By way of an introduction
References to pacifist and radical actions within Japan during the period 1919 to 1945 are not well covered within any English language publications.
It would be really good if this was not so.
Thus this is not a definitive study of just what happened during this period, but a starting point for anyone who wishes to know more about the subject.
Please note that the dates referred to below are those of publication, and not unless specificity stated the dates when the events occurred.
The following reports were published in War Resisters International [WRI ] periodical War Resistance.
– July 1926
Japanese Students Resist Military Training
At Meiji Gakuin College in Tokyo, 117 students voted against the introduction of military training at the university against 82 votes in favour of it. The result was that military training was not established at this university. In other colleges where it exists,it is becoming increasingly unpopular.’
— December 1926
Japan Message to Youth.
Sent by The World Peace Society,
with an address in Tokyo.
The WRI sections include the:-
‘Group within the General Workers’ Union of Japanese
– June 1931
In a letter the Japanese General Workers Union [ Kanto Jppan Rodosha Kumiai ] of Tokyo expresses solidarity with WRI.
– Autumn 1932
There is a short report Women of Japan.
‘ Difficult as has been the situation in Japan, there have not been lacking brave souls who are prepared to run great risks on behalf of peace and anti-militarism.’
– Autumn 1932
– Spring 1934
There were reports about Dr Toyoshiko Kagawa, who is referred to as the ‘Gandhi of Japan’.
– Summer 1937
A letter is published from Tokyo under the heading: –
Difficult Work in Japan.
In it there are references as to the problems faced by pacifists.
‘It is not really practicable for us to form a group of WRI members at present for under present frenzied inspection by police a definitely illegal group could not exist, or at least, could not be active.’
– Summer [ July ] 1938
Under the Heading Japan – A few Letters get through there Is a brief report of the situation in the country.
The letter quoted states that: ‘ six university professors are under arrest for their anti-war attitude’.
– Autumn 1942
The Children’s League of Peace and Goodwill carried on steady work up to Japan entering the war.
– Summer 1946
A report two page report was published under the title:-
Japan before the war, 1939.
The Anarchist Federation of Japan published various pacifist articles.
At their 5th annual congress they read out a letter by WRI co founder Harold Bing.
– May 14th 1938
Under the heading – Japanese Refuse War Service.
In a letter from Japanese Anarchists:-
‘ Since the War broke out mare than three hundred of our comrades have been arrested in Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, and other cities on that they translated and printed the publication of the International Anti-militarist Bureau, and distributed them.’
From the Japan Times – March 4th 1996
‘Pacifist Documents from 1932 Found.
Documents sent from pacifist groups and activists in china and Britain protesting the Japanese military provocation in Shanghai in early 1932 were discovered among items left by the late lawmaker Tomi Kora. ‘
Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomatic vice-consul Lithuania. During the World War Two. He helped about 6,000 Jews flee Europe by issuing transit visas to them so that they could travel through Japanese territory.
A Short History
See in Particular these sections with chapter Six: –
The anarchist movement in Japan
Anarchist Communist Editions
London October 2008
Chapter two covers the period 1912 – 1936