This is the last post in a series on the Japanese Constitution of 1947.
Today is Constitution Memorial Day (憲法記念日 Kenpō Kinenbi) in Japan, and we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Constitution’s enactment! Over the last several weeks, we have highlighted Constitution-related materials in the Prange Collection, including newspaper articles and editorials, books, magazines, and items from a manuscript collection. See the Constitution Series here. Today we focus on two Americans who were involved in writing the Constitution, Charles Kades and Beate Sirota Gordon.
Charles L. Kades Papers
Charles L. Kades, Deputy Director of the Government Section of SCAP during the Occupation of Japan, was the Chairman of the Steering Committee responsible for drafting the model constitution for the Japanese. His papers are divided into two parts: Part A begins with the tentative revision of the Meiji Constitution of Joji Matsumoto (January 4, 1946) and concludes with the U.S. Department of State publication of the final version of the Constitution of Japan (effective May 3, 1947). Japanese and English versions of most drafts are included here. See the first three pages of Matsumoto drafts in English and Japanese.
Part B includes memoranda, committee minutes, letters, check sheets, and an imperial message regarding the revision of the Japanese Constitution. See some example.
Interviews with Charles Kades and Beate Sirota Gordon
Included in the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories are interviews with Charles Kades and Beate Sirota Gordon. Kades was interviewed by Professor Mayo on October 11 and 12, 1979. They spoke for a total of 8 hours and 13 minutes! Sirota Gordon drafted the language for Articles 14 (equal rights) and 24 (women’s civil rights) of the Japanese Constitution. Mayo interviewed her on December 8, 1978. The interview lasted 2 hours and 16 minutes. Both reflected on their role in framing the Constitution and the profound effect that it had on establishing Japan as a democratic nation. These interviews are available onsite in the Prange Collection.