Yanaihara Tadao

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  • Born: 1893
  • Died: 1961
  • Japanese: 矢内原 忠雄 (Yanaihara Tadao)

Yanaihara Tadao was a scholar of Japanese economics, education, and colonial policy, as well as a Christian evangelist. He is known for his scholarship criticizing colonialist and militarist policies and promoting peace and democracy. A large collection of his writings and former personal library is now held by the University of the Ryukyus Library.

Originally from Ehime prefecture, he met Christian scholars Nitobe Inazô and Uchimura Kanzô during his high school years, and was strongly influenced by them both in his religious beliefs and in terms of philosophy and other studies. After graduating from Tokyo Imperial University, he worked for a time outside of academia and then returned to the university, where he taught and contributed to devising colonial policy. Amidst rising militarism, he wrote a number of essays criticizing militarism and colonial policy.

He succeeded Nitobe as chair of colonial studies at Tokyo Imperial University in 1937,[1] but was forced to leave his job that same year. Though many of his writings were destroyed or banned, he continued to emphasize the value of democracy.

After the end of World War II, he returned to the University of Tokyo, later becoming the 16th president of the university. The term of his appointment at the university ended in 1957, and at the invitation of the University of the Ryukyus and the Okinawa prefecture Teachers' Union he then spent five days giving lectures in various locations around Okinawa Island.

He then devoted much attention during the rest of his life to proselytizing Christianity and to students' education, as well as to efforts for peace and for the democratization of Japan.

Following his death in 1961, Tadao's son Yanaihara Katsu, along with Ikema Satoshi, worked to have a large collection of Tadao's books, notes, manuscripts, and other materials donated to the University of the Ryukyus Library. It consists of 846 items gifted over the course of two occasions, in 1987 and 1995.


  • Gallery labels, University of the Ryukyus Library.[1]
  1. Mark Peattie, "Japanese Attitudes toward Colonialism, 1895-1945," in Peattie and Ramon Myers (eds.), The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945, Princeton University Press (1984), 114.