Hidaka Rokuro was born in Qingdao, China, 11 January 1917 and died in Kyoto, Japan, 7 June 2018. His life therefore spanned much of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st. He was a witness to the Japanese empire at its height and to its catastrophic collapse and the subsequent rise of a different sort of Japan, as economic superpower and close ally to its former enemy the United States. From the time he entered Tokyo Imperial University (as it then was) in 1938, for 31 years he observed momentous events from the perspective of student, assistant, then professor, at the nationâ€™s key institute of higher learning. Eventually, and dramatically, he resigned in protest against its crackdown on the then burgeoning student movement in 1969. His greatest travails were then still to come. They are discussed in the following under the heading of â€œThe Hidaka Affair.â€ This essay does not purport to be a biography but hopes to shed some light on moments in the life of a remarkable individual living in remarkable times.
|The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
|Published - 2018