Russia and Japan
The Socialist movement of Japan has always regarded its comrades in Russia with
the greatest admiration and sympathy. Historically speaking, the Japanese movement
has always been much more intimately related
with that of Russia than of any other country.
Its heroic struggles, its unlimited sacrifice for
the cause of Socialism and for the proletariat
were a source of unbounded inspiration to us.
The first attempt at communication and
mutual understanding between the Socialists
of Japan and Russia came during the Russo-
Japanese War of 1904-1905. On the 20th of
March, 1904, the Japanese Socialists addressed a letter in the form of a resolution to their
Russian comrades. At this time the Japanese
Socialist movement took a firm stand against
the war, and developed an intense agitation
before and after war was declared in spite of
great sacrifices and numerous imprisonments.
"Dear Comrades! Our governments
have plunged us into a war to satisfy their
imperialistic desires. But to the Socialist
there exist no barriers of race, territory or
nationality. We are comrades, brothers
and sisters, and have no cause to battle
against one another. Your enemy is not
the Japanese people, but your own militarism, the so-called patriotism of your
country. Our enemy is not the Russian
people, but the militarism and patriotism
of our ruling class. Patriotism and mili-
tarism are our common enemies, are the
enemies of Socialists all over the world.
It is the highest duty of Socialists everywhere to fight bravely and unafraid
against them . . . when you are suffering
under the cruel persecution of your government and its spies, remember that there
are thousands of comrades in a distant
land who are praying for your well-being
and your success in their inmost hearts."
—From the "Heimen," Tokyo, Japan,
March 20, 1904.
It is interesting to note that, at that time,
Japanese Socialists were able to publish such
a statement. But still more interesting is the
Russian reply. It appeared in Iskra and is a
document of historic significance:
"The Russian Social Democrats know
only too well the difficulties that confront
us in time of war when the entire machinery of government is working to the utmost to create a blind patriotic fervor . . .
How much more difficult and embarassing
is the position of our Japanese comrades,
who, at a moment when nationalistic feeling was at its highest pitch, openly extended to us the hand of brotherhood."
The Russian resolution compares the Socialists of Japan to Liebknecht and Bebel
when they protested against the annexation
of Alsace and Lorraine as "not less valuable
"Above the jingoistic chorus in both
countries their voice sounds as a herald
from that better world, which, though today it exists only in the minds of the
class-conscious proletariat, tomorrow will
become a reality. We do not know when
that tomorrow will come. But we, the
Social Democrats the world over, are working to bring it nearer and nearer. We are
digging the grave of the miserable today,
of the present social order. We are organizing the forces that are destined to
In August of the same year the present
writer met many Russian comrades at the
International Socialist Congress at Amsterdam, and shook hands with them as a token
of international solidarity.
In May, 1917, during the present war, our
comrades met secretly at Tokyo and sent
hearty greetings to their Russian comrades.
"To make the progress of the Russian revolution advance further towards the goal of
Socialist revolution is not only a responsibility of Russian Socialists, but also really
that of international Socialists.
"At the present opportunity, therefore,
it should endeavor to realize the declaration of immediate cessation of the present
war and at the same time the proletariat of
the belligerent countries should turn the
guns that are aimed at the self-same proletariat in enemy countries at once on the