Japanese Anarchism to 1923
It is an arbitrary decision where one locates the historical origins of anarchism in Japan. After the implantation of Western anarchism into Japan, Japanese anarchists identified a native anarchist tradition within their own culture. For example, the Nihon Heimin Shinbun (Japan Common People’s Newspaper) of 20 January 1908 carried an article on the eighteenth century thinker Andō Shōeki, describing him as ‘an anarchist of 150 years ago’, and in 1979 the Tōkyō-based Libertaire group referred to Andō as an advocate of ‘agricultural communist anarchism’.1 For the purposes of this book, however, it is not necessary to go back further than 1906. In 1906 the most influential socialist of his generation, Kōtoku Shūsui, returned from six months spent in California and astounded his social-democratic comrades by questioning the usefulness of contesting parliamentary elections in a speech which he made at a public meeting held in Tōkyō on 28 June to welcome him back to Japan.2
KeywordsWinter Period Labour Movement Social Democracy Public Meeting Union Movement
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