The Japanese Monarchy: Ambassador Joseph Grew and the Making of the "Symbol Emperor System," 1931-1991

By Nakamura Masanorit; Herbert P. Bix et al. | Go to book overview

5
THE MODERATES Makino Nobuaki, Kabayama Aisuke, Yoshida Shigeru

Grew, the Moderates, and the "Pendulum Theory"

GREW'S diplomatic style could best be described as "court diplomacy." During his time in Tokyo, he regularly invited Japanese dignitaries to dine at the U.S. Embassy, and in return he was invited by friends to banquets, funerals, and other social gatherings. Among those who appear in Grew's diaries are Makino Nobuaki, Kabayama Aisuke, Konoe Fumimaro, Matsudaira Tsuneo, Hirota Kōki, Yoshida Shigeru, Debuchi Katsuji, Shidehara Kijūrō, Shigemitsu Mamoru, and Nitobe Inazo. In addition, the admiralty and leading businessmen from the zaibatsu, such as Mitsui and Sumitomo, also maintained contacts with the U.S. ambassador.

Heinrichs divides Grew's social circle into three groups: the admiralty, the business magnates, and the court entourage, his most important source of information. Grew's image of the moderates, who had all studied or served in Europe and the United States, was of modest, cultured, and dignified gentlemen.

Grew himself came from the Boston social elite, attending Groton School, where many of America's most prestigious families sent their children, and later graduating from Harvard. The great affinity Grew felt for the Japanese upper classes and the trust he placed in them were thus surely related to his own background, as clearly demonstrated in this diary entry for June 11, 1940, published in Ten Years yn Japan.

The Buddhist funeral rites for Prince Tokugawa today were intensely impressive, as all such ceremonies are in Japan. . . . After eight years in Japan I had the feeling today of being not outsiders but an intimate part of that group, almost as if the gathering were of old family friends in

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