A civilian attached to Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s army of occupation after World War II, Ms. Gordon was the last living member of the American team that wrote Japan’s postwar Constitution.*on Wikipedia
Her work — drafting language that gave women a set of legal rights pertaining to marriage, divorce, property and inheritance that they had long been without in Japan’s feudal society — had an effect on their status that endures to this day.
“It set a basis for a better, a more equal society,” Carol Gluck, a professor of Japanese history at Columbia University, said Monday... “By just writing those things into the Constitution — our Constitution doesn’t have any of those things — Beate Gordon intervened at a critical moment. And what kind of 22-year-old gets to write a constitution?”
If Ms. Gordon, neither lawyer nor constitutional scholar, was indeed an unlikely candidate for the task, then it is vital to understand the singular confluence of forces that brought her to it:
Had her father not been a concert pianist of considerable renown; had she not been so skilled at foreign languages; and had she not been desperate to find her parents, from whom she was separated during the war and whose fate she did not know for years, she never would have been thrust into her quiet, improbable role in world history.
« Older Andrew Sullivan to have subscribers,... | Beth Ann Magnuson hand-carves ... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments