Arihiro Fukuda (1964-2003): His Works and Achievements Hajime INUZUKA Discussion Paper Series, No. F-122 Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo March 2006
*The original version of this paper was submitted to a conference, “Republicanism in Historical Contexts: A Symposium Dedicated to the Memory of Arihiro Fukuda”, held in September 2004 at
the University of Tokyo. I benefited from the very helpful advice of Dr. Kinch Hoekstra and Jack Alexander. 犬 塚 元 「 福 田 有 広 （1964-2003）： そ の 著 作 と 業 績 」 東 京 大 学 社 会 科 学 研 究 所 デ ィ ス カ ッ シ ョ ン ・ ペ ー パ ー F-122
Arihiro Fukuda (1964-2003): His Works and Achievements Hajime Inuzuka, Ph. D.
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
It is with very deep sadness that we have to accept the young decease of Professor Arihiro Fukuda on 16 November 2003 at the age of 39, and have to give condolences so early for him.
preface of his epoch-making book, Sovereignty and the Sword: Harrington, Hobbes, and Mixed Government in the English Civil War (Clarendon Press, 1997), Fukuda characterized his own work as a result of ‘a happy marriage’ of two academic traditions. One is the tradition of the study of the history of western political thought, maintained at the Faculty of Law, the University of Tokyo, where he was engaged in research as an undergraduate, a research associate, and from 1993 an Associate Professor.
The other is the tradition of Oxford University, where he studied for four
years as a graduate and as a visiting professor.
He was very proud of being the successor of these
two traditions, and it could be said that he attempted to bridge these two.
Fukuda’s book has been internationally accepted as a piece of such original research, that many scholars, including experts on this discipline such as Professor Quentin Skinner and Professor Blair Worden, have referred to it in their articles.1
Among Fukuda’s academic contributions, we would
like to outline three important points.
Quentin Skinner, ‘Hobbes and the Purely Artificial Person of the State,’ Journal of Political Philosophy,
VII, 1999, p. 20; Blair Worden, ‘Republicanism, Regicide and Republic,’ in eds. Martin van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner, Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Cambridge University Press, 2002, vol. I, p. 313; Quentin Skinner, ‘Classical Liberty and the Coming of the English Civil War,’ ibid., vol. II, p. 20. Reviews of Fukuda’s include those by Glenn Burgess (Parliamentary History, XVIII, 1999, pp. 210-3; translated into Japanese by Takeshi Sasaki, Newsletter of the Japanese Conference for the Study of Political Thought, IX, 1999), Deborah Baumgold (Albion, XXXI, 1999, pp. 94-6), Jonathan Scott (English Historical Review, CXV, 2000, pp. 660-2), and Thomas Ahnert (Historical Journal, XLIV, 2001, pp. 570-2).
First, he proposed a new reading of the politics of James Harrington, and of the history of political thought in the era of the English civil war.
Honestly facing Harrington’s sharp refutation of
Thomas Hobbes’ politics in his Commonwealth of Oceana (1656), Fukuda investigated the relationship between the two thinkers, while the two had been considered as belonging to quite different political traditions.
In other words, in the accepted interpretation, Harrington as a
republican or utopian thinker was thought to have no close connection with Hobbes, the advocate of absolute monarchy and sovereignty.
By contrast, Fukuda clearly indicated that the two had the
common goal of overcoming civil war and establishing civil sovereignty, although they differed in how to achieve this goal.
Harrington criticised Hobbes in supposing naively that the sword
generates sovereignty, and instead insisted that only the balance of power, or mixed government, is able to secure durable sovereignty.
According to Harrington, only ‘an equal commonwealth’ with
the ballot and a bicameral legislature can maintain order and stability. In Fukuda’s interpretation, Harrington was a successor of the classical mixed government theory, which is also a theory about sovereignty.
Nowadays many scholars of Harrington have been beginning to pay attention to the
relationship between Harrington and Hobbes, and Fukuda’s book is one of the leading contributions especially on this point.
We can see Fukuda’s second achievement in his definition of republicanism. will know Fukuda’s main target.
Readers of his book
He challenged Professor John G. A. Pocock, whose book, The
Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton University Press, 1975), has been accepted as the standard on this topic.
criticised Pocock because he highly respected him, just as Harrington criticised Niccolò Machiavelli because he was worthy of criticism.
As opposed to the liberal tradition, constructed with ‘the
language of right,’ Pocock unearthed a tradition of republicanism expressed with ‘the language of virtue,’ which could be traced from ancient Greece, via Renaissance Italy and seventeenth century England, to the American Revolution.
From Fukuda’s point of view, however, Pocock’s
understanding of republicanism is a kind of syncretism, and is too complicated and artificial to
The influence of Aristotle and the use of ‘the language of virtue’ are essential for
Pocock’s republicanism, but Harrington’s independence from these two factors made Fukuda oppose Pocock’s interpretation. In his book, Fukuda focused rather on the influence of Polybius, and of the politics of mixed government which started with this Greek historian of Rome.
Fukuda’s opinion, what matters most is not virtue, but political institutions.
After the publication of his book, Fukuda again went back to Pocock’s starting point, namely, what is common between Machiavelli and Harrington.
Here he started to research a Roman historian,
Titus Livy, upon whom both Machiavelli and Harrington heavily relied.
To this investigation he
devoted his last years, and we know from his posthumous articles, that he provisionally concluded that ‘imperium’ (the governing power), one of the main ancient Roman political concepts, is the key, and a particular approach to the question of how to secure ‘imperium’ characterizes republicanism. According to Fukuda, the political tradition which derived from this origin could be characterized as one which aimed to settle stable political power by the proper arrangement of ‘ordini/order’ (political institution), for the purpose of cracking down on ‘partigiani/party’ (faction), the malady of republican government.
Fukuda set ‘imperium’ in contrast to another ancient Roman concept,
‘provocatio’ (appeal to the people), which could be seen as the origin of the democratic or liberal tradition.2
This relates to Fukuda’s third contribution, concerning the traditions of the history of western political thought in general.
As a historian, he forbade himself to read the classics of political
thought selectively within his own framework.
Rather he faced the classical texts to examine how
Arihiro Fukuda, ‘Republicanism,’ in eds. Arihiro Fukuda and Masaki Taniguchi, Politics and Democracy,
University of Tokyo Press, 2002 (in Japanese).
There are at least three unpublished English papers on this
issue written by Fukuda: ‘Livy Between Harrington and Machiavelli,’ 2001; ‘What is Republicanism Not About?,’ March 2003; ‘What is the Primary Concern of Republicanism?,’ July 2003.
each political thinker read the past texts selectively from his or her own perspective.3
examination, he discovered two streams in the history of political thought, which made Fukuda realize that Harrington’s perspective could be applied to the whole history of political thought. Harrington saw that history as consisting mainly of two trends, ‘ancient prudence’ and ‘modern prudence.’
For Fukuda, this perspective is still valid even today.
In the lectures delivered at the
University of Tokyo, he successfully depicted the two traditions in the history of political thought. Polybius, Machiavelli, Harrington, David Hume, and the Federalists represent one tradition, which is synonymous with the politics of ‘ancient prudence,’ or that of ‘imperium.’
On the other hand,
the politics of ‘modern prudence,’ or that of ‘provocatio,’ constitute another tradition, including Cicero, John Fortescue, the monarchomachs, John Locke, Montesquieu, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Fukuda’s original and cutting-edge lectures on the history of political thought, and his warm but academically strict teaching have impressed many students.
He was not only a frontier researcher,
who was highly esteemed internationally, but also an earnest teacher valued by many students. With his immense knowledge and virtue, he was always ready to help those in need at a personal and professional level.
Fukuda, my supervisor, ardently maintained the classical tutorial ideal, and
taught me to think by myself fundamentally and critically.
The decease of such a fine historian, at the height of his power, is a devastating blow not only to his wife, friends, and students, but to the international academic community of the history of political thought. We hope this forum will provide a good opportunity to discuss Fukuda’s academic achievements and the issues to which he devoted himself.
In other words, Fukuda insisted on the importance of focusing on how a past political thinker perceived the
history of political thought as a historiographical method.
Fukuda himself used this method in interpreting
Harrington, and explored Harrington’s own understanding of the history of political thought. See his ‘“Utopia” in History: On Matthew Wren’s Criticism of Harrington,’ in ed. Takeshi Sasaki, Liberty and Liberalism in the History of Political Ideas, University of Tokyo Press, 1995 (in Japanese).