Dissertation English

Sprot­te, Maik Hen­drik (2001):
Kon­flikt­aus­tra­gung in auto­ri­tae­ren Herr­schafts­sys­te­men – Eine his­to­ri­sche Fall­stu­die zur frueh­so­zia­lis­ti­schen Bewe­gung im Japan der Meiji-Zeit. Mar­burg: Tec­tum Ver­lag (Diss. Uni­ver­si­taet Bonn), 408 pages, ISBN: 3–8288-8323–0, 25,90 €

Con­flict Sett­le­ment in Aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an Regimes – A His­to­ri­cal Case Stu­dy on the Ear­ly Socia­lism Move­ment in Mei­ji Japan”

My stu­dy is a poli­ti­cal and his­to­ri­cal ana­ly­sis of the ways and means employ­ed by aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an sys­tems of govern­ment to con­trol or eli­mi­na­te dome­stic adver­s­a­ries. Spe­ci­fi­cal­ly, poli­ti­cal mea­su­res employ­ed against the socia­lism move­ment in the Mei­ji era (Mei­ji jidai sho­ki shakai­shu­gi undô 明治時代初期社会主義運動) are inves­ti­ga­ted. Under the pre­mi­se that mea­su­res and regu­la­ti­ons of the ruling olig­ar­chy against ear­ly Japa­ne­se socia­lism were the result of spe­ci­fic, anti-socialistic poli­ti­cal doc­tri­ne, mecha­nisms of con­flict escala­ti­on, its regu­la­ti­on, reduc­tion, and reso­lu­ti­on are depic­ted. When in the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry socia­list orga­niza­ti­ons came into being, this led the govern­ment to take strict mea­su­res aimed at the main­ten­an­ce of the socio-political sta­tus quo which had ari­sen in the 25 years sin­ce the Mei­ji Res­to­ra­ti­on. A cli­ma­te of con­flict exis­ted bet­ween the aut­ho­ri­ties and the socia­lists resul­ting in radi­cal­iza­ti­on of the socia­lism move­ment and in turn ever ster­ner offi­ci­al mea­su­res against the socialists.


the term “power” in its gene­ral poli­ti­cal context:
the theo­ries of Max Weber (“The term ‚power´ is socio­lo­gi­cal­ly amor­phous”), Peter Bach­r­ach and Mor­ton S. Bar­atz (“The Second Face of Power”) and, final­ly, Ste­ven M. Lukes´ “Radi­cal Review” of power and his three-dimensional inter­pre­ta­ti­on of this poli­ti­cal phe­no­me­non as a “cri­tique of beha­viou­ral focus”; his­to­ri­cal aspects of poli­ti­cal power, poli­ce and public secu­ri­ty from a gene­ral perspective;

spe­ci­fic Japa­ne­se com­pon­ents of conflict:
cri­te­ria of poli­ti­cal legi­ti­ma­cy in the Mei­ji era (koku­tai 国体, Mei­ji ken­pô 明治憲法, kyôi­ku ni kan suru cho­ku­go) 教育に関する勅語, eco­no­mic deve­lo­p­ment and the foun­da­ti­on of an indus­tri­al pro­le­ta­ri­at, ori­g­ins of socia­lism in Japan (ega­li­ta­ri­an and uto­pian tra­di­ti­ons in Asia, ide­as of the “left-wing” in the peo­p­les rights move­ment repre­sen­ted by Nakae Chô­min 中江兆民), the con­nec­tion bet­ween soci­al­ly com­mit­ted pro­tes­tant Chris­tia­ni­ty and ear­ly Euro­pean socia­lism, Kôto­ku Shûsui‚s (幸徳秋水, 1871–1911) uni­que inter­pre­ta­ti­on of the war­ri­or ethic, the bus­hi­dô 武士道;

the con­cept of public secu­ri­ty sys­tems in Meiji-Japan:
the for­ma­ti­on of poli­ce aut­ho­ri­ties during the 1870´s, the ear­ly legis­la­ti­on on public secu­ri­ty, the pre­ce­ding legis­la­ti­ve dis­cus­sions and the con­tents of the “Law of the Poli­ce for Public Secu­ri­ty” (also cal­led “Peace Poli­ce Law”, chi­an keisatsu-hô 治安警察法, 1900) and its par­ti­cu­lar importance for the rela­ti­onship bet­ween the rulers and the socia­lists. This law pro­hi­bi­ted the trans­for­ma­ti­on of poli­ti­cal con­flict into par­lia­men­ta­ry com­pe­ti­ti­on of poli­ti­cal par­ties by obs­truc­ting poli­ti­cal assem­blies as well as the foun­da­ti­on of poli­ti­cal par­ties, and by for­bid­ding the poli­ti­cal par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on of sol­diers, women, poli­ce­men and others; sur­veil­lan­ce of socia­lists; the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­ti­on into impro­ved methods for fight­ing poli­ti­cal enemies in for­eign count­ries (e.g. the “Agree­ment Against Anar­chists” of St. Peters­burg, 1904);

the deve­lo­p­ment and radi­cal­iza­ti­on of the Japa­ne­se socia­lism movement:
from the first Japa­ne­se Social Demo­cra­tic Par­ty (shakai mins­hu­tô 社会民主党), foun­ded in 1901, up to the “High Tre­ason Inci­dent” (tai­gya­ku jiken 大逆事件) in 1910 within the frame­work of oppres­si­ve mea­su­res taken by the Japa­ne­se govern­ment. The ant­ago­nism of par­lia­men­ta­ry socia­lism and anar­chism as two dia­me­tri­cal­ly oppo­sed instru­ments aiming to trans­la­te socia­li­stic ide­as into rea­li­ty, which had evol­ved in the Mei­ji Era, is taken into consideration.

ana­ly­sis of power rela­ti­ons in the Mei­ji state:
The poli­ti­cal mea­su­res of the ruling olig­ar­chy in Mei­ji Japan appear to be a com­bi­na­ti­on of under­stan­da­ble secu­ri­ty inte­rests due to the pre­sence of anar­chism and its revo­lu­tio­na­ry ideo­lo­gi­cal approach and an uns­cru­pu­lous defence of power, igno­ring the despe­ra­te need of hundreds of thou­sands of indus­tri­al workers for fun­da­men­tal social reforms. In con­trast to the Ger­man model, whe­re the “Iron Chan­cell­or” Otto von Bis­marck cou­pled his anti-socialistic poli­tics with far-reaching and unpre­ce­den­ted social legis­la­ti­on, the bela­ted mea­su­res taken by the Japa­ne­se rulers (“Fac­to­ry Law” (kôjô-hô 工場法), the impe­ri­al foun­da­ti­on of the “Sai­sei­kai” 済生会, both 1911) were insuf­fi­ci­ent and half-hearted. On the other hand, the socia­lists´ par­ti­al dog­ma­tism and ideo­lo­gi­cal intran­si­gence led to radi­cal­iza­ti­on. Both ant­ago­nists of the poli­ti­cal con­flict ended up in a spi­ral­ling cycle of violence.

Ger­man trans­la­ti­on: “Law of the Poli­ce for Public Secu­ri­ty” (1900), Yama­ga­ta Aritomo´s (山県有朋, 1838–1922) pri­va­te bill to inten­si­fy public secu­ri­ty (1910), Secre­ta­ry of Dome­stic Affairs Hira­ta Tôsuke´s (平田東助, 1849–1925) „Memo­ran­dum on Mea­su­res against Socia­lism“ (07–27-1910), the „Fac­to­ry Law“ (the ver­si­on which pas­sed both hou­ses of par­lia­ment in 1911); Docu­ments: report of the Ger­man Impe­ri­al Embas­sy in Japan con­cer­ning the Ashio riots (2–15-1907); report of the Ger­man Impe­ri­al Embas­sy in Japan con­cer­ning the High Tre­ason Inci­dent (1–30-1911)