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Jiichirō Matsumoto (松本 治一郎 Matsumoto Jiichirō?) ( June 18, 1887 – November 22, 1966 ) was a Japanese politician, businessman and leader of the burakumin movement. Born in the Fukuoka Prefecture of Japan, Matsumoto lead the liberation movement from beginning to end earning the title "buraku liberation father" in the Buraku Liberation League.
Matsumoto was born in the Chikushi District, Fukuoka Prefecture, part of the modern city of Fukuoka. His parents were burakumin. In 1900, after graduating from Sumiyoshi elementary school and Kanjō junior high school under the prewar system in Tokyo, he dropped out of Dalian high school.
In 1907, Matsumoto made his living as a street fortune-teller and quack doctor. In 1910 he was extradited back to his home province by the consul general.
By 1911, Matsumoto had established the Matsumoto Company, which specialized in civil engineering and heavy construction. The company was later destroyed by members of the Kyūshū Yakuza Clan.
In 1921, the Chikuzenkyō revolutionary group was organized. That same year, during the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the first Fukuoka daimyo Kuroda Nagamasa, the protest movement organized by Matsumoto, rose up and the celebration turned into "voluntary donation from non-discriminated descendants against forms of discrimination" under enforcement.
In 1923, Matsumoto became chairman of the Kyūshū Levelers Association (九州水平社 Kyūshū Suiheisha?).
Having strong ideas of equality between people across the country, Matsumoto organized the strife of not giving the title of nobility to Iesato Tokugawa. Later, after the assassination of Iesato Tokugawa, Matsumoto was found guilty of attempted assassination and imprisoned for four months (1927).
In 1926, Matsumoto lead an impeachment strife against the Fukuoka Regiment Discrimination. In 1929, he was imprisoned for a second time, this time for three years and six months without any clear reason. Many suspect the strife as the reason.
In 1936, Matsumoto became a member of the House of Representatives.
In 1942, Matsumoto was elected by a recommendation to the Taisei Yokusankai (大政翼賛会 Imperial Rule Assistance Association or Imperial Aid Association?). This was a governmental camouflage, because Ichirō Hatoyama in fact didn't write any recommendations, but this election was an excuse to get rid of Matsumoto's public offices.
In 1946, Matsumoto became chairman of the Buraku Liberation League (部落解放同盟 Buraku Kaihō Dōmei?), and in 1947, he became a member of Parliament. The same year he was elected as vice-chairman of the House of Councilors. He was known among the people as a leftist leader. Matsumoto is well known for saying about himself, "I became a chairman despite my burakumin origins. Socialists hold the majority in the House of Representatives and in the House of Concilors, and in order for Komakichi Matsuoka to win, they've chosen me."
In 1948, being a vice-chairman of the House of Councilors, Matsumoto made a refusal to the Emperor's audience in the case known as "The Sideways Scuttle of a Crab". After that his public offices were banished, but it was cancelled in 1951.
Till Matsumoto death in 1966, Matsumoto continued his buraku liberation activities.
"Quack doctor" question
During Matsumoto's stay in Dalien, he worked as a quack doctor under the title of "first class army surgeon of Great Japan". In the book Matsumoto Jiichirō's Biography, the following was written: "abandoned by modern medical care were welcomed", and there are recordings that "If Matsumoto was critical about aggression of Japanese imperialists against China, he wouldn't have proclaimed himself 'first class army surgeon of Great Japan'"; some criticism of his activities are sited: "Matsumoto earned, for his living, getting cash for 'treatment' of Chinese people. Faulty 'treatment' quite frequently resulted in the loss of one's life. Matsumoto acted in this fraud and swindling in China, but he never did it in Japan". Although Matsumoto said in the next years: "I cannot do percussion and auscultation, but even now I have great self-confidence in visual examination".
War collaboration question
In 1942, when Matsumoto's had won a nomination to Taisei Yokusankai, his campaign bulletin had the following greetings: "Stream of blood for the Country!", "Overthrow America in the fight till death, destroy the Anglo-Saxons domination of the world; in unity of hundreds in one nation, the young and the aged united with gunfire, despite hardship, leading to invincible victory!"
On June 14, 1943, Matsumoto was one of the organizers of an imperialistic group called "Eight Days Committee", Seigō Nakano and Satoshi Akao were both present at the inaugural meeting when an "inspirational speech" took place. The creeds of "Eight Days Committee" were used at the early beginnings of the Pacific War: "Let our every action show the real meaning of the national polity!", "Let's fight remembering our Emperor has a faith we will win!" etc. Though Matsumoto did everything he could to support Japan's war efforts, including budget agreements, after the defeat he suddenly shifted to other side and rejected militarism: "I've always been fighting for equality, revealing anti-war movements and creeds. I had always known about the defeat", "I have always had anti-war ideals", and "I am for anti-militarism and democracy".
On January 1953, in Yangon, Burma, at the welcoming citizens mass meeting, Matsumoto performed a speech as a representative of the Social Democratic Party (leftist). He had said "Japan is now a rapidly developing and economically growing country, but on the other hand, it came at the peril of imperial fascism, Japan sacrificed many countries to that end, which seduced us like the Devil. Of course, our socialists were against these wars", ..." — this statement by Matsumoto, alludes that he probably lied about his war collaboration.
- "Neither violence nor target"
- "Where there is nobility, there are serfs" (Also explained as "In order to make Gods of men, men are made into beasts" in the same script)
- "No drinking. No smoking. No gambling. No wife, no buying girls. No necktie." (These principles Matsumoto maintained all his life)
- "Fighting with authority, what do I think about? If the Emperor hadn't conferred a decoration on me, my strife probably wouldn't have existed. Being decoration, brandish the authority. This thought exists while buraku discrimination exists."
- "My enemy is not you. My enemy is the one standing behind your back. But if you feel yourself soul-searching what you have done, I forgive you."
- 部落解放同盟中央本部編『松本治一郎伝』p.24（解放出版社、1987年）ISBN 4-7592-4403-4
- 金靜美『水平運動研究史──民族差別批判』pp.451-452（現代企画室、1994年）ISBN 4-7738-9312-5
- 金靜美『水平運動研究史──民族差別批判』pp.352-353（現代企画室、1994年）ISBN 4-7738-9312-5
- 金靜美『水平運動研究史──民族差別批判』pp.637（現代企画室、1994年）ISBN 4-7738-9312-5
- 金靜美『水平運動研究史──民族差別批判』pp.355-359（現代企画室、1994年）ISBN 4-7738-9312-5
- 1947年の発言。松本治一郎「荊冠旗は血に染む 水平社運動廿五年」、『政界ジープ』ジープ社、1947年9月、p.6
- 松本治一郎「全アジア水平運動のために Burmaから Indiaへ」（一）、『部落』第40号、1953年2月、pp.9-10
- 高山文彦 (作家)|高山文彦「水平記 松本治一郎と部落解放運動の一〇〇年」（新潮社）2005年