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Japan’s labor movement in the early twentieth century was one of the most vibrant and tumultuous periods in global social history. In their struggles for freedom, workers organized strikes, initiated riots, and planned imperial assassinations. While all of this was taking place, small groups of radical socialists and anarchists struggled to survive under extreme state suppression, mass arrests, and political executions.
In the years that followed, the task of documenting these workers’ and revolutionaries’ experiences fell to Sen Katayama, a founding figure in the Asian and Asian-American radical traditions.
“The life and career of Sen Katayama represented an incredible odyssey. Pioneer social worker, labor organizer, and leader in Japan’s radical political movement . . . Katayama wrote his important book, The Labor Movement in Japan, while in the U.S. in 1918. Unfortunately this study has been out of print for many years. We now have Robert Sabatino and Andrew Zonneveld to thank for making it available once more. Students of left-wing politics in Japan will find it a major source on the early twentieth century labor struggle.” — F.G. Notehelfer, author of Kōtoku Shusui: Portrait of a Japanese Radical.
Originally published in 1918, Sen Katayama’s The Labor Movement in Japan endures as a classic first-hand documentation of Japan’s dynamic labor struggles and radical political movements in the early 20th century. This updated edition features two additional writings by the author and a new introductory essay that further illuminates the experiences and activities of Japanese working people in action, as well as the lives of other radical actors who helped shape this movement into one of the twentieth century’s most fascinating moments of class conflict and revolutionary confrontation.