Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
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Dismissal, Reinstatement, Resignation. The Politics of Higher Education Personnel from Prewar to Occupation Period Japan, 1930 to 1952
September 19, 2002 / 6.30 P.M.
Hans Martin Krämer, Ruhr-University Bochum/Tōkyō University
The “removal of undesirable personnel” from positions of influence in Japanese
society under the US occupation of Japan has long been received unfavorably
both in popular as well as academic writing. Not having gone far enough for
the liberal mainstream of historians, it has also often been ridiculed as
having been only a weapon of political opportunism for getting rid of old-time
enemies or as simply inefficiently administered.
Not much time has been spent with obtaining an objective assessment of the
actual effects of the purge; even where attempts at quantification have been
undertaken, they have not taken into account the overall change of personnel
after 1945 of which the purge was only a part. This paper will analyze personnel
change in the field of higher education, comparing postwar to prewar and
considering dismissals and resignations occurring independently from the
occupation army’s efforts at cleansing the teaching profession.
Not only had many more teachers resigned from their posts before the educational
purge got under way in May 1946 than were removed from office afterwards;
self-organized “grassroots” movements disposing of ultranationalistic teachers
had also started as early as October 1945. A detailed case study will shed
light on who fought for what interests in these “housecleanings” and on how
much influence these movements antedating the purge had. Dealing with the
early resignations and dismissals, the occupation’s screening, the “depurge”,
and the red purge of 1949/50 will show that the change in higher education
personnel was much more marked than is commonly assumed, but at the same
time much less influenced by occupation policies.