Title: A Short History of the Anarchist Movement in Japan
Date: 1979
Notes: All materials of this book, you may use and translate them freely, if you were an anarchist or a member of the anarchist callectives with mentioning the auther’s name in your reference, we are glad you may supply us a copy of your version. But all rights are preserved for us in case of commercial base publication. Address of Le Libertaire c/o Shintaro Hagiwara 2190 Oizumigakuen chyo, Nerima-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Printed in July, 1979 by Vulcan Co., Published by the Idea Publishing House c/o Kawanishi Kosan Bldg., 11—22, 5-chyome Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Price $ 10, ¥2300.


    Prologue: A Historical Sketch

      1. Origin of the Ancient Imperial State of Japan

      2. From Heian Period to Warlike Age

      3. Exclusion System

      4. Fall of Samurai Government

      5. Formation and Fall of Militaristic Japan

    Chapter 1: Early Spring of Anarchy

      I Shoeki Ando, A Forerunner of Anarchism

      II Liberalistic Civil Rights Movements

    Chapter 2: The Germinating Periods

      I The Toyo Shakai-to, the First Anarchist Movement

      II The Commencement of Labor Movements and Farmer Movements

    Chapter 3: The Flowering Season

      I Labor Movements before the World War I

      II The Intensification of Farmers’ Movements

      III Controversy between the Anarchists and the Bolsheviks

      IV At the Time of the Great Kanto Earthquake

    Chapter IV: The Decline Period

    Chapter V: Restart after World War II

    Chapter VI: 1970s





    JIYU MTNKEN UNDO (Liberal Civic Rights Movement 1874–1884)

    TOYO SHAKAT TO (The Oriental Socialist Party)


    NAKAENISM — A Campaign for Enlightenment in Japan


    SAN SUIJIN KEIRIN MONDO (The discussion of Ideal politics by three drunkards) by Atsusuke Nakae published in 1887, an adaptation








      A RED FLAG

















      A KOSAKA INCIDENT (1923)




    “The Women’s Front”






    La Dynamique




    WHAT IS TO BE DONE? by Yasushi Suzuki

      Linkage with the People

      Our attitude

      Preparation of the Whole Village Movement

        a) From Passivity to Activity

        b) Aim at the Youth Association


      Legality or Illegality

      Attitude towards the Daily Problems

        a) To refuse the Farmers’ Union

        b) Contradiction of Personal Activity

        c) Raise the Farmers’ Free Federative League

      Tendency of the Whole Village Movement.

        a) Raise a General Meeting of the Whole Village

      OF Anti-Political Movement

      Necessity of Secret Activity





      Proposition 1. Why did the Anarchist idea attract Japanese people?

      Proposition 2. What did anarchism teach us?

      Proposition 3: Why did the anarchist movement in Japan decline?

      Proposition 4: Can the Anarchist movement be revived?



“A Short History of the Anarchist Movement in Japan” has been published, much to my great rejoicing. Authors are those who have firmly adhered to anarchism and have been helping me in publishing Le Libertaire Japonais for many years.

This short history has been written in English, which is completely different from our Japanese language, although we know that we cannot write it correctly. We dared to write this though our usage of English may sound funny for English-speaking people, it is because English is an international language, and we thought we might be able to let other nations know the reality of the Japanese anarchist movement rightly and widely.

We have, in our history, an anarchist Shoeki ANDO two hundred years ago. But his theory did not bind up to practice, and we can only know him and his thought through his literary works.

Since the Meiji Restoration (1868), the Japanese government, which hoped to make the Japanese Empire one of the modern states equal to those European and American countries, began to adopt European culture in the hope of grafting it upon her old traditional religion, Shinto. The government was eager to import natural sciences and industrial technics but wanted to reject social sciences and religion, Christianity. But religion, philosophy, sciences, and technics are all a part of European culture; they are not separable, and Christianity and socialism came into Japan as uninvited customers. Naturally, oppressions upon them were inevitable.

Anarchism, among social thoughts, appeared when Shusui Denjiro KOTOKU, one of the Marxists at that time, was imprisoned in 1905. Kotoku carried a Kropotkin’s book sent by Albert Johnson from the U.S.A. with him and read through it, and wrote a letter to Johnson from prison. Released from prison, Kotoku went to the U.S.A. and kept good company with American anarchists, and he could fully understand anarchism and syndicalism when he came home in 1906. He was framed by the government and was killed together with eleven other comrades in 1910.

Sakae OSUGI inherited Kotoku and organized laborers into unions against rising Japanese capitalists. The government found another enemy in Osugi, and he was killed in 1923.

Sanshiro ISHIKAWA, a Christian socialist who fled to Europe after being released from prison in 1913, became an anarchist when he learned about Elisée Reclus in Belgium. Paul Reclus, the nephew of Elisée, kindly took care of him. Ishikawa was rather a thinker and historian than a militant. I am one of his pupils.

Anarchism in Japan is, as you see, an imported one together with sciences, technics, and Christianity from Europe and America. It made us recognize that the miserable condition of people under the capitalists and the government should be overturned by the people themselves, while Christianity revealed the sinful condition of the Soul. Once recognized that the “Emancipation of laborers must be done by the hands of laborers,” Japanese laborers roused themselves up to action and organized unions.

After Osugi was killed, Japanese communists, backed by Soviet Russia, became influential. Under the slogan “Conquest and capture,” they played all possible shrewd tricks to take hegemony over labor unions. Anarchists became inferior.

Time passed, and now, in Japan, communists and socialists have transformed labor unions into their electorates. Many Japanese thinkers are Marxists or pro-Marxists, including many professors of economics and history in universities. Accordingly, most young men who are keen on social unevenness are apt to be Marxists.

Under these circumstances, our course is very difficult. But we are tenacious, as we know that the revolution by means of power capture is nothing but a myth. One may say that Lenin, Mao Tse-tung, and Khomeini revolutionized their countries, but in fact, Lenin and Mao accomplished a state-capitalistic revolution and Khomeini a religious revolution. It is an alteration of powers or replacement from one Power to another. True revolution is that of people, by people, and from the bosom of people. For this, we go over the craggy hill.

Augustin S. MIURA
May, 1979

Prologue: A Historical Sketch

1. Origin of the Ancient Imperial State of Japan

It is said that there was an age of primitive communism in common with other nations. The Mikado family, who was one of the patriarchs in Yamato Province, conquered other tribes and established a dynasty. It was sometime in the middle of the 4th century.

In 645 AD, the Taika Reform proclaimed a unified monarchy,’ with the Mikado as the absolute Emperor. The Mikado and his family nationalized the land and the peasant as his private property. Soon there, bureaucracy emerged after the Chinese institution, and they decreed population registers and new systems of taxes and levies. But due to severe taxation and labor duty, the people, especially the inhabitants of the remote county, revolved against the centralized government.

Meanwhile, some local administrators appointed by the government formed a clan in their dutiful lands and wanted to usurp the Mikado. Further, the Mikado family split into several factions and struggled with each other. The strongest took the hegemony to reign the country.

2. From Heian Period to Warlike Age

Heian (Peace and Tranquility) was the name of the new capital where the Mikado moved from Nara (Yamato) in 784 AD. Private ownership of land prevailed. The accumulation of large tracts of land in private hands made possible the rise of local administrators with confidence in their abilities. In the 11th century, there were widespread disorders and rises of militancy. The Taira clan came first to power in 1160. And the Mikado clan, who defeated the Taira clan, completely opened the Shogunate at Kamakura in 1192. This was the first government of the Samurai.

In 1274 and 1281, a Mongol armada from China and Korea invaded Kyushu. Japanese warriors fought well, and providentially violent storms came to destroy most of the Mongol fleets twice relatively. (People call these storms the divine wind or Kamikaze. ) The defense which had been set up must have been strengthened further after the Mongol crisis, as people became destitute. Peasants uprose here and there.

The Kamakura Shogunate was overthrown early in the 14th century by Mikado (Restoration of Imperial rule), but the Mikado family split into two (North and South), and Ashikaga Shogunate was established under the North dynasty.

The Ashikaga Shogunate was overthrown by Oda. And Toyotomi succeeded Oda. Toyotomi invaded Korea twice in 1592 and 1597, which resulted in vain.

3. Exclusion System

Soon after Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s death, Tokugawa Ieyasu won a crushing victory over Toyotomi at Sekigahara in 1600. Ieyasu was appointed Shogun in 1603 and established his headquarters at Edo (now Tokyo). He acquired one-quarter of Japanese land as his territory. Main cities and mining districts were under his direct management, and foreign trade was under his control.

Accompanying the development of foreign trade, Christian activity spread widely throughout Japan; even Several feudal lords converted to Christianity. Gradually fears of Christian subversion outweighed Ieyasu’s desire for trade. In 1614 an edict ordered all missionaries to leave; all Japanese were to register as members of Buddhist sects. Foreign trade was limited to the Dutch and China at Nagasaki in 1641.

During the long years of the Tokugawa shogunate, there was a caste system of Samurai (warriors), farmers, technicians, and merchants. Farmers were squeezed to death and hardly kept alive. They frequently uprose here and there. Tenno was nothing but a Shinto Priest Head.

4. Fall of Samurai Government

Long and peaceful dream under the Tokugawa Shogunate was startled by the coming of foreign forces who requested to open the door for trade. Russia came to Hokkaido in 1872. Great Britain, which began to have a colony in Asia, came to several ports in Japan. U.S. Commodore Perry arrived in 1853 with four gunboats. The shogunate concluded an unequal treaty with Britain, the United States, the Dutch, France, and Russia, which included extraterritoriality. “the treaties were unwelcome to Kyoto (the seat of Tenno), and the slogan of Sonno-Joi ( Revere the Emperor! Drive out the barbarians! ) was raised by anti-shogunate people.

The allied forces of the U.S., Britain, the Dutch, and France attacked Shimonoseki and carried the fortress. Aware of the difference in a military capacity, people had to give up the Joi. As a result of domestic conflicts, the last Shogun of Tokugawa resigned. This ended the 676-year-long samurai government from Minamoto to Tokugawa.

5. Formation and Fall of Militaristic Japan

The extreme nationalist empire of Japan was born in 1868 under the man-god Mikado. Japan did its best to adopt foreign culture to be a wealthy nation with a strong military. She stepped over the stage of the industrial revolution by the 1880s. Japanese capitalism developed to have access to foreign markets with wars as her springboard. The first opportunity was the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–5, the second was the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5, and the third was the World War I of 1914–18 until the armed aggression to the continent of China in 1931. But she rushed recklessly into World War II to be defeated at the sacrifice of her laborers and farmers. The Japanese Empire thus made herself isolated from the world.

How was the anarchist movement under the harsh situation of this island of Japan in the extreme Orient?

Chapter 1: Early Spring of Anarchy

I Shoeki Ando, A Forerunner of Anarchism

Nearly 550 A. D. Buddhism was introduced into Japan from China through Korea. Though all founders of religion never fail to be revolutionary, religion would be corrupted by tying to the political powers of the hour. Buddhism in Japan traced the same course. At first it influenced many territories but gradually degenerated into secularism. On the other hand, Shintoism stood side by side with Buddhism. Shintoism was linked directly to the Mikado family and aimed at a state religion. Moreover, since the Mediaeval Ages, Confucianism (a Chinese philosophy) became the systematically authorized doctrine of the ruling classes. The moral teachings of Confucius and Mencius were utilized mainly as the standard of feudal morality. The thinkers in the Edo Era (1603--1867) who belonged to the above three schools could hardly absorb the Western culture. Shoeki Ando stood violently against these existing philosophies and preached the original and modern theories.

Ando, a medical practitioner, was born in Hachinohe, a snowy countryside of the Northern parts of Japan, in 1703. It was a century and a half before Proudhon, Bakunin, and Marx appeared in world history. He denounced feudal moral education and advocated agricultural communist anarchism. The essence of his teachings was “Shizen Shineido” (the True Management of Nature), published in 1753.

He asserted that all persons should engage in some productive labor. In 1840 Proudohn said in his ‘What is Property?’ that “Property is Theft,’ but Ando said before Proudohn, ‘the idle class who lives on the other people is nothing but a thieve.’ and he said that all human beings are equal, all status or estate ought to be overthrown, and all armaments should be abolished for the realization of peace.

Indeed, Ando was a great pioneer. Herbert Norman published the monographic on Ando, written in English.

II Liberalistic Civil Rights Movements

Since 1874 the Liberalistic Civil Rights Movements took place briskly, claiming the establishment of the popularly elected Parliament, enactment of the Constitution, and the freedom of political movements. Many of them were the discontented elements of the ex-samurai cast (the Japanese warrior cast during the Tokugawa Era) who could not get positions. Members of the Liberal Party of the ruined landlord and the middle stratum of the peasantry also participated in this movement. Such organizations as Shakkin-to (the Debtor Party), Heimin-to (the Party of the Poor), or Kasaku-to (the Tenant-farmer Party) also joined, and the number increased significantly. They struggled for the payments of the yearly installment of their debt, the deferment of payment or the reduction of rental, the recovery of the pawned land, and the reduction of the military service. The authorities suppressed them furiously, the legal movements could not be expected at last, and the riots in arms broke out frequently.

Chapter 2: The Germinating Periods

I The Toyo Shakai-to, the First Anarchist Movement

In 1882, Tokichi Tarui rallied more than one hundred comrades in Kyushu and formed the Toyo Shakai-to (the Oriental Socialist Party), which claimed the Oriental Nihilism of Lao-tse or Confucius against Western nihilism. The Party was prohibited by the government. Next January, the reconstruction was tried, but it was prohibited again. And Tarui was sentenced to imprisonment.

The Party’s program was, as cited later, very similar to the theory of Max Stirner.

II The Commencement of Labor Movements and Farmer Movements

Japan, a backward capitalist nation, had to get overseas markets and acquire foreign currencies to secure the imports of war supplies. Therefore workers were compelled to the extremely enforced labor under the low wage. As feudal ideas prevailed and oppressive policies were common to the state, the labor movement was regarded as a crime, and the laborer’s unawakened mind obstructed organizing the labor class into a union. The unionization of printers in 1884, iron workers in 1887, and mechanicians in 1889 was set about, but all of them were frustrated.

In 1885, Emori Ueki, a distinguished Liberalistic Civil Rights Movement theorist, took the movement’s lead as he appealed to the unity of the proletariat and the organization of labor unions. In 1887, Soho Tokutomi started a monthly ‘Kokumin no Tomo’ (the Friends of Nation), introduced the labor movements and socialism in the advanced countries, and urged the workers to unite.

In 1892, Ryutaro Kojima, Yuzaburo Sakai, Sanshiro Ishikawa, and others formed the Study Meeting of the Social Problems, discussed all night the principles of property equalization, anarchist movements, the May Day movements, and so on.

In these days, socialist or anarchist thought began to permeate into the laborers to unite.

On the other hand, the deflation policy and the bad harvest pushed the farmers to furious and repeated riots. 1884 was the peak year in the Meiji Era (1867--1912), with 167 riots.

Among them, the Chichibu Affair was the most famous farmers’ riot, and it was the only one worthy of mentioning to be the revolutionary movement. Thousands of farmers in Chichibu attacked the public offices and usurers, established the autonomous government, and finally battled against the national troops but were annihilated.

In addition, there occurred the Kabazan Affair which several Liberals armed with little bombs and swords entrenched themselves in Kabazan, attempting to upset the government and fighting in vain. In this Affair, the bomb was thrown for the first time, and execution by capital punishment was the first instance in the Japanese social movement.

The Nagoya Affair occurred. In this Affair, the Liberals, such as Kenshi Okumiya, attacked the public offices and millionaires and destroyed the prisons to get prisoners on their sides to upset the government, but they were attested. Okumiya, who was sentenced to the death penalty, was released later, but he was involved in the Kotoku Affair afterward and was executed in 1911.

Chapter 3: The Flowering Season

I Labor Movements before the World War I

Under the stimulus of the Haymarket Affair in the USA, the reactionary FAL was born, and later in opposition to FAL, the militant IWW was born. Also in Japan, the Yuai-kai (the Fraternal Society), later renamed the Sodomei (the General League of Japan Trade Unions, labor-capital reconciliation union), was born as a byproduct of the Kotoku Affair. In opposition to them, anarchists formed revolutionary organizations. The most militants of them were printers and traffic workers. The printers struggled fiercely against capitalists backed by Osugi, Sakai, Yamakawa, Arahata, and so on; they developed into the National Federation of Printer Unions and later became the parent body of the national federation anarchist-influenced labor unions. The traffic workers fought remarkable struggles led by Endo and Nakanishi, so it became famous as the age of the traffic worker strike.

From War I to the Great Kanto Earthquake in Japan, there was a flowing season of democracy, and it is called the Age of Taisho Democracy in Japanese history.

World War I accelerated the centralization or monopoly of capital, and heavy industry flourished. But the poverty of workers’ life went on increasingly in inverse ratio to the prosperity of the bourgeoisie. Especially in the post-war panic after 1920, workers were exposed bitterly to the offensive by capitalists. It was natural that workers, whose legality of movements was not at all and who had to rise in action desperately, took up syndicalism as the only way out of difficulties. This circumstance was merely confined to the anarchist unions. Workers’ distrust and discontent against the existing system resonated with syndicalism and its direct actionism. Bloody battles were repeated in many labor disputes, factories were controlled by the strikers, the workers made an assault the brains of management, and strikes occurred frequently and spread throughout the country.

After the Russo-Japanese War, electric power came into general use as the driving force and took the place of water wheels, steam, and petroleum engines, while the electrified small-scale

industries and household industries were absorbed into the wholesale merchant system, which developed into such a great scale that their sale and financing capacities reached the height. After World War I, many medium and small enterprises became their subcontractors. The other was driven out of the market during the concentration of the industries. But small businesses sprang up always one after another, shrinking in scale. The big enterprises which treated preferentially the regular employees made use of the cheaper temporary employees, outsiders, or sub-contractors. Many job hunters who could not find employment in big business rushed the medium and small scale business by wandering from one to another.

Sometimes, there were cases in the primary contractor who had to reduce the price of goods to a pretty low, should sub-contract with the second contractor with a rate lower than that of the first contractor, and the latter again subcontracted to the third one with a further low rate. Postponing of the payment to the payment to the subcontractor was of no matter of importance for the capitalists. As a matter of fact, there exists a dual structure of industry in Japan, that is, there are the monopolistic enterprises on the one hand and a lot of small-scale factories on the other, then both respective employees receive their payment with a difference of the ratio, so there is a gap between them.

Retrospectively, we must write down here the fact that the May Day demonstration was commended in Japan in 1920 by the advocacy of anarchists, Miznuma, Hattori, and others, who organized it financing by the royalty of ‘Obliteration of Christ’ by the late Kotoku which was written in prison. This first May Day was held on the 2nd May 1920 (Sunday) in Tokyo. (May Day was forbidden in 1936). Under the influence of the successful first May Day, the Rodo Kumiai Domei-kai (the General League of Labor Unions) was established; typewriters’ unions, newspaper printers’ unions, teachers’ unions, publishing workers’ unions, navy arsenal workers” unions, traffic workers’ unions, mechanicians’ unions, spinning workers’ unions, and the Fraternal Society.

The tendency towards collaboration was stimulated by the nationwide miners’ unions formed by the General Federation of All Nippon Miners’ Union, and in Osaka, an industrial city, 16 groups formed the Kansai Federation of Labor Union.

Over time, the conflict between Anarchists and Bolsheviks intensified gradually (as stated in a separate paragraph). On the May Day of the following year, the left and the right collided, and the Fraternal Society turned out to be a traitor many times from this first breakup. In 1922 Yasaburo Shimonaka, the founder of the teachers’ union, strove to promote the forming movement of the General Federation of Labor Unions. 50 unions participated in the movement, such as shipbuilding, engineering, electricity, watch, printing, traffic, spinning, navy arsenal, and so on. But at the end of September, the inaugural rally was split due to the Fraternal Society’s treachery and the authorities’ oppression.

II The Intensification of Farmers’ Movements

Already the Heimin Shinbun had taken many spaces for tenant farmers’ problems, reported their miserable condition, and encouraged them. As the labor disputes intensified after World War I, the struggles, demanding the reduction and the exemption of firm rents, increased. The number of tenant-farmers’ disputes in 1917 was 85, significantly influenced by the Russian Revolution. In 1918 the selling price of rice rose furiously, cornered by merchants who had foreseen the dispatching of the Japanese troops into Siberia. In July, fishermen’s wives in Toyama prefecture burst onto the street to demand a reduction in rice prices. In a few days, this movement spread out to large or small cities and villages. Great riots of more than 700 thousand men broke out nationally. The troops were dispatched to oppress the movement, and hundreds of thousands were arrested. TE was called the Rice Riot. These riots developed into the strikes of coal miners, shipyards, the Imperialist Policemen, warders, and city officials (they were more revolutionary than nowadays!). Accompanying the Rice Riots, a coalition between farmers and laborers became closer, and farmers’ struggles intensified increasingly. The numbers of disputes of those days are as follows.

year labor disputes tenant-farmers’ disputes
1918 417 250
1919 497 326
1920 282 408
1921 246 1,680
1922 250 1,578
1923 270 1,917

III Controversy between the Anarchists and the Bolsheviks

In August 1920, the Preparatory Organization of the Japan Socialist Union was formed, aiming at a coalition of socialism and labor unions directly. The Organization issued ‘Socialism’ and canvassed nationally with eagerness. It was formed in December, and nearly 3 thousand workers joined. It consisted of anarchists and bolsheviks mixedly. Constitution bodies that sent principal promoters were as follows. (Asterisks show the anarchist sides.)

  • *printers’ union

  • *newspaper printers’ union

  • *watchmakers’ union

  • *The Hokufu-kai (the North Wind Society, led by Seitaro Watanabe)

  • *The Freemen’s Federation (including Kazuo Kato)

  • Fraternal Association

  • miners union

  • traffic workers’ union

  • authors union

  • the Labor Union Research Association

  • student organizations

The theoretical conflicts among them were so severe inside, and moreover, the authorities’ oppression was violent that it was disorganized next May. As indicated above, there were conflicts between anarchist unions based on a free federation of organizations and the General Federation aimed at centralizationist dictatorship within the labor movements. Many leaders of the General Federation were socialistic democrats. The bolsheviks up the anarchist organization and established their centralizational control. Therefore the movements in Taisho Era (1912--bolshevik, or A-B-controversy.

The same tendency was also discerned in farmers’ movements, and splits occurred frequently.

In 1922 the anarchist members split from the National Levellers’ Association (Suihei-sha), which had been formed in March 1922, and made up afresh the National Levellers’ Federation for Emancipation in 1925. laborers’ organizations and theory groups of Koreans followed a similar fate. One of them, the Kokuto-kai {the Black Surge Group) which was formed by three hundred Koreans in 1919, split, and anarchist elements formed the Black Friends’ Federation (later the Black Friends! Society).

IV At the Time of the Great Kanto Earthquake

On September 1st, 1923, a great earthquake of magnitude 8.2 fook place in Kanto District. as it was nearly noon, every home used fire for their lunch, a fire broke out here and there in Kanto, and Tokyo was covered with a raging fire. Though during World War II, significant damages were brought about by this earthquake as follows.

Houses burnt down or destroyed 703,000
Men killed, wounded, or lost 247,000

Amid terrible confusion caused by this earthquake, white terrors raged in succession.

  1. Made-up rumors of vicious nature by the authorities were set afloat here and there that the Koreans were rioting, while ex-soldiers and vigilance corps rose against Koreans to kill them. On September 3rd, the government framed up the plot to as-life, but was set free 24 years after,

  2. On September 5th, nine of the Nankatsu Labor Union, including Kawai or Hirasawa, were killed with sabels of the Narashino Field Army at the Kameido Police Office.

  3. On September 1, Sakai Osugi, his wife Noe Ito and his nephew Munekazu Tachibana were slaugthered by military police captain, Amakasu and others

After that, Japan turned to the right course gradually. Incidentally, the Elisee Reclus Library, which Sanshiro Ishikawa brought to Japan from Belgium with a plan to set up a library in Tokyo, was burnt down during this earthquake.

Chapter IV: The Decline Period

After the Great Kanto Earthquake, the government gave the people the Peace Regulations against universal suffrage. In Japan, the Parliament passed the bill of universal suffrage, but, at the same time, labor bosses began to maneuver plainly workers into ballet boxes or offertory boxes for their own political intention. Under these circumstances, anarchists rallied unions nationally to reconstruct the free federation. While they confronted, as a rule, parliamentarians, they had their own weak point of incessant internal trouble. In addition, some anarchists, maintaining the “eye for an eye; a tooth for tooth” policy, became terrorists or blackmailers, contradicting the public sentiment, and accordingly, the people mistook the anarchist and alienated them. The May Day Demonstration was forbidden, and first of all, unions of military arsenals were dissolved. In 1937 a war between Japan and China broke out.

Till that time, the representative examples of anarchist movements were as undermentioned.

(1) The National Free Federation Association of Labor Unions

The Association was formed by 42 unions from Hokkaido, Kanto, Kansai, and others in May 1926. After the death of Osugi, an excellent leader of anarcho-syndicalism, this Association was the most active as the rallying body of anarchist labor unions. Roughly speaking, the unions in the Association covered the following industries; printing, gas, spinning, rive-cleaning, chemical industry, machines, electricity, gum, free workers, tenant farmers, and fishermen.

In November 1927, the Second National Congress of the Association was held in Tokyo. The Osaka Amalgamate Labor Union, expelled from the Kansai Branch of the Association on the charge of violating programme and rule, despatched three delegates. The Congress was in a tangle for two days and adjourned till the following year.

In March 1928, Congress was held again, but the severe debate on a revision of the program was repeated. The anarcho-communist group stressed ‘the federation principle,’ and the anarcho-syndicalist group highlighted ‘the class struggles and free federative organization.’ The former depended on the solid theory of ‘the negation of power,’ which refused the organization because any organization yields to some power.

At last, the Association split. The syndicalist sect formed the Free Federation Conference of Nippon Labor Unions. Though competitive, they were co-existent with each other, supporting

jointly respective, and fighting commonly against Nazis or fascism. In accordance with the above split, the split among anarchist literary groups continued. In January 1934, both united. Relatively late in the day, a flow of militarism was running with a rush, and the anarchist movements declined gradually.

(2) The Black Youth League

In December 1925, the Farmer and Labor Party held the inaugural Congress in Tokyo. Anarchists, crying ‘Down with political movements’, thronged to Congress and distributed bills. The Congress was forbidden on that very day by authorities. As a result of joint action, in January 1926, 17 anarchist groups and volunteers from labor unions in Kanto formed the Black Youth League. The League held the inaugural Congress and opened. The speech meeting was at the same time, but the authorities pressured them; they began a demonstration parade at Ginza, the center of Tokyo, hoisting up the black flags and singing revolutionary songs. The high-spirited demonstrators began smashing the show windows of nearly two hundred stores, and seven were arrested and imprisoned.

The League published their organ, ‘The Black Youth,’ monthly, but every number was suppressed. Branch organizations of the League were formed nationwide. Before World War II, this was the only national League organized by anarchist groups. The League struggled together with the above Free Federation. The next movements were worthy of mentioning as international movements; oppositions against E. Malatesta’s imprisonment, against Sacco and Vanzetti’s death penalty, and against the aggression of Japanese imperialism into China. With the split among the Free Federation, the anarchist camps brought about their own ruin in the thirties.

(3) The Village Youth Association

The aftermath of the economic crisis after World War I became aggravated. The unemployed lumpenproletariat overflowed. In villages the price of cocoons, the greatest sources of farmers’ income, slumped extremely; the cost of other products also dropped, farm rent was raised, and silk-reeling industries reduced or stopped operation one after another, would not buy cocoons from farmers. This meant no more income for farmers, who were likely to die of hunger. Pupils could not carry lunch with them to school. Girls sold themselves into gay quarters. The crises were very hard from 1929. In these circumstances, in 1931, Akira Miyazaki, Yasuyuki Suzuki, and others formed the Noson Seinen-sha (the Village Youth Association), whose object was the establishment of the village commune. They published newspapers and pamphlets one after another and made propaganda for their ideas nationwide. As a result, 350 members in various prefectures assembled in the Association, whose center was in Nagano Prefecture. Their movements didn’t develop further. Miyazaki and the others, who became impatient, planned armed revolts and became tangled with the affair of the Anarchist-Communist Party, but in 1936 most of them were arrested, and the League was annihilated.

(4) The Anarchist-Communist Party

In 1934, some 25 people, including Taimon Uemura, Toshio Futa—mi, Hisao Aizawa, and others, formed the Museifu Kyosan-to (the Anarchist-Communist Party). Their theory was slightly similar to the New Left after World War II, and Kropotkin and Lenin were blended into the Party’s principles. They fought among themselves and shot Junzo Shibahara (a member) to death on suspicion of being a spy. One of them sold a fellow’s wife to gay quarters. They attacked banks. While they could not do any important activity worthy of mentioning, about 400 members were arrested in the whole country, and the organization was annihilated. Being caught by-blow of this affair, the printers’ union, the oldest and the latest citadel of anarchist unions, was crushed, and literature groups of anarchists had to dissolve at last, too.

Chapter V: Restart after World War II

Although World War II ended in our defeat, the Japanese People were given the freedom of assembly, Association, speech, press, and anarchist movements have been more stagnant than in the prewar times. The following several chronological items will be worth mentioning.


Two months after the defeat of the War, employees of Yomiuri Newspaper formed a union and rose up for the production control struggle. At the end of the year, the dispute came to terms once, but the following year they broke into a second dispute. A company union was formed, the police oppressed, and the company hired gangsters under these circumstances; they fought bitterly for 123 days till October and were finally defeated. But through this struggle, the Sanbetsu Kaigi (the National Congress of Industrial Labor) was born, and struggles for production control spread nationwide.


(i) In May, the JAF (the Japan Anarchist Federation) was formed in Tokyo, and two hundred and a half anarchists rallied. JAF published the Heimin Shinbun (the Commoner’s Paper) as their organ. And groups among them began to publish The Anarchist Congress , Anarchism! and Forum. They held speech or study meetings and sold their publications on the streets or in trains. Anarchists were foremost to appeal ‘Abolish the military preparations over the world! Let Japan be a demilitarized, permanently neutral country!’. But mass communications did not take notice of the anarchists’ cries, and their cries could not prevail anymore.

In October 1950, JAF broke up into two, like in the prewar days; one was the anarchist-communist sect, and the other was the anarcho-syndicalist sect, and they were opposed to each other severely.

In 1951 the former organized the Anarchist Club, whose main members were Sakutaro Iwasa, Tatsu Mizunuma, Kuninobu Watabiki, and Shin Furukawa, and the latter JAF, whose main members were Sanshi-xo Ishikawa, Kondo Kenji, Taiji Yamaga, and Jo Kubo. In time this reconstructed JAF became so aged and weak that it dissolved itself in November 1968. The remaining days of the Club are now being kept by a few aged members.

(ii) The Osaka District Congress of Labor Union was the parent of the Congress of Japan Labor Unions, which steered to the middle course rallying the neutral unions by having rejected both Congress of Industrial Labor Unions of Communist Party, the left wing, and the General Federation of Japan Trade Unions of Socialists, the right wing. ‘The core of the Congress was grasped by anarchists. Later it developed into the All Japan Labor Federation, with forty thousand members. But the Congress became entangled n a plot to be absorbed into the Sohyo (the General Council of Japanese Trade Unions) and dissolved in July 1950. The present circumstances of labor movements are to be noted later.


Anarchists formed farmers’ cooperatives and unions successfully in each district of Japan. Shortage of food or houses and difficulty in getting a job was severe as before.


Scores of anarchists, such as Jo Kubo, Kichizo Henmi, and Shin-taro Hagiwara, formed the Anarcho-syndicalist Group, which published ‘the Labor Movement’ as the Japanese section of AIT. But it could not last for a year. This year the Korean War broke out, and militant anarchists were purged. (It is called the Red Purge. ) Struggles for abolishing military bases became active in districts like Okinawa, Uchinada, Sunagawa, and Niijima.


Trotskyists, the New Left made their appearance by taking advantage of the critique of Stalin by the Soviet Communist Party and the Hungarian Workers’ Revolution. Through anarchists’ activities had already been weaker than before; by this time, it was reinforced by young elements. From this time on, the phrase “the revival of anarchism” has been popular.


Seiichi Miura started the study meeting named ‘the Libertaire Group.’ In December 1969, he published “Le Libertaire’, which continues to this day.

Several anarchist youths formed the Direct Action Committee for the Anti-Vietnam War this year and attacked armories in Tokyo and Nagoya. This affair caused mass communications to investigate and announce the actual conditions of the weapon industry. Also, this affair became a remote cause and brought about attacks on the headquarters of Mitsui and Mitsubishi’ Zaibatsu’ (Financial Clique).

Chapter VI: 1970s

I: About Labor Movement

After the defeat of World War II, labor unions authorized by the occupation policy were formed one after another. They were arranged industrially, but their smallest unions were industrial ones. Japanese labor movements have shown a fatal weakness in this fact. Coping with the revival of prewar Sodomei (General Federation of Japan Trade Unions, the socialistic reformista), the National Federation of Industrial Labor Unions was formed mainly owing to Communist-affected unions was dissolved by order of the General Headquarters at the time of the Korean War in 1950. In return, the Socialist Party-influenced Sohyo (the General Council of Japanese Trade Unions) was born, sponsored by the Occupation Army and the Ministry of Labor. As mentioned above, the National Federation of Industrial Labor Unions, which was dissolved before the formation of the General Council, the New National Federation of Industrial Labor Organizations, which had been in existence, broke away, but its influence was limited. Confederation of Japan Labor Union was bossed by leaders of the Democratic Socialist Party, ‘the quasi-Liberal Democratic Party,’ namely the right socialist withdrew from the Nippon Socialist Party. Even though there existed among them a mass of laborers who had strived against the general trend of the cooperation line between capital and labor, the stream was hard to be altered. The General Council, on the other hand, is commanded by the unions of the national railway, teachers, and officials. They are called Oyakata Hinomaru unions ( Oyakata means boss, and Hinomaru! is the national flag, meaning Unions for which boss will foot the bill ). They can fight without any fear of their employer’s bankruptcy because their bosses are the state. Their struggles are collusive because they are component parts of state machinery. Besides these two national organizations, there is the Churitsu Roren (Liaison Council of Neutral Labor Unions in Japan), which is consisted of the labor unions of big businesses such as electricity or oil companies, and the Roren acts as a part of the International Confederation of Free Trade Union, the mouthpiece of the USA.

Under the circumstances, influenced by inflation and the exchange rate in favor of the Yen, the number of bankruptcy continues to renew the record to be the highest in history.

In 1977, the number of bankruptcies with more than ten million Yen was 18,471, and total debts amounted to two billion and 978 hundred million Yen. The number of unemployed exceeds one and a half million every month. The bankruptcy of enterprises and dismissal of employees are going on even in big enterprises in shipbuilding, engineering, oil chemistry, textile, and so on. The situations in minor enterprises are far more aggravated. The drastic struggles to sustain a minimum standard of living are carried out mainly in minor enterprises. Differences in scale and structure among industries are widening more and more.

As for activities by anarchists after the War II, a minority union under the banned of syndicalism exceeded Fujino Miya City. Several amalgamated unions beyond the frames of individual enterprises are struggling in Tokyo and Osaka, but nothing is worth mentioning.

Now autogestion by workers, which seems to be successful to a certain extent in Yugoslavia, is increasing interest among the people, but as far as I know, autogestion has been tried in plants and electric factories of the Mitsui Zaibatsu (financial clique) on a small scale. So it is autogestion as a total for capitalists to motivate workers, which greatly differs from that of Yugoslavia. Mass communications report that some unions entrusted with managing bankrupted enterprises work to produce and sell autonomously. In a sense, they may be called autogestion. But in reality, this would-be autogestion, restricted by many conditions, compelled to be a mere self-exploitation because workers of this bankrupted enterprise can hardly make out enough for their living. — Social welfare in Japan falls remarkably behind those of advanced western countries. The social composition of the population has advanced in age, the level of school career of workers has become higher, and slight resources for old-aged pension will be exhausted in several years. This spotty structure of the Japanese economy seems unknown to foreigners. Workers’ struggles can’t march forward unless we break through the decrease of workers’ class consciousness in the controlled society followed by union egoism and views of casting workers’ lot with enterprise completely unless the unions were reorganized industrially. If so, we ought to hope that social unrest increases more and more until it is possible for social reorganization.

II Environmental Pollution

After social reconstruction, technical innovation, and high growth of the economy, Japan became the most terrible pollution country. Incurable Kawasaki athema or Yokkaichi athema continues to increase in heavy chemical industry zones like Kawasaki or Yokkaichi. Fishermen in Minamata who ate fish contaminated with organic mercury exhausted from nitrogen factories suffered from Minamata Disease, dying one after another. The name Minamata became famous in the world. In Toyama prefecture, cadmium exhausted from the Mitsui Metal Mining Company caused the Itai-Itai disease. Itai! in Japanese means ouch in English. In Hokkaido and Fuji, Paper Mills exhausted “hedro (sludge),

which killed fish and shellfish on the coast; owing to this, fishermen lost their jobs. These are only a few examples of the great number of pollution. Everywhere in Japan is full of such pollution as air pollution, photochemical smog, and mercury pollution in the river. Only several years ago, a few restrictions by law were put into practice, and some people in polluted areas rose up in anti-pollution struggles. But many local people tried to suppress these movements against pollution because their lives were sustained, and those companies developed their districts. Even workers in company unions disturbed such civil movements. We, anarchists, appealed to them, ‘Workers, fight against the company charging them for their own pollution.’ Conscious workers began to fight against pollution together with citizens.

III Atomic Power Plants

Nearly thirty atomic power plants in Japan operate now at Tokai, Tsuruga, Mihama, Ikata, and so on, under technical cooperation with General Electric and Westinghouse Electric. The construction of atomic power plants has been planned successively as the specific remedy to get out of depression after the oil shock and to stimulate the business slump. Opposition movements against the construction of the Hidaka Atomic Power Plant and the Nanao Power Station are spreading at present, and in Kise, an enormous sum of corruption to support the establishment of the plant was brought to light. While radioactivity pollutes air and water, the waste’s disposition system remains unsettled. From these facts, the most severe environmental destruction is now going on. The Japanese people, the first victim of an atomic bomb in the world, strongly oppose the peaceful use of atomic energy and atomic weapons. Naturally, we must resist the construction of atomic power plants, which process by-products like atomic bombs.

IV Anti-War Movements

Anti-Vietnam War movements in Japan grew bitterly, followed by the bombing of North Vietnam by the US army in the 1960s. Moreover, there was an obstinate continuance of anti-war appeals against the US army camps at Asaka, Iwakuni, and so on day by day, relief activities for deserters out of the US army, and demonstrations to the US Embassy and the US army bases. These activities extended to protest or boycott movements against insatiable companies, which advanced into Vietnam to persuade profits by taking advantage of the War. An accuser appeared even from within the Self Defence Force (the name of the Japanese Army), and now he is at issue. The movement to abolish military preparations must be the common task of the world’s anarchists to exterminate wars.

V Solidarity crosses over the frontiers

The opposition struggles against the construction of the New International Tokyo Airport have been known to the world through mass communication. Besides, many movements attracted public attention and were supported widely, like the struggles of the buraku-min against discrimination at Sayama. Labor movements are so corrupted that labor unions have been utilized as ballot boxes or offertory boxes of political parties, and our hope is found in unorganized civil movements. Some workers are taking part in the civil movements, and some New Left student sections are participating in the movements as a means of deserting their organization.

Revolutionary movements in Europe originated from workers, Chinese Revolution was caused by farmers. In Japan, unorganized citizens will cause a revolution. Solidarity movements are not limited alone domestically, but relief movements for deserted Koreans in Japanese territory before the War and rescue movements for political prisoners in Formosa or Korea are continued persistently.

Small-scale communities like the Kibbutz of Israel are also formed in various parts. Though ninety percent have been of postwar formation, the oldest was ‘the New Village,’ created after Tolstoy’s ideas in 1918. Apparently, all of the above-mentioned community movements never lay stress on anarchism, but it is certain that they are anarchistic.

After the break up of the aged JAF, the anarchist organization remains scattered minority groups everywhere; each has published their organ or paper, holding their own study or speech meeting, and demonstrates. For several years, some of them have appealed to organize a national federation and hold a conference, but I regret that the national federation has yet to be realized.



Shoeki Ando, “The True Management of Nature’.


M. Bakunin escaped from Russia and stayed in Japan for about a month.


Tokichi Tarui formed the Eastern Socialist Party.


The Chichibu Affair, the Nagoya Affair.


Sanshiro Ishikawa started the Study Meeting of Social Problems.

(A. Lavachol threw bombs everywhere in France.)


Ryutaro Kojima started the Study Meeting of Social Problems.

Nearly one hundred printers formed unions in Tokyo.

Shusui Kotoku and Kojiro Nishikawa started the Study Meeting of Socialism.

(the Touluose Congress of CGT)


The Study Meeting of Socialism developed into the Institute of Socialists.

Naoe Kinoshita, Copper Poisoning Problems at Ashio.

(the first Congress of the International Trade Union Congress was held under the auspice of CGT.)


Kotoku, ‘The Monster of 20th Century; Imperialism’.

Sakutaro Iwasa went to the USA and got acquainted with A. Berkman and E. Goldman.

Kiichi Kaneko went to the USA and formed an anarchist body.


Sentaro Kemuriyama, ‘The Modern Anarchism’.

Kotoku, “The master, Chomin’.

Shigeki Oka went to the USA and formed the San Francisco Sect of the Commoners’ Collective. During World War II, he went to India and participated in anti-war movements, joining the UK army’s advertising group against Japan.

(CGT and the Brouce Federation incorporated in the Monperie Congress)


Kotoku, Sakai, Ishikawa, and others formed the Heimin-sha (Com-moners’ Collective) and published ‘Commoners.’ Newspaper! and started fervent anti-war movements.

Kotoku, ‘The Quintessence. of Socialism’.


Kakuzo Nagaoka formed the Great Nippon Devoted Laborers! Union.

Kotoku announced ‘A Letter to Russian Socialist Party’ (in English) in ‘Commoners’ Newspaper,’ no. 18. Socialist parties in European countries translated his article. The answer letter appeared on ‘Iskra,’ the organ of the Russian Social Democratic Party. This answer letter appeared in ‘Commoners’ Newspaper,’ no. 37. August, the International Congress of Socialist Party was held in Holland and passed the resolution against the Russo-Japanese War. Sen Katayama, the Japanese delegate, and Plekhanov, the Russian delegate, shake hands at this Congress, and both speak.


Commoners’ Newspaper was abolished.

In May, the May Day Tea Party at the Commoners’ Collective. This tea party is the first of the May Day demonstration.

Sanshiro Ishikawa, Naoe Kinoshita, Isoo Abe, and others published ‘The New Era.’

Kojiro Nishikawa, Koken Yamaguchi, and others published ‘The Light.’ In November, Kotoku went to the USA and communicated with IWW, influencing Kotoku, the above-mentioned.

Iwasa, Oka, and others formed the Japanese Social Revolutionary Party in America and published their organ, ‘Revolution.’

(June IWW was founded.)


Citizen Rally against raising the fee of metropolitan streetcars, 21 demonstrators, including Sakae Osugi, Nishikawa, and Yamaguchi, were arrested. The first of anarchists’ demonstrations.

Osugi and others inaugurated the Japan Esperantist Association.

Kesson Kutsumi, ‘Anarchism’, ‘A Study of Kropotkin’.

Roka Tokutomi traveled to Parestina and went to Russia to meet with Tolstoy. This travel intensified his anti-war sentiment.

(CGL was formed in Italy).

(CGT declared the Amien Charter).


In January, Kotoku and others republished ‘Commoners’ Newspaper,’ but disrupted because of oppression by the authorities in April.

During the great conflict in Ashio Cooper Mine, martial law was proclaimed, and about 300 persons were arrested.

Tatsuo Mizunuma and others formed the Oyu-kai (trade union of typesetters of European letters). In June, the Osaka Commoners’ Newspaper’ was published; in November removed to Tokyo, and the title was changed to ‘the Daily Commoners’ Newspaper.’

The Osaka Printers’ Union was formed, and seven hundred workers participated in the strike.

Unpei Morichika, ‘Principles of Socialism,’ ‘Pillage of Working Power’; and ‘The Lectures on Wages.’

‘Revolution was prohibited from selling and captured.

Iwasa distributed an open letter to the Mikado.


In June, the Red Flag Affairs. September typesetters of European letters in Yokohama won in a strike amalgamated with the above.

Moor (tr. by. by Osugi), ‘All people of the world originate from the same root.’


Kotoku started ‘the Commoners’ Review’ in March and ‘Libertarian Idea’ in June, but both were abolished by the authorities.

Kropotkin (tr. by. Kotoku), ‘The Conquest of Bread.’

(The Week of Blood in Barcelona) .


The Kotoku Affair outbroke.

(CNT in Spain was formed.)

(USI in Italy was formed.)


In January, Kotoku and his 11 comrades were executed.

Kotoku, “Treatise on Erasing Christ’ (published while he was in prison).

Unpei Morichika, ‘Reminiscences on my past thirtis’.

Protest movements against the framed-up Kotoku Affair in

European, Australian, and American countries.

In January, many socialists in overseas countries protested against Kotoku’s execution.


October Osugi and Arahata started ‘The Modern Thought’ and stopped in September 1914.

Sanshiro Ishikawa, ‘The Philosopher, Carpenter.’


January Osugi and others started meetings under the auspices of the Modern Thought Group in July, the Study Meeting of Syndicalism.

Ishikawa went to France, kept company with the Reclus intimately, and returned to Japan in 1920.

(the Revolutionary Syndicalist Congress in London).


In October, Osugi and others started ‘the Commoners’ Newspaper. ‘

(till March 1915).

Kesson Kutsumi, ‘The Free Thought.’

Osugi, ‘Struggles for Life.’

Ch, Darwin (tr. by. Osugi), ‘The Origin of Species.’

Seitare Watanabe and Kanezo Usukura published ‘A Faint Light’

(till May 1915).

(June, anarchists rose with arms in Italy.)

(August antimilitarists of the world held the Zinmerwald Congress.)


October Osugi restarted ‘The Modern Thought.’

Seitaro Watanabe and Unosuke Hisaita started the Study of Meeting of Anarchism.

Hisaita published ‘Laborer Youth.’

The Oyu-kai almost stopped the action on behalf of financial difficulties and increased unemployment.

Eroshenko came to Japan.


In April, Kenji Kondo and Kanson Arahata published ‘Labor Union’.

October Mizunuma and his 50 comrades reconstructed the Oyu-kai under the name of Shinyu-kai, and the following year developed into 150 comrades.

Osugi, ‘Social Individualism,’ ‘The Philosophy of Labor Movement”.


Osugi and Kyutaro Wada started the Symposium on Labor Problems.

The May Day meeting at Kesaya Yamazaki’s home in Tokyo, which 30 from all sects of socialists attended.

-Kropotkin (tr. by Osugi), ‘Mutual Aid’.

Kozrov came to Japan.


Denjiro Takeda and others started the Study Meeting on Socialism in Osaka and Kanichi Yasutani in Kobe.

Tetsuji Ishii, Tadatsugu Yoshida, and others formed the Preparing League for Labor Union at Yokohama.

In January, the number of members of the Sinyu-kai increased to 500, and they developed into Printers’ Union, which reached 1,000 in March and published their organ paper. But the union decreased at the time of the Rice Riot.

February Osugi, Wada, and Hisaeda published ‘Laborers’ Newspaper,’ but most were prohibited from selling. The Symposium on Labor Problems by Osugi and Wada and the Study

Meeting for Anarchism by Hisaeda developed into the HokuFu-kai (the North Wind Circle).

Noe Itoh, ‘Glory of Beggars.’

Osugi and Itoh, ‘Two Revolutionists.’


In February, Shinyu-kay was reorganized by 200 members.

In March, 300 Koreans formed the Kokuto-kai (the Black Waves Society).

The controversy between anarchists and Bolshevists intensified bitterly, and anarchists formed the Federation of Black Friends.

The Kansai Laborers’ Confederation was formed in April, and ‘The Kansai Laborers’ was published.

Iwaide Kinjiro published the Nippon Laborers Newspaper.

In July, maker-ups of 15 newspaper companies formed the Kakushin-kai.

Yasaburo Shimonaka formed the Keimei-kai (teachers’ union) and published “The Keimei’.

Osugi, Sakai, Arahata, Yamakawa, Yoshikawa, and Hattori started the speech meeting for labor problems but was oppressed by the authorities.

The Lecture Meeting at Commoners’ University was held for a week in August.

In October, the Shinyu-kai went on strike at various districts but were defeated. Osugi, Wada, Kondo, and others formed the Labor Movement Collective and published the first ‘Labor Movement’ (June 1920).

December Furukawa brothers and Watabiki formed the Seishin-kai, formerly the Kakushin-kai.

Osugi, “Prison Memoirs’.

(the Holland Congress of WRI).


The May Day conference was held in March, and May was the first of the May Day Demonstration.

In May, the Confederation of Labor Union was formed. August Kazuo Kato formed the Freemen’s Federation. September, the Seishin-kai began to conflict but was defeated.

In December, the Nippon Socialists Federation was formed, having 3,000 members.

Kropotkin (tr. by Osugi), ‘Memoirs of a Revolutionist.’

Kanichi Nakamura, ‘A View on Life by a Worker.’

Eiichi Nobushima, ‘Recent Labor Movement in Europe and America.’

Osugi, ‘A Study of Kropotkin’.

Osugi attended the Comintern Socialist Congress.


In January, the controversy between anarchists and Bolshevists became more bitter. Osugi published the second ‘Labor Movement’ (till July).

In April, Heibei Takao and others published ‘Laborers.’

In May, the Nippon Socialist Federation was dismissed.

December Osugi, Wada, Kondo, and others published the third.

‘Labor Movement! (till July 1923).

This year the bitter syndicalistic conflicts at various districts were developed.

Osugi, ‘Prank,’ ‘Heart pursuing Justice.’

Movements relieving Russian starvation in Tokyo and Osaka.

Yasaburo Shimonaka and Eiichi Nobushima interrupted S. Gom-

pers, the secretary of AFL, to visit Japan in cooperation

with Haywood, a member of LWW.

Ishikawa revisited Europe with Yuriko Mochizuki. Elise

Reclus presented his library to Ishikawa.


Kozou Kawai, Keiji Kuraji, Yunoshin Tanake, Daijiro Furuta, and others formed the Guillotine Group.

Yasaburo Shimonaka published ‘Labor Weekly’.

In February, the Traffic Laborers Union at West was formed in each civil traffic company around Osaka Civil Traffic. May the Arrangement Committee for the General Confederation of

the National Trade Union was forwarded, September, the Inaugural Congress was held at Osaka, and finally, anarchists and Bolshevists broke up.

Sanshiro Ishikawa, ‘A History of Western Socialist Movement.’

Osugi and Mochizuki, ‘Testing Essay and Satire Cartoon.’

Osugi, ‘The Russian Revolution from the View Point of Anarchist,’

‘A Failure of the Revolution, ‘Compete Works of Noe Itoh,’

Hajime Yoshida and others attended the Congress of Collonized Races in Moskow. Kuma Mizunuma, Heibei Takao, and others followed them to Russia. They engaged in anti-war movements in Chita. Afterward, they all except Mizunuma turned to Bolshevism.

(the reconstructed Congress of AIT was held in Berlin.)


In May, printers (the Shinyu-kai), newspaper printers (the Shoshin-kai), and other printers developed into the Federation of Printers Trade Union.

In September, the Boku Retsu (Pak Yul) Affair, the Kameido Affair, and the Amakasu Affair. After then, revengeful terrorism against the military authority, which massacred Osugi, happened frequently.

In December, Yamaga, Wada, Kondo, and others Published the fourth ‘Labor Movement!

Kei Mochizuki and others formed the Union for Villagers’ Movement and published ‘Tenant.’

Konishi, Bizen, Oda, and others Published ‘Black.’

Osugi, ‘A Story of Escaping from Japan,’ and ‘The Autobiography,

January Osugi escaped from Japan to attend the International Anarchist Congress in Berlin. He made a speech at the My Day Rally in the suburbs of Paris and was then arrested to imprison in the La Sante Prison. In July, he was deported from France and came to Japan.


In February, the Nippon Febian Society was formed (dissolved in 1925).

In April, Tetsu Nakahama attacked the president of the Kanebo Company and was arrested.

In September, Kyutaro Wada attacked General Fukuda and was arrested. Tetsu Nakahama to relieve, but Shoichi Yamada and Takeo Konishi, who tried to attack the Osaka Prison to reduce Nakahama, were arrested.

Kokichi Takahashi visited China and met with Pa Chin.


Military actions to subjugate anarchists were practiced at Otaru High Commercial School, and movements against military action arose at universities or commercial high schools nationally.


January, the Black Youth Federation was formed and published “The Black Youth’ (April to February 1931).

May the National Free Federation of Labor Union was formed and published ‘the Free Federation Newspaper’ (June to February 1935).

Yamaga communicated with ‘Nobera Laboralist’ (an Esperantist Organ).

AIT appealed to international anti-war movements to the world’s workers.

May the National Free Federation of Trade Union dispatch several delegates to the Pan-Pacific Workers Congress at Han Kuo as an observer.

The Black Federation developed movements for non-intervention in China.

Deirai Akagawa escaped from the military troops to visit China. He made an action there but was arrested in 1927.

December, the National Free Federation of Trade Union and the Black Federation protested to the Italian Ambassador against Malatesta’s imprisonment and oppression of workers. Protest bills were delivered nationwide.

(coal miners strike developed into the national general strike in England).


January Kondo, Iwasa, and others published the fifth ‘Labor Movement”.

Sakutaro Iwasa, ‘Thus Answer Anarchists”.

Foundation of the National Labors’ University at Shang Hai, Ishikawa, Yamaga, and Iwasa lectured at the university. Factory workers at Shang Hai appealed objection against the Nippon imperialist invasion of China, and in response to this appeal, Japanese anarchists advocated anti-militarism and anti-armaments. In July and August, the Free National Confederation of Trade Union and the Black Youth held an objection speech meeting in Tokyo against Sacco and Vanzetti’s execution and demonstrated it to the American Embassy.


In March, the National Free Federation divided.

Kropotkin (tr. by Shuzo Hatta), ‘Ethics. Its Origin and Evolution, Such anarchist literary journals as ‘Contradiction,’ ‘Black Flag,’ ‘The Black Litterature,’ ‘The Twentieth Century,’ and so on.

‘Complete Works of the Great Thought in the World’ was published.


In November, Sanshiro Ishikawa published “Dynamic’, and started the Elisee Reclus Group (till October 1934). Ishikawa, ‘A History of Socialism in Japan.’

Shuzo Hatta, ‘Fallacy of Theory of Class Struggle,’ and ‘Lecture On Social Problems in Villages.’

Jo Kubo, Eizo Koike, Shuya Nochi, Kaku Arai, Sanshiro Ishikawa, and Sakutaro Iwasa edited and translated ‘Complete Works of Peter Kropotkin’ (vols. 12).

Jaque Reclus, the second child of Paul Reclus and a professor at Nan Chin University, came to Japan.

The Black Youth acted to help Mestor Machkno.


Michael Bakunin (tr. by Hatta), God and State.

Sonoji Shiino met with Elisee Reclus.

Jaque Reclus revisited Japan.

(the garrison guards rosed against the government in



In April, there were hunger strikes at Nippon Senju Company.

Strikers are kept indoors. After then, hunger strikes were popular as dispute tactics.

In October, Tei Uemura, Tomisaburo Ono, and others formed the Federation of Emancipated Culture and published ‘Emancipated Culture.’

Ko Miyazaki and others formed the Villagers Collective.

Sakutaro Iwasa, ‘Fragments of a Revolutionist.’


The exhibition about the History of the Anarchist Movement was held in Tokyo.

Ishikawa, ‘Anarchism as Social Esthetics.’

Katsukiyo Yamaguchi and others published ‘In Pursuit of Emancipation”.


Ishikawa went to China to be deep in the study of the history of Oriental Culture.


In January, the National Free Federation of Trade Union, which had broken up, united again.

Naoe Kinoshita, ‘God, Man, and Liberty.’


In October, most members of the Tokyo Printers’ Union, the Federation of Emancipated Culture, and the Villagers’ Collective were arrested, and the three organizations collapsed.

Yamaga Taiji, “The Gospel of Time’.


In August, Tokyo Printers’ Union was reconstructed by 250 persons.

(Ju1y the Spanish Revolution broke out).


Yamaga was active in communication with CNT.

Jo Kubo escaped from Japan to support the Revolution in May, could not go into Spain, and remained in France.

He came home after the War.


Tokyo Printers’ Union dissolved, and the National Free Federation of Trade Union disappeared.


Publishing of Ishikawa’s ‘The 100 Lectures on a History of Oriental Culture’ was begun (till 1944).

Yamaga, ‘The Universal Language, Lao Tse.’


In October, at a dispute in the Yomiuri News Company, struggles for workers’ self-management widened.

In November, Yamaga, who had been in Formosa since 1939, formed the Formosa Freemen’s Society.

The Emancipation Youth Union was formed in May and became the youth sect of the Japan Anarchist Federation the following year.


In May, the JAF was formed.

In October, the Nippon Trade Union Conference was formed.

Yamaga, a secretary of the International Sect of JAF, published the Esperanto edition of ‘Commoners’ Newspaper.’


In May, the Anarcho-Syndicalist Group was formed.

In October, the JAF dissolved.


The Anarchist Club was formed, and the JAF was reorganized.


(the Hungarian Workers’ Revolution).


Yamaga and Daidoji attended the World Congress of WRI in India.


Augustin S Miura started the Le Libertaire Group.

October, the Committee of Direct Action for Anti-Vietnam War attacked some munitions factories.


In November, the JAF dissolved.

Masamichi Osawa and others attended the International Anarchist Congress in Carara.


December A.S. Miura started the monthly Le Libertaire.


Toshikazu Eto attended the World Esperantist Congress in Sweden.



The object of the following documents, which I have compiled and translated from Japanese, is to let the readers understand what the Japanese anarchist thought and what they wanted to realize in the authoritative society, particularly with the emperor institution.

It is true to say that they borrowed the idea of anarchism from Kropotkin, Bakunin, and Proudhon, yet their sentiments of rebellion against the oppressor and absurdities were the same as those of other parts of the world. I am confident that the deep thought and lofty ideals of anarchism are the alpha and omega of human beings. Japanese anarchist philosophy and activities may help a revival of anarchism and contribute to the progress of social development.

There is neither West nor East of anarchism and only divergence in accordance with customs, languages, and nationality. It is also our work to alleviate such differences. Kropotkin said, “a man pass, but the thought remains.” I believe it remains until it is realized in our precious earth,

Yoshiharu Hashimoto
18 June 1978


In September of 1868, the Meiji Restoration was accomplished, and the new Government was founded in Tokyo and proclaimed many decrees to modernize Japan. The people were initially astonished to see the industry’s products from Europe. Then they cried out “Bunme Kaika” or “Flowering Civilization” and adopted manners and customs such as eating beef and drinking milk, contrary to a taboo of Buddhism. After five years (1872), the railroad from Tokyo to Yokohama was constructed; the first trains passed through the line, while the main avenue at Ginza was decorated with gas lamps. Communication methods like the telegraph and post system were imported. Hairstyles were changed from Samurai Mage to Dan-patsu (haircut), as the Chinese did for his pigtail. But the production method must change the people’s consciousness, so the upper structures, for example, political institutions, culture, and manners, will be necessarily transformed. This prediction by Karl Marx may be accurate when we see the Industrial Revolution in England and its aftermath. It was also a historical fact that the European nations in the late 19th century had invaded the Far East with products and weapons to coerce free trade. Kotoku criticized such conditions in his book “Imperialism, or a monster of the 20th Century” (1904). So, in this case, the consciousness of the Japanese people was changed in the first place to modernize productive means, social institutions, and political systems to defend her mother country by adopting the same method as the West. In other words, the consciousness of national unity driven by the policy of Fukoku Kyohei, literally a rich nation with a strong armament , determined the means of production in the Meiji Era. Furthermore, if we admit a predication of Marx true, we can not solve the problem of why the Japanese people admitted the emperor who remained in Kyoto for 300 years during Tokugawa’s regime, and they welcomed the Restoration by calling it “Goisshin,” yet they kept hold of feudalism. In this sense, Chyomin Nakae was right to say that everything came from above, not below, in our country. This pattern of acceptance did not change at all in post-war democracy.

After some ten years of the Restoration, various shades of Socialism were introduced by the literate class. The greatest effort of a socialist had been to regain his human rights for the happiness of the greatest number of people. Equality was first, Liberty next. So the socialist, including the anarchist, fight for the anti-war movement, women’s emancipation to destroy feudalism, and a protest against pollution and universal suffrage. Indeed, the anarchist movement’s history was and is to obtain everything from below.

JIYU MTNKEN UNDO (Liberal Civic Rights Movement 1874–1884)

This movement is important in consideration of the following points:

  1. Civic rights were regarded as a synonym for Liberty.

  2. Everyone should have the right to Liberty without regarding his rank in society.

  3. The Samurai clan supported the movement of the peasant class.

  4. The movement resulted in the 1st political Party in Japan.

  5. After the party’s dissolution in 1884, it was split; one assimilated to the party in power, and the other went to socialism.

When senator Taisuke Itagaki (1835–1914) resigned from his post and returned to his native place having been defeated in the decision to beat Korea*’, he was welcomed heartily by his friends, colleagues, and relatives. For he had been assigned to be a representative of his native country, Tosa. Soon he founded Aikoju Sha (an association of patriotic men), gathering the youth to instruct them in law, practical knowledge, and European culture. The affair stirred young men’s imaginations. Similar associations appeared one after another in Shikoku and Kyushu islands. An episode gave a further illustration. Kotoku, during his teen years, met this event in Tosa; he made a banner on which he wrote Liberty in Chinese characters by himself and carried it through the streets with his followers. Then they broke into a meeting hall of the Itagaki’s antagonist and declared the use of civic rights and Liberty to the audience.

The movement started thus a group. But it is usually influenced by its leader’s personality when the movement is small scale. At the same time, it becomes a big one; there emerges factionalism in the lack of strong leadership initiative, especially in the organization of centralism. However, Aikoku Sha transformed into Risshi Sha, literally an association of ambitious men that took men of talent into government service in 1874, the conservative nature of the leader, Itagaki, produced an effect over actions of the Sha to restrict them within the permissible range of national law, and that his loyalty to the emperor called him back several times to the post of a high official of the government. He utilized the establishment to alleviate the complaint and dissatisfaction of the people in their political conscience. The association member regarded the Meiji government as a monopoly of a few privileges, and they advocated that everyone has a right to participate in state affairs as far as he is a due taxpayer. This idea was deduced from the theory of the natural rights of men (Tenpu Jinken Setsu), that is, “Heaven does not put a man above or below his fellow men.” The first object of the movement was to force the government to open the parliament. Related to this problem, opinion leaders debated hotly by inducing a theme of the constitution; the flatterers to the government held an opinion that the time had not come yet for Japanese people to have a parliament due to their inexperience devoid of political knowledge. Granted this, if political rights were bestowed to the ignorant people, they would surely ruin the state’s foundations. Moreover, Darwinism was imported at this period to emphasize “the fittest, i.e., the stronger has the right of survival.” Thereby even the Minkenka (activists of the Civic Rights Movement) said openly that a Rikisha man and groom had no right in public affairs because they were to earn their daily bread and had no spare time to study and engage in political activity. In this context, a governmental official was straight in his statement after they had rejected several times in acceptance of the petitioners; they cried out sternly and said that the people had no right to petition! The Liberal Party was founded in 1880 out of this circumstance.

During the movement, they worked to reduce heavy taxes, rent of tenant farmers, and so on. For example, one of the movement’s ideologues, Emori Ueki (1857–1892), drew a draft of a petition for the sake manufacturers in the Osaka district in 1881.

He worked as a journalist and a Minkenka throughout his short life. His uniqueness is recognized in his private draft of the constitution (the authorized constitution did not appear until 1889). According to his treatment of Poor Man (Hinjin Rhon), he argued that the peasant is indeed poor, not for his personal deficiency, but because of defects of social institutions. Therefore when the government bestowed the right to politics, the peasant would fulfill his duty and contribute to society. Moreover, the people have the privilege of resistance to their state when the state compels them to unreasonable subjugation. He also persuaded the necessity of unity of the poor to protect their rights against the state. In his youth, he experienced confinement for two months in prison owing to his anti-regime opinion. After his release, he wrote an article to the press that proclaimed that Liberty is worthwhile to procure, even shedding one’s blood, for it is an inalienable right of the man. A raison d’étre of the government is to defend it for the people. Generally, his thought was infected with republicanism, yet we are astonished that he had acquired his knowledge from Japanese translations of European political theories in addition to classic Chinese traditions. In a word, he was a self-cultivated thinker.

Since Osaka Kaigi (the meeting of sake manufacturers at Osaka), the Civic Rights Movement found its supporters among land owners in the countries and manufacturers in urban districts. Referring to the list of representatives, the members covered nearly all of Japan. In 1882 the chief director Itagaki was attacked at Gifu on the way of his speaking tour. He said, “Itagaki may be dead, but Liberty does not!” The terrorist asserted to be a provocateur from the government. But Itagaki proved the innocence of his opponent at the court, and the authorities liquidated him after his short imprisonment fearing discovery of its secrecy. Itagaki received a call of sympathy from the Mikado. This year was also memorable for the Oriental Socialist Party, which emerged in Chikuzen Shimabara as an anarchist organization.

To appease a demand for a national assembly, the Meiji government sponsored and took hold of Chihokan Kaigi, the meeting participated by several district governors as an excuse for postponement of parliament opening until 1890. This caused tumult in society. During this period, the Liberal Party faced factionalism among the executive insidely and collaboration with the other political party like Kaishin To, i.e., the Reformers’ Party outwardly. Itagaki went on a tour to Europe for 6 months. In his absence, the district members suffered persecution from the authorities. Besides prohibiting meetings and public speech, they were often raided at home or in meeting halls and cast into prisons to propagate people’s rights. Without succumbing to the interference of police, they revolted against the government forces with a bomb or riots. Yet carelessness and lack of systematic tactics for the militants led them into a trap of tragedy. In 1884 the government issued an order of 5 sorts of ranking, duke, marquis, count, viscount, and baron, which showed a regressive nature of the authorities, contrary to the theme of Shi min Byodo (equality among 4 clans) at the Restoration. While high officials played a host, in turn, to accepting foreign embassies at the guest hall, Narumeikan, every night, from which the manner of luxury spread into the high society. The authorities pretended such a maneuver was necessary for reviewing treaties of inequality with foreign countries confirmed before the Restoration. Yet the government utilized a policy of candy and whip which means to use persecution and honor alternatively to the Minkenka in domestic affairs. When Itagaki returned from his tour, he was honored with the title of count. He refused it twice but accepted it with gratitude to the Mikado. He lost his leadership among the militants (Minkenka). To tell the truth, the people had already advanced one step before the Civic Rights movement. The party dissolved in 1884; the ideologues and militants tried to reorganize the new movement, but they did not flourish again like the former occasion. Even Itagaki was consolidated with the governmental forces. Atsuke Nakae asked Kotoku to compose a requiem in prose. The latter served the deceased party by accusing the party’s leaders vehemently that they forsook the movement, offered as a decoration of the despotic government. Thus, the blood of Minkenkas was shed in vain.

I want to add some comments on the movement. During this movement, the Samurai clan lost its influence gradually over the People but survived to compose the bureaucracy around the new government. Moreover, its ethical sentiments continued through the Meiji Era. The newly raised bourgeoisie comprised the landowners, and the industrialists could participate in State affairs. The idea of civic rights spread among the people, stirred the ambition of the youth, and taught them how to form a spontaneous movement. While its disadvantage was, however, it became possible to doubt the Mikado hierarchy ideologically, the loyalty of the Minkenkas was so strong that they contented to serve the Mika-do. The Meiji Restoration was fait achevé, and they thought it a normal state to restore sovereign power to the Mikado, which was usurped by Tokugawa Shogunate for 300 years. Then how they compromised between the patriarchial tradition and individualism represented by Tenpu Jin Ken Setsu (the theory of the innate right of man)? At first, utilitarianism, meant to effect maximum happiness for the people, was acknowledged as a supremer duty of the state. Emori Ueki advocated this attitude. In this stage, each one found his satisfaction by imagining he was directly connected to the state. The Restoration broke down 4 clans, Samurai, Peasant, Artisan, and Merchant, a kind of caste system kept tightly during Edo Period and proclaimed their equality of them in a new society. While the state had another duty, i.e., the independence of Japan in the Far East, to have recognized her identity for European states, at least Japan would not like to spare Hong-kong from the British as the Ching dynasty did due to the opium war or a colony like India. It was usually called nationalism, but such sentiments were shared with even the Minkenka like Nakae. ‘The state machinery utilized everything. It used the people’s national conscience to form the nation’s unity after the example of Prussia, the aristocracy composed of courtiers and Daimyos (the lords of the feudal period). And meritorious retainers like Itagaki were introduced with an excuse to assist the Mikado family. The idea of the political body at this period was constitutional monarchism, that is, the Mikado and the people cooperated to reign the state, But this became soon an illusion. Firstly having persecuted the Minkenkas, suppressing speech and press, and deportation of notable militants of the Civic Rights movement from Tokyo by Hoanjyorei (Public Security Law) in 1887, the government began to fix a final draft of the constitution consulting with German scholars and issued it*” in 1889 with the rule of Imperial Household and the election law of the Upper and Lower Houses. Thus having formed a bureaucracy supporting the Mikado family, the government had successively towered over individuals provided with the state law and police forces without obtaining an agreement from the people about the constitution. On the other hand, if the qualification of the electorate was limited to the person payable 100 yens for a direct tax, then the qualified class would be the land owner and the industrialist, and the governmental function would be easily distorted for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. In truth, the universal suffrage movement originated in this insufficient institution.

Furthermore rank and file in Japanese society at this period, there were three kinds of rank, i.e., Kazoku (the nobility, which is divided into 5 sorts, as I have mentioned above), Shizoku (Samurai clan including village master, high priests, and scholars) and Heimin (common man composed of peasant, artisan, and merchant), in other words, it took place 4 clans at the Edo period. It is ordered to indicate his rank on every official paper, including a family record. Therefore it is understandable that the Minkenkas despised the ability of the peasant class, for they were usually intellectuals and came from the Samurai clan. But gradually, they realized that their common interest would only be achieved with cooperation with ordinary people. While official teachings through education and public media were that the charity and compassion of the Mikado were so high like the mountain and so wide like the sea, the Mikado regarded the people as his own children, on the other side, they were expected to respect the Mikado like their own father (this intrigue is always used in the despotic monarchism as you find an example in Czuarism in Russia). There was a Mikado in the nation and a master at home, etc. Though the master of the family (Kachyo) lost the sense of being a patriarch, he accepted the responsibility for tax payment and preventing a criminal from his household; in other words, he was a joint liability for public matters. Besides this, the bondage of the village community and the relationship between the master and an apprentice in an artisan guild was vital to survive the Restoration. It was utilized by the Meiji government to unify the nation with its ethical aspect and to attack individualism as a foreign idea.

I can say that the civil rights movement started in parallel with the formation of the state as the body politic and contributed to destroying feudal ideologies such as loyalty to one’s lord and the caste system. Still, the other demand for equality caused fear to the newly raised governing class; thereby, it was subjected to the “divide and rule” policy of the Meiji government throughout its life of ten years.

Kotoku witnessed its prosperity and fall in his youth, not committed to the movement. His friend Toshihiko Sakai, one of the founders of the Communist party in Japan, and Sanshiro Ishikawa, a Christian Anarchist, declared that they were openly influenced by this movement. It may be said that the insufficiency of the civil rights movement related to the demand for equality induced socialism by invoking new elements such as Christianism, Communism, and Anarchism in a novel social setting. Indeed, it handed down the Ethos of the popular movement with its tragic experiences to that of socialism in Japan.

TOYO SHAKAT TO (The Oriental Socialist Party)

In 1882 a timber dealer Tokicht Talui founded a party named Toyo Shakai To in Hizen Shimabara (Nagasaki prefecture in Kyushu island). It is said that he was stimulated by the activities of the populist in Russia, i.e., the Nihilists terrorized Alexander II in 1881. So the preamble of the Party proclaimed that Nihilism (Kyo-mu-Shyugt) was not a monopoly of European civilization; he could find it in Taoism and Buddhism, which enabled the people to do what they wanted to do in a revolution. Thus Chinese Nihilism continued for 2000 years. He compared the origin of Oriental Nihilism with the European one. He said that the nihilist party would emerge in reality because of the oppression of civilized people with authoritative barbarism. It was caused by an institutional error, which would prove that such a Party was few in a free country, but abundant in the monarchical government. Therefore the Russian emperor was a sacrifice by himself, not by a nihilist. Meanwhile, he surveyed Japan’s tendency and was shocked to see many sympathizers and friends of Russian nihilists. Thus, he appealed to people with a similar mentality to form a party. Yet he added an enigmatic excuse in his speech, “it is clear the Nihilist Party is a troublemaker to the society; I agree with you and have the same hatred as yours for the Nihilist. The next step is to contrive a means to destroy it without waiting for its full bloom. our nihilist party is still in its bud, then it is better to cut off a cause (a seed) after having it cultivated as far as a bud grows, for there is no bud without a seed or a cause.” He might have taken a precaution with a tactic of the Tao-ist, not to impact the authority. Nevertheless, the formation of his Party shocked the whole country with its name of socialism and its rules.

A Draft of Party Rules

Article 1 Our Party sets rules with fraternal speech and deeds.

Article 2 Our principle is equality among us.

Article 3 Our Party aims to promote maximum welfare for the people.

Article 4 To reform the old custom and heredity of the rich and

the poor, we carry out the following items.

  1. Natural products shall be held in common

  2. To found a cooperative company

  3. To set cooperative breeding of the children

  4. Scientific reproduction (which means to propagate scientific birth control)

Article 5 To solidify our organization and propagate our principles, we endeavor;

  1. self-teaching

  2. public speech

  3. circulation of the paper and the organ

  4. speech tour

Article 6 Nomination of our Party shall be Toyo Shakai To.

Article 7 The atmosphere of Oriental civilization makes us “fuse and forge our Party, neither your strength nor my leadership has founded it, Moisture of our brains evaporated by illumination of Oriental civilization has responded each other and being condensed to a column of cloud which have a raindrop of the virtue of equality fall over the society. ---- The prince I serve is nothing but Morality, yet Morality can not reign over, for my conscience is Morality itself.----

The party rules would be compiled by each member, not bestowed from above, and no director or chief was appointed, merely a clerk or a caretaker honored with the name of his representative district.

The Party participated with 3000 members under the influences of the Civic Rights movement, but its characteristic was unique with Lay-ing its foundation on Morality. Therefore a Christian anarchist, Sanshiro Ishikawa, praised the Party as the first society of anarchism in his Wippon Shakaishyugt Shi (The history of Japanese socialism written by Ishikawa and coedited with Kotoku, appeared in the newspaper Heimin Shinbun in 1907).

Ishikawa said that “they (Talui and his comrades) had not read writings of Marx and Engels, neither Bakunin nor Kropotkin. They did not know or consider the biggest motive of the modern workers’ movement thoroughly, the first factor of economic organization. It is impossible to compare their movement with those of socialism and anarchism. Still, it promoted a step forward to Japanese Socialist movements like Weitling and Fichte, who took initiatives of German socialist movement as well as Saint Simon and Fourie in France.” The Oriental Socialist Party was suppressed and ordered to disorganize after two months of its appearance. In 1887 Talui became a parliamentarian but could not find a chance to realize his ideal in the political field though he had held his opinion about National Bank System.

Referring to a book by Sogoro Tanaka, “Toyo Shakai To,” Talut was acquainted with the meaning of socialism by a missionary in Hongkong and confirmed its nature as Spencerian socialism to refute Ishika- wa’s opinion. But Talut had the honor to have organized a party with the spontaneity of the people and showed his hope of agrarian collectivism.

Etymologically a Japanese Shakai-suru is a verb to indicate together or to come together. At the same time, Shakai, i.e., a noun coined after the word “Society.” It is an incredible story that Shakat shugt and Shakai shugisha (Socialism and a Socialist) had been a taboo and a leper in Japanese society since 1945!

Generally, socialism in those days was regarded as destroying private property and equality to break the rank in society. Therefore it was intolerable for the despotic regime.


The county of Chichibu situates in the distance of 80 kilometers from Tokyo, which is connected to Nagano Prefecture in the west,

Gunma Prefecture in the north, and a part of the Kanto plains surrounded by Chichibu mountains clearing towards Tokyo in the south.

In the Meiji Era, most of the inhabitants engaged in agriculture, yet the cultivated land was so sterile as the farmer was obliged to develop a raw field up to the belly of the mountain. The rice crop was chief work, and silk raising, reeling, and fabrication were subsidiary jobs for the farmer’sfarmer’s wife from the Edo period. Then the State discovered that silk would provide a tremendous income and contribute to the country’s modernization. Within several years silk industry flourished in Chichibu, resulting in to hold regularly a bazaar in the town of Omiya (now it is Chichibu City). But the exportation of silk rose up and down with the economic cycle of the capitalist states. Furthermore, government-sponsored factories oppressed the farmer’sfarmer’s work by introducing machinery. In the depressed years from 1882 to 1884, peasants borrowed money from usuries, merchants of farm implements, buyers of the cocoon, and pawn brokers. The reduction of bounty from the government increased local tax, too. They were forced to leave their homes during a period of famine or to sell their daughters to brothels.

Among inhabitants of Chichibu county, there were several militants of the Civic Rights movement, represented by land owners and intellectuals nourished in Chinese classic literature. However, they acquired some knowledge of European civilization. Their propaganda of the Liberal Party was usually to hold a meeting at a Buddhist temple hall or the member’s private home. The open meeting was supervised by police, men having the privilege to stop a public speech against the government. In a word, freedom of speech and publication were thoroughly suppressed by the authorities.

In the beginning, farmers appealed their hardship personally to the county government, hoping to lighten their tax. But the bureau chief dismissed them with an excuse of hors de droit. On the other hand, the legislative office accepted their complaint of oppressive usuries, yet it was enacted for the convenience of land owners and pawn brokers. There was, for instance, KIRIGANE KASHI, which meant when a farmer borrowed 100 yens in January, he received money reduced at high interest beforehand and found out his debts by 126 yens in November through the renewal of his bond of loan. The other method was to add 15 percent of interest to his debt within three months.

In this circumstance, there emerged the Chichibu Poor Mens’Mens’ League, or Chichibu Shakkin To, literally the Debters’Debters’ Party during 1883 and 1884; leaders of the League were Eisuke Tashiro in his age of 50s, Denzo Inowe, a land owner, Kanpei Kikuchi, and others. The movement aimed to postpone the term for 10 years, repay one’sone’s debt annually by 40 years, and reduce county tax and school expenditures. The Ministry of Education decided a compulsory education for children of farmers, but its expenses were also entrusted to the district administration. The developments of the movement invoked an insurrection.

Another instructive point was that the official political Party. Liberal Party did not concern, even suppressing the flourishment of the movement for the sake of party organization. The leadership of the Party was quickly surpassed by the direct action of peasants. In fact, when a member of the League went secretly to inform an uprising in Chichibu and wanted to obtain some advice from the Center in Tokyo, in truth, several district members, including Tazoe participated, Kenta-Yo Ooi, one of the chief staff of Liberal Party astonished and persuaded him not to behave stupidly. Then he immediately dispatched his comrade as a messenger to soothe farmers, but he was surrounded by them, and at last, he was obliged to instruct them on tactics of struggle and how to use firearms. The organization of the League was so remarkable that it did not deserve to be called a mob or rioters in vain. According to Professor Koji Inowe, its structure is shown as follows;

A indicates members of the Liberal Party (30 persons)

B indicates the district organizers of League (100 — 130


C indicates the possible range of members activated by

League (3000 persons)

Eisuke Tashiro was appointed by farmers, SOli, chief director of uprising forces following the nomination of the Liberal Party. Yet, a significant difference existed here: the chief of the Party in Tokyo, Taisuke Itagaki, was elected by a class of land owners, intelligentsia, and the newly rising bourgeoisie. At the same time, Tashiro was nominated by about one hundred or one hundred thirty peasants, peddlers, silk brokers, daily laborers, tenant farmers, carpenters, and plasterers. They wanted to protest in the name of Liberty and hoped to be supported by the other members of the Party in all parts of the country. Still, the Party’s executive decided to dissolve the Party itself on the night before the uprising. Tashiro did not know it at all. He only replied to a prosecutor after the rebellion’s failure that he was an arbitrator of troubles of land or money problems and liked to beat the strong by helping the weak; if the poor man came to ask a favor, he could not refuse it. Thus he stood between the weak and the authority for 18 years affording 200 followers. His boasting talk of 200 followers should be reduced, yet antagonism to the authority can not be doubted. His tactic of the uprising was also optimistic, for he imagined the Chichibu insurrection would cause a disturbance among neighboring peasants to take up their weapons. At the same time, he limited his targets to destroying usuerers’usuerers’ houses, covetous land owners, the Municipal Office, and police stations. Liberty emancipated peasants from their debts, freeing them from their difficulties. In this sense, the Poor Men’sMen’s League was a movement on the Party line. Yet, its militant elements committed to socialism by saying they wanted to expropriate the rich from property to bestow the poor. Thus fortunes of the society should be leveled among the people. “They put down their feelings with songs.

However, you have no money

you need not be worried.

It comes soon through Liberal Party.


Recollecting the past

the Independence of America

was proclaimed by peoples’ banners.

Not for rain of blood at this moment

neither we can lay the Foundations of Liberty.

The martial codes were a few yet severe.

  1. One who robs money privately shall be killed.

  2. One who rapes a woman shall be Killed.

  3. One who enjoys sake banquet shall be killed.

  4. One who destroys a house maliciously or injures a person without reason shall be killed.

  5. One who betrays the leader’s order and does his own accord shall be killed.

About one hundred or one hundred and thirty uprisers gathered together in a garden of Muku shrine provided with Japanese katana (swords), hunting guns, spears, bamboo spears, and Mushiro bata (banners made of rice straws) on the 1st of November of 1884. They called out the participation of peasants on the way and excavated houses of usurers and pawn brokers. For: their direct aim was to renounce half of peasant’speasant’s debt by negotiation with lenders. When the usuries did not agree with their proposals, uprisers destroyed their houses and tore bond Papers. Then, if the owner left the house struck with fear, they burnt the house away while the Papers disappeared. The usury should offer bond papers for nothing besides funds and arms to be spared such destruction. The participant raised 3000 people demanding food and weapons in neighboring villages. When they entered the village office, they destroyed official papers and proposed three items of request.

One person shall be selected to participate in our uprising.

(2) He shall be provided with a weapon of any sort.

(3) He shall be marked with a white cloth as a comrade.

Thus the Poor Mens’Mens’ League originated among mountains like many rivulets, collected their forces, and dashed against the main town of Omiya like a brisk wind or torrents.

On the 2nd of November, official staff, policemen, and usuries were thoroughly chased out of the town, and the revolutionary center was established. The county without government was founded with a proclamation of the Ist year of Liberal Autonomy. An announcement was issued in the name of revolutionary forces. ““This time, having engaged in YONAOSHI, reshaping the society and reforming politics, we have called many people together. We hope you will willingly supply our food and other commodities at our request. By the way, we have no other intention to excavate or burn houses except those of usuries tormented the townspeople with high profiting. However we burn the said houses, we promise to prevent spreading fire to fellow men’smen’s houses. Each one shall be in his security. If a revolutionary caused any harm or provocation, you might immediately come to appeal to our revolutionary center and be satisfied.”” Considering the announcement with their martial code proves that they wanted to build order in the town in the light of their own idea.

The insurrection shocked the Meiji government in Tokyo, which succeeded in the dissolution of the Liberal Party by casting militants into prisons or inducing them to personal terrorism on provocation. It was impossible to imagine that the peasant could revolt against the State after the elapse of 17 years of the Meiji Restoration. The hierarchy of government from top to bottom consisted of the former loafers, SAMURAIS of the lowest class in the feudal caste system, and courtiers who rose up from their poverty handed with samurais to the political world with an excuse of supporting the Mikado family made a counterattack by using journalism to smear the character of revolutionaries. Linking fear and despise, they cried out the mob was composed of gamblers, idlers, beggars, and peasants seduced by some outcast members of the Liberal Party. While they sent the Imperial Guards, the gendarmes, and a troop of police provided with a newly developed gun ““MULATA JU.” The disposition of the Meiji government was firm in its military activities due to its centralized administration, affording many samurais of former days. After three days of the occupation of Omiya town, the revolutionaries were surrounded by government troops. This was caused by a lack of information and loss of a chance of advancement on the side of uprisers. Eisuke Tashiro realized the support would not come from neighboring countries as a dream of a simultaneous uprising. Furthermore, the destruction of usuries fulfilled its purpose, and he would not like to continue a war against a regular army. He divided some 500 yens among his comrades with persuasion to disappear voluntarily, trusting Providence. The news of the leaders’ dissolution reached the front advance in the other district, and one comrade accused Tashiro of cowardice. Sporadic fighting lasted for several days until the 9th of November. Some uprisers disappeared among mountains, and others lost their lives.

The 1st year of Liberal Autonomy of the county without government only left its traces on some documents. Tashiro and other comrades were arrested for being executed the following year (1885). It took another two years to subjugate the county with the former chains.

sources: CHICHIBU JIKEN; Koji Inowe, Chyuco Shinshyo, 1973

CHICHIBU KONMIN T0; Tatsukichi Nishino, Tohd-shutsupan, 1978

77 POSHI in 3 volumes; edited by Shigeki Tooyama and others, 1965, Iwanami Shoten

CHICHIBU KONMIN TO GUNZO; Magoroku Ide, Shinjinbutsu Ovat Sha, 1973

NAKAENISM — A Campaign for Enlightenment in Japan

Atsusuke Nakae was fundamentally a Rousseaunian added to the ethical sensitivity of Confucianism. But Nakaenism (his theory was nominated thus by his disciple, Shusui K6toku, the first convinced anarchist) was typical regarding its atheism and scientific pragmatism. Here cited his philosophical and political opinions extracted from his writings as follows.

«+++ I repeatedly say that this limitless universe and everything have been naturally created by purifying the matter having another form and being transformed into everything rather than to be created one by one with a cause or a force. (to face God)

+++. The soul is not immortal; flesh, which is the body of the soul com-pounding with several elements, is immortal. However, they are decomposed.

When Napoleon and Hataiko (a hero who invaded Korea) are dead from elements composing their bodies, the airy one is absorbed by a flying beast. In contrast, solid elements are solved with water under the ground and absorbed by a radish to be eaten by another man. But the elements do not perish, no matter how their locations may change. If a man dies, his 5 feet-body decomposes and is scattered in pieces thoroughly, while each element is immortal. Therefore when a man is dead, he can neither desire heaven nor be afraid of hell, and he cannot emerge again in this world by embodying a human form. The second generation of ours in this world is our children.

God, whether single or plural, does not exist from the beginning. In this world, everything has neither a beginning nor end and which, having some form anyway before it shows as it is, has evolved and become the present features. Without interference with a dubious thing such as a god, the history of the world is constructed by separating and composing action of elements as if A transforms itself into B, which follows C and continues such transformation limitlessly.

His political opinion was like Rousseau, i.e., he supported direct democracy. He said, “It is ideal that politics are discussed by the whole people. But when the mechanism of society becomes complex, the people should engage in their daily routine so that it is unavoidable to adopt parliamentarian. Though if it is a limitless mandate, and a member of parliament betrays the electorate, that is, the opinion of the mass, many people enjoy their political rights only in the nomination of voting rights, and they could not help to be a slave obeying the issues of the parliament from the term of election to next one. In this case, it is the same as a slave, whether the person becomes a slave of the administrative office of the parliament. This cannot be tolerated by the people who treasure freedom above anything else...if the MPs are like, as I have mentioned, the parliament does not represent the public opinion. On the contrary, it becomes the meeting place of autocratic politicians, and whole members of parliament are nothing but venomous serpents hutched in the pockets of the voters.”

As a result, the people become “political sound sleepers” who do not concern with politics or “the innocent ethical criminal of pure heart yet violent activity” who are punished due to their direct actions in defiance of the parliament. In other words, a voter who admits limitless mandate becomes an outsider of the political field, i.e., only the member of the parliament will be active while the voter passive, and thus voting rights become alike as if there is no such right. He concluded that “to entrust the parliamentary right to an administrative official is the opinion of the autocratic politician, and when parliament monopolizes its right, it is according to the opinion of the man of limitless mandate, while the parliamentary right is supervised by the people, it is the opinion of limit mandate. In short, the limit mandate principle properly conforms to popularism”. His ideal was direct democracy, but even if it could not help to adopt indirect democracy, he advocated the superiority of legislative power to the administrative and the sovereignty of people to this legislative power.

His other interesting attitude related to this, though his thought could not surpass the fringe of parliamentarism, was a theme similar to popular assembly. He offered a practical alternative as the following.

“Suppose there is a voting district and 1,000 voters gather together and are provided with two or three meeting places for the convenience of the district and discuss a political purport. In this meeting, it is better to debate frankly among Persons who have formerly engaged in various political parties and renounced their factionalism than to make this political meeting outside of ready-made political parties. However, if it does not carry out smoothly, factions remain to provide meeting places and discuss political problems. In each meeting place, people express their opinion and listen to another man’s opinions. The discussion will be compared, debated, analyzed, congregated, added, canceled, mended, described, erased, again described, and erased. Thus after the lapse of 5 days, 10 days, or a month, 20, 30, 40, or 50 refined programs will be surely brought out”.

He believed that when such popular assemblies were established, it would enable the people to have a political power that stood up to the governmental administration as a logical result. Then Parliamentalism in Japan will be enraciné. He made an effort to restore democracy for the people not be imposed from above. (i.e., from the Meiji Government) by his satirical essays and polemics in his various editorials. But all was in vain. He was asserted to be an extremist in the political field and an excentric in his social life.

Recently his uniqueness has been appreciated by several intellectuals. The case is similar to that of William Godwin in England. My intention in placing him at the beginning of anarchist history is that he was not only a unique philosopher of politics but, in fact, a spiritual father of Shusui Kotoku.


His pen name was Chiyomin which stood for a common man, a representative of millions of people. He became the founder of sake from his youth owing to the custom of his native place, Tosa, a southern part of Shikoku Island that faced the Pacific Ocean. Therefore his nature was passionate, gay, and optimistic, yet idealist.

He adhered to his mother and respected her; however, he loved to play with a cat for its ferocity and wickedness. In his adolescence, he dared to borrow a study fund from his senior. At the age of 24 (1871), he left for Paris to study law with the help of a state grant. In those days, the intellectual youth was dispatched to Europe and America to be disciplined in administrative institutions, law, commerce, etc., for behalf of the modernization of Japan. He stayed in Lyons and visited London for a week. He might have witnessed Paris Commune, or at least its results, but I can not find even an allusion to the event in his writings. One reason for keeping his silence caused by the political climate of our country. For Koin Kido, a High official of government declared after a tour of Europe that “Japan is a country reigned by a Mikado more than a thousand years. She can not be a republic like France, where political tumults reduce her national power. On the other hand, we must follow the example of Prussia achieved unity of the nation in favor of Fredrick the Great, and her military institution shows its superiority to France”. After returning from France (1874), he opened an institute of French language at his home while being employed as a translator at the senate. During this period, he translated “Social Contract” from the original into Japanese, which was circulated among the militants of the Liberal Civic rights movement. Having resigned from his post owing to a collision of opinion with his senior, he was welcomed as a chief editor of Toyo Jiyu Shinbun founded by a nobility Kinmochi Saionji, who came from the family of Midado, and a friend of Nakae in his happy days of Paris. The government was astonished to hear radical opinions of the press, then enraged about a young noble engaged in the propagation of republicanism in the name of democracy. Soon having petitioned Mikado and obtained an Imperial order, the government forced Saionji to retire as the press president. The newspaper ceased to issue, and Nakae was out of his employment. He continued to teach French at the Institute ostensibly but trained members of the Liberal Party with his knowledge of European history and civilization. According to a spokesman of the Party, Nakae and his followers were regarded as a section of the Party. He did not obtain a license of regular membership. However, he cooperated with the executive of the Party, partly due to his human relation, for the leader of the Liberal Civic rights Movement, Taisuke Itagaki, came from the same native place, Tosa, and the movement itself originated and flourished there. His knowledge of French and Chinese classics was tremendous; he worked on the publication of a French-Japanese dictionary, then made a Chinese version of 9 chapters of 1st part of Social Contract in 1882. He could easily cite Voltaire, Condorcet, Saint Pierre, and Pascal’s phrases. Denjiro Kotoku proved his master’s knowledge of Chinese classics, as his usage of words in Chinese-style essays could be traced word by word into meanings of the original. Nakae did not participate in the action of the Liberal Party. I can find out his short writings in the history of the Party.

One was a petition for opening the Parliament, the other a message to his comrade at the time of deportation from Tokyo due to Public Security Law in 1887. Some critic indicates a reason for the inactivity of Nakae because of his role as a theorist. But this indication is doubtful, for he could always find a chance to satire weak points of the government in his journalism activities and recommended democracy nuanced of republicanism. Instead, his inactivity in direct action should be attributed to the quality of the Party. In truth, he criticized his comrades in his book San Suijin Keilin Mondo, “A discussion of ideal politics by three drunkards,” that they inherited Samurai tradition and were fond of the exercise of sword, horse riding, and the maneuver of lances. Furthermore, republicanism was not accepted by the executive of the Party; that is, the leader, Taisuke Itagaki was attracted by the double parliamentary system (upper and low) in England. He was acquainted with Victor Hugo during his tour in 1882, yet he was moved by Spencer-type evolutionism and supported political reformation by realizing the national assembly. Thus Nakae saw its political tendency and advised his disciple Kotoku to study English under the headmaster of the French language! Yet Kotoku acquired French a little and could read novels of Anatol France to kill his time in confinement later.

He became a candidate for the 1st national assembly in 1890. This general election was carried out after several years of preparations. Most representatives were selected from land owners and newly raised bourgeoisie, while the electorate was limited due to tax payments. The Liberal Party succeeded in sending its members to Parliament. Nakae became a member of the Parliament but was disappointed soon in the debates and intrigues of a politician. He resigned from his membership with an excuse of head disease owing to heavy sake drinking. He realized his republicanism or democracy was far from this parliamentary procedure. Then he wanted to earn money to propagate his ideal among the people. Nakae became a paper dealer in Hokkaido, a northern island of Japan, and went to and fro as an arbitrator of civic troubles. In Gunma Prefecture, he worked in the promotion to open a brothel with district members of the Liberal Party. From the viewpoint of Puritanism, his deed should be accused; in truth, a critic of the left wing today condemned him as unprincipled or a radical of the petit bourgeoisie. But he laughed at his opponents by excusing his own act to satisfy the sexual appetite of the country youth who could not get a marriage in lacking fortune. As late as 1900, he entered Kokumin Domei Kai (National League, its conservative nature was illustrated in the protection of national interests); this time, Kotoku accused his master of protruding in the organization of imperialists. Nakae replied that he wanted to fight back against Russia (advancing southwards in those days and that the Russo-Japanese war was broken in 1904). If we got a victory, it would be a chance for a Japanese to go abroad with a big ambition of founding a utopia besides contributing to peace for the Far East, while were we beaten, its calamity would raise the people against the government or at any rate it would cause a moment for reformation of Japan.

Referring to a memoir of Kotoku, who lived under the same roof as Nakae and often witnessed poverty, his master’s books were sold to a secondhand book shop and lacked daily bread except for sake. Yet, the family life of Nakae with his wife and a male child, Ushikichi (later he worked for a Chinese Revolution), was not disaccord at all. Once, the master asked his disciple to pawn his gold watch, but he found out its chain remained; then he laughed out by saying that it was better to deposit the chain to pair it with the watch. In 1898 he founded Kokumin To (National Party) by declaring not for a dog or a cat and an authoritative fool; everyone, even a carpenter, a Rikisha man, could get a membership at free charge. This advertisement stimulated the public, but no one came to participate.

His sense of reality surpassed the world of facts; he envisioned a future but remembered the time and place for its realization. On the other hand, his syllogism did not soar up high. However, his dream roamed about in the realm of utopia; in this sense, he was a type of Chinese literary man, a realist. He supported evolution and backed up historical meanings, yet his historicism lacked to effect a dynamic action in the real world. For there was no sign of carrying out his vision in the future. Proletariat had not grown up to understand him except intelligentsia like a Kotoku. He was a dualist in his thinking method; for instance, he defined several categories, such as the element of Philo-novelty and the element of Philo-antiquity, i.e., the person under 35 years of age is fond of novelty, while the older person clings to ancient manner or custom, then two kinds of democracy, democracy bestowed from above, democracy obtained by below. He also explained his worldview by citing Pascal’s phrase, “Center is everywhere, there is no periphery,” as Proudhon loved to indicate his Anarchy.

He was tormented in his last days by developing throat cancer and pronounced to live for a year and a half. Then he wrote several essays entitled the term of living “Ichinen Yuhan (half and a year)” in 1901. The book hit a boom. In September of the same year, he finished a second volume, “Zoku Ichinen Yuhan.” These two books were compiled and published by the endeavor of Kotoku. On 13th December (1901), he died. His body was operated on in accordance with a testament to serving medical science. It is said that his brain was heavier than the ordinal one. Thus he returned to the earth as elements.

Sources; -Nakae Chyomin no Kenkyu edited by Takeo Kuwabara, 1966.

-Chyomin Sensei Gyojyokt and Chyomin Senset by Shyusui Kotoku, in Shyusut Zenshyu No.8, Metju bunken, 1973.

‘Nakae Chyomin no Shiso by Shyoso Mateunaga, Aoki Shoten, 1970.

SAN SUIJIN KEIRIN MONDO (The discussion of Ideal politics by three drunkards) by Atsusuke Nakae published in 1887, an adaptation

The author treated the political idea in his days in disguise as a talk by three drunkards. The reader may suppose it is not suitable putting a severe matter like a political article on the lips of drunkards. Still, he took a precaution that his work would not have been banned under the suppression of speech and publication. In those days, any article about politics was published in an underground edition. He was deported from Tokyo in the same year (1887) due to his activities as a Minkenka by Hoan Jyoret (the rules of Public Security). He removed to Osaka, became a chief editor of Shinonome Shinbun (the Journal of Daybreak), and strived to prevail over civil rights. Kotoku was also included in the banishment of 570 Minkenkas, whose experience taught him that several high officials monopolized the Meiji government in the name of Mikado, and its power was arbitrarily wielded over the militants of anti-regime by police forces. Thus a future anarchist learned his antigovernment sentiment from the homeless and penniless condition.

The book’s literary style is like a “diseour” of a French Roman of the 18th century. Still, the phraseology originated from Chinese classics, so it is rather challenging to grasp the real meanings of a word for word and fit for reading aloud as a pleasing composition.

Wakae maintained that there is no philosophy in Japan, and philosophy is a kind of decoration at Tokonoma, i.e., an ornament on the mantelpiece of the drawing room. Since Hegel, any Westerner holds to an opinion of no philosophy in the Orient except the ethereal conception. In other words, to tell the truth for the truth’s sake is only found in Greek philosophy, which the Europeans have inherited from the Greeks. (see Edmund Russel’e Phenomenology and. the crisis of philosophy). I know Thomiam and Cartesian rational-tam ave in this context. It is also true that we have no political theories like Hobbes and John Locke, but Nakae’s romantic story shows his rational faith growing up in the climate of the Orient.

Nankai-sensei--Nankai means Southern Sea, while Sensei means a master--has a taste of sake by nature and would like to discuss politics, too. But when he drinks one or two bottles, he feels pleasant while his consciousness floats in the air, his eyes glitter, and his ears prick to a harmonious sound as if there were nothing to worry about. With more than two or three bottles, his spirit rises to the highest, and his inspiration comes out spontaneously. Despite sitting in a room, his clairvoyance covers the whole world, then having ridden in the past and the future by every 1000 years, instantly he points out a course of the world and instructs how to do with society. He thinks, “I am a guiding wheel in the real world and the affair of human beings. While the so-called near-sighted in politics arbitrarily uses a compass, he takes a ship dash on a rock or runs ashore. Thus he brings a calamity to himself and his fellow men.” Though Nankai-sensei stays in this world, his mind climbs’ up the “Hakoya San,” namely the mountain of UTOPIA, and roams about the country of NOWHERE, therefore his geography and history coincide with those of the reality merely in the spelling, not an entity. For in his geography, there are cold and warm countries in the climate, great and small ones, nations having civilized manners and barbarous ones; on the other hand, in his history, there are peace and war, prosperity and downfall often corresponded to our geography and history. When he drinks another two or three bottles, his ears ring, his eyes become blind, and he stretches his arms and limbs so far as to fall unconscious. After two or three hours’ deep slumber, he becomes sober again, and there remains no trace of his speech and deed during his ivress (drunkenness) as if the possessed by a fox has recovered to his consciousness. Indeed there is always an acquaintance or a rumor monger who wants to hear the Sensei’s curious political opinion and pays a visit to his home with a keg of sake and sakana (sake and a relief). The guest toasts the host with several cups of sake and lets him speak, by taking caution of his heavy drunkenness, about the political affair. Sensei had reflected a little “before had I drunk heavily, I would put the important items down on sheets of paper; on another day, I would pull them out, and add something, then compile them in a book form, which, indeed, would please my friends and me at the same time.” Ai, Ai, he has responded so to himself.

The days continued with misty rain, not for a chance to see the sun, which made Sensei feel gloomy. One day he was already in a state of topsy with self-service of sake, there two guests visited him with a bottle of European brandy KIN PU, namely GOLDEN AX. Sensei has no acquaintanceship with either of them, nor does he know their names, but having seen the bottle of European brandy, his spirit becomes cheered up. One of the guests has worn the European costume from his head to foot; his eyes and nose are sharply shaped, his body is slim, and behavior is vigorous, while his speech is clear and defined, which seems that he (the guest) lives in the room of THEORY, perspires the air of REASON and likes to go straight on the line of LOGIC by disdaining to follow a zigzag course of the reality, that is to say, he must be a philosopher. The other guest is tall, his arms are big, his face pale, and his eyes’ sockets are deeply sunken. Judging from his Japanese costume with a Kasurino kimono and Hakama (a pleated skirt), he is fond of a big adventure and fishing his fame with the bait of his own life; that is to say, he must be a man of Hero worship. After the formal greetings, they toasted each other; Sensei calls the former, Yogaku-shinshi, a gentleman of European education, and the latter, Goketsukun, “a man of Hero worship.”

At first, Yogaku-shinshi states his opinion. He advocates European democracy and expresses his doubt about wars among the nations based on three principles, i.e., Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. He accuses such struggles caused by obtaining frivolous fame, betraying morality and rules of the economy, and providing hundreds of millions of the regular army consumed their national incomes. He advises a course of a small country (alluded to Japan) that she ought to enter into the realm of Liberty and Fraternity, having acquired morality and technology, then become a country of philosophers by excavating the fortress, melting the canon, changing a battleship into a steamer and making a soldier to be a civilian. Thus she will be an example for European nations which have not yet laid the foundations of democracy. This argument was directly opposed to the policy of the Meiji government, which had promoted the national defense by the coast, and the policy of the rich country with strong soldiers on the pretext of invasions by Western imperialism in the Orient. Yogaku-shinshi argues they (the westerners) might have an original quality of civilization. However, they can not follow it, and if we take it up and show the same foundations of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity with no armament and treat them with goodwill, they dare not invade us. For “however they want to kill the wind with the sharpest dagger, the wind blows where it wants to go.” He explains that the politician should be a disciple or a novice serving a god of Evolution and must open the road for this god. Because the god of Evolution does not care about the bush and the rock in his course, he tramples on even the people who kill each other in the name of revolution. Yogaku-shinshi cites examples of the reigns of Charles the first and Louis XVI. In his view, Evolution goes fast without stopping; the Evolution of art and learning, which enlightens the people, promotes a transformation of the institution. “art, learning and the political theory are no less than the branch, leaves, and fruits sprouted from the same stock of knowledge.” Thus, he defines three stages of political institutions, Despotism, Constitutional monarchism, and democracy. He analyses the political Evolution with abundant historical proof and his comments.

“There is no human being except the king and the aristocrat in the despotic country, and the other million souls are nothing but automatons in deficiency of the spirit. Whenever the people accumulate wealth with their toil and pain, the government exploits it without notice or deposits it as tax. It is robbery, and there is no right to private property.

In the constitutional monarchic country, there are a prince and five sorts of rank (it is a satire to the Meiji Government).

This is against the principle of equality, but the prince knows the purport of liberty and fixes a constitution and the national law to protect the rights of the people. There exists minor exploitation and the rank of nobility above fellow men. Therefore this institution is half-reformed from a view of Evolution. The GOMER monarchism is not so worse, but democracy is better. Constitutional monarchism is the spring with frost and slight snow, while democracy is the summer without them. The former is like a wise man, the latter is a saint according to Chinese tradition, while a Bosatsu (Bodhi-sattva) and a Nyorai (a Buddha) are to Indian phraseology. Constitutional monarchism should be respected, but democracy is to be loved. The former is an inn for a traveler; you must leave it if you were not lame or weak, while the latter is your home which you certainly feel at home after a long journey.”

Then Yogaku-shinshi shows his vision of a democratic country; “Having established the institution of democracy, let each one have his dignity, excavate the fortress and disarm the armament to show no murderous motive, at the same time we do not accept the interference of the other countries. Let our country be a land of morality and learning in which exists a parliament in order not to split the brain of the country and that allows the people to have the right to vote at the adult age regardless of sex, the rich and poverty except the idiot, the fool and the man of deficiency. From a governor to a village master, they should be

elected publicly, not to flatter the administrator. At the same time, a lawyer and a judge should be elected not to flatter the legislator. Tet us found the school to educate the whole people without fee to make them a gentleman. Eliminating the death penalty and the barbarous fetters by law and the protective tariff to break through the barrier of economic competition, let abolish the rules of speech, publication, and assembly unless they do not corrupt the manner and invoke a tumult. Thus let the speaker have his freedom of tongue, the audience his freedom of ears, the writer his freedom of talent, the reader his freedom of eyes (which means the freedom of reading any book), and the gatherers a freedom of association. Such a thing is my platform.”

Yogaku-shinshi proposes a plan of making a small country in Asia a laboratory for democracy, equality, morality, and learning, added with non-violence and non-resistance towards foreign countries. For he believes that “a man should live with his own rights, not depending on the other----and making the whole people a kind of living morality for the future society.”

(This opinion impacts us even now, for the post-war Japanese constitution has proclaimed a similar doctrine, though it has been bestowed from the above or advised by the occupation forces of the U.S.A. in 1945. T.N.)

But Goketsu-kun (a man of Hero worship) laughed at hearing non-violence and non-resistance. According to his knowledge of history, civilized countries such as Sparta and Rome in the ancient, while England, France, Germany, and Russia are, in modern times, the countries of war.

“The war is a barometer of civilization.--the richest and the civilized have usually won a victory.” The war is, for Goke-tsu-kun, a show to demonstrate his courage and a pasture for his fame. He does not analyze the nature of imperialism, carried out by Kotoku in 1901 with his work “Imperialism, or a monster of 20th century,” published in the same year of Nakae’s death. On the contrary, he proposes to invade a big country in the neighborhood (alluded to as China) to leave a small country (Japan) or hand her down to the minkenkas or the democrats. He wants to establish a government of despotic monarchy and accumulate wealth to buy the fruit of civilization. Because “Rome can not be made in a day. The wealth and strength of England, France, and Russia today have been caused by many reasons and means. For instance, the wise king has reigned with benevolence, the good prime ministers have helped them in the regulation of both foreign and domestic affairs, or the general has done a meritious achievement, or the scholar has announced a perfect theory, the inventor has contrived a precious vessel, etc. In contrast, they have endeavored to deposit the fruit in a peaceful time and tried to conserve it in wartime. Then having it moistured with graceful rain and exposed to the bright sun, once they have come to the open field from the alleys, the other time, they have entered in the slow current from the rapid one. From right to left and vice versa, thus they have come to civilization with thousands and millions of pains and toils. How many years, months, knowledge, troubles, lives, and materials have been consumed? So if we want to participate in civilization to enjoy the fruit, there is no other method except to buy it with money. But the price of civilization is so high as a small country will be exhausted or compounded with the big country gradually.”

Goketsu-kun’s imperialism means to get money to purchase the fruit of civilization, and if a big country is weak despite her fertile land, it is better to use it. The notion has been unhappily an analogous course of Japanese militarism from the Meiji era until 1945. He analyzed a collision of civilization and its influence over the people.

“The inhabitants of the backward country should replace the former institution, culture, custom, and sentiment. Thereby there comes out the element of Philo-antiquity and that of Philo-novelty, whose characters are indicated as follows;

The elements of Philo-antiquity (a conservative)

1, men who are above 30 years of age.

2. who regard every novel custom, manner, and sentiment as frivolous and feel a vomit to see or hear about a new mode of culture.

3. who estimate liberty as a capricious and heroic deed, while equality is an unfavorable thing to be chopped off with a hatchet.

4. who regard the law as a strict learning and disdain economics as a scholastic science.

5. who respect Danton and Robespierre. Marat and Saint Just might have been in this category around the revolution.

6. who are not fond of any obstacle in public affairs, etc.

The elements of Philo-novelty

(a progressive)

1. men who are under 30 years of age.

2, who regard the ancient regime as being corrupted with a foul smell and seek a new mode of culture without exhaustion.

3. who estimate a theory, despise violence, and promote industry and disarmament.

4. Those who affect a theory of morality, law, and economy regard themselves as the literate or the philosopher and respect Theier and Gradston.

6. who like to deliberate a plan not to be failed in their public affairs.

Goketsu-kun believes that the elements of Philo-antiquity often become a cancer of public affairs in the country, so he would like to emigrate to a new land to establish a utopian monarchy. (This design has been partly realized in Manchuria during the 1930s in sacrificing of Chinese people, which has been contrary to the good intention of Nakae.)

Nankai-sensei has criticized each of them. He states that the democracy of Yogaku-shinshi “cannot be realized without cooperation of the whole people, nor the policy of Goketsu-kun can be effected without a despotic resolution of a prince or a minister. He has pointed out that the common undercurrent of each opinion has been inflicted with fear of imperialism of European states, but they have their own business; for instance, however, the prince wants to invade a small country in the Far East, there is Parliament, and has not obtained a consent of the members of Parliament, that is, approval of the people, the prince can not enterprise an invasion. Furthermore, he was lucky enough to get the consent; there would also be a public opinion raised by freedom of the press, whereas it is difficult to cause a war against a foreign country with his own will. As for the God of Evolution, it is a name labeled in the course of history. He is affectionate, inconsistent, and fond of debauchery, so you can not think he only favors progress and goodness. In Europe, some countries are working to abolish the death penalty, which may be called his work, i.e., an evolution. But in Africa, there is a tribe of cannibalism which is also a kind of Evolution. Therefore “if you declare that the god loves merely democracy, not for despotic monarchism, you are wrong. For do you think that there is no god of Evolution in Turkey and Persia? If you assert that the god prefers to cultivate a perfect virtue and has no taste for the massacre, was there no god of Evolution when general Kou had killed the war prisoners of the Chyo dynasty by 400,000 in a ditch? The god prefers feudalism during the feudal period, the national isolation when the country has closed the door, and likes foreign trade when the door is opened again----- (the imagery of this paragraph reminds me of “CANDIDE” of Voltaire, who has accused Harmoney of Providence)

“But there is one thing the god disdains, which we, especially the statemen, ought to know. For when the stateman has misunderstood the object of the hatred of the god, a calamity would be awful. An old literate like me has happened to have written a book opposed to the will of the god of Evolution; such a book would not be sold out. If I had planned treason, I would have been imprisoned for several years and executed. Though if the state man had enterprised without knowing her intention, a thousand million people would be suffered. It is an awful thing! Then what does she hate? You may speak and do something without considering the proper time and place. Whenever the stateman had established some institution without knowing the time and place, which brought a calamity to the million people, the scholar might point out that it should have been so due to a cause ‘of necessity. If it was due to a cause of necessity, I agree; it is the work of the god of Evolution, not her repugnance. Then what is hatred for by the god? That is, you want to do which you should not do out of the time and place,” Nankai-sensei has joked with an addition that “in my view, the god of Evolution in Asia prefers the nobility than the common people-- but (he continued) the purpose of politics is to follow up the intention of the people and make them enjoy their happiness peacefully and keep interests of welfare in accordance with their knowledge. If you establish the institution not following the people’s will and against their knowledge, what makes them enjoy happiness? The order of politic and society is from despotism, constitutional monarchism, and democracy, respectively. Suppose you enter into democracy from despotism abruptly. In that case, the people’s brains will be destroyed by a sudden change, for the image and thought of a king and the nobility have been submerged deeply in their consciousness. A few people welcome the transformation as it follows up REASON, but the people are perplexed and raise a tumult. Sensei has defined two sorts of Civic Liberty: Civic Liberty in England and France is the rights of restorative type, i.e., obtained from below, while the other is the rights to be bestowed from the above. The number of restored rights can be determined by our own volition due to our own efforts. Meanwhile, that of the bestowed rights can not be fixed of our own volition. Moreover, it is against the order to change the bestowed rights into the restored ones abruptly.” In his view, the Japanese constitution of the Meiji era was the bestowed rights, so he recommended the people transform its nature as follows; “however the quantity of bestowed rights is small, its nature is not so differed to that of the obtained from the below, you must protect and keep it as well as cultivating it with the fertilizer of science and vitality of morality. It will grow gradually in accordance with the advancement of the times and conditions of life until it coordinates with the restored type rights. It is the principle of Evolution.”

“Gentlemen! An idea is a seed, and the brain is a field. When you appreciate the democratic opinion, you may speak and write it to sow the source in the brain of the people, which may sprout after 100 years in the nation. But now that the bush and the flower of king and nobility have been deeply rooted in the field, is it not an error to expect the prosperity of democracy from seed in your brain? Thereby the people’s brain is a storehouse of past ideas, while an enterprise in society is an issue of the past idea.

Therefore if you plan a new enterprise, you must sow the idea first in the people’s brains as a past idea. Because the enterprise is always to bring an effect in the present, but its concept has a root in the past.---Every achievement in the universe is no less than the effect of an idea in the universe. The idea and the enterprise are mutually piled up and linked to draw a zigzag course, the so-called universal history. The idea raises an enterprise, and the enterprise produces an idea by vicissitudes; this is a course of the god of Evolution. He does not stay above society, nor crouch or hide under society’s foot, but he lives in the people’s brains. ‘Thereby, the god amalgamated (cooperated) with the idea of the people making a circular body. Gentlemen! Having respected an opinion in your brain, if you have the people recognize it as a work of the god of Evolution, it is as if you put a black dot on a canvas to make the spectators form a perfect arc. I think it is a kind of monopoly of the idea, which god does not appreciate, and the scholar should take necessary precautions. The times are a canvas, the idea is color, and the enterprise is a drawing. We may say that the society of a generation is like a drawing. Gentlemen! If you want to draw a future picture on the present canvas with unprepared color, it will be a work of the fool. But when you make exertions in the color of ideas, the flow of color emerges spontaneously in the canvas of society. You draw a present enterprise on the current canvas with the color of past ideas, which will, to be sure, attract the eyes of the spectator and be a chief oeuvre superior to those of Rubens and Poussin.

To reply non-violence of Yogaku-shinshi and the chauvinism of Goketsu-kun, Nankai-sensei cleared up his standpoint.

Self-defence-of Nankai-sensei.

1, Expansion of armament ensues an equilibrium among the big nations.

2. The theory of world peace has had no chance of its realization till now (which asserted Yogaku-shinshi’s opinion about the peace theory of Kant and Saint Pier, but the more the nexus of morality prevails, the more violence losses its teritory, such a course is progress. “Among four countries such as Prussia, France, England, and Russia, if one of them were far stronger than the other three, she would violate with her caprice without regarding Universal law, but as it is now, it is equitable among them, and that they are forced to keep the law, thus the tiny countries are spared to be annexed to the big country. Furthermore, due to the complexity of the state machinery and the will of the mass of the people, it is impossible to enact a war unless considering public opinion, the press, the consensus of parliament, etc.

3. Despite such considerations, if a foreign country invades us, we defend ourselves with guerrilla warfare.

4. He held to the opinion against chauvinism and imperialism of Goketsu-kun. He said if there were a big country of impotence in our neighborhood, we must make a relationship of brotherhood and help each other in an emergency. Moreover, “the most of antagonism and hatred rise not from the substance but a false voice. Therefore when we investigate reality, our doubt is usually solved; only demagogy results in a crisis.” Japan should negotiate with China with goodwill to open a market, not take up arms against her.

“The best foreign policy is to make peace with any country, and as a last resort, we must take up a strategy of self-defense, yet we must strive to alleviate the expenditure and pains of the people by eliminating armament. Thus were we not contaminated with the disease of moribund, China would not have an antagonism towards us.--”

The last scene of the banquet was interrupted by a cockcrowing. The two guests took a leave. The host said, “according to my calendar, you will find it out at your home that you have already passed here about three years!” Two guests smiled at each other and left his home. Within ten days, the book had been written. Meanwhile, it was rumored that Yogaku-shinshi went abroad to North America and Goketsu-kun to Shanghai, but Nankai-sensei remained to drink his sake every day.

This utopian story has personified three types of Japanese intelligentsia, i.e., Yogakushinsht (a gentleman of European education) has always alluded to Kotoku and Yuzabro Sakat, another disciple of Nakae, who helped his master in publishing a book “Rigakukogen” (the outline of philosophy) and also introduced the meaning of May Day,-the tendency of Socialism in Europe, besides, he contributed a fund when Kotoku founded Heiminsha in 1903.

Goketsu-kun is a Tairiku-ronin who wandered about Korea, Manchuria, and China for his fortune and fame, then embodied in nationalism. At the same time, Nankat-sensei represents a hermit of Chinese tradition. In Chinese tradition, a political man is also a man of taste, who retires from reality in old age or is frustrated with his political maneuver. It is better to understand Nakae’s fundamental thoughts with this Nakai-sensei belief in Taoism. This granted, it is easy to grasp his view of history. He admitted progress, evolution, and three stages of political transformation, yet it lacked dynamism which we can find in historical materialism. In other words, his nihilism does not emerge from behind the present, which passes to and cooperates with the future with a name of necessity. Such an action is artificial, while Lao Tzu recommended “taking no action, having no desire and naturalness holding Tao.” Of course, as a modern enlighted thinker, Nakae was complex in his thought, but his ethical sensitivity was tranquil in Tao.

We can also discern a pattern of acceptance of European civilization, which has brought repugnance and willingness among our people in the backward country of the Far East. Japan has quested breathlessly for the fruit of civilization as far as buying it with money. Yet scientific technology can not be attained without people’s manual ability and practical knowledge. Then it was recommended to learn Jitsu gakuie, a practical understanding of science and technology even from the government, which has resulted in a motto of WAKON YO547, namely to have a Japanese soul with a Western talent. In another sense, it proclaimed Japan has a unique tradition whose ethical and spiritual background can not be changed even with European civilization. Thus every product added with patents and a technician, as occasion demands, including railroad, shipyards, textile factories, bank management, architecture, educational method, and parliamentary system, had been imported. This process was admitted by Nankai-sensei theoretically to buy the fruit of civilization. But now, such a naive attitude towards civilization can not be approved, for heavy industry, including chemical products, cause pollution and environmental destruction. Yet there is always retardation to amend the environment, for the imported fruit is destined to eat or eat processed for profit making without instructions. Japan has now become a polluted country.

Despite his incredible knowledge of democracy, Nankat-sensei remained a constitutional monarchist in his political attitude in common with the author, Atsusuke Nakae. Really having been asked the meaning of Socialism, he (Nakae) replied that he strived for Liberty, not Socialism, throughout his life. Though he was a re-volt to the Hanbateu Setfu (the government monopolized by lords and peers) and showed great sympathy to the nihilists in Russia.

The qualification of a thinker is his ability to analyze, predication, and identification with his contemporary world, and Nakae performed his role as an enlightened thinker. So we can find his intellectual maturity in this book. His rational faith and taste in Chinese classics were inherited by Kotoku.


Shusui Kotoku (1871–1911), his first name Denjiro, was born in 1871 in Kochi-Prefecture on Shikoku island, the west-southern Part of Japan, the same native place of Atsusuke Nakae. He started his intellectual carrier as a student dependent on Nakae. It was a custom of Japanese society in the Meiji Era that the educated class, i.e., the high class of governmental officials, medical doctors, powerful merchants, and attornies, had willingly provided for students who served as servants, secretaries, and disciples, and obtained scholarships from their masters. Its number seemed to boast the master’s status in society. And after their apprenticeship, they debuted in their master’s social circle. So it might be said that it was a kind of hereditary custom of the feudal hierarchy.

In 1893 Shusui Kotoku entered a Jiu Shinbun Sha, literally Liberal Press, with a recommendation of Nakae as a journalist, leaving his master’s home simultaneously. But his respect for his master could not change at the least during his life, and he edited the works of Nakae and wrote his memoir beautifully. The shadow of the master had been cast on his intellectual and sensitive personality till the end of his life. I think this causes merits and demerits of his activities as an anarchist. Its merits are his critical spirit, anti-authoritative activity, and literal sense. Shusui Kotoku was one of the 1st great literates, especially in politics. “He was also the Ist journalist who adopted and promoted a colloquial style in the newspaper, which was usually written in a mixed composition of Japanese and Chinese phraseology. While demerits, he had started as a parliamentarist, Liberal-Civic rights activist, and even once he wanted to be a candidate member of Parliament as a socialist, though this hope was easily smashed owing to government interference. Even now, it is problematic to a critic for what reason he converted into an anarchist. His conversion can be traced in its date and circumstance and explained as I soon depict in this story. But his subjective attitude toward anarchism is somewhat obscure. Besides this, his tragic death accused him of being a criminal of “A high treason affair,” one of the greatest scandals of the Meiji Government. The first Martyrdom for the anarchists had added more pathetic spice to this anarchist than the others.

He changed his press office several times with the evolution of his thought from liberalism to socialism. In Japan, socialism banded together with communism. So the forerunner of anarchism had been mingled with pioneers of socialism and even Christian socialists.

In 1898, at the age of 28, Shusui became an editorial writer for Yorozuchyo-Ho. During those days, he formed warm friendships with such geniuses as Kanzo Uchimura (a founder of the non-churchist movement), Konan Naito (an authority on Chinese classic literature), Toshihiko Sakai (one of the founders of the socialist party), and Ketsuson Kusumi (1860–1925), an anarchist who introduced anarchism by dealing with it from ancient European thought to Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin and J. Most. Yet, some critics observed him as an individualist anarchist withdrawing from active life, i.e., it is said that according to his opinion, both anarchism & socialism are the remotest ideals, so it is better to live outside of the actual world. In my observation, Ketsuson Kusumi was influenced by F. Nietche & Stirner and preferred individualist anarchism as an apogee of socialism.

On October 8th, 1903, Shusui retired from Yorozuchyo-Ho with Toshi-hiko Sakai and Kanzo Uchimura because of its jingoism toward the press at the menace of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 — 1905. In November of the same year, he issued a weekly paper titled “Heimin Shinbun

(the paper for the common people)” with Sakai. This paper was the first organ for the socialists, which attracted a lot of radical intellectuals, and workers and contributed to the prevail of socialism, anarchism, and marxism in Japan. A remarkable event that showed the international solidarity of the workers was a proposal to the Russian socialist party that appeared on No. 18 of the Heimin Shinbun at the beginning of the Russo-Japanese war in 1904. It appealed to the socialists in Russia as follows:

++++-Comrades! Now, both governments of Japan and Russia have started the war recklessly to satisfy their imperial ambitions each other. But we, the socialists, take no notice of the difference of race, land, or nationality, and you and we are comrades, brothers, and sisters. There is none of the reason for us to fight on the battlefield at all. Your enemy is not a Japanese, but the so-called patriotism and militarism. On the other hand, our enemy is not a Russian, but it is also well-known nationalism and jingoism. In fact, this patriotism and militarism are our common enemy, that is, the common enemy of the socialists worldwide. You, us, and the socialists worldwide must courageously fight against this common enemy; thus, it is the most important time and a good chance.

We expect you will not overlook such an opportunity, while we promise you to effort ourselves up to the utmost”...

ーー・・We are not able to predict a victory or a defeat. But whatever its development might be, the war will result in hardship for the people, an increase of heavy taxes, and a decay of morality, besides the spread of militarism and patriotism. Therefore, you and us shall not prefer the side of victory or defeat. In short, we should oppose the war persistently and be against it, for our intentions are to cease the war immediately and to restore peace soon enough. The agreement and the activity of the International Workingmen’s Association during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 shall be an example to be studied, and we believe you will agree with us on this subject....” (from No.18, Heimin Shinbun)

The appeal achieved the success of a handshake with Sen Katayama (a socialist) and Plekhnov at the 6th assembly of 2nd International in Amsterdam, which manifested the will of antiwar between the Japanese and the Russians. At that time, Shusui criticized the article on antimilitarism written by Leo Tolstoy from the viewpoint of a socialist. He said, “Repent and follow God’s will!” was not enough, for the cause of the war was neither the people nor forgotten the dogma of Christianism, but, indeed, due to an aggravation of economic competition among states. On No.20 of Heimin Shinbun, he attacked a tax increase of 60 million yen for war expenditure in succession.

And see! The general has often reported his victory to the Throne, but the people have neither obtained a grain of vice nor a cloth for his military achievements. On the contrary, many countrymen should face the weapons, and their families should weep for their hunger; the industry becomes weakened, prices of commodities rise high, the salary of beadies is lowered, and then the application for a military bond is coerced, adventurism is promoted. Notwithstanding heavy tax does not cease its exploitation up to extracting a last drop of the lifeblood of the poor people”. In order.to exterminate such exploitation, he recommended an alternative of the socialist institution in which political power was divided equally among the people and products of the manufacture were collected in the hands of the producer, having added the prohibition of private possession of land & capital. For “the present mischief and suffering are caused by badness of the institution and the organization of the state.”

This article was subjected to a prohibition of sale, and the editor, Toshihiko Sakai, was sentenced to minor imprisonment for 2 months. It was the first imprisonment of the socialist.

Another event to be noted here was the appearance of a translation of “the Communist Manifesto,” which cooperated with Kotoku & Sakai in celebrating the first anniversary of the founding of Heimin Sha (the press office of the Heimin Shinbun) in 1904. But the suppression was immediately enacted, and Kotoku, Sakai, and the other editor were charged with 80 yen. Then in November of the same year, Shakai Shugi Kyogikai (Socialism association), the organization of socialists, was ordered to be dissolved.

The Heimin Sha had issued 4,000 copies; some 1,000 copies had been supplied to the subscribers, and the others were sold to newspaper agents. It was the first step of persecution by the government. The more the adherents of socialism became radical in their activities, such as public speeches, meetings, and anti-military campaigns, the more hostility to the government increased. In January of 1905, the last issue of the Heimin Shinbun by No. 64 announced its discontinuance before an executive measure had operated, with red printing after the example of the New Rhine paper edited by Marx & Engels, in which Kotoku explained that the socialist movement could not be retained only in the Heimin Shinbun, but to spread in various fields, that is, it was forced to evolute into a new realm.

To tell the truth, the socialist assembly was suppressed by the authorities, but at the same time, factionalism among the socialists appeared explicitly on this occasion. The Christian socialists such as Sanshiro Ishikawa (whom I will refer to as a Christian anarchist later on) and Isoo Abe separated from the materialistic socialists like Kotoku and Sakai. The former published a monthly magazine, “Shinkigen” (the New Era). On the other hand, despite the ceasing of the Heimin Shinbun, the Heimin Sha remained for a while, so Kotoku took advantage of the monthly “Cho-kugen” (the Plain Talk), the organ for the consumer’s union. Yet this magazine was prohibited in September, and the Rei-min Sha was dispersed immediately. Besides, Kotoku was confirmed in Sugamo jail for 5 months from February to June of the same year because of the article of ex-paper written by his comrade, Sanshi-ro Ishikawa.

It was this period during which he converted himself to be an anarchist. After his release from prison, he wrote to an American friend, Albert Johnson, in English on August 10th, 1905, whom I can not make out but an anarchist in San Francisco. Furthermore, it is said that the following letter appeared in “Mother Earth,” edited by Emma Goldman in August 1911.

At the beginning of the letter, he described his circumstances and regretfulness for the death of a son-in-law of Mr. Johnson’s youngest daughter briefly. Then he continued;

++++.Five months’ imprisonment was not a little injured by health (he did suffer from intestinal catarrh, which evolved into intestinal tuberculosis in his later days). Still, it gave me many lessons about social questions. I have seen and studied many so-called “criminals” and became convinced that the governmental institutions (court, law, prison).....are only responsible for their.....poverty and crime. Among the many books I have read in prison were Draper’s “Conflict between Religion and Science,” Haechel’s “The Riddle of the universe,” Renan’s “Life of Jesus,” and so forth. Besides, I repeated two interesting books you sent me.....Mr. Ladd’s “Hebrew and Christian Mythology” and Mr. Kropotkin’s “Fields, Factories and Workshops”..... (here he pointed out an error of Mr. Ladd that Buddha or Gautama was not Chinese but a Hindhu of which religion was introduced into China. Then he explained his conversion).....

Indeed, I had gone (to Sugamo Prison) as a Marxian Socialist and returned as a radical Anarchist. To propagate anarchism in this country means death or lifelong, at least several years’, imprisonment. Therefore its movement must be entirely secret, and its progress and success will need a long, long time and endurance.

(He expressed his intention to go abroad, which would be fulfilled 3 months later.)

I am now intending to live in America and Europe for several years for the following purpose;

i) To study foreign conversation and writing, the most essential instruments of the International Movement of Communists or Anarchists. I can only read English literature but cannot speak it. And writing in English, as you see, is very hard for me.

2) To visit the leaders of many foreign revolutionists and learn something from their movements.

3) To criticize freely the position of the “His Majesty” and the political, economic, and institutions from a foreign land where the pernicious hand of “His Majesty” can not reach.

If my health allows and money that is to be borrowed from my relatives and friends could be raised, I will start in the coming winter or next spring. Although we are now at Odawara, we (he and his wife) will return to Tokyo next month.

This letter is essential not only because his confession is declared but also his program in his life hereafter. As a faithful disciple of the philosopher of enlightenment, he was initially a liberalist fascinated with French-type Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Then about 1904, he explained his personal development in his essay “How I became a socialist,” who put forward 2 Reasons, i.e., his surroundings and reading. At the age of two, he lost his father, a village headman at his native place, and his mother became a widow with four children, two daughters & two sons Shnsut was the youngest son and saw his mother’s struggle in life since his childhood. Filial piety had been a virtue. He was commended by the privileged class of the Japanese people since the feudal age, but his obedience to his mother was famous even in his days. After all, he was a self-made thinker. He nourished his thought from books written in English, but in the background, we can discern his deep culture in Chinese classics. While his hu-Tour emerged spontaneously from popular novels of the Edo period. As long as he was a socialist, he was influenced by Christian socialism and workers’ movements promoted by Tom Man, John Burns & K. Hardy, and Prussian Social Democracy, represented by Ferdinand Lassalle. (According to R. Rocker in his Anarco-Sandycalism, Las-Salle’s activities were directed toward welding the workers into a political party.) The tactics were undoubtedly adopted by the Japanese socialist, for in those days, the election was only nominal, and the right to vote was enjoyed by persons who could pay a tax of more than 10 yen. Of course, women were excluded even from this disgraceful privilege until the end of the 2nd World War.

If any foreigner who has read this story doubts the rapid transformation of Shusui’s thinking, I will indicate that Japan, as a backward country in the East, was forced to be modernized for a short period. Even in 1861, on that memorable day, August 4th, the great leader of anarchism, Michael Bakunin, had grasped his golden opportunity to escape from Siberia and reached the 1st Japanese port of Hakodate. Yokohama, on the way to the U.S.A., Japan stood at a crossroads, either continuing the deep slumber of feudalism or opening ports for European countries. She did not know capitalism at all without mentioning anarchism. (I indebted the

above paragraph from “Michael Bakunin” by E. H. Carr.)

Japanese bourgeoisie was a force generated between the feudal clan and political factions by the advance of the Meiji society and industrial & capital institutions. It was promoted by businessmen with political affiliations, such as the Mitsui and Konoike families. Big businesses like transportation, supply for the army, banking, and so forth could only grow with the guardianship of the Meiji government. Therefore, owing to 2 wars, i.e., the Shina-Japanese war (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese war (1904–1905), they earned considerable money. While the people were cast into the abyss of poverty, as I cited from the article of the Heimin Shinbun. The awakening of Japanese people in class strife became rapid because of frustration with the Liberal Party (which was lastly absorbed into the authorized party) and an increase of propaganda by the socialists. (They were all composed of intellectuals from the low class of Bushi, artisans, and peasants.)

Further, I remark here on the educational institution in the Meiji Era. Perhaps you remember that I have mentioned the student-dependant in the paragraph of the period of row youth of Shusui.

The whole country was divided into 8 university districts. In each district, one university prefixed the word Teikoku (Imperial), added with the district’s name, like Tokyo Teikoku Daigaku (Tokyo Imperial University). Then this university district was again subdivided into a high school, a middle school, and several primary schools in 1872. Before the Meiji Restoration, Japanese children obtained the primary course of writing and reading beside abacus accounting for the children of the merchant. Though this zeal for education is somewhat ridiculous for the foreigner. But in a transition of civilization from Confucianism to European culture, it was necessary to transfuse new blood from the youth who would contribute to building a new bureaucracy. Thus Japanese youth who graduated from the Imperial Universities in various districts nearly entered the governmental services in every status. Even today, Japanese intellectuals at the top level are apt to walk the same course. On the other hand, anti-authoritative militants do usually come from private colleges. I believe this tendency is not so different from that of any European country. I adhere to this subject so earnestly because anarchism as an anti-authoritative movement shall be supported by many anonymous people. Still, without support from the intelligentsia in the sense of Russian intelligentsia (refer to Les sources et le sens du communisme russe by Nicolas Berdiaev, P.112, Collection Idées), its activity will stray into the labyrinth of the complexity of the modern times.

I must refrain from extruding a conclusion here and come back from a digression.

His plans at his discharge from prison were 1) continuation of the socialist movement by acquiring a daily paper, 2) to go to America and Europe where he wanted to enter cooperation with the campaign from abroad, 3) withdrawal from activities with books of science, philosophy & religion to study new materialism, 4) or to purchase a firm and live with several hundred peasants in Hokaido, the northern island of Japan, in Utopic circumstances.

Though he complained to his friend Sakai that even one of such plans could not be performed due to lack of money. It is marvelous that a human destiny can sometimes be anticipated by the person concerned. From its geographical situation and the remaining influence of seclusionism, political exiles were scarce in Japan. Doubtlessly Chinese political fugitives and leaders of the independence movement of the Philippines and India lodged once at prominent persons in Japan. But the reverse case was utterly impossible to find out. Reminding this point, you may reread Shusui’s letter to Johnson. Especially (2) is very important. His calamity would not have occurred if he could do as he had hoped. For even Lenine stayed in Paris when the pernicious hand of Czarism had menaced his life severely.

His foreign travel was promoted sooner than he had expected. Because of his physical weakness after prison life, the economic hardship of Heimin Sha, and the domestic discord about the leadership of Sakai in Kotoku’s absence, the weekly Chokugen was on the merge of discontinuance. Moreover, in September 1905, the people’s dissatisfaction with the peace treaty of the Russo-Japanese war exploded. And they fired the city Hall at Hibiya. I will again make him talk himself through this situation.

Tokyo, September 8th, 1905

Dear Comrade (Mr. A. Johnson),

The Japanese government is now receiving the natural but dreadful result of the patriotism and jingoism that their hands stirred up. During the last four days, Tokyo has been drowned by a sea of fire and blood. The state of siege has been proclaimed, many publications suspended, and the Postmaster given the right to confiscate any letter.

D. Kotoku

(Then, on October 11th, he reported to Mr. Johnson that his Heimin Sha was forced to be dissolved.)

Dear Comrade: ..... Our weekly is still suspended, and our office has been compelled to dissolve ourselves to the barbarous persecution and financial difficulties.

I’m now intending to organize the Japanese laborers in America. There are no other means to get the freedom of speech and press than to quit the soil of the state of the siege and go to a more civilized country.

D. Kotoku

Sakai commented about the closing of Heimin Sha that, after all, Heimin Sha was opened at the beginning of the Russo-Japanese war and ceased with its peace treaty.

A socialist analyzed its role, and though he homaged its glory in the socialist movement, he complained that it was not yet the movement based on the proletariate and could not surpass the sphere of radicalism and enlightenment of the intelligentsia because of the immaturity of the proletarian class, that is, they had observed a lot of defect of the society. Still, they could not find the social force in their circle to promote the transition from capitalism to socialism.

Kotoku did apologize for the financial difficulties and discordance with Christian socialists. Then he promised to continue his strife against the authority and to be a soldier of socialism.

Again he wrote on October 11th to Mr. Johnson that he had decided to start on the N.Y.K.’s ship on November 14th for Seattle and San Francisco with his nephew. His fund for the travel was $150, mainly bestowed by his friends and acquaintances. On November 29th, he arrived in Seattle. He was welcomed by another anarchist, Sakutaro Iwasa (1879–1966), who had established a printing office in San Francisco and got acquainted with Emma Goldman & A. Berkman. In Cisco, he met Mr. Johnson and lodged at Mrs. Frits, Oak St. 537. It was just at the back of Mr. Johnson’s home. During his stay in America, Shusui did seem to be influenced by the movement of I.W.W. and to hear the progress of the Russian Revolution of 1905 by Mrs. Frits, a revolutionary committeewoman. Since then, he has held the opinion of Direct Action and General Strike.

About that time, he predicted a conflict along the sides of the Pacific Ocean. He said that the interests of both Japan & America would sooner or later crash in trade of the Far East, which would trouble feelings and result in a calamity. To prevent it, he warned that it should alleviate misunderstandings each other by spreading socialism among the workers in both countries. But the Japanese government did not grasp its meaning, far from earnestly pursuing the trace of the anarchist and utilizing the council at Barkley for his persecution. While Japanese emigrants did not show any interest in his activity.

Now then, he faced the earthquake in San Francisco in April of 1906 and received the news of the imprisonment of his comrades, Sakai and Nishikawa, in June. So he resolved to go back to rebuild the camp of socialists. After 8 months abroad, he returned with a new idea of syndicalism.

At the welcome meeting held by Japan Socialist Party, he spoke publicly to his audience with the title “The current of revolutionary movement over the world,” in which he revealed his products of thinking and experiences in America.

The purport of his speech was to change the tactics of the socialist movement from its performance of universal suffrage into propaganda by deed. He asserted that the fundamental principle of the Japan Socialist Party had been the parliamentary policy, and its primary enterprise was to carry out suffrage. This scheme was natural because of the similarity of the domestic situation of Japan to that of Germany. But as a result of his reading and thinking, he began to doubt the effect of the so-called parliamentary policy. After meeting foreign comrades, he confessed to feeling a change in their movement. Then he cited an example of the inefficiency of activities of the German Socialist Party, which had 3,500,000 voters and 90 members of Parliament. Further, if such a parliamentary policy had been established, many participants would have been a candidate, a carrier-seeker, and power possessed. Thereby activity of the socialists would be limited within law-making, an alternation, and abolition of some articles, without mentioning the moral decay of the members. Such tactics would only contribute an advantage to bourgeoisié, which had all means of money, army, and police authority. Then he declared that a countermeasure for a parliamentary policy was a general strike which meant nothing to do for the workers for several days or weeks, and it would convince the bourgeois to be a parasite. Yet Kotoku suspended his conclusion because of his ignorance about the domestic affair because of 8 months’ travel and restrained himself from introducing the tendency of activity of the American and European comrades. (See his article “Why I have changed my thought”)

But it was his prearranged tactics. For Japanese Socialist Party had prepared a national meeting for a campaign for universal suffrage by this time. So his revolutionary syndicalism impelled the socialists to commit either parliamentarism or direct action.

A trial was set before them. After half year of his speeches, Kotoku was busy rebuilding his organization and prepared to issue a daily “Heimin Shinbun” again. I picked up a letter dated December 8th, 1906, to Mr. Johnson in which he described his circumstances briefly. He introduced his comrade, Osugi (who later became his inheritor of anarchism in Japan, and I will tell his case in detail), and explained the nature of Japanese Christianity.

My wife went to the law court to attend as a hearer to the trial of Comrade Osugi this morning. Comrade Osugi is a young student and best friend of mine. When I was in San Francisco, he wrote to you in French, and Mr. Osugi is now under trial on the charge of “Violence of the press law.” He translated an article titled “To the conscripts” from a French Anarchist paper. He published it in Hikari (it means “Light” in English, and Kotoku contributed his articles to this monthly after discontinuing the weekly Heimin Shinbun.) Japanese Socialist paper. This antimilitaristic deed was prosecuted by public officials. I am now anxious to hear the result of that trial (he commented on Christianism in Japan). The most comical fact of the effects of the late war is the conciliation (or rather embrace) of Christianity with Buddhism & Shintoism. Christianity in Japan was, until now, a history of horrible persecution. The Japanese diplomats, however, earnestly desiring to silence the rumors caused and spread in Europe during the war that “Japan is a yellow peril” or “Japan is a pagan country,” suddenly began to put on the mask of Western civilization and eagerly welcome and protect, and use it as a means of introducing Japan to European and American powers as a civilized Christendom (sic). On the other hand, Christian priests, taking advantage of the government’s weakness, got great monetary aid from the state. Under its protection, they propagated in full vigor the Gospel of Patriotism. Thus Japanese Christianity, which was before the war the religion of the poor, literally now changed within only two years to a great bourgeois religion and a machine of the state and militarism!

The preparation for the Socialist daily is almost completed. I hope the daily will have success. The Japanese Socialist Party consists, as you know, of many different elements: Social Democrats, Social Revolutionists, and even Christian Socialists. So the daily would be a very strange paper.

Most of our comrades are inclined to take the tactics of Parliamentalism (sic) rather than Syndicalism or Anarchism. But it is not because they are assuredly convinced which is true, but because of their ignorance of Anarchist Communism. Therefore, our most important work is translating and publishing Anarchist and Free-thought literature. I will do my best and use our paper as an organ for libertarian propaganda. (Then, he predicted the future of China, which would be the second revolutionary country in this century!)

In China, rebellions and insurrections are spreading. China’s social and political conditions are the same as Russia’s in the last century. In the coming ten years, China will be a land of great rebellion, and Tokyo is becoming the center of the Chinese Revolutionary movement.

In this letter, I must point out his antipathy towards Christianity.

Our readers may remember that he read “Life of Jesus” and “Hebrew and Christian Mythology” during his days at Sugamo Prison. In fact, he wrote a treat titled “Kiristo Masatsu Ron,” literally “A treatise on extermination of Jesus Christ” before his execution, in which he dealt with Christian mythology with scientific analysis and declared that the Cross is nothing but a symbol. It is true that Christianity, especially Protestantism, achieved splendid products in the culture and ethical feelings of Japanese people. Even today, the influences of Kanzo Uchimura can be seen in Japanese intellectual life. But it is also true as Shusui’s indication that Japanese Christianity has been utilized by the privileged class of Japan for her gesticulation of Europearized civilization towards Europe and America if the occasion demands.

The daily Heimin Shinbun was published as an amalgamation of the Hikari and the New Era. Though it had contained tension caused by many different elements of socialism until the 2nd general meeting of the Japan Socialist Party. It took place on February 17th, 1907, and there three drafts were offered, i.e., a parliamentary policy (Tazo), anarchistic direct action (Kotoku), and their compromise (Sakai, who intended to appease a conflict.) In those days, severe oppression by the authorities pushed the youth, who could not take the lukewarm leadership of the elder socialists, to the side of Kotoku. Further, it is said that supporters of socialism were

Our party intends to reform the present social organization from its foundation and make the means of production common in society. Thus it is managed for the interests and happiness of the whole proletariat. Our party does decide the following rules under the present situation by conforming to our aims.

1, Our party awakens the workers’ class consciousness and makes efforts to discipline and attain unity.

2. Our party expresses regret for the subjugation by the army towards the riot of Ashio copper miners and here confirms that it has been caused by a severe government failure.

3. Our party shows deep sympathy for various revolutionary actions.

4. The following subjects are entrusted to a free decision for each party member.

(A) To revise the peace law of police

(8) A campaign for universal suffrage

(C) Anti-military campaign.

(D) Anti-religious campaign.

Note: The riot of the Askio Copper mine in Ibaragé Pref. was caused by 2 general strikes of miners on Feb. 4–7, 1900, which was the cause of public damage for the peasants, who utilized water of the Watarase-river for their rice cultivation. Because the river was contaminated with a solution of sulfurous acid. Moreover, the case was famous for its indomitable leader, Shyozo Tanaka, and Kotoku wrote for him a draft of a petition to the emperor with fine prose.)

To this draft, two modifications were offered immediately: one from Tetsuji Tazoe (a Christian socialist), who intended to set an item before the 2nd article that our party confirms the parliamentary policy to be one of the effective activities. The other was put in by Kotoku to modify the 1st article with that our party proves the inefficiency of parliamentary policy and intended to erase (B). Each of them did not compromise, at the least. Thereby after the discussion for 3 hours, it was restored to voting. Tazoe advocated parliamentary routine to be a demonstration of the workers.

Parliament was a center of interests of the bourgeoisie, an authoritative and capitalistic institution, so it was better to negotiate with them on the tribune of Parliament than to cast away such useful means without considering the worker’s advantage. While Kotoku propagated his direct action by citing the example of the success of the Ashio miners, that three days’ strikes shocked the privileged class so much as Mr. Tanaka’s strife for 20 years at Parliament, and there was no example of promotion of interests and rights for the workers by Parliament. On the contrary, the workers promoted their rights and interests through strikes. He affirmed that in England, Parliament issued legislation for the workers, though it resulted from unity and pressure by convinced workers. He persuaded his followers that during the Russo-Japanese war, there were 40,000 victims, and we endured such great sacrifice caused only to increase interest for the capitalists. There would be no reason to bear a small victim which might be occurred due to direct action.

The last ballot was taken, in which Kotoku obtained 22, Tazoe 2, and council 28. Thus the original draft was adopted without modification. The result indicates that the socialists were liable to adopt the method of direct action. He reported this process to Mr. Johnson in a letter on December 6th, 1907.

-Japanese Socialists movement was split into last two parties

++++-Social Democrat and Anarchist Communist. It is a very natural development known in all countries. Japan, which has already produced Social-Democrats and Anarchist Communists, shall now produce many Direct-Actionists, Anti-Militarists, General Strikers, and even Terrorists...

He again presupposed our history. The authorities were frightened, and its persecution became systematic from then on. After many trials, the daily Heimin Shinbun was suspended. He lost his organ. While the advocates of Parliamentary policy started a weekly Shakai Shinbun (the Social paper). Kotoku commented he could not expect very much from it. The indefatigable soldier of Anarchism, Shustii Kotoku, found a space to contribute his articles in Osaka Hiemin Shinbun, published by Unpei Morichika in Osaka and held a seminar in summer and a meeting every Friday.

In December 1907, he published a Japanese version of the general social strike, and he was forced to retire to his native place because of internal troubles. Still, during this period (from January to June 1908), he translated “The Conquest of Bread” from the English version to the Japanese language. It was his last repose. For there was occurred an affair of a red flag (Akahata Jiken) on June 6th. In the letter from Kotoku to Mr. Johnson, it was described as follows:

++++-You will be alarmed to hear that a wholesale arrest of Anarchists was made in Tokyo.

In carrying through the city two or three red flags on which the letters “Anarchy” or “Anarchist Communism” were written, 15 or 20 of our comrades conflicted with 60 policemen who tried to seize the flags. After a severe struggle, 14 comrades were arrested and thrown into prison. Among them are comrades Sakai and 4 young girls. They are now under the most barbarous treatment, and any interview or communication with them is prohibited, so we can not know their conditions.

We are only waiting for the day they appear before the court......

But according to a commercial paper, the Tokyo Niroku Shinbun dated June 24th, 1908, was said that Sakae Osugi had been kicked in his left trunk without any reason. Kanson Arahata had been in a state of convulsion due to kicks by police. Toshihiko Sakai got faint, while four women, Kogure, attacked by spasms; Nishikawa, O-suga, and Kanno (wife of Arahata, who later became an illegal wife of Kotoku and induced him to direct action) were injured. It was clearly observed that they had been subjected to a lynch.

This affair was a heavy blow to the socialists. And particular comrades were said to contrive an act of revenge. Such a critical situation called Shusui to go back to Tokyo immediately. Thus a dark spider began to weave a vast web to tackle her captures.


The Heiminshya (1903–1905) was operated mainly by two persons, that is, Kotoku and Sakai. According to Sakat’s confession, Kotoku was an editor of the Hetminshinbun, in other words, the face toward society, while he (Sakai) was a kitchen helper in charge of financial problems. Flourishment of the press was during Russo-Japan War (1904–1905) because of its anti-war campaign. Further, it obtained the support of young people with various shades of socialism throughout the country.

The press set out a questionnaire to its subscribers in 1904 with the above-mentioned title and obtained the following answers:

GUDO UCHIYAMA (1874–1911)

I am an evangelist of Buddhism, which teaches us that every common man is the property of Buddha and lives under the law of Buddhism; there is neither highness nor lowness but equality, and everyone is no less than His son, etc. This is a golden saying for my faith, though I became a believer in socialism when I found out that the teaching of socialism is compatible with that of Buddha.

Note: Uchiyama was executed at the age of 37 as a criminal of High treason in 1911 with Kotoku and others. He was a priest of the Zen temple Heirinji, located at Hakone. He made a pamphlet entitled “of poverty was exploitation by the capitalists.” He said, “there are many ticks sucking human blood, whose names are the emperor, the rich man, and the landowner.”

SHUSUI KOTOKU (1871–1911)

Owing to my circumstances and reading (I became a socialist.) (I count) my circumstances as an admirer of the theory of Liberty and Equality since my youth in Tosa, my native place, having sympathy for my relatives and their miserable conditions after the Meiji Restoration, I have felt inequality of my fate in lack of educational funds.

While reading (I am indebted to) the discourses of Mencius, the Revolutionary history in Europe, Sansuijin Keirin Mondo (A discourse of Ideal politics by three drunkards) by Chyomin Sen-sei, Social Problem, Progress, and Poverty by Henry George, which instructed me to acquaint with enthusiastic democracy to have a deep interest in social problems, but (the most important was that I could declare myself a socialist) “A quintessence of Socialism” by Shaffle which I had read firstly about 6 or 7 years ago.

Note: ( ) is a translator’s insertion.


In my rough youth, the first great thought that I acquired was Confucianism. It followed the Liberal Civic Rights theory that originated from Social Contract and French revolutionary history. The Imperial Diet was opened (1890) with a proclamation of the Constitution (1889), but neither notion of civic rights nor humanity and morality was realized. Thus Confucianism and French Enlightenment idea did not contribute at all (to our society).

My thought became confused with loyalism, Christianism, Dawinism, and Utilitarianism, which sometimes harmonized, conflicted with each other (in my head), then led me into uneasiness. During my anxiety, I listened to a slight novel sound of socialism, so I stepped immediately towards it like a thirsty man for a spring. The first book I read was “French and German Socialism” by Tlie. I got a knowledge of the French revolution that did not satisfy one’s hope, and then socialism emerged forth. Here I found a streak of light. Under this light, I examined my thought thoroughly. My confusion of thought was regulated with none of the shade, darkness, or entanglement. Thus, I attained a coherent idea. I believe my socialism, in its foundation, consists of civic rights theory and Confucianism.

NAOE KINOSHITA (1869–1937)

In the beginning, I learned law and believed it. But I already had some doubts about the dignity of law. Then I came across a thought of God, which I had hitherto despised, and was satisfied. I became a generous believer in brotherhood, yet theology did not explain the calamity of competitive survival on the earth. Having discovered a contradiction between heaven and earth, my mind could not be at rest. It was the economy of socialism that enabled me to comfort my restlessness. Aftermath, whenever I opened the Bible, every question was dissolved in the personality of Christ and proved with his saying and deed, so I was astonished and satisfied.

Therefore my faith is “Christianism.” This is my reply to a questionnaire about how I became a socialist, with the present standpoint and my future hope.

Note; He was a famous orator and a writer during the Heiminsha movement. After the conspiracy incident of Kotoku, he left the camp of socialists and tried quietism.

ISO ABE (1865–1949)

At the age of 15, I entered Doshishya College in Kyoto and became a Christian at 18. Since then, I have always been inclined to the problem of the poor man’s rescue. Even now, I remember clearly that I had chosen a theme of “Religion and Economy” as a graduation speech at Doshishya in 1884, which implied my declaration of a resolution that I wanted to save society with religion and economy. But I had no plain policy on how to rescue the poor. After that, I sought a method like a blind man for 7 or 8 years. In the summer of 1892, during my solitary staying at a dormitory of an American university, I happened to read “A Society after 100 years,一 rooking backward—” by Edward Bellamy. It was an inspiration to me; I felt the blind opening his eyes to look up at the sky. Then I continued to read several tens of books on socialism at random. Thus my doubts were dispelled, and I made up my mind to do a salvation enterprise with socialism.

Note; He started his carrier as a Unitarian priest. Consulting with “Nihon Shyakai Shyugishi” written by Sanshiro Ishikawa (1903), as early as 1898, “Shyakat Shyugt Kenkyukat or Study Association of Socialism was raised among the Christians. They went on abroad to study Christianism, but having looked at the material side of the present society, they could not satisfy with theology; they wanted to adapt to the material society with a spirit of a Christian. At this moment, the evangelism of the socialist prevailed in Japan. And they came across the socialist propaganda and movement over there. Thus they felt light in the darkness, and they devoted entirely to research of socialism. Still, a man like Tomojt Murai and Isd Abe became generous socialists when they returned to Japan. And that Shya-kai Shyugi Kenkyukai was founded by them.” The members of the society included Sen Katayama and Shyust Kotoku. Indeed he later started his career as a socialist in society in November of 1898. But Abe retired from the movement after 1911, then appeared as a senior socialist in the 1930s again.


by Shyusui Kotoku

Let me confess frankly my thought. Related to the strategy and tactics of the Socialist movement, my thought has been changed a little since my imprisonment in the year before last, then been reviewed a great deal at the occasion of my foreign tour in the last year. Having been reminded of the state several years ago, I have found myself to be quite a different person.

I have discussed this matter hotly with Mr. Sakai a dozen times and often tried to convey it to the other comrades. Furthermore, a part of it has appeared on the Hikari, so there are a few comrades who know its development generally. But as far as now, I can not find a proper organ, and due to the difficulty of writing with my illness, there is no chance to deliver a purport of my thought to all comrades. The tide comes to high. A long silence will not contribute to our cause. I confess honestly that “universal suffrage and parliamentalism do not realize a true social revolution, and there is no other alternative but a direct action of the united workers to achieve the purpose of socialism.” This is my thought at the present time.

Once, I listened abundantly to the theories and opinions of German Social Democrats and its sympathizers, and that is the reason why I have emphasized the effect of voting and the efficiency of parliament. “If universal suffrage were realized, a great number of our comrades would be chosen, then socialism would become a reality with a resolution of the Diet.” This is my conscience. Of course, I have thought of the urgent need for the unification of the workers; at least, the first step of the socialist movement in Japan is nothing less than universal suffrage. Thus I have declared it with my pen and by mouth. Now I reflect it to be a naive and simple idea.

When I consider the aspects in detail, the so-called parliamentalism of today can not afford happiness for the masses. From the beginning, a member of parliament elected with an amalgam such as candidacy, militant and Sooshi activities, newspaper scandals, intrigues, blackmail, entertainment, buying votes, and so on, cannot be expected to have a serious conscience of the state and the people. However, once a proper person is chosen, he removes to a metropolis as an MP. “KYO wa KOKORO o utsusu” (a new abode makes one’s conscience afresh), so a proverb says; he is no longer a candidate nor a representative of his district. How many MPs have kept their promises before the election? All members of parliament, or many of them, estimate his own honor at the top, power in the middle, and his advantage at the rest. In his eyes, there is nothing else but his own prosperity, the honor of his family, and the interests of the party, even though he is qualified.

The consequence is not peculiar only to Japan under a limited election system. Most of the election’s victors in Switzerland, Germany, France, the U.S.A., and any other countries under universal suffrage are those of rich, brazen-faced popularity, and it is few that the first-rate people among the country or the party may be elected. Therefore, none of the parliament represents the consensus of public opinion in its strict meaning. This granted, it is also recognized by many scholars that the Diet does not express, as a whole, the will of the people even under universal suffrage. So reformative methods have been contrived, such as equal election (proportional method), direct voting (referendum), the people’s initiatives, and so on. But I will not explain the details here. Nevertheless, the parliament is not organized by the majority, i.e., the working class; on the contrary, it purports against the worker or is composed of Shinshi Batsu (bourgeoisie), trampling upon the worker. According to P. Kropotkin-in-his “Wage System,” the representative institution originated from a middle-class revolt against the king. At the same time, it has been contrived to reign over the working class, i.e., a typical governing method accompanied by the middle class, which I agree with him. Certainly, the member of parliament will be elected not only from the bourgeoisie but also from the worker. In England, 50 workers were elected in the last year. Yet you know, these workers, having succeeded in being the MP, lost the temper of the worker, and became acquainted with the luxury and delicious food, so that they are not severely criticized now?

There are many clerks who serve their shopkeepers, the attorneys serve their applicants, but the MP does not serve for the benefit of the whole worker. If he endeavored to eliminate a harmful law and to make a useful one, it would compatinate only with his temporary honor or profits, at best, with a motivation for reelection.

There is an opinion that the MP might be as you have described, but an MP of the socialist party will not betray the desire of the people with his honesty and sincerity. Well, I admit the member of the socialist party is all honest because anyone under his hardship is sincere, and few are frivolous. One does not dare participate in the depressed faction, which cannot promote his personal advantage. Some day comes when socialism obtains its prosperity, and a lot of MPs are elected. Then the candidates debating on the side of socialism will be not those of honesty but those of considering their own honor, power, advantage, or one who entered the socialist party to procure merely his seat in parliament. The victorious MPs will be those of rich, brazen-faced popularity.

As far as the former Liberal Party*’ struggled with adversity, all members were patriotic deplorers, while their vigor and spirit were superior to that of a socialist today. Yet immediately after they had been concerned about holding their forces, they no longer focused on the people’s benefit. Far from it, they attended to keep a seat and promote their interests. Soon under the cloak of cooperation, compromise, and mutual concession, the former revolutionary party became a slave to an enemy of life and death, or the Hanbatsu Seifu (the government monopolized by feudal lords). It is not a dubious story. On the contrary, it is natural that whenever a political party has intended to open parliament and occupy the major seat, it would be corrupted with success. If the socialist party takes up an enterprise with an illusion of a majority of votes or saliva full-in-mouth for a majority of seats, i.e., a vulgar force, sooner or later, it will track the footsteps of the Liberal Party, and its future may be predicted to be a calamity.

Nay, the case does not provide for the late Liberal Party. Did not Mr. Milleran, a member of the French Socialist Party, enter into the ministry having compromised with the bourgeoisie? John Burns, did he not partaken with an individualist to occupy a seat in the cabinet? I respect Milleran and Burns, but they have advanced one step towards corruption rather than a revolutionary. The spirit concerned with voting and the major seat is one approaching power, and the spirit clinging to power is none other than a source of concession and compromise. Fortunately, the socialist parties in both France and England are not so corrupted as they departed from them to secure their purity. But when we inquire into a cause, we must observe that either a MilTeran or a Burns is simply a product of the electoral and parliamentary policy of the socialist party.

(Supposedly, I offer you advancement by 100 steps, was the election carried out fairly, the MPs elected, and they represented the conscience of the people attentively. This granted, is it possible to realize our socialism at any rate? In Germany, the honorable country of Lassalle and Marx, only two comrades were elected under universal suffrage at first. Since then, it has elapsed over 31 years until the member reached eighty-one. On the other hand, the achievement of these 31 years’ struggle has been blown away with a mere ordinance without provoking any resistance. How trivial is that majority of votes! There is a time to suspend the Constitution as well as the violation of the rights of universal suffrage. There is also a time to disperse parliament. The ruling class decides it, having judged the forces of the socialists too strong to be controlled in the Diet. We can observe such instances in Germany. In the course of developments, there is no other alternative but to appeal to the unity of workers or direct action of the united workers. Then is it possible to take up a tactic of direct action without daily preparation and discipline of the workers?

Mr. Hydman, a leader of the British Socialist Democrat, lamented and said in an American magazine, “Wilshier,” that the Japanese have crashed into the capitalist society breaking through the feudal system of the middle age within these 40 years. They have achieved an enterprise for 40 years, which the other nations have endeavored for several centuries. On the other hand, what we, the socialists, have done during the same years? German Social Democrats have a membership of 3 million, accounting for two-fifths of the German army. They know their aim and the chance of its realization. But they dare not rise. Is it because of their extreme patience, modesty, and weakness? What do they want to do as revolutionaries with their carrier of 40 years? I ask them and other people: will the death in Europe be worse than that in Manchuria?

There is no argument against Mr. Hydman. If 3 million members were real revolutionaries, the socialist revolution would have been realized not before long.

But there is a difference between the voting member and the convinced one. 3 million members disciplined for the election do not function for the purpose of revolution. The suffragist and the parliamentary politician always persuade the worker to “vote, again you must vote, as soon as our comrades become the member of parliament and amount to the majority, the social revolution will be realized. You, the worker, are enough to cast a ballot.” Thus the honest worker believes in resting to parliamentalism and casts his ballot. Immediately it reaches 3 million votes. Yet this is not a convinced unity of 3 million, merely 3 million voters. Therefore an emergency arises, and being asked for insurrection, they complain that such an event can not be expected by virtue of voting and say they will think of another method in replacement of the ballot. The more parliamentalism gains its forces, the more the revolutionary movement declines due to this reason. Among German Federations, in Saxony, Lubeck, and Humburg, the most flourished districts of socialism, the rights of the election were subjected to hideous restriction. Yet, we have not been informed of any resistance of the people while they have born it patiently. Mr. Bebel explained that it is natural to struggle in parliament as far as he could enjoy electoral rights. Direct action, including a general strike, should be the last resort. I wonder how long they would like to commit such foolish errors! 1 do not suggest the German Social Democrats had not educated any worker, but without doubt, they had striven for their work on one day’s ballot.

Of course, the suffragist and the parliamentary politician demand a self-conscience and workers’ unity. However, universal suffrage was carried out, and they knew they could only perform something in the parliament with the combined unity of workers. But is it not true that everything is realized with the real self-conscience and the unity of workers with their direct action? It is needless to elect an MP and to ask for the parliament.

When an MP is corrupted, we have nothing else to do. The parliament can be dispersed; there is no more. Thereby the social revolution, i.e., the revolution by the worker, should be, after all, carried out with the worker’s own strength. The worker should keep his life safe instead of becoming a foot-stool of an ambitious candidate represented by the bourgeoisie. He ought to be satisfied with cloth and food. It may be an evangelic comment such as universal suffrage and the election of a candidate. Then why do you take up such an indirect method instead of a direct one? Why do you depend on such frivolous voting without doing the effective discipline for the worker? I estimate the amount of 2000 yen consumed for a candidate in the electoral competition in Japan. When the fund was invested purely for evangelic activities and the unity of workers, it would result in a tremendous effect. At the present moment, many socialist parties in Europe have become tired of the meager result of parliamentary power.

The socialist and the working class in the continent have been inclined to antagonism. It is observed that the member and reserve funds become reduced gradually due to the fanatic candidate campaign in the British Trade Union. It must be the most important point attracting the attention of the Japanese Socialist Party.

It is “the conquest of bread,” not political rights, that the working class demand: not for law, but for cloth and food. Therefore the parliament is at its most useless. If we are content to mend some article or eliminate a few items depending on parliamentary procedures, it is better to entrust our business to a social reformer or a state socialist. On the contrary, if we decide on a social revolution, the advancement of practical life for the working class, we must pour our energy into discipline and the unity of the worker instead of cultivating parliamentary forces. While the worker himself should make up his mind to achieve the purpose with his own hand, his direct action without regarding an MP. I repeat, “a ballot and an MP can not be trusted!”

However, I have denounced parliamentalism like this; I do not regard possession of electoral rights as the worst, nor am I forcibly against reformation of the electoral law. If universal suffrage were realized, the parliament would like to amend a bill considering the will of the people. Surely it is an advantage no more than that of labor insurance, the rules of factory management, tenant farmers, public security law, revision or abolition of rules of newspaper, other laws such as protection of labor and poor man’s rescue, etc., I mean such advantage is the same thing obtained from social reforming enterprise. Therefore it is one thing to work for universal suffrage, nay a virtuous thing, yet I can not admit it is the most emergent problem that a socialist has to solve.

Neither do I point out the electoral competition of candidacy among our comrades to be worse, nor do I object to your activities of parliamentarism. Far from it, I feel pleasure to find our comrades increased among MPs, for the same reason I can find them in the government, business circle, army and navy, circle of education, artisan, peasantry, and the other whole society and all classes. Then if you can, you may compete for a candidacy, yet it is not an emergent matter to be solved by the socialist party. At the least, as a socialist or a member of the socialist party, I believe in 10 convinced workers, more than a register of 1000 petitioners for universal suffrage, to achieve our purposes, such as a fundamental revolution of the economic system and destruction of the wage system. It is an urgent duty to use 10 yen for the unity of the worker instead of consuming 2000 yen for the electoral campaign. I also believe an advantage of exercise of a discussion meeting for the worker than ten times’ speeches in the parliament.

Comrades! As I have mentioned, I hope you will use a strategy and tactics of direct action by the unified workers, not take up a parliamentary policy hereafter in our socialist movement. I know perfectly well that you are participating passionately in the campaign for universal suffrage, and I am afraid you might not tolerate hearing my words. So I have hesitated to put them down a hundred times. But my conscience does not keep silent.

A long silence, I pondered it on, is not true to our cause. Moreover, some comrades engaged in the campaign in question have recommended to deliver my opinion, then I dare ask for your criticism and instruction about it.


In Japan, political terrorism is not a rare thing. Before the Restoration, even private revenge was an honorable act for the Bushi clan. People applauded 47 Samurais who avenged themselves on a covetous high official for their lord after one year’s hardships. Furthermore, several insurrections were recorded against the Meiji Government for its rapid change of society and unreasonable structure of hierarchy. But every time, the government took a proper measure and utilized the occasion to increase its coercive power. Then why Kotoku’s case shocked the people? Was there no example of the Emperor being killed in Japanese history? Of course, there were some cases. Yet to explode the Mikado with a bomb was beyond the imagination of the people. Besides this, it was contrived by the socialists, who would have been more cultivated in European thought than the common people.

According to the criminal law prior to the 2nd World War in Japan, it was condemned to death or life imprisonment to contrive killing or injuring the Emperor or the Imperial family. This treatment was in accordance with the violation of sovereignty. Without a doubt, Kotoku knew it perfectly. I will explain the truth of the plot and sketch out 4 main schemers in turn. Due to this conspiracy, 24 anarchists and socialists were subjected to a trial, and 12 were executed. It is said that the other 20 did not partake in the plot except Takichi Miyashita, Tadao Nimura, Suga Kanno (a woman), and Rikisaku Furukawa.

The chief promoter, Takichi Miyashita, was a machineman of a sawmill at Akeshina, Nagano Pref., 3 hours’ train trip from Tokyo.

After primary school, he studied machinery himself and engaged in several shops. In January 1907, he became acquainted with the daily Heimin Shinbun; in February, he visited Kotoku. He explained to his prosecutor his impression of socialism: that the machiners were often subjected to injury or even death besides daily laboring. At the same time, the capitalists had been free from such dangers besides enjoying luxury, so he imagined it was due to injustice in this world. At first, he consoled himself it was caused by natural fate, but after he read the said paper, such injustice could be removed. Thereby it appealed to him so much.

At his preliminary examination, he confessed his resolution to harm the Emperor. In 1907 he preached socialism to his fellow men, who agreed with his opinion concerning governmental officials. Still, if his accusation was related to the Imperial family, they retained hereditary sentiments and did not consent to him. So he thought of the necessity to destroy the imperial family for the cause of socialism.

November loth 1908, the Emperor was about to pass by train at TaifuStation, and Miyashita distributed pamphlets about Anarcho-Communism. He explained as before to the bystanders, but they did not listen to him at all. Moreover, the peasants congratulated this event without bothering about a prohibition of working during the Emperor’s passage. So he again considered that the countrymen had a Superstition of the Imperial family. Therefore to carry out socialism, it was necessary to make a bomb at first and by throwing it to the High Majesty to persuade the people that he was a human being to bleed as well as we were.

From these experiences, he schemed his plan. On June 1909, he procured 2 lb of sandarac through a friend under the pretext of making steel from iron ore. Then July or August, he obtained 1 lb of chlorate of potash from a pharmacy. Again September, pertaining to Niimura, borrowed a muller for smashing sandarac from Niimura’s friend. While he consulted his fellow machineman, Yusuru Nitta (who was also condemned from this participation for 10 years), they made zinc coated 5 cans of approximately 2.38 in length x 1.19 in diameter. One was filled with explosives and pebbles and used for a test. Its explosive power was so amazing that Takichi was nearly blown down by a bomb blast. The test succeeded, but its sound caused fear for them. They fired 4 cans gradually in a boiler of the shop.

Then he made two cans again based on this experience.

November 31st, 1909, he visited Heimin Sha and consulted the practicability of his plan with Kotoku, Kan-no, and Tadao Niimura. Further, on New Year’s day, they had a test of throwing empty cans. But, this chance has been lost with much boasting talk. Really Kotoku was hesitant due to his sickness and denunciation of personal terrorism.

Though his followers continued and refined their plan in more detail. For instance, in those days, according to testimony by Niimura, they consulted together about their role. However, the decision of the first thrower of the bomb was postponed because of their insistence. Tadao Niimura came from Nagano Pref. like Takich Mi-yashita. His conversion to socialism caused him to see the misery of native folks due to the Russo-Japanese War. So he acquainted with Kotoku and other socialists and studied various magazines issued by those comrades. His commitment to the propaganda of the deed was caused by the suspension of his magazine “Tohoku Hyron” (Review of Tohoku) and the injustice of the police toward the red flag affair. Such events taught him that there was no other way to protest the government than to resort to physical power. For the government suppressed without mercy the socialist. Yet his participation in this crime induced his innocent elder brother Zenbei Nii-mura who had stood security for Takichi Miyashita, to obtain his job at the sawmill and borrow the muller for explosives into 8 years imprisonment.

While Suga Kan-no, who behaved like Sophy Perovskaya in the assassination of Alexander II., was a passionate woman. She and other comrades pointed out to Kotoku that they wanted to carry out their plan in every way in accordance with the book of Kindai Mu-seifu Shugi, i.e., Modern Anarchism, by a professor, Kemuriyama. She lost her mother at 11 years old and grew up under her stepmother’s guardianship. At the age of 17, she got married to a merchant, but she could not be satisfied with her circumstances and got divorced by making her father’s illness a good excuse. At the age of 21, she engaged in journalism, but she confessed her educational background was self-study except for the primary course. When she moved to Heimin Sha, she helped the business by distributing paper and pamphlets or participating in a demonstration of the socialists. During this period, she lived with Kanson Arahata, and then she was kept in custody for the sake of her activities. Truly the red flag affair mentioned above led her to take up extreme action. Her indignation towards police lynching acquainted her with the inefficiency of the mild campaign; rather, she thought of rebellion or assassination to stir the consciousness of the people. She consulted with the other women comrades, but they usually abhorred and were apt to withdraw from the actual movement with a bitter experience.

In this critical moment, she met Takichi Miyashita at Heimin Sha. In reply to the prosecutor, she declared that she had no malicious feelings toward the Emperor as a person. Still, at present, the Emperor was anyway the head and font of exploitation economically, various vices, political, and a superstition. Therefore she said of the necessity to destroy the individual on such status. Furthermore, she denied having been the wife of Arahata, the socialist. But during the latter’s imprisonment owing to the red flag affair, she became intimate with Kotoku. By this time, Kotoku divorced his wife for the reason that she would have been involved in his cause and such inconvenience would drag her brother-in-law, the judge, too. This excuse seems somewhat ridiculous, though even confirming the innocence of Kotoku’s wife, she would be fairly accused of leaving her husband in a state of physical weakness. On the other hand, if Kotoku had taken advantage of his divorce, the scandal of his love affair cost him so much. For their free love caused a repulsion of the comrades. But a sensible man apologized for this affair that Suga Kan-no was left in a helpless state because of her tuberculosis, and Kotoku and Kan-no assisted each other. The detail cannot be decided. After the dissension from the friends of the Social-Democrat Party, he was incessantly so chased by the authorities as he could not even earn his living with his pen, and he was eager to find an opportunity to propagate his opinion by deed. Some critics ascribed his commitment to the criminal conspiracy to his advanced intestinal tuberculosis, but I refute this viewpoint. He was too scholastic to do a crime. Under severe surveillance by police, he was planning to write a treatise on the extermination of Christ and accepted to write a history of the age of civil wars at the request of a publisher. He was obscurely aware of treason contrived by his followers and even meditated to obtain information on how to make a bomb. But he did not commit.

On May 25th, 1910, Takichi Miyashita and Tadao Niimura were arrested after law enforcement discovered 2 cans with an explosive at the sawmill; on June 1st, Kotoku was seized at Yugawara, a summer resort in the west, and 2 hours trip by train from Tokyo. While Kan-no only postponed her detention for her publication to examine this new crime. The authorities utilized this affair to smash the socialist movement in its embryo. Other 22 innocent people were picked up at will over the whole country on the pretext of a light relation with Heimin Sha or Kotoku as an individual or even subscribing to the socialist pamphlets. Among them, 3 Buddhists and a doctor were included. On January 18th, 1911, 24 persons were condemned to death, but later half were executed. Related to this, it is said that the Emperor decided by lot to show his mercy. Notorious attornies tried to appease their punishment worthy of the civilized country. But the politicians who cooperated with prosecutors used a syllogism, i.e., Anarcho-Communism is thought to admit a revolution by violence, and the revolution by violence resulted naturally in terrorism; therefore, the said Anarchism is terrorism. Thus the direct action meaning of General Strike of the Workers was distorted to be a private assassin or a nihilist’s terror deliberately by the government and inspired the people with its horror. The truth has thoroughly been averted from the eyes of the people except for some leaks of its secret up to the 1940s.

I extract here a letter from Unpei Morichika, who was deeply influenced by Kotoku and edited Osaka Heimin Shinbun in 1907 when the daily paper in Tokyo was suspended, to show the innocence of the accused in this political trial.

+++Death penalty! The decision was quite unexpected. You know the reason well and be surprised. When I heard the sentence, I was so taken aback that even a drop of tears did not fall. In fact, until that moment, I imagined many things for the future in the expectation of my innocency and indulged in beautiful dreams such as a hothouse, of which a blueprint for construction, a method of cultivation of strawberry, how to raise a fruit tree and grapes, what benefit would be bestowed to the peasants and how to prevail agricultural knowledge among the youth of villages. But those dreams vanished instantly with a sentence of death. I, as a criminal, shall be deprived of my life. But it is needless to argue about the decision. From the first, I have believed my innocence. Therefore my death is not that of the martyr for the cause but a death of a peasant who engaged in agricultural work after having retired from social movements and was involved in a tragedy. It is somewhat regrettable to die in the way of the youth who has resolved to support his family and ease the mind of the parents.

He was not an anarchist but a sympathizer-socialist. Though an evil hand of the state always strangled the innocent mercilessly like this instance. While Denjiro Kotoku apologized for his conduct with his letter to the attornies in which he commented about Anarchism vs. terrorism, the nature of a revolution, the meaning of the direct action, policies of European states and Japan, Riot-Mob-Rbvellion, and errors of hearings by the prosecutor. (See “A letter from Prison”)

He insisted on his direct action, distorted as a violent revolution and an act of violence. Then he commented on a piece of faulty written evidence by the prosecutors caused by a defect in the legal system.

The decision was pronounced under severe guarding with 190 policemen and 56 gendarmes. After 6 days of the decision, the execution of 12 prisoners was hurriedly carried out.

It is said that the trial was designed to divert the eyes of the people from the annexation of Korea to Japan in 1911.

Kotoku maintained his atheism inherited from Nakae to his last day and replied to a prison chaplain that death is an inevitable result of the natural law and he could not believe the joy and pain of his life in the other world. Again he said, for a materialist, death is like a stop of the pendulum that has swung to and fro up to that moment.

Thus a self-educated anarchist grown up in the atmosphere of French enlightenment sacrificed his life. He may be told a typical example of carrying Rousseau’s theory to its logical conclusions through a modified philosophy of Nakaenism in Japan.

Since then, monarchic absolutism cooperated with militarism and Japanese spiritualism flourished, and persecution of the anarchists and socialists was increased daily. So it is usually called “the age of winter” among the intelligentsia.

Note: In post-war, a survivor of the High Treason crime, Mr. Seima Sakamoto, demanded a reexamination of the affair to the Supreme Court, but it was rejected with an excuse of insufficiency of new proof being worthy of opening court on July 1967.


This translation is based on “Gokuchyu yori Boryoku Kakumei Ron-au,” literally “To discuss a violent revolution from prison,” edited by Shobet Shioda in “the Diaries and Letters of Kotoku Shusui,” an edition of Mirai Sha of 1965. I have put a different title because a sensational one is not fitting, and the reader may be led astray from the reality of Kotoku. We must pay consideration to the living but the truth to the dead.

In May of 1910, a mass arrest of the well-known High Treason Affair started from Nagano Prefecture, and Kotoku was captured on Ist June at Yugawara, a health resort, where he engaged in his writing of “Kiristo Masateu Ron.” It is said that several hundreds of anarchists and socialists were arrested over the country, but 26 persons were prosecuted. Further, 24 anarchists, because the authorities condemned them, received a death sentence on 18 January 1911, then 12 persons were reduced to life imprisonment. The last survivor of the affair, Seima Sakamoto, died in January of 1975 without obtaining a legal right of re-examination in court despite his appeal.

Anyway, Kotoku wrote this letter on his trial to clear his standpoint and defend his associates, for the prosecutor attorneys chased the innocents to the gallows obeying an intention of the betes noire, including Mutsu Hito, the emperor of Meiji, to exterminate the socialists and anarchists in the country. On 17, 18 November 1910, he wrote it in a cold, solitary cell, prepared for his death, and disclosed the real state with a letter-style essay. It is said the original has no title; then the translator is better off naming it.


by Kotoku Shusui

at Tokyo Prison

December 18, 1910

To Isobe-sensei



I know all of you might have been persecuted with various means for our affair as you have defenced of the traitors and the bandit, despite attending the court every day, spending your precious time, and ignoring your own business. When I consider the pains, damages, and troubles you have received from your surroundings, I have no words to express my regret. But I remember your sympathy bestowed on us and say a thousand thanks to you.

In Proceedings of the recent court, the saying “Kotoku has provoked a violent revolution” has become a part of indictment for my comrades, though our anarchist opinion about a revolution and the nature of our movement have been completely ignored both at Prosecutor’s examination and preexamination, having added with a whimsical hypothesis, explanation, and addition, which, I am afraid, Gistort at the most the reality of the affair. Thereby I offer you my opinion and the fact generally for your reference.

Whenever the anarchist movement is mentioned, many people understand it as an assassination of a sovereign person with a pistol or a bomb, which shows their ignorance of what Anarchism is. You, the attorneys, know already Anarchism is a kind of philosophy similar to those of Lao Tzu and Chang Tzu, which taught us we must progress in accordance with a general tendency to fulfill our freedom and happiness because the tendency is natural in human society to be realized with mutual aid and communal life bonded by morality and charity without the compulsion of the government as it is now.

Therefore it is needless to say that the anarchist hates oppression, disdains bondage as well as violence, and there is no one else who loves freedom and peace like him. I am asked by a judge whether P. Kropotkin is a leader of the anarchists, and he might think of him as a rascal. Still, in truth, Kropotkin is a Russian prince, now an old man at 69 years of age, at first having become a military man. A first-degree geographer with Scientific research and found-out useful discoveries, he is a man of genius in every learning field, including philosophy and literature. About 20 years ago, when he was cast into prison on suspicion of a bomb explosion by the workers at Lyons, most first-rate scholars and literary men in Europe petitioned the French president for his release in virtue of learning, and the president admitted it immediately. The petition record was jointly signed with scholars of Britannica added with special potes of H. Spencer and Victor Hugo, who were well known in Japan. Thus the importance of his post and reputation as a Scholar is recognized. On the other hand, his personality is so noble, and his character is gentle and kind as he disdains any violence.

Again the late Elise Reclus, a French man who enjoyed similar popularity to Kropotkin, was a scholar of geography, and France estimated his honor, while the metropolis took his name and put it on a street in Paris to commemorate his achievements. He hated killing so much as disdaining to eat meat and became a vegetarian. Indeed many anarchists in Europe are vegetarians. Then is it possible one who does not dare to kill a domestic animal feels the pleasure of assassination?

Not only those scholars regarded to be the leader, but also the workers of Anarchism, so far as I have acquainted with, have good manners and read a book, further many of them do not drink sake nor have a taste for smoking. They are not at all knaves.

In truth, there emerged an assassin from the anarchists. But it does not mean the activist of Anarchism is without fail an assassin. Far from it, many assassins originated not only from the anarchists but also from the state socialists, the Republicans, the Minkenka, the patriots, and the loyalists. The assassins have almost all asserted to be anarchists, and many are falsely accounted for. Indeed, when Alexander the second was terrorized, it alluded to the performance of the Anarchist Party. Still, it was done by the advocates of civic liberty movements like Sei-yukai today in our country. In fact, having consulted with history, the number of assassinations by the anarchist is a few compared to those of other parties, and it may be counted as less than 10 instances worldwide for the last 50 years. While those of the loyalists and the patriots, there are some tens or several hundred in Japan only, not to mention the world. If the idea is asserted to be terrorism due to the appearance of an assassin, there is no other violent idea than the loyal or patriotic one. Therefore it may be said that the formation of an assassin does not concern his ideology. Still, he commits his deed affiliated with his peculiar disposition and special conditions under which he lives.

For instance, had the government so oppressed as many comrades were robbed of their means of subsistence besides loss of freedom of speech, assembly, and publication, or due to tyranny of the rich, the miserable condition stricken with hunger and freezing of the poor, which can not be regarded without compassion, or there is no other law-abiding and peaceful method to deal with, one feels to get on a dead rock. A passionate youth commits to assassination and violent action. For him, such a deed seems, at any rate, a right of self-defense. It is like a deed of the patriot who has imagined that the governal officials have deviated from the right way of the state or no other method to alleviate severe oppression for his movement, then he commits an assassination with his indignation. He is not inclined to take up an assassination as an aim

and a means from the beginning, but he is chased like a hare to such a deed with his disposition and particular conditions. Accordingly, when we consult history, the first step of violence is usually initiated by the governmental officials, the rich, and the peer, while the militant and the worker would be provoked, so exploited as they are compelled to revolt against them with violence for a last resort. I know there is a special cause with the assassination of President McKinley of America, the case of Umberto, the king of Italy, and a bomb thrown at Alphonso, the king of Spain, but I will not explain the detail.

Briefly, an assassin appears from any party whenever one’s nature corresponds to his living conditions. It can not be asserted only by an anarchist. Nay, the truth is that there are a few instances of assassination among anarchists because of their inclination for Peace and freedom. I hope the prosecutor’s attorneys do not hold a prejudice of “an anarchist is an assassin.”

There occurs a problem: how to do the anarchist revolution when you do not attack a sovereign with a bomb. The word KAKUMEI has been coined after a Chinese version, which means the emperor titled A shall take place the throne from the emperor titled with the will of Providence; in other words, it suggests a shift of sovereign or emperor, but our KAKUMEI is a translated word of REVOLUTION which means a fundamental transformation of political and social institutions without regard to change of a sovereign. However, Ashikaga Shyogun was replaced by Lord Oda, followed by Toyotomi and Tokugawa, one after another, yet the regime was the same as the Samurai power of feudalism; we can not allude to such transformation as a revolution. On the other hand, in OSEI ISHIN, the Restoration of Imperial Rule was a revolution despite the emperor institution. It does not mean whether the emperor or Satsu-chyo (the leading political factions represented by the Satsuma and Chyoshyu clans) took over Tokugawa’s Shogunate, but because of the fundamental change in hundreds of conventional institutions. The new regime of Taika, a thousand years ago, reached nearly a revolution; however, the position of the emperor was intact or achieved by his hands, not through the hands of the people. In other words, when we account for the revolution, it does not suggest that sovereign A is replaced by sovereign B or a forceful individual or group C takes political power from another person or group D. On the contrary, it indicates a process of coming to a new social organization followed by the decay of the ancient regime at its apogee of decline. It signifies a full stop in social evolution. Therefore, in its strict sense, the revolution occurs spontaneously; neither individual nor party can induce it. For example, none of a Kido, a Saigo, or an Ookubo initiated. Still, the feudal institution and class system founded at the beginning of Tokugawa Shogunate had become unable to accompany the advancement of humanity and society for 300 years, manifested themselves a decay and a failure, so they were overthrown with spontaneities. Without the ripened opportunity of overthrowing the ancient regime and old institution, even one hundred Ookubo and Saigo could not do anything. Had they been 20 years earlier than they were, their heads would have been chopped off like Shyoin Yoshida* or buried in oblivion. Fortunately, they got a chance, participation, and a ride on the tide; they never initiated a revolution. Indeed the genesis of a revolution is always like building up a drain whenever water comes.

Thereby we could not design previously how to initiate a revolution or how to proceed with it. At the time of the Meiji Restoration, no one could premediate and foresee it due to fluctuations in the situation. When power was handed down peacefully with a memorandum to restore the supreme power to the emperor, a civil war at Toba and Fushimi was ignited when the people supposed the inevitability of fire and blood scene at Edo, the metropolis in those days, Katsu and Saigo turned its crisis with a negotiation behind the curtain. Meanwhile, the people felt relieved from a calamity, a revolt of the Shyogitai, and a battle at Oou District started by turns. Even the transfer of the metropolis Edo (Tokyo) would result in a disaster if there were no golden chance to hold a meeting by two representative men like Katsu and Saigo. Is it not true such an epoch-making event could not be predicted at all by human beings like us? So that a presupposition obtained by intelligentsias and the precursors is that the institution and hierarchy of today will not go with the advance and development of the society and humanity, otherwise its overthrow and genesis of the new institution become inevitable after the feudal hierarchy it follows by the county and prefecture system contrary to the former, next to despotic monarchism, it will be constitutional liberalism and so on. Anyway, it is fine how to shape a revolution, whether a coming revolution is peaceful or warlike. Considering this evolution, after the decay of personal competition and private property institutions, it follows a communistic one. In contrast, an anarchistic liberal institution drives off the modern static despotism. Thus, we want to have such a revolution.

There was a presumption offered the other day, what the emperor’s family would be like at the time of realization of the anarchist revolution. Still, it is not a problem indicated or ordered by us. Far from it, the emperor’s family should determine it themselves. As I mentioned, the anarchists long for a free society for millions without the compulsion of arm forces and power. When the society had become a reality, no one would decree for the emperor’s family what to do with any power. Unless one does not injure the freedom of his fellow man, the emperor’s family can keep the prosperity and happiness at her own pleasure, and there is no reason to be coerced.

Thus we can not predict under what conditions a revolution shall be realized and how it shall be achieved. At any rate, the participants in the revolution of freedom and peace for the million people must strive not to involve violence as well as to lessen the victim’s old ages that it has not induced violence toward the victim. Still, such collision has usually been provoked by obstinate conservative elements against the general tendency. Even today, is it true that the emperor’s family, which is said to pray for freedom and peace of the people, would have used violence to cooperate with the stubborn conservatives against this tendency? That fancy is like imagining the affair of the Ganji and Keio period at the time of the Kansei period. I say it is impossible. I hope the anarchist revolution should not be misunderstood because it aims to assassinate or shoot a ruler.

I wonder if there is a misunderstanding that if a revolution were a natural tendency like the construction of the drain whenever water came, then it would be useless to exert a revolutionary movement, while there exists the movement which is to provoke a revolution and to cast a bomb.

The so-called revolutionary movement by the anarchist is not to induce a revolution immediately, nor is it a mutinous assault. Far from it, it includes all efforts such as cultivating one’s understanding and knowledge, and discipline of his ability to contribute his service for the coming revolution. Thus the newspaper’s publication, the organ, writing, and distribution of the books and leaflets, speech and meetings are utilized to explain a reason and a sequence of the vicissitude of the tendency and the social evolution, thus cultivating the knowledge related to them.

Besides this, setting up a trade union with various cooperative works is an advantageous discipline for us to have the capacity to live in a commune either at the time or in the aftermath of the revolution. But the previous trade union movement in Japan merely promoted the interests at hand of the working class but ignored the future revolution. Even the anarchist has not yet set to work for the trade union in Japan.

Therefore it is a barbarous and unreasonable accusation that a youth has agitated with the aim of revolt or assassination of the emperor because he has usually insisted on a revolution and conducted a campaign.

Among our associates, it is commonly called the movement to lecture on anarchist theory and to distribute newspapers and stickers of our cause. Yet it is different to provide a revolution.

It may be observed that the movement would be useless if the revolution had come spontaneously, but it is not right. Whenever the ancient regime and the old institution arrived at their apogee, then the society declined of its own accord, moreover were there no idea and knowledge about the general tendency with what new institution and organization would enable the people to replace the old one, nor there was ability in participation, the society would have weathered away with the ancient regime, without sprouted a bud of revolution. On the other hand, if we had prepared with knowledge and ability, a new bud would have been put forth; however, the original stock would have died. The society of the Roman Empire had declined without new ideas and new movements, merely in reliance on its decay.

In France, corruption reached the zenith in the last days of the Bourbon dynasty. Yet, the ideas of Rousseau, Voltaire, and Montesquieu had prepared a new life, which induced a revolution instead of a catastrophe. Thus new France emerged forth. On the occasion of the revolution of the Japanese Restoration, preparation had also been provided beforehand. That is a propagation of loyalism. The Dai Nippon Shi (the History of Japan), published by Mito circle; the Gaishi (the unofficial History) and the Seiki (the Political theory), written by Rai Sanyo, Japanese National Classics advocated by Motori and Hirata, and a speech tour by Hikokuro Takayama stood for its witness. All of them knew with an intuition that the Shyogunate by the Tokugawa family had gradually become unfit for the life of Japanese people. Rather than having perceived it directly, they prepared a revolution with consciousness or vague consciousness. At the downfall of the Tokugawa family, they had already acquired sufficient knowledge and ideas not to be confused in the Restoration. Thus there was no collapse, but a splendid revolution was realized. If such preparation were not provided for the revolution, alas! Japan would have met the same fate as Korea today due to a sudden change of conditions, such as an invasion of foreigners. I hold to the opinion that the loss of independence in Korea was caused by a lack of capacity and idea to enter into the new society and the new life through her own efforts and reformation, but leaving a decay or a downfall to take its own course.

There is no permanent institution or organization which does not fluctuate and evolute ceaselessly, for a human being is activated as well as a society. It is necessary to advance and renovate it in accordance with the time. A minor punctuation with such advancement and innovation is called a reformation or a renovation during a big one, a revolution. Therefore to prevent the decay and downfall of society, I believe it is necessary to propagate new ideas and new thoughts; in other words, a revolutionary movement is indispensable.

I was surprised to hear that direct action was understood to be a synonym with a violent revolution and throwing a bomb under my examinations both at the prosecutor’s office and the preliminary court of inquiry. Chyokusetsu-kédo is a Japanese equivalent to a Direct Action in English, which generally indicates a term used by the workers’ movement in Europe. It is not a proper term for the anarchist, for the trade union workers consist of an anarchist, a socialist, and a patriot. While the meaning is that the worker ought to do himself in virtue of promotion of his own advantage, as a whole, for the sake of the trade union, he must strive for his own without relying on a slow-moving Parliament nor indirect action with the interference of a parliamentarian, but a direct action by the worker himself, that is, without choosing a representative, he wants merely to go forward. Now I explain it in practice. Instead of asking Parliament to make a law for factories that improve facilities or regulate workers, negotiate directly with the owner. If the latter refuses a negotiation, the former will push on a general strike. For that reason, a direct action often indicates a general strike.

Another example. There is a disputant advocating expropriation of food from the rich man when the hungry workers lay on the street due to unusual economic crisis and panic. Then expropriation is also another method of direct action.

Furthermore, one holds an opinion that it is better the trade union maneuvers everything without waiting for a resolution or a decree from Parliament at the time of revolution. This is also one of direct actions.

However, one is in favor of the theory of direct action; it can not be concluded that he supports everything not subjected to parliamentary procedures, nor can it be confused with a riot, a murder, robbery, and even fraud, as they do not go through Parliament. Parliaments in Europe and America are almost all corrupted everywhere. It is true there are a few good ones, but they can not do anything with their opinion of the minority. Therefore not depending on Parliament, the worker wants to do it directly. That is the theory of the trade union, i.e., direct action does not suggest doing anything at any cost.

No matter how having dismissed the notion of parliamentalism and advocated direct action, one militant restricts his activities to make a reduction of farm rent under the umbrella organization of Tenant Farmer’s League. While the other worker wants it in favor of a general strike, thus the direct action is carried out with a different aim and method according to the person concerned and his conditions. Indeed, it is absurd to add one great accusation to our affair with an understanding of direct action as a violent revolution and convincing us, the direct actionists.

To take aside the truth and the motive of the affair for a while, as I have mentioned above, the anarchist does not approve of violence, nor is Anarchism evangelism for violence. In Europe, there is also a misunderstanding about it. To be sure, they culminate and slander it maliciously, but it is a rare case that they have persecuted the anarchist barbarously, having deprived and outraged all of his civic rights, even his liberty of livelihood, as it is done in Japan and Russia. In the civilized countries of Europe, the newspaper and the leaflet are freely issued, while the meetings take place without suppression. In France, there are 7 or 8 Kinds of anarchist weeklies; on the other hand, in England, a country of monarchism and allied with Japan, the organs in English, Russian and Jewish languages are published. Furthermore, P. Kropotkin stays in London and puts out his works freely; in fact, a book entitled “A calamity in Russia” was issued last year by the Research Committee for the Russian Affair of British Parliament. Such a book as “the Conquest of Bread,” of which I have made a Japanese version, has been translated into English, German, Russian, Italian, and Spanish from the French original. Then it is estimated highly as a chiefs a’oeuvre, and only Japan and Russia are among the civilized countries that have barbarously banned it.

Really there is a country that proposed suppressing Anarchism as a danger with alliance, and I have heard a rumor of connection to Japan. Still, such a proposal has been usually offered by Germany, Italy, and Spain, whose intention is to persecute the anarchist at first. Then if anyone revolts a little with indignation, they will immediately take a measure of suppression on the pretext of violence. Thus a suppressive treaty has often been proposed with the allied countries. Still, there is no chance of its enactment, for it is impossible to outrage freedom of one’s thought, even though the world is so corrupted as it disguises in the skin of civilization. I want to mention that England, an allied country with Japan, is against such a proposal on any occasion.

I imagine the word “Boryoku Kakumei,” namely a violent revolution, this time-has been invented with an arbitrary definition that a revolution can be invoked or performed at any time whenever you have acquired with great arms and forces or having judged from the oriental thought which shows a revolution as the replacement of sovereignty and that all is a violent revolution such as a riot and a mutiny advocated by a revolutionary. But as I have mentioned, you might understand the real sense of revolution, and it must be strictly distinguished between a riot and a revolution. I have not used a word of violent revolution as far as I have talked with Oishi and Matsuo (I wonder if the mere opinion would be regarded as a plan or a plot from a legal point of view, for I am not a lawyer). Still, so it has been contrived almost always by the prosecutor and the preliminary judge.

I have heard that Oishi stated, “I have acquainted with Paris Commune from Kotoku.” In truth, I might have cited an example from Paris Commune. Yet it is well known for a scholar of French culture like you, Isobe-sensei, that a tumult of Paris Commune was caused in 1871 after the French and Prussian war and that the workers’ insurrection, occupied Paris city, controlled municipal government at their will for a moment when the air was filled with panic-stricken due to humiliation of the peace treaty and hardness of livelihood. Even at that moment, the government was at Versailles, not turned over, but the people established only a commune in Paris for a while. It can not be alluded to a revolution like those of 1795 and 1848, so the former is usually called “INSAREKSHON,” that is, an insurrection or a riot and a tumult.

At a public court, Oishi stated, too, about the French Revolution, but I think it was of this Paris Commune. He might have misunderstood the Commune like a revolution or made a slip of his tongue about it.*

Anyway, the purport of my talk was that it was done so and so at Paris Commune;. In contrast, we could not do so much, but we wanted to clothe the poor folk warmly and feed them enough, even for a short period. Yet, I had no intention of carrying it out immediately. I only imagined that if the economic crisis and depression of today continued for three and five years, then the hungry people lay on the streets it would be needed to rescue them even though they were committing such tumult.

As for this point, you may grasp the meaning of my statement when you examine not only the last record but also the first one.

For instance, around the hard times during Tenmei and Tenppo, it was inevitable and self-defense of the People to expropriate the goods from the rich, and a terrorist revolted against political oppression. Then it is impossible to calculate the interests deeply and whether the means are served for a future revolution.

It does not serve for a revolution to raise a disturbance in a peaceful land without any cause, which induces a vain sacrifice with the destruction of Property and lives of human beings. But when the tyranny of the rich and the government come to the zenith, and the people are chased to the verge of ruin, it is profitable for a future revolution to help them. Furthermore, such a deed can not be achieved with consulting to one’s advantage; on the contrary, he raises beside himself emotionally and is pushed by circumstances.

In the case of Chyusai Oshio, the rich made a corner in rice under the covering of famine, the price of rice raised highly, and thus the rich massacred the poor indirectly. The honest man couldn’t look on with indifference. According to a historian, the riot of Oshio damaged the dignity of the Tokugawa government. It accelerated the atmosphere of a revolution, but we are not sure that he had thought of it, nor can we affirm he had intended to invoke a nationwide revolution.

Having judged from continuous examinations, many defendants are transferred to a public trial with an accusation that all of them “associated with Kotoku in a violent revolution.” I have also been examined many a time with such words as the violent revolution under Preliminary Court, and I have endeavored to make the word correctly with the difference between a revolution and a riot.

They have declared the definition being nothing, but I think many defendants have now suffered from the very definition. As far as I understand, both the prosecutor and the judge of preliminary examination have spelled by talk “a violent revolution” and coined a hard phrase such as “a death-defying person” then accused severely with a syllogism like “the revolution of Anarchism acknowledges elimination of the emperor’s family. The plot of Kotoku is to carry out a revolution with violence. Therefore the associates with it are, to be sure, to commit high treason.”

Thus I feel very sorry for them that my daily talk about the direct action and the revolutionary movement has involved them in the affair.

We, the anarchists, regard the tribunal and the law may not judge human beings fairly, but I feel its truth and danger when I have experienced it personally.

As for me, I am willingly resigned to my fates, so I do not like to chatter about it, but related to the defendants’ advantage, I want to suggest something.

Firstly the record made by the prosecutor can not be trusted. I have met the prosecutor’s examination several ten times, and being made to hear it two or three times at first, then I have been deprived of a chance to record my presence, without mentioning to hear it. Subsequently, I am instructed that the prosecutor has written the record so and so, and I have found it “my own statement”; in other words, the words the prosecutor used with his imagination have been regarded as my statement. I think the case is similar for many defendants. But which the preliminary judge will be impressed with, the prosecutor’s record

or the statement of the defendants? It is indeed a dangerous thing. Moreover, the prosecutor’s examination method is usually to make a trap or coerce a debate; therefore, if you cannot look through a trick and argue with the prosecutor, the statement is made easily with his instructions. I can cite each proof, but I do not enter the detail now. Yet having been reminded of my personal experiences, I think the condition is worse for the youth from the country. When I heard the statement by Yoshio Ishimaki that he had heard “the plan of Miyashita from Gudo,” as I had acquainted with it, I understood it a trap intended to seduce Gudo Uchiyama in this affair for the manufacture of a bomb by Miyashita had been of late after the meeting of Gudo and Ishimaki, thereby such conversation had not existed. It is easily cleared up when the fact is plain, but anyone can be trapped with a more skillful trick. For if one is suggested that a person says so and so, he may think it might have been true, then the statement is shaped definitely from a dubious story, and reversely it becomes a fetter for the fellow defendant. Thus I believe the prosecutor’s record is no less than falsification and misrepresentation besides a far-fetched interpretation, though I can not make it out without reading.

I have trusted in the fairness and caution of the preliminary judge. Despite the other preliminary judges, Mr. Ushio, the judge who examined my case, at least seemed to investigate with fairness and caution, which satisfied me. But however fair and cautious the judge is, it is impossible to make a perfect record under the present institution. Firstly the record is not made with short-hand. Still, the judge puts it down in a style of question and answer with his own understanding based on hearing the defendant’s statement, then some sentences are inserted, and the others omitted. However, the preliminary judge grasps the real state of the defendant due to oral pleadings, and the third person (the judge of a public trial) concludes from mere words. The latter’s explanation will differ largely from the former. Secondly, it is difficult to correct the record. The clerk makes us hear the record, yet when our brains are tired of a lengthy examination, we hardly try not to miss a word in a rapid reading, and it is impossible to discern instantly whether it is right or wrong. While thinking it over, the reading voice goes forward so far as we can not make it out of the head or the tail. Thus if there are several or ten several wrongs, it is only one to be corrected. Were he illiterate, he could not find a proper word, then he seems not to argue the statement; however, it is distorted on a pretext of the same effect in phraseology. Even I could not follow every word with correction and left them as they were. Thirdly we regard the preliminary examination lightly as if the preparation for a public trial. We do not think each word and each sentence of oral pleadings shall be defined legally and leave it till the trial begins. But this is our misunderstanding. Now it seems there is no other important record than that of preliminary examination, but many defendants have missed a chance due to inexperience in a public trial. Thus it follows that the preliminary record has been compiled with carelessness. As for me, I am accustomed to the language and have the record correct comparatively, yet because of tiredness, I have left it to correct till the public trial. I think the defendants did the same. The defect of oral pleadings and the record is caused by a defect of institutions and our inexperience, so I dare not amend or propose to indicate an error in my case. Yet I hope you consider this point when you deal with those pitiable defendants.

The above-mentioned is the purport of my statement as your reference. My brain is tired of continuous trials, so I can not shape my thought systematically. Besides, my fingér becomes frozen because of no heating in the cell, and I have lost my pen holder thrice during my writing, and I am afraid it is troublesome to grasp the meaning of my bad composition and penmanship. I ask you for your pardon.

If you consider there is something to be serviceable, please transfer this statement to the judge or the prosecutor.

In the afternoon, 18 Dec., 1910

at Tokyo Prison

by Denjiro Kotoku*


From his youth Kotoku nourished himself in Chinese classics, particularly interested in poems of the Tang dynasty. His favorite authors were Li Po and Tu Fu. He made more than 147 poems after the style of Chinese poets.


The Emperor Han proclaimed a war with rage,

And dispatched his six divisions to the boundaries.

Beacon fires were made every year,

The young folk was recruited to the last soldier,

The old peasant died poor,

The children wailed over hunger.

It is a long time since public welfare has declined,

The bandit walks the street with a masterful air,

No one does check the progress of the times.

A student of Confucianism serves for his country with pen.

So he has drafted a plan to save it with tears.

Alas! A woe unto the innocent has come since the ancient time.

Yet a patriot does not preach for his own life.

The draft has invoked an anger of the authorities,

And the author has been put in a Kanshya,

Which rolled away to the north of a city.

Coldness of the jail situated in the north of a city is to cut the


The clothes become like a stone, food is, too.

It is impossible to endure for a delicate constitution.

Soon the stomach and bowls are destroyed,

He groans with a dose of medicine.

In such condition the prisoner must depend on a lofty spirit,

Which is fortunately defiant and triumphant.

At a loss there appears a road, or it is

Transformed with a zenith of times.

He does not complain at all.

Then is there no warm day, nor joy of the created?

However a stone wall has the height of 10 feet,

There the spring breeze is blowing in,

There blossoms fall, a buttérfly flitters,

A cuckoo sings as in the green mountains,

A rainy day is suitable for reading, a cool

Moon in the Midnight for making a poem,

Which eliminate the boundary between matter and self,

Thus he passes away his days of imprisonment.

When he counts his term, it is already 150 days.

He is out of servitude as well as off sick.

He looks like a ghost with skin and bones,

And it is funny he can smile at the gate.

Oh! You may bind his body and hands,

But you can not bind an animation of millenious desire in chains.

By nature, a spirit moves in darkness,

A heart of human being is encouraged with it.

The critical moment is not so far,

A day of revolution can be expected.

Do you not see the black clouds gathered

Over Winter Palace in the dusk,

Then the Crown will be cut off and crushed in a dripping blood?

Do you not see

In. the days of tyranny of Iron Chancellor,

The common people will hoist

A red flag over their heads?

Note: The poem appeared on Chyokugen (1905), the organ of the socialist after the banning of Hetmin Shinbun (the weekly). Kotoku was chained at Sugamo Prison for 150 days, with a penalty of 50 yen, because of his anti-war campaign. So the poem alludes to the Russo-Japanes War, the condition of the society, and the approach of the Russian revolution. An image of Ero crashing and dripping in blood shocked the authorities. A frame-up of conspiracy can be asserted with this poem.

Kanshya is a policeman. Iron Chancellor stands for Herr Von Bismarck (1815–1898), for he once wrote a biography of Ferdinand Lassalle (1825–1864).


Among the workers there is a man of virtue, whose name is Johnson.

In his sixties he had left the noisy world, enjoys his honest poetry with an existence of interest.

Reads many books, having stepped into the ancient route, inquired to politics.

Though he was born in the West, he did not received a baptism of Christ, but he recites the teachings of Lao Tsu and was pleased with the self-renunciation of Buddha.

However being separated by three thousand Li, exchanged our greetings many times.

Neither chance to see, but our warm feelings could be communicated.

When he welcomed me at the pier, he rushed to me with pleasure

Like relatives, we called each other day and night.

All of a sudden, the calamity disturbed our rejoicings,

Flame and fire roasted heaven and earth.

Prosperity seemed a day dream; ruinous ash darkened the sun.

It became hard to live, and what village could I stay in?

Went to the north mountains, a monkey laughed at me. Went to the east, the waves rolled up.

Indeed the world became critical in strifes and annexations.

Our separation would be forever; I grieved it in secrecy.

Life is like a fanciful dream, and the former rejoicings are now erased without any trace.

Sadly I stood at the dinner table, said a prayer for his health.

We are tied in universal brotherhood, so do not lament for a


An initiator knows perfectly that the universe has one dimension.

Note; He depicted the poem in his diary during his journey in the U.S.A. in 1906. He met a comrade, Johnson, in San Francisco, and there he had an experience of an earthquake, which instructed him how the people assisted each other. Thus he got a notion of mutual aid in reality.


Though a dove coos for brightness,

The wood darkens in the twilight.

When she has heard a drop of rain,

Her spirit has sunken in melancholy.

Wind and rain, wind and rain

pass through my native place.

A septuagenarian woman sobs

Leaning on the gate.

Note: In a letter dated 10 November 1910 to his mother, Kotoku dedicated a poem to lessen her sorrow. Wind and rain means a Chinese phrase of crisis.


For thirty years I have passed in reading books,

To-day I spend in vain supporting my sick body.

Through the high stone wall, I glimpse a healthy bird flying

Through the iron window the cold wind blows in

I pity for a hungry fly.

My solitary life seems like staying at a temple in mountains,

Squatting in Zen fashion I wonder whether I am not a monk,

But pleased to find human feelings everywhere,

For me, even a jailer has become a friend of mine.

Note; In a letter dated 10 December 1910 to his wife Chiyoko from Iehigaya Prison, Kotoku depicted his sentiments. Squatting in Zen fashion, in another word, to sit on folded legs was a kind of punishment for humiliation of a prisoner.


All faults can be attributed to me,

As a prisoner, I have no complaint.

I entrust myself to Providence without any means,

However I have not prayed to a God at a loss.

Life and death are like a dream of the long night,

Glory and Misery are dust in the air.

When I smile in a solitary cell,

The Universe reflects in my eyes afresh.

Note: On 11 November 1910, he expressed his feelings in a poem--delivered to his comrade Toshihiko Sakat.


Cease a debate for trivial merit or demerit

Spirits remain for a thousand years.

We have emerged and go away like this in the world,

Even a prisoner has learned to respect a life of common people.

Note; The poem is dated 18 January 1911, when Kotoku received a death sentence with other 24 comrades because of his conspiracy.


— A Diary of Loitering on the Way to Death —

by Suga Kanno

The execution of Suga Kanno (1881–1911) took place on 25th January 1911. After 40 years, her private diary, which she had depicted since her death sentence in her cell (exactly from 18th to 24th January), was found out. This translation is based on the arrangement by Kiyoshi Jinzai, who has compiled and edited “The Taigya-ku Fiken Soshyo Kiroku,” i.e., “The Judicial Record of High Treason Affair”. The translator apologizes that owing to the colloquial style of Kanno, for she had wanted once to be an authoress and entered the journalist circle, some sentences are difficult to be translated, especially several WAKA, a short poem written in 31 Japanese characters.

Even now, her nature te somewhat distorted into a vamp or an imitator of a Russian woman revolutionary or a shallow woman having no idea but preferring a famous revolutionary like Kotoku instead of Kanson Arahata, an unknown youth in those days during his confinement, etc. But we must not forget that she was a woman revolutionary who sacrificed her life in the name of Anarchism and, at the same time, a politically conscious woman in the Meiji Era.

Suga was lucky to have found her identity as a revolutionary on the verge of her death.

On 18th January 1911, Cloudy.

I have percepted to be sentenced to the death penalty, yet I have worried about my comrades day and night and how many of them could be rescued, although my body has been carried away in a Kansha before noon.

I have seen policemen wearing sabers on the route of the metropolis covered with soft beams of sunlight through the window, which made me anticipate the result today. I have been anxious for opening court with burning patience.

The time has come. I have been escorted up to the ground floor, the 1st floor, then again to the ground floor, the Supreme Court. Without mentioning the route, even in the court, guarding has been reinforced two times compared to a public trial court. Furthermore, attorneys, journalists, and their attendants were so crammed that the wide court seemed filled with the audience. I have felt slight dizziness as I have had a rush of blood to the head because of difficulty breathing due to coming up and down, then suffocating with a stuffy court. Having calmed myself for a while, I have seen my comrade-defendants, but they have showed their anxiety on their brows and kept silent, even being afraid to smile at each other.

(Her WAKA, a poem, was inserted here yet erased afterward.)

After a while, the judges have appeared from the right (door in front of us. Death or life, the fate of 26 prisoners has been suspended before our eyes. They might have felt a thrill.

The clerk had read the defendants’ names as usual; the chief judge, Mr. Tsuru, opened his mouth with two or three instructions, then having moistured his throat with water from a cup, he read a long decision by postponing the main sentence.

During his reading and my listening, I have felt a surge of anxiety spreading out in my heart, for the distortion connected to the article 73rd has become intolerable. However, I have been patient enough to pray even if a comrade would be lightened by his penalty. But alas! it has been all up with us. Besides 11 years of imprisonment of Niita and 8 years of Zenbei Niimura, the rest 24 comrades have been subjected to a death sentence! To tell the truth, I had once imagined a decision what would have been, yet the examinations of the previous trial were favorably carried on, which convinced me with a string of hope that the trial would have been put on fairly. Still, when I have heard the sentence, I felt the blood in my body catch aflame instantly with disappointment and indignation while my weak flesh—trembled. Oh! My poor friends and comrades! Most of them have been unhappily entangled in a scheme contrived by 5 or 6 persons. Merely with our acquaintanceship, they have been forced to be a martyr.

As they have been the anarchists, they must be cast into an abyss of death.

Oh! my poor friends and comrades! It was not merely I to be surprised, but also attorneys, jailers, and even policemen who had attended the public trial on 16th January should have been astonished and understood the truth of the affair with this barbarous decision. A common feeling has spread on the faces of the audience, which crystalized into a cold smile of indignation on the lips of the defendants. They could not express neither word nor voice. Oh! The supreme court! Fair decision! The Japanese Government! The civilized country in the Far East! Do it, your savage, do your illegal massacre! You have already done this in The Akahata Jiken (the Red Flag affair), so this barbarous decision is not unreasonable? Remember my comrades and you, comrades over the world!

I wanted to comfort my comrades with a word. But I could not find a proper word because of my rage, so I muttered only “an astonishing illegal trial.” Then I was put on an AMIGASA all of a sudden. Contrary to a shift of entrance, I was escorted to go out at first. I stood out. My friends and comrades whom I would have no chance to see each other hereinafter. Friends who would go up to the gallows together. There might be friends who had bitter feelings for us. Yet anyway, they are my friends and comrade-defendants who attended court together. Farewell, 25 persons!

25 sacrifices, farewell!

“I say SAYONARA, all of you.” Hardly I exclaimed.

“Yes, goodbye!”


A deep voice chased up after my back. When I stepped out (5 or 6 steps--erased) of the court, I heard “BANZAI.” It might be that a passionate activist exclaimed, “Anarchist Party forever!”

As I went up the first stone step, the voice of “KANNO-san” called me back. After a while, having arrived at Karikan*, my blood calmed gradually. I felt a slight shame in my rage. “That’s barbarous trial!” It was nothing to be amazed about. Consulting with previous experiences, the decision was a matter of course. As there was such barbarous and savage authority, so we had become to contrive a conspiracy. However, the examination procedures were perfectly well; it was my fault to rescue my comrades by clinging to the mercy of authority, which I had already denied, even for a while. I was very sorry for my comrades with no words to apologize, but it was their fates from a view of the other side, too. As they were declaring themselves the MUSEIF SHYUGISHA, the Anarchists at ordinary times, they could find a reason for their sacrifice not worthless, or to comfort themselves, (so-- erased) it was better for them to resign--- I felt--- (yet I’m a weak human being--erased) sorry--- very sorry (I was exasperated — erased)

A KANSHYA arrived. I went out of the dark Karikan. Their face with bloodshot eyes appeared from a small window of the front room of Karikan; Kyuhei Takeda called me, “Sayonara!” I repeated, “Sayonara!” and “Sayonara” was heard somewhere. With this small word, we exchanged our thousand and million sentiments.

The Kansha rolled on toward Ichigaya, receiving the light of evening sun slantingly, which I would never walk the streets of metropolis again.


At last the day came,

On which I have received

A black arrow of Fates

Struck to my forehead.

Whether a long or short string of Fates,

I have pulled with my slender fingers

reaches at last to the end.


On 19th January, Cloudy.

Last night I slept well, perhaps for my anxiety; I was angry about the illegal trial and felt perfectly fine today despite the bad weather.

Asked the jailor to hand down several keepsakes such as a Haori made of Monhabutae to Ma-bo, a Hitoe made of Meisen to Yasko Hori, a Kuronanako scarf, and an Awase made of Mosurin to Morikuni Yoshikawa* To three defense attorneys, Isobe, Hanai, and Imamura, I wrote postcards. Informed them that I was surprised by such an astonishing fair trial and noticed my keepsakes to Messers Sakai, Hori, and Yoshikawa relatively.

Received 5 copies of the magazine from Kotoku, 3 from Mr. Yoshikawa with a thing sent to a prisoner. Made an entry of yesterday’s event, then exchanged a conversation with a guardsman and passed a day. So I could not read even a page of the magazine.

In the evening, a Buddhist chaplain, Numanami, visited my cell and told me that the comrade Mineo had shown no anxiety by declaring faith in salvation through the benevolence of Amida Buddha since he had received his death sentence. And he recommended that I would have comfort from religion. I replied I had no more meaning to be satisfied as I was. I felt a slight irony (as a convinced anarchist-erased) to get tranquility by clinging to an Amtda-in a sudden when the anarchist, who was usually to deny authority, faced his death. But considering his talk as a religionist and a chaplain, I admitted Mr. Numanami while I had a resolution and my own comfort, too.

We are nothing but to have struck on a rock, unfortunately, having ridden in the tide of the world thought as a forerunner. Yet it is a step in which one must sacrifice himself. A new course is opened on the ruin of wrecked ships. Thus we can reach the other shore of Ideal. Christianity has become a world religion with millions of sacrifices since the appearance of Saint Nazarene. Then I think these sacrifices count for nothing.

What I declared at the last public examination remains always in my mind. Our sacrifices will not be worthless; I believe that there is something. Therefore I think I can come up to the gallows with the dignity of my precious death and the beautiful comfort of my sacrifice for our cause, and I can die peacefully without anxiety nor agony.

At night the director of the Instruction Institute, Mr. Tanaka, visited. I felt pleased to hear the calmness of my comrades contrary to his expectation. (this man did not advise me to have comfort.--- erased) and told me an anecdote about a death-sentenced prisoner. I have consulted with him to make a laying coffin for me, for I do not like to let my coffin be dug up by a patriot and cut my cadaver in pieces, and I hoped to have a clean death dress on such an emergency. (TE my hope is impossible I will ask for someone else or my acquaintance in the society--erased)

Mr. Tanaka gave me a leaflet, “After rejoice,” while Mr. Numanami let me have two leaflets: “Tani Shyo” and “The outline of benevolence of a faith.”

On 20th January, Snow.

During the night, the snow fell on the twigs of pine trees and the bare branches of Japanese cypresses and covered the world in silver. We have had twice or thrice of snow since new year’s day, though it has been melted away with a thin layer. But the snow of today, it seems (heavy snow, for it is emerging forth countlessly from the depth of that ghastly pale cloud --erased) not to stop for a long time. It snows by one Shyaku (about 33 cm), two Shyaku, fall, fall the snowflakes! Lay and lay the snowflakes, cover Tokyo, this Sodom, with snow like burying her in ash; let her be a layer of the earth!

What are they thinking about, my male defendants confined opposite to that of the wall? What are their sentiments, seeing the snow through 3 Jaku (1 m) iron window?

(The snow! It reminds me of many things--erased)

(the snow at a villa I had seen with my deceased mother.)

The snow at Arima, where I had played together with my father and stepmother, the snow at Sumiyoshi, where I had spent a day talking with my elder brother and a sister--erased)

(the snow at Arima, the snow at Hakone, the snow at Sumiyoshi, the snow at Arashiyama, the snow at Aogiyahama, the snow at Kashiwagi, the snow at Sugamo, the snow at Sendagaya, then the snow at Kama-kura and Yugawara--erased)

(In this snow of my memory, many loves and friends were buried as they were together with departed ones, and when I see it falling diligently, a kind of emotion with amusement and sorrow, which can not be depicted with a simile, has surged up my heart silently with the association of my memories of the past years, and convinced me to see the same heaven with my different sentiments.


The snow! It reminds me of many things. When I gaze at its graceful figure intently through the iron window, there appears an association of memories of the past years in which I have looked up at the same sky with my different sentiments, and a kind of emotion surges up in my mind silently.

In my memory of the show, various figures such as sorrowful and pleasant events, the beloved yet departed ones, my love, and friends have been weaved by woof, while gladness and sorrow by warp with bright pink color, no with crimson, with light blue and g(r)ay as they were--erased)

I have longed for them, but it is useless. They have galloped into the past already. My situation, which I can not predict tomorrow, does not allow me to enjoy my memories. However, I have leisure time, which is precious to me. I must read, write and think for the present, so my mind is stirred awfully. I wonder how I am so excited. Is it a reason why many books are accumulated before my presence? Is it that I can not see a person do it for me? Or no testament to my younger brother? They say I have passed busily by doing something as usual, yet my work does not advance at all. Well, I decide I will leave it as far as I can do (there is nothing to worry about if it is left as it is.--erased)

I received a postcard from Sakai-san three days ago. He said, “I have seen your letter dated 4th. I hope you will write your prison diary (plainly--erased) courageously as possible as you can do it. It is a wonderful thing that you have continued to learn English. They say there is a duty when you live a day. It is our fate to die even tomorrow, but I study German or French little by little at my whim. I think it is better to learn any language than to kill time with a hobby of Japanese GO. If I were to live as far as my 60th year, it would be merely 16 years in the future, while I am not sure, yours will be some ten days or several months.

But comparing both yours and mine to those of length and (large-ness--erased) of the universe, they are for an instant. Yet is it not a wonderful thing to exchange with this nonsense?’

Yes, he is nonchalant. I started learning English by consulting with a dictionary in Sept. last year and was irritated to master it a little. But I have yet to advance to my expectation. Now I am one-third of the 5th Reader (as I have yet to gain experience of systematic study--erased). Naturally, I cannot catch up with a learned man; however, I have studied myself in hardship (of my miserable past--erased) as far as I can read a magazine with much difficulty. Above all, I have usually tortured myself without linguistic knowledge. So I have determined to learn it twice or thrice, but because of an accident such as illness or anything else, I have been interrupted until today.

One thing is due to my lack of fortitude to overcome the accident with courage, and the other is caused by my worse circumstances; therefore this time, I have resolved to learn English from 3rd Reader with an aim to read an easy story till my execution since the middle of September, but there is left a few days-- I am not sure about the fixed day--then it is regrettable that I will not become proficient in English (at any rate--erased)

As for my diary, I will put down everything despite a suggestion of Sakai-san, rejecting any false and vanity, and depict a naked Suga-ko Kanno.

(Selected TANKA, short poems from my previous diary--erased)

In the limitless time and space,

Why the smallest beings

Struggle each other?

Born in the smallest country,

sacrificed my life,

to the smallest hope.

I know an abyss

of an thousand depth,

Yet I stride on

without reflection.

In the amid of burned out ash,

there remains a thin smoke

of my abashed love.

(an allusion to Kotoku)


am I a strong revolutionary child

Or a weeping one?

I reflect it myself.

You need not worry about a seed

fallen in the field,

Wait till Spring time

With a favorable East wind.

I have seen a pale face twice

through three holes of AMIGASA,

in going and coming of court.

(an allusion to Kotoku)

My eyes asked for a pardon,

put they were icy

like the Northern Sea.

I remember the day

buried my 22nd: year,

And wept by cutting off

a string of violin.

I smile at my unfinished life,

Thinking of my last day.

In the evening, received a card from Sakai-san and letters from Ta-meko-san, Yoshikawa-san, and Mr. Komataro Kotoku. Wanted to reply but stopped with irresolution.

When I reread my diary, I have found it incoherent, speaking nonsense; I want to stop it wholly?

The morning sun brightened the snow on the branches of pine trees like a picture of Okyo Maruyama, which was beyond my description. Heard that the first order was vicarious writing of a graduation thesis for a high school girl client when Sakai-san founded the Baibun-sha. It showed an aspect of current society and a funny yet shameful one. Tameko-san was said to attend a maternity school. I was impressed with her courage to study obstetrics in her 40s, and at the same time, it was a wonderful thing that Sakai-san let his wife have her independence and self-support despite his personal inconvenience. It was an event in which anyone else could not imitate him.

(he is a scholar of Feminism, so it is not unexpected--erased)

Kotoku’s mother (as it is said--erased) was dead after only 10 days in her bed with pneumonia from malarial fever. She would have met me when she visited Kotoku in November, but (it is also said--erased) for the sake of her modesty towards Chiyo-san, she went home without notice to me.

(Today--erased) Though Kotoku and I had broken off our relations, we had once called each “mother and daughter,” then why she (Koto-ku’s mother) dare not visit me while she had been often up in Tokyo? I. felt her cruelty and complained about it. But heard from Komataro-san yesterday, and Tameko-san informed me, “at that occasion (she) was nervous and talked about you many things to me. Then having wrapped an album, photos of yours, her own, and so on with Furoshiki carefully, she went home. etc.”

A letter from Takeo-san, a niece of Kotoku, said, “My ground mother in her living often talked about the aunt who was so kind and generous. The other day my ground mother had come up to Tokyo, but she was unable to call on you in great haste and regretted to miss a chance of seeing you--)

On 21st January, Fine.

I was sorry for her as I had a complaint towards her (for her gentle nature impressed me so much~-erased). She had broken off relations with Kotoku, but she was still a beloved person (so I regarded her precious to me--erased). It was a short period that we had been a mother and a daughter, then parted with each other forever. Yet she encouraged me with her letter and parcels for a prisoner; it is no less than a dream when I think of the past.

Oh! Life is a dream; time is a tomb. Everyone is entering gradually into the earth. One who wept for the departed has been buried in his turn.

Wrote postcards to Matsuda-san and a letter to Takeo-san. Took a bath despite feeling cold and having a headache. Bath is a pleasure in a prisoner’s life. Meetings, receiving letters and a bath, a solitary woman as I am, there are few to receive a visit and a letter, so it is delightful more than anything else to have a bath by every five days.

A warm sunbeam inserted slantingly from the blue sky through the iron window. When I sat behind the desk at ease after bath, relieved from trouble and worry. Then felt how happy I was to dissolve myself into a permanent sleep!

From Yoshikawa-san, I heard, “The same day of the same month of the last year was my realized one from prison, so it is a commemoration of one year today. Among three comrades released, Mr. Higuchi has now succeeded in his business. At the same time, I can hardly survive as usual, and Mr. Oka has returned to his old nest suffering from cold and hunger.”

With what charge was Oka-san kept in custody? Which is better, to be a successor or a failer? Mr. Eiji Morioka cast himself into a well with his insanity in Dairen of Manchuria after his emigration; Mr. so and so left our cause fearing persecution of the government and tried to be in a safety zone. Oh! The fates are curious; weak is a human mind. Let the deserter go where he wants, and a departed be buried. A new bud will sprout from the decay of the big tree. Spring of the world thought -~ we, the forerunners of radical ideas, need not look back at the past of autumn and winter. The future, only for the future, we must rush to a light of hope. The authorities seem earnest to keep an eye on our comrades in the outside world. Considering the barbarous decision this time, the government should take a coercive means by utilizing our affair. Persecute, yes, persecute! Don’t you know a rule of revolt against oppression? Persecute with a thousand resolutions!

Old thought versus New thought,

Imperialism versus Anarchism

Try vehemently to brock out the Sumida river with a wooden plate of Kamaboko!

Being asked by the chaplain’ Numanami, how I was going on, I replied nothing was to be changed at all. Numanami said my tranquility rests on a belief. But in accordance with a degree of commitment, each one would regret somehow, while I participated from the beginning, I would have a proper resolution. It flattered me so much compared to his advice to have a religious calmness. (I prefer such homage--erased) Well, there would be some defendants who regret themselves. As the affair was a big event, its penalty was also the severest in history (the extreme penalty has been enacted--erased). It is better to say that this affair was not a joint conspiracy by Museifu Shyugisha, the anarchists, but one contrived by the prosecuting attorneys. The content of Article 73rd seems foolish enough in its true reality. A contradiction between the outward appearance and the real quality is, for example, a Karuyaki Senbei, i.e., a rice cake or a third-rate novel, Except a conspiracy by 5 persons such as Kotoku, Miyashita, Niim-xa, Furukawa and I, the prosecutors gathered all of the smoky talks under the so-called preparation of a joint conspiracy of Kotoku and connected them forcefully to the affair.

This affair is a conspiracy by Museifu Shyugishas, the anarchists, Mr. so and so, or a friend of the anarchist; therefore, the said person should have participated in the conspiracy. They started a mass arrest based on such erroneous and illegal syllogism, competed for their fame and meritoriousness against each other, then as a last resort, they took the means like fraudulence, cheating menace, and its extremity they subjected us to Utsutsuzeme, a torture of the past age. (torture by inquiry in waking and sleeping continuously--T.N.) Then they entangled even a layman who acquired a new culture or complained against the Establishment in the affair by extruding from his daily talk as if the content meant a conspiracy.

Even if I admitted such boasting talk of a conspiracy. They could not connect it to Article 73rd, merely a penalty of riot if it was possible- But the prosecutor attorneys and the judges of pre-examinations trapped the defendants by inquiries made as though they were the anarchists to link them to Article 73rd and picked up a conclusion that the ideal--yes, the mere ideal--of the anarchist is absolute Freedom 5 Equality, so it is natural to refute the emperor’s family, and then with this pretended, nay, enforced conclusion, they made their own reports connected even the innocent to the affair in the outside of theory and ideal. Whenever I thought of it, I felt an anger. The naked facts were discovered in a court proceeding. Nevertheless, such an illegal and barbarous decision was announced. I could not help but grind my teeth with indignation.

Oh! Poor judges, you were forced to decide such a sentence contrary to your conscience; however, you knew it was illegal and barbarous to secure your status. Pitiable judges and the slaves of the government! I pity you rather than rage. You, reflected in our eyes, are miserable men, while we have no bondage and interference though we are chained and confined in jail. You are not worthwhile to be a human being (a pitiable beast--erased). A slavery life for a hundred years is worth living?

At 4 p.m. I was escorted to a meeting room. 4 visitors were Sa-kai-san,a couple of Osugi and Yoshikawa-san. I was previously instructed by a jailor to keep my impression of the trial private. It might be a precaution from the government fearing leakage of the truth and to procure outrage from out-comrades.

At the public trial for the Akahata affair, I stood in a row with Sa-kai-san, and Osugi-san at No.3 court of appeal, then four years elapsed, but they appeared fine with no change at all. They told me one phrase following my words. I tried to avoid eyes filled with tears and was forced to smile and talk, but the last time of shake-hand, especially holding the hands of Yaskosan, I burst out in tears. I could not take off mine from those of Yasuko-san. Oh, my beloved friends and comrades!

“Unexpected decision?” I said.

“(you--erased) I want Kotoku, and you shall be sacrificed,” replied Sakai-san in a gloomy voice, not talking much but with deep emotion.

Hearing that Kanson was staying at Akiyoshi inn in Boshiyu Yoshi-kawa. This Akiyoshi inn was one in which I had stayed for a couple of months. In those days, my divorced husband Kanson had visited me abruptly from Osaka, and we reconciled there. We took a walk up a hill and down a beach together. Then with Kanzo Abe staying at an inn, we climbed Nokogiri Mountain, ate oranges at a bonfire, and roasted a head of stone buddha which we had picked up somewhere. We were so mischievous in those days. At that Akiyoshi inn, Kanson is staying. The room should be the same one. He might be sitting at the back of a small desk in front of the paper sliding door at the south side of the corridor and then reading or writing with a bad habit of nipping his nail with his teeth. Kanson called me Nee-chiyan, like my younger sister, and I called him Atsu-bo. However, we lived together; we were not like a couple but a sister and a brother. So the reason for our separation was our dissatisfaction with married life, though we still have past affection like a sister and a brother. Even today, my sentiment toward him has not changed at all.

During my stay at Yugawara last year, he had sent me a postcard filled with abuses, then I knew he came there with a pistol in his bosom after I had been up in Tokyo. Furthermore, I heard at the prosecutor’s office that he had dispatched a challenge to a duel with Kotoku; I wept for him in my heart. ““inscrutable are the ways of Heaven.” As he was separated from me, he could now study or play in security. If he were not divorced from me, he might not be spared from crutches of fates to go up the gallows.

I heartily pray for his health and abundant future and ask for his prudence.

Wrote a letter to a couple of Osugi and postcards to Messers Sakai and Yoshikawa.

On 22nd January, Fine.

The last night I felt irritation since I had been here. My nerve (sensitive--erased) was stimulated by a scene like the previous meeting. On 2nd June last year, I had known a discovery of our affair. Since then, I have tried to calm my mind, but it is a pity to be disturbed even one night. How foolish I am? I hate myself. What will it be with my weakness? But I reflect on it myself. It is the nature of a human being. The typical character of the Oriental great man is said to show no sign of anger, gladness, lamentation, and happiness, but from the view of the other side, it is false and vain. A man may overcome his anger and gladness, but it is impossible for the ordinary man, a vessel of sentiments, to be insensible without hollowness and vanity unless he were an idiot or a saint. I am a little woman and passionate. Yes, an extremely passionate one. I despise falsehood, vanity, and contra-nature. I weep, laugh, am pleased, and roam.

I am content in my innocence. I will not be bothered by the estimation of the other man and will finish my life without deceiving myself.

Though I felt fine today. The sentiment of the last night was buried with the night, and I wonder how I felt so and so on that occasion. I was so pleased as my body was lightened when I heard that my comrades behaved in the determination of a Shyugisha (an idealist). From the stand of responsibility, I only worried about them. Well, it is a hard thing to endure absurdity because of a slight relation with the crime. But I am deeply impressed with their appearance that they are content to sacrifice themselves for (the comfort of--erased) our cause. They are the anarchists, as one expected. Yes, our comrades, I am proud of them as Shyugisha. I feel no regret. A black cloud lingering on my mind has cleared up like today’s weather.

Wrote three letters to Sakutaro Koizumi*, Tokijiro Kato*, and Tamemasa Nagai and the postcards to Tatsunosuke Okano and Yachiyo Watanabe. In the evening, I received letters from a defense attorney (Hirai-de) and Sakai-san. Mr. Hiraide said:

“I could predict the content of the sentence as far as it was read aloud by ten lines. Until then, I hoped to save five or six defendants with benevolent treatment by the authorities as an attorney might expect, but it resulted in nil. I had endeavored to encourage my two defendants through trial under hardship. There is no argument against the application of the law. We must depend on the criticism of the following generation towards the decision. I think it is useless to comfort you, yet one who has no resolution is forced to resign; that has so attracted my mind as

I can not do anything since 18th January.”

Oh! even if the defense attorney has sympathy, then is it absurd that I have a worry for my comrades from a stand of responsibility?

Wrote a reply to Hiraide-san under a dark electric bulb.

On 23rd January, Fine.

At 2 A.M. every night, I let exchange a Yutampo (a kind of warm vessel filled with hot water. T.N.) to warm my blanket, so I woke up around that time. Until I fell into slumber again, it became a habit to ponder for one or two hours. Last night I woke up as usual and indulged in my fancy. I thought of the meeting with Sakai-san the day before yesterday, the comrade-defendants, and the tomb of my younger sister-- her tomb is in the temple of Shoshyu-ji in front of Ginsekai. What that disagreeable monk would reply when Sakai-san or Tameko-san handed down a charge of scavengery of the tomb for me? As we have no superstition that the dead turn into his tomb with the benevolence of chanting strates, I have neglected to offer a present to the temple, then I have often met repugnance from the monk. So I have gradually ceased to visit there, and instead of offering incense to the tomb filled with white bones, I have served her favorite food in front of my sister’s portrait. (Well, it is also foolish enough when I reflect on it, but I have done so to appease my conscience owing to a custom~--erased) Even this seems foolish enough, for I can not understand that a spirit gets pleasure with offerings and incense since the cadavre of a dead has become smoke and decomposed into atoms. Still, I have done it because of a custom to appease my conscience.

But I must now offer a charge of scavengery to the temple, for my younger brother in the U.S.A. will be disappointed in some future if he can not find his sister’s tomb as a forlorn grave is exterminated. Last night I thought of my death and its aftermath.

When my breath expired, and I became a cadavre, it would be nothing to worry about, but I have often witnessed the dead being pushed to sit in a coffin with cracking legs, which incurred me repugnance, so I declared my hope to get a lay type coffin to Kinase, a jailor when he attended at the meeting of the day before yesterday. It will be prepared soon. As for my Kimono, I wanted it to be clean enough when my grave was dug out and exposed in order to impress neatness, But now I do not care about it. It is natural to have home wear whatever it is torn or smeared. Another hope was to have a bath on the morning of my execution. I asked a director, Iksaka, to draw a bath on the morning of my execution. But I declined it this morning. To tell the truth, I want to rest at the side of my sister’s tomb. No, I do not care about a tomb, I would be burned, and the ash be blown off or cast into the open sea of Shinagawa, never mind, yet according to the general rule, it is not the way of life, so I would be buried at the side of my beloved sister to leave a token. As I have mentioned before, I do not like that temple (the monk--erased), then I have decided to let myself be buried in a grave yard-for the condemned criminals at Zoshigaya with the least trouble. I declared this hope when Sa-kai-san and Tameko-san proposed to me that they would do as I wanted. This morning I wrote postcards to Baibunshya and the attorney, Hiraide. I asked for a favor to Baibun-shya that one inclined to go to that temple would make a Sotaba with holy scriptures set up by a grave for me.

Association with tomb imagery has reminded me of the prosecuting attorney, Taketomi. I have been acquainted with him since the Akahata Affair 2 years ago, and we had a hatred for each other. In those days, I had proposed to correct a sentence in the oral readings, and we crashed into each other and separated angrily. Then the next year, I mean, the year before last year, in the summer when I got a charge of imprisonment due to our organ “Jiyu Shiso,” literally Free Thought due to volition of the dress code, I was tortured with treacherous tricks and got severe accusation from him. Again I was examined by this prosecutor after the discovery of the affair but decided to say nothing besides to take him to hell with me whenever I could find a chance. Thus it was by a murderous conception. But when I listened to his personal affairs and sympathized with his old mother and his study under difficulties, I gradually lost my murderous intention, so I told him my sentiments. After several days, the prosecutor said, “It is interesting that you will not confess the affair to me. I am not to hear it from you, too. But will you tell me your personal history? Is it not funny to tell one’s story to the most hated opponent? I do like to depict it.” I thought at first he would get revenge on me but reflected that anyway, my personal affairs would be distorted and every detail be excentric. On the other hand, I lived through the miserable conditions by means of my stubborn unwillingness and was lucky enough not to fall into a prostitute or a woman weaver. Such a story can not extrude a sympathy from anyone else unless he is a man of heart and blood interested in social problems. Thus I had kept silent for a long time till now, yet if he had written it in its extreme evil, it would also be amusing; thereby, I told my novel-like history without reservation to him.

Except to mention the affair, this prosecutor seemed a bright and ordinary man having no malice. A shade of severe prosecutor disappeared during my personal history and showed his interest. “Yes, the whole is quite romantic.” I could see his astonished face even now. He continued, “you and I have some prefixed deep relation, so if you are executed--- if you are dead earlier than I, I will pray for you in front of your tomb with incense.” His countenance was beamed with not only compliments but also his sincerity, so I was convinced that the prosecutor would pray for a criminal. I told this episode to an acquaintance, who laughed and replied that it would be fanciful to hold the tail of the coat like a dramatic action when the prosecutor would come to my tomb etc.

If I could be a ghost or a spook, I should menace many persons, such as the judges of the supreme court, and it would be fun to see their astonishment.

I have seen a strange dream this morning. I walked along a riverside on an alley among the fields with two or three strangers. When I suddenly looked up a the sky, there stood a sun and a moon side by side in the distance of about 3 Jake (approximately 1 meter), which floated clearly in the blue heaven. Then the sun was eclipsed by one-third with a similar color to the moon, while the latter was just 10 days after her appearance. I told my company that it was an omen for the country to see the sun and the moon at once, and there I woke up.

I used to see a dream through the whole night owing to my worse nerve, though it was the first time I dreamt of the sun and the moon. The eclipsed ones, what do they anticipate my wish?

These days, when I woke up, it reminds me of how I lived on!

Then it is dreamlike to see my living. (When I have depicted my diary as far as now, Mr. Tanaka, Director of Instruction, entered is--erased) Director Tanaka told me that more than half the fellow defendants were released. It might be their imprisonment becoming lifelong for the execution. It is natural for the barbarous decision, and I feel a pleasure. They might be innocents having a slight connection with us. I can imagine their gladness; however, they were condemned once illogically and barbarously, and their relief would be beyond their expectation. Well, once they condemned us severely, they would reduce our legal terms solemnly by the name of an emperor to impress His grace and authority to the people both in the domestic and foreign countries. Anyway, it is thankful to see (the lives of--erased) our comrades rescued. To tell my wish, the whole comrades except 3 or 4 persons, including me, shall be released, and for that purpose, I will be willingly burned at the stake or accept a torture of boiled water poured in my back cut open with pleasure.

Mr. Tanaka told me about his experience when he captured a criminal who was condemned to death, though the criminal was released on the way to his execution. This story seemed to me of some interest compared to my present situation. I wonder about his skilled talk with the proper words to one without interfering with the latter’s thought.

Received cards and letters from Ma-san Sakai (Ma-bo, a daughter of Sakai), Sakutaro Koizumi, Sukematsu Minami, Sukeo Kayama, and Tomi-yama. The card painted with a flower and grass from Ma-san said: “You said you would give me something; thank you. — bye-bye —’

She wrote it with a pencil. (What a lovely--erased) 1 can see her lovely white face with big eyes. What a lovely child she is!

Koizumi-san apologized, writing me his last farewell and adding a poem in Chinese characters to Shyusui:

When I was drunken at Takeshiba-kan to pass the last day of the year;

“In front of a Sake cask,

there were the beauties to wait upon,

but after drunkenness, I sought my friend in vain.

This evening the prisoner has been

confirmed in a cell,

where can his dreamy spirit

pass the last day of the year?”

For you, I have written only one phrase, such as “A pitiable crazy but talented woman of our age--” and failed to compose it, etc.

He is a man whom we have troubled for these 3 years. Having read his letter repeatedly, my heart swelled up with emotion. Pray you may live your natural life for a hundred years!

Under a distant and dark electric bulb, I have written my diary by moving a frozen pen slightly. It is not so easy to write. A voice of “Go to bed.” has passed already. It is blowing out of the window with loneliness. Tonight, I must go to bed now.

On 24th January, Fine.

Wrote to Sakai-san, Masuda and Ma-bo. Asked Sakai-san to send a souvenir to my younger brother in America. Received the record of the decision with 146 sheets of paper, which I want to send to my comrades in America, too. Yoshikawa-san gave me a book titled “Suiko Do Kenso.” Having read the record, which distorted the truth to have made a mountain out of a molehill, I felt a repugnance. I dare not write today. Came a postcard from Yoshikawa. In the evening, I wrote to 4 attorneys, Isobe, Hanai, Imamura, and Hiraide, then letters and cari to Yoshikawa, Minami, Kayama, Tomiyama, and others.

(The diary is abruptly stopped here due to her execution.)


Two or three years after the execution of Kotoku and other 11 anarchists and socialists (1911) is usually called “THE AGE OF WINTER,” which denotes a depression of the socialist movement.

On the side of Establishment, the emperor donated one million and 50 thousand yens to the Welfare association (Saiset Kat) to alleviate the dissatisfaction of the poor folk and issued a declaration of the factory law regulating 8 working hours. Outwardly an annexation of Korea was decreed and confirmed a treaty to export the weapon to the Chin dynasty to suppress a revolt of Chinese revolutionaries during the 1911 Revolution. But the dynasty was overthrown, Republic founded, then the Japanese Military clan, which differed from those of China, for they were gathered around the emperor and his family and supported the Chinese Warlords in the North of the continent. Its origin was embedded in the army, of which the leader was Aritomo Yamagata (he was assumed to have held an initiative in the treatment of Kotoku). So the military clan, backed by the industrialists, ventured on an undertaking of invasion into the Chinese continent and commitment to domestic polities.

Of course, the decree for the soldiers strictly prohibited their intervention in politics. A tactic is as different from a strategy as politics is. In parallel with rising of the military class, democracy took its stand with a shift to socialism, while the great depression in the economy prevailed over the world. The European powers were on the verge of a World War, the U.S.A. proclaimed its isolation, and the Russian empire was menaced with an approach of the Revolution. In this context of world history, the anarchists in Japan had lost a means to propagate their idea, not

mention an organization.

According to the documents of Kehokyoku or Police Guard of 19208, Kotoku handed a testament with a gift of a sword to Osugi, which said he (Osugt) should inherit and continue the movement. This story is dubious; in truth, the sword was handed down by Osugi’s father, who was a military official and abhorred his son for becoming a Shyugishya (a socialist). He recommended he do Harakiri with it, not smearing his family’s honor. Osugi did not betray the expectations of Kotoku when we see his short-life activities. He wrote a poem to commemorate his predecessors.

It is March

in the springtime.

I am left alone

not being strangled,

and dance amid cherry blossoms.

As for an episode of the sword, he pawned it to set out the and Kindat Shieo in 1916. (refer to Yasuko Hori’s Osugi to Krgy-made, i.e., until the time of our divorce.)

Sakae Osugi (1885–1923) was born as a son of a sub-Lieutenant, Azuma Dsugi, at Marugane, Shikoku island, then moved to Tokyo soon. At his 14-year, he entered a military school (1899), disliked the discipline, got some knowledge of the French language there, and retired from it (1901); in truth, he was expelled because of his anti-military activities, then reentered Tokyo Foreign Language Institute to learn French further. He visited the Heimin Sha in 1903 and started his carrier as an activist by contributing articles to the organ, Heimin Shinbn. He got a marriage with Ya-suko Horri, a relative of Toshihiko Sakai, and earned his living by teaching Esperanto (1906). While the Affair of High Treason, he was kept in custody at Sugamo because of a Red Flag incident, 80 he was spared from the execution. Released there, he participated in Batbun Shya, founded by Sakai, whose aim was to earn money for the socialists and provide a base for the movement. But Osugt was soon intolerable of no action; he talked with Kanson Arahata and set out an organ titled “Kindat Shied” or Modern Thought in 1912.

His main activities were;

Anti-Militarism as far as 1910

Anti-intellectualism 1914–1915

(He scorned his own literal working as an intellectual masturbation and despised an intellectual who was apt to put himself on the workers and their movement.)

Free marriage 1916

Anarco-Syndicalism 1913–1923

Anti-Bolshevism campaign after 1920 to his death in 1923

He founded a research group of Syndicaltem in 1913 and introduced the European movement. As he was influenced by the vitalism of Bergeon (he was one of the first introducers of Bergeoniam in the literate etrele 1917) and the works of George Sorel, he intended to take a stand of anarcho-syndicalism in the field of worker’s movement. In those days, there were several tendencies of the trade union movement, for example, Yuai Kat (Friendship Association) led by Bunji Suzuki, a Fabian-type trade union, of which the Leader was Isd Abe, a Christian socialist, etc. But Osugi made his efforts to prevail the idea of anarcho-syndicalism with a thesis of “a sheet of blank paper,” which was previously advocated by A.I.?. He proclaimed that a worker should write his demand and hope on a sheet of blank paper, then request it to his boss, and thus he could take over his autonomy. Added to his despise of intellectualism, the theory appealed to the ordinary workers so much that he tried even in his writing with everyday language to talk to them directly. Further, a revolutionary atmosphere was spread over the islands. The workers, literate men and women who could not satisfy with Minpon Shyugi, a kind of democracy with a nuance of Kan-Min Kyoji (a cooperative regime with the authorities and the people) advocated by Sakuzo Yoshino, accepted his opinion and approved his actions. Yet he was personally traced with every step under the supervision of the police. So he was compelled to suspend his organ Kindai Shisd in 1914. Further, he took up another monthly Heimin Shinbun, but it was also banned besides 4 numbers. During this desperate situation, he fell in love with a woman journalist, Ichiko Kamichika (1888-), at first, then Noe Ito (1895–1923), the wife of Jun Tsuji (1884–1944), who enjoyed the honor of translating of “Ego and its Own” by Max Stirner (1920). According to his love theory, he implies by assuming that;

I have several friends who do not

complain and show no bitterness against me,

however I have treated them. So each of

us must behave with freedom, not

interfere in another one’s activities of the Cause.

(Yirei mita Hanashi)

Hie reasonable persuasion did not bring in a good result, particularly for a woman’s passion. Ichiko Kamichika cut his neck with a dagger while he was asleep at the hotel Hikage jaya (Nov. Z 1916); his wife Yasuko Hori demanded a divorce, while Noe Ito obtained the title of victory in love. His free love was checked outwardly, yet his inner life expanded with a comrade, Noe, who would later become the mother of 5 children. A coworker of the let Kindai Shted, Kanson Arahata, the former husband of Suga Kanno and became fortified his stand of Marxism in this period, criticized Osugt;

He did not understand the error in his knowledge. Anyway, his ideal failed him in reality. Without reforming the objective conditions which rule our life and thought in modern society, there is neither freedom of personality nor emancipation. It is an obvious fact that there is no free love unless the present condition of life has been left as it is. (Kanson Jiden Vol.1)

Sakat commented with a favor;

I feel sympathy for Osugi as I think of his frustration in the movement, and this incident has been caused by his abundant vitality.

In 1919 the first world war ceased and impacted society with economic hardship. Rice riots covered everywhere, and worker strikes were raised. Osugt founded “ Rédo Undoshya” in Tokyo and issued an organ, “Rodo Shinbun,” or the worker’s paper, with Kyutaro Wada and Unosuke Hiraita in May of this year. Though his love affair invoked a reprimand from his former friends and turned their back on the movement, some comrades cooperated with a new couple.

In 1919 he participated in the group of Hokufukai, literally the North Wind, of which the initiator was Seitaro Watanabe (1873–1918), a Christian, then an anarchist after the Kotoku incident, and took place a meeting regurally for the study of anarco-sandicaliam, then reformed the group into Tokyo Rodo Domeikai or the Tokyo Workers” League, the Organ, Rodo Undo that is, the Worker’s Movement was publisheed (1919). Coworkers were Kenji Kondo (1895–1969), who wrote “A memoir of an anarchist (1969)”; Genjiro Muraki (1890–1925), who supported Osugi until his death, Unosuke Hisaita (1877–1922), who got zero respect from his comrades because of his unsophisticated nature and froze to death in Amagi mountains during a sketching trip, Kyutaro Wada (1893–1928) and Noe Ito (1895–1923). In 1920 he attended the meetings at Shanghai for the socialist in Far Rast by means of smuggling, as he had accepted an invitation from the Comintern. He returned with the disillusionment of the Soviet Revolution, then concentrated his attention on introducing the betrayal of the Bolsheviks. Yet he designed at first cooperation of the anarchist and the Bolshevists. This procedure was a modesty to his senior Sakai and comrades such as Arahata and Yamakawa. He participated in the founding of Nihon Shyakai Shugi Domet or the League of Japan Socialism 1920, an amalgam of the anarchist, the socialist, and the Bolshevik. He set out the 2nd Rodo Undo and began to depict an autobiography (1921). The debate between the anarchist and the bolshevist raised to take up a policy of either free federation or centralism in the initiative of the worker’s movement. It led to a split of Rodo Kumiai Dometkat, or League of Workers’ Union, the biggest trade union of those days. While Sa-kai, Yamakawa, and Avahata founded the let Japan Communist Party in 1921. It is a curious coincidence with the setting of C.C.P. (Chinese Communist Party). Osugi departed from the country with a plan of attending the International Anarchist Conference in Berlin, which was at the last not taken place. En route, he stayed in Paris and stood on a platform of the open meeting. Having been consigned at La Sante Prison and handed over to the Japanese authorities, he wrote his experiences in his Nippon Dashyutsu Ki, “The Exodus from Japan” (1923). He stressed his attention to Nestor Mavno and the Evanovich movement, then introduced the views of Alexander Berkman & Emma Goldman about the Russian Revolution.

On September 1, 1923, a big earthquake attacked the Tokyo district. The authorities utilized the calamity to suppress various shades of the socialists and the Koreans. The latter had an arrogance to the Japanese since the annexation of their mother country. Osugi, his common-law wife Noe Ito, and a nephew, Sdichi Tachibana, at his 11 years were escorted to the center of Gendarme in Tokyo. It is reported that they were strangled there and cast into a well. Thus, an anti-military activist was assassinated ironically by three soldiers like Gustav Landauer in Munich on May 2, 1919. (see Prophet of Community by Eugene Lunn 1973)

Strictly speaking, indeed, Osugi is not a deep thinker on Anarchism, but it is also wrong to assign him an anarchist of the imported idea of anarcho-syndicalism. His efforts covered the sphere of individualism (he denoted it as a socialized individualian, not nihilism like that of a Stirnerian), modern literature, and scientific enlightenment. Still more, he enjoyed popularity with his intelligence and lifestyle among the workers. Once he declared;

When I see an anarchist like a Kropotkin, I feel respect but no affection toward him. It is somewhat difficult to approach him. Rather I have a sympathy for a generous anarchist who will be a rebel even in an anarchist society, who may pass his daily life with looseness, not exactitude. So that I can’t help pad whenever I think of the life way of our father, Mikhail Bakunin.


by Sakae Osugi (1918)

I like a spirit. But I feel a repugnance

when it is theorized.

Under process of theorizing, it is often transformed

into a harmony with social reality, a slavish compromise,

and a falsehood.

It is a rare thing that a thought is as it is.

Still, few actions emerge from a spirit directly.

In this sense, I like Minpon Shyugi and

Jindo Shuugi (Humanitarianism) advocated ambigously by those of

literary circle.

But when they are asserted by those of law or politics,

I am disgusted with them.

I abhor socialism; even anarchism induces me to uneasiness.

I like the most a blind action of a human being or an expression of spirit.

Let freedom be for an idea,

Let freedom be for an action,

Still, let freedom be for a motive!

Notes; Minpon Shyugt...advocated and declared by Sakuzo Yoshino (1878–1938). It purports that there are dual meanings of democracy: one is an explanation of where the sovereignty is, and the other is related to a method of how to use it. He emphasized the latter by nominating it Minpon Shyugi, which would support obtaining the right of universal suffrage in those days. Osu-gt attacked its ambiguity and distortion from democracy as Yoshino exchanged an aim for a mean.

Jindo Shyugt (Humanitarianism)...A faction of literal field advocated by Shirakaba Ha (the white birch group). The members were Saneatsu Mushyakoji, who promoted a new village movement (1918), a kind of free common demand, a development of self, which is now flourishing on a small scale, and the writer Naoya Shiga. All of them were indebted their thought to a senior writer, Takeo Arishima (1878–1923), who had an occasion to meet P. Kropotkin in London, while Ibsen, Emerson, and Whitman influenced him to shape his humanitarianism.

He emancipated his former tenants with land in Hokkaido (1922).

This event impacted society, but his personal life seemed a tragic one by his suicide with a woman (1923).


— declared in 1913 —

In my article titled “A fact of subjugation,” I declared that “it is a fundamental fact that the human being has been subjugated for some million or thousand years...” and concluded, “without a distinct understanding of the fact, we can not grasp the meaning of the society, etc.” Then I applied this thesis to art that “if a literary man had not depicted the fact of subjugation and a revolt against it, his works would be a diversion or a fun. It might be a resignation which would tempt us to forget the heavy reality impacted us with daily routine or an element of systematized falsehood”. Further, I argued, “A static beauty kept us in a trance is not concerned us at all. We are longing for an ecstasy as well as emerged from dynamic beauty. Literature that we demand will be a creative one consisted of both hatred and revolt.”

I would like to amplify and clear up my thesis with a link of the above three points.

* * *

Life, an expansion of our life, is doubtlessly a root of modern thought. It is the alpha and omega of modern philosophy. Then what is life--and what is an expansion? I will begin to explain it.

Life has both broad and narrow senses. When I take up a narrow one, i.e., the meaning of individual life, whose essence is no more than an ego. And an ego is, after all, a might subjected to the rule of dynamics. Might should sprout an act, for the presence of might is a synonym for an act. Therefore it is impossible to avoid an action of might.

There is nothing for action but might. It is a unique aspect of might. Consequently, it is an inevitable logique of life that indicates us to act or to expand it. Because an act is to expand a being in space.

Then the expansion of our life should accompany its fullness; rather, its fullness incites an expansion. So they are one and the same thing.

Thereby it is our duty to expand our life and leaves nonetheless an effective action that satisfies a tenacious demand of life.

Moreover, the inevitable logique of life orders us to eliminate and destroy every obstacle hindering the expansion of our life. If we do not obey the order, our life, i.e., ego, will stagnate, decompose, and crumble away.

The expansion of our life has its fundamental nature. A man has struggled and utilized his surroundings to expand his life since the primitive age. Even among the barbarous folks, they conflicted and took advantage of each other for mutual expansion. Thus this strife and utilization led the human being astray in the flash of undeveloped knowledge.

Besides, they became an obstacle to the expansion of life. That is, as a result of the erroneous method of strifes and utilization, there emerged two poles, those of the oppressor and the oppressed. Then the expansion of life for the oppressed has been nearly stopped. They have almost all lost their egos. They have become a slave and a machine obeying the order of the oppressor. One who has stopped his life and development of self should be corrupted and decomposed. It is the same as the oppressor. Corruption and decomposition of the oppressed will affect their master, too. There is a vice of the slave as well as that of the master. Where there is servility, there is the master’s vanity. In a word, the slave destroys his life negatively, while his master positively. It is one and the same to hinder the expansion of life as a human being. Still more mutual struggles and utilization made a man handicapped exceedingly to strive and utilize his surroundings.

Whenever two decayed poles of life have come into the vicinity of destruction, there is an invasion or a revolution. So the comparatively healthy middle class takes up an initiative in the name of salvation for the oppressed or asks for their hands in a revolt.

Or taking advantage of the middle class, the oppressed revel in despair. Yet, in its natural progress, it turns out that the middle class has become their new master. Summing up human history, it is, after all, a repetition of such course and effect. Though this repetition has some progressive nature. Humanity does not know to return the primitivity with neither master nor slave. She does not know a return to her primitive age of freedom with her self-consciousness nor the great meaning of historical repetition.

For a long time, humanity has remained with a master and a slave, so she could not imagine what a society is where she is neither a master nor a slave. She is also incapable of thinking of a supreme means of expanding life with autonomy and eliminating authority above man. They preferred merely a master. They changed the name of their master. But they did not dare to go in at the fundamental fact of conquest with a hatchet. It is a great error in human history. We now stop such repetition of history. These thousand and million years’ pilgrimage has taught us such foolish repetition. In order to cease it, we ought to do the last yet the greatest repetition for the true expansion of one’s life and that of humanity.

The fact of conquest in modern society comes nearly to its zenith. The conqueror, the middle class, and the conquered are unbeatable of this fact at the same time. The class of conquerors has suffered with its extreme and abnormal expansion, while the conquered are in agony with oppression. Then the middle class is attacked with the above two anxieties, a main source of modern distress.

Hence it is necessary to have a hatred for a fact of conquest in order to live one’s life. The hatred must bear a revolt, then a demand for a new life, whose demand brings forth autonomy of ego not presided over by authority and free life. Sure enough, as I have thought it, such sentiment, idea, and will have resulted in among the minority, especially among a few oppressed. As the only effective act for satisfying our deep vindictive desire, it appeared like a revolt against the fact of conquest in the first place. It then appeared as destruction against everything which disturbs the expansion of one’s life. Indeed, I discern the highest beauty in the expansion of one’s life, so in both revolt and destruction, I observe the highest beauty of today’s life. Consequently, the fact of conquest has reached its zenith, as concordance is no longer beautiful. Beauty is only in discordance. Concordance is a lie. Truth is only in discordance.

Now, the expansion of one’s life can be realized in a revolt by enjoying limitless beauty. It is a revolt that creates a new life, even a new society.

In my own life, I enjoy a limitless beauty in such revolt. And the meaning of the so-called art for deed that I have advocated is, after all, in it. Deed is a direct action of one’s life.

Furthermore, a deed of modern man who received scientific enlightenment is not what you call “an affair of madness,” neither a thoughtless act nor a physical one. But it is an action enacted from observation and meditation for a long time, and it is one that you have pondered on its effectiveness. It is a deed that you can have an image of the affair, the background before and after, even under the process. You can have a contemplation with a deed, a contemplation with ecstasy, and ecstasy with passion. Then this passion evokes another deed. There you can discern no more subjectivity and objectivity, which will be combined in one and all. This is my Nirvana and art as a revolutionary. Furthermore, as long as I stay in this state, my consciousness of the fact of conquest becomes distinct with all my heart. It is a time that I have set up my ego and life positively. Whenever I have an experience of the state, my consciousness and ego become positive with distinction. Joy of life overflows.

The fullness of my life is, at the same time, an expansion of my life. Then it is also an expansion of human life. I discern an activity of human life in my own action. Moreover, it is not I alone who engages in such effective life-action. There are few people conscienced his own, and a relation between a self and its surroundings have stepped boldly in this field. Besides a blind man, no one can look over that they are building up a future society.

I cannot understand why the recent literature in Japan, which proclaims to stand on a fact, does not refer to the fundamental fact of the society, that is, the conquest that arrived at its zenith. Why do they not mention the foundation of the sorrow of modern life? With a step further, why do they not depict a fact of revolt against it, this new life, and the creation of a new society? Why is there no appearance of literature based on a positive knowledge of society and a creative one of drastic beauty of hatred and revolt?

I demand with my life a literature of such tendency. 1 demand ~ also science and philosophy in this direction.


— a criticism of the Soviet Russia —

— declared in 1922 —

Is it to recognize the Soviet Russia? Yes, it may be a matter whether the Japanese government would recognize her or not. But it is a trivial one for me. Is it not a story of contradiction and good for nothing that the government of Soviet Russia, that is, new states of the proletariat, has appealed for an agreement from the capitalist nations? In the beginning, who did get a rupture of diplomatic relations? It was nonetheless the government of Lenin’s Soviet that brought down the Czar’s empire, then Kelen-sky’s democratic government that failed to pay her debts. It is

fair to say that Soviet Russia predicted that other European countries would insurrect at once like herself. But the process did not go as she expected, so she pretended to go back to the state capitalist and beseeched an acquaintanceship with a confession that she would pay some debt with a paper and get current money; without it, she could not rebuild capitalism. It is said enough as I can not understand it. Therefore she is often alluded to capitulated to capitalism; however, she stands on her dignity.

Well, you know that a shameful treaty, some Rits.....treaty between Russia and Germany.

It has been suggested that she might bow her head many times and borrow much money by writing many papers, but if there would be a revolution in each country in the near future, then she would play false with her former friends. She is not ashamed of such a declaration.

You can not see a retrogression of Russia to a state capitalism. What? Do you say that capitalism has not been ripened yet in Russia as she is to realize communism? Don’t argue such nonsense of historical materialism! Oh! You say something still? A retrogressive step before a jump? It is an objection for objection’s sake. You must see a foot stand of Soviet Russia, that is, the conditions of the worker and the peasant in Russia. Do you not see how they lived under N.E.P., then the worker and the peasant in the communist regime disdained Lenin and his followers by declaring them the traitors to the revolution and demanding another one? What? Is he a madman who claims it? Foolish enough! Is there any country where a real revolutionary has not been called crazy by the authorities? While Soviet Russia swindles with historical materialism and quibbles, then before the ripeness of capitalism and one step forward after two steps backward, such madmen would destroy the government and begin a revolution anew. Is it not the necessity of historical materialism, too?

Having been astonished by a Bolshevik revolution bothered with a block-out and armed interference, then discovering its real aspect, the capitalist states may shake hands with the new capitalist Soviet at once. They may take a bond and bend capital again with a profitable job. Still more they would like to fight against a true revolution together as well as helping the new capitalist state. It is a matter of no consequence for me. Because I have another business which I ought to do for myself.


Syndicalism, or Industrial democracy, has another history. As early as the 1880s, some liberal intellectuals introduced the worker’s union, producer, and consumer’s association with an example of Rochdale. Their efforts in this field brought a result of the credit bank system, and even now, consumer associations have flourished, while the producers’ cooperation is only found in the agricultural sphere. However, the name “Co-op” is attached to some industrial enterprises; they are merely related to financial affairs.

In the first place, the capitalists were busy modeling the Western factory organization. They employed women and children in a cotton spinning mill so that the working conditions were miserable as those of the early 19th century in Lancashire. Moreover, big factories such as ordinance and dockyards were usually built by the government, then handed down to the private enterprise with a profit; thereby, the employees were expected to work in conformity with the state policy. They were instructed with elitism but had no sympathy for a fellow worker. Besides this, a feudal sentiment to respect one’s seniors and obey the order of his master willingly, as he sits merely on higher status inherited from the predecessor, prevented him from working with spontaneity. Further, the common worker out of the big enterprise took a lifestyle of going such as “a skillful craft man does not afford hie daily wages so far as tomorrow.” or “Rice and a sun god follow me whereas I move from a working place to another.” etc. The intelligentsia of the Meiji period ought to have taught them how to read their wages for emergencies and the usefulness of workers’ unity in negotiation with their bosses. According to Nippon Shyakat Si Shi, literally the History of Socialism in Japan by Sanshiro Kawa, he recorded the first labor union of Rikisha man at Tol and that of carpenter & plasterer in 1892. He added that the Shins-Japanese War (1894–1895) and Russo-Japanese War (1904–19 implied assuming the working stage of the socialist movement. He introduced several unionizations such as Rodokwniai Kiset Kat, the Preparatory Association of labor unions (1897), Teteuko or the Labour Union of Iron & Steel Machinery (1897), Néppon do Kyosetkat or the Reforming Association of Rail Rord Work (1898), the Printers Union with some hundred printers at Ful Printing Company in 1898, as the company fired 7 workers with black list, so the printers carried out a strike; Dainihon Kyokai or the Dainihon Labour Association. The leaders in the labor movement were Sen Katayama, a Christian socialist who died as a communist, Fusataro Takano, and Teiichi Sakuma, whose idea was trade unionism. There appeared a kind of reformism, which stood for Shihon-Rodd Chyowa Ron, i.e., a harmony between capital and labor. It urged that “in other words, an economic principle to advance the economic development, worker and the capitalist must unite with harmony and aid~ each other. But the activists of the socialist fraction have an erroneous notion of this. For they assert that the capitalist is good for nothing, so having overthrown the capitalist, they want the capital being in possession of the state...” Ishikawa introduced Sen Katayama’s criticism against it as “it needed a harmony of capital and labor. But having seen today’s condition, we can not assert harmony between the capitalist and the worker. It is far from harmony; in other words, it is a relation between the lord and his subject, nay, it is a master and a slave...in order to get true harmony, we must raise the worker...so we need a union, a general strike, too.” Ishikawa commented “it is a big advancement that the worker’s movement has become a work of the workers themselves and out of the hands of a politician. Nevertheless, it is merely one step of advancement. The worker should raise his own political movement promoted from pure economic movement. So that was there the socialist movement by the worker, that would be the true emancipation for the worker... etc.”

Direct actionism, declared by Kotoku in his article “Why I have changed my thought,” is a theoretical apogee of the labor movement of this period. Mortkuni Yoshikawa, an activist and an archivist of the socialist movement since the Heiminshya, wrote “Keigyaku Seiso Shi” or “History of the traitors” that Kotoku was influenced by the Ashio riot in 1907. The incident started from the dissatisfaction of copper miners at Ashio Copper Mine, run by Furukawa Zaibatsu (the financial group). The Heiminsha reported the riot in its organ Heimin Shinbun. The authorities smeared the nature of the incident and campaigned it as “the riot of socialists.” Yoshikawa commented, “It is true, among 4000 miners, our members were about 2000, so the miners were under the influence of socialism. But Furukawa Zatbatsu trusted responsibility for the incident to the socialist in order to conceal their outrage. Low wages, coercive sale of goods with bad quality to the miner, the outrage of executives, common occurrence of bribery (a miner should offer a bribe to an official for a good working position. Translator’ note), thus it was nothing but an explosion of accumulated dis- content of the miners...”

Kotoku utilized the incident as proof of his direct actionism that “The riot is wrong. But we must realize the effect of three days’ movement compared to a voice in parliament for 20 years.

I do not say you must perform a strike immediately. A revolution does not come within a day. For this purpose, we must raise a conetence of the worker and disciple the unity. Whenever unity is accomplished, universal suffrage will be offered by the capitalist without objection. Well, parliamentalism has been a tool of the capitalist to overthrow the absolutism of the nobility and, at the same time, a tool of exploitation of the working class. Then they need not rely on such a tool as we intend to overthrow the capitalist.....the direct action of the worker does not need a leader. Because we do not follow the leader but push him. Further, the worker is not required to go on the Diet. He must take over the land as he required. Take money as he needs it. He may take anything as far as his right demands it....” But his direct actionism was destroyed with a frame-up of the High Treason incident. Even now, some Marxists have criticized him; however, Kotoku agitated direct actionism, and there was no working class to realize his intention; therefore, it was no less than a castle in the air. This view has been advocated by Sakai, Arahata, and others.

We can discern the syndicalism of the Meiji Era with three types; te. Ro-Shi Kyochyo (the harmony of capital and labor) was advocated by trade unionism imported from the West, Direct Actioniem advocated by Kotoku, then the class struggle of the Marxists.

Since 1913 anarcho-syndicalism had been propagated by the effort of anarchists. An advocator was, of course, Sakae Osugi.


by Sakae Osugi

declared in 1920

An anarchist, in particular, Kropotkin, often said that a worker ought to have an idea of a society in the future, which he intended to build up. Without grasping this notion, the worker will be an instrument of a revolution, never a master of it.

In truth, as far as now, the worker has been used like an instrument to have destroyed the ancient regime in every revolution and has no share in the construction of a new society. Indeed, they have destructed most of them but left the rest to the other’s hands so that the so-called new society will be others’ like the former one, as if they have no conscience at all. It is not true they have no defined idea of a new social organization. On the contrary, it might be that they had no conception of the autonomous mind to do their own business persistently.

Suppose, however, the worker had no notion of a new social organization; if he could participate in the destruction of the old society as well as the construction of a new one, he would be a master of the revolution.

Suppose the worker had an idea, but it was a product of the other’s knowledge; he could not be a true master of the revolution. In this case, if he had an idea, he might depend on the other’s construction. Therefore when the worker wants to be a true master of the revolution, in other words, to construct a new society of his own, he should cultivate autonomy that, first of all, an emancipation of the worker is his own work. I would like to demonstrate it by acknowledging the so-called “defined idea of the new social organization” of P. Kropotkin.

You may complain that “it is not understandable what idea or ideal we must possess whenever you may suggest to have a notion or an ideal of a new social organization. But there are many samples in front of the worker. There is one of Anarchism, and that of Social Democratism, then Syndicalism and Guild Socialism. However, the worker does not know which is better to choose at the present time. For each of them has a plausible reason. So that the worker does not understand, in truth, which is the best. Furthermore, he has to consider in advance his own life before having examined an idea or an ideal in comparison with the samples. While engaged in his urgent business, he gradually conceived his position between a capitalist and a worker, then the government and the capitalist relatively. Even he has realized a fundamental defect of the present social institution. Further, he woke up a free spirit, which is stronger than the above-mentioned points during his efforts to reform the labor conditions. It is a fact that I have seen among the workers, and he has tried to link a free spirit with the social knowledge that he has obtained before having accepted the social idea or ideal as they are presented in front of him. The worker has been preparing his own product under a stimulus of various samples instead of procuring one.

What is life? It has been a proper theme in the history of philosophy. And the so-called great philosophers have offered various answers. But life is not prepared beforehand, nor is a book already printed. Far from it, it is a book of blank papers, on which each one puts down a word one by one. A man must survive; that is a life. Then what is a labor movement? It is the same and all. Labour is a life problem for a worker. He must put down word after word, phrase after phrase, in a large book of blank papers; entitled “Labour Problem.”

An idea or an ideal is a big power or a light as it is. But such power or light will decrease when it is left from the reality where it is cultivated. That is to say, to keep its real strength, it has to be free from a word and a phrase you have written one after another.

It is all the same with an idea or an ideal of a future society that the worker undertakes a construction. The idea or the ideal of a future society by Anarchism, Social democratism, and syndicalism may imply a power or a light constructed by the Western or American Workers. It is better for them to advance under their power or light. Yet there is a considerable distance between the reality and that of a Japanese worker who has constructed as far as now.

There are no other means, but they ought to promote the reality of conforming with their temperaments and surroundings while we seek our proper idea or ideal.

Then we can make it our motto that we act like a believer and think as a skeptic.


by Kenji Kondo (1895–1969)

Kondé came from Tanba in Hyogo Prefecture, entered in Waseda University, and during his university life, he met a book of Osugi, A Struggle of Life, which impacted and conversed him an anarchist (1914). Then he visited Osugi, beeane a militant by having assisted to issue Rodo Undo. He edited the complete Works of Sakae Osugiwith 10volumes (1926), wrote his memoir (1965). His wife, Magava Kondo has been a daughter of Sakat and warmly noted as Ma-bo by

Suga Kanno in her diary. Magara promoted Sekiran Kai or the Red Tide group (1921) to get a right of voting for a woman,

It was Yuzabro Sakai who had interoduced May Day in Japan. He contributed articles “Of The Socialist Party’s exercise on May 1st” to a magazine of Kokumin no Tomo (A friend of the Nation) in 1890, and another one was “Of May lst and a strike by the general Election League” in 1691. Among the socialists there had been a meeting of May Day since the period of Heimin Shya, but it was none the less a small indoor meeting. The 1st May Day taken place with the mass scale of worker unions was that of 1920. In those days, the May Day was generally not popular, but the workers of printer’s union “Shinyu Kai” and those of news paper’s union “Sei-shin Kai” raised a voice to have a May festival. Then one of initiators, Tatsuo Mizunuma appealed it to the other unions such as Shinyu Kai, which was in later called Rd5 SSddmei or the General Labour League, and resulted in to hold a preparatory meeting at a restaurant Matsumoto Tei, Kanda in Tokyo. It was succeeded owing to the support of socialists. On the other hand, its fund was managed with a royality of Kotoku’s book, i.e. Kiristo Masatsu Ron

or “An Extermination of Christ”, thus according to a Chinese phrasology, “the dead Kotoku drived a mass of worker to May Day!”

First May Day in Japan was held by Yuai Kai (Friendship Association) , Shinyu Kai, Seishin Kai, Taishin Kai (the printer’s union of a book seller, Hakubun Kan), Keimei Shya (the Teacher’s union), Ko-shikawa Rodo Kai (the worker’s union of ordnance factory), Jiyu Rodo Kai (the Association of daily labourers), Kokin Kai (the worker’s union of Navy), Mippon Rodo Kumiai, Hon.Ro Kai (the Association of general labourers), Nippon Kikai Ko Kumiai (the union of Machinery men in Japan), Zenkoku Kofu Kumiai (the Union of miners), Koyukai, Kozan Rodo Domei Kai, and Kotsu Rodo Kumiai (the worker’s union of Transportation), the total was 15 unions and associations added with many socialist groups. It took place on 2nd May of 1920, because the day was a sunday. The participantes were 5000 persons, and us, the members of Rodo Undo Shya with black banners gathered together at Ueno Park. The special number of Rodo Undo explaining a history of May Day were distributed on the spot to arise: the spirit of adherents. Bunji Suzuki, the leader of Yuai Kai presided over the meeting, though the preparation and proceeding were carried out by both Shinyu Kai and Seishin Kai Besides that, this lst May Day promoted a ripe for forming a col-laboration of unions arround Kanto District. On 8th May, it was discussed to have a permanent federative organization at an occassion of reporting the financial balance of May Day. Then on 16 of the month, Rodo Kumiai Domeikai or League of labour unions was associated. The members of the League were, at the first place,

Kotsu Rodo Kumiai, Shinyu Kai, Seishin Kai, Taishin Kai, Yuai Kai, Keimeikai, Hon Ro Kai and Kojin Kai. It followed with a setting of a federative organization in Kansai District, too, then Yuai

Kai’s Osaka federative association, Osaka Printer’s reformative Friend Association, Osaka Cloth-sewing Union, Osaka Brush Worker’s Union, KojS Kai (the Advancing group), Kansai Steel Forging Workex’s union, Electric Worker’s Union, Osaka Longshoreman-Association established Kansai Rodo Kumian Rengo Kai, literally the Federative Association of Kansai Labour Unions. I will point out another 2–3 aspects related to a cultural movement in those days. Kokuyo Kai or the Black Brightedness was founded with an aim of art revolution. Kei Mochizuki ( -1976) presided over the 1st Show at Ushigome, Tsukudo Hachiman in spring

of the same year (1920). The participants of the demonstration were such artists, S. Hayashi, Kei Mochizuki, the socialists, Toshihiko Sakai, Sakae Osugi, Kako Oba, Shyungetsu Ikuta with their scrolls and pictures of rebel sentiments. The second Show was opened at Hoshi Pharmacy Co., in Kyobashi, Tokyo on November of the same year. While on 30 Octover Sanshiro Ishikawa came home after 8 years, as he had been on abroad since Kotoku’s incident. He stayed at the family of Elise Reculus, the eminent anarchist in France. Further another group in Osaka, that I would like to mention, was Krohata Kai or the Black Banner group, founded by Kyutaro Wada, a member of Rodo Undo Shya, Osaka Blanch, which became a forerunner of the black movement in Kansai District. On the other hand, in Tokyo, Kazuo Kato set a group of Jiyu Jin or the Libertarian League and issued an organ “Jiyu Jin” or “An Libertarian.”

Then he visited Osugi and became a militant by assisting in issuing Rodo Undo. He edited the complete Works of Sakae Osugiwith 10volumes (1926) and wrote his memoir (1965). His wife, Magava Kondo, has been a daughter of Sakat and warmly noted as Ma-bo by Suga Kanno in her diary. Magara promoted Sekiran Kai, or the Red Tide group (1921), to get the right to vote for womxn.

It was Yuzabro Sakai who introduced May Day in Japan. He contributed the article “Of The Socialist Party’s exercise on May 1st” to a magazine of Kokumin no Tomo (A friend of the Nation) in 1890, and another one was “Of May 1st and a strike by the General Election League” in 1691. Among the socialists, there had been a meeting of May Day since the period of Heimin Shya, but it was nonetheless a small indoor meeting. The 1st May Day that took place with the mass scale of worker unions was that of 1920. In those days, May Day was generally not popular, but the workers of the printer’s union “Shinyu Kai” and those of the newspaper union “Sei-shin Kai” raised their voices to have a May festival. Then one of the initiators, Tatsuo Mizunuma, appealed it to the other unions, such as Shinyu Kai, which was later called the General Labour League and resulted in holding a preparatory meeting at a restaurant Matsumoto Tei, Kanda in Tokyo. It succeeded owing to the support of socialists. On the other hand, its fund was managed with a royalty of Kotoku’s book, i.e., Kiristo Masatsu Ron or “An Extermination of Christ,” thus according to a Chinese phraseology, “the dead Kotoku drove a mass of workers to May Day!”

First May Day in Japan was held by Yuai Kai (Friendship Association), Shinyu Kai, Seishin Kai, Taishin Kai (the printer’s union of a bookseller, Hakubun Kan), Keimei Shya (the Teacher’s union), Ko-shikawa Rodo Kai (the worker’s union of ordnance factory), Jiyu Rodo Kai (the Association of daily laborers), Kokin Kai (the worker’s union of Navy), Mippon Rodo Kumiai, Hon.Ro Kai (the Association of general laborers), Nippon Kikai Ko Kumiai (the union of Machinery men in Japan), Zenkoku Kofu Kumiai (the union of miners), Koyukai, Kozan Rodo Domei Kai, and Kotsu Rodo Kumiai (the worker’s union of Transportation), the total was 15 unions and associations added with many socialist groups. It took place on 2nd May of 1920 because the day was a Sunday. The participants were 5000 persons, and we, the members of Rodo Undo Shya with black banners, gathered together at Ueno Park. The special number of Rodo Undo explaining the history of May Day was distributed on the spot to raise: the spirit of adherents. Bunji Suzuki, the leader of Yuai Kai, presided over the meeting, though the preparation and proceeding were carried out by both Shinyu Kai and Seishin Kai. Besides that, this last May Day promoted a ripe for forming a collaboration of unions around Kanto District. On 8th May, it was discussed to having a permanent federative organization at the occasion of reporting the financial balance of May Day. Then on the 16 of the month, Rodo Kumiai Domeikai, or League of labor unions, was associated. The members of the League were, in the first place, Kotsu Rodo Kumiai, Shinyu Kai, Seishin Kai, Taishin Kai, Yuai Kai, Keimeikai, Hon Ro Kai, and Kojin Kai. It was followed with a set of a federative organizations in Kansai District, too, then Yuai Kai’s Osaka federative association, Osaka Printer’s reformative Friend Association, Osaka Cloth-sewing Union, Osaka Brush Worker’s Union, KojS Kai (the Advancing group), Kansai Steel Forging Workex’s union, Electric Worker’s Union, Osaka Longshoreman-Association established Kansai Rodo Kumian Rengo Kai, literally the Federative Association of Kansai Labour Unions. I will point out another 2–3 aspects of a cultural movement in those days. Kokuyo Kai, or the Black Brightedness, was founded with the aim of art revolution. Kei Mochizuki ( -1976) presided over the 1st Show at Ushigome, Tsukudo Hachiman, in the spring of the same year (1920). The participants of the demonstration were such artists as S. Hayashi, Kei Mochizuki, the socialists, Toshihiko Sakai, Sakae Osugi, Kako Oba, and Shyungetsu Ikuta with their scrolls and pictures of rebel sentiments. The second Show was opened at Hoshi Pharmacy Co. in Kyobashi, Tokyo, in November of the same year. While on 30 October, Sanshiro Ishikawa came home after 8 years, as he had been abroad since Kotoku’s incident. He stayed with the family of Elise Reculus, the eminent anarchist in France. Further, another group in Osaka that I would like to mention was Krohata Kai or the Black Banner group, founded by Kyutaro Wada, a member of Rodo Undo Shya, Osaka Blanch, which became a forerunner of the black movement in Kansai District. On the other hand, in Tokyo, Kazuo Kato set up a group of Jiyu Jin, or the Libertarian League, and issued an organ, Jiyu Jin or A Libertarian.


The Russian Revolution started in 1917, after 3 years, that is to say, in 1920, during the preparation of founding Nippon Shyakai Shyugi Domei (The League of Japan Socialists), a Korean comrade reported in secrecy in August that it would be held a conference of Kyokuto Shyakai Shyugisha (the socialists in the Far East) at Shanghai on October and persuaded us to attend it. In the first place, he had contact with Toshihiko Sakai and Hitoshi Yamakawa, who gradually fortified their stand of Marxism in those days, but they refused attendance, then a recommendation was passed to Osugi. While he smuggled in Shanghai willingly as he had a hope of contacting Chinese comrades for a long time. The conference was a gathering of representatives from China, Korea, Japan, and Russia, but in truth, a hostage was a Russian who wanted to have an initiative of the movement in the Far East. So that Osugi refused a proposal and offered merely to set up a committee for information exchange. It was the only result, yet it opened a route for the international movement of the socialists. Having come home, he undertook to re-issue the Rodo Undo in 1920, and the organ was set off as a weekly. The cooperators were Ichiro Takeuchi, Kaneo Terada, Eizo Kondo (a Bolshevist), Masamichi Takazu, Fusako Kuzumi besides Kyutaro Wada, Kenji Kondo, Kanichi Nakamura, and Unosuke Hisaita; those were 4 members of the former Rodo Undo. Gsugi wrote the editorial of the weekly.

Now Japan is menaced to be separated from Siberia, Korea, and China. It is impossible to look over the fact but to prepare whenever a chance of raising comes. For this purpose, we set up the weekly Rodo Undo.

In those days, the antirevolutionaries such as the Urangel in Europe and the Semiyonov in Siberia declined, then the Russian Revolution became comparatively set in steady, while in China; the Kantong government sprouted for a new China, and domestically the Japanese radicals raised with a new hope to the advancement of the labor movement. ‘The weekly reflected this situation. But the paper put on the articles such as “A Study of Bolshevism” by Eizo Kondo and “Down the Soviet Government.” Thus it mirrored two tendencies of Anarchism and Bolshevism, then increased their stress on each other. But generally speaking, it was an age of collaboration between the anarchists and the Bolshevists like the Nip-Pon Shyakai Shyugi Domei. After the dispersion of the Domei and the arrestation of Eizo Kondo at Shimonoseki en route of coming from Shanghai on the errand of Osugi, there appeared a gulf of antagonism among us; further, Kondo was kept in custody due to the 2nd May Day incident, the Rodo Undo was abruptly ceased to put forth. (Though it was a weekly, in truth, it was set out twice a month.)

Still more, some communists smiled bitterly, added with anarchists against such collaboration. They were Genjiro Muraki, Sukeo Miya-jima, Hajime Yoshida, and Heibei Takao, who engaged in the organ “Rodo Shya” or “the Laborer,” which continued 4 numbers until’ 1910. Because of the dispersion of the Domei and out of the issue of the Rodo Undo, the collaboration was disrupted. Yet, the anarchists’ aid did not forsake hope for the Russian popular movement. They expected and believed that the Russian people would carry out the emancipation of the true Soviets so that the adherents at the national conference of the Far East in November of 1921 were the anarchists comparably more than the communist. For the 1st time, they were Hajime Yoshida, Kyuichiro Wada (members of Rodo Shya, the Press of Labour), Eiichi Kitamura, Shinjiro Kobayashi (Seishin Kai, the Printer’s Union), Heibei Takao (the Rodo Shya, the Labour Press), Kohei Watanabe, Totaro Shiragane, Sentaro Kitawura, Koji Hidejima (the Seishin Kai), Kuma Mizunuma (Iron Machinery Worker’ Union, a younger brother of Tatsuo Mizunuma). All of them were anarchists or anarcho-syndicalists who stepped into the Russian land to see the reality of Russia rather than to attend the conference.

Thus, the anarchist was not indifferent to having contact with Russia; on the contrary, it was the anarchists who did their best in this field. Having seen the fact that the communist enjoyed a tyranny and trampled on the worker and the peasant, they cried out for a true emancipation. Then the socialist movement in Japan was split into two camps, which rushed towards each object with increasing mutual antagonism.


As I have mentioned of two camps above, the Bolshevists such as Eizo Kondo, Masamichi Takazu, and Genwa Nakasone founded a secret society named “Giyomin Kyosanto” or “Communist Party of Morning Light,” further Hitoshi Yamakawa, Teruaki Tadokoro, Shigeki Ueda published a magazine “Zenei, or Vanguard” and a pamphlet of Tuesday Association in 1921, which propagated Bolshevism, while Sakae Osugi, Kyutaro Wada, Kenji Kondo, Noe Ito started the 3rd Rodo Undo on November of the same year. Gennosuke Yazaki and Kagekatsu Ozawa set off the organ “Kaku Jin or A Revolutionary” in KoFu, and Daijiro Furuta, a member of the Student Organization of Waseda University, Shin Nagashima established “Kosakunin Shya” or the group for farmer tenants. The activists of Shinyukai and Seishinkai strongly promoted a labor movement with the idea of federation. As I have pointed out before, the anarchist was not against the Russian Revolution from the beginning. It was the first social revolution to have overthrown the capitalist institution. The workers of all parts of the world were encouraged by the event, and it influenced them tremendously. It was an indisputable fact.

So the anarchist welcomed and supported it with a great hope. But lately, it showed how a revolution should not be performed with the development of Bolshevism. They fortified centralism with a pleasant word of Proletarian dictatorship while, in truth, cratched the worker and the peasant with an iron nail, in other words, iron discipline, so the anarchist was vehemently against them by demanding a true revolution. From a view of anarchism, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, and Alexander Shapillo exposed the tyranny of the Bolsheviks by having contributed their articles to various organs and papers throughout the world, for they had witnessed the reality of the Revolution in Russia. The Rodo Undo reported their Japanese versions, such as “The Societ Government and Anarchism,” “The Russian Government and the Peasant,” and “Labour conditions in Soviet Russia,” and appealed to our workers and peasants, then accused the BolShevist added with the introduction of the philosophy of Bakunin and Kropotkin. Thus we concentrated our efforts on the prevail of anarchism. Osugi said in an article replying to a question, “Why I have not supported the revolution in progress. A criticism to the Bolshevik Government? I have been modest for a long time. It is not I alone, but also most anarchists over the world have been reserving their attitude towards it. Nevertheless, there is a few who has stood willingly on the line of collaboration with the communist. Most Russian anarchists did so, while the anarchist in other countries followed them, as they did not understand the reality in Russia. Another reason is that you may disdain to be called an antirevolutionary, and they have watched the revolution with sympathy. ‘Then the reality has been cleared up one after another. Even the Soviet Government, i.e., the government of the worker and the peasant, has become an antirevolutionary element. Everyone does support the Russian Revolution with pleasure, but who dares to help such Bolshevik of Government!

Notes; Above three articles are based on Kenji Kondo’s “Nippon Anakism Undo Shi” or “History of Japan Anarchism Movement as I have seen it,” published by Mugi Shya, Tokyo, 1969.

**SORENGO no Ketsuretsu

— A Split of the General Federation of Labour Unions —

by Tatsuo Mizunuma

After the 1st May Day (1920), Rodo Kuniat Domet Kai, literally the League of Labour unions, was constructed in the Tokyo district, and syndicalism was advocated by a lot of workers. In particular, the printer’s union, Shinyukai, and newspaper worker’s union, Seishin-kai, were in the direction of anarcho-syndicalism, so they were usually called Osugi’s fractions. Generally, the worker’s conscience, that is, “trade unionism should be a movement of autonomy by the workers,” was acknowledged everywhere. A coalition and a split were repeated until 1922. Then there appeared a proposal to build up a nationwide general federation of Labour unions, which brought in a confrontation between the right-wing centralization (the General League) and free federation, anarcho-syndicalism. Of course, the Boleshevist supported centralism, so it is always nominated as a struggle between the anarchist and the Boleshevist. Osugi attacked the right with some articles such as “a struggle against Centralian “Kumiai Tei-koku Shyugi, or Imperialism of the Trade Union,” while Ritoaht Ya-makawa exposed his thesis as “A Change of Direction for the proletariate’s movement,” in which he denied the socialist movement since Kotoku and urged that “the minority vanguard should go into the mass of people with a purified notion of Marxism, in other words, the mass shall be drived to build up a proletarian state, but if we are aloof over the people and in a distance of the people’s will, it is impossible to lead them. Therefore in accordance with real demand, we must go into the people!” This Yamakawa was once a comrade of Osugi during the period of the Heiminshya Movement, then became a co-worker with Sakai and participated in the founding of the Japan Communist Party in 1921 with Kanson Arahata. Naturally, the anarchist Sakutaro Iwasa replied severely that “they (the Bolshevists) want to lead the proletariat because they have understood that it is impossible to satisfy their desires of reign and power as we can see the state of the labor movement of today. Then Yamakawa-kun wrote “A Change of Direction”; i.e., he does not go into the people but approaches the mass by changing direction. Indeed, they do not become a class of vanguard, but a master and a leader of the people”. (An error of the communist, 1923)

The following is an essay written by Tatsuo Mizunuma (1892–1965), who contrived and organized the 1st May day in Japan, related to “Sorengo no Ketsuretsu to Sono Zengo, or Before and aftermath of a Split of the General Federation in 1922”.


A preparatory draft of the General Federation had been confirmed with several meetings, but we could not predict its prosperity. Some members of the League (the right-wing trade unionism) intended to hold an initiative of the labor movement with the support of the Bolsheviks and their idea by making use of the League, so as if they forgot their first declaration, that is, “We will be comprised of unions with various tendencies thereby we would like to start from a district labor league at Tokyo, etc.” Contrarily they showed an ambition to build up the General Federation as a central Organization and wanted to preside over labor unions throughout the country. On the other hand, some conscious members of Shinyu Kai & Seishin Kai published a leaflet, “An appeal to the militant activists of the labor movement over the country, related to a federation of the labor unions” and abused centralism: if a laborer had not overcome a capitalist spirit which sacrifices a fellow man for his own profit, or a spirit to reign with power, it would be insufficient however he could overthrow the capitalist institution as if a shift of regime from Tokugawa, to that of Satsuma-Choshu clans. If the planners of shaping a federation of Unions over the country had an egoistic mind or wanted to prevent it for his own sake, we must expel, in the first place, such a capitalist covered with a skin of laborer.

The federative organization will be divided into two types, i.e., a centralized coalition which subjects all member unions to a supreme organ, and a free federation, under which each union delegates a representative to discuss a common problem. Then if today’s labor union is organized with spontaneity, it will be impossible to have a centralized coalition. However, a few ambitious men and those with other intentions have wanted to utilize the organization. Further, a formality might be a centralization, though the staff of present labor unions has no real power, so they can not do anything. Still, they have insisted on doing this; they would request the army, the police, or even the power of money. The members who have demanded such a coalition are the shameless people who reign the fellow with power and the capitalist with money. The trade unions in Soviet Russia have been corrupted with bureaucracy as the Bolshevists recognized it. Despite registering membership coercively, there is a tendency of alienation from the union, which indicates that a coalition is nothing but a contravention to the spirit of the labor emancipation movement. We denounce firmly such organizations. Then what kind of organization do we want to have? In the first step, when labor unions are being separated at the present moment because of various jobs and industries, they must be federated out of necessity. It is natural that they will begin to draw fellow men with the same industry in a district and that it will be a strong federative unit; then, such units with the same industry are integrated into a district federation. On the other hand, the common industrial unions will federate with other unions throughout the country. Thus the former and the latter come together, they will build up a national federation of labor unions over the country, and they will solve a common problem with coworking, while a particular one, they will do it with their own will and power. It is such a free federative union that we want to have. It is necessary more than all that we make up a bud of a future society in our own organization.

We distributed the leaflet of the above purport to the unions and requested consent and approval from the General League. Furthermore, on 9th September, we held a preparatory meeting with Kumiai Domei (the League of Union), Kikai Rengo (the Machinery Federation), and Osaka Rengo (the Federation of Osaka Machinery Union), then decided as follows:

* We will avoid our egoistic sentiment and endeavor to build up “the General Federation.”

* But we must insist and fight against the opinion which enables a few staff to assume the leadership and make “the General Federation” a centralized Organization.

The Machinery Federation advocates that “when more than two unions of the same industry or occupation in a district want to participate, it ought to organize a federation.” Yet if the thesis hinders “the General Federation,” they will reserve as far as putting an insertion of “as a rule” into the Rule, etc.

(In the preparatory meeting with members of the General League, they have confirmed that the grand meeting will be held in Osaka; the date is 30 September, from 9:AM. A delegate is selected from a union composed the member of less than 200, two delegates with less than 500 members, three delegates with less than 1000 members, and one delegate will be added by every 1000 members. Further, an eminent activist of the Osaka Dockyard Worker’s Union, Suehiro Nishio (later he became chief of the Democratic Socialist Party in post-war Japan), offered a proposal that “a member has no qualification unless he acknowledges two objects as maintaining & reforming of labor conditions and reshaping the society in addition with realizing these objects by means of a struggle.” Contrary against it, Tatsuo Miaumuma, an anarchist and a member of Kumiai Domei replied “at present, the members who want participation are either to maintain and reform the labor conditions or the mild unions in lack of struggle. While the General Federation intended to comprise either of them, it is better to eliminate the word “struggle.” This debate indicates to us ironically that a right-wing activist is sometimes more radical than an anarchist, and the importance of how to form an organization in stead of how to impact the society with a unity of workers. Translator! Notes.)


Article 1 The Federation is called NIPPON RODOKUMTAT RENGO or the Federation of Japan Labour Unions, and the center is set up in Tokyo.

Article 2 The Federation is consisted of occupational and industrial unions having more than 50 members, of which the objects are to maintain & reform the labor conditions and reshape society. But it will be a rule to form a districtive and a national federation whenever one of the same industry or more than two unions of the same occupation want to partake in the Federation.

Article 3 The Federation shall not violate the right of autonomy of each union.

Article 4 The Federation has three objects.

1. The expansion of common will of labor unions.

2. To promote labor unionization among the workers.

3. International linkage of labor unions.

Article 5 The Federation has three functions.

a. General meeting

b. Board

c. District Board.

a. The general meeting is carried out by the delegates once every year, whenever the Board acknowledges it. A delegate is selected by more than 50 members up to 200 members, two delegates by more than 200 members up to 500 members, three delegates by more than 500 members up to 1000 members, and add with one delegate by each 1000 members.

b. The function of the Board is to perform a decision by the general meeting and do the work as the occasion demands. The member of the Board will be composed of delegates from each union.

c. The District Board will be taken place when the district members want to do.

Article 6 A regular director of the Board will be selected with mutual election and let him charge on the daily business.

Article 7. 8 Of accounting.

Article 9 In accordance with an agreement by more than two third members of the Board, it is possible to approve a membership, a withdrawal, or a temporary membership until the next general meeting.

Article 10 A member union can be withdrawn from the Federation at any time.

Article 11 The general meeting will approve or expel a member by more than two third of voters.

The Memorial day for the labor union movement in Japan has come, that is, 30th September 1922. The delegates, the members of unions, and others, more than 1000 militants have marched in files to the city

hall of Tennoji from the Office of League of Unions.

The attitude of the General League had been subversive and narrow.

Before the meeting, trouble was raised about seating in the audience.

The League insisted that “except the delegate, the audience should be on the first floor.” While we, the members of the Union League, advocated that “the staffs of Union attended with the qualification of adviser should present by the side of the delegates.”, we were forced to consent with a menace of shelving by the League.

After the calling and the examination of qualification, we entered into the discussion of the rules. Article 1st was approved unanimously, but Article 2nd caused a hot debate related to the acquirement of membership. Mizunuma proposed a review that a union could participate in the Federation whose aim was only “to maintain and improve the labor conditions.” Further contrary to the former thesis that “but it will be a rule to form a district or a nationwide federation whenever more than two unions of the same occupation or the same industry want to participate in the Federation.”

A delegate of the General League offered an alternative that “when more than two unions of the same occupation or the same industry want to participate, they ought to form a national federation with an aim of coalition” (Mr. Hirai’s proposal). Another delegate, Yoshiaki Nakamura, was for it and added by saying, “the Labour Union should advance in parallel with capitalism, and in order to demonstrate its power, it should be a centralized organization; thereby, the union should be allied.” The members of the General League applauded his address. Then Shinjiro Uno was against it and approved the proposal by Mizunuma. The General League offered another alternative by the personal name of Shinichi Yokota as “when more than two unions of the same industry or the same occupation want to participate in, they must form a districtive or national federation in the perspective of coalition.” which added with an address by Takada that “all of us are against centralization, but coalition might not be centralism.” The General League advocated Yokoishi’s proposal by confirming both Hirai’s and Yokoishi’s and declared they were against all other alternatives; thus, the conference was suspended for a while. The difference between Mizunuma’s proposal and that of Yokoishi was only an insertion of a phrase that “in the perspective of the coalition,” but it went on a dead rock, which related to a choice of the director of the Board. The Union League suspected a secession and proposed a compromise that “both proposals with the opposition would be withdrawn for a while, and discuss a plan which would be appreciated with accordance for proceeding, etc.” But it was refuted by the General League with their excitement and upheaval. Thus the members of Kumiai Domei (the Union League) confirmed to each other that “We will support Mi-zunuma’s as possible as we can do if it succeeds, though it is not our volition, and there is no other mean, we must cling to a hope notwithstanding a secession and persuade the General League with reflection.

At the reopening of the meeting, there were an approval address and a disapproval one relatively. Many delegates cried out, “Chairman!” and excitedly approached the platform. The members of the General League replied with many abuses. All of a sudden, the police interfered in and ordered dispersion. The audience was arrested one after another. They were accused of “violation of police” and demanded a reason for the outrage. The meeting was disrupted by the authorities. The Kumiai Domei (the League of Unions) proposed to continue the conference, and if it was impossible, they wanted to negotiate a conclusion. Further, they issued “An appeal to the workers over the country” with a purport of Free Federation. While a chairman representing the General League did not contact us, nevertheless, they declared “a split.” Thus Rodo Kumiai Zenkoku Teki So Rengo or the General Federation of Labour Unions throughout the country came to nil.

Notes: Another interesting episode of the secession which Naka-hama Tetsu, a representative member of the Guillotin group, reported in his organ “Kuro Pan” or the Black Bread: some young ones contrived a plan to murder Osugi on this occasion, as he was a leading boss behind the League of Unions. In truth, Ogg wanted to form a free federation of labor movement calling up the right-wing activists as well as the Bolsheviks. But his hope was smashed in embryo. From then on, the anarchist’s efforts in the labor movement were deprived of an extension and contracted gradually.


Kanto Daishinsai, or the great earthquake, which attacked the Tokyo district on 1st September 1923, caused the death of 901,802. At the same time, many socialists, besides Sakae Osugt and his wife Noe Ito, was murdered in the disguise of upheavals. Then Fumiko Kaneko, an avowed woman anarchist, and her Korean husband, Pack Yul, were kept in custody and framed later for a conspiracy. The anarchist movement lost its initiative, and the militants were led astray. Daisuke Nanba (1899–1923) raided Prince Hirohito at Torano-mon with a pistol device on 27th December 1923, failed, and received a death sentence. In the following year, 1924, Kyutaro Wada (1893–1928), an anarchist, and Genjiro Muraki (1890–1924), both co-workers of Osugi, watched a chance to kill the general Fukuda, who was a commander in chief of the seize at the time of the earthquake and they thought he was in charge of Osugi’s assassination, so they wanted to take revenge for the murder. Wada-Kyu, this Kyutaro Wada nicknamed, was skillful in making haikus, and he attacked General Fukuda surprise on 1st September 1924, but because of a blank shot, which injured his opponent slightly, he was soon arrested and sentenced to a death penalty with trial.

On the other hand, one of the young activist groups, Kosakunin Shya or the group for tenant farmers, later professed themselves “Guillotine Shya,” of which leaders were Tetsu Nakahama, Daijiro Furuta (1900–1925) and Kozo Kawat (1899–1942) tried to rebuild an anarchist front at Osaka, Yet they were impatient to get the fund so that they were trapped in gangsterism. Furuta apologized for his deed in his confession of “Shi no Zange,” a book titled “a confession of the dying,” which hit a boom with his agony of life.


“Alas! the metropolis has become a ruin now.” Thus I had read a newspaper with pictures in my dreamy sentiment. Without knowing the pictures, the earthquake seemed to me a lie. They might deceive us together. But those horrible pictures convinced me its truth. Walking along the pier, I had seen a lot of people fishing with a rod and line. They were not bothered by the earthquake nor calamity at all. I wondered at them, then looked at the gloomy side of our enterprise (movement), which would have impacted them; I reflected to myself that the earthquake was caused by nature, while a revolution would be carried out with the efforts of human beings. Nature can not overthrow human society, but a man can revolutionize it.

The society of human beings is like an elephant. The earthquake is rain from heaven, which does not moist her belly. The work which we are intended to do is the insertion of a small needle into her body.

The work is as small as its scar. But rot begins from the scar until the elephant will be decomposed at last. I comforted myself with the thought of no belly in such a case...

(Adapted from Shikeishyu no Onoide, reprinted by Kokuehyoku Sensen Shya 1971, the memoir of the condemned criminal.)


by Daijiro Furuta

It was three or four years ago, at the show of Kokuyokai (the Black Brightness group composed of the artists), I saw a hanging scroll by Sakae Osugi, which declared with words; One who submits a petition does not get anything, a blackmailer, a little, but an extorter will be given everything. I could not make head or tail of it. But I felt it funny. In those days, I liked an eccentric phrase. Later I saw it often in various leaflets and understood the origin, which came from a German Maxim or so, then gradually, I had been accustomed to the life of a Shyugishya (activist). Having entered practical life, I applied the aphorism to raising a fund for our cause. The last phrase, i.e., “the extorter gets everything,” attracted my attention exceedingly. Extortion of the fund for our movement! Our fund should be raised like that, I whispered in my mind. Our movement should eliminate a compromise with the enemy as little as possible while it demands big money. For these two reasons, I conceived that the fund should raise from expropriation.

My idea got encouraged by the knowledge of the inner affairs of the Russian Nihilist. Their successful actions were supported with abundant funds. How did they raise the money? Contributions and donations were few. Big money was accumulated by the members who ran a risk. A young man absconded with the money as a bank clerk, a wife seized upon the inheritance of “a rich husband after having murdered him,” a bandit raided the bank in the dusk, or a burglar attacked an official cash van by surprise, etc. Owing to such sacrifices, a big fund was collected at the center, and that enabled the nihilist party to have a world-shaking event.

It is a thankless task to raise a fund. Everybody wants to do eminent work and avoids dirty work. It may be easy to find a man who falls on the street by throwing a bomb. But one who dies willingly in the disgrace of robbery or a killer is difficult to recruit. If I wish to be a devoted activist, I should be contented with a bad reputation. I made up my mind to carry out a robbery someday. After getting a notion of Russian Nihilist activities, I was tormented by a thought of cowardice that I would not like to die with a thankless task. As a last resort, I could find no other means to raise a fund except “robbery.”

I resolved it in my mind, but another problem remained. I must solve it plainly. The last problem was whether we should kill a man who would bother our actions to achieve our purpose. I did not hesitate at all. I concluded that a disturber should be liquified at once. It is true to murder a man is a horrible and sorrowful thing. But when you chop wood, chips will be scattered, and a small sacrifice will be unavoidable for a great purpose. “Let a big love live; a small love shall be sacrificed.”

He explained one of his driving forces in causing the Kosaka Incident was to appease discord among his comrades. Most of them were under 30-year. Daijiro was at his 25 years of age. He said, “our group was in sorrowful conditions on the verge of secession. There were tediousness, disappointment, and despair. I came down to Osaka to clear away such a sad atmosphere. It was indeed a critical moment for our group’s destiny....” His comrade Tetsu Nakahama believed that “it is needful a martyr from our group. We have a vole for each one properly. Therefore a little man must undertake his thankless task.” Datjiro commented that it denoted three or four comrades enough to remain, while the others should sacrifice themselves with pleasure for the cause. But the open declaration induced discordance among those who would be appointed to stay for a big purpose, etc. They consented anyway to get big money to cut away such blind alleys. Four members, including Daijiro, practiced robbery by attacking two bank clerks on their way in carrying a cash trunk. Datjiro concealed a dagger in his bosom to menace an opponent. But in emerging of strife, “my dagger in my right hand stabbed a clerk through a man is more faithful and amiable each other. If there were faithfulness and love, nor emerging things around them, the pleasure of life would be more deepened without fail.)

It is easy to condemn them; however, they had pure hearts like Rabachol or Vanyan. They deviated from the cause by confounding ends with means, But we must remember the thesis that ends do not justify means, which is procured from bitter experiences like the above-mentioned example. Further, I have to point out another peculiar aspect of the lifestyle of the anarchist activist in those days.

That is to say, to live with “Ryaku” was popular among them, which stood for extortion or a blackmailer. Etymologically, “Ryal” was snatched from Kotoju’s version of The Conquest Of Bread , Pan no Ryaku shyu, and young activists utilized it for their convenience, not work in the sweat of their brows, but talk a fanciful revolution with drinking sake except some sporadic sport for strikers. Yet it is also true that whenever they wanted to earn their Living, the authorities interfered with their ways and forced their employers to fire them with information as they were under police supervision, etc. There is an episode that even Bsugi had obtained 300 yens from the chief of the Metropolitan Police as the latter deprived him of the right of subsistence with persecution and consumed two-thirds of them in the publication of his organ.

Notes; Torano Mon Inctdent---On 27 December 1923, Daisuke Nanba (1899–1924) fired a bullet from his pistol cane at the Prince Regent, Hirohito at Torano Mon. He was the third son of Saku-noshin Nanba, a land owner and a member of Parliament. His father resigned his membership immediately after the incident. He was an eccentric as he was suppressed by his father. He revolted against him with a testament that “...curse to parents! I am an unfilial son, but it is my duty to cast hatred to the authority of parents. As I heard that you would not have your meal. (because of public opinion, his father closed the door and only took a meal in a day), but I do not weep for you; why am I so stubborn? Despotism and covetousness are my foremost enemies. My rebellion came from despotism; covetousness bore my socialism. As far as a convention forced me subjugation, you were in safety. But when that ugly “Virtue” was broken with a stroke of knowledge, that tame sheep transformed into a man or a convinced rebel. You may complain that “I have done for him as possible as I can do. But he returned it with such disgrace....etc.” As a man of society, you may be a gentleman with virtue and moderation, but in my eyes of the judge, you have no honor other than the greatest hypocrisy...” He avowed that “I am an anarchist and a syndicalist, but I admit centralization (centralism) until the proletariat takes over power,” His antagonism to the emperor’s family was caused by the unfair treatment of Kotoku and the other 24 comrades.

He declared, “In the past, hundred thousand proletarians were dead in the battle with an order of the emperor, or the state. Even now, such menace is over us as far as the emperor institution continues...is it not a horrible thing?” He admitted that “Terrorism is far more advanced than socialism. It is far more advanced than socialism. It is the foremost vanguard, a monster to silence the coward and ambiguous socialism...” He was executed on 15 November 1924. It is reported his last words were “Forever Japanese proletariat, Japan Communist Party, Russian Socialist Soviet Republic, and Communist International,” etc.

Pak Yul’s Incident (Pak Retsu’s Jiken).

The Koreans were usually the nationalists after the annexation of her mother country to Japan (1911). But some appreciated socialism and fraternal sentiment with the anarchists in Japan. Pak founded an association of “Futeishya,” which meant “Rebellious Association,” and the organ, “The Rebellious Korean,” but later changed its title to “The Bold Korean” because the Japanese phonetic sound of Futei and Futot slipped out of our attention, while its colloquial meaning indicates the same thing. He cooperated with some Japanese and issued “The Temporary Society.” During this period, he intimated with a Japanese woman anarchist, Fumiko Kaneko (1901–1926), who declared her conversion to anarchism because of her conditions and reading (refer to her book “what has forced me to do so”). They were arrested at the time of the earthquake (1923) and prosecuted for violating social security law, then framed up to lése majeeté, condemned to death, later abbreviated to penal servitude for life. Fumiko was in indignation and committed suicide at Tochigi Prison.

The guillotine Shya Incident...The members of the Guillotine Shya (Group) were sentenced due to their explosive bomb trials, burglary, and murder-revenge on Osugi as follows.

Daijiro Furuta (26) executed on 15 October 1925.

Tetsu Nakahama executed on 15 April 1926.

Kyutaro Wada, Kozo Kawai, Jiro Konishi were a life long ser-


Gentaro Uchida, Eikichi Shigeno, and Yoshio Ogawa were sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment.

Keiji Kurachi, Kiichi Naka were for 12 years.

Kotichi Ito, Katewni Ueno were for 3 years.

Sources: Wippon Museifu Shugt Undo Shi published by Kokushyoku Sensen Shya, 1970.

Nanba Daisuke Taigyaku Jiken published by Kokushyoku Sensen Shya, 1972.

Kuro Pan edited by Tetsu Nakahama.


It was in 1925 that the law of universal suffrage was passed through the Diet. But it was accompanied by another important draft, i.e., the Maintenance of the Public Order Act. The former made the working class to have voted for their representative, and the latter prohibited them from even a gathering, not to mention propaganda by deed. An anarcho-syndicalist, Hitomi Enishi explained in his autobiography (Enisht Ritomt Jiden, -4 carrier through the labor movement-) that “these two laws, the former seemed a carrot for the worker but nil for us, while the latter, a stick, became a weapon of the enemy to damage the social movement, which you can discern in our history thereafter....” He witnessed the universal suffrage brought in dissension among the militants of the labor movement. First of all, the General League of Unions split into three factions, that is to say, the conservative unions maintaining cooperation with capital and labor; the unions of neutrality, which advocated a blank paper policy; in other words, it said, “the trade unionism should be independent from any ideology, policy, and political party. Therefore the union stands for a clean slate in choice of any means” (declared by Kikai Rodo Kumiai Kat, or the Machinery Labour Union.) These two attitudes showed in the course of times their social democratic unionism, for they supported parliamentaliam and approved I.L.0. (the International Congress of I.L.0. invited the Japanese delegates with the admittance of the government in February 1924.). The third one was a faction of the Bolsheviks. They gradually fortified their stand to smuggle a cell system into ED regardless of persecution by the authorities.

The unions of free federation had disassociated from the General League after the split of anarchist and Bolshevik debate became gathered together by increasing their stand-point of anarchism. According to Enishi, he explained that “for instance, the core of the Machinery Unions were the Machinery men’s Union, Motoshiba Labour Union, Nippon Rogi Kat, the Ordinance Workers’ Union, the Navy Workers’ Union, etc. The Machinery Men’s Union opposed parliamentary action and attendance at IL 0. Congress to the last and dissented from the League of Machinery Unions then purified its ideology of anarchism by emphasizing its fighting attitude. In the latter, it coworked with Kanto Electric Machinery Worker’s Union, Gunsei Labour Union, the Tokyo Confectionery Workers’ Union, the Automobil Workers’ Union, and made up the League of Kanto Labour Unions.” His indication of naming union shows us the variety of industries in his days and instructs us on the development of modern industry in Japan.

In advance of the Labour movement, there appeared the other phenomenon of anarchist activities. They appraised the effect and Limitness of private terrorism, Ryaku, or the lifestyle of blackmail, and tried to solidate with the syndicalist. They are usually nominated as “the ideologist association.” The members of the such association were, in fact, the unemployed youth, literal men and women, the youth unsettled in urban life, etc. They founded Ko-kushyoku Seinen Renmei, literally the League of Black Youth, in 1926. Their organ, “The Black Youth,” declared, “We believe that the method of revolution in Japan will be a collective activity based on the Labour movement. By consulting with the past history, having examined the present and predicted the effect, we have considered terrorism by the minority would have been a fiasco. At the same time, we can not be patient enough with a detour of revolution, which will be realized with the conscience of the whole People. The road to eliminating exploitation and rule, to take over freedom, equality, and richness, i.e., that the labor union (the union of free federation) will perform subjectively in the revolution of Japan. Our belief is not at all dogmatic. If such federative union, village, factory, and city commune appeared, the revolutionary movement in Japan would be achieved.” “Now, it te not a time of destruction. We can see how many boasting talks of the so-called terrorist and the revolutionary there are around us. But a revolution comes from factories, mines, villages, and streets. We must think with courage and with precaution.” Thus the elements of Black Youth went into labor unions or became organizers in order to achieve the anarchist revolution throughout the country. It is said that they supported and interfered in a number of strikes, such as the Keiset Tran Way strike, the Hitachi Kameari Electric factory’s strike, the Hamamatsu Music Instrument Company’s strike, and so on. 4z example of their dérect action ts recorded by Akira Miyazaki as follows. (It was a case of Hitachi Kaneart Factory’s strike. The beginning of the dispute was the unionization of employees with the support of the federative union.) “At the first step, the members of the Black League (Koku Ren) distributed leaflets several times among the main office and factories of Hitachi to menace the capitalists. But we realized the inefficiency of such propaganda by deed and that it was needed to carry out some other action. One night in September 1926, about 20 members of the Black League attached the mansion of Kuwabara, the president of Hitachi. After having distributed the leaflets, we rushed into the ante-room, the drawing room, smashed a battle of volatile oil, and ignited it with a match. Having seen flaming up @ fire, ve returned....” Two days after this incendiarism, he was arrested and sentenced to 5 years. On 25 May 1926, four Local federations (Kanto, Kansat, Chyugoku, and Hiroshima) composed of 23 unions added with two others from Hokkaido took place the meetings with four hundred delegates. They adopted a platform and built up a national organization named Koku Rodo Kumiat Jiyu Rengo Kat, or the National Free Federation of Labour Unions. The active union was Tokyo Insatsu Kumiai, or the Tokyo Printers’ Union. Typical aspects of the movement were that it was managed by the workers themselves and had an antipathy towards intellectuals, a strong hold against Bolshevism, and international solidarity with the overseas movement. The organ of the Federation was issued at first Jiyu Ren Go (the Free Federation 7926–1928), then changed its name to the Jiyu Rengo Shinbun, or the organ of Free Federation 1928–1935, lasted for ten years as a monthly paper numbered up to 98. It dealt mainly with domestic labor affairs and support of unionization for the worker in various industries, while for foreign incidents, it campaigned the rescue of Sacco and Vanzetti (1927), reported the death of Errico Malatesta (1932), Nestor Makhno (1934) and the Spanish War (1934), etc. Because of their attitude opposed to Japanese militarism, which undertook an invasion into Manchuria (1931) and the continent, they were severely persecuted, yet some members of the Free Federation were convinced anarchists, who became gradually strengthened to take the initiative of the Federation. Enishi pointed out this situation as there were members of Koku Ren or the Black Youth League, so their membership was like AFI to CNT in Spain in the 1930s. This happy accompaniment did not last for long. At the second session of the Free Federation of 1927, a member of Tokyo Printers! Union proposed a review of the platform. He insisted replacement of the class struggle with free federation as their basic confirmation. (see the platform of Free Federation) Outwardly, it seemed nothing to be changed, but, in fact, it was intended to expel a syndicalist with a nuance of Bolshevism by purifying the anarchist doctrine. They relied principally on Kropotkin’s local production & consumption system in opposition to the division of work and Marxian surplus value. As it would have produced another reigning class over the worker, they refuted the class struggle. The other members, Nippon Rodokumiai Jiyu Rengo Kyogi Kai (1929), or the Japan Free Federative Council of Labour Unions, advocated the class struggle as their daily struggle in the perspective of the anarchist revolution. Their organ was Kokushyoku Ro-No Shinbun or the Black Worker-Peasant paper, then changed its title to “The Worker’s Paper.” Their well-known dispute was the support of the strike of Nippon Senju, or the factory of coloring carpet; a member of the Kanto Publisher Worker’s Union, Hiroshi Chiba, climbed up a chimney and stayed there for 15 days. His hunger strike was applauded by AIT in Amsterdam. On the other hand, the hot quarrel between the pure anarchists (so the members of the Free Federation were accused by the comrades of the Federative Council) and the anarcho-syndicalists (the members of the Federative Council) continued and escalated to personal abuse of each other. Even an appeal by A. Suthy (1930 February) and a pamphlet titled “Syndicalism no Hanashi” or “Talk on Syndicalism” by Sanshiro Ishikawa did not appease their antagonist. Kenji Kondo, a coworker of Osugi and survivor of Rodo Undo Sha’s movement, regretted this situation in comparison with the former ana-bol debate and confessed its inner strife among the anarchist front. Another critic, Ryuji Komateu argued it cynically “As there was no space of the syndicalist movement for the anarchist at that occasion, they refused class struggle beforehand, and thus they got a license free from the labor movement.” (Refer to Nippon Anarchism Undo Shi 1973) They reconciled again with vicissitudes in 1934, but the time had already passed over them, Jingoism enforced the labor movement to coworking with the wartime structure. Both activists of the Free Federation and the Free Federative Council were dispersed throughout the country. And now we can trace their hot argument merely on records.


1. We set in our emancipation movement of the worker and the tenant farmer with the class struggle.

2. We exclude political action and insist on economic activities.

3+ We proclaim Free Federation in accordance with separate induce trial organization and forsake centralism.

4. We contradict the invasion by imperialism and declare the International Unity of the Worker.

(the drafter, Eiichi Nobushima and declared in 1926 accompanied with the Esperanto Version)



++ Our federal association nominates Zen Koku Rodo Kumian Jiyu Rengo Kai, or the National Free Federation of Labour Unions, and consists of labor unions & unions of tenant farmers of all districts.

2. The membership is admitted with the approval of our rules, but in case of admission, it is needful a recommendation of the organization concerned and approval of the member union.

3. The member union has autonomy over its activity and management unless it does not conflict with the rules. However, the member union does act contrary to the rules; first of all, we issue a warning, then expel the union when it does not obey.

4. The member union shall pay ¥10 sen per head to the Federation as a fee. Once paid, the fee will not be returned. Further, if the fee does not send to the Federation without any reason for three months, we regard the union as dismissed. An extra fee will be collected on special occasions.

5. Our Federation undertakes the following business;

・ to issue the organ by every month and other publications occasionally.

・ Propaganda by deed based on rules.

+ Interconnection among member unions.

+ To hold the general meeting.

6. The general meeting will take place once a year. Decision right is afforded to each union, but the absent union will be regarded as abstention from voting. Though it is possible to pass a letter of trust by making clear its standpoint to every subject.

7. The decision of the meeting is confirmed by over half the members, but a minor union does not be expected to follow the majority so far as it does not conflict with the platform or the rules.

But in such cases, the opinion of each union will be openly declared.

8. Whenever the opinion is divided among the member unions concerning the Federation’s attitude, the minority is expected to offer its opinion to the general meeting as far as the rules concede and demand a discussive voting towards it.

9. When the demand was supported by over one-third of member unions, it ought to have taken place a temporary meeting.

W. The general meeting decides the appraisal of organization, rules, and other important items. The decision does not change unless it makes another decision by the next meeting.

Il. To realize the decision of the meeting, each member union re- presents several men of liaison, who will be the delegates of each member union and manage the business of the Federation in the cadre of rules. And in case of emergency, they can deal with it by consultation, but they are also to get approval by reporting it to the next secession.

2. The draft proposed to the general meeting should be sent to each member union before a month of its opening. In case of emergency, it is out of this consideration.

1B. Accounting will be reported by every month.

U. The office of Zenkoku Rodo Kumiai Jiyu Rengo Kai is founded in Tokyo.

The following articles are adopted to show their hot debates related to the class struggle. Syuzo Hatta was an ideologue of Free Federation, and Yuzuru Kubo was regarded as a sympathizer of the Federative Council.


by Shyuzo Hatta

declared in 1927

There are three types of Trade Unionism, one has an object to maintain a profit for the worker, the other is organized as an agency of the Bolsheviks, and the third is the syndicalist’s union which fights against capitalism face-to-face. Then the syndicalist’s union became gradually divided into two; one was to advance the worker and the other approached communism. So we must appraise whether it is a corruption of syndicalism or a substantial defect of syndicalism itself. Whenever a principle doctrine is corrupted, it is not only the fault of an ideologist person concerned but also due to its substantial defect; therefore, that ism has no more inspiration to attract a man. It is the reason to imply us examining syndicalism and the other two three principles.

1. Historical Meaning of Syndicalism (A)

To appraise syndicalism, we must see two aspects. One is its historical meaning, and the other is a theoretical one. What is the historical meaning of syndicalism? What sense that syndicalism afforded the labor movement? The world labor movement originated in England. And that England has been a laboratory of trade unionism throughout the world. That is to say, it seems that the experiment carried out in England is again experienced the other parts of the world. I am confident that the experiment of the labor movement in England has tested three types of failure and decayed. So the labor movement of the world has repeated the same types of fiasco and fallen into a deep slumber.

The political revolution of England started in 1642 and was accomplished in 1868; that is, it was 100 years before the French Revolution. Thereby it is needless to point out that her industrial revolution and the trend of unionization had been the first of all. Well, what has the advanced labor movement experienced? There are three types of failure. The first is obtaining suffrage, the second is economic activity, and the third is churchism. The history of the labor movement in England shows that they had fought to obtain suffrage from 1815 to 1832, but it came to nil. If they could get universal suffrage, it would be failed too. Then, under the banner of “economic activity” from 1832 to 1835, they walked the same road of syndicalism; however, they cried out the falsehood of voting. That militant movement had been persecuted by the reigning class, though they could not overcome it with merely economic activity. So, churchism was raised in 1838 for another 20 years. Churchism advocated political power for the worker, yet instead of suffrage, it was an illegal movement of a secret society, and it failed too.

Because there were two factions, one was for violent revolution, and the other promoted the gradual advancement of morality. It was decomposed from inner struggles.

After the experience of 30 years from 1825 to 1855, the labor movement in England has become gentle reformism, and even now, it is impossible to get rid of it. Still more, the labor movement of the world has nothing but a repetition of failure, which I have indicated above three types.

Marx inherited the Churchist movement, but soon, he revised it as a political activity with reformism, which impacted syndicalism as a reaction. Further, at the opportunity of World War 1st, having syndicalism decayed raised Bolshevism. On the other hand, Bolshevism was successful among the extremists and the moderates in Soviet Government, which led to rising political movements everywhere, then invoked syndicalism again as a reaction. I believe the three modes of labor movements are also three types of failure. However, if such failures are repeated for a hundred years, the people will not be emancipated at all. The true emancipation of people should rely on the other unique movements that differ completely from the three types. The reason why P. Kropotkin suggested a new road to advancement is, indeed, at this point.

  1. Historical Meaning of Syndicalism (B)

In this paragraph, he insisted that syndicalism had a story of its failure. M. Bakunin was not a simple syndicalist, for he was a man of many sides, so it is impossible to assert him as a syndicalist in reference to the 1st International Movement. Having cited a warrant by Malatesta to the syndicalist, the expulsion of anarchism from the Amian Congress, he argued that there was no one who admitted anarchism being very much the same as syndicalism. Further, the tendency of syndicalism had changed since the 1st World War, and anarchism did not cooperate with syndicalism anymore. For example, the anarchists in Russia had adopted a tactic of syndicalism, but at the meeting of September 1920, they separated from the syndicalist. He concluded the historical meaning of syndicalism was “economic activities opposed to political activities,” which told us a fiasco by instances of both French syndicalism and English one in 1832.

  1. Theoretical Meaning of Syndicalism (A)

As we have seen above, syndicalism is neither theory nor an idea but a tendency of labor movements.

Still more, it cannot be thoughtless as far as the labor movement is a conscious one of human beings. In short, syndicalism has no systematic thought, but it is also intolerable with thoughtlessness, which indicates its weak point and rupture. In other words, as syndicalism is by no means of its proper thought, it has another one in the background. Then what is there? I convince them of both anarchism and Marxism. In this sense, syndicalism is an amphibious animal. By examining this point, we can understand it is based on the class struggle with a declaration of the Amian Congress and the tendency since 1902. As you know, the class struggle originated from modern capitalism. The working class raised in the production method is against the capitalist class in respect of the contradiction of profit, and this new rising workers’ class has acquired a class conscience and started a struggle between two classes, while the workers’ class fights with a tactic of unity and expects the complete emancipation of the workers’ class by a final battle with the capitalist. In this case, it has a theory by Marx in the background.

Secondly, syndicalism has adopted the “creative violence” of the minority (I allude to revolutionary syndicalism). According to their saying, the true emancipation of the worker is realized by creative dynamics with a few convinced militants who have inspired the majority.

Thirdly, syndicalism has adopted industrial factors raised historically in capitalism and wanted to control the new social organization by means of division of work. Of course, it emphasizes research of local demand, but it adopts the division of work as an economic organization and constructs a society of producers. In this sense, it has the theory of Marx’s economy and that of the socialist in general.

As I have considered above, syndicalism has its basic thought by adopting most of all Marxism, and that added with creative violence of the minority from anarchism.

  1. Theoretical Meaning of Syndicalism (B)

In this paragraph, he analyzed the class struggle and introduced three definitions of proletariate, i.e., those of Charlie Holt, Louis Blan, and Marx; then, he confirmed the current class struggle meant nothing but that of Marx. He investigated why it became reformism; he concluded that “in spite of the enthusiasm of syndical-tam and abundance of its activists, it becomes gradually falling into reformism and cannot keep cooperation with anarchism because syndicalism is intolerable with thoughtlessness and has two thoughts of contradiction (i.e., Marxism and anarchism). While the class struggle requires the majority and does not agree with the violence of the minority, therefore, by forcing coherence, the enthusiasm of the minority to syndicalism will decline and fall into reformism, too.

Ideal and Danger of Syndicalism to the Future Society — a conclusion —

yndicalism advocates the division of work as a productive organization in the future society. It is without a doubt that any production is carried out by division in society. But the so-called division of work does not mean separated work. Its typical characteristics are, in the first place, mechanization of labor; secondly, a man engaging in one production has no responsibility, understanding, and interest towards the other industry; thirdly, it is needful a synthetic organ presided over the divided works. I will explain in brief these three points. Division of work does not show any responsibility, understanding, and interest towards the other industry, so synthesis is carried out by a group of persons who do not engage in the work. Power will emerge from that group without fail. Contrary to this, in the communist organization of Kropotkin, synthetic production is performed with a small scale of autonomy so that The people are able to have responsibility, understanding, and interest directed towards the other areas they are undertaking in the production system. In fact, there is no synthetic organ as it can synthesize the work in process, and there is no place of power. Moreover, production becomes basic in the society of division of work, and the persons who work in the important industry acquire power over the synthetic organ compared to the worker of a less important industry. Then there is the possibility of generating a class. Added to this, division of work does not imply “man produces for himself with his own hands.” So production and consumption do not cohere at all. That is, we cannot hope for true freedom where there is no freedom of production and consumption. Still, syndicalism has a plan of building up a society that emerged from the trade union after it has taken over the productive organ by means of a general strike with the class struggle of a labor union as a method of leading to the future society. But it is a self-evident truth that power will be generated from even a pure economic society whenever it is built up.

In short, I have appraised syndicalism from my viewpoint, and I hope the present labor union will advance with a method and a spirit of anarchism, never inducing mere syndicalism, Bolshevism, nor reformism.

Notes: The article is based on “Shiryo; Noson Seinen Sha Undoshi, of the History of Village Youth Movement in 1930s,” edited by Noson Seinen Sha Undo Shigk の Kai, 1972. Shyuso Hatta (1886–1934), born in Tsu-city in the Kansai district, became a Christian after having changed several occupations as a young boy, a clerk, a mailman, etc. He entered Meiji Gakuin and associated with Toyohiko Kagawa, a famous social worker of Christianity, and Kazuo Kato, an anarchist writer. He was expelled from the church because of his anarchist activities in 1923, then became an ideologue of Zenkoku Rodo Kumiai Jiyu Rengo Kai, or the National Free Federation of Labour Unions. His main works are Nosommondai Koza or 24 Course of Village Problem and “Fallacy of the Class Struggle.” His translations are “Ethics — its origin and Development” by Kropotkin, “God and State” by Bakunin, etc.


by Yuzuru Kubo Declared in Kokushyoku Undo, 1928

It is no wonder the anarchist promotes the class struggle and the daily struggle, for there is no reason to prevent such propaganda by deed. It may be a few intolerant ideologists, such as a part of Japanese anarchists, who accuse the class struggle of being the amalgamation of Marxism. But a tactic of class struggle does not monopolize a Marxist. We know that there are a lot of dogmatic and superficial idealists who confound the class struggle of Marx with ours whenever it is indicated.

Equality of the society denotes the presence of the class, and capitalism divides two classes such as the oppressor and the oppressed, the exploiter and the exploited. There, we can face the confrontation of classes and strife among them. The presence of class bears a class struggle. Where there is a fact of class struggle, there is also our movement. Indeed, the problems are an aim and a method of struggle. Then we can see two main tendencies, such as struggle based on authoritarian Marxism and that of Free Federation. According to Marxian class struggle, the proletariat will take the status of the capitalist by usurping political power with political struggle. Its object is political power; still more, it means a monopoly of a party, thereby they lead the proletariat to take over political power for the liberation of the worker. That is, Marxian class struggle is not to cease strife or contradiction of classes but the replacement of a position of the opposed. Nominally, it is the dictatorship of the proletariat, though, in fact, they do not concern themselves with the intention of fellow workers for emancipation, despite being busy in possession of numerical strength. There, the idea of free federation and spontaneity, which are the very important factors for building up the new society, are killed. Therefore, we stand vehemently in opposition to them.

Our class struggle is based on principles of non-private property and anti-authoritarianism to cease class confrontation, in short, build up a new society where there is neither exploiter nor exploited, neither master nor slave and revived with spontaneity and mutual free consent in its completeness. After all, class struggle is to achieve a radical transformation of economic and political institutions by means of the workers’ organization under the ideal of a free federation. Their struggle is to retain the class status, but ours is the ceasing of class antagonism. Because of the aggravation of class struggle, you may condemn us Marxists, then the labor unions of a free federation in almost all revolutionary platforms of class struggle, so we ought to blame them, the Marxists, too. There is someone who accuses the class struggle that it denies by eliminating the condition of classes. But it is nonsensical logic under the pretext of not using the words of class struggle. It also seems to proclaim the cease of struggle against the master and the capitalist.

Consequently, to whom are you challenging a fight? You need not coin a new word different from that of a Bolshevik for the sake of logic. There are a number of borrowed tactics from the syndicalist and the anarchist in Marxist strategy. If it is so, you, the narrow-minded people, remind me of a fable of the dog having a fish in its mouth and barking at its mirrored face, then losing the bait, as you accuse us indiscriminately by using merely the same phraseology of Bolshevik. Both free federation and class struggle denote a problem of the aim and the means. The former means the word of social ideality; the latter is that of action. Whenever you confound them, you will bring forth a wrong guess and a divergence.

It is, all the same, to point out the daily struggle. As soon as it is indicated, you may hastily take it as a struggle to raise wages or reform conditions and instruct us that yours will be to destroy the foundation of capitalism with a self-evident explanation, which, I assure you, confounds both effects and means. “It is possible to argue that the anarchist movement separated into economic and political phases. The movement related to the economic field deals with the struggle to obtain daily bread for the worker. A desire to obtain better bread, as well as conquer bread, has been, in fact, the source of modern socialism. If the worker were deprived of desire for the good of tomorrow, there would not have been an emancipation movement. Anarchism has been generated from the fact of the worker’s struggle. Excluding this fact, there is no other anarchism. As we have seen above, it has a far more important meaning than despising the worker’s economic struggle, like mere reformism. We do not neglect the truth that there is a distance between raising wages, reforming conditions, and the ideal society. Nevertheless, it is our part to go step by step against the foundation of capitalism. I need not point out that raising wages and reforming conditions for the worker are not aims at all for us. On the contrary, they are nothing but a means or an excuse. Yet, with such an excuse, we ought to raise direct action and cultivate a bud of anarchism through daily struggle, which, I believe, will be the preparation of a revolution. Since the first International, the tactic of anarchists has been placed on this point, and we have a firm belief that it has not deviated from its course. It is also the reason that many anarchists have supported the idea of a general strike, which they obtained from the experiences of daily struggle in France. And that the Marxist has laughed at it, whilst the Japanese anarchist-ideologist seems to approve unconsciously of the Marxist doctrine.

We, the anarchists, must work in labor unions of free federation as elements, though we do not be satisfied ourselves with simple economic daily struggle alone or regard it as a unique movement. There we can find the role of anarchism.

Besides the above-mentioned economic struggle, there is also the political struggle. Besides economic oppression by the capitalist, there is also political tyranny. That is to say, the struggle against the tight bondage of daily life. We ought to lead a direct struggle from revolting movements of the people against all political institutions, such as oppressive measures and heavy taxes for the benefit of the capitalist. There we let them be aware of anti-authoritarianism. We should snatch every chance out of economic and political struggles and prevail the anarchist thought, which is the preparatory movement and the grounds of our argument for daily struggle. We need not add a word that our aim is the radical destruction of the capitalist system. Therefore, we must consider what measures we will take and polish our tactics. It is what we want to say. However, if you are boasting about destroying the foundation of organization, can you do it with a few anarchists? No, you can’t. So it is necessary to utilize what measures for destruction will come into question. Without measure proper to the aim, it is nothing but a fancy. Leaving everything to chance and persuading us with “do it yourself” has nothing to bring us. We urge to snatch every chance and to utilize any moment of the social phenomenon to shake the foundation of society. We have explained the struggle to the mouthpiece and fanciful persons who have misunderstood temporary violence like the anarchist deed, which, I am sure, come into nothing. That is to say; the daily struggle is a ceaseless struggle.

Notes: Yuzuru Kubo (1903–1961) was born as the second son of the large restaurant “Yagura” in Osaka city. In 1923, he founded “Koku Shya,” then “Kansai Black Banner League” as an anarcho-syndicalist. In 1928, he founded “Koku Shya,” then “Kansai Black Banner League” as an anarcho-syndicalist. In 1928 engaged in editing Kropotkin’s works. Went into exile in France in 1937. It is said that he had lost a chance to work with Spanish comrades during the war. He lived in Osaka in 1950 and made up a group of anarcho-syndicalists and issued the organ “The Labour Movement.”


  • “Anarchist Shyo Jiten” by Shintaro Hagiwara, 1975.

  • “Enishi Hitomi Jiden” by Enish, 1976.

  • “Fu-Setsu no Koete — Japanese Anarco-Syndicalist since 1928” by Kensuke Yamaguchi, 1970.

  • “Jtyu Rengo — Jéiyu Rengo Shinbun Reprinted Edition” by Fukokuban oz no Kai, 1975.

  • “Wippon Anarchism Undo Shi” by Ryuji Komatsu, 1973.

  • “Kuvo Hata no motoni” or “Under the Balek Banner” No.1 — No.8, published by Shinpei Shirai (his pen name Aki Yamamoto), 1974–1977.

“The Women’s Front”

Women’s suffrage right in Japan was bestowed from above in 1945. But before that time, there was a long way of struggles by feminists for the emancipation of women. According to womanly virtues inherited from the Chinese tradition, “a woman as a child should be subject to her parents, obey her husband in marriage, then be guided by her children in her old age, etc.” A Buddhist proverb says, “a woman has no abode in the three-fold world,” which indicates that a woman is a desire-driven being. During 300 years of the Shogunate, a woman had not been recognized as an independent personality. She was usually treated like a piece of furniture or a childbearing machine to keep the family’s honor.

Of course, there were several talented women in our history, but they had low social status. It is interesting to cite an illustrative example. The civil law did not permit a divorce from the woman’s side, while a husband could divorce his wife at will under the pretext of her long illness, childlessness, smearing her husband’s honor or even back-biting the family into which a woman had married until 1945. So, there had been a lot of tragedies such as double suicide, Megataki Uchi (according to the convention of the Samurai clan, the husband should get revenge on a lover of his wife), and dishonoring of an eloped daughter. But in truth, without the support of women, the peasant could not perform his daily routine, and a retail dealer used his wife’s help too. Then we may say that there was a kind of exploitation of women to keep the men’s world. As far as the freedom of women is secluded, that of men will also be narrowed. A defect of the anarchist view related to women’s emancipation is that he is apt to repeat the old song of the 78th International like this: “the emancipation of women is the work of women themselves.” Thereby, the worker has built up the trade union, and the woman will make her union, too, by excluding the anarchist cooperation as before. Anyway, during the modernization of the Meiji era, Japanese intellectuals imported self-consciousness from the West and taught it to their wives and daughters. However, the traditional teaching of “Ryosai-Kenbo,” i.e., being a good wife and a wise mother, had been deeply rooted in women’s consciousness. It was the Heiminsha Movement that taught women about freedom, women’s suffrage, and economic independence. Kotoku declared at the meetings of “Socialism for Women” that “I think the low status of women has principally caused from the war...barbarousness of men’s minds, which were caused by the war, subjected and oppressed women. Thus, the woman became a slave of the man.” He added that the woman would suffer from the calamity of the war, so she should be a socialist to prevent it.

Roughly speaking, the initiators of socialism of the Heiminsha Movement taught women from a man’s point of view. However, Sakai instructed that the freedom of women could not be achieved unless there was economic equality, and Sanshivo Ishikawa preached free love of Puritanism. Yet, from that atmosphere, Suga Kanno appeared as a revolutionary and was followed by a breed of feminists since 1911, the year of her execution.

Akiko Hiratsuka (1886–1971) founded a woman’s group and issued a magazine called Seito (1911), taking after the name Blue Stockings in England. She proclaimed in the first number of Seito that “In the beginning, a woman was indeed the sun, a true human being. Now she is the moon. She lives by depending on the other, or like a pale-faced morbid moon illuminated with other light. We must take over our hidden sun, discover our hidden sun or lying genius! That is our incessant crying in us, a desire which we cannot appease or deny, and a unique personal instinct composed of a variety of instincts.”

She added that “a new woman does not content herself with a woman’s life of ignorance, slavery, and a lump of flesh because of man’s egotism. A new woman wants to destroy the obsolete morality and law for the convenience of the man.” Thus, the members of “Seito” tried to marry several times and introduced the thought and literature of the West. “Nora” of “The Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen was already known, and the word “a new woman” was coined after the dramatic heroine. Naturally, the public accusation against “Seito” increased with its popularity: “A new woman drinks five-colored wine,” or “They visit a brothel to sneer at their fellow women,” etc.

When Noe Ito succeeded the publication of Seito (1915) from Hiratsuka, the group was on the verge of disassociation. At first, Noe contributed her poem to the magazine (1912) and accepted it. She came up to Tokyo from her native place, Fukuoka, and helped with the editorial work occasionally. Akiko Hiratsuka was attracted to the literary talent of Noe and handed over the editorship to her. She explained her stand on that occasion that “I want to eliminate the rule of Seito . From now on, the Seito adopts no rule, nor direction, nor doctrine, nor ideology. One who wants to have an ideology or is unsatisfied with the lack of rules may create it herself. I would like to offer the magazine to all women with neither ideology nor rule. But I refuse a contribution from a man. However, if he wrote an important essay for women, I would put it on, yet the magazine is for the womxn only. You may use it as a tool for your career and contribute your impression. It has no other meaning but your utilization at your service.”

She fought against public prejudice against women and gradually fortified the anarchist stand by deepening her intimacy with Ougt. It’s difficult to describe her second marriage with Ougt as an elopement or an official marriage with a divorce from her husband, Jun Tsuji. But she chose her lot with her own will and became an avowed anarchist woman in 1916. The Seito ceased its issue, and the group was dissolved at once. Jun Teuji criticized his former wife, “she is obstinate, a crying baby, resentful, jealous, loose, deprived of economic calculation and untamed. — Noe is such a woman. But I love Noe-san even now.” This eminent intellectual, Jun Teuji, passed his life in vagabondage until 1944, and their first-born male child, Makoto Tsuji, grew up as an essayist with sympathy for anarchism.”

It was another 14 years before an anarcho-feminist group emerged. The Fujin Sensen, or the Women’s Front, was composed of 10 woman libs in those days (1931). The leader was Itsue Takave (1894–1964), a poetess who had a debut with a poem:

“You sit on the Deluge, God, Jehovah. I sit on both sun and moon, A Poetess, Itsue.”

The appearance of “The Women’s Front” was stimulated by the debate between the anarchists and the Bolsheviks. Natsuko Jyo, a member of the Front, explained, “I say it roughly that the theory of revolution by the Marxist and the Bolshevik is a prose style, while that of the anarchist is to oppose it with a lofty dream and a poetic spirit, and at the same time, it is the debate for the emancipation of proletariat... The circle of ‘Fujin Sensen’ (the Women’s Front) issued a magazine of the same title, and the members were Yuriko Mochizuki, Masae Matsumoto, Sue Sumit, Reiko Tfukube, Kiyoko Shiraichi, Fusako Miyayana, Sadako Yarita, Akiko Yagi, Shizuko Kamiya, and Shizuka Jyd, who were all around Itsue Takamure. Our mutual understanding was ‘the absolute freedom of each member is estimated, and the association is the free federation of individuals.’ Itsue Takamure declared ‘A new feminism’ separated from ‘the vindication of women’s rights’ by Mary Wollstonecraft and the so-called feminism advocated by Helen Key. ‘For, both opinion and movement such as women’s rights and feminine were the inevitable roads of individual conscience, but they did not succeed in reality except the partial gain of women’s suffrage, reformism of the marriage law, and welfare of maternity... even at the third stage of new feminism, women believe in merely Marxism and have no opinion of her own. So that there is needed the fourth stage. Our new feminism eliminates the institution of marriage and authoritative education. We do not deal with the status or the right of women as our problems. The more radical problem is to revolt against the absurdity of reproduction and its instinctive pains. The sexual desire of the woman is not the same thing as the man. The woman’s is a will of reproduction, while that of the man is ‘sexual appetite.’ In the relationship of both sexes, it should put a woman in the place of freedom. Nevertheless, the man oppresses nature and names a woman due to his sexuality and private property. It is, indeed, to deny nature and contradict evolution. Therefore nature suffers with a woman and insists we solve the woman’s problems. Whereby a woman should have a duty to the last and not succumb to any great learning or thought either. Any reformism without finishing the whole course does not revive women’s problems. Marxism has no object. Therefore it transforms itself with the course of economic affairs and dreams of a convenient society for women. But the woman has an object. Unless society does not come to satisfy her object, the woman’s problems will remain, too. Anarchism has the ideal society where there is neither master, oppression, order, subjection, authority, nor dictatorship, and asserted to be an illusion without content. But different from Marxism, it has the power to embrace all social phenomena, especially those of the future. For it stands on the basis of human consideration...

She made an assault on the economism of the Marxist, urbanization, and the marriage institution while advocating a free commune of villages, maternity, and non-authoritative education, for she was once a schoolmistress and acquainted with the worthlessness of coercive education. In latter, she secluded herself by learning to write Joseino Rekishi’s “the History of Women,” and the Women’s Front dissolved in 1936 after a year and a half. The movement was inherited from “Seito” directly by receiving the cooperation of Akiko Hirateuka after a suspension of the sudden death of Noe Ito (1911). Yet in those days, they (woman activists) got the unfavorable estimation from the anarchist (men) comrades as a petite bourgeoisie-daughter’s opinion! On the other hand, Masae Matsumoto insisted on destroying the patriarchy of Proudhon and Kropotkin related to their views on women.


by Noe Ito declared in Rodo Undo in 1921

We have often heard the abuse that the ideal of anarchist communism is a fancy not to be realized. All of them cling to superstition as autonomy has no realization without the support of the central government. Especially some socialists who have a clearer head than the average intellectual sneer at “a dream” of anarchism. Nevertheless, I have found that it is not a dream but some facts realized in the autonomy of villages inherited from our ancestors. In some remote districts where there is no would-be “culture,” I have discovered a simple mutual aid needed by everybody and a social life of mutual agreement. It is completely different from “the administration” under the central government, and it must be the mutual aid organization generated from the necessity and continued in parallel with the official administration since the time when there was no “administrative organ.”

Now, I want to depict the facts which I have seen personally in my native village and some thoughts I have collected from my impressions.

I do not dare to assert that they are universal facts throughout our country, as I am poorly informed, but I rely on my belief of trustworthiness, for these facts have no particularity of localism. They are needed for every countryman of inconvenience who is placed in whatever locality and conditions. And then our precious ideal, which we are longing for in the life of human beings, is firmly woven into them.

My native village is in the distance of 3 ris (about 3.72 miles) from Fukuoka City on Kyushu Island. It is the village alongside the country road from Fukuoka and a castle town, Karatsu. The village section of my father’s home had a port when there was no transportation via road. But now there is no trace of the prosperity of the past, and it has become like a ghost village with poor inhabitants who lived by half commerce and half agriculture. The section is popularly called “Matsubara,” and it consists of about 60–70 houses situated alongside the main road through the village. These 60–70 houses are divided into six small associations, and these six associations will federate themselves as the occasion demands. That is, the village section is composed of a federation of six associations. Yet this federation is usually disassociated. Truly and directly needed for the countryman is, as usual, “the association.” The association consists of 12 to 13 or 14 to 15 houses divided from both ends of the village, which have been left as it is since the past time. It is also disassociated like the federation if it is not needed. There is no portfolio rule, nor official. The spirit of the association is “to assist each other for the inconvenience” inherited from their ancestors. The member of the association has no work in peaceful periods. But when something happens at a house, the work of the association operates itself. As the number of houses is few and each house is side by side, so if any house has some emergency, it will soon prevail throughout the village. Then every countryman rushes to the house by leaving their own work undone. Or they hold a meeting immediately if it is needed. Their meeting place is at the gate of some house, the porch by standing, at the side of the field where his fellow man is working, or the drawing room of some member. Whenever the members gather together, they talk over a matter. In such a case of consultation, there is no one to look on with folded arms. All of them say their own thoughts and information with frankness. When one admits to the other’s opinion, he seems to clear his reason why. The people who hesitate to speak themselves at the official meetings do declare somewhat at the consultation. There is no fearful atmosphere to be a coward with his own opinion by considering the other. In fact, there is no discrimination whether he is a village master or a daily laborer. The village master has no special business less than the daily laborer, and the daily laborer is not deprived of his work as a member. There is neither haughtiness nor humility. In accordance with provincial conventions, they respect the elder and the status of a family, which does not hinder consultation at all.

Who does conclude the consultation? They do it together. On the whole, it is practical or based on clear facts. Still more, if all of them had offered their knowledge and opinions, the conclusion would have been spontaneously made up. For example, if there is a quarrel among a family, and the members of the association come together to let them reconcile, there would be different views of the members towards the family, and it would often be so complex as to discern the truth. In that case, they come together to consult earnestly for many evenings. Having consulted with many thoughts and synthesized them, they endeavor to settle the quarrel, not so deviating from the standard. However, if anyone argues with unconvincing reason or pushes it unreasonably, they will put a question to him as far as they can understand it. And if they find it the not understandable or right way, they will accuse him openly.

When a sick person takes his bed in a house, the news will be reported to the association. The members rush to the house. Some will get a doctor, others will report it to the relatives of the invalid, then they go on an errand or nurse him kindly. In turn, they watch him all night for two or three members for several days, even if it will last for a week or ten days if the sick person is lying in a worse condition.

Many guests are wholly performed by members of the association. In the case of childbirth, women of the association come together. They do all the care as far as the mother will raise again. For all the rest, whatever help is needed, the association will not charge without complaint. Of course, there will be two or three families who do not get a favor from the members. In the case of helping such a family, they will speak ill of the family, even plainly, though they never do neglect their helping work, for discriminating their work of the association from their personal antipathy.

There is a scarcity of business in the association, but when they manage money, they do accounting on the spot on each occasion. Sometimes, the members enjoy a convivial meeting. It takes place at someone’s home to have dinner together with contributions for rice and fees, which are arranged beforehand. Once a year, this party lasts continuously from 2 to 3 or 4 to 5 days. In this case, it seems troublesome to deal with the aftermath, but it is carried out smoothly. When the collected sum of money comes up short, they will compensate themselves. If they have left some money, they consume it on the spot, or a member keeps it on deposit until it is needed again.

When sake drinkers tasted sake with abundance, it would imply that they paid more than their prearranged money. In such cases, the drunkard would propose compensation as they were sorry for the members who had not drunk at all. But the offer would not be accepted. For sake drinkers did not have many dishes, while non-drinkers served themselves their favorite ones, so it would be alright to compensate for the shortage per head.

The cost of funerals, invalids, childbirth, and marriages supported by the association is, at first, credited to the association’s name. After that, they keep accounts carefully together. They examine it with enthusiasm and verify it. Then they will report the accounts to the family concerned. Thus the work of the association is completely carried out. It is all the same whenever anything occurs; the clerkship is performed by members together. If any work lasts for a long time, a row of shifts is previously arranged at the first meeting, so there is no inconvenience. The responsibility of each member to the association is not coercible or unwilling. They perform their role with their shift or the prearranged matter so as to follow their conscience and not bother the other member’s hands. No order or supervision is needed.

The works, such as watching fire, scavenging the court of the shrine, and its festival, are consulted and taken place by six associations of the village section. In this case, two or three members become the delegates. As soon as the consultation is settled, the purport will be announced. When it is unsettled, they will pick up the other members’ opinions, then associate themselves again. After the satisfactory settlement and in undertaking the work, the cadre of the association is eliminated, then the federation will be built up with disassociation. The unit of the federation is not the association but each home.

Suppose a patrol for fire is settled with a row of shifts. It is useless to perform it with each association, and the consultation implies they assume the performance of all members of the village section. Soon the delegates arrange the time and duration. How many homes will unite to do it, or what time will they patrol the street? Will they start from the north side or south side, then from the west end of the east end of the village? Thus the patrol arrangement will be settled. When it is prefixed to start from the west end of the north side by three homes and three times every night, it is someone from those three homes who patrol for fire with a drum or HIYOSHIGI (a kind of castanet made of wood, but clap two rods with two hands like cymbals) on the first night. The next day, he will hand over the drum, hiyo-shigi, and a paper lantern to the other delegate from those three homes. Thus they undertake their work in turn according to the prearrangement.

It is always troublesome to collect the sum for mending the shrine. So they deposit some money beforehand. Every day, they circulate a box with a notebook in which three sen or five sen (a small amount of money) are donated by each home and put down the family name on it. This will continue to get the sum for mending from neighbor to neighbor.

Suppose the children are facing trouble because of the bad road to school. Their mothers complain about it. Then, with a proposal, someone will repair the road within one or two days. When a member does it, the other members repair the road close to their houses, as they declare that the road is in common and it is a shameful thing to look at the other’s labor. They level the whole road. Indeed, everything is carried smoothly like this. The association undertakes almost all things, but when cooperation is needed, the village section becomes unified by dissolving six associations. As far as we have seen the function of the association and its autonomy, we wonder what the village office deals with. Till that point, autonomy and administration are separated. The eager members interested in the consultation of association or domestic affairs do not pay any attention to who is a candidate for the village official or what is going on in the village council. Most of them allude to the role of the village office with such businesses as taxation, registration, recruiting, and school management.

The police station and a policeman have seemed useless for the sake of the association. Quarrels among the inhabitants and arrogance of families are mostly settled down by the association. Even a thief, whether he is a native or a stranger, is treated in secrecy without informing the police station. Recently, there was an incident. A couple from a certain family stole something. The victim had inevitable proof added to his previous knowledge. The victimized family summoned the couple and scolded them. As both the robbed and the thieves belong to the same association, the other members also assemble. Before that time, they had watched the couple secretly, so they accused them of theft. As the couple apologized with sincerity, the host (the victim) consented to their punishment and settled the incident with an announcement that they would expel the couple from the assembly if they committed a crime again. To describe their thoughts roughly, “Theft is without a doubt a bad thing, yet what will happen if we send them to prison? Of course, they have their children and relatives, too. We must consider their sorrow and trouble. Moreover, they know their shamefulness as they have apologized before the assembly.

As far as they want to live in the village section, they will not commit a crime for fear of expulsion. We will all be cautious enough not to make them steal, as we know their bad habits beforehand. Thus, they will be saved from it.”

In fact, the couple reserves themselves from commitment, while the inhabitants do not suggest barely anything to remind them of their previous error. It is nuanced with fellow feelings of the countryman. This story is without fail heard by all inhabitants, but the policeman does not receive any report of it. However, one is intimate with him; no one breaks out the news, which induces punishment on the other. If there is a chatterer, the inhabitants will take strict precautions. I believe that it is affected by disciplines of a spirit of true autonomy to keep peace in the village against an official who is apt to induce others into unhappiness since old age. To be left alone leads to the last resort of punishment of association, that is, expulsion from the native place. When one is out of a certain association, he is not able to participate in another. So “out of the assembly” is unusual. The news prevails soon throughout the village. When one receives the imperative punishment, no one dares to associate with him. After all, he must leave his native place. So they think of the importance of this punishment as they do not impose it on the other unless his commitment is intolerable. As far as I know, I have not heard of the grand punishment bestowed upon a family. Thereby it is provided for certain conditions so as to increase its effectiveness.

In truth, it is impossible to live outside of the association in the country. Whenever you get guarantees from it, you will not be in trouble, even if you have no money at all or are with a dead person. It is easy to manage the present, and you have no worries about the aftermath because the association will undertake the trouble for you. It is an absolute necessity to get the support of the association. Especially a poor man needs its help, for poverty has more inconvenience than that of richness. From top to bottom, the such inconvenience will be somewhat managed by the hands of the association. Until now, I have not been able to understand the attachment of the countrymen to their trivial lives in the village. A man who was once resolute to leave the village is often to come back. I wonder if even young folks who had come up to the city and learned commerce, like a merchant, returned to the village and adhered to inactive and poor country life. But having investigated the function of the association, I have understood the reason for it. It is intolerable for them of an egoistic urban life who are accustomed to village life. However, there is no hope of success besides poverty; it is far more comfortable and warm to support each other under the protection of the association.

Notes: Noe Ito (1895–1923) was born in Fukuoka on Kyushu Island. She came to Tokyo in 1909 and entered Tokyo Ueno Kojyo, where she met an English teacher, Jin Tsuji (1884–1944), who had Japanese versions of “An Opium Eater” by De Quincey, the works of Lombroso and M. Stirner, and then she married him. In 1913, she became the chief editor of “Seito” and prevailed in her idea of feminism, further acquainted with “Kindai Shiso” (the Modern Thought) by Osugi and Arahata. She issued the translation of “The Tragedy of Women’s Emancipation” by Emma Goldman and added several essays (1913). In 1916 she got married to Osugi and helped to publish the organ Rodd Undo (the Labour Movement). Some comrades criticized her as a loose woman and haughtiness with taking advantage of her husband’s fame. While Osugi was teased about having washed the diapers of their baby for Noe. But in truth, their union was fairly well, and their comradeship lasted until their massacre.

Sources: -Ito No’ Zenshyu (the complete works of No’ Ito in two volumes, published by Gakuget Shyoin, 1977.

“Taishyo Shieo Shyu (the anthology of ideas during the Taishyo Era (1911–1926) in 2 vole. and vol II published by Chikuma Shyobo, 1977.


declared in the Organ Fujin Sensen, March 1930

1. We hope for the autonomous society

by excluding authoritarianism. Deny an Authoritarian!

2. Our real tactics are to expose and liquify all facts of male despotism and lead the common woman to the social consciousness.

Liquify the Male!

3. We are conscious of our duty to offer new idea and new problem from a stand point of the female in order to build up New Culture and New Society.

Revive the Female!


by Itsue Takamure

declared in “Fujin Sensen”

March 1930

The Woman’s Conscious History in Japan started with the “Seito Movement.” As everyone knows, it depended on “self-consciousness,” and after a variety of affairs, we are now raising an epoch-making movement based on the “social consciousness” of women. Or, to put it another way, our movement will be the second page of women’s consciousness so that the strong conscience and the grand expectation often induce us into deep emotion. We have a long way before us, how many things we are to achieve that we cannot predict, but it is our only volition to go before the bullets or in the wilderness of frozen land.

Whenever a worker finds himself a worker, and a peasant is conscious of himself as a peasant, they discover the confrontation to authoritarianism. There they seek “autonomy,” that is, their earnest desire to revive the autonomous society in its new form, which they had experienced by excluding the authoritative society before history would emerge. The awakening of autonomy is the greatest that is obtained by human beings in modern times. For a long time, the authoritarian society and its pyramid-type political organization have been inevitably founded on commercialism, the division of work, and private property. It is necessary that such things have begun at last to be decomposed due to the ripeness of the development of the consumer’s movement and that of the producer’s, followed by the cooperation of both the peasant and the worker because of the advancement of machinery. Furthermore, it is a natural phenomenon that a bud of a new social organization will sprout on either consciousness or a form among the decomposition. In other words, the former authoritarian organization is being decomposed; at the same time, the autonomous one is arising. It is needless to say that the former has accompanied by authoritarian consciousness, the latter with spontaneity. Thus we have come to understand that social consciousness is true when it accompanies autonomy.

Having excluded authoritarianism, we are the first instance of women arising with true social consciousness. Thus we are now in high spirits with social consciousness and set the women’s front against various old conventions. As I have pointed out above, the peasant and the worker have obtained a negative conscience against the authoritative society with their self-consciousness. So when a woman is conscious of herself, she feels the antagonism against the authoritative society.

The first vice of the authoritative society towards a woman is to regard the worthlessness of special factors of the woman (such as menses, conception, childbirth, and child care). In that society, they regard the special factors as private affairs, and then they estimate each one as public affairs. Therefore, the socialization of maternity hospitals and nurseries will alleviate the special burden of the woman. Yet there are still menses, conception, and childbirth, which leave out the woman in a comparatively low position forever in the authoritative society, where they estimate each one’s worth with public affairs. It is a great loss to be a woman in an authoritarian society. I cite one or two examples: the capitalist has often replied to equality of wages by saying that “we can’t regard a female worker on an equality with a male in the efficiency, for a woman has special defects such as menses and conception.” Recently in Soviet Russia, there was a voice demanding “Give a woman the same duty as a man,” and the application to military service, the State replied to her that “it is okay, but in return, a woman is required to eliminate the defects of menses, conception, and childbirth.” As the authoritarian society estimates each one with public services, it is a kind of congenital deformity or loss for the woman’s private burden. Because of that deformity, her public services are restricted in space and time (the fixed term used for menses, conception, childbirth, and child care denotes a falling off for a while. This falling off is periodic for a woman only. Then she is, without doubt, placed below the male position in terms of efficiency. This is a reason why the female status is always lower in an authoritative society. The discriminative conscience between public services and private affairs is, indeed, the special conscience of an authoritative society. It is said, “A samurai uses a toothpick; however, he does not have a meal,” which shows endurance through pride, but it also indicates despising a private factor of eating. Another instance, being swayed by “personal feelings,” has been an infamy for a man, and these personal feelings mainly imply love for a woman or a child. On the other hand, a woman is always burdened with personal feelings or deformity, and even if she denies part of her personal feelings, that is, love for her husband or child, she cannot neglect other private affairs, such as her specific physiological burdens.

Thus, in a society where each person is estimated with public services by regarding them as worthwhile and despising private affairs, a woman usually emerges from obscurity up to some level. A truly conscientious woman will find discrimination and the naked vice of authoritarianism there. But among Marxists, the discrimination of former public and private affairs is kept without violation. Still, according to their feminist viewpoint, they estimate the woman’s status in public life as before, which exposes them as the apostles of the authoritarian society.

What are public affairs? It is labor to profit the ruling class, while private affairs stand for a life of appetite and sexuality of an individual. From the ruler’s view, an individual has appetite and sexuality, which do not make an advantage for them (lowering efficiency), and it reduces the rate of service to live a non-productive material and spiritual life. Thereby, public affairs are estimated, while private one is despised in an authoritative society.

On the other side, we do not think that social life and private life are separated or contradicted in the autonomous society. Furthermore, social labor or social cooperation is performed to realize the freedom of individual life (that is to say, freedom of existence, reproduction, and freedom of instinctive mutual aid.) There appears the private life being a master. It is an obvious fact by consulting with the ancient, autonomous society discovered by Morgan’s Maurel that a woman could enjoy her life freely in society (despite the society containing immatures and impurities).

The second contradiction between an authoritative society and a woman is generated from her instinctive motherhood. As it is often said, “The 20th century is the century for a woman and a child.” The conscience of a woman is always that of instinctive maternity, which accompanies the conscience of freedom and the right of the children.

In fact, when maternity is suppressed, the children are oppressed too. Childbirth has only been welcomed as an increase in the slave population; then birth control has been restricted with this view. However, it is instantly released when birth control has the advantage of increasing a good slave by excluding a bad one. In the first step, the newly born child is regarded as slavishly; he will be separated without mercy from his mother, whom nature has selected as a suitable nurse due to the abnormal society based on the authoritative organization. It is the ideal of that society. See it. The ideal of an authoritative society is wholly realized among the ruling class, but almost all of the children of the ruling class are separated from maternity and fed by nurses differs from motherhood. Still more, this abnormal ideal has been socialized by ambitious persons since Plato, but even the Bolsheviks are also undertaking it. (Whenever the society is revived from abnormality, all will take its proper place. That is, “a child is nursed by her mother” is, without doubt, the normal condition. In this case, society does not regard nursery as the private affairs of maternity, but only as a substitute and supports her generously.) While the present society restricts childbirth with self-interest, transforms nurseries, then tramples on the children with education. Education in the authoritative society is no less than a method of keeping the ruling class; therefore, materials of education are distorted and fabricated to hinder the growth and the spirit of inquiry of the children. (On the contrary, all thoughts, theories, and principles are presented before the children in the autonomous society so they can understand the process of evolution and discriminate between rationality and absurdity.) Thus, the authoritative society imposes a number of vices upon the children.

When a woman has a conscience of herself or awakens her motherhood, what she ought to do in the first place? She will naturally cast her glove on the authoritative society. Then awakening of motherhood will be a protest, a struggle, and a triumph against authoritarianism. There the former “raised hen” will be faded away, and a strong lioness with innate maternity will appear by showing “revived motherhood against authoritarianism!” The age denoting a synonym of weakness and tenderness to motherhood should be withered away. Now it must be courageous and strong.

You may grasp the meaning of the self-conscience of the woman, which enables her to fight against the authoritative society and look forward to the autonomous one. There she will go by one step with social consciousness. Then how her social conscience will proceed, or what method she will take up? Since modern times, we have doubted “politics” and looked for “autonomy” in our consciousness. Further, we have paid great attention and begun to study themes such as how the political society appeared or how the autonomous one will come. Their investigations are various, yet it is an undeniable fact that human beings have negated “the political society” and sought “autonomy.” What is the saying that this common fact appeared in the conscience of human beings? I say, “Conscience” is a prophecy. That is, it predicts the political society has been withered away, and the autonomous society will come, for the conscience is, to be sure, the product of unseen social conditions. So that it reflects true social conditions as soon as possible; however, we cannot see them exactly. It is here that the reason why the conscience is a prophecy. We can clearly foretell that the future society will be necessarily one of autonomy. Then how will it be realized?

The former centralized organization founded on private property, commercial economy, and the division of work is nothing but a repetition of autocracy and democracy. From autocracies such as the papacy and king of Sumer and Egypt, it had been transformed into the democracy of Greece and Rome, then despotism of Alexander, Roman Pope, again it has become the modern democracy, but the typical aspect of the latter is to have integrated the low class and the female. Nevertheless, this democracy is, after all, no more true democracy than the ancient one. It is no less than ruling politics in disguise of democracy. That is to say, autocracy is the naked ruler’s politics, while democracy is a simple falsehood. There I would like to point out that true democracy is politics by the people; in short, it is the autonomy of the people.

What is an autonomous organization? According to Morgan, for a long time before history, the autonomy of human society was composed of free communes and their federation. This institution had none of the army, police, king, peer, neither tribunal nor prison despite its innocence and simplicity. Indeed, there were none of the poor or slaves in this commune society. At the same time, it is indicated by the investigation of Maurell, and Kropotkin pointed out many examples in his “Mutual Aid.” As we have seen above, there are two contradictory organizations, i.e., political and autonomous.

The foundations of political organization are private property, the division of work, and the commercial economy. However, their decomposition leads to the emergence of a new bud of autonomy. Moreover, our conscience reflects this, and thus a negation of politics and the expectation of autonomy in modern times have appeared.

The political society (the authoritative one) is an autocratic society where a few executives have their seats at the top of the pyramid. They are always concerned with “mass convocation” to hold their own power. Thus, despite their incessant power struggles among themselves, they beat the drum of “political movement” to make the masses not despair of political organization. It has been so until now. But today, social and economic institutions have been decomposed from their foundations, and people have begun to doubt the effectiveness of political movements.

For many centuries, people had no doubt about their social organization. Through the feudal society of small collectives and the modern one of centralization of such collectives, they have believed in the only political organization, i.e., centralization. And they have thought their freedom of life is impossible without “taking over political power.” Thus, for generations, people have often repeated a mere change of rulers by forsaking the old one under autocracy. The people expected “better politics” from new rulers, but this repetition was in vain. Both old and new are no less than rulers and exploiters. Under democracy, people had a dream of getting freedom only by means of the suffrage movement. They got it with their blood. However, a hunter, a peasant, and low-class people took it over by raising the movement under Roman democracy. It did not last for long with victory. It was again deprived of the next chance. Despite the such repetition, they were not able to get free from the notion that they would be liberated by the political movement. Really, this political movement was “the unique popular movement for the people.”

On the other hand, soon after we desired the autonomous society in our conscience, there generated curious and yet peculiar new popular movements different from the political ones, such as “trade unionism” and “consumer’s unionism.” The ignorant proletariat had borne both of them and though they were spontaneous movements with poor ability, they grew up flourishingly during one or two centuries. It is said that trade unionism has the power of destruction. Both of them, in cooperation, contribute to decomposing “commerce,” which has been a special product of the political society since history and has the prospect of “an autonomous society of self-sufficiency.” But we acknowledge it as a synthetic type of new construction of the autonomous society when the peasant adopts it, for the peasant is naturally rooted in the locality. So, a free commune started from there, and its federative movement will destroy with its growth the last “commercial economy” in society since history. In short, the commercial economy is an illusive by-product depending on the producer’s class.

All autonomous movement is to negate such a parasite. There is no other horrible word than autonomy for a parasite. All the same, one must recognize its “rightness.” It is generally admitted that “autonomy” is more righteous than “authoritarianism” in modern times. Thereby, they offered “a transition” to divert the conscience of the people. For example, a scholar of the bourgeoisie uses a philosophical idea of sophism or materialism, and a pseudo-socialist advocates a ruinous industrial evolutionism, which instructs us that they instinctively fear the autonomy of the people.

(For the parasites will be thrown off then.) Furthermore, these sophists and evolutionists have adopted their “political actions” for centuries with the persuasion that “you may get your liberation only through political power.” However, the people have arisen with “autonomous movements,” such as trade unionism, consumer unionism, and peasant unionization, by having already forsaken “the former political movement.” Thus, unionization movements have taken each part of destruction or construction relatively, though they are leading to the federative society of autonomous communes and engaging in various local strifes. Indeed, these unionization movements show a variety of aspects of the great popular movement in modern times, but the obsolete political power movement has become a hindrance on its road. For instance, whenever power politics clings to trade unionism, the union is split, the dispute becomes dull, and thus the influence of the worker becomes belittled. Even in sporadic disputes, the ambition of a political party or a corrupt executive of a labor union affects them. Thus the disputes will be distorted and weakened. (The rotten executive is not a product of personal vice. All of them are necessarily produced by the political organization. That is the real structure of the organization as a million soldiers die for the honor of a general, i.e., a million of the people are trampled on by the minority.)

The affair is all the same with the peasant movement. As you know, the peasant in Aomori and Niigata districts raised a voice against politics. Now they are often alleviated or agitated by the politician (for the zeal of a politician is his personal concern and fame), but it will not last for long. It is the same for the consumer movement. Bergic consumer unions became important in their movement owing to the interference of the proletarian political party. In our country, the ready-made parties and proletarian parties have utilized the consumer movement for their political and economic stool, and thus the movement became dissented and trampled on in its sprouts. It is said that the Rochdale movement in England has grown up so large as it is now because of its non-commitment to politics, but it is also feared that their attitudes are “mere neutrality” instead of “negation” of politics so that it will follow the fiasco of Bergic consumer’s movement or be decomposed as a commissioned corrupt union. The political movement is always contradicted by all “autonomous movements,” and it has the instinct to hinder the latter’s development. Now we must see it clearly and promote our autonomous movement by forsaking the political one. Our new society will inevitably appear through free and great advancement of the movement. Indeed, it is our struggle and method in the convinced perspective that our common fort is the new society, which will flourish with the autonomous movement, while our common target is to build up the federative society of autonomous communes, and that we must fight personally or collectively in all sorts of battlefields. We are now dispersed in all fields with different conditions. Therefore, we have a single tactic and the ability in accordance with each condition. So we are convinced that each of us ought to go her own way. As a result, it is the best method for us to construct a new society.

Thus, we intend to perform our roles of enlightenment of thought and cultural construction (for our society from the standpoint of “a woman” or “the movement of Ideal Literature”). Cultural construction—We must deal with it using some words. For our comrades, it is seen as non-revolutionary work. What is cultural construction? Summing it up, it is a road to discovering or inventing something new. We must go hand in hand with many scientific or philosophical discoveries and inventions. We ought to understand the usefulness of such discoveries and inventions, which have contributed so much to the construction of society. The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century originated from the Renaissance (also indicated as the Scientific Renaissance or Revival of Learning) of the 15th and 16th centuries. They had nourished their adventurous and investigative minds in those liberal and flourishing literary periods. They had advanced in various fields, like the discovery of a new continent or an invention from science and mechanics, which led them to the Industrial Revolution. Thus, modern society was constructed with a symphony of new literature and new theory, then with discoveries and inventions of a new continent and new machinery, added with the development and synthesis of political and economic innate contradictions of human life. However, the flourishing and investigating tunes of the march had only been played in an age or conditions where the adventurous and curious minds for creation were supported or advocated. We cannot expect any great discovery or invention from the rigid, narrow, and formal atmosphere, where a word of culture, nay, even a word of “creation” is feared whether it is right or not. We must take a leap over such entangled, importunate, and decadent phenomena, for we know clearly that the aristocratic literature before the French Revolution was formalism and skillful in fussy criticism. So we make an assertion as they are not our concern at all. Our inevitable attitudes are to study, investigate, and create freedom for the construction of new culture.

As far as I have depicted, we are not gathered together like a mere women’s association. That is, we have stood up as a courageous wing of the whole social movement in all its meanings.

It is a long way; our walk is slow. Barbarous persecutions will soon fall on us. On the other hand, the unsteady economy will often menace us, too. But our movement, which we have ignited, will be that of the whole world and all human beings. It will be a necessary wildfire to burn everything towards the inevitable triumph.

Notes: Itsue Takamure (1894–1964) was born in Kumamoto, Kyushu Island, like Noe Ito. She called herself “a woman of the fire land.” She was the daughter of a schoolmaster in a remote country. Itsue analyzed her anarchist temperament as follows: “Raichyo (the pen name of Akiko Hiratsuka, the leader of the Seitou movement) found Itsue’s talent at a corner of Tokyo and recognized her as a follower, but the difference between Raichyo and Itsue is that the former was the daughter of a high official and the latter was the daughter of an ignorant schoolmaster. Thus, Raichyo and Kikue (Kikue Yamakawa (1890- ), the wife of Hitoshi Yamakawa, once she stood on the stand of Marxism and Itsue recognized her as a polemical opponent) learned about the life of urbanization and Western culture, but Itsue learned many things from her surroundings, such as the tenant farmer’s life, the mountains, swamps, and fields. She had a tendency towards anarchism from an early age because she knew about “The Review of Kumamoto,” whose members were executed during Kotoku’s High Treason Affair, and all of them were in the direction of anarchism like Kotoku. She did not understand anarchism until that point. However, she knew about Kropotkin, Bakunin, Proudhon, and even Reclus. After the cessation of “The Women’s Front” (1931), she began to learn about anarchism, including the theory of Marxist Leninism. She explained it in the third person singular style!”

Recently Takamure has received the popularity of women libs, but her anarchist view has fairly been erased from her complete works edited by her husband Kenzo Hashimoto.


  • Fujin Sensen ni Tatsu (Standing on the Women’s Front) in two booklets adopted by Jyosei Shi Kenkukai, 1973.

  • Jyosei no Rekishi (The History of Women) by Itsue Takamure, 1972, copyright of Kenzo Hashimoto.

  • Hino Kunino Onna no Nikki (The Diary of a Woman of the Fire Land) by Itsue Takamure, 1974, copyright of Kenzo Hashimoto.

  • ‘Umoreta Jyoset Anarchist, — Takamure Itsue to “Fujin Sensen” no Hitobito — (The Buried Woman Anarchist, Itsue Takamure and Members of “The Women’s Front” edited by Masae Matsumoto et al., 1976.

  • Taisho Shiso Shu in two volumes edited by Seiichi Imai, 1978.

  • Takamure Itsue to Fujin Sensen by Yuko Nishikawa.

  • Onna Ronso (The Debate on Freedom of the Woman) by Kiyoshi Akiyama (an anarchist poet), 1973.

  • Nihon Josei Shi (The Japanese Women’s History) by Kiyoshi Inoue, 1977.

  • Nihon no Fujin Mondai (The Problem on Japanese Women) by Nobuhiko Murakami, 1978.


From 1925 to 1935, it was the last stage of the Japanese left-wing movements before the 2nd World War. In the West, it is defined as the period of “Modernism,” which indicates, “Like Romanticism, it originated with historical neatness about the beginning of a century, in a period of deep intellectual reappraisal and social and intellectual change and has come increasingly to dominate the sensibility, aesthetics... Like Romanticism, it is a revolutionary movement, capitalizing on a vast intellectual readjustment and radical dissatisfaction with the artistic past — a movement that is international in character and marked by a flow of major ideas, forms, and values that spread from country to country and developed into the mainline of the western tradition.” Japan was not spared from the tide of the Modernism movement of the West. Urbanization, industrial innovation, and the rise of a new woman “filled with the modern spirit,” a demand for democracy of the people, were signs of the period. Indeed, it was called a “modernist,” and popular words such as “Mo-ga,” “Mo-bo” stood for a modern girl and a modern boy, respectively, in our society. Yet it denoted the epicureanism of the “Lost Generation” in the urban area; rural communities were exploited and depressed throughout the country. In the framework of political, social, and cultural fields, we can discern the following topics:

  • Expansion of the militarist — Massive conversion from Socialism

  • Enactment of the Maintenance — Raising of the emperor-centered Public Order Act. (1925) ideology.

  • A Witch-hunting (the Mass Domestic preparation for the arrest of communists, anarchists, socialists, and liberalists)

The military action by the Gunbatsu occurred with an explosion of a bridge at the South Manchuria Railway (1931). Their ambition was to occupy Manchuria and Mongolia and insisted on the rights of the Chinese Government, then established the Manchu-ko (1932). A side story tells us that one of the bosses who controlled politics behind the establishment of Manchuria was an ex-Lieutenant, Masahiko Amakasu, who massacred a couple of Osugt and their nephew, an 11-year-old male child (1923), and this Amakasu committed suicide in 1945 with the news of Japan’s surrender. They made propaganda “to defend one’s lifeline in the north,” which meant the rationalization of the Japanese invasion of the northern part of China. Domestically, the mass arrest of the communists was carried out over the country. The number was 1600 persons, while 484 were prosecuted. The incident was called the Affair of 3–15 (March 15th, 1928). I will cite the anarchist’s examples in the Village Youth Movement and the incident of the Anarcho-Communist latter, but I would like to point out a problem of conversion here. Japan is a secluded country composed of four main islands with water.

Nationality, language, manners, and even religion (Buddhism, Shintoism) are, on the whole, coherent. So, in peaceful periods, it is tolerated as a politically ideal heterogeneous element. But in an emergency, for instance, to defend her mother country from the invasion of a foreign one (which usually ends in an illusion or a fallacy) raises a witch hunt. They (the Establishment) do not choose their sacrifices at random. But they had done it for Christians (1610s) under the name of KIRISHITAN ARATAME or the Enquiry to a Christian. In truth, it was to exterminate Christians from all parts of the country. For anarchists, as we have seen them before, in the case of Kotoku in 1910 and that of Deugi in 1922, men and women who had refined their sense and sensibility in Western culture, regardless of their ideologies like anarchism, communism, socialism, and liberalism, were prosecuted in this period for the great cause of Kokutai Meichyo or the National Prestige. Japan usually revives her national vitality “in faith of blood and earth” of the primitive, as Edmund Burke declared in his “Reflections on the Revolution in France.”

And the emperor is symbolized to be a center of faith. Even a conflict to take over power among the nationalists, that is, a coup d’état which induced to shoot a prime minister, Inugai, by a young military group (the affair of 5.75 or 15th May 1932), was caused by the competition for hegemony in this context.

The anarchist messages were outwardly narrowed to the point of nothingness, and the arrested ideologists were forced to convert from their faith in socialism, as Kanichi Nakamura indicated in his article “Stirner and the idea-climate of Japan” (1970) “The Tragedy of Tenko (Conversion) at Showa period was the modern edition of Enquiry to the Christian under the Tokugawa Regime. There had been no fact so miserable as Fumi-E in the history of Japan. It was examined whether one was a Christian or not by forcing him to tread upon the image of Christ. For the Christian, his matter of life or death was suspended with an action to do it or not. There was no choice but all or nothing; in other words, he would meet the decomposition of his flesh by refusing it or sell his soul to a devil by treading upon the image. It was a road of inevitability or a tragedy provided for no issue. It seems to me that it is a problem rooted deeply into human beings in the spiritual world of the possessed, as M. Stirner indicated.”

Three educators of anarchism, Jun Tsugi, a Dadaist, and a Bohemian, were favorable among literary artists, poets, people in the lowest social stratum, and Sanshiro Ishikawa, who started his social activity as a Christian socialist & anarchist, was accepted by the urban intellectuals, while Sakutaro Iwasa, started his career as an anarchist in San Francisco (1910s), was followed by printers of Seishin-kai Shinyukai. They endeavored on each battlefield to propagate their anarchism, though one of them refused it openly and homaged to nihilism.

Source: “Modernism 1890–1930,” edited by MALCOLM BRADBURY and JAMES McFARLANE, Pelican Books 1976.


by Dun Tsuji

declared in 1921

I am, first of all, an idler and tired of doing. I always dream of an idle life. So I have hardly had any experience expressing myself (by means of words) with my own will till now. Truly I feel with an acuteness that I am a man of misfit to the present world. However, I have the desire to express myself; it will not be accepted under the social system at the moment. In short, the world in which I am living has no freedom of speech. When I ponder it, I feel a repugnance. And I have no further passion for speaking, so I keep my silence under oppression. What an awkward society it is where we are not able to speak without reservation! Recently they have not mentioned it, but a little before, they have often talked of “Kiken Shisd” or the dangerous thought in popular. I can not grasp its meaning even now and recognize my foolishness.

Sometimes I ponder to let pulling out of my nationality. That is to say: I would like to be a man of nowhere. I want to live without authority besides myself and be free from any responsibility. It may be an egoistic idea. To fulfill such an idea, I must be a beggar or a vagabond. But they say that even a beggar belongs to his group and quarrels over their sphere of interests. Then there are no other means but to remove into a desert island. There I will be dead by hunger with a natural course of my idleness. Thereby my own life is halfway, not thoroughgoing. When I reflect on it, I am so loose as I can not understand the worth of thoroughness. In truth, my life way is sodden and loose and good for nothing. If a fellow like me were born in Soviet Russia under the present regime, he would be liquified before long. Whenever I ponder it, I feel a revival of myself and thank for the kindness of the present society, and then it instructs me that I must be patient enough, though I can not speak out anything.

It is no wonder that when we walk aimlessly, we become assimilated with surroundings like the wind, water, and weeds so as to be annihilated even our existence. When my existence becomes unsteady, the world and society have already been thrown away before that time. Then I think of “the ecstasy of a bohemian.” Yet I can not discern such feeling on that occasion; it is nothing but to imagine and revive the feeling at the time of writing. Whenever I want to put it down, I am already a bonded prisoner. At least I write it with such subconsciousness.

Whereby I feel remorse for uselessness since I have written or talked so much. I suggest that my soul is not favorable for writing. Nevertheless, I have done it, and I am sure I will repeat it again and again. The stimulus of bohemianism is excited by the uneasiness of statics. All the same, its uneasiness seems too horrible to me because I am neither able to sit for long nor an automation. While fancy and illusion have occupied my brain or are being swayed in sensual pleasure, I do forget it. Whether I am deprived of or with them, I can not but move to somewhere with acute irritation and an ennui (boredom). If a mirage or a cinema had appeared in front of me, I would have been saved for a moment, but the thing did not go, fortunately. My vagabondage is widely different from a sightseeing trip with money and leisure. I am only satisfied with a pell-mell change. So my wandering is the best to walk a strange land or the amid a big city. When I roam about an unknown block or street, I will be revived afresh. I take a rest in tiredness and serve myself with being hungry. You can not taste the ecstasy of idleness unless you leave everything to chance. In other words, as a Chinese poem says;

There floats like a cloud

passing with a shadow over a valley.

Yet my mind is as bright as

the moonlight.

Oats are enough to keep my life. Without attaining such a stage, I will be nil. Furthermore, the Buddhist says, “I am a free man amid the thousand universes” or “the bottomless abyss annexes limitlessness.” There is a phrase, “living like a drunkard and dying like a dreamer.” I like it so much. I would like to be a lotus eater at every moment. Or again, it says, “to float aimlessly, a zeal has no abode.” It is a good saying for a bohemian like me. “Living like a drunkard and dying like a dreamer” is pleasant for an idler like me. But in truth, it is a hard thing to live through. If we can live like a drunkard with life, there will be no use for wine or opium. If we die like a dreamer, there will be no agony of fearing death. According to a poem of Baudelaire, he says “Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là; c’est l’unique question”. (You must always be a drunkard. Everything lies there. It is also a unique question.) When I met this stanza, I thought of him as a lotus eater. And he made such a poem with agony as he could not live through it. How happy he would be if he could be a drunkard, at least with the other sex, wine, or anything else, though he could not be so with his daily routine or his own business! There are a lot of healthy people around me who are drunkards of the social movement. I envy such an activist with inevitable circumstances. Still more, I envy a believer of Omoto Kyo (Omoto Kyo is a folk religion. T.N.). “Living like a drunkard and dying like a dreamer” is utilized with contempt to put an adjective on an idler like me. It is an antonym to “serving for his country,” “contributing to society,” “raising with love for humanity,” and “living a meaningful life,” etc.

At least I have not come to this world with my own will, which I have pondered on many times, but it is an irresistible fact. Neither was it owing to the will of my parents. The parents might crave a child, though they did not wish to have an idler like me. There is nothing to worry about if it is solved with the resignation in accordance with the Karma of Buddhism. It is too hard to resign for an idiot like me. Whenever I have emerged into this world, I am coerced to have a variety of promises and conventions and forced to live among them. Before my volition and judgment have grown up to confirmation, I must live the other’s life at his will. Then my parents demanded gratitude from me by saying, “for whom did you grow up?” Even the State regards me as its benefactor to have bestowed education and knowledge. I know it is true that a good-for-nothing like me with a delicate constitution has been alive for the sake of others, but I have not asked a favor to do so of my own accord. To put it in another way, all of them contributed to have made me who I am now. So I regard it too much of a good thing and none of your business. Furthermore, whose work is it to convince me that “Living like a drunkard and dying like a dreamer”? When I reflect on it, I can make neither head nor tail of it.”

Again, I have come to the conclusion that there is no place for my peaceful living. First of all, I have nothing to nominate my possession. With some excuse, I possess my soul and body, though I have inherited them from my parents, and I cannot resist the ownership of my parents. Having considered the support of nature and human hands beside me, I am quite penniless and not sure to resist decently against the proprietary rights of the other. Whenever I think of my miserable existence, I feel disheartened. I can freely enjoy the air and a beam of light of the sun without complaint, but besides these, there is nothing of my possession. The land on which I am walking belongs to the other. Nonetheless, the house is sheltered from the rain, and the dew is possessed by the other. My knowledge is borrowed from others, as well as my clothes are made by others. In short, my existence is kept with difficulty amid the benevolence of nature and others. But am I happy by accepting such grace from my surroundings? Why am I not happy at all? Because everything comes from the other, not being obtained by my own demand. Why does the land belong to the other and not me? Why does the other possess the house and not me? How many degrees of difference are there between a have and a have-not like me? Why does the other have proprietary rights and not I? When I ponder vaguely on such things, I feel unspeakable apprehension, which convinces me irresistibly that there is no place for my peaceful living.

Someone instructed me on the reason for my uneasiness: that I had no money. When I asked him how I could get it, he replied that I had to earn it. But how much money can one earn with his hands? Why is it necessary to work to get money? What is labor, after all? As I ponder it, my brain becomes confused, so I postpone it over the course of time. Then I wander about without aim—during my walking or working, I feel relieved a little, attracted by the surroundings, and forget everything for a while. When I walk calmly in the wide field alone with blue sky, the sun, the white cloud, mountains, the forest, wood, grasses, trees, and water, such phenomena turn into my possession, and I will be composed with tranquility. In short, as I have mentioned above, I would be assimilated with the phenomena so far as I cannot discern each other, and then would I have the illusion of possessing everything?

Lately, I have sensed to some degree the true reality of happiness which I have sought until now. What is it? Is it to realize the truth or to live with freedom? Is it to live with art or be satisfied materially with a vast fortune? To acquire tremendous knowledge? Shall I get fame with a novel or work in sacrifice to the social movement? Very well, if I had fulfilled these desires relatively and lived them, I would feel appropriate to a sense of happiness, but my true happiness would not be obtained even with a bundle of these things. What is it, then? It is the complete love of a woman. If I could bestow my love on her completely, I would live with happiness. However, I could not satisfy even one of these desires. When I revealed it so, my friend replied that it would be an extravagant demand at best. I request that luxury. If I could possess it, I would be a happy man at once. Unless it is not fulfilled, I will not be content with the other desire. I would like to wander about without aim but to seek the fair sex.

Having reflected thus myself, I feel acutely that I am a man deprived of possession. I have no fame, status, property, knowledge, physical strength, handsome features, or ability. Even so, I was young, but I have reached the age of forty. Despite my desire for the love of young fair sex (even its completeness), well, I know it may be impossible or an unreasonable discourse. As far as I could find such a woman, I would wander about with the ups and downs of my life, agony and writhing in pains, until my hair became white, my face with wrinkles, and my flesh fell away. It may be that I would have died on the road of the strange land before long to glimpse a part of the fair sex. If I try and fail, that is the end of it. I cannot catch up with a life of the afterworld.

If I could find such a woman, I believe that I would endure living happily under whatever cruel treatment of the so-called capitalism or merciless oppression of statism by the socialist. Or I would lack a sense of it with the abundance of our love, even if I had no leisure time to think of it. Unless it is solved, I will not be satisfied with true happiness. However, they have added a number of utopias to this world. I will not be content with a love of 30% to 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, or even 80% to 90%. When I reflect on myself, I know what a covetous man I am beyond my own means! After all, it will not come to the world forever! I request an impossible demand whimsically, which will torture me in turn so that I cannot excuse my stand. However, I am accused of unhappy paranoia. Rather, I would be happy if I were a true madman to imagine that the woman of the whole world bestowed her love one and all to me! With mere imagination like this, I think I have approached some degree of paranoia. When I had mastered it, I could love all human beings throughout the world. Even more, I am willing to do any work without complaint. However much others possess, I do not envy them at all. My life is to love a woman and be loved by her all along. That is the core of my life consciousness, alpha & omega, God, Buddha, Heaven, and art; nay, it is everything to me. In short, my life is no less than that of despair with agony.

It is, at most, my deformed desire that I stick to sake, long for music, intimate with a prostitute, and be a dilettante of knowledge. After all, such things do not satisfy my desire.

I do not want to be desperate, but I would like to walk on and on through the darkness with an absurd burden of my desire. Then I would be dead, as I have mentioned before, of exhaustion. What an egoistic yet miserable life it is! Though I am confident in my belief that as far as my adherence to desire, my strength to live will emerge from it. Such a fancy is my unique illusion. Everything besides it will bring forth nothing but an extravagant disillusionment to me. I do not care whether everything is nil. Only, what I want to do is cling to this disillusionment. Sneer at me for being an erotomaniac as you like! My selfishness is burning horribly with a chimera while it is alive by eating it. I would like to make it up a terrific volcano that has thrown out lava incessantly to the empty sky as it has glowed white with my feeding to the chimera.

My composition has turned from “the ecstasy of a Bohemian” to “the ecstasy of an erotomaniac.” In addition, I have written out the previously indicated sheets. I think it is a favorable tendency that I have had the desire to depict myself. I will comment on a variety of themes with my unique view. It is enough for the soliloquy of a Bohemian now.

Notes: Jun Tsuji (1884–1944). He was born in downtown Tokyo, refined with the culture of the Edo period, and skilled in wit. Since the separation from his wife, Noe Ito (1916), he supported their two sons by working as a translator and playing the SHAKUHACHI, an instrument made of bamboo similar to a clarinet. He wandered throughout the country and was received favorably among his followers. He introduced M. Stirner to Sakae Beugi through a brief introduction on “Modern Thought” (1912), and after three years, he started translating “Ego and Its Own” and published the Japanese version in book form (1921) entitled JIGA KYO or “The Sutra of Ego.” He kept his faith in vagabondage throughout his life until his death by starvation in 1944. His opinion on anarchism was: “Stirner is usually considered an egoistic anarchist or a philosophical anarchist, and he acknowledged himself as an egoist on every page of his book but did not avow an anarchist. He did not advocate any ism. If there were any doctrine of his own, it would have been a doctrineless doctrine. His supreme order (if it were) was only that ‘you shall be you of your own’ or ‘you must live your own.’ He did not tell us that — ‘as I preach you my truth, you must follow my truth and live as I have instructed.’ From Stirner’s view, everyone who follows any principle or doctrine and serves himself for it as his supreme truth, whether he is a socialist (for example, Marx) or an anarchist (for example, Kropotkin), is no less than an idealist, that is to say, the so-called possessed.”

Sources: — Tatsuyo Shiso Shyu IT 1978. ‘Nenpu, the Chrontele of Jun Tsuji’s Work,’ published by Orion Sha 1970.

  • “Tsuji Jun Chyosaku Shyu”, Orion Sha 1920, in 6 volumes.

La Dynamique

by Sanshiro Ishikawa

Declared on 1st November 1929

Now, it is an age of dynamics. Whenever constructing and operating the smallest machine, we need a good knowledge and exercise of dynamics in the first place. Moreover, each one has to realize the reformation of society and emancipation of humankind with knowledge of synthetic social dynamics. Without grasping this point, you cannot put into practice the teachings of ancient sages. As modern science has developed in various fields, we have come to consider even our lives and activities with dynamics. It is also the reason why there are social dynamics, psychodynamics, and astrodynamics. The idea that everything is controlled with an absolute will has disappeared, and now life is asserted to grow up spontaneously. Furthermore, its vitality should develop plurally with various forms and progress both in space and time.

Our life seems to go as quickly as a flash of lightning, but it is an aspect of its objectivity, which flows ceaselessly, not of reality. Life has hope and satisfaction in the progress of its spontaneous realization.

“A human being has no duty but might. Might express its own in the presence.” “I love a man, not only an individual but also each human being.....Love is a natural for me, and so I love it to please myself.” Max Stirner saw a man with dynamics. But he did not understand the way to realize and expand his mighty own nor feel the satisfaction of his love. He could not see a rule of might and its solidarity, even if he had perceived them.

On the other hand, Elise Reclus said, “Happiness has a root in the consciousness that a man goes forward to a fixed aim. So we must understand and realize our origin, our presence, our aim in the future, and our permanent ideal. Then, accepting the consciousness in conformity with the earth and humanity, we have to arrange the conditions in which a human being, an animal, and a plant can live according to each way. Thus we ought to cultivate our garden, that is, the surface of the earth, and regulate the surrounding land, the sea, and the atmosphere.” His attitude was called synthetic dynamics.

I agree that happiness is not in a land of the ideal. On the contrary, it is in our progressive life and efforts for our ideal. Such is a dynamic teaching of happiness. Our deep emotion, happiness, and glory are not merely in a conceptualized ideal but in the development of active “Idee force,” i.e., to experience and live the ideal.

Our Idee force creates new forms spontaneously and accelerates a universal synthetic drama, for it is perpetually transformed with the cosmos. In our social reforming enterprise, an aspect of the synthetic drama, we must hold a driving force by acknowledging the synthetic might which promotes it. The so-called Marxist faction seems to advocate it, but they have unfortunately lost a spirit of freedom, the first aim of social reformation, with the passage of time. Then they replaced it with metaphysical dogma, i.e., dialectical materialism.

Might is not justice. But justice without might is worthless, like a scarecrow. Justice will have a might. That is our enterprise. A Stirnerian, a lover of human beings, should hold social forces to realize his love in the first place. Love of humanity does not indicate a great enjoyment of tears. We must express and expand our real ideal as an Idee force spontaneously.

Rise a Dharma! Even Jesus Christ had a time of experience to sharpen his sword!

A bicycle can stand while cycling. It goes upset by stopping.

An airplane falls down when its propeller ceases to rotate. Life is an activity. Unlike a bicycle and an airplane, life is to express and develop itself. But considering the activity, both life and machine have a thing in common. When its activity has stopped, a life is to die like an upset bicycle and a fall of an airplane. It is doubtless that an act is a typical property of life, while the problem is how to act. There is a need for dynamics. However lofty the ideal is, it is impossible to realize the ideal without dynamics. In spite of the teachings and sacrifices of a saint, a sage, even gods, and Buddhas, there is no favorable progress. I think it is due to a lack of dynamics.

Of course, there was a dynamics of salvation by gods and Buddhas, but theirs were intuitive experiences with no universality like a science. A new road to salvation should be dynamics that everyone can possess.

The first principle of dynamics is the economy of might. A machine appears owing to this economy of might. In human society, it is an organization. We must realize the teachings of ancient sages with new dynamics, machinery, and organization.

(Remarks: Dharma, a Chinese sage, is traditionally said to have meditated for nine years on the wall to attain his Nirvana.)

declared on 1st February 1930

Anyway a word of human being is in vain. ‘Anyway an act of human being is in vain. A chinese sage said, he could predict in a Gream, so life is gasping after an illusion. When you grasp a

right hand, your left hand will be empty, Indicate the top, then you look over the bottom, One who moulds a statue will not put a soul in it. One who puts a soul in will mould a distorted statue. A poem does not generalize, while science is merely to kill emortion。 In the name of freedom, a revolution is usually in the possession of authority, while religion in the name of sacredness will satisfy a philistine with his avarice. Not waiting an explanation of Aldous Huxly, a survival struggle is won, by aphilistinas having beaten the puredown. In this sense, a public opinion is always created by the vulgar. “Beauty in the universe is acknowledged by a vulgar, so goodness is known by a rascal”.

“Vain, all is vain, all labour that every one do have nothing to bring forth. All living thing do their labour and I have no word to explain....One has eyes which do not satisfy to see, and ears which do not satisfy to hear....Therefore I say, as a man has more wisdom, he will be more anger, and he who has accumulated knowledge will be a melancholic.” Thus an ancient evangelist 1armented。 When a man has a conciousness, he concepts at once ignorance in his mind. The ancestors who ate a fruit of knowledge were banished from the garden of Eden. So a humankind has been in exile. The first enterprise for the exile should be to go home. Then is it not true that a word or an opinion of the wanderer is always irresponsible and come to nil? Is it not true that a revolutionary movement and enlightenment promoted by an irresponsible and a homeless revolutionist will turn out to rule with a demagogy, an ambition and covetousness?

Our social reform will be a self-reform at the same time, Two years age, the Prench anarchists adopted an Cerelean program, which declared that the anarchist should be a revolutionist as well as an educator, and in the annotation they also commented that “We believe the more an individual is enlightened, the more the social revolution will go ahead tothe realization of anarchism. Furthermore we, the anarchists, do not wait for such revolution, but will do our best to create a perfect individual with exercising our efforts toward the surrounding, etc.” Yet what do they indicate a whole individual in the perfect surroundings? When we have been banished from a mother country, is there any perfection for us who predicts in a dream? Whatever a empty word and a vain action show the coutward beauty, and heroic goodness, it is nothing at all. The truth is that an ancient evangelist declared, “I have seen an achievement of elaborateness and various labours, but it is the result of enmity by the people.”

“It is also vain as we try to catch a wind.”

Anyway, a word of a human being is in vain. Anyway, an act of a human being is in vain. A Chinese sage said he could predict in a dream, so life is gasping after an illusion. When you grasp a right hand, your left hand will be empty. Indicate the top; then, you look over the bottom. One who molds a statue will not put a soul in it. One who puts a soul in will mold a distorted statue. A poem does not generalize, while science is merely to kill emotion. In the name of freedom, a revolution is usually in possession of authority, while religion, in the name of sacredness, will satisfy a philistine with his avarice. Not waiting for an explanation of Aldous Huxley, a survival struggle is won by a philistine having beaten the Puritan. In this sense, public opinion is always created by the vulgar. “Beauty in the universe is acknowledged by a vulgar, so goodness is known by a rascal.”

“Vain, all is vain; all labor that everyone does has nothing to bring forth. All living things do their labor, and I have no words to explain. One has eyes that do not satisfy to see and ears that do not satisfy to hear. Therefore I say, as a man has more wisdom, he will be more angry, and he who has accumulated knowledge will be melancholic.” Thus an ancient evangelist lamented. When a man has consciousness, he conceives ignorance in his mind. The ancestors who ate the fruit of knowledge were banished from the Garden of Eden. So humankind has been in exile. The first endeavor of the exile should be to go home. Then is it not true that a word or an opinion of the wanderer is always irresponsible and comes to naught? Is it not true that a revolutionary movement and enlightenment promoted by an irresponsible and homeless revolutionist will turn out to rule with demagoguery, ambition, and covetousness?

Our social reform will be self-reform at the same time. Two years ago, the French anarchists adopted a Cerulean program, which declared that the anarchist should be a revolutionist as well as an educator, and in the annotation, they also commented that “We believe the more an individual is enlightened, the more the social revolution will progress towards the realization of anarchism. Furthermore, we, the anarchists, do not wait for such revolution, but will do our best to create a perfect individual by exerting our efforts towards the surroundings, etc.” Yet, what do they mean by a whole individual in perfect surroundings? When we have been banished from our mother country, is there any perfection for us who predict in a dream? Whatever empty words and vain actions may show outward beauty and heroic goodness, it is nothing at all. The truth is that an ancient evangelist declared, “I have seen the futility of elaborateness and various labors, but it is the result of enmity by the people.”

“It is also vain as we try to catch the wind.”

Well, as consciousness is the beginning of ignorance, a word becomes an element of false food. There is no other inconvenience like a word. It is no more than a lie, and it is ignorance itself. If there is no word, there will be neither fraud, misunderstanding, or debate. It is also true that “the more a man has the knowledge, the more he has anger, and he who has accumulated knowledge will be melancholic.” He might be misled by a word. Already we have stumbled upon selfishness and covetousness of the people in this country, and still, we might be tangled in trouble of meaningless words. It is a reason for the hard revolution which we are facing. Therefore, if we want to emancipate ourselves, it is the first work to be free from the bondage of words. We must face a naked fact by casting away a word. Then we can find a true mother country as we have left a dreamy country of honeyed words. There we can find a Stirnerian’s “its own.” Creative nothing will appear itself. Thus, we can affirm that everything is nihil.

Even taking aside such a philosophy, humanity, the state, and society seem nothing but a flash of lightning or an empty dream like our longing for eternity. A geographer has predicted the earth will be covered with a flood. Another scholar has urged that there will be a glacial age again and the earth will be covered with ice. Then the other scholar explained there will be a drought and we will have no drop of water, etc. I cannot decide which prediction is right, but they are in common that there will be a destruction of humankind on the earth. When we have come to know the destiny of the state, society, and humanity, and there is a time of extermination of all living things in the universe, is it not an ugly struggle for the existence of modern man? However, we know that it’s a dream.

They say it’s a struggle for survival! What is to live? Is it to destroy your stomach with an illusion of appetite or to course your life by running after a phantom of lust? Or do you say it is to drive sons of the people to the abyss with the empty phrase of human emancipation? NIHIL........


declared on 1st April 1930

I am a conservative. As I hold fast to what I have thought good, I may be considered conservative. When I seek to reform life and society, my hope is to recover the truth and humanity that have been bewildered, covered, and distorted by selfishness. In other words, I strive to hold fast to truth and humanity in their reality.

One may come to realize that conservatism is not only inherent to human beings but also to living and natural things. The four seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, the flowers that adorn them, and the lushness of pine and bamboo, maintain their colors and forms without changing. The Earth rotates for 24 hours and revolves around the sun every 365 days, repeating this monotonous conservatism for millions of years. It is also slow progress. Yet, when compared to the vicissitudes of the impatient and fickle human world, I cannot help but think of its eternity and sublimity. Whenever I contemplate the sublimity and eternity of heaven and Earth, the universal vicissitudes become a grand drama.

Rune Kanton has concluded that the rule of life is not progress, but conservation, an idea acknowledged as a classic in the study of protoplasmic experiments. Meanwhile, Henry Phable has observed that the inherent abilities of every natural thing are not the result of progress, but rather natural gifts, although this theory has not been widely explored despite prevailing views. The conservatism of all living things, including animals and plants, is clearly explained by the fact that their species maintain the same characteristics. The same stock produces the same blossoms every year when you sow the seeds of rape, for example. The passage of a dog in the corner of the garden has usually predetermined an achievement of the conservatism of the beast that has made a path in a virgin forest.

An ancient sage proclaimed, “Habit is second nature.” If humans lacked conservatism, habit could not become second nature.

However, another sage said, “Life flows.” Why are there transformations in the universe and vicissitudes of life? It is because the reality of life moves in order to preserve and expand nature. When a thing moves, it is accompanied by an illusion. When you observe a raindrop, you may declare it heavy rain, while using fine lines, you may depict a scene of rain. This is an art of illusion utilizing our optical hallucination. It is also an illusion that a shooting star streaks across the sky with a fiery tail. “A lover sees a pockmark as a dimple” and “A thousand miles are not greater than a mile for a lover,” etc., are indicative of human illusions. However, when humans become impatient in seeking such illusions, it brings drama and vicissitudes to human society.

We can discern two kinds of action that emerged from the same form of conservatism. That is to say, the conservation of life-reality and the conservation of illusion. You can see them even in a revolutionary movement. Our freedom should be a demand of life where there is no freedom of life-reality, nor our freedom. Freedom for the expansion of life is obtained by equitable bread and education for all people. Nevertheless, every revolution is carried out in the name of freedom; there emerged authority and soon resulted in a rank and file due to an illusion. It is like the vitality of the body showing an appetite, though it is satisfied with dainty food or contaminated food because of an illusion of the stomach. According to the prevailing revolutionary arguments, it is enough merely to satisfy the appetite regardless of food and its quality. But I think it is controlled by an illusion of the stomach. An aim does not discern a mean, so you may declare it. Yet it is a foolish prescription that you do not think of your stomach, which will be disordered and come to death. Personal conservatism will be a stubborn perseverance with a misguide. On the other hand, conservatism in society will be despotic oppression with a misguide. Still, more repentance will cure an individual, while a reform or a revolution will cure society. Thereby despotic oppression is no less than an illusion to hold a rule of life and an adherence to keeping a thought or an institute that has already lost its “raison d’être.” If our life had a nature of progressive transformation, there would be no perseverance, no tyranny, and no oppression; therefore, neither repentance nor revolt, even a revolution, would not be needed. Because when life transforms side by side with time, there is no adherence and conservation, then tyranny and oppression of those illusions will disappear, too.

After all, a rule of life is conservation, and whose activity accompanies by an illusion, so there are drama, war, and revolution in our society. Then a war in the name of justice is apt to be plunder, and a revolution for the sake of freedom will turn out authority. That is a phenomenon resulting from ignorance, misguide, and illusion accompanied by a rule of life. Anarchism is to recover a rule of life by eliminating social institutes founded on ignorance and illusion. In other words, it enables us to gain freedom of life by eliminating all adherence and cutting off all bondage. But is it not a tragic story that the nature of life should transmigrate in order to conserve its ingenious state? Life-demanded conservatism will be bestowed on transmigration. After having eliminated ignorance and misguided, we must face the lonely conclusion of life. Anarchism does not bring a man to simple happiness or place him in a cheap ideal. We adhere to life, yet life does transmigrate. Having liquidated everything, there remains nothing.

Source: Adopted from “La Dynamique, The Private Papers of Sanshiro Ishikawa,” issued from November 1929 to October 1934. A reprint edition of Kokusho Sensen Sha, 1974.

Notes: Sanshiro Ishikawa (1876–1956). Born in Saitama Prefecture, entered Tokyo Ho Gakuin (the Law school) in 1901. Became a journalist at Yorozuchoho Sha, followed by Kotoku and Sakai, advocated anti-militarism during the Heimin Sha movement as a Christian socialist. After the dissolution of the Heimin Sha, he founded with Nace Kinoshita the organ “Shinkigen” or “the New Era,” and then participated in the daily Heimin Shinbun (the Paper for the Common People) in 1907. During the High Treason Affair of Kotoku, he was kept at Sugamo prison and wrote “Seiyu Shikatoku Shi” or “The Socialists’ Movement in Europe.” Then on 1st March 1913, he left Japan and wandered about the West. Especially he stayed in France for six years, then Belgium, Africa, and the suburbs of London for six months relatively. Wrote his experiences in his “Teji Jiyujin no Horoki” or “The Papers Written by a Free Bohemian,” which we discern his witness of the 1st World War in France and Belgium. He stayed at the home of Paul Reclus and learned to farm, acquainted with Richard Carpenter in London. Thus he acquired the knowledge of Democracy followed Carpenter’s way of life, that is, “an outdoor life and manual work.” In truth, after he came back (1920), he advocated the principle of “Domin Seikatsu,” a travesty of “Domin Krashi” or Democracy, and insisted on “a village commune” for the peasants, while anarcho-syndicalism towards the workers in urban areas. He practiced plowing a patch of soil and raised cabbages, potatoes, and grapes. He published the organ “La Dynamique” (1929–1931) and cooperated with young comrades Yuriko Mochizuki and Tokio Furukawa, contributing his essays widely to the anarchists’ papers and journalists’ presses. But members of Jiyu Rengo (the Free Federation) denounced him and mocked his leaflet “Sanjikyohi no Hanashi” or “A Talk on Syndicalism” while being accepted by members of Jikyo Ha (Free Federative Council). In 1927 he was invited and went to China, forced them to show a picture of Sun Yat-sen, then resigned from his position and wandered about here and there on the Chinese continent. Since 1933, he has engaged in the research of Oriental Culture, resulting in his work “100 Lectures on History of Oriental Culture” (1939–1944). In the post-war period, he wrote “Museifu Shugi Sengen” or “A Declaration of Anarchism,” in which he persisted in his opinion on the Emperor institution.

This edition is composed of 8 volumes (1978-), while another edition has ten volumes by Kokusho Sensen Sha (1977-).

  • “Anarchism,” Chikuna Shyobo, edited by Michio Matsuda, 1975.

  • “Ishikawa Sanshiro Senshu, vol. 2,” Koku Shyoku Sensen Sha, 1977.

  • “La Dynamique (1929–1931),” Reprinted edition by Kokusho Sensen Sha, 1973.

  • “Museifu Shugi Sengen Hoka vol. 4,” edited by Masamichi Osawa, Seido Shobo, 1978.

  • “Towards Democracy” by Edward Carpenter, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1918.


ー Sweep away an authoritative idea 一

Declared by Sakutaro Iwasa

When I first met Shusui Kotoku in San Francisco, he declared that he would reply without hesitation to a Japanese person that he was an anarchist, but to a foreigner, he could not openly admit to being an anarchist, but rather a socialist. When I asked him why, he added, ‘Anyway, socialism (authoritarian) will come first, and anarchism will be realized next. It seems socialism has the reality, though anarchism has none of it.’ I replied, ‘What foolishness! It does not mean the realization of socialism at all, regardless of whether a socialist holds power or a socialist party obtains the status of authority. Liberty and equality are not consistent with authoritarianism. There is no other way but anarchism to realize socialism.’ There was another guest, so we did not further argue the point, and I missed the chance to discuss the problem with Kotoku-kun.

I believe that although Kotoku grasped the concept of anarchism, he could not rid himself of authoritarianism due to his nature and upbringing. Thus, he may have felt the need for authority to reform society or relied on law and authority to shape it. However, currently, proponents of anarchy do not believe that socialism must come first and then the world of anarchism will be realized, although there are many who think so due to the propagation of authoritarianism by believers in Marx and Lenin.

The essence of anarchy is to directly build and organize a new society without relying on law or the power of authority, but rather through the spontaneity of the people and cooperation based on free consensus. The distinctive characteristic of anarchism is that building and organizing the new society involve the negation and destruction of the old one, and thus there is no specific plan for negation or destruction. This is why anarchism is often referred to as an economic movement rather than a political one. In contrast, a socialist or an authoritarianist first establishes authority, then declares it, and further establishes laws. This involves confirming many things, such as negation, destruction, building, and organization, based on a blueprint. In other words, they make a blueprint and undertake the work of negation, destruction, organization, and construction based on it. Ultimately, the movement by authoritarians is political in nature, aimed at gaining political power, but their promises often end up being empty pledges. The difference between anarchism and authoritarian socialism can be clearly explained with the examples of the French Revolution.

Before the Great Revolution, French peasants were hungry for land. They thought that they could manage well for their living children and aged hungry parents if they had obtained the land to plow. On the other hand, there were many fertile soils belonging to the lord and the priest as their game preserve and pleasure ground before them. It is human nature for those who have nothing to wish to plow those lands, for they could not overlook the hunger of their beloved. They needed the land to cultivate and were hungry for it. At last, they could gain the game preserve and the pleasure ground, and they could have a good harvest of wheat and potatoes. That is the conquest of bread. The point we must pay great attention to is that the peasants did not require the law for the expropriation of the lord from an estate. They did not borrow the power of the government. Regardless of such a measure, or without being bothered, they performed it with spontaneity, mutual consensus, and free cooperation. What they needed was the land, not the law or declaration. Laws and declarations do not bear a grain of wheat or a bag of potatoes. They demanded wheat and required potatoes.

But the above indication occurred mainly in East France, not West France. The people of West France relied on the authority of the government and waited for the law and declaration. The revolutionary government of West France was forced by the people to proclaim a law of expropriation of the land from the lord,

But it was realized after two or three years of discussion and hesitation. Thus, the people of West France possessed the land on law or paper. Yet, the revolutionary government declined, and a reactionary one was established. Then the law of expropriation was abolished too. The people of West France had only a dream of land ownership on paper, but in reality, they could not possess even a piece of land, and it was returned to the former owners.

In contrast, it was East France where the people expropriated the lord from an estate with spontaneity, regardless of the law. There they cropped a field with wheat, and the geographical features were wholly transformed. Even more, a land book and a bill of land were thrown into the fire. The reactionary government was too late for a remedy. Even now, it is said that the prosperity of France depends on East France.

When we apply anarchism and authoritarianism to the behavior of the people of both East and West France, it is easy to understand that the people of East France were anarchistic, while those of West France were authoritative. And you can see which is suitable for the emancipation of human beings.

In truth, it is the bread for the starved, not a declaration of the law. Those who adhere to a law or a declaration are not anxious about their bread, for they might obtain their bread by demanding a law or a declaration. It is the work of people pro-government. Indeed, it is not the mindset of a revolutionary but the demand of anti-revolutionary authoritarianists who desire to rule, exploit, and plunder.

It is the bread for have-nots and the land for the not-possessed. The clothes and the shelter are for a person in need. The necessity of a revolution is to provide necessary things for those in need. And it is the work of individuals to obtain what is needed directly, with spontaneity, without waiting for solutions from above or relying on others, for in the latter case, not only may the needed thing not be obtained, but it may also be lost forever. The people of France killed the Revolution as they relied on the bourgeois government, while in Russia, the Bolshevik government also crushed the Revolution. Thus, they postponed solving the important problem of bread for another day or asked other nations for solutions.

The political institution, by its nature, expresses the economic structure at the core of society. Therefore, the political organization does not change at the whim of politicians. Of course, its name can be changed. It is possible that the world of yesterday’s Romanov dynasty has been replaced by today’s Soviet Republic. But the organization is not affected by changing its name. Merely the political institution has been reformed to adapt to the economic structure so that it always expresses, confirms, and supports the economic structure. If the political institution of a country had progressed despite the economic structure on the road of evolution, it would have been a mere form that could not be realized. For example, although “the Declaration of the Rights of Man” in the French Revolution played a splendid role, it remained a simple fact or data in history. Furthermore, beautiful words like Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity were mere lies or dreams carved on the walls of temples or prisons unless they were realized in the economic structure. On the other hand, if the political institution of a country lagged behind or advanced too far compared to the change in economic structure, it would be immediately reformed or abolished in subjection to the established economic structure.

Therefore, I would like to emphasize that if the economic structure were transformed to realize true liberty and equality, with each individual’s needs met and abilities utilized, and people living in friendly mutual support, the political institution, regardless of the Romanov dynasty or the Soviet Republic, would wither away. Namely, it would be anarchy. As there would be no ruler or exploitation, authoritative political institutions would not exist. There, the work of government would be nonexistent. But if the wage system of the typical bourgeois economy remained, it would imply a return to bourgeois rule, despite declarations of human rights, liberty, and equality, or even if it were honored with the title of a socialist country.

Once, I visited a village named Fukuma in Fukuoka prefecture on my return from Okinawa. The whole land of the village belonged to a certain landowner. Because of continuous bad crops for several years, they could not pay the land tax with rice. The landowner demanded it so severely that he threatened to take back the land unless they paid the yearly tax. The soil is the peasant’s life. It is the end for him to lose it. So, they appealed to the owner, but the latter brought the matter to trial for his own interest. The landowner had a powerful supporter like a tribunal, but the peasants had no other means and had to depend on themselves. They divided themselves into three groups in the village. The first group consisted of strong youth who stood on the defensive and refused to be deprived of the land and their few valuables. The second group undertook the work of plowing and cropping, while the rest of the weak constitution engaged in a variety of labor. In short, they worked according to their abilities, obtained what they needed, and supported each other in a friendly manner. When I arrived at the village, they served me good dishes of sardines and radishes. As I had no time to stay longer, I could not see the result of the dispute. Regardless of their victory or defeat, I am absolutely convinced that such a movement does not emerge from hackneyed bookish knowledge or the brains of any scholar but from spontaneity and the last resort of tenant farmers, which will lead to a free commune and appear to be a communistic entity. I think that the last contrivance of the oppressed and the exploited is, as I have depicted in this poor village, usually arising from spontaneity, cooperation with free consensus, and mutual aid, and we can cite many examples throughout all ages and countries. That is indeed the inevitable progression of human society.

When I anticipate the future Revolution, the last contrivance of the oppressed and the exploited will not only be limited to a poor village or a district but also to a nation or the world, it will be similar to what I have mentioned above. However, there will be differences in scale, and the reality will be closer at hand. Therefore, we must not simply replace one authority with another. It is necessary to achieve it with spontaneity, free contrivance, free consensus, cooperation, and a spirit of mutual aid, for it must be achieved with Tao (virtue) throughout ancient and modern times.

Adapted from Jiyu Rengo Shinbun, August 1930.

Notes; Sakutaro Twasa (1879–1967) Born at Tanage, Chiba Prefecture, a goz of the middle class land omer. In 1898, he graduated from Tokyo Ho Gakuin (the La achool), Went abroad for Sen Katayama had founded an office for an immigrant presentation, 8 の Iwasa stayed at San Francisco, there he acquainted with activities of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. It ie said that he became an impotent when he heared the news of Kotoku’s execution, then wrote an appeal of revenge to the authorities (1910). Returned to home (1914), since then he was always under supervision of the police and deprived of a chance to work. He constructed a cottage at his native place like an exile, and did not cease his activities of amarchian. He participated in the foundation of “Nippon Shyakat Shyugi Domei” or “the League of Japanese socialists” (1920), became the chief editor of the Organ “Socialism”. In 1927, he was invited by chinese anarchists and socialists as a lecturer of the National Labour College, acquainted with famous Chinese anarchists like Chyan Jie and Li Shi Sho. Returned in 1929, and became an eminent ideologue of Jiren Ha (the Free Fediration group) and Koku Ren Ha (the Black Youth League). He made a Japanese version of “the Conquest of Bread”, which was favourably accepted by pritting workers of Seishin Kai, advocated the stand of ainti-class struggle, as he declared that “Reactionary activities of the Socialist Party are always carried out in the name of people, but, in truth, they do it, despite of their consciousniess or no consciousness, for their power and the establishment of their own to exploit the people. As it is a reactionary movement, they want to utilize the power of mass workers composed of a class and rely on their power. Therefore in a country where the industry, the enterprise and the factory are in a small scale, the movement will not grow up. For, in such country, the workers composed of a class is not only a few, but also they have no ability to form a class as they belong to a variety of industry, enterprise and factory, and that they are classed into one and the same. They have no power to establish a class among workers. No more than that, they are, sometimes, to struggle each other (for their contraversial interests). Thereby they are not able to grow up a big power. It is why the English Labour Party has obtained thetr regime, while the Japanese Socialist Party does not, and the Red Reactionary Party in Russia ave hurridly gathering the workers to let them compose a class, now. Notes: Sakutaro Iwasa (1879–1967) was born in Tanage, Chiba Prefecture, as the son of a middle-class landowner. In 1898, he graduated from Tokyo Ho Gakuin (the Law School) and went abroad when Sen Katayama founded an office for immigrant representation. Iwasa stayed in San Francisco for eight years, where he became acquainted with the activities of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. It is said that he became impassioned when he heard the news of Kotoku’s execution and wrote an appeal for revenge to the authorities in 1910. He returned to Japan in 1914 and was subsequently under police surveillance, deprived of opportunities for work. He built a cottage in his native place, living like an exile, and continued his anarchist activities. He participated in the founding of “Nippon Shyakat Shyugi Domei” or “the League of Japanese Socialists” in 1920 and became the chief editor of the publication “Socialism.” In 1927, he was invited by Chinese anarchists and socialists to lecture at the National Labour College and became acquainted with famous Chinese anarchists such as Chyan Jie and Li Shi Sho. He returned to Japan in 1929 and became an influential ideologue of Jiren Ha (the Free Federation group) and Koku Ren Ha (the Black Youth League). He translated and published a Japanese version of “The Conquest of Bread,” which was well-received by the printing workers of Seishin Kai. He advocated for anti-class struggle, declaring that “Reactionary activities of the Socialist Party are always carried out in the name of the people, but in truth, they do it, consciously or unconsciously, for their own power and the establishment of their own exploitation of the people. As it is a reactionary movement, they want to utilize the power of mass workers composed of a class and rely on their power. Therefore, in a country where industry, enterprise, and factory are on a small scale, the movement will not grow. Because in such a country, the workers composed of a class are not only a few, but also they lack the ability to form a class as they belong to a variety of industries, enterprises, and factories and are classified into different groups. They do not have the power to establish a unified class among workers. Moreover, they sometimes struggle against each other due to their conflicting interests. Thus, they are not able to become a strong force. This is why the English Labour Party has gained power while the Japanese Socialist Party has not, and the Red Reactionary Party in Russia is hastily trying to gather workers to form a class now.

The important point to consider is that a worker does not make a class, even though they may belong to a union. A labor union is founded on the consciousness of class by workers, but simply belonging to a union does not make one a member of a class. For example, take the Tokyo Printers’ Union. While workers within each newspaper office may consider themselves a class within that office, to truly form a class within the entire union, the relationships among the offices would need to be reformed to some degree of conformity. Without this, it cannot be asserted that the workers have formed a class, as they remain scattered and disordered.

He vehemently accused advocates of the class struggle of lusting for power. He denounced intellectuals as they were prone to betraying the common worker with their knowledge and learning. While he praised the minority of anarchists who longed for their own emancipation, liberty, and equality of human beings, he criticized activists severely. He stated, “Recently, I often hear from our friends that ‘the movement of Japanese anarchists does not flourish so much’ or ‘when Osugi was alive, it was prosperous, but...’ I say it is a complaint of the blind. In those days, we could not understand the movement of anarchy. Merely some activists with a vague notion of work gathered together. But now they went on with their own business. That is, they returned to their own place in society. To tell the truth, they were bourgeois-like businessmen. They came as they wanted to enjoy a business. They did not bother at all with the problem of emancipation. Still, they did not have even a slight notion of themselves. They desired covetously the flourishing of the cause. They wrote fine prose, made boastful speeches, and participated in demonstrations and strikes. But where are they now?” (refer to “Kathoni taisuru Anarchist no Yakwari,” or “The Role of Anarchists in Relation to Emancipation,” declared in 1930).

During the war period, it is said that he wrote an article entitled “Kokka Ron Taikō” or “Principles of Statism,” in which he advocated for the emperor institution, as Japanese emperors are different from kings and popes in the West, as they have no privilege to rule the people, only to sympathize with them in their sorrow and joy. Thus, he eulogized the nationalistic mindset against European culture. In his view, most Japanese intellectuals are superficial, as their knowledge does not consider the particularity of Japan and its own history. He was often mentioned as a leader of Junsetsumusō Shugi (Pure Anarchism) along with Shūzō Hatta. He became chairman of the Japan Anarchists’ League in 1946 and founded “The Japan Anarchist Club” in 1951.


  • “Musetfū Shūgisha wa Kokotaeru” or “Thus No 2 Anarchist Replies to You” by Sakutarō Iwasa (1927).

  • “Kakunet Dango” or “Random Thoughts on Revolution” by Sakutarō Iwasa (1931).

  • “Kokka Ron Tatko” or “Principles of Statism” by Sakutarō Iwasa.

  • “Tehi Kakumeika no Omoide” or “Memoirs of a Revolutionary” by Sakutarō Iwasa, edited with the Anarchist Club.

  • “Anarchism” edited by Michio Matsuda, 1975.


According to Ketho Kyo Ku Shiryo (the Police Guard Records), it is said that in 1935, during the examination of the capture of an activist of Museifu Kyosanto Jiken or the incident of Anarcho Communist Party, he confessed to the existence of another group of anarchist revolutionaries in Nagano Prefecture. He urged the existence of a secret society named the Village Youth Association which promoted anarcho-communism through an autonomous and regional federation system from February 1931 to September 1932. The sympathizers of the association (including mere readers of the organ) were reported to be 319 persons across the country. The Department of Interior issued an order of arrest as they realized the negative influences. The records instruct us that the authorities grasped the meaning, structure, personnel, and activities of the Village Youth movement after the dissolution of the association three years later, with the happening of another incident of the Anarcho Communist Party, and the law was applied retroactively to the activists as they had merely contrived a sham insurrection.

The social settings of those days were harsh, with financial panics prevailing due to the decay of the gold standard system. For instance, from January to May 1927, 37 banks closed their doors, and the government was forced to order a moratorium for three weeks. Furthermore, 28 banks went bankrupt, resulting in a cartel (a federation of the same industry) of big businesses such as the spinning industry, silk thread, rayon, paper, cement, and coal. Meanwhile, medium and small traders and manufacturers were struck with panic due to bankruptcy. The rationalization of big industry led to worker dismissals and pushed minor entrepreneurs and peasants to face high prices of products and production facilities. As a result, the social movement became radicalized. It was during this time that another ideology called No Hon Shyugt, or Agriculturism emerged, advocating that “agriculture is the foundation of the state.” One of its advocates, Setket Gondd, declared that there had been two tendencies of the ruling, namely autonomy by the inhabitants and the king (the emperor) restricting his sovereignty to affect the influence of courtesies and ruling by the king who reigns over the people and does everything for them, which he called autonomy and bureaucracy or statism, respectively. Gondd insisted on the Oriental tradition of virtuous ruling compounded with Japanese primitivity. He added in his treatise “Self-Rescue of the Village” (1932) that “in the critical situation of the present movement, the villages are especially suffering with hardship. But the village is the foundation of the state and the root of manners. The population of the peasants occupies more than half of the whole, and the most part of the land is utilized by their hands. Materials of industry, goods of commerce, not to mention food, are produced by them...” While we can discern his ethical sentiments there, his naive ideology had easily been amalgamated with Japanese fascism in those days, which followed the same footprint of Karmin Kyoji (cooperative reign by emperor and people). This influenced anarchists like Sanshiro Ishikawa and Sakutaro Iwasa with the autonomism of the inhabitants, especially the village commune movement.

On the other hand, young anarchists Akira Miyazaki and Yasuyuki Suzuki founded the Village Youth Association at Mejiro Bunka Mura on 12 February 1931, along with other comrades, including Junji Hoshino and Aki Yagi (a woman), and issued an “Appeal to the Peasants” (June 1931), which declared that “the emancipation of villages is the work of peasants themselves” and that “vice should not be changed into money, the cultivator is better to eat it, and make everything by himself to destroy the monetary system... for without reformation of the economic system, there will be no social reformation, and it is impossible to change society through political institutions. Therefore, there is only one method to change society, i.e. to reform the economic system at the core of society, which we call ‘the economic deed,’ and then it does not denote the would-be trade unionism.” The writer, Akira Miyazaki, emphasized three items of the economic deed: 1. Self-sufficiency, 2. Realization of common production and consumption, and 3. Realization of mutual aid (based on customs and manners of the village). The appeal was favorably accepted by young peasants in Nagano Prefecture, as they were facing depression due to a fall in the price of rice and cocoon, while the number of tenant disputes increased to 67 (1930), 75 (1931), and 73 (1932) respectively.

The activists of the Village Youth Movement successfully linked their intentions with the Musan Undo (the proletarian movement), but they held the opinion that the anarchist revolution would need a network of organizations. For this purpose, they believed that unit organizations should be rooted in localities. The destruction for the sake of destruction initiated by Bakunin was seen as a fallacy, as it did not predict construction after destruction. Similarly, the construction for the sake of destruction advocated by Kropotkin, relying on syndicalism and expecting a general strike, including a pyramid-type Soviet, was taken over by Lenin with a fraudulent phrase of “all power to a free Soviet” and failed completely. So the question arose, “what is to be done?” They exclaimed their aim and plan of action in a treatise of the same title, which is discussed later. It is evident that they were repugnant to anarchists in urban areas who engaged in debates on pure anarchism versus syndicalism and insurrectionism. At this point, they seemed to align with those of Marxist communities and even fascist militarists. Akira Miyazaki wrote a leaflet entitled “Wagakunini okeru Kakumet no ni teuite” or “A Treatise on the Realization of the Revolution in Japan,” in which he urged for an insurrection from a village, district, region, to the whole country, spreading like a fire in the wilderness, and recommended attacking railways, tribunals, administrative offices, gendarme stations, barracks, police stations, banks, generating stations, etc. He secretly distributed 70 copies to his comrades (November 1931), some of which were seized by the authorities and used for mass arrests. This extreme action by Miyazaki was in line with his affiliation with the League of Black Youth and his earlier raid on the president of Hitachi Mfg. While it was not surprising for him to conceive such a scheme, it was regrettable that it also caused harm to the Village Youth Movement.

As a whole, the movement was rooted among local activists, but one of the leaders, Yasuyuki Suzuki, abruptly declared the disorganization of the movement in 1932. He stated that:

  1. The anarchist movement has flourished beyond the expectations of the Village Youth Association.

  2. The anarchist movement in villages should be a synthesis, not limited to the village, but connected to urban areas, and should advance towards a free federation.

  3. Thus, we have achieved our first goal of linking and federating villages, and now we need to dissolve our organization to support the synthetic movement.

  4. If we continued, it would create prejudice against our cause, as we would be seen only as an estimated village commune without a basis in the synthetic movement.

  5. In our current situation, each activist should be deeply rooted in their position and strive to advance the synthetic movement with equivalent power from everyone. This is the reason why we have disbanded the Village Youth Association.

Suzuki alluded to factional antagonism, financial difficulties in publishing the “Village Youth” organ, and the arrest of some members. Nevertheless, the main body of the Village Youth Movement was dissolved at that moment. After three years, more than 300 ex-members were prosecuted as being part of an illegal secret association with a defined platform.

WHAT IS TO BE DONE? by Yasushi Suzuki

declared in July 1931

Preface: Now the village is in the sheer depths. We have no words to confront this fact. The real problems have impended over us. What is to be done for us?

Linkage with the People

Suffering in the village has gradually increased. Our comrades everywhere discuss the attitude and practicability of their actions as they are acutely impressed with the menace of reality. The former village movement has often separated into the idea and the reality, which has induced in us a repugnance of the village folk. Our movement has become secluded into a sect or an association, and we have only looked over the affairs of the village like a fire on the other side of a river. There we have lost the standing of the popular movement and are at a loss. We ought to solve the problem radically and as soon as possible by eliminating the empty investigation of theory added with theory.

Our attitude

We have been apt to think that whenever a riot occurs, we insurrect ourselves in the turmoil, leading it to the anarchist revolution by fighting at the front of the riot. But it is nothing less than a fallacy of heroism for our convenience. What is the cause of a riot? It is only caused by an impulsive explosion of accumulated discontent and dissatisfaction due to an impasse of daily life. Destruction is not enough. The solution can only come through the thorough destruction of social institutions. We ought not to be diverted from reality because of its brilliant deeds in turmoil. All revolutions of the past, such as the French, Russian, German, and even the recent Spanish revolution, have not ultimately become the anarchist revolution. The reason is that such revolutions have been riots of impulse, not conscious ones. In other words, they have not been constructive destruction but destruction for the sake of destruction and sentimentalism without a definite social idealization. So we are afraid that there will be nationalistic anti-revolution or red anti-revolution (Communist Party) by usurping the chance of popular riots at the present moment in our country.

Thus far, our action will be an important moment to predict the success or failure of the revolution in the future. But when we reflect on it, we are disheartened to see that there are many theorists or “Sonzai teki ANAKIST” (being an anarchist) who declare themselves as propagators of revolutionary ideas, yet they exist as they are, not doing anything else. So we condemn them; however, such anarchists exist in each village, and there is nothing to come from their existence. Our insistence is on the whole village movement, which is the subject of our deeds and linkage with the folk, and we want to act together under the black banner. So our attitude is that of the village youth, starting for practical emancipation.

Preparation of the Whole Village Movement

Denounce every movement coming from above! And it is also to end the failure of highbrow enlightenment. We insist on the whole village’s popular movement stirred and supported by the inhabitants.

a) From Passivity to Activity

As of now, we have considered so much, reasoned, and practiced in our minds, but not in reality. We may fear the police or be proud of ourselves (for example, condemning the youth association as reactionary), but without action, we cannot solve any problems. We do not take a step forward, as we believe that personal efforts are not enough. This is passivity, and it hinders emancipation. Down with defeatism! We must move forward steadily and take risks! It is the first step of the emancipation movement.

b) Aim at the Youth Association

In order to work as the driving force of the village or initiate a practical movement for the entire village, we must increase the number of our comrades. It is a challenging task, but it can be accomplished if we truly desire real emancipation and are passionate about taking action. We can start by calling a friend and inviting them to join us as a comrade and actively participate in the village youth association instead of rejecting it as reactionary. This way, we can understand what is happening in the association and address the problems with discernment, encouraging others to join our cause. Our current focus is to gain the support of the youth association.


It often happens that we do not know each other well, as we live in different districts within the same region. Furthermore, there is often no communication with comrades from other villages. We believe that the lack of contact or isolation has hindered the progress of our cause. But what can be done? How can we establish communication with each other? We must come up with more conventional methods. In addition to establishing a network of contacts, if we can align ourselves with comrades from other villages, districts, prefectures, or areas, we can expect significant progress in our cause.

Legality or Illegality

The more radical we become in our exploration, the more dangerous it becomes. Our actions should not be reckless or result in unnecessary sacrifices due to imprudence. Since we usually live in small villages, every action we take draws the attention of the villagers. We must behave as if we are strangers to each other; that is, an open activist — a member of the Free League for the district peasants — might be taken away from the front lines due to persecution or imprisonment. Then another comrade should step up and continue the cause, behaving like a stranger to the former, at least in the eyes of the villagers, even though there is a strong camaraderie between them. If their relationship is exposed, they will be arrested immediately. When the time comes to conflict with the authorities, it is impossible for the open activist to fight on our side. This is when the shadow comrade, who lives consciously in the village, will act according to our pre-arranged plan. It is important to appoint positions in advance to promote the village movement.

Attitude towards the Daily Problems

It is needless to say that we are “a person on his legs” as a Peasant. However, our attitudes towards daily problems differ with many arguments. Even now, we lack a definite attitude besides silly talk or sophistication. But we can not live an idler, so we must act or decide our attitude towards the daily problems whether one will or not. For example, there is a problem with the yearly tax in autumn (for rice is cropped in this season, the translator note). Of course, we understand that it is useless, for the land owner exploits it usually without any reason. And yet the present society is not anarchy. If we are unwilling to pay the rent, the land owner, Nay, the big power of the background, will come to face us. The problem is how to solve it. At the present moment, there is no other measure but a united power of us. The unity of our comradeship, or the unity of our ideology, not that of interest, is needed. It may be true that we are not able to realize the aim 100%, but the purport is what sort of will is there at the root of this strife. It does not resemble at all with that of reformism.

a) To refuse the Farmers’ Union

The purpose of the World Farmers’ Union is “to reduce the rent.” But they affirm from the beginning that “the land belongs to the land owner,” so they dare not doubt the premise. The land is not the property of its owner. The struggle of the Farmers’ Union is no less than reformism, which is like those of the village consumer’s union or the cooperative union. We must chase out such ambiguous movements from our village.

b) Contradiction of Personal Activity

It is righteous not paying the yearly rent. But the land owners are usually menacing us to pay it. What is to be done? We refuse it to the landowner. Then he may appeal to the authorities. We are face-to-face with him with a coalition. I stab him and am kept in custody, but the problem does not be solved at the least. Furthermore, I will be led to go up the gallows; thus, I will leave the world. The social problem does not exist for me. (However, there is an inevitable case that I must lose my precious life in the course of affairs.)

Criticism: such a personal activity shall be refuted by us, like the Farmers’ Union in the social revolution.

c) Raise the Farmers’ Free Federative League

“Don’t pay the rent”; thus, we are face to face with the land owner.

We know a contradiction of personal activity, then we ask for solidarity of comrades and want to build up a districtive free federation. Though the power of our League may be weak, we will be exploited by the rent in the long run. But it is owing to unavoidable circumstances. Of course, we do not recognize the rent. Simply we know it will be upsetted in the course of repetition of our struggles. We must discern, and expose the care of the problem, which has cast the village into the nadir of adversity, and that raises it up to the common problem of the whole inhabitants. That is the fundamental role of the League.

Tendency of the Whole Village Movement.

As we are suffering in the depths of poverty, a tenancy dispute increases gradually, which impacts us to accomplish our demands. In spite of the achievement of their demands in the Tohoku and Kinki districts, the farmers’ consuming power decrease, their minds are ruined, while the villages are laid in desolation.

That is to say, we are instructed that the daily struggle does not save us at all; still, the partial solution does not emancipate the farmer forever. Indeed, the problem lies in the depths. Without applying radical reformation, we cannot do anything towards the present social system. Besides the landowner vs. the tenant farmer, there is a problem for the owner of a small landed farmer.

But their slavish sentiments blind them; that is, the Farmers’ Union becomes compromised, and the cooperative union and the consumer union are flooded with reformism leaving out the farmer’s life in sheer poverty. Thus, it will raise them an insurrection, though the previous peasant insurrections were usually nil, for they had no consciousness of their own deeds. Real emancipation shall be carried out with definite aims, as we explain in the following:

a) Raise a General Meeting of the Whole Village

From poverty, the village inhabitants will raise a voice like “We are at a loss; something will happen, yes, it will surely happen!”

Thus they seek something in such an atmosphere of the whole village. It is enclosed with black clouds like problems of tax payment, electric charges, amending of roads, fertilizer, a corruption case of village administration, and that of farmers’ association, which will dash towards an issue from their daily lives. So we must, first of all, raise a general meeting of the whole village without waiting for a happen. Of course, in such a case, we are supervised by police or surrounded by rubbish such as hecklers of socialism, traitors, reactionaries, and opportunists, but we never incline to surrender to them; far from that, we will take the initiative of the general meeting and lead them under our insistence of the whole village movement!

OF Anti-Political Movement

To deny parliamentary deed; not participate in voting for a village assembly, a prefectural assembly, and the national diet. To deny the authorities such as law organs, police, tribunal, prison, and administrative office.

Anti-Military Activities; to refuse the recruitment and institution of Gendarmerie, Realization of autonomy (autogestion of the village). Emphasis on free federation (cooperation of village inhabitants and solidarity among villages). To establish a defense association against the authorities.

  • Anti-Capitalist Movement; anti-exploitation (non-payment of tax, farmer’s rent, interest, and reduction of the debt). Non-selling of products (rice, cocoon, vegetables, fuel, livestock, wood, etc.). Negation of exchange (to deny commerce). Negation of money. Abolition of private property.

・ Economic Direct Action; Socialization of products (common property). To establish consumerism (self-sufficiency). To build up an industrial village (To construct a village industry by urban workers who have come back to their native village.)

Of Cultural Movement; To deny bourgeois culture and establish a culture for the whole people. To negate religion (to annihilate shrines and temples and transform them into public halls). To establish a new culture.

Necessity of Secret Activity

(The author emphasizes a secret action against the authorities, which will result in turmoil in society.)


(The author cites the saying of Kropotkin, which indicates the role of a revolutionary group.)

Notes: Yasushi Suzuki (1902–1970), an ideologue of the Village Youth Movement, wrote several articles such as “What is to be done?”, “Criticism against Museifu Kyosanto,” “Jiji Minyaku Ron,” or “A Treatise on Autonomy by the People,” etc. Later he became a research worker for Japanese Shintotsm. Akira Miyazaki (1889–1977) Started as a militant activist of the League of Black Youth. Wrote “An Appeal to the Peasant” and others. In 1972, he cooperated with other members to publish “Noson Seinen Sha Undo Shi” or “The History of Village Youth Movement during the 1930s”. Aki Yagi (1895- ), Born in Nagano Prefecture, became a woman journalist and participated in the Movement from 1930 to 1932 as an illegal wife of Miyazaki who intended to raid citizens’ houses to obtain funds. After half and two years of imprisonment, she went to Manchuria, then returned (1945), continued a life of low status in society as a home keeper for mother and child, and sometimes published her writings. Yagi Akiko Chyosaku Shyu (Writings of Yagi Akiko) I, II, by J.C.A Publisher, 1978, 1979.


  • Shiryd Noson Seinen Sha Undo Shi, by Noson Seinen Sha Undo Shi, by Noson Seinen Sha Undo Shi Kanko Kat 1972.

  • Noson Seinen Sha Shiryo, by Toyo Bunka Sha, 1972. Ketho Kyoku Shiryo

Wogo Jékyu Ron by Setket Gondo-published by Kokushyoku Sen-sen Sha 1973.


or, the Incident of the Anarcho-Communist Party

One fine day in October, some hikers gathering nuts found a corpse in the bushes near Mayasan (Mt. Maya) on the outskirts of Kobe city. The corpse had a bullet wound in the chest, was half naked, and not significantly decomposed. While the police were busy searching for a criminal, another robbery occurred at the bank Tokyo No-shyo Ginko (the Bank of Tokyo Agricultural and Commerce). Three gangsters, one of whom was waiting in a car, while the others entered the bank and threatened the manager with a jackknife, demanding money. However, a clerk alerted the police, and one of the gangsters (later identified as Futami) tried to shoot, but the pistol did not work. He exclaimed jokingly, “Oh, it’s just a joke.” The gangsters then fled the bank. The metropolitan police connected these two incidents and gave chase. The body of the unidentified man found earlier was identified as Junzo Shibahava, an anarchist activist in the Kansai district, killed by a comrade named Toshio Futami on October 18th, 1935. On the other hand, two individuals named Aizawa and Futami were being examined on board a steamer from Tokyo to Shanghai, but Futami escaped. Aizawa confessed to the existence of the Anarco-Communist party and revealed the party’s plans under torture. The authorities were astonished by the anarchist activity and subsequently arrested about 400 individuals related to the Anarco-Communist party and others. Journalists dubbed the incident “A Tragedy among Mayasan” or “A Barbarous Lynching by the Anarchists,” while the Marxist critic Kikue Yamakawa commented, “It was a senseless act by street gangsters.” Even an anarchist refuted these claims, stating that “They are not anarchists, but rather stray dogs cornered.” In opposition to such criticism, Taimon Uemura, a member of the party, argued that “There are pretenders who pretend to be true anarchists but collaborate with the police in secret by offering information as if they were true anarchists who did not participate in the party’s activities.”

Fratricide is not uncommon in the history of political, social, and ideological movements. It can be seen as a typical occurrence in the case of Sergey Nechaev. It has often been committed under the guise of self-defense of the organization. In fact, Uemura documented the case of Shibahara.

In those days, members of the party asked Shibahara in Kobe to obtain a pistol for the party in order to arm themselves. However, Hisao Aizawa obtained a pistol with 100 bullets through another route, so Futami and Aizawa devised a plan for a robbery and ordered two other comrades, Shinichi Inowe and Kazunobu Kobayashi, to find a suitable target in Kobe. Futami later learned that news of their secret activity had leaked out and suspected Shibahara, who had joined the party through a recommendation from Inowe and Kobayashi. They consulted together, and Inowe said, “Shibahara is talkative, he may reveal our secret after our deed, so he is dangerous.” Futami added, “To defend the party and maintain party discipline, it is necessary to punish him severely.” So they invited Shibahara to gather nuts in Maya mountain, and while drinking sake together, Futami said solemnly.

“Shibahara! You have leaked out our secret, eh?” “No, it is not true,” Shibahara replied earnestly. “Don’t tell a lie! If you insist, I will give you a punishment.” Futami then pulled out a pistol from his pocket slowly. Upon seeing it, Shibahara replied vehemently, “So you threaten me with such a thing? I’m an anarchist, too. Betray a comrade? Nonsense. Shoot me, yes, shoot me like an anarchist!” Shibahara took off his coat and stood naked before Futami. The latter watched him with a cold smile. He said, “It’s no joking matter. Tell the truth, or I’ll shoot you.”

“Oh, shoot me quickly!” Shibahara approached Futami, who did not hesitate in the least, and cried out, “Okay, I’ll punish you for our three thousand comrades!” Futami pulled the trigger tranquilly, but it did not work, only making a cracking sound. (Futami had taken the pistol apart for about 30 minutes while Shibahara stood there without making a run for it.) Why didn’t Shibahara run away? Did he want to prove his innocence or resign himself to his fate? After repairing the weapon, Futami aimed at his target and fired one shot, then another, with a terrifying noise. Shibahara stood for a while without moving, then knelt down with blood on his naked chest. They hurriedly came down the mountain, covering the corpse in the bushes. After that, Futami excused his deed in court, saying, “I pitied him, but considering the situation of those days, it was inevitable to defend the party and the organization.” He added, “If he had run away during the interval of repairing the pistol, I would have let him go...”

This lofty ideal often comes crashing down, as in this example. There, they would have analyzed the personality of a common criminal psychologically, but they are apt to spare a crime committed by an ideologist by attributing his failure to the bad situation, inevitability, persecution by authorities, and so on. Considering the conditions of those days, the members of the Anarco-Communist Party were pushed to their limits by their surroundings and influenced by insurrectionism as advocated by Lenin, especially his work “The State and the Revolution,” so that their intention was a product of the amalgamation of anarchism and Bolshevism. Their aims for an ideal society were similar to those of the Village Movement, as some of their members were also members of the latter. However, their methods of realizing the ideal society differed to some extent, as they advocated violent revolution and attributed it to a review of anarchist activity. It is said that “To grasp political power for us is not to hold it forever like a state socialist, but to resign it. We want to take political power for the defense of autonomous economic construction throughout the country. Whenever the autonomous economic organization is constructed, we will resign political power with pleasure.Our party should be a vanguard or a leader for the common people. (of a vocational revolutionary) the reason for insisting that our party should be composed of vocational revolutionaries is as follows: for instance, a generous organizer is naturally attacked by the enemy at the factory. If he has to work 8, 10, or even 12 hours for his living and then has only residual time for the party, he cannot carry out his duty, as party business is too abundant. Moreover, a generous organizer and his theory should adopt the form of class experiences, not merely his own. So the party will provide him with the cost of living partly or wholly. Thereby, we will be able to raise a vocational revolutionary under the capitalist system and fight against adversaries. To achieve this, we need a significant amount of funds. Without money, it is impossible to support a revolutionary cause. The fund is our ammunition.” (referring to the Thesis of the Anarco Communist Party)

Subsequently, they resorted to counterfeiting money, burglary, deception, and even fratricide. While they were able to obtain small amounts of money for personal consumption, such as the cost of living for two or three leading members, all of them were prosecuted on May 8th, 1936, at the Tokyo Regional Tribunal. The sentences were as follows:

Tet Uemura (37 years old) — 6 years of imprisonment

Toshio Futami (34 years old) — a death sentence, but later commuted to imprisonment

Hisao Aizawa (32 years old) — 8 years of imprisonment

Shinicht Inowe (35 years old) — 12 years of imprisonment

Hajime Kobayashi (30 years old) — 10 years of imprisonment, along with 14 other activists.

The side story reveals that the murdered anarchist, Junzo Shiba-hara, was a member of Jikyo-ha (the Federative Council), while the members of Anarco Communist were associated with Jiyu Rengo-ha or the League of Free Federation. This led to suspicions of betrayal from the latter. However, it was a tumultuous time, with a wave of ideological conversions among intellectuals and militant activists, ranging from anarchism to Marxist communism, socialism, and even liberalism. Japanese militarism was strengthening its regime in preparation for World War II, and the anarchist movement was wiped away from the surface of social settings.


by Izumi Maki

declared in the 1950s

Around the middle of November 1933, Toshio Futami visited Tei Uemura at Chyome, Mabshi, Suginami-Ku, Tokyo. Futami was an extremist belonging to Kokushoku Seinen Remei, or the Black Youth League, at that time. Despite his father being a colonel, Futami had rebelled against his father’s strict educational methods and joined a group of troublemakers before leaving his father’s home. His friend was Kuri Kikuoka, a poet, and both of them had developed an interest in social problems. Kikuoka had helped Sanshiro Ishikawa with agricultural work and studied anarchism, eventually joining Kokushyoku Seinen Renmei but later shifting towards right-wing thought. On the other hand, Futami had become a militant activist, taking a radical path from Kanto Itsupan Rodo Kumiai, the General Union of Labourers at Kanto District, to Chyosen Sha, or the Group of Challenge, to Kosakunin Sha, the Tenant Farmers’ Association, and finally to Kokuren.

Futami’s nature was such that he believed that thoughts should be manifested in actions and developed through them. Uemura, on the other hand, was a Buddhist who worked as an assistant teacher but was tormented by the contradiction between his job and society. He eventually resigned from the priesthood and turned to the study of Marxism, but he was repulsed by its authoritarianism and inclined towards anarchism. Uemura became acquainted with Jun Okamoto, an anarchist poet who lived in Matsunoki and often attended anarchist meetings. He also formed acquaintanceships with other anarchist poets such as Tozaburo Ono and Kiyoshi Akiyama and gained recognition as a militant poet of proletarian poetry with the publication of his first collection of poems titled “A Stranger” in 1932. However, Uemura was not content with his success as a poet and was absorbed in the cultural movement from an anarchist perspective.

During this time, Japanese militarists were promoting a plan of invasion into the Chinese continent, and government persecution of anarchists and communists was becoming increasingly severe, with the communist party on the verge of annihilation.

Since 1925, anarchism had declined as it seemed to have made way for the communist movement, but it had managed to maintain horizontal linkage through the establishment of the Black Youth League under the slogans of anti-politics and anti-political party. However, due to antagonism between anarchists and syndicalists, many sympathizers deserted the camp due to the insistence on violence, leading to the split of Jiren, the Free Federation of Labour Unions, and Jikyo, the Free Federative Council, in 1928. The process of opposition between pure anarchism and syndicalism was complex, but it undoubtedly accelerated the breakdown of the anarchist movement at the same time as the expansion and solidification of Marxist communism. In response to the situation, efforts were made towards the unification of the League of Cultural Emancipation, reflecting on the need for unity and cooperation, while organizations such as the Farmers’ Union and the Labour Union sought to rebuild by distancing themselves from ideological groups. In other words, they were moving towards realizing unity and cooperation with mutual respect and estimation of each other.

When Toshio Futami visited Uemura after a long absence, the latter became anxious about how to proceed in this situation. Uemura had been outspoken in his articles against the stagnation and weakness of the advocates of pure anarchism and how criticism towards the supporters of the status quo, despite their position in the established mass organizations, tended to create unity. He held radical opinions that were born out of irritation and a desire to dismantle state power.

They entered a coffee shop. Uemura lived in the neighborhood near Koenji station, with his house facing a gutter. They crossed the lively street and sat in the corner of the bright room. Futami opened the conversation. “Lately, you’ve been quite critical,” he said, lighting a cigarette and watching Uemura with a smile playing on his lips. In those days, Uemura was furious with intellectuals who aligned themselves with the mainstream under flimsy excuses, and he was indignant at their cowardly way of life. He was especially angry at communist scholars and writers who criticized anarchism and anarchists as idealistic or petty bourgeois while gradually retreating from the struggle under the pretext of tactical theories. He declared, “Now is the time to act, but you make excuses and rationalize your retreat with capricious theories. Where are the bold statements you used to boast about? Do what you say. Don’t just talk if you’re not willing to act.” So when Futami asked him with a somewhat cynical smile, “Do you have the courage to follow through?” Uemura had to reflect on himself. “Do I have the courage?” Uemura pondered, and Futami’s words haunted him, “Are you responsible for what you’ve said?” Uemura had no intention of shirking his duty, as his opponent had struck a nerve. “Of course I am,” he replied hesitantly, with a mix of anguish and determination. “I’m glad to hear that. I know I can trust you,” Futami said, becoming more talkative. “As you’ve been insisting recently, it’s time for us to take action. Undoubtedly, the militarists will soon establish a totalitarian government. Then we will be completely exterminated without further ado. Imprisonment or massacre, we’ll face both. Parliament has no power to stop it. You know, the social democrats have already tried to appease the militarists from the very beginning. So we cannot just sit still. What do you think about appealing to our comrades and organizing a meeting together initiated by you and me?” “I agree with you, but how should we do it?” Uemura asked. “To begin with, three or four comrades are enough. We can discuss together and decide on our next steps,” Futami replied. Fear and anticipation filled Uemura’s mind as he thought about the friends he would select.

After four or six days, Futami, accompanied by his comrades Hisao Atzawa and Bon Irie, visited Uemura. They consulted together and decided on the following points:

  1. The situation is dire. We cannot hesitate any longer. It’s not the time for instructing and organizing the people. The enemy’s power is oppressive, coercing the people and pushing them toward war. While people’s complaints and dissatisfaction have increased due to poverty and oppression, they would explode if we could shake the foundation of power.

  2. That we will organize, as soon as possible, a secret association for the deed.

  3. When we have organized a secret association, we will not concern ourselves with individual freedom or free federation of anarchist principles. For in order to defend ourselves and attack our opponents, we will maintain strict discipline within the secret association, even if it requires coercion.

When we reflect on it, it may be seen as a nuance of extremism, but at that moment, we were impressed with the imminence of the situation.

(The author explained the foundation of the secret association of Museifu Kyosanto or the Anarco-Communist Party on November 30, 1933, and depicted their decision.)

  1. The organization should be a secret association that would use direct action to hinder the path to war.

  2. We would not concern ourselves with anarchist principles, as our platform and rules would be maintained with strict discipline.

  3. However, the above-mentioned rules would only apply to the secret association and not to the mass organization. Having confirmed these fundamental items, we decided to name the secret association Nihon Museifushugisha Renmei or the League of Japanese Anarchists, composed of 5 sections and appointed individuals to each of them.

Political Section — Tei Uemura

Educational Section — Additional post of Uemura

Labour & Agricultural Section — Hisao Aizawa

International Section — Additional post of Aizawa

Organizer Section — Bon Irie

Financial Section — Toshio Futami

Clerk Section — Minoru Terao

Our aim was to choose comrades from labor unions and cultural organizations in accordance with the rules and then initiate them into our organization. Even in the declining anarchist camp, there were many comrades who intended to obstruct war and fascism in those days. However, we did not choose comrades solely based on their anarchism but considered their nature and conditions. As a result, our organization had only a few comrades, as our selection process was stringent.

It was on January 30, 1934, that the name of the League of Japanese Anarco Communists was changed to the Japanese Anarco Communist Party. Changing the name required us to take a leap. Traditionally, anarchists do not like the term “party,” which I admit is rooted in a deep experience of anti-authoritarianism. We must consider this above all. However, in a capitalist society, acting without rules due to individual freedom is a great disadvantage. That is why we declared ourselves a “party,” as we were willing to die for the cause of revolution and societal reform instead of relying solely on individual freedom. We needed “the party” as a practical method.

We had decided to confirm the platform that differed from previous anarchist organizations and anarchism on September 8, 1934.

a) Abolition of power politics and the capitalist system

b) Establishment of autonomy for regionalism

c) Abolition of private property

d) Holding the means of production and land in common

e) Abolition of the wage system

f) Production controlled by workers and peasants

g) Promotion of culture and education

h) Abolition of artificial boundaries

(The author apologized for the party’s tactic of picking militant activists from other organizations for their purpose without any intention of cooperation. They were proud of being a vanguard party.)

Outwardly, we persuaded mass organizations to hoist slogans such as “Anti-War,” “Anti-Capitalism,” and “Anti-Fascism,” while internally, we promoted actions that should be taken by our new members, in short, a plan of action for the party. We schemed as follows:

  1. In order to disrupt the economic system, we must issue counterfeit currency.

  2. To gather and distribute explosives buried at Ubara beach in Chiba Prefecture and carry out an insurrection in Tokyo to lead the war to defeat.

  3. For these purposes, the party has established the Military Department, the Financial Department, and the Special Service Agency. The Anarco Communist Party was initially founded to promote the anarchist movement, but due to experiences with syndicalism and a tendency towards anti-organization, the movement declined. “Then we sought an unprecedented centralized organization, and the party became the first example, promoting outward organization while maintaining pure anarchism internally.

(The author’s explanation: At that time, I affirmed the above, and we founded the party out of necessity. However, we also made mistakes. In truth, a party organization was necessary as a vanguard and initiator of the revolution. But we overestimated our ability to raise our fellow members for the party’s purpose, as we were also members of Jiren, Jikyo, and Kaihobunka relatively. It was an anti-anarchist mistake to have the secret group lead the legal organization. The organization should be autonomous, with the activities of the labor union and cultural group growing spontaneously in radicalism. It was our fallacy to try to bring them into the legal sphere of the movement. The party had no power, and it was not the aim of the party to lead them. This is my recollection and self-criticism as an anarchist and a member of the previous party in the post-war social context.)

Persecution by the gendarme and the police against left-wing thought increased day by day. It was difficult to hold a meeting even with a few members. Our cause was cornered, compounded by poverty in our daily lives, and our energy was drained to support ourselves. At the 16th meeting of the central committee in April 1934, Toshio Futami declared, “We cannot wait for our annihilation with folded arms. How can we approach revolution by spending our energy on a daily routine with legal methods? It is a life-or-death struggle. There are no more right means, and we have already debated what must be done. To do it, we must secure military funding as a priority. I propose this point.” Uemura expressed his opinion, “I agree with its necessity, but if we choose the wrong means, it will destroy everything, even our purpose. Furthermore, our thoughts and actions will be subject to misunderstanding and defamation. I do not care about our frustration, but both misunderstanding and defamation will harm our cause of anarchism in the future. Until now, anarchists have been accused and suffered from a misunderstanding as something related to terrorism or violence, which, I believe, is caused by the actions of the Black Youth League, resorting to any imaginable means......”

Futami exclaimed with irritation, “Misunderstood in the future? Do you think our cause will survive for another ten years? The struggle has already begun. Whether we achieve victory or defeat, that is the point. Victory only means erasing such misunderstandings. If we are defeated, we will be accused of defamation for whatever we have done. We do not strive for a revolution in the distant future. Here and now, we must smash the state power and its oppression.” Thus, we debated the problem for several hours and decided to separate the work of the special service agency from the orders of the party. Then it would do anything to serve the party, etc.

(Adopted from “Kurohata wa yabure-ta” written by Tei Uemura, Nihon Museifu Kyosanto, edited by Yoshio Aizawa et al., pp. 131–148)


  • Nippon Musetfu Kyosanto, Kaien Shyobo, 1974.

  • Musetfu Shyugt no Jyokyo, Police Guard Records in 1935 Noson Seinenshya Undoshi, 1972.

  • Kurohata no motoni, edited by Akt Yamamoto, 1974–1977.

  • Jitsuroku “Nippon Musetfu Kyosanto” or the private papers on Anarco Communist, a memorandum by Noriaki Aikyo, 1978.

Anyway, Teimon Uemura (his pen name, Izumi Maki) excused the failure of the Anarco-Communist Party by asserting that it was due to the selfish actions of Toshio Futami, the self-appointed chief of the Special Service Agent. Futami charged forward like a Kamikaze, as he was the son of a colonel, with followers like Aizawa and Uemura. While we can discern their sincerity to the revolution, their theory, tactics, and deeds are contrary to the anarchist tradition, and it is beyond our imagination that Aizawa and his young followers are boasting of the Anarco-Communist Party as the vanguard and a synthesis between anarchism and Marxism in the present situation. (Refer to Shyakai Kakumeiha no Tanjyo by Shin Rendaiji)


As we have seen, the Anarchist Movement in Japan until 1935, and here we have come to sum up then extrude some instruction from our seniors’ experiences. I will give the following four propositions.

Proposition 1. Why did the Anarchist idea attract Japanese people?

First of all, anarchism was an idea of the Westerners. The modernization and industrialization of our society evoked new ideas and lifestyles for the people. Parallel to the growth of capitalism, urbanization, and intellectual maturity, there appeared discontent and a demand for equality to the status quo in the cadres of society. The Meiji Restoration seemed to have responded to such an expectation, i.e., a transformation from feudalism to modern civilization. In my view, feudalism means treating a man or woman like a living stock belonging to a lord, samurai clan, landowner, or a big merchant, while the modern stands for each one dealing with themselves and their fellow human beings like themselves, not for their own purposes. However, the Oriental disposition and ethical sensitivity had formerly been loyalism, self-sacrifice, and patriarchism for family honor. Verily, an individual was considered insignificant except for talented men and women in Japanese society.

Proposition 2. What did anarchism teach us?

Self-standing (individualism) and social consciousness; undoubtedly, other ideologies such as liberalism, democratism, or religions like Christianity preached the dignity of a human being, while the battle cry for liberty, equality, and fraternity prevailed among the people. But atomism of the members of society leading to the destruction of the State and the solidarity of each member to form an anarchist society is the essence of anarchism. Furthermore, one of the Chinese traditions and her political ideals, Taoism, to put it in another way, a virtuous sovereign or king does not reign at all, while the subjects (the people) enjoy tranquility in idleness. This political naivety is rooted deeply in the consciousness of our people.

Rapid industrialization and severe exploitation by capitalists, bureaucrats, and the State led to a repugnance against urbanization in Japan and welcomed Kropotkinism with its primitive sensitivity. Pastoral anarchism, as often criticized, had a significant influence on us. Revolutionary anarchism, as represented in works such as “The Conquest of Bread,” “Mutual Aid,” “An Appeal to the Young,” etc., was widely read among both workers and intellectuals in Japan during the 1920s to 1930s, despite being banned by the authorities. For example, Tatsuo Morito, a professor at Tokyo University, published his study on Kropotkin’s works in 1920, analyzing “The Conquest of Bread” and “Fields, Factories and Workshops” from a social policy perspective in comparison with Marxian political economy, for which he was expelled from the university. This instance showed that freedom of learning was easily suppressed by the authorities, and even philosophical anarchism was not tolerated in Japanese society before World War II.

Proposition 3: Why did the anarchist movement in Japan decline?

There are two main reasons for this decline: the impact of the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the nature of Japanese intellectuals. It is well-known that a worker in the iron industry exclaimed to his son upon hearing the news of the establishment of the Soviet Government in Russia, “Hai, my son, till now I’m sorry for you, as you are a son of a miserable worker. But from now on, there will be a government of the worker; yes, it will be our regime (Sdda, Oreta-chi no Tenka da!).” Unfortunately, the course of events did not unfold as he had expected. The authorities instilled fear of “Red fever” among the people and pursued militant activists with persecution after persecution. Prominent initiators of anarchism, such as Osugi and Noe, as well as socialist figures like Keihichi Hirazawa and others, were massacred during the turmoil of the Kanto Earthquake in 1923. The Marxian Communist Party, founded in 1921 with leaders such as Toshihiko Sakai, Hitoshi Yamakawa, and Kanson Arahata, who were comrades of Osugi or close friends of Kotoku (in the case of Sakai), turned from revolutionary socialists (SDP) into Marxists due to internal dissent with Osugi and were also forced to engage in underground activities. Osugi had already pointed out that “the Soviets showed how the revolution should not be done like that” with the example of Kronstadt in 1921. However, the young generation in Japan was attracted to the authoritarian principles of Marxism. In those days, major universities such as Kyoto and Tokyo were allowed to have research courses on political economy or social policy for the freedom of learning, and many students were interested in studying “Das Kapital” instead of liberal thinkers such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and J.S. Mill. It is also interesting to note that some Chinese Marxists were also students at universities in Japan during this period. Although the Ministry of Education tolerated “dangerous elements” as long as they were engaged in study, in practice, they were strictly punished. Young philanthropists cried out, “The Revolution comes near at hand!” and were provoked to be chained in custody or have their homes raided. Most young anarchists under the age of 35 were not exempted but were isolated in small groups or acted as individuals. Their frustration with the lack of a large organization, insufficient income, and erroneous notions of personal initiative as heroism or vengeance for social indignation led them to embrace insurrectionism. At this point, Sakutaro Iwasa was correct in saying, “They were like businessmen trying to accomplish a big job.” However, he was mistaken in excluding syndicalists from the Association of Free Federation in the name of pure anarchism. The decline of the Anarchist movement was due to internal conflicts between pure anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists, lack of clear orientation, and the influence of Leninist insurrectionism, exacerbated by the establishment of war since 1931.

Proposition 4: Can the Anarchist movement be revived?

It is nonsensical to propose such an idea, as the Anarchist movement has been carried out by men and women from all walks of life, not limited to intellectual activities. Throughout history, dating back to the origins of authority, there has always been a sentiment against it, as evidenced by Noe Ito’s article “The Facts of Anarchy.” Even simple mutualism had deep roots in the conscience of people. This is a universal fact. The modern Anarchists, such as the “proprietary Proudhonists,” “collective Bakuninists,” and “ego-centric Stirnerians,” were products of 19th-century philosophy and lived in their own social settings. As the tides of change ebb and flow, so do the winds, and so do human beings. We must properly acknowledge and appreciate our predecessors without being blinded by their flaws, as that is the path to freedom from any authority.

Since the 1960s, there has been a rise in student power, campus struggles, appeals for insurrection among the poor, and violent clashes among militant youth, followed by political apathy. Personal efforts of anarchists and small groups will continue to face challenges. A large organization? No, it is not the beginning but rather the result of tremendous efforts.

I studied English Literature for two years at college, and my position as a young anarchist was published in the newspaper. I happened to come across the book “Pattern of Anarchy” and learned the address of the Freedom Press. I immediately contacted Freedom Shop and became a subscriber. They informed me of the address of S-A.F. in Tokyo. What a curious encounter it was! Comrade Miura came to see me at a coffee shop in the name of the chief member of the Overseas Section of J.A.F. Thus; I was introduced to the old anarchists in Tokyo and Osaka districts. It is easy to become an anarchist, but it is rather difficult to remain one for a long time and even more challenging to behave as an anarchist. I have managed a small print shop, and I published a Japanese version of “Property” by W. Godwin. I remember borrowing a Kegan Paul edition of Godwin from Lilian Wolfe. May peace be upon her soul! I also published “The Soul of Man under Socialism,” “On Anarchism” by N. Walter, “The Tragedy of Women’s Emancipation,” and other essays by Emma Goldman, and now I am a co-editor of Le Libertaire, which will reach its 10th year in November of this year. Last May, my young comrades proposed that I issue “A Short History.” I willingly accepted and added some translations. It took me one year, but articles on the Liberal and Civil Rights Movement, the Chichibu Affair, Nakae’s writings, and a part of Kotoku were already published in RADICAL. So the entire material took me at least five years. It is my version, not anyone else’s. Recently, I have been reading Lin Yu Tang, a well-known Chinese author who wrote extensively in English, and he declared that “the translator is responsible to the original author, and then to the English reader.” I cannot expect artistic value in my version, but I hope readers will appreciate the sincerity of Japanese anarchists.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the following comrades and friends: M. Miura for providing information on Ishikawa and the members of the Anarchist club for sharing their knowledge on Seishin Kai or Printers! activities and insights on Iwasa, Yuriko Mochizuki for her opinion on Women’s Front, Aki Yagi for her activities during the Village Youth Movement, Shinpei Shirai and Hiroshi Mizunuma for their work with the Free Council, Hitomi Enishi for his career as an Anarcho-Syndicalist, Kichizo Henmi for his perspective on Guillotine Shya and the Japan Anarcho-Communist Party Incident, Eizaburo Oshima for his publication of various reprinted pamphlets, and Arthur Moyse for regularly supplying me with English materials.


There are several bibliographies written in Western languages that deal with anarchism in Japan. The most comprehensive is:

  • Wat Tyler, “Asian Anarchism in Western Languages: Japan, China and Korea,” in The Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review, no.4, pp.108–111.

Other notable references include:

  • Group de recherches sur 1’anarchisme d’aujourd’hui (ed.), “Bibliographie de la Litterature Anarchisme au Japon”, Tokyo, 1968, 10 p. (no longer available).

  • Noe Ito, “Wilde Blume auf unfreiem Feld. Feminismus und Anarchismus in Japan”, Hg., eingel. u. uebers. v. Akiko Terasaki u. Ilse Lenz, Berlin, 1978, 183 p.

  • “Japon, tome I. Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier international, publie sous la direction de Jean Maitron et Georges Haupt. Ouvrage collectif redige sous la direction de Shobei Shiota”, Paris, 1978.

Many articles about the Kotoku Affair appeared in periodicals around the world at that time, such as “Freedom” in December 1911, “Mother Earth” in February 1911, “L’Humanite” on December 17, 1910, and “Der Anarchismus” on February 25, 1911. The only known book on the Affair is “Tiranio en Japonio” by Albert Jensen, Norrkoepig, 1911, 40 p.

The first reference to anarchism in Japan was made by Max Nettlau in his “Bibliographie de l’Anarchie”, Paris, 1897, p.209. Nettlau mentioned that “Vers 1890, la ‘Freiheit’ publia des renseigments sur un mouvement libertaire qui se dessinait alors au Japon. Un des organes de ce mouvement etait le journal ‘Liberty’, qui se publiait, en japonais, a San Francisco, Cal.; les nos. 13 et 15 sont dates des 14 et 28 mars 1890”. Unfortunately, ‘Freiheit’ and ‘Liberty’ have not been found. If any reader has information on them, please let me know.

In the future, I plan to write an article on the following topics as an appendix to this book:

  1. The word ‘museifushugi’ (namely ‘anarchism’ in Japanese).

  2. Sentaro Kemuriyama’s “The Modern Anarchism” and E. v. Zenker’s “Der Anarchismus.”

  3. Introduction of Western socialist thought (e.g., Herbert Spencer, Henry George, or Leo Tolstoy) to Japan shortly after the Meiji Restoration.

  4. The Paul Eltzbacher Library.

  5. Michael Bakunin’s Complete Works and his Selected Works in Japan.

  6. Peter Kropotkin’s Complete Works in Japan.

  7. Letters of Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Berkman, and others to Japanese socialists.

  8. The Mikado-dominated anarchism in Japan.

  1. The ‘buraku’ (the discriminated caste) emancipation movement by anarchists.

    WAKAYAMA Kenji