Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


Activities of Kakei Katsuhiko in Japanese Colonies
—with a Focus on Manchuria


(SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies),
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
Department of Japanese Studies)

Key words:

Kakei Katsuhiko, Shinto, Korea, Taiwan, Manchuria, Puyi, cultivation

Kakei Katsuhiko is well-known for his advocacy of a unique Shinto philosophy and had a considerable influence on colonial government officials, Shinto shrine administrators and agricultural emigration leaders. In spite of his substantial influence, there have been no specific researches on the effect he had on Japanese colonies. The present study aims to review and analyze Kakei’s activities in Japanese colonies with special focus on those in Manchuria.

In the first section, Kakei’s fundamental stance on the colonies is reviewed with reference to his visit to the Korean Peninsula. In the second section, Kakei’s hierarchical theory of the colonies is examined using a lecture he gave in Taiwan. The third and fourth chapters deal with the roles Kakei actually played in Manchuria, on which he left a major mark. Finally, I look at the reasons why Kakei was admired by the elite class in the colonies who has been sent out from the Japanese mainland.

Kakei is said to be a person who did not discriminate between the colonies and mainland Japan, but his view was clearly rooted in the then-prevailing idea of “a superior Japan and inferior colonies”; thus, for Kakei, people in the colonies had to be cultivated. He attempted to establish a hierarchy between Japan and its colonies in the name and to the glory of the Emperor.

In order to learn how Kakei responded to actual issues in the colonies, I look at his activities in Manchuria. Kakei served the Kenkoku Daigaku (National Foundation University) in Manchuria as a founding committee member. He also delivered lectures in the presence of the Puyi, the Emperor of Manchukuo. From his point of view, Manchurian culture was superior to that of Korea but inferior to that of Taiwan. He also believed emigrants from the Japanese mainland should play an important role in conveying Japanese spirit to Manchuria. However, he failed to produce the results expected of him in Manchukuo. Although he was a founding member of the Kenkoku Daigaku, his ideas were ultimately rejected by Japanese government officials in Manchukuo. Also, his lectures in the presence of Puyi were totally unacceptable to the Manchurians as Kakei outspokenly defined Manchukuo as a subordinate country under the rule of the Japanese Emperor.

The paper concludes that Kakei did not actually have much influence on realities in Japan’s colonies. Nonetheless, Kakei was admired for his solid and unwavering stance by elite officials sent from the mainland. Kakei consistently asserted that Japanese ancient Shinto (Ko-Shinto, centered on the philosophy of “kan nagara no michi”) is a religion that leads all living beings to shine under the glory of the Emperor and that the empire could only be united when all its people believed in Shinto. His view of the people in the colonies being spiritually and economically inferior to people on the Japanese mainland led him to advocate that Japanese emigrants should beco role models for the local people. Kakei’s chief contribution to the colonies appears to have been the establishment of an intellectual framework for self-justification of the emigration of an elite class from the Japanese mainland. Such an “inward-looking” intellectual framework helped forge an identity only valid in Japanese communities themselves, but unacceptable elsewhere.