Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

THE 9th(2022) – Recipients of Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Kokkiken Japan Study Award

Japan Study Award
Ewa Pałasz-Rutkowska (PhD, Professor, University of Warsaw)

Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, vol. I:1904-1945(sairyusha,2019)
Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, vol. II: 1945-2019(sairyusha,2021)
―Engrish translation:[ The History of Polish-Japanese Relations]

Recipient’s remarks

Toshi Yoshihara

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all members of the Kokkiken Japan Study Award Jury for evaluating two books of mine — Volumes I and II of “Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich” (The History of Polish-Japanese Relations) — as important research outcomes deserving the award.

I am wholeheartedly grateful to University of Tokyo Professor Emeritus Takashi Ito, one of the jury members, in particular. It is thanks entirely to the support of Prof. Ito that I was recommended for this award. The professor has supported me for a long time, going back to 1983-85 when I was at the University of Tokyo for the first time as a researcher. Since those days when I participated in the professor’s seminar, I have been given precious expert and practical advice on research in the fields of modern and contemporary history and others. During my first stay at the university, I was able to write a doctoral dissertation as I was given access to plenty of material with the help of Prof. Ito.

When I was at the University of Tokyo for the second time, in 1990-91, I began, with the help of Professor Ito, collecting material concerning the history of Japanese-Polish relations. As this specific theme had been left almost unexplored up until then, I thought it was my obligation not only as a Japanologist but also as a Pole to study the said theme. This round of research bore fruit several years later, culminating in the publication of the first book titled “Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich 1904-1945,” which was co-authored with A.T. Romer.

I then carried out further research on Polish-Japanese relations for several more years as I believed that the broadening of knowledge about the history of Japanese-Polish relations was extremely important for both Japan and Poland.

Shortly after embarking on the second round of research, it occurred to me that I should shed light particularly on the history of exchanges between Japan and Poland from the end of World War II to the present day — the previously unexplored chapter in the history of Japanese-Polish relations. I thought that I should complete the second round of research by 2019, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Subsequently, Volume II — “Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, tom II: 1945-2019” — was published in Poland in 2019.

Luckily enough, Mr. Atsuo Takeuchi, president of the Sairyusha publishing company, became so interested in the theme — the history of Japanese-Polish relations — that the Japanese edition of Volume I was published in 2019 with some additions and revisions. Two years later, the Japanese edition of Volume II was published. I would also like to express immeasurable gratitude to translators Riko Shiba and Kazuko Shiraishi. Without their outstanding works, my books would not have been published in Japan.

Following about 30 years of research, I conclude that Poland and Japan have maintained friendly relations for more than 100 years. Even during World War II, intelligence officers of the Japanese and Polish military continued collaboration even while fighting on the opposite war fronts that were far apart from each other. When the Cold War started, Japan and Poland belonged to the Western and Eastern blocs, respectively. Nonetheless, when the two countries restored diplomatic relations in 1957, there existed no difficult bilateral issues, confrontations or disputes between them.

In December 1981, when martial law was declared in Poland, bilateral relations were very negatively affected. Yet, Japan stopped short of joining other Western countries in imposing economic sanctions against the then Polish People’s Republic. Japan applied a less severe measure — travel restrictions on Polish diplomats posted in Tokyo.

Bilateral relations began gradually improving in 1985 when then Foreign Minister Shinzo Abe visited Poland. Improvement in bilateral ties gathered further momentum in the 1990s when Poland began a transition to democracy. Although President Lech Walesa’s visit to Japan in 1994 truly provided a turning point for the Japanese-Polish relationship, the visit by Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress to Poland in 2002 was an especially important milestone. In 2019, Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino visited Poland to formally close a series of events held in commemoration of the restoration of diplomatic relations.

Relations between the two countries have been, and are, good. Not only was such an observation repeatedly acknowledged by many of the people, including former ambassadors, I interviewed in my research. Actually, it is clearly proven by archival diplomatic documents and news material. Japan and Poland, having no conflict of interest between them, have adopted similar responses to major international challenges, such as the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

Of course, the two books are the fruit of many years of my research. Moreover, they embody my character with many years of experience condensed in them. Many of the events mentioned in Volume II were ones in which I was a witness, getting to know many of those who are referred to in the book. I would never have been able to achieve the objectives of my research without their precious cooperation and the backing of various organizations. All those people and entities are the corecipients of this award. I renew my heartfelt gratitude to them.

Recipient’s biography

Born in 1953 in Warsaw, Poland. Ewa Pałasz-Rutkowska graduated from the Department of Japanese Studies at the University of Warsaw (UW). She earned a PhD in humanities at the UW’s Institute of Oriental Studies (now Faculty of Oriental Studies) in 1987. After becoming a UW professor in 2003, she headed the Department of Japanese Studies of the Faculty of Oriental Studies in 2006-13, teaching also at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology as a professor in 2007-13. She currently is a full professor at the UW (working at the Chair of Japanese Studies).

Her research interest is the history of Japan, of Polish-Japanese relations and of Imperial Household of Japan.

Pałasz-Rutkowska studied at the University of Tokyo in 1983-85. Since then, she has visited Japan dozens of times to conduct research activities mostly at the University of Tokyo, first as a student, then as a researcher, fellow and also as a visiting professor. She was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in 2015 and became a recipient of the 2019 Japan Foundation Awards in 2019.

Her main books include: “Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, vol. I: 1904-1945” (The History of Polish-Japanese Relations) (co-author A.T. Romer) and “Historia stosunków polsko-japońskich, vol. II: 1945-2019” — the 2022 Japan Study Award-winning books; “Cesarz Meiji (1852-1912). Wizerunek władcy w modernizowanej Japonii” (Emperor Meiji. The Ruler’s Image in a Modernizing Japan)(Polish language, UW Press, 2012); “W poszukiwaniu polskich grobów w Japonii. Nihon ni okeru Porandojin bohi no tansaku” (the Japanese part ed. C. Inaba, Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, 2010); “Japonia. Historia państw świata w XX wieku” (Japan. The History of Countries in the World in the XXth Century)(co-author K. Starecka, TRIO, 2004), etc. Her main theses include: “Porando Nihonkan no kokkō kaifuku mondai. Dainiji sekai taisengo no gaiko kankei” (The Problem Concerning the Restoration of Diplomatic Relations between Poland and Japan after World War II), (Nihon Rekishi, July 2015), “Nihon ni nemuru Porandojintachi” (The Polish Soldiers Laid in Peace in Japan), (Gunjishigaku/The Journal of Military History, No. 47/3, 2011), etc.

Japan Study Special Award
Lee Dae Keun(Professor Emeritus at Sungkyunkwan University)

Kizoku Zaisan Kenkyuu Kankoku ni Umoreta “Nihon Shisan” no Shinzitsu(BUngei-shunjnu,2021)
―English translation:[A Study on Vested Property]

Recipient’s remarks

Lee Woo Young

I am honored to receive this year’s Kokkiken Japan Study Special Award. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Ms. Yoshiko Sakurai, President of the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and other members of the Japan Study Award Jury for their kindness and cordiality, which is more than I deserve, in selecting as the recipient of the prestigious award for this year my book, “Kizoku Zaisan Kenkyu” (A Study on Vested Property), in spite of various shortcomings in it. If I had been aware, in advance, of chances to see my book translated into Japanese and even chosen to receive this esteemed award, I could have presented all of you with this book with more insights by exerting myself to the best of my meager ability to make multiple research efforts. It appears to be too late to regret that I did not so.

To tell the truth, I feel even more regretful that due to the lack of ability, I was unable to keep a promise I repeatedly made to myself at the start of writing the book to include three sets of important points in it without fail: (1) education, health care and hygiene; (2) forest erosion and flood control, afforestation and forestry development; and (3) irrigation and water utilization facilities/cooperatives. I ended up creating a situation in which someone else would be compelled to cover those areas in his or her research in the future.

Let me add one more thing. Right after the liberation of Korea on Aug. 15, 1945, the United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK) was launched as the new ruler of South Korea. It immediately set out a pivotal task of receiving — confiscating — and managing assets, tangible and intangible, that were left behind by the Japanese nationals departing Korea for home. As the USAMGIK referred to those assets as “vest property,” the Koreans translated it to mean “kizoku zaisan” in Japanese. As a matter of fact, as I looked into what happened to the entire process of the said task, I found out more than one that was not conceivable at all on a common-sense basis.

In one notable case, when the U.S. military in Korea began the process of receiving assets of Japanese people in September 1945, it initially instructed the exclusion from it of “private property” owned by private individuals in the name of protecting private property. Nevertheless, just three months later, in December of the same year, the U.S. military abruptly decided on an extraordinary measure to include private property on the list of assets subject to confiscation. This policy about-face not only infringed on the property rights of individual asset owners, of course, but also caused extreme sorrow and pain to Japanese people who had no choice but to hastily depart Korea for home.

As for the U.S. military government’s violation of the rights of private property owned by Japanese domiciled in Korea as of Aug. 15, 1945, when World War II was over, they are assumed to have later brought suit against the Japanese government for indemnity. Were there official proceedings of such indemnity cases in Japan? If so, how was the issue eventually resolved? Those questions have always been on my mind. Indeed, while I kept conducting my research on the issue of vested property, I remained seriously interested to know what appropriate compensation (?) measures the postwar Japanese government offered to those Japanese evacuees forced to be repatriated empty-handed to Japan with all property belonging to them confiscated by the U.S. military government in Korea.

Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you.

Recipient’s biography

Born in 1939 in Hapcheon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea, Lee Dae Keun worked at the Korean Development Bank from 1964 to 1977 and studied at the State University of New York from September 1977 to August 1979, earning a master degree in economics. In September 1980, he became a professor at Sungkyunkwan University’s Faculty of Economics and Commerce. In February 1987, he received a doctorate in economics at Seoul National University. He was a visiting professor at Kyoto University for a year from December 1991 and at Peking University for half a year from March 2000. He retired from Sungkyunkwan University in 2005 at the mandatory age. He has since been a professor emeritus at the university.

His books include:Kankoku Senso to 1950-nendai no Sihonchikuseki (The Korean War and Capital Accumulation in the 1950s)(Kachi, 1987); Sekai Keizai Ron — Gurobaruka to Kokumin Keizai (The World Economy — Globalization and the National Economy) (Kachi, 1993); (The Theory of South Korean Trade)(Beopmunsa, 1995): Sekai Keizai Shisutemu to Higashi Azia (The World Economic System and East Asia)(Hanul Academy, 2008); Gendai Kankoku Keizai Ron (Modern South Korean Economic Theory)(Hanul Academy, 2008); Kizoku Zaisan Kenkyu (A Study on Vested Property)(Korean edition, Forest, 2015: Japanese edition, Bungeishunju Ltd., 2021)

Japan Study Special Award
Jason Morgan(PhD, Associate Professor at Reitaku University)

LAW AND SOCIETY IN IMPERIAL JAPAN Suehiro Izutaro and the Search for Equity (Cambria Press,2019)

Recipient’s remark

Jason Morgan

I first encountered the name “Suehiro Izutarō” while reading a book on Japanese legal history by American scholar John Owen Haley. Suehiro’s name was in a footnote, mentioned I believe in the context of caselaw. I was intrigued. I looked Suehiro up and found some preliminary information about him online and in my university’s library. I read everything I could get my hands on about Suehiro after that, and have not stopped since. Suehiro’s world of shifting legal paradigms, turbulent politics, and cataclysmic changes in society, and the ways in which Suehiro met and responded to the various challenges that came with life in Japan—in the world, more accurately—in the first half of the twentieth century, make for fascinating reading. Suehiro was a brilliant thinker with a creative mind, and, even though I often disagree with Suehiro’s arguments and views, I always find myself wanting to learn more about what Suehiro thought. He died long before I was born, but after reading so much by and about Suehiro, I feel, in some way, as though he has become my friend. There are two great lessons in this, I think. First, wherever one enters the pageant of Japanese history, one is bound to find compelling characters who are fully alive in their age. There is no dull year in the Japanese historical record. No dull day, really. Suehiro, for example, lived through the devastating 1923 Kantō earthquake. In the wake of that disaster, he led a group of professors and students at the University of Tokyo in a project, what they called a Settlement, blending community outreach with the work of a relief agency like the Red Cross. In doing this, Suehiro was bringing to Japan ideas which he had learned about in England and America, where he had studied abroad as a Tōdai student.

Later, drawing upon the surveying (chōsa) skills and methods he and his team of humanitarians had learned in their Settlement work, Suehiro led another expedition, this time to northern China, where he set about documenting the “living law” (an idea he picked up from the Austrian legal theorist Eugen Ehrlich) of the Chinese peasantry.

Postwar, Suehiro was purged by the American Occupation, then rehabilitated. He continued to study labor law, his original passion and one which, even before the 1923 earthquake hit, had drawn him into tremendous political fights alongside sharecroppers (kosaku) against large-scale landowners in the provinces.

Suehiro was in the thick of things from beginning to end. In that sense, he typifies Japanese history. There is always something interesting going on, always more, and more, that one can learn. The Japan Study Special Award is, to me, a celebration of this great truth. Japanese history is the most compelling history in the world, for me at least. I hope many, many others will see the news about this award and then go pick up a Japanese history book. My book on Suehiro, if you can find a copy! Or another book on another topic. There are so many good books from which to choose.

Second, this award is an affirmation of the legacy of Kokkiken (Japan Institute for National Fundamentals) and of its president Sakurai Yoshiko and vice-president Takubo Tadae,among others.

This award, given to me for research about someone from a very different world than mine in many different ways--- research about someone with views vastly different than my own--- shows the spirit of Sakurai-san,Takubo-san and other Kokkiken people. It’s a spirit of open inquiry, of good-spirited debate, of courage in the face of complexity, of seeking the truth even in places, and among people, where partisan politics suggests one is unlikely to find it.

To my mind, this award is not really for me. It is for Suehiro, for the interesting and topsy-turvy life he led and the intellectual inquiries into his world that he carried out. It is also for everyone who carries out research with an open mind, in the spirit of free inquiry.

I would like to thank the family of Suehiro, who provided tremendous amounts of materials to me when I was researching him for my doctoral dissertation. I am so happy I was able to meet Suehiro’s descendants and touch some of the books and papers that the man himself had once owned. In a very special way, I would like to express my appreciation to the Suehiros, without whom my little book would not have been written. Thanks also to Kokkiken. Japan is a good and beautiful country. It is worth defending. Its historical truth is worth telling. This award is a great encouragement to me, and to anyone else who cares about history, about truth, about Japan. Thank you.
(Note: for Japanese names, this writer uses Japanese style with family name first followed by given name)

Recipient’s biography

Born in 1977 in Louisiana, USA, he studied at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga,majoring in history and international studies. He received a master’s degree in Asian studies (Chinese history) at the University of Hawaii-Manoa in 2005 and in Christian Wisdom (philosophy) at the Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Connecticut, in 2021. Meanwhile in 2016 he earned PhD in Japanese history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He studied at the Waseda University Law School as a Fulbright doctoral dissertation researcher from 2014 to 2015. His studies abroad also included Haifa University, Israel(comparative law), Yunnan University, PRC (Chinese language),Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (Japanese language) and Nagoya University (Japanese history). Since 2017 he has been teaching at Reitaku University and presently is an associate professor at Reitaku University.

Other than Law and Society in Imperial Japan:Suehiro Izutaro and the Search for Equity―2022 Japan Study Special Award Book (Amherst, NY:Cambria 2020),his books include: (America’s Potemkin Ivory Tower, Ikuhosha,2019);Riberaru ni shihai sareta Amerika no matsuro ( USA:Death by Liberalism, Tokyo, Wani Books, 2018); Nihonkoku kempo wa nihonjin no haji de aru (The Japanese Constitution is the Shame of the Japanese,Tokyo, Goku Books,2017).