This article examines the past involvement of the Japanese Society of Health and Human Ecology (formerly: Japanese Society of Race Hygiene) in eugenics laws, written at the request of the society.
Section I describes the position of the Japanese Society of Race Hygiene, established in 1930, in the history of eugenics.
Section II discusses some problem in the understanding of the historical facts in the Board of Directors report: “The Japanese Society of Race Hygiene and ‘the National Eugenic Law,’” and the resulting media coverage. This chapter also discusses the change of the characteristics of the society around 1938 and its involvement in eugenics. Moreover, this chapter shows the inappropriateness of the interpretation that the 1948 Eugenic Protection Law was a continuation of the 1940 National Eugenic Law, which itself was modeled on a 1933 Nazi eugenics law.
Section III describes that the Japanese Society of Race Hygiene continued to have interest in eugenics even in the postwar era, and that in 1970s the society tried vehemently to eliminate any remnants of Nazi eugenic policies from the notion of “race hygiene”, at a time when there was a general assumption that eugenics as synonymous with the evil of Nazism. In conclusion, it is found that the society from that time to this day made passive attempts to erase and walk away from eugenics’ past.