Hi-no-hashira, Naoe Kinoshita's anti-war novel, has been interpreted in terms of Christian socialism or his religious philosophy of love. But we must bear it in mind that he was a journalist as well as a Christian and he wrote it in a journalistic style. Indeed in the form of popular fiction he plainly showed the public how the Russo-Japanese War precipitated monopolistic economy, the oppression of other races, and the expansion policy of imperial Japan. The novel was banned precisely because of such an ingenious journalistic strategy.
This paper will consider Shigeharu Nakano's response to censorship under the public security preservation law. Nakano converted from Communism in 1934, but after his conversion he continued to implicitly oppose the fascist regime in his works. Especially in “Shōsetsu-no-kakenu-shōsetsuka,” one of the “five stories of conversion,” he critically treated the theme of censorship with the analytical description of oppression inflicted on the act of writing. By means of such self-referential fiction he tried to establish a common front with readers against the undemocratic atmosphere in which freedom of expression was completely stifled.
In 1938 Tatsuzō Ishikawa went to Nanjing as a correspondent of the Chūou-kōron-sha Publishing Company to cover the Japanese army's occupation of the city by having interviews with the soldiers of the 33rd infantry regiment of the 16th division in Kyoto. Just before he arrived in Nanjing, mass murder and rape were committed there by the Japanese troops in the midst of the fierce battle. The incident is later called the Nanjing Massacre. Back in Japan Ishikawa described what happened there in Ikiteiru-heitai. The novel was soon banned and he was arrested under the Newspaper Law for the violation of public order. This paper will focus on the suppression of Ikiteiru-heitai to have an overview of censorship in the late 1930s when the Second Sino-Japanese War erupted.
In 1939 Yuriko Miyamoto wrote “Sono-toshi” for Bungei-shunjū, but it was banned immediately after the editor of the magazine sent the manuscript to the Home Ministry for inspection. The officials judged the depiction of mothers at the home front in the story to be unacceptable for publication. They thought the author's maternal figure was far from the norm of motherhood. The manuscript heavily marked and commented by the censors tells us much about both the standards of censorship and the “ideal” image of women in wartime.
In 1941 Saryan Kim wrote Kyōshū in Japanese to challenge the Japanese media's indifference to Korean people during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Many Korean people were forced to be enlisted in the war, but they were seldom mentioned or perfunctorily treated in its coverage. In opposition to such media bias Kim vividly described the wartime experiences of his own country's people with their individual backgrounds. In this verbal battleground he struggled to duly represent the disenfranchised who had to fight without any patriotic cause.
In the period of the occupation literary works must undergo inspection before publication by the GHQ's Civil Censorship Detachment. In 1945, when the Kaizō-sha Publishing Company had a plan to publish Riichi Yokomitsu's unfinished novel Ryoshū, it was severely censored because of its anti-Western discourses. Masaru Kisaki, then the editor of the publisher, wrote in his diary about the tough negotiations they had with the CCD. The struggle between the publishing company and the GHQ's office makes us reconsider freedom of expression and censorship in postwar literature.
In the 1930s Kiyoteru Hanada joined the Tohō-kai group headed by Seigō Nakano, one of the extreme right-wing political leaders. So Ryūmei Yoshimoto calls him a fascist, but some critics regard his opportunism as a disguised resistance. Anyway now it is difficult to accurately know his real intention, but there seems to be a clue to retroactively catching a glimpse of it in a series of remarks on the Asian countries of the 1930s which he made in the mid-1950s when the independence movements started in Africa and Asia.