Purge (occupied Japan)

The Purge in Japan was the prohibition of designated Japanese people from engaging in public service, by order of the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces (GHQ) after Japan's defeat in World War II. It ended upon the end of the occupation of Japan in 1952.

General descriptions

Edict No. 109 was issued in the name of the Japanese emperor prohibiting POWs, cooperators of World War II, those belonging to Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, Taisei Yokusankai and Gokokudoshikai from engaging in public service in 1946. In 1947, the range of prohibited positions widened, including private enterprises. More than 20,000 people were purged.[1] A purge qualification committee was established to address objections between March 1947 and March 1948 and restarting in February 1949. The law was abolished by law No.94 in 1952 after the Allied occupation came to an end. In 1948, 148 people including politician Wataru Narahashi and Shigeru Hori were denied their purge and four people including Takeru Inukai obtained release from the purge.

Effects of the purge

Leading political figures world disappeared and the next generation gained power. Especially in education and mass communications, leftists and communist sympathizers gained power, which was against the desire of occupation authorities. Nevertheless, the purge of government officials, including judges and those belonging to Tokubetsu Kōtō Keisatsu, was less strict; the latter went to other posts. Eighty percent of the members of the House of Representatives were purged, but members of their families ran for election, preserving their seats. The policies of the occupation authorities had changed by the intended February 1 General strike, which did not take place by the order of the GHQ and the 1950 Korean War, and those who were purged changed to leftists under the name of the red purge or red scare.

End of the purge

In 1950, individuals began to be released from the purge, including some from the Army and Navy. In May 1951, General Matthew Ridgway stated that the purge would be generally softened and authority would be transferred to the Japanese government. In 1951, more than 250,000 people were freed. At the end, Nobusuke Kishi and another 5,500 people remained purged.

Politicians who were purged

Businessmen who were purged


  • Shigeyoshi Matsumae was a Japanese electrical engineer, inventor of the non-loaded cable carrier system, the top of the Ministry of Communications (Teishin-in, between August 30, 1945 and April 8, 1946), politician and the founder of Tokai University. Matsumae was involved in Taisei Yokusankai and was the head of the Ministry of Communications. The border of the latter was the date of signing of surrender.[2]
  • Kan Kikuchi also known as Hiroshi Kikuchi, was a Japanese author who established the publishing company Bungeishunju, the monthly magazine of the same name, the Japan Writer's Association and both the Akutagawa and Naoki Prize for popular literature. He was also the head of Daiei Motion Picture Company (currently Kadokawa Pictures).
  • Matsutarō Shōriki was a "Class A" war criminal after the Second World War. He is also known as the father of Japanese professional baseball. He was a media mogul, owned the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan's major daily newspapers, and founded Japan's first commercial television station, Nippon Television Network Corporation. He was also elected to the House of Representatives, appointed to the House of Peers and was one of the most successful judo masters.
  • Tokutomi Sohō was the pen-name of a journalist and historian active from late Meiji period through mid-Showa period Japan. His real name was Tokutomi Iichiro.
  • Tetsuzō Iwamoto was one of the top scoring fighter aces of the Empire of Japan, during World War II.
  • Eiji Tsuburaya was the Japanese special effects director responsible for many Japanese science fiction movies, including the Godzilla series. In the United States, he is also remembered as the creator of Ultraman.
  • Masahiro Yasuoka was a Japanese scholar of yangmingism who, through his philosophy, reportedly influenced many Japanese politicians, including postwar prime ministers of Japan. He has been considered to be a backroom power broker or eminence grise.
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  1. Tetsuo, Hirata; Dower, John W. (July 2007). "Japan's Red Purge: Lessons from a Saga of Suppression of Free Speech and Thought". The Asia-Pacific Journal. 5 (7): 3.
  2. Sakamoto [1983:181-182]


  • GHQ Japan Occupation History, Vol. 6. Purge, Explanation by Hiroshi Masuda, translated by Hiroshi Masuda and Reiko Yamamoto, Japan Book Center, 1996. ISBN 978-4-8205-6275-7
  • Purge from Public Service; Studies on Three Political Purges. Hiroshi Masuda, University of Tokyo Press, 1996 ISBN 978-4-13-030104-6
  • A Study on Purge from Public Service, Hiroshi Masuda, Iwanamo Shoten 1998 ISBN 978-4-00-002914-8
  • Sakamoto Mamoru, Shishifunjin - the Story of Shigeyoshi Matsumae Nishinippon Shimbun, 1983, ISBN 4-8167-0049-8.
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