One way or another, few anarchists in Japan these days are able to ignore the current debate over the need for a new national organization. The ball was first put into play two years ago by young Kyoto activists who then, last summer, suddenly issued a program and statement of principles for the new organization they advocated.
Phew! After a constipated couple of months, we finally made it with No. 2. Like someone said once, when you decide you want to put out a new paper, you first decide what you want it to be, aim for it in the first issue, and usually miss by miles. Then the second time you take better aim, get a bit closer, and so on. We think we got closer in this second issue to what we originally planned to do, which was to present a libertarian perspective on Asia, past and present: in a word, "to protect the future by opening up the past".
For the past two centuries or so, Asian history has been the constant casualty of successive rewriting attempts. First came the Western imperialists, under whose guiding hand educated Asians came to date the birth of their history and culture to the day when the "long ships", "black ships" etc. first appeared on the horizon.
Issue No. 2 of the Japanese journal Libero International. The exact date of publication is unknown, but presumed to be in 1975.
CIRA-Nippon was established in 1970 and modeled upon CIRA in Lausanne (now moved to Geneva). The aims of CIRA-Nippon are to collect literature, documents, periodicals, bulletins and other materials on theoretical and practical aspects of anti-authoritarian, anti-state and all libertarian movements; to arrange them and classify them; and eventually to open them to the public.
CIRA-Nippon consists of members who agree to its purposes and activities and who each pay an annual membership fee.
Regular meetings are held to coordinate the activities of CIRA-Nippon.
These meetings are run according to the autonomous participation and responsibility of the members.
Kõtoku Shüsui, whose name has become a kind of legend since the war (although in the country town where he was born, people still look embarrassed if you mention his name), was Japan's first real anarchist and the Japanese movement's first revolutionary martyr. At the time when Japan was launching its imperialistic programme, Kõtoku opposed nationalism and militarism despite the popular fervour aroused by the way against Russia in 1904. In 1906 he predicted an eventual war with the US.
He was born in a small country town in southern Japan, one with strong traditionalistic tendencies, in 1871, At the age of ten (!) he began publishing his first political newspaper; at 15 he ran away to Tokyo, but was soon expelled under the new Peace Preservation Law. From the beginning, Kõtoku was a warrior in the samurai tradition.
The people-eating, pollution-shitting conglomerate which is industrialized Japan today reminds you of a great bloated hippo straddling the country and crushing the people.
The fore legs of this colossus are represented by the government, the hind legs by big business. When people here struggle against the danger and destruction caused by rampant economic expansion, therefore, they are taking on the full might of the political status quo in this country.
The cruel victimization of workers at factories of the Nissan Motor Corporation all over Japan, and the collusion of union leadership and company management in this system, have been painfully described by Matsuo Kei in the Solidarity Pamphlet: DATSUN MOTOR: HELL'S BATTLEFIELD (reprinted from AMPO No. 20, pp 35-47).
If the activities of anarchists in the west have been overshadowed and overwhelmed by those of opportunistic politicians and premature revolutionaries, those of their Asian comrades have been almost obliterated.
The experience of Asia in the first half of the 20th century, where the predominant trend was the nationalist struggle against foreign control, demanded that revolutionaries of all creeds pool their resources in the fight against imperialist domination. This has made it difficult to assess the range of political activity which took place in each individual country.
Issue No. 1 of the Japanese journal Libero International.
A leaflet produced by CIRA-Nippon, an anarchist group in Japan, outlining their history and intentions at the start of the 1970s. It also introduces their publication Libero International.
It is about three years ago that we first knew about C.I.R.A. in Lausanne through OZEKI Hiroshi. The idea of C.I.R.A. took hold of us, and then our efforts to have a "C.I.R.A." in Japan began.
As you will see in the following short report, "C.I.R.A-Nippon" is just in its infancy. It will take much trouble to prow up and to go on somehow or other.