Wataru Kaji

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Wataru Kaji in 1952

Wataru Kaji (鹿地 亘 Kaji Wataru?, 1903–1982)[1] was a Japanese writer of proletarian literature who joined the Chinese Resistance against the Empire of Japan during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Early life[edit]

Wataru Kaji was born in Kyushu in 1903 to a prosperous family. After graduating from Tokyo Imperial University, Kaji joined the Workers and Peasants Party. His activities brought him to the attention of the authorities, where he was imprisoned multiple times. He fled to China disguised as a samurai actor in a traveling drama company in January 1936. He arrived in Shanghai, where he married Yuki Ikeda.[2] Kaji studied and translated the works of Lu Xun, and[3][4] met Hu Feng.[5]

Activities during the Second Sino-Japanese war[edit]

Kaji, and Yuki fled to Hong Kong following the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War.[6] In March 1938, Kaji went to Wuhan at the invitation of Chen Cheng, who learned about him from the writer Guo Moruo and politician Zhou Enlai.[7]

He was attached to the propaganda section of the Chinese Army Political Department as a "psychological adviser", and worked under Kuo Mo-jo. Wataru Kaji re-educated Japanese POWs, who were sent to the front lines to broadcast propaganda to Japanese soldiers. He was replaced as "psychological adviser" by Kazuo Aoyama. Kaji continued to write propaganda for the Chinese Army.[8] Kaji returned to Chongqing, where he helped organize study groups focused on analyzing conditions in Japan, and studying the Japanese military. He kept a small research office in Chongqing, and wrote and collected documents pertaining to the war. The OWI invited Kaji to their headquarters in Kunming to create propaganda.[9]

He and his wife met journalist Edgar Snow.[10]

In December 1939, Wataru Kaji founded the Japanese People's Anti-war Alliance.[11]

Post-war kidnapping[edit]

Kaji was kidnapped in 1951 by U.S intelligence, and was held for more than a year. He was suspected of being a Soviet spy. He was allegedly tortured while in captivity. When the affair came to light, the Japanese were outraged because Kaji's detention lasted past April 1952, when Japanese sovereignty was restored.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Library of Congress Name Authority File. Accessed 19 January 2014
  2. ^ Roth, Andrew (1945). Dilemma in Japan. Little, Brown. p. 162-168. 
  3. ^ Koshiro, Yukiko (2013). Imperial Eclipse Japan's Strategic Thinking about Continental Asia before August 1945. Cornell University Press. p. 100. 
  4. ^ Empire of Texts in Motion Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature By Karen Laura Thornber Page 75
  5. ^ Literary Societies of Republican China edited by Michel Hockx and Kirk A. Denton Chapter 13 Page 458
  6. ^ Roth, Andrew (1945). Dilemma in Japan. Little, Brown. p. 162-168. 
  7. ^ Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations By Karen Laura Thornber Page 75
  8. ^ Roth, Andrew (1945). Dilemma in Japan. Little, Brown. p. 162-168. 
  9. ^ Kushner, Barak. The Thought War: Japanese Imperial Propaganda. p. 142-143. 
  10. ^ From Vagabond to Journalist: Edgar Snow in Asia, 1928-1941 By Robert M. Farnsworth Page 326 -327
  11. ^ Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations", Karen Laura Thornber, Page 75
  12. ^ Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld By David E. Kaplan, Alec Dubro Page 47