【PART 3】 The Mystery of the Security Treaty Village (1): The Showa Emperor and the Constitution of Japan


【29】 It was 100% GHQ that “wrote” the Constitution


Twenty years ago, when I produced the book 9 Days Behind Closed Doors When the Constitution of Japan Was Made (Akinori Suzuki/ Sogensha), I met Charles Kades (colonel at that time). He was responsible for writing the draft constitution under MacArthur.

At that time, average people barely knew that GHQ wrote the draft constitution, but now I find that most people in their 30s know it, because high school textbooks do slightly cover the drafting of the Constitution, though they don’t give a detailed description.

As a result, there has been an intergenerational conflict between over-60s liberals who argue it was made by Japanese and young people under 30. It cannot be denied that a confused historical perception among liberals regarding this issue of who wrote the Constitution forms the background of a drastic trend: young people have come to lean to the right in the past ten years.

One of the reasons for such confusion is the meaning of the term “to make” a constitution. “To make” includes a longer time and broader contents than is conveyed by “to write.” It indicates that Japanese ideas were taken into the Constitution and that the Japanese people have positively accepted and kept it. Especially in Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, there is surely the Japanese peoples’ “no-war prayer.”

However, to say nothing of who “made” the Constitution but something of who “wrote” it, definitely it was GHQ. There is no doubt at all, because GHQ itself revealed it in a book published in 1949. Below is a picture of the book.

image_English 057

Political Reorientation of JapanSeptember 1945 to September 1948, (published in 1949)


For nine days, from February 4 to 12 in 1946, one year after Japan’s defeat, GHQ wrote the draft constitution of Japan. Under the leadership of Kades, Colonel of GHQ Deputy Government Section, 25 members of the U.S. Forces wrote the 11 articles of the draft. The details of the process were uncovered in a memo by Mrs. Ruth Ellerman, a secretary.

Then GHQ handed the draft to the Japanese government on February 13, strongly asking them to “revise the Constitution by following it.”(*) As I mentioned before, Milo Rowell, GHQ Lieutenant Colonel, revealed later that they threatened Japan. If the draft was not accepted as the Constitution itself, the Showa Emperor could be put on trial as a war criminal.


* ・・・  It is said “the [Japanese] Government was advised to give it the fullest consideration and use it as a guide in its renewed efforts to prepare a revised constitution” in the book, Political Reorientation of JapanSeptember 1945 to September 1948, edited by GHQ.