Three Japanese Anarchists : Kotoku, Osugi and Yamaga by Victor Garcia [Review]

If you’re familiar with previous KSL titles, you will find that this interesting pamphlet uncovers, as usual, what has been until now a relatively obscure part of anarchist history. It charts the lives and times of three prominent figures in the Japanese anarchist movement of the first half of the 20th century.

Denjiru Kotoku was executed with 12 other anarchists in 1911 on trumped up charges of plotting a non-existent ‘Great Revolt’. Sakai Osugi was murdered by the Japanese army in 1923. Taiji Yamaga, the only one of the three to survive into old age, died of natural causes in 1970.

The foregoing makes it clear that to have been an anarchist in this period of Japanese history meant a probable early death, either at the hands of the state, or by suicide as an alternative to long years in the Mikado’s dungeons. This is amply highlighted in this pamphlet, which catalogues many other anarchist activists and their activities.

The author, Victor Garcia, described on the back cover as ‘the anarchist Marco Polo’ originally published this piece in Caracas, Venezuela. The Spanish original then is probably the source of the somewhat oldfashioned tinge to the text. Nevertheless, this is a small price to pay for seeing material such as this.

From: Direct Action no 15 Summer 2000.