Since the adoption of the 1947 Constitution of Japan, the document has become a contested symbol of contrasting visions of Japan. Japanese Constitutional Revisionism and Civic Activism is a volume which examines the history of Japan’s constitutional debates, key legal decisions and interpretations, the history and variety of activism, and activists’ ties to party politics and to fellow activists overseas.
Helen Hardacre is Reischauer Institute professor of Japanese religions and society at Harvard University.
Timothy S. George is professor of history at the University of Rhode Island.
Keigo Komamura is vice president and professor of law at Keio University.
Franziska Seraphim is associate professor at Boston College.
Part I: Activism and Constitutional Politics
Chapter 1: Article 9 Meets Civic Activism: Reflection on the Sunagawa Case
Chapter 2: Crisis of Constitutional Democracy and the New Civic Activism in Japan: From SEALDs to Civil Alliance
Chapter 3: Popular Sovereignty, Social Movements, and Money: The Political Process in 1960 and 2014 Surrounding National Security
Chapter 4: Regarding Constitutional Revision Within and Without the National Diet
Chapter 5: Reflections on Part I
Part II: Activists for and Against Constitutional Revision, edited by Helen Hardacre
Chapter 6: New Civic Activism and Constitutional Discussion: Streets, Shrines and Cyberspace
Chapter 7: Reviving Constitutional Democracy: Gender Parity and Women’s Engagement with Politics
Chapter 8: Soka Gakkai’s Impact on Constitutional Revision Attempts
Chapter 9: Nippon Kaigi Working for Constitutional Revision
Chapter 10: Reflections on Part II
Part III: Understanding Japanese Constitutional Revision in Historical and Comparative Perspectives, edited by Franziska Seraphim
Chapter 11: Interactions between Constitutionalism and Authoritarianism in Asian Democracies: A Japan-Taiwan Comparison
Chapter 12: Peace, Land, and Bread: Constitutional Revolution in Postwar Japan and South Korea
Chapter 13: Constitutional Revision Going Astray: Article Nine and Security Policy
Chapter 14: Reflections on Part III
Part IV: Human Rights and Environmental Issues Implicated in Constitutional Revision Debates, edited by Timothy George
Chapter 15: Wartime Roots of Postwar Pacifism: Japanese Anti-War Activism in Occupied China
Chapter 16: The Irony of an Historic Preservation Movement and Its Relevance for Popular Sovereignty in Postwar Japan
Chapter 17: Everything’s Going to be Alright? An Analysis of Rights in Constitutional Amendment Proposals
Chapter 18: Reflections on Part IV
This rich collection of essays puts flesh on the tired bones of Japanese debates about whether to protect or revise the 1947 Constitution. Highlighting civic activism across the postwar period, the authors show the contention to be much more complicated—and politically and socially dynamic—than an either/or proposition. Comparisons with Taiwan and South Korea and attention not only to Article 9 but to human rights and environmental questions give the book an expansive character. This intelligent and informative study is a pleasure to read.
This volume offers a truly comprehensive analysis of civic activism surrounding constitutional revision in Japan, drawing on the diverse expertise of an international team of scholars of law, history, politics, religion, and society. While past research has focused on the goals of established elites, the authors delve into the motivations and strategies of underexamined grassroots actors, including academics, youths, religious organizations, and ideological movements. Importantly, the studied topics extend beyond the lightning rod of Article 9 to encompass debates over human rights, gender equality, and environmentalism, painting a fuller picture of constitutional debates in Japan. By giving equal weight to historical context and contemporary movements, this volume is relevant to any scholar or observer of postwar Japan.
Because of its globally recognized 'no war' clause, debate over Japan's constitution is often seen only through the lens of its implications for its foreign policy. But the dynamics within Japan surrounding this unique document are far more important. In a timely and revelatory new volume focused on the civic activism surrounding Japan's postwar governing document, the benefactors of this document—Japan's citizens—are given the starring role. This exciting new volume reflects the best of scholarship in both Japan and the United States on this ongoing tension between citizens and state that is at the heart of postwar Japanese democratic practice.