rush to call down curses on various individuals—‘He’s guilty!’ ‘No, he’s one of the gang, too!’—taunting them, lashing them, I haven’t heard this defendant’s name once.

“Behind the scenes of this recent tragic cataclysm in human history, out of view, this defendant set the stage for it and manipulated it. His demonic influence extended like a spider’s web to every corner of society; its effects penetrated every person’s mind. Compared with the power of this defendant, the scattered, desperate acts of Tojo and Araki and their ilk are not worth mentioning; they were mere factors in this defendant’s determined and fundamentally destructive power, and I’ll even go so far as to say they danced unawares to his tune.

“The acts of this defendant were evil in the extreme. Why is it that in ‘have-not countries’ he appears as Mr. Hyde? Once he makes his appearance in countries with dense populations and scant resources, the people of these countries exhibit truly weird symptoms. In no time at all these nations lose the ‘moderation and values’ they’ve had since olden times and in the end go crazy. Even if that people once had many great virtues, it turns into a herd of sheep possessed by demons and, aiming for the depths, plunges over the cliff.

“This is Mr. Hyde. As in the tale, when he’s at home in his luxurious living room, he’s the fine, praiseworthy Dr. Jekyll; but when he wanders in the slums, this is what he turns into. In a rich country Modern Civilization accomplishes sublime things, but in unfortunate countries with their various constraints, it takes this surprising form and works its evil in the places one least expects.
“Like ordinary people, this defendant was fundamentally not evil. Indeed, at his birth, he had a beautiful temperament and held promise of a brilliant future. However, as he matured, there came a time when, all of a sudden, he took on this demonic side. Even today, as Dr. Jekyll, he accomplishes astonishing achievements and maintains his noble character. But when he sets foot in the slums of the international community, he becomes inevitably this black demon.

This important fact is still not well known.

“Even the people of ‘have-not countries’ still had in their mind’s eye only this defendant’s bright youth. So they relied on young Dr. Jekyll for their salvation. But quite unexpectedly, in such places Modern Civilization was old Mr. Hyde. People were much too naïve about this. It was only at the end of the last century and after the first Great War that some people became aware something was suspicious, but that was too general a feeling, and it was expressed only in poetic form.

“When this defendant sets foot in a ‘have-not country,’ he always turns into Mr. Hyde: that is truly a grave matter. For the sake of the future, too, it’s something we must investigate thoroughly. The features of this late tragedy must not be forgotten, and its causes must be studied in detail. Likewise, when did the defendant come to experience this split personality? and under what condition does he take this form?—these are questions to which future scholars must devote their study.

“Here I don’t propose to speak to these fundamental issues. I limit myself in today’s examination to the defendant’s responsibility for this recent tragedy.”

The prosecutor turned to face the dock. He continued: “I turn now to the war guilt of this defendant, and I shall begin, as Stage One, with his participation in the preparations for war, in particular his cooperation in unifying the nation ideologically.”

So saying, he indicated the other thirty defendants in the dock. “As human beings, the generals and politicians sitting here do not measure up to the acts they carried out. As individuals they all are small-minded and lacking in insight—that is to say, ordinary. How could such people have become major actors in so great a human tragedy? –it’s truly amazing. These men prosecuted a war that covered virtually half the earth, caused losses beyond the power of speech to say, yet stayed in power for many years and right up to the very end did not get one finger bloodied by their own countrymen. There have been far greater figures in history. But what those people did was a mere fraction of what these defendants did. The reason lies solely in the fact that they had this defendant abetting them. He lent them his great and limitless power.

“Indeed, this defendant had fearsome power.

“There are various reasons why this defendant was able to gain such power. At the moment I mention only one. That is, that the defendant took for himself all the wisdom of the ages.

“What do I mean?

“For example, consider here the telegraph, one of the weapons this defendant most prided himself on. For this machine to wield the power it does today, many people had to pour their best effort into its development. They focused their individual wisdom to produce this invention. Volta died, and Franklin, and Bell, and so did all the other inventors and developers. But their invention survived and sucked up all the wisdom of hundreds of extraordinary people and grew and continues to grow. This defendant put it at the service of generals and politicians.

“By contrast, what of normal human beings? They were not able to master their forefathers’ experience. Some were able to accumulate experience by trial and error and finally attain a certain intellectual maturity, and some were not; then they died. Each person had to begin all over again from the start. All the areas of human intellectual activity—ideas, ethics, the arts—those individuals studied and mastered in one lifetime, and then they died, and their wisdom died with them. Ordinary human beings were able, from infancy to youth, little by little, to gain or not gain a certain discrimination, and at that point they came into contact with people who wielded the awful capability that this defendant offers. So it was only natural that ordinary people lost out.

“In fact, using terms from the earliest Japanese chronicles, one defendant here, Araki, defined Japan once in a speech as ‘in industry, the Land of Abundant Reed Plains and Rice Fields, in foreign policy, the Land of Peace of Mind, and in military matters, the Land of Many Beautiful Spears’; it isn’t at all strange that someone might use this crude thinking to ridicule the defendants. Indeed, with minds that came from the distant past, Araki and his ilk used the weapons this defendant made available. The proof is that they saw no difference between these weapons and bamboo spears.

“In declaring his innocence at the outset of this trial, he said, ‘In my seventy years of life, I have no such memory,’ and he was indeed expressing his true feelings. Give Araki a Japanese sword and nothing more, and his ‘faith’ would be in its element and have considerable moral value. But he didn’t have only the famous ancient blade he never let out of his grasp, so his faith wasn’t in its element. Instead it brought about corruption on a huge scale. If you were to tell Araki himself that there was a connection between his own faith and the corruption it caused, he probably wouldn’t have any idea what you were talking about.

“Thus, by offering these simple and naïve generals and politicians fearsome things, this defendant abetted them. Now to keep things simple, I’ll speak about only two. They are, first, organization, and, second, weapons.

“By taking what this defendant offered, the other defendants became all-powerful. Through this process these human beings came to have the omnipotence of gods here at home. They blocked the eyes and ears of the people and were able to have things completely their way.

“Those being ruled didn’t have such weapons. As in olden times, they were individuals. The past had never seen such oppression by the ruler of the ruled. That the ruled were no longer able to resist the rulers is one major facet of this recent tragedy, one of its fundamental causes.”

As I listened to this examination by the prosecutor, I looked over at Gen. Araki. Tall and erect, he sat there, unmoving as a statue. His triangular, deep-set eyes and his wedge-shaped protruding moustache were just as I had been used to seeing them in photographs. Back then throughout the land this man had stirred up such demonic force, and thanks to this Mr. Hyde, the demons he loosed had been recast in unexpected shapes and caused fearsome destruction. That’s what the prosecutor was arguing.

The prosecutor continued: “First, what was this organization this defendant offered?

“Modern organization uses all the latest science. What even the ten best spies couldn’t accomplish in the past can be accomplished today with a few yards of electric cord and one microscope. So even the most independent, hardiest person cannot escape modern organization’s net. In ancient East Asia, sages who refused to submit to a new government could flee to the hills and survive by eating bracken. In the early modern West, Voltaire lived in Ferney near the Swiss border; when agents of the French government came, he fled to Switzerland, and when they left, he returned to Ferney, continuing his criticism of the ancien regime. But today such easy flight is no longer possible. No matter where you go, organization’s net extends to all corners, and communication is by telegraph and wireless. No matter how fast you run, you can’t outrun electricity. One notice goes out, and you’re hauled straight before the ruler.

“The second thing the defendant offered was high-powered weapons.

“In the past, the ruler’s weapons were crude. If a ruler brought virgin land under cultivation or, better, raised his flag, some opposition was possible. The citizens of Paris dug up cobblestones and piled up chairs and beds to make barricades and used hunting rifles to shoot it out with the ruler’s army. Fighting for liberty and human rights, they achieved glory and honor. They shouted, “Aux armes citoyens!” and those weapons did the job. But since the February Revolution of 1848, there haven’t been any such revolutions, even in Europe. They’re no longer possible. The government’s weapons are strong; against them there’s simply no recourse. After that rulers became corrupt and collapsed from within, or they lost foreign wars, or armies that had organization and weapons equally powerful joined the rebellion—unless it’s one of those cases, no people has overthrown an oppressor and seized its freedom with its own hands. Today the fact that the Japanese people on their own didn’t rise up and seize liberty and human rights is cited as proof of their inferiority, but that is not necessarily the whole truth. Such is the fate that this defendant has decreed for all oppressed peoples in modern times. In Germany, in Italy, in Japan—in all, alike, it took all the power of the Allies to overthrow their rulers. Tied up in the net of organization, without weapons to resist, these peoples didn’t have enough power, and that isn’t reason to fault them.

“The provision of organization and weapons: among the many crimes of this defendant, this is still relatively insignificant. But even with this alone, this defendant rendered decisive assistance to the crimes of the other defendants.

“Moreover, the fact that modern rulers like these could strip the humanity from their people and have their way with them is not due merely to making them submit by force alone. Rather, it’s because they could get the people to follow them voluntarily, with enthusiasm, and actively. Rulers could now act precisely like hypnotists who put ideas into their subjects’ heads and make them act as if voluntarily. This is a major difference between today’s tyranny and the tyrannies of old.

“Toward this end this defendant offered them that most splendid possession of his—scholarship. He lent them political science, sociology, all the natural sciences, and even philosophy, psychology, and the rest. In accordance with the pedagogical methods these disciplines teach, organization and weapons could be deployed to greatest effect and achieved awesome efficiency. Thus the people being ruled were transformed even in the depths of their psychology and believed the prescribed worldview, either painting illusions that had no conceivable vestige of sanity, or thinking nihilism to be the way ‘to live in the great and eternal principle’; it even got to the point that the people being ruled took satisfaction in jettisoning voluntarily their own humanity.

“Nietzsche says something to this effect: To rule humans is to make them enthusiastic about an idea. Isn’t that a fearsome insight? The rulers of Germany, Italy, and Japan put that insight into effect. In these countries the people endorsed an idea passionately, just as their rulers wished. And in the end the people were made to dance as if insane to that tune. For example, here in Japan—it truly seems an illusion if you think about it—many young men didn’t hesitate to insert themselves into the barrels of cannons and get shot out.

“The people, one might think, are like elephants. Elephants are large in body, strong, unmanageable if enraged; but they can be made to respond to the whim of a deft elephant trainer. So today, I think, the slender whip this elephant trainer uses is an ‘idea;’ does that make sense?
“This defendant taught the other defendants how to use this slender whip adroitly.

“As I mentioned before, this defendant—unlike an individual or the mass of people, who have a reputation for being even more naïve than individuals—possessed old wisdom. He realized that to the elephant trainer the ideas of individuals are an obstacle, so in order to eliminate that obstacle, he substituted ideology for thinking. Ideology is a substitute for thought. Ideology is ready-made and indoctrinated from without, but those who embrace it feel that it’s very much their own thinking; moreover, they take comfort in the fact that many others share the same thinking. So it answers fundamental human needs: to think for oneself, asserting a dialectical egotism, but also to be safe—two birds killed with one stone. It is epoch-making, fanatical. It can even become a substitute for old religions. If used to praise an illusory ideal world and heap scorn on those who can be blamed for the shortcomings of the real world, it commands fearsome power.

“To instill this ideology in the elephant the elephant trainer uses various methods. Even these methods were this defendant’s doing.

“A moment ago I stated that this defendant made all fields of learning available to the rulers; I can’t treat each field separately, so I mention here only one example, biology, and one principle. That is the principle of stimulus and response.

“This principle, I need hardly say, is one of the discoveries of modern biology. By and large, in the other Axis countries, biology itself contributed greatly to establishing their ideological bases, but I’ll not speak about that issue. Here I wish to draw your attention to how this principle of biology was used as a method of unifying the popular mind.

“This principle teaches that in order to implant a psychological tendency in beings that learn through experience, repetition is necessary. And during that repetition, you need to accompany it with stimuli. Today’s rulers knew this principle, and when they instilled ideology in the elephant, they did so always and ever with the same words. Simultaneously, they accompanied repetition with other stimuli—privileges and fears.

“Dogs subjected to stimulus-response experiments are made to hear a certain sound at mealtime. When this sound is repeated, the dogs start to secrete gastric juices—soon even without seeing the food, merely by hearing the sound. So dogs inevitably connect a stimulus with a response that at first had no connection to it, and thus they expand their experiential knowledge.

“By the same method, a certain idea was preached to the people over and over again. And they learned that power accompanied the idea indoctrinated into them and that fear accompanied forbidden ideas. At length, when the people caught the whiff of power, that stimulus alone sufficed for them to secrete the indoctrinated idea. The more they embraced the idea, the greater the power given them, so anyone desirous of high status secreted the idea—for example, ‘Blut und Boden’ [blood and land] or ‘Absolute faith in victory.’ And the converse: when they experience fear, it was the fault of all forbidden ideas, so they came to revile and shun them.

“Utilizing this method and mobilizing all cultural advances, the ruler waved his slender whip. How on earth could the poor elephant have resisted?

“However, some of the people cannot be domesticated so easily. Germany had some of these. So, too, did Japan.

“In recent years Germany sank to the very depths spiritually, but Germany being the country it is, a few people conducted themselves honorably. In Japan, even though individualism still hadn’t put down strong roots, such nobility of spirit was not missing: that wasn’t the case at all. And contrary to what one might expect, that nobility was exhibited by people who had acquired an old-style education. Those who had received the new liberal education knuckled under early for the most part, but some of the old men, on the contrary, were resolute. This was a nobility of that ‘feudal character’ which is badmouthed today. In Japan several examples allow us to say this feudal character saved liberal thought or kept up with it. But even these individuals could not help submitting to modern organization and weapons. If they did not submit, they died meaningless deaths.

“On this point, too, this defendant bears heavy guilt. In the past, great personalities were able to hold their own against entire countries. That such people have gradually died out, that there’s no way that such individuals can arise today: this Defendant Hyde has brought this about.

“Of course, in earlier times Germany and Italy both produced great individuals. In particular, the latter was at the forefront in awakening individuals. But the process didn’t extend to the entire people. That’s because they suffered the constraint of being ‘have-not countries.’ Not all persons could develop to their fullest: Germany and Italy ran into that constraint. People say: ‘The people in these countries are still immature and don’t understand the value of human life.’ As a matter of fact, that’s true. However, all the people were once immature. In some countries, the people enjoyed all the benefits of Modern Civilization; there Modern Civilization didn’t turn into Mr. Hyde. That’s because they did not experience the constraint I’ve just mentioned. This defendant was then still a bright young man, and when he first set foot in these countries, those peoples used this defendant’s help to improve their conditions, so these countries still have leeway. There this defendant remains, as before, the respectable Dr. Jekyll.

“If in a ‘have-not country’ an individual human being wished to develop to the fullest, he had to fight Mr. Hyde bare-fisted. He had to reject over and over again the enticements of the ideology that pressed on his eyes and ears, not fear the threat of weapons and organization, find a way to earn his living, and keep his focus in a hectic life fixed on the human. If this person wished to be a person aware of his social responsibilities, what sort of situation was he placed in?

“The only time the ruled can resist is right at the start, when the powers of the ruler are still on the upswing. Once the ruler is in control and avails himself of what Mr. Hyde offers, it’s too late. Moreover, should they be blamed all that much even if they didn’t resist in this initial upsurge of power? Individuals don’t have accurate information. They don’t understand what’s afoot at the moment. Things become known to them usually after the fact. One morning, suddenly, they read, ‘Our military has been dispatched somewhere-or-other. Because of such-and-such reasons this measure is natural for the national defense.’ They feel a vague sense that something’s wrong, but they can’t tell whether that premonition is accurate or know how to protest to whom. Moreover, when it comes to their adversary’s violence, political activity is precisely their adversary’s profession and his vital interest. The individual is immersed in his work.

“If under these conditions one individual should decide to resist and his voice is stifled, then that’s that; so in order actually to have effective resistance he must form an organization, get hold of weapons, collect information, raise money—that is, he has to become a politician. To the extent intellectuals are intellectuals, in politics they are impotent: that’s a matter of course. And I can’t think that all people must become politicians.

“They can’t resist; they don’t have information. They have no freedom of expression. This is the situation of intellectuals. In the final analysis, the ethical yardstick by which to measure intellectuals under the threat of Mr. Hyde is this: did they betray themselves?

“In fact, in places to which the evil influence of this defendant extends, the very concept of personality decays at its roots.

“In peacetime, the economy takes precedence; in wartime, politics is all. Seeing this, Mr. Hyde chuckles to himself.

“Let me add one thing here. As I said earlier, Japan’s rulers had minds rooted in the distant past. For this reason they were unable to use to good effect the weapons Mr. Hyde put at their disposal. The Japanese people were fortunate that that was the case.

“However, the Nazis were fearsome modern men. They knew to tie themselves completely to Mr. Hyde. Earlier in Germany there had been an age of Neo-Kantianism. Consciously it purged all human elements and viewed everything solely in terms of a mental calculus. That’s why Germany before the Great War was able to escape danger to its economic livelihood. But the other side of the coin was that it produced an inhumanity that was dangerous in the extreme. Indeed, Mr. Hyde availed himself of it. So the Nazi leaders accomplished demonic deeds much vaster than those of the Japanese.

“Gentlemen of the Court: in this court we pass judgment in the name of civilization. We take this as an honor, as a point of pride.

“We revere civilization and worship its noble side. And we believe that this civilization of ours is pure in every respect, that its light will guide humanity forever.

“We embrace civilization in the form of Dr. Jekyll. We lament the fact that it has taken the form of Mr. Hyde in several countries of the world. To destroy its curse for the sake of the future is a great task assigned all humankind. To that end we must investigate civilization’s Mr. Hyde exhaustively.
“Thus far I’ve argued as follows: if we set him for a moment in the ranks of the other defendants, this defendant offered them advantages, so he’s guilty. Even in this context, the defendant’s guilt, I have argued, is large. But the matter isn’t so simple that this concludes it. The above is indeed only the very first stage of the accusation.

“When I think of it, I can’t help lamenting, but indeed, the very fact that rulers like the thirty defendants before this court sprang up is itself the defendant Mr. Hyde’s doing. He is not on the same level as they; he is their birth parent. When he appears in ‘have-not countries’ as Mr. Hyde, people of this ilk always spring up: the most recent history of the world attests this.

“Why, when Modern Civilization appears in ‘have-not countries,’ does it metamorphose into Mr. Hyde? When, under what conditions, does this metamorphosis take place? Does it give birth to rulers like these? At least, did it give birth? These are not just questions of morality, that people in some countries had bad attitudes and refused to obey what, in ‘have countries,’ Dr. Jekyll said. It is, I believe, a fundamental problem, and people in more fortunate countries, who have been spared Mr. Hyde, must also join in giving it thought.”

The prosecutor made to continue his summation, but time had come for a break. Together with the other defendants, Mr. Hyde stood at his seat and turned away into the narrow hall leading to the holding cell.

It was so extraordinary a trial I left the courtroom in a daze, as if I’d been dreaming.
–October 1946

[1] Minear, Victors’ Justice: The Tokyo War Crimes Trial (Princeton University Press, 1971; reissue, Center for Japanese Studies [Michigan], 2001).
[2] For the letters, see Bradford A. Booth and Ernest Mehew, eds., The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson , (8 vols., Yale University Press, 1994-95), 5:220-221. At the start of “Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of the Case,” the final chapter of The Strange Case, Stevenson writes: “It was thus rather the exacting nature of my aspirations than any particular degradation in my faults, that made me what I was and, with even a deeper trench than in the majority of men, severed in me those provinces of good and ill which divide and compound man’s dual nature. … And it chanced that the direction of my scientific studies, which led wholly towards the mystic and the transcendental, reacted and shed a strong light on this consciousness of the perennial war among my members.”
[3] Eto Jun, “‘Haido-shi no sabaki’ ni tsuite,” Bungakkai, June 1981, p. 181.

Richard Minear wrote this article for Japan Focus. His translation of Takeyama Michio’s essays about his experience of the war will appear next year at Rowman & Littlefield as The Scars of War: The Japanese Home Front in World War II. Posted August 11, 2006.


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      Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus has produced critical reporting on geopolitics, economics, history, environment, and international relations.