Kazuo Nimura
Ohara Institute for Social Research: People and History

The Founders of the Ohara Institute for Social Research


The Ôhara Institute for Social Research (OISR) was founded exactly 75 years ago today on February 9th, 1919. [This article was written as a record of the panel discussion held on the occasion of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Institute, on 9th February 1994]. We, the staff of the OISR, have held some large-scale commemorative events as major milestones in the Institute's history have come round. For the 45th anniversary 30 years ago we held commemorative public lectures in three places, Tokyo, Osaka and Kurashiki, and for the 50th anniversary a quarter of a century ago, with the support of the Asahi Newspaper Company, we held a commemorative exhibition at the Tôkyû Department Store in Nihombashi and a public lecture event at the Asashi Hall. For the 60th anniversary, an exhibition of rare books and materials from the Institute's collection was held at the Yaesu Book Center and the 70th anniversary was marked with an international symposium.

With such events in mind, this year's 75th anniversary marked, in the western sense, the Institute's diamond jubilee, and as such, merited a special commemoration. However, the heavy daily workload at the Institute over the past several years, together with budgetary constraints, meant that we faced this anniversary with very little preparation. Realizing this situation just the other day at a regular Wednesday meeting at the Institute, it was decided at least to hold a modest commemoration at the Institute itself, within the family circle, so to speak. Having decided on that, it was agreed that some of those people who have been connected with the Institute in some way, and those at the University on whom the Institute depends on a daily basis, should be given a guided tour, which then took place two weeks ago, albeit after literally last minute preparation. Despite such poor planning, a large number of people came, for which I would like to extend sincere thanks on behalf of the Institute.

In this situation, we feel we must offer our apologies for the lack of preparations for the commemoration. My own speech was as unprepared as the event itself and almost entirely unrehearsed. However, as this is an occasion that only comes around once every 25 years, I would like to take this opportunity to speak to all of you who are currently working at the Institute about how this place where you are working came about and to tell you something of its history.

Kurashiki - 'A Free City'

The first name to be mentioned in any discussion of the founders of the Ôhara Institute for Social Research is of course that of Ôhara Magosaburô, who provided the founding capital from his own pocket and whose name the Institute still bears. He gifted a total of ¥1,850,000 to the Institute; in today's currency that would be equivalent to ¥100 - ¥200 million [see Gleanings from the Institute (1)]. This money was provided over a period of 21 years at an average rate of ¥88,000 a year. Omitting expenditure on the purchase of land and buildings (¥250,000), running costs at the Institute over that 21-year period totalled ¥1,600,000, an annual average of approximately ¥80,000, or ¥500-800 million at today's prices.

Why did a wealthy man from a small town in the Setonaikai Inland Sea region put up such a large amount of money to found a research institute? And not only the OISR - he also founded the Labor Science Research Institute and the Agricultural Research Institute as well as the famous Ôhara Art Museum and the Japan Folk Culture Museum at Komaba: a remarkable story of achievement. And why was Ôhara himself a native not of a great metropolis like Tokyo or Osaka but of Kurashiki, a small town near the Inland Sea?

I have been studying the life of Ôhara Magosaburô for some time now, little by little, but I have found that the more I look into Ôhara's story, the more complex it becomes. There is no perfect accommodation between his words and his deeds; he was a man of many contradictions. There was a really admirable side to his character as well as aspects that were not at all commendable. On balance, he was a man whose positive traits certainly outweighed the minuses, but to close one's eyes to those minuses would make the positive traits incomprehensible. Indeed, questions continually arise as to how he became a man of so many contradictions.
    To understand him, one does of course need to turn to the Ôhara family and the region of Kurashiki, which enabled the Ôhara family and the Kurashiki spinning industry to prosper.

Friends have often said to me "You soon start talking about 'origins' in any conversation of historical background, but is all that onion peeling actually going to get you anywhere?" However, I certainly do want to know why a man like Ôhara Magosaburô came from Kurashiki, and not least because in the second half of the 19th century, besides Ôhara Magosaburô, Kurashiki produced a number of idiosyncratic individuals.

1880 was the birth year not only of Magosaburô but also of Yamakawa Hitoshi, who was to play a key role in the history of the Japanese socialist movement. Yamakawa was the eldest son of an old Kurashiki family. Ôhara Magosaburô and Yamakawa Hitoshi were in fact primary school classmates and at the time, their families were extremely close. A photograph of the two boys standing together can be seen in the Ôhara Magosaburô Den (The Story of Ôhara Magosaburô). Yamakawa used to call Ôhara 'Mago-san', and the two boys were such good friends that they would play at sumo wrestling in the living room of the Ôhara family's villa or make magazines together. Having written a short essay criticizing the Taishô Emperor's wedding, which was published in Shônen no Fukuin (Good News for Youth), a paper he produced with a friend, at the age of 19, Yamakawa was sentenced to imprisonment in Japan's first case of lese-majesty, and Ôhara went to visit him in prison at Sugamo. The visit was not allowed as the regulations stipulated that visitors had to be family members, but when, on being released from prison later, Yamakawa heard about Ôhara's attempt to visit him, he wrote, "To visit me in prison at that time was not only most welcome, it also called for considerable courage. I thanked my old friend for his friendship from the bottom of my heart." (Yamakawa Hitoshi Jiden - The Autobiography of Yamakawa Hitoshi, p. 231). Returning to Kurashiki afterwards, Yamakawa continued his close association with Magosaburô, amongst other things borrowing his copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica to study.

The biologist Ôhashi Hiro was born two years after Ôhara and Yamakawa. The Ôhashis were another wealthy family in Kurashiki along with the Ôharas, and Hiro was the eldest daughter of Ôhashi Ryôhei, the founder of the Kurashiki Spinning Company. While a student at Dôshisha Women's University she was forced into a unwanted marriage, which resulted in children, but she later divorced her husband of her own free will, and after graduation from Japan Women's University in English and Biology, she gained a Ph.D at Chicago University and returned to become a professor at her alma mater, Japan Women's University, where after World War II, she was eventually appointed President.

Akiyama Teisuke was born some dozen years before Ôhara, Ôhashi and Yamakawa. Akiyama founded the Ni-roku shinpô [Two-six News], a paper widely read by artisans and workers in the Meiji period (1868-1912). The paper is well-known for sponsoring and organising the large-scale workers' assembly in 1901, which could be called Japan's first May Day demonstrations.

Then, half a generation after Ôhara and Yamakawa, came the birth of Uno Kôzô, one of Japan's leading Marxist economists, and the son-in-law of Takano Iwasaburô, who was a researcher and subsequently Director of the OISR. These five - Akiyama, Ôhara, Yamakawa, Ôhashi, and Uno - had different interests, but all of them worked in fields related to culture, scholarship, lecturing and writing. All of them shared a radical spirit that would not be bound by traditional habits and acted according to their own beliefs; they also had in common a respect for rational thinking. Along with this group was another individual who is not so well-known nationally but who was close to both Ôhara and Yamakawa and indirectly had much to do with the OISR; this was Hayashi Genjûrôo. I shall come back to him later.

Kurashiki became a town only a few years before Ôhara Magosaburô was born; previously, it had been a village. In 1879, the year before he was born, there were 1682 households and just 6061 inhabitants, an almost unimaginably small figure compared with today's population of 400,000. It was no simple coincidence that the kind of prominent figures mentioned above should have emerged from such a tiny place and from just a few old families. It suggests that there was something special about the Kurashiki region and especially the upper social strata of that region.

During the Tokugawa period (1603-1867) Kurashiki was a fief under the direct control of the bakufu (shogunate), so there were no local samurai families there. Normally, such fiefs (tenryô) were relatively free compared to other fiefs that were directly controlled by clan heads (hanshu), and land taxes tended to be lower. Daimyô who ruled their own domains controlled their populations tightly and usually imposed heavy taxes. Tenryô fiefs, by contrast, were administered by magistrates or governors who were shogunal officials appointed for a limited period. They did not want any stains on their record, and their administration tended to be relatively mild so as to enable them to get safely through their period in office with a minimum of complications. Kurashiki itself was a small village, and the regional magistrate's office was also responsible for all the shogunal lands in Bitchû, Mimasaka and Sanuki, its main task being the gathering of rice for transport to Osaka. According to one account, the name 'Kurashiki' comes from the rows of storehouses (kura yashiki) belonging to the daimyô, in which were kept rice and ginned cotton. Although ostensibly only a village, Kurashiki thus had an important role in sending the products of the bakufu lands in the Chûgoku and Shikoku regions and in surrounding areas on to Osaka and Edo (Tokyo). It therefore had numerous merchants and was clearly wealthier than ordinary villages. Akiyama, Ôhara, Yamakawa, Ôhashi and Uno all left to pursue their studies in the capital, but they were enabled to do so by the fact that there were so many wealthy families in the village. Another factor was the evident respect felt by people in Kurashiki for learning and the arts. Needless to say, this respect arose because there were so many in Kurashiki with the time and money available to pursue such interests. It is hard for culture to grow in a situation where people are having to struggle for food to eat.

Kurashiki was created on land newly reclaimed from Kojima Bay, so its history goes back only a few centuries at most. Such places tend to be freer from old established traditions and customs. In particular, as Kurashiki enjoyed a lighter burden of taxation and was required to respond to the needs of the local shogunal office, its commercial hinterland was extensive. Furthermore, the surrounding region was well-known not only as a rice-growing area but also for its cotton and rush matting products, while land reclaimed by sand in-fill required fertilizer - all of which made it an excellent place for business. It can well be imagined that enterprising people eager to get on in life would move there and seek to carve out their own destinies.

From the mid-18th century autonomous relief organizations (gikura) had existed in Kurashiki to aid the poor. These organisations were run by more prominent members of the community. Unlike the shakura groups, which feudal clans would create, the gikura organizations enabled villagers and townspeople to sustain their own livelihoods without having to depend on the feudal authorities above them; it was a system that would not have developed without people of an autonomous, independent-minded character.

The thesis to which I hold is that as Japan had no free cities of the European type but had only castle towns, where the population were under the direct control of the samurai class, craft guilds and craft unions did not develop in Japan, and consequently, labor unions emerged largely on a company basis. Nevertheless, it does seem to be the case that, like Nagasaki and Kyoto, Kurashiki was an unusual community that broke the mould. One might go so far as to say that it came close to having the European-style character of a 'free city'. This is not my own insight; I owe it to my teacher at postgraduate school, former University President Nakamura Akira, who wrote a paper for the 45th anniversary of the OISR entitled Bakumatsu Kurashiki no chishikijin-tachi (Intellectuals at Kurashiki in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate) which was based on a lecture he had given at Kurashiki; the paper was published in No. 173 of Shiryoo shishitsuhô (Archive Bulletin). According to Professor Nakamura, Kurashiki became a town of wealthy merchants because kokugaku, the study of the Japanese classics, prevailed there rather than that of Confucianism, the philosophy preferred by the samurai. Like Confucianism, kokugaku was antipathetic to Buddhism, and so areas where kokugaku was dominant during the late Tokugawa period tended to be more receptive of Christianity. I feel Professor Nakamura's thesis to be on the mark. Incidentally, Professor Nakamura Akira is the grandson of the painter Uragami Gyokudô of Okayama, and relations between the Ôhara family and Uragami Gyokudô were close. Ôhara Magosaburô's great-grandfather was a close friend of Uragami's and as a result, the Ôhara family accumulated many of Gyokudô's works. Magosaburô himself liked his paintings and built up his own personal collection; he even published some of Gyokudô's book of paintings. It may seem to be straining the point but I feel it could well be maintained that the Ôhara Museum of Art was built in Kurashiki because the town that had cultivated Uragami Gyokudô was a place that held the arts in high regard.

The Ôhara Family

The Ôhara family that gave birth to Magosaburô in this small merchants' town of Kurashiki, had moved there 300 years earlier from Kataokamura in Kojima County, Bitchû Province. In Kurashiki they ran the successful Kojimaya shop business, dealing in cotton. The land around Kurashiki had long been one of Japan's many cotton-growing areas. It was no accident that the Kurashiki Spinning Company was established there. 200 years earlier, Kojimaya, was already adding money-lending to its already prosperous rice and cotton wholesale business. The Ôhara villa on the banks of the Kurashiki river is an historical building and a state-designated site of cultural importance. It was built by the third generation head of Kojimaya at Kurashiki. I was shown around it last year, and it is certainly a splendid building, eloquent testimony to the fact that the Ôharas were already a very wealthy merchant family 200 years ago.

Magosaburô's father Yohei was the fifth generation head of Kojimaya. A very enterprising man, he had come through the turbulent years at the end of the shogunate and the beginning of the new modern era and had risen to become village headman. Meanwhile, many of the former old Kurashiki families, such as that of Yamakawa Hitoshi, had become impoverished. On account of its success in frequently providing the shogunate with finance, in 1861 the Kojimaya family was allowed to take a surname and adopted the name Hara. This was because their ancestors had at one time lived in Sanuki Ônohara, a name which goes back to Ônohara in Kagawa Prefecture. The following year (1862) the name was changed to Ôhara. In the same way, the Naitô family had become the Ôuchi, and the powerful Mori family had changed their name to the Ômori. This then was the origin of the name 'Ôhara' in the Ôhara Institute for Social Research. The 'Mago' (grandson) in Magosaburô was also in honour of his illustrious grandfather Yohei, the head of the 5th generation of Kojimaya.

Magosaburô's father, Ôhara Kôshirô was of the Confucianist Fujita family from the Ikeda clan of Okayama and entered the Ôhara family as the husband of Yohei's granddaughter. He seems to have been a cultured man who had studied at Morita Sessai's private school, Kanjuku. For that period, he was a very rationalist-minded man, and according to his grandson Sôichirô, with the spread of mechanization in rice-growing, Kôshirô bought up unwanted millstones on the cheap and used them as garden paving stones. It was said in those days that "those who use millstones as paving stones will suffer the consequences" but he was not at all bothered, saying, "what is wrong with making good use of waste material?" Also, rumors spread that he was being miserly in plastering walls with cheap red hillside earth mixed in the plaster, but Kôshirô ignored such views, saying "it looks brighter this way".

This habit of relying on one's own judgment without being bound by the customs and values of the past was clearly passed on to Magosaburô, who was proud of the fact that the Ôhara family had no traditional family rules and dicta. For him, "those people who are hopeless who insist on holding fast to the fixed ideas and sayings of the past. Succeeding generations should improve on their ancestors". He told his son Sôichirô, "It is your duty to study carefully the weak points of your ancestors, criticise them and improve upon them." Such words may have been prompted by his own feeling that he was a man with many faults, but equally, they also sound as if he was challenging his son to go beyond him.

Idolized by ambitious young men eager to develop the region, in 1888 Kôshirô became the head of the newly established limited liability company, the Kurashiki Spinning Company. This was to be the fount of a nationwide cotton spinning industry, though at the time it had just 5000 reels and was only the 20th largest company in the provinces. The company boosted the fortunes of the Ôhara family from being a provincial landowner to one of Japan's wealthiest families. The family's properties grew from 104 hectares in 1877 to 300 hectares ten years later, and by Magosaburô's time (in 1924) had reached 500 hectares.

Ôhara Magosaburô

Ôhara Magosaburô, 29 years old

Magosaburô was born to father Kôshirô and mother Ei in July 1880. As his name makes clear, he was actually the third son, but the brother immediately above him had died soon after birth, so that Magosaburô was officially entered into the family register as the second son.
    The year after he was born, the 18 year-old eldest son also died so that not long after his birth Magosaburô became the Ôhara family heir. With his father almost 50 and the early deaths of his two brothers, Magosaburô literally became his family's last hope, and as he was sickly as a child, he was brought up with great care. Already temperamental by nature, and brought up very indulgently by his grandparents and parents, the young Magosaburô became a self-centered 'young gentleman'. Such children cannot abide schools with all kinds of restrictions and become what are today called truants. He dropped out of Kurashiki primary school and studied for a while at the Okayama clan school at Shizudani but dropped out of that too and at 16 moved to Tokyo, where he entered the Tokyo Senmon Gakkô (Tokyo Special School), the forerunner of Waseda University. However, here too he hardly attended classes and apparently plunged into a hedonistic lifestyle, going to the theater, music halls and the Yoshiwara red light district. His allowance from home being completely inadequate to support this lifestyle, eventually he resorted to loan sharks to finance his 'studies' at the 'University of Yoshiwara', where he proved to be a particularly 'gifted' student. One of these loan sharks, a certain Mr. Okuno, apparently travelled to Kurashiki to demand his money back. Magosaburô's father politely thanked him for "being so good as to lend such a great deal of money to a young fellow from the provinces and for trusting the Ôhara family" and treated him to a lavish meal. Magosaburô was indeed a self-indulgent son.

In biographies of Magosaburô this period of sowing wild oats has been put down to "the influence of bad friends" but that is unlikely to have been the case. He was a man who would not be refused in anything, so it hardly makes sense to ascribe his problems only to the influence of friends. Including the interest, the money owed to the loan shark Okuno totalled the enormous sum of ¥15,000. It is not easy to compare how much ¥15,000 of that period would be worth in today's money, but in those days the starting salary for a primary school teacher or a policeman would be around ¥10, the highest paid technician at the Kurashiki Spinning Company would have earned ¥30 and a university-educated bank clerk, around ¥35. At that time, 'university-educated' meant graduates of Tokyo Imperial University only, and they constituted a top elite cadre of just 300 men a year from all faculties. In other words, ¥15,000 represented 430 months' pay for a member of the most educated people in the country, or 120 years' salary for a new primary school teacher. Today, it would certainly be in the hundreds of millions. One cannot but be amazed by the nerve of a young fellow, not yet an adult, who spent such an enormous amount on the pleasures of the flesh. For an ordinary family, it would have meant the whole family having to commit suicide.

Nevertheless, I believe that precisely because he was this kind of man, Magosaburô was able to found the OISR. That he was bold enough to spend so much money at just 17 years of age or thereabouts meant that he was well able to invest ¥1,850,000 in a research institute. Of course, if he had not had the money to spend, nothing would have come of it; it was not just pluck or guts or an extravagant nature; the wealth of the Ôhara family and Magosaburô's genial ability as an entrepreneur were also indispensable. However, there were plenty of other wealthy men around at the time, and the fact that only Magosaburô chose to invest his money in this way was, I believe, not unrelated to the way he had been endlessly indulged from childhood. If he had been brought up strictly all those years and trained not to squander his money, it is hard to imagine he would have invested in a nebulous research institute that could be seen as neither fish nor fowl.

Furthermore, the talent he displayed as an entrepreneur is also related to the way he was brought up and to the fact that he always did just what he wanted. The growth of the Kurashiki Spinning Company came during his time as president of the company, and he showed formidable qualities of leadership in pushing his way forward regardless of the fears of those around him, forcibly reforming the hanba (lodge) system and effecting rapid growth in the scale of the enterprise. He was helped by the vigorous economic growth that came with the First World War, when the Kurashiki Spinning Company grew by leaps and bounds. His sure touch as an entrepreneur was all too evident in that period, spurred on at the same time by the natural daring that had been the result of his particular upbringing. If he had been the teacher's pet at school, he surely would not have developed such a talent. The fact that those who are good students in their schooldays do not always turn out to be successful in society shows all too well that education is no easy matter.

At any rate, the affair of the giant loan was the cause of Magosaburô having to return home, where he was 'confined to quarters'. The Autobiography of Yamakawa Hitoshi records that Yamakawa informed his father of the situation in a letter: "Mr Ôhara sent Mr. Hara Kunisaburô to the capital to report on the situation. I hear he has since brought Magosaburô home and returned to the capital." The Hara Kunisaburô mentioned here was Magosaburô's brother-in-law. On top of having to take responsibility for the loan affair, Magosaburô now had to cope with another shock on learning that Hara Kunisaburô had died of a sudden illness in Tokyo, having been sent there to deal with the crisis Magosaburô had caused. The news filled him with remorse, and now, at what proved to be the turning point in his life, came his meeting with the famous Ishii Jûji.

Ishii Jûji

If Magosaburô had not met Ishii, it is likely there would have been no Ôhara Institute for Social Research. After Ishii's death, in memory of him, Magosaburô founded the Ishii Memorial Aizen-en Foundation which was responsible for running a night school and kindergarten for poor children from the slums of Osaka. From the very beginning of this venture, the Aizen-en (Settlement House) included a relief study center, which turned out to be the actual forerunner of the OISR. The meeting to found the OISR, which was opened 75 years ago today, was held at the Aizen-en. Indirectly then, Ishii Jûji can also be said to have been one of "the founders of the Ôhara Institute for Social Research".

Ishii Jyuji

Magosaburô may have been an unusual man, but Ishii Jûji was even more unconventional, a difficult person for ordinary thinking to comprehend. Because he was such a man, it is perhaps not so surprising that Magosaburô was prepared to listen to him. Born in 1865 in Hyûga (Miyazaki Prefecture), Ishii was 15 years older than Magosaburô. No mere social entrepreneur, he was an ardent Christian, in fact a fanatical and dynamic man of religion. He had entered Okayama Medical School intending to become a doctor but by chance ended up bringing up an orphan Before his graduation, believing it his mission in life to help orphans, he founded the Okayama Orphanage. It may be difficult for us to imagine, as we live in such a child-centered society today, but the problem of orphans was a very serious issue in those days, when there were so many orphans and abandoned children. They may have lost both parents from illness, especially in epidemics, in which case they became orphans as a matter of course if there was no-one else to look after them, or they may have been abandoned by a single parent who was unable to cope. At that time birth control was not widespread, abortion was a crime, and unmarried mothers were looked down on, so it is hardly surprising that there were so many abandoned babies.

Ishii Jûji ran the Okayama Orphanage on the basis of his religious zeal and willpower and ignored all rational calculations. This was the reason why he was successful, but occasionally he did run into difficulties and several times had to change his objectives. He often put this down to divine revelation and surprised people by completely disregarding conventional wisdom. For example, in severe financial difficulties in 1895, he abandoned the idea of depending on donations, which had sustained the orphanage until then and issued a 'declaration of independence' which stated that "we shall sustain ourselves and grow by depending upon our Heavenly Father and upon the work of each one in the Orphanage. Consequently, we shall no longer accept donations." This principle meant hard labor for the children and staff of the orphanage and became untenable during the cholera epidemic that occurred at that time. Ishii himself was struck down by this and lost his wife to it; she had been his greatest helper. In the famine that broke out in northern Japan at the end of the Meiji Emperor's reign, Ishii completely ignored the limits of the Orphanage's facilities and declared he would take any number of children, with the result that the Okayama Orphanage became Japan's largest, with 1200 children.

A number of people involved in the founding of the OISR were associated with Ishii Jûji. One such was Kakihara Seiichirô, whose mother was Ishii Jûji's cousin. Recuperating from an illness that had forced him to terminate his studies at Tokyo University, he joined the Kurashiki Spinning Company on Ishii's recommendation and became Ôhara Magosaburô's secretary and adviser; in this capacity he was especially involved with improving personnel management. When the OISR was founded, as Ôhara's representative he negotiated on his behalf all over the country and also supervised the Institute's adoption of foundation status. Another was Washizu Shigeyoshi, who had worked at the Chausubara school, a branch of the Okayama Orphanage, and who was present at Ishii's death. When the OISR was founded, he became the general manager and accountant and was a key behind-the-scenes pillar of the Institute's work. When the Institute moved to Tokyo, he became a civil servant with the Osaka local government and devoted himself to the maintenance and management of the Institute's materials that were handed over to the Osaka city authorities. After the war, he was appointed general manager and then head of the Ishii Memorial Aizen-en.

Hayashi Genjûrô

What kept the largely ramshackle Okayama Orphanage going was Ishii's extraordinary energy and the support of his many helpers, mostly Christians, both inside and outside the orphanage. He had many such supporters in the local area of Okayama Prefecture, one of whom was Hayashi Genjûrô, who managed his family's traditional apothecary's shop in Kurashiki. Hayashi was none other than the brother-in-law of Yamakawa Hitoshi, the husband of Yamakawa's eldest sister Ura. Also a Christian, Hayashi had studied at Dôshisha University and in his work was a man of real integrity, much respected by his local community. Yamakawa records in his autobiography that he was amazed how, when he was recommended to move up to Tokyo as editor of the Nikkan heimin shimbun (People's Daily News), his brother-in-law was the only one who promptly agreed and encouraged him to do so, and how years later, reading through his diary, he understood why. In his autobiography he cites a passage from the diary, which admirably portrays Hayashi Genjûrô (pseudonym Fuzô). The following section leaves a deep impression.

Though I am not quite sure what exactly Hitoshi's intentions are, what he would like to do is to devote himself to the betterment of society. The results will depend on God's Will. He seeks to do what he believes in and tries to achieve his goals without caring whether he is defeated. However, I fear that if his hopes were dashed, it would be like forcing him to die spiritually. (loc. cit., p.245)
"His past is full of pain and suffering. He does not fear even a whip of iron, but when emotional demands are made upon him within the family he readily succumbs to them, sacrifices himself and tends to make mistakes. This is his weak point at the present time. To exploit this weakness in the face of emotional demands and make him deceive himself and others would be like throwing him into a deep dark abyss. There is nothing worse on the path of life than this regret. What value is there in seeking to maintain a peace in the home that is in fact only a pretence? If the family gives Hitoshi the freedom to say what he thinks then even if I do not agree with it, I shall sacrifice my will so that he can realize his goals. (loc. cit. pp.245-6)

In the history of Japan's socialist movement there are many examples where people's love for their family is used as a means to pressure them into doing something or refraining from doing it. By contrast, though he did not agree with Yamakawa's principles, Hayashi respected his intention and did not want him to deceive himself by reacting to his family's entreaties in such a way as to make a mistake that he would regret for the rest of his life. He did not value 'family harmony' that was based on merely superficial peaceableness. Whether it be the Hayashi family or the family of Ôhashi Hiro who allowed her to divorce and then go to America to study, there was among the wealthy families of Kurashiki a certain rare spirit that respected the individual and was willing to grant individuals a degree of economic freedom.

If I may be permitted a digression, there is also the case of Ishii Jûji's splendid attitude when, after the Red Flag Incident, Yamakawa Hitoshi was imprisoned a second time. Ishii apparently said to Yamakawa's nephew, that is, Hayashi Genjûrô's eldest son, "You don't need to worry about Yamakawa. He'll live to be a hundred, so you shouldn't be worried about him now." (Yamakawa Hitoshi Jiden - The Autobiography of Yamakawa Hitoshi, p.483).

Another example is that of Kuruma Samezô, who was a researcher at the Institute from its founding and after the war became its Director for many years. What brought him to the OISR was hearing about the plans for its founding from Hayashi Keijirô, a friend from his middle school days. He then met his friend's father, Hayashi Genjûrô, who introduced him to Ôhara Magosaburô, and after meeting OISR Director Takano, he was allowed to join the Institute. Hayashi Katsujirô was himself later appointed the OISR's auditor. Yet another example is that of Kojima Torajirô, who put together the collection of art that served as, so to speak, the foundation stone for the Ôhara Museum of Art; his wife was Ishii Jûji's eldest daughter. I have mentioned these connections to show something of the intimate ways in which the people involved in this story knew each other or were related to each other. There were deep connections between the wealthier families of Kurashiki and its environs and one can perceive how a kind of intellectual circle was formed among them.

Ôhara Kôshirô, worried about the future for his son who was ruining his health by his dissolute lifestyle, turned to Hayashi Genjûrô for advice. The young Magosaburô also opened up to Hayashi and studied the Bible under his guidance. Hayashi introduced him to Ishii Jûji, who made a great impression on him. Under the influence of Hayashi and Ishii, Magosaburô became a Christian. At his wedding, Ishii Jûji and Hayashi Genjûrô were the two witnesses: such was the close relationship between the three men.

Ishii Memorial Settlement House (Aizen-en)

After this, Magosaburô did not only support the Okayama Orphanage financially, he also worked for it himself by acting as manager of the funds Ishii collected. When Ishii Jûji died in 1914, Magosaburô became the head of the Orphanage in accordance with the terms of Ishii's will. In fact, the Orphanage was not the only social enterprise in which Ishii had been involved. He had also supervised a number of large-scale ventures in Osaka, a metropolis struggling with a great variety of social problems, and in his hometown of Miyazaki. He believed that his mission was in social enterprises that would represent Japan, and rather than the Okayama Orphanage, he felt that the focus of his activities should be in Osaka, which he regarded as a central point not just in Japan but in Asia. In 1906 he therefore bought some land and property at Deiribashi near Osaka station that belonged to a girls' school and there set up the Osaka office of the Okayama Orphanage. Ôhara Magosaburô provided most of the capital for this acquisition. Whereas in Okayama Ishii's main aim was relief for orphans, in Osaka he focused on relief work in aid of slum children, organizing night schools and kindergartens and creches for infants.

After Ishii's death, Ôhara closed the Okayama Orphanage, but in response to a request from Tomita Shôkichi, who ran the Orphanage's Osaka office, he expanded the Osaka operations, and in November 1916 founded the Ishii Memorial Settlement House (Aizen-en) Foundation Trust. A relief work study center was set up within the Settlement House which became, as I have said, the direct forerunner of our Ôhara Institute for Social Research. The Aizen-en still exists as a social welfare institution employing over 300 staff; it manages a hospital, a kindergarten and a children's center.

Magosaburô set up a relief aid research center because he was concerned about the state of previous social enterprises. Magosaburô was a good student of Ishii's and an enthusiastic supporter but at the same time, he viewed Ishii's social welfare activities with the cool and critical eye of an entrepreneur. He passed the following verdict on them:

It might appear that his work was very successful in the eyes of the world, but frankly, it was an almost complete failure. The beauty of the basic spirit of its social relief work, however, should be regarded as its one great success. (Ôhara Magosaburô Den, [The Autobiography of Ôhara Magosaburô] p.95)

Magosaburô had various criticisms of Ishii's work, but the main one was the fact that the orphanage did not necessarily improve the lives of the children in it. Many children who had left the orphanage were discriminated against just because they had been in the orphanage, and were not accepted by society. They also had a tendency to lack self-reliance. Ishii himself was of course aware of this problem. He would recruit foster-parents, or run a farm at Chausubara in Miyazaki, or else send others to Brazil as emigrants. Another difference between Ôhara and Ishii was that Ôhara relied not on intuition and divine revelation but felt that social relief work ought to be based on scientific research. No doubt the influence of Yamakawa Hitoshi was behind such ideas. There is no solid evidence for this, but there is little doubt that from a distance Ôhara always kept an eye on what his old friend was saying and doing. While not always agreeing with Yamakawa's arguments, he recognized the social contradictions he pointed to and doubtless felt the need to find clear solutions.

The man he invited to head the social relief work at the research office he set up at the Aizen'en Settlement House was Takada Shingo. A graduate of Tokyo Imperial University's Faculty of Law, he was an unusual character who had chosen the path of social enterprise. In relation to the OISR, names often mentioned are those of Kushida Tamizô, Morito Tatsuo, Kurama Samezô, Ryû Shintarô, but men who achieved even more included Takada Shingo, researcher in childhood issues, and Gonda Yasunosuke, with his studies of leisure and entertainment. Besides the relief research office at Aizen'en, a relief and welfare workers' training center was also established, with Takada Shingo as its head. Takada had come to Osaka because he considered it to be in the vanguard of social enterprise at that time. Concrete proof of this was the fact that the Ôsaka Jizen Kyôkai (Osaka Philanthropic Society) and the Kyûsai Jigyô Kenkyûjo (Welfare Enterprises Research Group) had been established in Osaka by Ogawa Shigejirô, who had been appointed advisor to the Governor of Osaka in 1913, and both organizations were hard at work. The relation between the OISR and this Welfare Enterprises Research group as well as the connection with Ogawa Shigejirô deserve further studies.

The Connection with Kawakami Hajime

As Ôhara carefully observed the activities of the Okayama Orphanage, he not only came to have doubts about conventional types of welfare enterprise but also gradually came to the realization that the problem could not be solved by means of philanthropy. There was a need for research into social problems and into fundamental solutions to those problems. Curative approaches to welfare needed to be superseded by preventative ones. This was the new way of thinking behind the establishment of a center for research into social issues.

However, I came to realize that behind Ôhara's decision to establish an institute for social research was undoubtedly the influence of Kawakami Hajime, especially his book Bimbo Monogatari (The Tale of Poverty). I have already given my reasons for this view in No. 360 (Gleanings from 70 Years) of this magazine in the article Ôhara Magosaburô and Kawakami Hajime, so for details I refer readers to that. The Tale of Poverty was above all a call to the better-off to think about how they were using their money.

Those with wealth should actively address themselves day and night to the question of how they can best use their wealth for the sake of society. Eliminating luxury and extravagance goes without saying, but beyond that, they should resolve to offer their previously gained wealth up to the public good.

This is exactly the direction of Ôhara's own thinking at the time he established the research institute. Despite the fact that a Home Affairs Ministry official had told him he should reconsider the name of the institute, as to include 'social issues' in the name was not 'proper', Ôhara stuck to his original intention and went ahead with the name 'institute for research into social issues'. This 'research into social issues' was in fact the title of Kawakami Hajime's magazine.

At any rate, Kawada Shirô and Yoneda Shotarô did take part in the founding at first, whereas Kawakami did not. If he had done so and had become the central figure in the running of the Institute, the enterprise would have had a very different character and might not have lasted more than a decade.

Ôhara meanwhile was especially keen to recruit someone from Tokyo Imperial University, and it was Kawakami who recommended Takano Iwasaburô. Takano swiftly responded to the invitation and took part in the founding.

The Founding of the Ôhara Institute for Social Research and the Ôhara Research Institute for Relief Work

It will have become clear from this account of the process that led up to the founding of the Institute that in the initial stages Kyoto University academics played an important role. This was understandable, from a geographical point of view. It was widely expected that Kawata Jirô, a scholar of social policy, would become the key figure in the management of the Institute, and such was the expectation of Kawata himself. This is clear, for example, from the fact that he drafted the text of the founding charter of the Institute and was appointed one of the executive secretaries, a key management post at the Institute. The other executive secretary was Takada Shingo, which was only natural, as he had been a specialist full-time researcher since the beginning of the Aizen-en Relief Work Research Office.

Those responsible for selecting these researchers were Tokutomi Sohoo and Tanimoto Tomeri. Tokutomi recommended Kawata Jirô and Tanimoto backed Yoneda Shôtarô. Continually invited by Ôhara as lecturers for the 'Kurashiki Sunday lectures' which went on from 1902 until almost 1920, through such lectures Tokutomi and Tanimoto played the part of Ôhara's academic advisors. Ôhara had apparently long referred to Tokutomi Sohô's views on the formation of a research institute for social affairs. It is not known who recommended Kawakami Hajime, which suggests that he may have been Ôhara's own choice. Another individual involved in the process that led to the founding of the Institute was Ogawa Shigejirô, advisor to the Governor of Osaka, whose counsel Ôhara had requested at the time of the establishment of the Aizen'en Relief Work Office. Another participant was Kitazawa Shinjirô, who was recommended by Ukita Kazutami from Ôhara's alma mater, Waseda University. Although he had hardly done any studying at Waseda and did not graduate, because Ôhara invited men such as Ôkuma Shigenobu and Takada Sanae to the Kurashiki Sunday lectures, Waseda designated him a 'friend of the university', and he was later recommended as an 'honored alumnus'.

I mentioned earlier that Ôhara was critical of the idea that relief work was philanthropy, but he did not of course regard relief work as no longer necessary. Instead, he felt it must be reformed, but beyond that, it was not just a matter of helping the poor but of conducting research into how to get rid of poverty altogether. In other words, he saw relief work research as a part of social research. However, the academics he consulted, and most likely Ogawa, insisted that research into social issues and relief work research were different things, so initially, the Institute started out as a double venture.

The Ôhara Institute for Social Research was founded on Feb. 9th, 1919. The founding meeting of the Ôhara Relief Work Research Institute was held three days later, at which research staff and management for the two bodies were decided individually. The Relief Work Research Institute was the direct successor to the Aizen'en Relief Work Research Office, and the specialist research staff there were Takada Shingo, Terutoshi Yoshito, a pioneer in the field of labor science research and founder of the Labor Science Research Institute in Kurashiki, and Ôbayashi Sôji, an experienced Christian priest. Meanwhile, those counted on to carry the research work at the OISR were the sociologists Toda Teizô and Kuruma Samezô as specialist researchers, while research work was commissioned from Morito Tatsuo and Kushida Tamizô, and from Waseda, Kitazawa Shinjirô.

Nevertheless, the two research institutes soon combined, and in September the same year the Ôhara Institute for Social Research formally became one body. However, the new combined Institute began its work divided into two departments, department 1 researching labor issues and department 2 conducting research into social enterprises.

Two Incidents

The Institute was founded by Ôhara Magosaburô, but the man who determined its character was Takano Iwasaburô. One might say that the biological father was Ôhara but the one who brought the child up was Takano. As already mentioned, initially, Kawata Jirô was supposed to be at the helm alongside Takano, but soon after the founding two incidents occurred which led to Takano taking sole charge. If these two incidents had not occurred, the subsequent history of the OISR would have been very different.

The first was related to the question of the selection of delegates to the International Labor Organization (ILO), which had been founded, like the OISR, in 1919. Delegates from Japan were to be chosen to attend the first general assembly of the ILO. Three groups made up the body of delegates from all countries at the ILO: government delegates, labor delegates and employers' delegates. All countries sent labor delegates who were trade unionists, but the Japanese government, maintaining that no union was worthy of representing the workers of Japan, held a national council according to its own criteria in order to appoint Japan's ILO delegates. Five unions, including Yûaikai (The Friendly Society), were allowed to send representatives to the Council, but most of the representatives were men directly selected by large companies; some workers and many office staff were chosen. Union representatives opposed this method of selection, and some boycotted the council meeting, but the appointed Council went ahead and chose three candidates to attend the ILO. The second candidate chosen was Takano Iwasaburô. The first delegate selected, Honda Seiichi, had resigned on Takano's suggestion, and the baton passed to Takano, who after taking various soundings, accepted selection as a delegate. In doing so, he made an error caused by his own conceit. Takano's elder brother Fusatarô was the 'father' of the modern Japanese labor union movement (for details, see The Life of Takano Fusatarô). Iwasaburô himself had given the celebratory speech at the founding of Japan's first modern labor union, the Ironworkers' Union in 1897. As a council member of Japan's largest union, the Yûaikai, Takano Iwasaburô had supported the labor movement for many years, and with the cooperation of Yûaikai had carried out a number of surveys of workers' living standards. Moreover, several of the leading members of Yûaikai, such as Suzuki Bunji and Asô Hisashi, were pupils of Takano Iwasaburô. Takano and his circle therefore believed that labor unions, led by Yûaiaki, would support an ILO delegation that included himself. However, the union side, including Yûaiaki, remained solidly opposed, despite the selection of the much-respected Takano, arguing that "the problem is not so much who is selected as labor delegates but the method of selection itself". Eventually, Takano revoked his acceptance, and taking responsibility for his error, resigned from his professorial post at Tokyo Imperial University. His resignation was submitted in September 1919, and the University's Faculty of the Economics accepted it the following month. Keenly desiring that Takano would head the management of the OISR, Ôhara Magosaburô took this opportunity to ask him to become the Director of the Institute.

It seems that if this incident had been the only one, then Takano and those around him thought that there was a good chance for the situation to be resolved by his resigning from Tokyo University, and then, after a while, returning again. Takano had worked hard to create an autonomous Economics Faculty, and his pupils (teaching assistants) were still there, so he was concerned that if he quit, their futures would be insecure.

However, just a few months after the ILO delegates affair, in January 1920 the Morito Incident occurred. Professor Morito Tatsuo of the newly established Faculty of Economics at Tôkyô Imperial University published in the first issue of the Economics Faculty's journal Keizaigaku kenkyû (Economic Science Research) an essay titled 'Study on the Social Thought of Kropotkin'. The article was held by the authorities to be a violation of Article 42 of the Press Law of 1909 (treasonous defiance of the constitution), that is, an attempt to destroy the organization of the Japanese State, and the affair became a major incident. The journal was banned, and the Economics Faculty quickly moved to punish Associate Professor Morito by suspending him. The affair developed to the point where not only the author Morito but also the editor, the well-known Professor Ôuchi Hyôe, were indicted, and Ôuchi was also suspended from the University. A group of young academics - Kushida Tamizô, Gonda Yasunosuke, Hosokawa Karoku - rallied round Takano to organise a campaign against the Faculty, but it ended without success.

This being the case, Takano decided to accept leadership of the OISR and was appointed Director in March 1920. At the same time, those researchers (Kushida Tamizô, Gonda Yasunosuke, Hosokawa Karoku and others) who had resigned or been dismissed from the Tokyo University Economics Faculty all joined the OISR as specialist researchers. Once out of jail, Morito Tatsuo also joined the OISR and was soon off to Europe to do research there. Work was commissioned from Ouchi Hyôe, and he too went to Europe to do research on behalf of the Institute.

I had originally intended to say more about those people among 'the founders of the OISR' who have been rather neglected until now, but I have had to take up too much time dealing with Ôhara Magosaburô and his circle, so it looks like I shall not be able to say enough about those others. Nevertheless, I would like to discuss them on another occasion when I have a chance. Today, I shall now go on to look at what kind of person was Takano Iwasaburo, the man who cultivated the Institute's development, and I shall conclude with some further observations of Ôhara Magosaburô.

Takano Iwasuburô

Takano was born in 1871 in Ginyachô, Nagasaki, the son of a tailor who was a maker of Japanese, rather than western, clothes. Like Ôhara, though actually the third son, he ended up being registered as the second. His family could certainly not be described as rich, but as his elder brother Fusatarô, the founder of the Japanese labor union movement, was working in the USA and sending home $10 a month, Iwasaburô was able to graduate from Tokyo Imperial University and go on to postgraduate studies, after which he remained at his alma mater in the Law Faculty and became a professor of statistics. His considerable academic achievements came in the area of standards of living surveys, especially social surveys of Tsukishima. However, his real strength was not so much in the area of his own personal research but rather, as a pioneer in the field of economic statistics in Japan, in his contribution to creating the basic conditions that would facilitate a raising of the level of academic research in Japan in general. One such achievement was in gaining independence for the Faculty of Economics from the Law Faculty. The Economics Faculty was founded in 1919, the same year as the OISR. Takano had been the main figure pushing for this and when it was delayed, he applied pressure by tendering his resignation. He was the godfather of all those Economics faculties that now exist in every Japanese university. He was also the man who gave the OISR its particular character. After the war, he became the first Director of the newly-democratized NHK, Japan's national public service broadcaster and established the NHK Cultural Research Center.

Another of his achievements was his training of the many excellent pupils under his wing. The Law Faculty of Tokyo Imperial University had been a very authoritarian environment, but those opposed to such authoritarianism were readily drawn to the liberal circle round Takano, who founded a study group, dôjinkai (the Common Interest Group). This was the group that moved over to the OISR after the Morito Affair. They seem to have been a group of broadminded, tolerant individuals, who were excellent teachers.

In the estimation of Ôuchi Hyôe, Takano Iwasaburô is one of Japan's three greatest economists, alongside Kawakami Hajime and Fukuda Tokuzô, and as the greatest teacher of the three, is an almost unapproachably eminent figure. However, when we examine his words and deeds, he can be seen to have been a strong democrat of a kind that was rare before the war. When he was asked to head the Proletarian Party before the war, he declined saying, "I am a republican, so (I cannot)". What showed his democratic credentials more than anything was his 'proposal for constitutional revision', which he drafted after the war. The basic principles stated at the head of the document : "In Place of the Monarchy, A Republican System Led by a President". The first article clearly states: "Sovereignty in Japan is to reside in the people of Japan" (Takano Iwasaburô, Kappa no he (Nothing could Be Simpler).

Takano's greatness is evident not only in what he wrote but also in what he did. Take a look at the anniversary photograph of the OISR staff that is included in the Ôhara shakai mondai kenkyûjo gojûnenshi (Fifty Years of the OISR). This is not the usual kind of arrangement of serried rows with the head man seated in the centre; the staff stand where they want. It might seem like an insignificant detail, but in pre-war Japan, with its strong sense of social hierarchy, for a Director of the OISR who was a former professor of Tokyo Imperial University to be photographed in this manner is an important indication of that individual's character. In the photo Takano, is the shortest man, standing third from the left in the front row. On his left, all in white is Morito Tatsuo, while the shaven-headed man seated behind on the right is Gotô Teiji.

photograph of the OISR staff

Also noteworthy in this connection is the following, which describes the process in which the Economics Faculty gained its autonomy:

Thinking over the events which led to the establishment of the Economics Faculty, I feel it to have been the fruit of the cooperative efforts of a wide variety of people over more than ten years. In other words, from professors and associate professors to office staff such as Kawaminami, Imaoka, Tobe, Kobayashi, to the famous caretaker Nagamine - all pulled together persistently from first to last to achieve the goal in sight.

He says not a word about the fact that he himself had prompted the establishment of the Faculty by tendering his resignation. Furthermore, he completely omits the names of the professors and associate professors but clearly records those of the non-academic office and ancillary staff.

Takano was also a pro-feminist, which was rare before WWII. At the Women's Culture Lecture Series sponsored by Asahi newspapers in Osaka he spoke on the theme of Women's Employment Issues in Our Country, in which he declared that "two great problem areas in modern society are labor issues and women's issues". The way forward, he argued, was that

There is no alternative but to overwhelm the strongholds of the opposition by demanding equal pay for men and women who do the same work, votes for women in the political sphere and equal opportunity in education.

This lecture was given and this call was sounded, in 1925, nearly 70 years ago. I am not aware of the details, but this was not just words on Takano's part; he carried it through into his daily life, as can be seen in the way he managed his household affairs together with his German wife who was not accustomed to Japanese ways. The life of this little man, no more than 1.5 m tall, this 'little giant', is admirably portrayed in Takano Iwasaburô-den (Takano Iwasaburô - A Biography) by former OISR Director Ôshima Kiyoshi, which I heartily recommend to you.

High Level Academic Research - Specialist Library - Materials Archive

The kind of research institute Ôhara Magosaburô originally had in mind was probably one which would examine programmes and policies that would quickly serve to improve and reform Japanese society - what today we would call a 'think tank'. However, Takano Iwasaburô made of it a more academic institution that could carry out social surveys and research. In other words, the OISR became a body that should be called a high level academic research institute in which researchers develop their own individual research themes. These included research into Marxist economics (Kushida Tamizô), the history of the socialist movement and women's issues (Morito Tatsuo), standard of living surveys and leisure habits (Gonda Yasunosuke), women's issues such as the history of wages and abortion, rice riots (Hosokawa Karoku), inflation (Kasa Shintarô). Not a few of these were radical research topics that universities at the time would not have countenanced. An important role played by the OISR in Japanese academic research was its function as a specialist library and archive, which it made available to the public. It held in high regard the work of the librarian and archivist and did not neglect to cultivate that work. The newly established OISR poached from the library of Kyoto Imperial University some of the librarians who were still few in number at that time, and treated them as library managers who were researchers in their own right. One such was Morikawa Takao, a graduate of Kyoto University, who died young but played a leading role in founding the Osaka Libraries Association. His successor as head librarian at the OISR was Naitô Takeo, who also moved from Kyoto University. When he was studying abroad, Takano had Naitô accompany him and compile materials for books he was writing, such as Nihon shakaishugi bunken (The Literature of Japanese Socialism) and Hôyaku marukusu-engerusu bunken (A Translation of Marx-Engels Literature). Takano regarded the collection of all kinds of materials as important not just books. The Institute now has a large and irreplaceable collection of rare materials, and greatly appreciating the work of Gotô Teiji, who played a leading role in gathering such materials, Director Takano trained Gotô in helping him write his books and papers, which resulted in the compilation of Honpô tôkei shiryô kaisetsu (An Interpretation of Japanese Statistical Sources).

What enabled the OISR to play such a vanguard role as a specialist library was indeed Takano Iwasaburô's leadership, but Ôhara Magosaburô too had a clear grasp of the importance of a good library. This is evident from the fact that all the research centers founded by Ôhara put a great deal of effort into building up their libraries, acquired excellent collections and also worked hard to make them available to the public. For example, the OISR accumulated a large number of rare books including the world-renowned Elzbach collection of anarchist literature, while the Labor Science Research Institute bought the Göttingen Collection (Göttingen University's History of Science Collection), and the Agricultural Research Institute acquired the Büffer Collection (of the biologist Professor Büffer of Leipzig University). Also of note is the fact that when he founded the Ishii Aizen'en Settlement House, one function Ôhara took care to provide was a 'research center and public library'. He also called for the provision of library and research facilities for doctors at the Kurashiki Spinning Company Hospital. Ôhara was proud of his contribution to library acquisitions, saying, "if I was able to make some direct contribution to scholarship, then it was no doubt in the area of acquiring academic collections from overseas."

In passing, it may be mentioned that, unknown to many apart from locals in the Kurashiki area, among the many unique characteristics Ôhara thoughtfully introduced at the Kurashiki Spinning Company Hospital (later the Kurashiki Central Hospital) were 1) the egalitarian principle that admittance to either general wards or private rooms was dependent on the condition of patients and not on their financial circumstances 2) provision of full nursing care that did not require family members to attend on patients 3) the prohibition of gratuities and gifts to members of staff including doctors 4) the provision of small gardens of tropical plants within the hospital to alleviate the conventional antiseptic hospital atmosphere.

Ôhara Magosaburô The Man

I have spent much time today discussing Ôhara Magosaburô, but in fact I have only spoken about one side of the man. Throughout his life, Ôhara certainly put a great deal of energy into various social enterprises and cultural activities but that does not account for all the fields in which he was active. First and foremost, he was an industrialist, and in industry he was able to display his abilities to the full. In this contribution I have hardly been able to touch on Ôhara as an industrial entrepreneur. He joined the Kurashiki Spinning Company in 1901 and became the President of the company in 1906. It was after this that the company grew so rapidly. He founded Kurashiki Silks, the forerunner of Kurashiki Rayon. He showed his skills in promoting the development of industry throughout Okayama Prefecture by setting up a series of joint ventures not only in the spinning industry but also in the electrical and financial sectors. I would like to be able to take up this other side of Ôhara's life, but time does not permit, and I shall have to leave it for another occasion. Ôhara was a man of great foresight, and his sense of resolute purpose certainly guaranteed his success. He himself took pride in his foresight and said to his son Sôichirô:

"I can see ten years ahead. In ten years' time people will understand what I've done." "When you think of starting something, if two or three out of ten men agree with you, you must go ahead with it. If only one agrees with you, then it's too early, but if five out of ten agree, even if you get it going, it'll already be too late."

Ôhara became a Christian out of a feeling of penitence on meeting Ishii Jûji and he put his energies into various social enterprises and cultural activities but he did not completely abandon his self-centered pleasure-seeking lifestyle. With the development of his business, he had to spend much time away from Kurashiki, was often in red light districts and had a number of mistresses and, it seems, had children by them. Sôichirô took his mother's part and was very critical of his father's behavior. However, eventually he was able to understand his father's contradictory character. I would now like to bring my contribution to a close by reading to you the concluding words from the final article of a series that Ôhara's son Sôichirô wrote for the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper about his father entitled Keidô Jyûwa (Honoring Keidô - Ten Stories - Keidô was his father's pen name). It is rather long but really hits the mark on the subject of Ôhara Magosaburô's distinctive personality.

"My father's self-centered nature and hot-tempered character made him feared by many people and was the cause of many errors on his part. However, deep down he was capable of feelings of great compassion, which were very much awakened by his contact with Ishii Jûji. He felt he had a heaven-sent mission to make Kurashiki 'the Jerusalem of the East', but when he tried to dedicate himself to this sincere ideal, the signs of distraction would show themselves once more when he went into the business world, which often disappointed those people who had prayed for and given thanks for the seeming improvements in his behavior. My father was himself only too aware of this, and strongly criticizing the hypocritical attitudes of the world's philanthropists, he was gradually inclined to place new hopes on scientific research. While thus rapidly expanding his social enterprises in various fields, he daily increased his activity in the world of business.
    However, the often turbulent waters of the early growth period of the Japanese economy made it impossible to avoid the vicissitudes of business downturns, and the swings of the pendulum were often violent. His business and his social enterprises were all severely buffeted, and falling into serious worries, my father was often forced to adopt policies that rowed back on his stated ideals. Each time this happened, thanks to his dauntless grit, he managed to overcome the hurdle somehow, but his ideas always tended to be beyond the limits of his capabilities. Due to this unbridgeable gap, he was repeatedly forced to experience the pain of being unable either to advance or to retreat.
    Although such worsening external conditions did not overwhelm him, a side effect was that they led him to give vent to his difficult nature. My father's original impulse to engage in many of his ventures was rooted in a kind of rebellious spirit, or else a number of them were maintained out of that spirit; many are hard to understand simply on the basis of an idealistic interpretation. His frequent visits to the willow world [entertainment quarter] only increased other people's misunderstandings of him. My father was always highly aware of his own faults and strove to improve himself in all manner of ways, but he was capable of powerful outbursts of emotion which, when they took their natural course, led him back to the behavior of his twenties, which society found unacceptable. However, not for a moment did he lose that youthful spirit of dedication and devotion.
    My father liked his luxuries but at the same time he respected simplicity and deeply despised ostentatious displays of wealth. His feelings were uncommonly sensitive and refined but his ruling propensity was his liking for all things robust and vigorous. Even in his pleasures he could not ignore his inclination for the arts or the ills of society that were reflected in the world of entertainment. While critical of some people who were supposed to be social entrepreneurs, he could not bear to hide away his own ideals. Always dogged by errors that stemmed from things about him that are hard to understand and from his mistaken intentions, my father was a lonely man whose loneliness was of a different nature from that of the "loneliness of the entrepreneur" that is often spoken about these days; it was complex, deep and full of contradictions.
    From time to time, in his reminiscences, my father would say, "my life has been a story of failure", but this was not so much a statement of reflection; it had more the sound of a confession. Behind his words, I somehow always sensed he was holding back the pain he felt about the vows of his youth.
    In the very cold winter of 1943, when fuel was in short supply, my father succumbed to an attack of his old illness. It was January 18th - on that same day, many years before, at the age of 16 he had first traveled up to Tokyo from his hometown".

It is often said that "a father is the best judge of his son", but this is certainly a case of a son being the best judge of his father, or perhaps, better said: "this son is the best judge of this father". This phrase reflects the respect of a son for the father whom he had criticized and tried to understand all his life, or the sentiment a son might write for his father's epitaph. Reading between the lines, one can even feel something of a confessional mood in the words of the writer, who was himself an entrepreneur. This comes across strongly, for example, in the passages "(my father) was often forced to adopt policies that rowed back on his stated ideals" and "my father was a lonely man whose loneliness was of a different nature from that of the 'loneliness of the entrepreneur' that is often spoken about these days".

    This paper was produced for the record of the symposium that took place on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Ôhara Institute for Social Research on February 9th, 1994. It was first published in Ôhara shakai mondai kenkyûjo zasshi (The Journal of the Ôhara Institute for Social Research), No. 426 (May, 1994)

Translated by Terry Boardman

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