In 1910, an anarchist plot to assassinate the Meiji Emperor was uncovered. Seizing the opportunity, conservatives in the government pounced in to arrest 26 anarchists. The background of this confrontation between the government and the radical left, the trials themselves, and their modern legacy are our topics this week.
Listen to the episode
Gavin, Masako and Ben Middleton, editors.
Japan and the High Treason Incident.
The Making of Modern Japan.
Reflections on the Way to the Gallows.
Kotoku Shusui: Portrait of a Japanese Radical.
The text of the
Peace Preservation Law of 1925.
Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation
Kotoku Shusui, the anarchist intellectual who would become the centerpiece of the trials despite not being involved in the plot.
Kanno Sugako, anarchist and one of the actual members of the assassination plot. She was executed along with the other convicted anarchists in 1911.
Nanba Daisuke, who tried to assassinate Hirohito in 1923 in revenge for the death of Kotoku.
Japan’s first Labor Day Parade, 1920. Despite increasing attempts to supress the left and the example of the Great Treason Incident, leftist movements continued to gain momentum in interwar Japan. This lead a fearful government to pass the Peace Preservation Law in 1925.
Hiranuima Kiichiro, who would be both chief prosecutor for the trials and the author of the Peace Preservation Law of 1925.