Nakae Tokusuke

Nakae Tokusuke


(pen names, Nakae Chomin, Shusui, Nankai Sengyo). Born Oct. 1, 1847, in Shimmachi; died Dec. 13, 1901. Japanese thinker, publicist, and political figure.

Nakae was educated in France (1871–74), where he studied the works of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire. On returning to Japan in 1874, he took part in the Minken Undo movement. He edited newspapers and magazines in which he published articles calling for the overthrow of the bureaucratic government and the creation of a parliament in Japan. In 1887, Nakae was exiled from Tokyo. After the promulgation of a constitution (1889) and an amnesty, Nakae returned to the capital.

In 1890, Nakae was elected to the first Japanese parliament. He spoke against the growing state budget that was financed by high taxes and assailed the monarchist constitution and the parliumtmt that remaind subservient to the imperial government. In February 1891, Nakae resigned from parliament. In 1898 he resumed his political activities, editing liberal democratic journals in which he called for universal suffrage and criticized the Jiyuto and Kaishinto parties for cooperating with the reactionary government. Nakae advocated the views of radical petit bourgeois intellectuals.

Nakae’s criticism of pragmatism, positivism, and other idealistic schools of thought, as well as his progressive sociopolitical views—expressed in his The Depths of Philosophy, or Detailed Investigation of Philosophy (1886) and A Year and a Half’(1901) —influenced his followers, including the future socialists Kotoku Shusui and Isoo Abe.


Radul’-Zatulovskii, Ia. B. “Materialisticheskaia filosofiia Nakae Temin.” In Sovetskoe vostokovedenie [vol. 6]. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Sovremennye iaponskie mysliteli. Moscow, 1958. Pages 9–11; 93–111.(Translated from Japanese.)
Hijikata Kazuo. Nakae Chomin. Tokyo, 1958. (In Japanese.)