A Japan Communist Party poster from last year. The center poster says "Stop TPP. The Party that Loves this Country: The Japan Communist Party." The one on the left says, "Rely on the constitution, change the government."

Episode 181 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 6

This week, we round out our look at the hard left in Japan. Militant communist uprisings (if less than 100 people counts as an uprising), electoral maneuvering, recycling policy — this episode has it all.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Gallagher, Aileen. The Japanese Red Army.

Er, Lam Peng. “The Japanese Communist Party: Organization and Resilience in the Midst of Adversity.” Pacific Affairs 69, No. 3.

Hyde, Sarah. The Transformation of the Japanese Left. 

Images

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A Japan Communist Party poster from last year. The center poster says “Stop TPP. The Party that Loves this Country: The Japan Communist Party.” The one on the left says, “Rely on the constitution, change the government.”
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The Asama Mountain Villa surrounded by police during the siege.
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Shigenobu Fusako, right, with Okamoto Kozo during their time as Japanese Red Army militants.
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In 2007, the story of the United Red Army was made into a well-reviewed film. Haven’t had a chance to see it yet, though.
Former Japanese PM Murayama poses in front of portraits of former leaders of his Social Democratic Party after an interview with Reuters at the party headquarters in Tokyo
Murayama Tomiichi, former Prime Minister and recycling guru.
Japanese communists are released from prison by the US, c. 1945.

Episode 179 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 4

This week, the floodgates are open! The system has fallen, and the left is poised to seize power…or not!

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Dower, John. Embracing Defeat.

Crump, John. The Origins of Socialist Thought in Japan.

Price, John. Japan Works: Power and Paradox in Postwar Industrial Relations

Images

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Citizens of Tokyo watching as electoral returns are posted on billboards in the city in 1947.
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Nosaka Sanzo speaking at a rally, c. 1946. The end of World War II signaled a revival of the Communist Party, as its leadership came over from China and the USSR to revive the party at home.
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Japanese communists are released from prison by the US, c. 1945.
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Katayama Tetsu, Japan’s first socialist PM, at right. At left is Abe Isoo, Japan’s foremost Christian socialist and a mentor to Katayama.

Episode 178 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 3

Today, a specter is haunting Japan. But that specter is not communism; it’s the ghost of the communist party, dead before it truly lived. This week on the podcast: how to kill a communist party in a few easy steps.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Gordon, Andrew. Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan.

Beckmann, George M and Genji Okubo. The Japanese Communist Party, 1922-1945.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan

Images

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Hayashi Fusao, one of the most high profile cultural figures to commit tenko and convert himself to the cause of Japanese ultranationalism.
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Yosano Akiko became the darling of the Japanese left during the Russo-Japanese War, but jumped ship to the cause of the empire during the 1930s.
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The leadership of the JCP in exile in the Soviet Union. From left to right: Tokuda Kyuichi, Nosaka Sanzo, and Shiga Yoshio.
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During World War II, Nosaka allied himself to the Chinese Communist Party. Here Nosaka, in the center, attends the beginning of the 7th Party Congress with Mao Zedong (at right).
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Nosaka in his military uniform as leader of a unit of “converted” Japanese POWs.

Episode 177 – Red Star Over Tokyo, Part 2

The revolution comes to Japan…but not really. Today we explore the birth and very rapid death of Japan’s first socialist party, and the rise of its communist movement.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Gordon, Andrew. Labor and Imperial Democracy In Prewar Japan.

Beckman, George M and Genji Okubo. The Japanese Communist Party, 1920-1945.

Images

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Katayama Sen, one of Japan’s first real Marxist advocates. He would die in the Soviet Union in the 1930s after two decades of exile.
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Christian Socialist Suzuki Bunji speaking to crowds in 1917. Though the Japan Socialist Party was not long for this world –at least at first — socialist parties continued to operate until all parties were dissolved in 1940.
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Another rally led by Suzuki Bunji.
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Nosaka Sanzo, one of the founding members of the Japan Communist Party.
The 1918 Rice Riots helped propel Hara Takashi to the center of Japanese politics.

Episode 175 – The Great Commoner

This week, it’s time for Japan’s first party politician: Hara Takashi. Was he a populist hero or a wannabe elite? And in the end, does that even really matter?

 Listen to the episode here.
Sources
Najita, Tetsuo. Hara Kei in the Politics of Compromise.
Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.
Dickinson, Frederick. World War I and the Triumph of a New Japan. 
Images
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Hara during his time as an attache to the Japanese embassy in Paris.
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The current HQ of the Mainichi Shimbun in Osaka. Hara’s old paper is still going strong.
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The 1918 Rice Riots helped propel Hara Takashi to the center of Japanese politics.
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Hara as a party politician. I think this photo does a good job of capturing his style, which is very clearly an elite one. That doesn’t look like a populist to me.
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Hara Takashi in his formal palace jacket as Prime Minister.
The makeup in kabuki is exaggerated both for the effect of its imagery and in some cases to obscure the gender of the actor.

Episode 174 – All The World’s A Stage

This week, we explore the history of one of Japan’s most popular art forms: kabuki theater. Major themes include prostitution, Tokugawa era morality laws, stagecraft, prostitution, and the superiority of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine over The Next Generation.

 

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Leiter, Samuel L. A Kabuki Reader: History and Performance.

Images

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One of the biggest differences between Noh and Kabuki is the lack of masks in the latter. Noh plays like this one keep the actor’s face obscured and move at a far slower pace; emotion is conveyed by delicate movements rather than over the top performance.
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A statue of Izumo no Okuni next to the Kamo River in Kyoto. Okuni’s first performances took place in a dry part of the Kamo riverbed.
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The makeup in kabuki is exaggerated both for the effect of its imagery and in some cases to obscure the gender of the actor.
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A traditional kabuki theater with the hanamichi running towards the stage.
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The various actors of the Ichikawa Danjuro lineage.
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Nakamura Kenzaburo as Imagawa Yoshimoto. Kabuki actors have been fairly successful in transitioning to roles on TV dramas; in general, kabuki has been more successful than noh in keeping up a modern following.
After the battle, Togo's flagship, the IJN Mikasa, was preserved by the navy. You can still visit it at Mikasa park in Yokosuka.

Episode 171 – The Maelstrom, Part 9

It’s time for the Imperial Japanese Navy to bail out the Imperial Japanese Army. But first, let’s enjoy the Russian Baltic Fleet’s Party Cruise to the Pacific!

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Asada, Sadao. From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States.

Evans, David and Mark Peattie. Kaigun.

MacMillan, Margaret. The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914.

Images

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Zinovy Roshestvensky, the Russian admiral who led the fleet to Tsushima and was then knocked unconscious and captured.
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The Knyaz Suvorov, one of the ships of the Russian fleet.
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A British depiction of the Dogger Bank Incident, which almost brought Russia into a second war.
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This famous painting is of Togo preparing to give the order to attack. His cool, collected demeanor in the face of the upcoming battle became somewhat legendary among Japanese commanders.
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The path of the Russian fleet — first to Tsushima and then once the battle began.
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A period woodblock celebrating the victory by showing the destruction of a Russian warship. I couldn’t get a high enough resolution image to read it clearly, but based on the explosion I think it’s supposed to be the Borodino.
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After the battle, Togo’s flagship, the IJN Mikasa, was preserved by the navy. You can still visit it at Mikasa park in Yokosuka.