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Book details
  • SubGenre:Constitutions
  • Language:English
  • Pages:48
  • eBook ISBN:9784907886011

Japan's Hopeful Constitution

by Fred Uleman

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Issued in 1948, this booklet explains Japan’s postwar Constitution with a special emphasis on why it says what it does. The new Constitution was written embodying the hopes of the war-weary nation, and this text elucidates its principles in easy-to-understand language. Although originally intended to counter wartime thinking, it is equally important in today’s political climate.
World War II was a disaster for Japan, and the country needed to do a complete turn-about before it could be accepted back into the international community. The Constitution, for example, needed to be completely rewritten to incorporate democratic principles and to reflect popular revulsion at military adventurism. Yet changing the laws was not enough. These new norms needed to be explained to and internalized by the general public. Education was crucial to this effort, and the Ministry of Education issued a plainly written side-reader in 1948 to explain the new Constitution to students. Entitled “Atarashii kenpou no hanashi” or “the story of the new Constitution,” the text highlights some of the major differences with the wartime Constitution and explains why these differences are so important. As such, the original Japanese and this lucid English translation are essential reference documents for anyone seeking to appreciate the thinking behind the Constitution and understand the debate now raging in Japan over possibly amending that Constitution.
About the author
Uleman was born in Pittsburgh, PA, graduated from the University of Michigan, and moved to Japan in 1963. He has worked for several decades as a Japanese-to-English translator and has extensive experience in the political and business fields.