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Release of Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History
with the Conservatives and Progressives

Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History with the Conservatives and Progressives Creation Committee

[Photograph 1] Front Page of the Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History with the Conservatives and Progressives
If you click on 'Go to Search Screen' below the title, a full-text search box appears at the bottom. From there if you go through 'Search Results Overview Screen' → 'Materials Details Screen,' it is possible to view and download PDF files.

In April 2011, the Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History with the Conservatives and Progressives (hereinafter "DAMJH") was established and then began to be widely released to the general public on the Waseda University Cultural Resources Information Portal. This is a cross-database search site operated by Waseda University.

The Waseda University Cultural Resources Information Portal has been operating since 2009. This portal is a new system that enables an integrated search by the transfer of databases built on an individual basis by the Tsubouchi Memorial Theater Museum, Aizu Museum and Waseda University Archives. (For more details please see this previous article.)

In addition, this DAMJH Project began in 2010 after receiving the assistance of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science's Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (grant-in-aid for the publication of scientific research results) and the Digital Archives Creation Committee chaired by the Waseda University Archives Director (Junichi Yoshida; Sumio Obinata since October 2010) set to work on this task.

We would like to give a brief introduction to each of the aims of the DAMJH and the collections of materials that makeup the digital archives.

Aims of the Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History with the Conservatives and Progressives

The purpose of creating the DAMJH is to provide widely at home and abroad basic materials on modern Japanese history. This is achieved by creating digital images (PDFs) of two large material collections held by the Waseda University Archives and then releasing these on the Internet. These two collections are the Yasujiro Tsutsumi-related Materials (hereinafter abbreviated to the "Tsutsumi Materials") and the Japanese Socialist Party-related Materials (hereinafter abbreviated to the "Socialist Party Materials").

As described below, the Tsutsumi Materials bring to light modern Japanese political history or regional history exclusively from the side of the conservatives, whereas in contrast, the Socialist Party Materials have content that shed light on the reality of domestic and international movements from a progressive perspective. In other words, the greatest feature of the DAMJH is this point that it is a tool capable of even more multifaceted and systematic analysis of modern Japanese history by the creation of digital archives of these two collections of materials not individually but in a comprehensive way. (Of course it is also possible to search by specifying the name of a collection.)

More specifically, in particular, the DAMJH provides suitable basic data in relation to the following themes and interests.

・The history of postwar democracy and the formation process of the political system
・The East Asia region from the period of colonial rule by Japan to its reorganization into the postwar cold war structure
・The social symbols of the movements and culture of peace and democracy
・The expansion of labor unions into workplaces and regions, as well as the spread to public spaces, such as towns and villages, through election campaigns
・The relationship between regional community/citizens' campaigns and development in the period of economic development after the war in Japan
・Exchanges at the grassroots level with various regions in East Asia after the war in Japan, etc.

Yasujiro Tsutsumi-related Materials

The Tsutsumi Materials is a large collection of more than 15,000 general documents donated to Waseda University Archives by Seiji Tsutsumi in 1999. Yasujiro Tsutsumi (1889 - 1964) is widely known as the founder of the Seibu Group (which includes Seibu Railway), but his achievements as a politician should not be overlooked. He was elected as a member of the lower house 13 times in a row from before to after the war, except for the period of the purge of public officials. In this collection, not only are there industry-related materials, there is also a mass of first class materials that reflect traces of his path as a politician, as well as the period and politics when he was alive.

This materials collection is broadly divided into two categories: the Correspondence Section and the Documents Section. The Documents Section is further classified into political-related and industry-related materials. If we take a look at the Correspondence Section, it is possible to confirm correspondence in the prewar period from not only Ryutaro Nagai who he had a close friendship, but also correspondence from persons connected with Waseda, such as Sanae Takada and Hozumi Tanaka, as well as people related to the Constitutional Democratic Party, including Magoichi Tawara and Tasuku Egi.

In the postwar period, correspondence increases from dignitaries such as Shigeru Yoshida, Taketora Ogata, Hitoshi Ashida and Nobusuke Kishi. In particular, the return correspondence with Ogata and Ashida over the issue of the union between the Constitutional Reform Party and Liberal Party are important historical documents in taking a glance at domestic politics in that period.

Moving on to the Documents Section, among those related to politics, prewar Ministry of Colonial Affairs-related documents and Imperial Diet explanation documents stand out. In regards to the postwar period, in addition to documents relating to the central political world, there are materials rich in variety, including those related to elections and foreign travel of Tsutsumi himself, those related to regional politics centered on Shiga Prefecture and those related to visits to Japan by people from overseas.

In regards to documents related to industry, documents remain connected with each group company, including Seibu Railway. Among these, it is also possible to check documents relating to the confrontation with the Tokyu Group, called the Hakoneyama War. In regards to most documents related to industry, it is not possible to eliminate the possibility that many of these are still currently stored by each company in the Seibu Group.

Moreover, it is also possible to view the catalog of the Tsutsumi Materials on the website of the Waseda University Archives.

[Photograph 2]Yasujiro Tsutsumi in talks with Shigeru Yoshida and Hayato Ikeda (Documents Section - Catalog ID: 1012)

[Photograph 3] Cover of the Korea Government-General 62nd Imperial Diet Explanation Document (Documents Section - Catalog ID: 185)

Japanese Socialist Party-related Materials

The Socialist Party Materials are a collection relating to the Japanese Socialist Party in the postwar period. This is largely accounted for by materials from the late 1940s to the 1950s, including those relating to the Right Socialist Party at the time of their split with the party (1951 - 1955). In regards to the history of this collection, there is a link to another manuscript attached to the end of this article, so we will only briefly touch upon the organization classification and characteristic content here.

First we will look at the organization classification. This collection can be broadly classified into the following.

1. Documents relating to the party headquarters, such as various notifications, activity reports and research documents
2. Documents relating to regional branches, including requests to the party headquarters, reports and register of names
3. Public relations, National Diet plenary sessions and Committee minutes
4. Documents relating to labor unions and cooperatives, such as requests and petitions
5. Various bulletins and pamphlets published by the party
6. Foreign language documents etc., including those relating to the Asian Socialist Party Conference and international socialist party movements
7. Other Waseda University-related documents

As appears in the above-mentioned documents classification, the feature of this collection is the point that is possible to include and clarify the activities of not only the party center but also the regional organization (e.g. branches, branch associations and regional conferences) in relation to the Right Socialist Party, where there has previously been a lack of research.

Moreover, as symbolized by the documents relating to the Asian Socialist Party Conference, the range of this collection is not limited to domestic matters. It should be noted that the Asian Socialist Party Conference was an international network that attempted to construct a movement independent of the international socialism under the leadership of Western Europe by socialist parties in various Asian countries looking to escape from colonialism and low development. In Rangoon, Burma in January 1953, this was held with the formal participation of eleven organizations from ten countries, five observer organizations and four friendly organizations. (The Japanese Socialist Party sent a representative from both the left and right wings of the party to this conference.)

By taking advantage of these documents, it is hoped that new light will be focused on aspects that until now have been overlooked, such as the foreign policy of the Japanese Socialist Party and initiatives toward Asian solidarity.

Moreover, the organization of the Socialist Party Materials is currently ongoing, and we hope to release this materials catalog as soon as this organization has been completed.

[Photograph 4] Front cover of the Asian Socialist Party Conference Report Appendix (document) (Party Central) Catalog ID: 0017-4

[Photograph 5] Declaration regarding the Anti-Subversive Activities Bill (Party Central) Catalog ID: 0097

Release Status and Future Outlook

As described so far, the DAMJH contains major potential to open up new perspectives of modern Japanese history. Nevertheless, this is also made up of an enormous amount of documents (approximately 20,000 in total) and as of January 2012, has not yet been fully released to the public. More specifically, the released Tsutsumi Materials are limited to 2,149 documents (Part of Politics-related materials, Documents Section), while the Socialist Party Materials are at 521 documents (Party Central Section). Here, the current status is that even with the addition of the 5,610 documents for which release preparations are currently taking place, this will still be less than half the total.

Nonetheless, a great many kinds of periodicals possessed by libraries and others are included in these materials collections, so even though we talk about a complete release, it will become necessary in reality to carry out the task of selecting documents to digitize.

In any case, in the future, while ensuring the continued acquisition of external funding, we believe it is necessary to gradually speed up the pace of the organization and release, as well as paying attention to publicizing the digital archives.

[Appendix] This article has had several improvements based on the following manuscripts.
・Digital Archives Creation Committee 'Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History with the Conservatives and Progressives,' Waseda University Archives Record, No. 42, March 2011
・Same as above, 'Partial Release and State of Progress of the Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History with the Conservatives and Progressives,' Waseda University Archives Record, No. 43, February 2012

(Responsibility for the wording of this article: Hisanori Ito)

Waseda University Cultural Resources Information Portal


Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History with the Conservatives and Progressives


Waseda University Archives


The Creation Committee of the Digital Archives: The Modern Japan History with the Conservatives and Progressives (as of January 2012)

Sumio Obinata (Director of the Waseda University Archives)
Etsushi Tanifuji (Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics)
Naoyuki Umemori (Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics)
Toru Shinoda (Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences)
Masayuki Manabe (Associate Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences)
Atsushi Kijima (Lecturer, Faculty of Culture and Education, Saga University)
Kiyofumi Kato (Assistant Professor, Research Division, National Institute of Japanese Literature)
Mizuki Hiwa (Assistant Professor, Waseda University Archives)
Hisanori Ito (Assistant, Waseda University Archives)