Tetsu Katayama
片山 哲
Official portrait, 1947
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
24 May 1947 – 10 March 1948
GovernorDouglas MacArthur
DeputyHitoshi Ashida
Preceded byShigeru Yoshida
Succeeded byHitoshi Ashida
Member of the House of Representatives
for Kanagawa 3rd District
Kanagawa At-large District (1946–1947)
In office
21 February 1930 – 21 January 1932
In office
21 February 1936 – 30 April 1942
In office
11 April 1946 – 31 March 1947
In office
25 April 1947 – 23 December 1948
In office
2 October 1952 – 23 October 1963
Personal details
Born(1887-07-28)28 July 1887
Tanabe, Wakayama, Empire of Japan
Died30 May 1978(1978-05-30) (aged 90)
Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan
Political partyDemocratic Socialist (1960–1978)
Other political
Right Socialist Party of Japan
Japan Socialist Party (before 1960)
Alma materTokyo Imperial University

Tetsu Katayama (片山 哲, Katayama Tetsu, 28 July 1887 – 30 May 1978) was a Japanese politician who was Prime Minister of Japan from 1947 to 1948. A Christian pacifist, he bears the distinction of having been the first socialist to serve as Prime Minister of Japan.[1] He was a Christian socialist.[2][3][4]

Early life

He was born in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture on 28 July 1887.[5] He attended Tokyo Imperial University and received a bachelor's degree in law.[5] Raised in the Christian faith, he was strongly influenced by the Christian socialism of Abe Isoo. After graduating, he opened a law office in a rented YMCA dormitory, and worked as an attorney.[5]

Early political career

Katayama became secretary-general of the Social Democratic Party when it was established in 1926.[5] He was elected to Japan's House of Representatives, representing Kanagawa Prefecture, in 1930.[5] Later in 1932, he joined the executive committee of the Socialist Masses Party. He was removed from the party since he did not participate in the session of the House on which Takao Saito was expelled from the House for his antimilitary speech.[5] After World War II, Katayama began to serve as secretary-general of the Japan Socialist Party when it was established in November 1945.[5] Next in September 1946, he became the chairman of the party's executive committee.[5]

Prime Minister and later life

Katayama's cabinet

Following the 1947 elections, in which the Socialist Party came in first, Katayama formed a coalition government with the Democratic Party and the National Cooperative Party. Although in reality, Emperor Hirohito was displeased by the fact that Katayama became the prime minister, wherein he was not included in the votation process.[6] Despite leading a short-lived administration, Katayama, during his time in office, saw the enactment of a wide range of progressive social reforms such as the establishment of Japan's first Labour Ministry;[7] an Unemployment Compensation Act; an Unemployment Insurance Act; and the overhaul revision of the Civil Code, whose section on the family institution was completely rewritten to provide, for instance, the eldest son with a greater inheritance share.[8][9]

The Labour Standards Act of September 1947 introduced maternity leave for a five weekly mandatory post-natal period and prohibited dismissal of women during maternity leave and for thirty days after the end of the leave although not all workers were covered.[10] In addition, the law provided for equal pay for equal work.[11] The Employment Security Law of November 1947 contained authority for the government to operate a system of free public employment exchanges on a broader and more democratic basis than under the former Employment Exchange Law. It also provided for public services to the handicapped in securing employment, and outlawed labor bosses and other undemocratic forms of labor recruitment.[12] The Child Welfare Law of December 1947 extended special protection to abused, abandoned, and neglected children, guaranteed the privacy rights of children born out of wedlock, established health-care programmes for mothers and children, provided for prenatal care, outlawed the employment of minors in dangerous occupations, and abolished the practice of indentured labour. The legislation also laid the institutional foundation for a nationwide system of childcare centres, created standards for foster parentage, and made the state responsible for setting up and supervising orphanages and other juvenile institutions.[9]

The Law for the Elimination of Excessive Economic Concentration (passed in December 1947) provided for the dissolution of any company considered to be monopolistic,[13] while the "law on the expulsion of Zaibatsu-affiliated controls" of January 1948 enforced the resignation of Zaibatsu board members who were related closely to Zaibatsu families, while a measure was taken to ban on holding the concurrent board posts of their affiliated companies. In addition, a government employees law was enacted, the first group of Japanese Supreme Court justices was appointed, local government and the police were reorganised, the Ministries of Home Affairs, Navy, and War were abolished,[14] extensive revisions were made to criminal law, and progress was made on land reform.[15]

At the end of the 1950s, Katayama was also the president of the Japan's Temperance Union.[16] The influence of left-wing socialists, such as Suzuki Mosaburō, forced Katayama to resign early in his term.[17] After his resignation, Katayama became a member of the Democratic Socialist Party and advocated the maintenance of the pacifist constitution, election reform, and formation of a global commonwealth. In 1963, Katayama left politics after he lost his seat in the general elections.[5]

Global policy

He was one of the signatories of the agreement to convene a convention for drafting a world constitution.[18][19] As a result, for the first time in human history, a World Constituent Assembly convened to draft and adopt a Constitution for the Federation of Earth.[20]


See also


  1. ^ Akimoto, Daisuke (7 February 2022). "Tetsu Kattayama: The Christian Pacifist and First Socialist Premier". Japanese Prime Ministers and Their Peace Philosophy: 1945 to the Present. Springer Nature. p. 52. ISBN 978-981-16-8379-4.
  2. ^ Moore, Ray A.; Robinson, Donald L. (2004). Partners for Democracy: Crafting the New Japanese State Under MacArthur. Oxford University Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-19-517176-1.
  3. ^ Phillips, James M. (17 June 2011). From the Rising of the Sun: Christians and Society in Contemporary Japan. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-61097-557-5.
  4. ^ Johnson, Elliott; Walker, David; Gray, Daniel (9 September 2014). Historical Dictionary of Marxism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-4422-3798-8.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Historical Figures". National Diet Library. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  6. ^ Bix 2016, p. 626
  7. ^ Totten, George Oakley (1966). Studies on Japan's Social Democratic Parties: Socialist parties in postwar Japan. Yale University Press.
  8. ^ Odaka, Konosuke (2002). "The Evolution of Social Policy in Japan" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  9. ^ a b Mackie, Vera (26 February 2003). Feminism in Modern Japan: Citizenship, Embodiment and Sexuality. Cambridge University Press. p. [1]. ISBN 9780521527194.
  10. ^ "Trends in leave entitlements around childbirth since 1970" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  11. ^ Beauchamp, Edward R. (1 January 1998). Women and Women's Issues in Post World War II Japan. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780815327318.
  12. ^ Yamamura, Kōzō; Yamamura, K̄oz̄o (1967). "Economic Policy in Postwar Japan: Growth Versus Economic Democracy".
  13. ^ Yamamura, Kozo (13 June 1997). The Economic Emergence of Modern Japan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-58946-8.
  14. ^ Cole, Allan Burnett; Totten, George Oakley; Uyehara, Cecil H. (1966). Socialist Parties in Postwar Japan. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-608-30698-8.
  15. ^ Stockwin, J. A. A. (16 December 2003). Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780203402177.
  16. ^ "Soviet leader may give up vodka toping". St. Petersburg Times. 26 October 1957. p. 4.
  17. ^ Duus, Peter (1998). Modern Japan. Houghton Mifflin. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-395-74604-2.
  18. ^ "Letters from Thane Read asking Helen Keller to sign the World Constitution for world peace. 1961". Helen Keller Archive. American Foundation for the Blind. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  19. ^ "Letter from World Constitution Coordinating Committee to Helen, enclosing current materials". Helen Keller Archive. American Foundation for the Blind. Retrieved 3 July 2023.
  20. ^ "Preparing earth constitution | Global Strategies & Solutions | The Encyclopedia of World Problems". The Encyclopedia of World Problems | Union of International Associations (UIA). Retrieved 15 July 2023.
Political offices Preceded byShigeru Yoshida Prime Minister of Japan 1947–1948 Succeeded byHitoshi Ashida Preceded byTokutaro Kimura Minister of JusticeInterim 1947 Succeeded byYoshio Suzuki Preceded byMitsujiro Ishii Minister of Commerce and Industry 1947 Succeeded byChōzaburō Mizutani Preceded bySadayoshi Hitomatsu Minister of Communications 1947 Succeeded byTakeo Miki Preceded byTanzan Ishibashi Minister of FinanceInterim 1947 Succeeded byShōtaro Yano