Chapter

Introduction

Laura Hein

in Reasonable Men, Powerful Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780520243477
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931572 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520243477.003.0001
Introduction

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This book looks at how social scientists grappled with politics and economics in twentieth-century Japan by examining the lives and ideas of six Japanese economists who were active from the 1920s to the 1980s: Ōuchi Hyōe and his five most prominent students — Arisawa Hiromi, Ōmori Yoshitarō, Wakimura Yoshitarō, Takahashi Masao, and Minobe Ryōkichi. Collectively, these individuals participated in an extraordinarily broad range of macroeconomic policy debates including anti-inflation measures, labor policy, pension systems, employment programs, and consumer rights. As significant as their policy contributions were, the impact of these six economists on the shape of Japanese political culture was even greater. They contributed simultaneously to politicization and depoliticization, doing both through the medium of social science. The social science view of history as the visible record of huge structural forces also shaped the political views of the Ōuchi group, particularly their commitment to socialism. Moreover, their lives were shaped by overt political activism. Nonetheless, even when they disengaged from the Japan Socialist Party, these economists continued their efforts to transform the political culture of twentieth-century Japan.

Keywords: Japan; economics; politics; Ōuchi Hyōe; economists; social science; political culture; socialism; political activism; macroeconomic policy

Chapter.  10881 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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