Urgent Appeal [for Kotoku, in the Japanese High Treason Case]

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In the name of humanity and international brotherhood, we earnestly beg of you to protest energetically to the Japanese Ambassador in London against the unjust and barbarous penalty of death pronounced upon Dr. Denjiro Kotoku, his wife, and twenty-four other Socialists and Anarchists.

Dr. Kotoku, his wife, and their friends were brought before a court specially appointed for the purpose, judged guilty of plotting against the Imperial family, and sentenced to death on November 9. The fact that it was an unusual judicial procedure shows that the proof of the alleged crime was weak.

Denjiro Kotoku is a man who has devoted himself to intellectual pursuits, and has tried to popularise Western ideas in Japan. His “crime” consists in spreading radical ideas and in translating the works of Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy, Peter Kropotkin, and Michael Bakunin. As a leader of the “Left” in the social revolutionary Movement in Japan, he was called the “head of the Kropotkinists.” We are convinced that the charge of conspiracy against the Emperor is false.

Kotoku’s condemnation marks the climax of the reaction against liberal ideas which has taken place in Japan during the last few years. Mr. Katayama, the leader of the Socialist Party in Japan, has recently protested to Western civilisation against the persecutions of the Liberals in Japan.

As international fighters for freedom, we are not willing to have our friends in Japan fall victims to the reactionary forces? Shall the Japanese Government imitate the barbarous methods of Spain and Russia, and do to death their scholars and thinkers? We must act swiftly and vigorously in the cause of humanity and civilisation, and we would suggest that from all meetings urgent protests be sent to the Japanese Ambassador. There is no time to be lost. Remember Ferrer!

Yours sincerely,



127 Ossulston Street, London, N.W.

November 22, 1910.


On June 1st 1910 Japanese anarchist Kotoku Shusui and others were arrested for “crimes against the state”, in this case plotting to assassinate the Emperor. Their trial began on December 10th 1910 and ended on December 20th 1910. On January 18th 1911 Kotoku and 23 other defendants were sentenced to death (not November 9th 1910 as the Freedom anarchists believed). After various commutations Kotoku and ten other Japanese anarchists were executed on January 24th 1911. Kanno Suga – the “wife” mentioned in the leaflet – was executed the next day.