Shimbun Akahata

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Shimbun Akahata
Type Daily newspaper
Owner(s) Japanese Communist Party
Founded February 1, 1928
Political alignment Communist
Language Japanese
Circulation 1,680,000
Website Akahata (Japanese)
Shimbun Akahata headquarters in Sendagaya, Tokyo.

Shimbun Akahata (しんぶん赤旗 Shinbun Akahata?, lit. Newspaper Red Flag) is the daily organ of the Japanese Communist Party in the form of a national newspaper. Started in 1928, Akahata has a 16-page daily edition and a larger 36-page Sunday edition.

Akahata has journalists based in the capitals of ten countries around the globe. They are Beijing, Berlin, Cairo, Hanoi, London, Mexico City, Moscow, New Delhi, Paris, and Washington, D.C..

Some of their journalism deals with activist politics, but they also do original reporting on a wide variety of political issues which are often untouched in Japan. Most Japanese newspapers publish the names of alleged criminals, but Akahata often declines to publish their names, unless they are related to organized crime or right-wing activities. They also go out of their way to avoid using polite terms for the Emperor of Japan; for example, the paper refers to the Emperor's Cup exclusively as "a Japanese soccer tournament". They refer to the Buraku Liberation League as the "Liberation" League, using scare quotes to convey their opposition to the group.

History[edit]

The JCP published its first official newspaper, Red Flag, on February 1, 1928. It was planned to be published semimonthy. The first 1,500 copies of the first issue were run off in mimeographed form.[1] The Red Flag was originally a merger of Vanguard, The Proletariat, and Studies in Socialism, which acted as semi-official organs of the party. The three publications merged into the Red Flag in 1923.[2] In April 1929, the Red Flag was suspended.[3] The Red Flag resumed with issue number 28 on July 15, 1929.[4] The circulation of Red Flag increased from 200 copies in December 1928 to 600 in March 1929. From April 1932 it was published six times a month. The Red Flag's circulation increased to 7,000 by 1932.[5][6]

When hostilities broke out in Manchuria in 1931, the Red Flag proclaimed:

"The bourgeois newspapers and magazines unanimously find the "causes" of the present war in the "violence" and "scornful attitude toward Japan" of Chinese soldiers and in the partial destruction of the Manchurian railway. However, this is completely false. The real cause lies in the fact that the Japanese imperialists have been preparing a war of territorial plunder in order to extricate themselves from the crisis with which they are confronted at home. The action that the Japanese Military clique took under instructions from the financial bourgeoisie did not come about all at once. .... It is an act of imperialism and the beginning of armed intervention in the Soviet Union.... We must fight against bourgeois patriotism and chauvinism, which are rooted deeply among Japanese workers, and strive for the independence of colonies and semicolonies. We must transform the war of imperialism that will intensify the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie into a civil war in order to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.[7]

When the JCP was accused of being involved in the Omori Bank Robbery, the Red Flag responded in an issue dated October 11, 1932:

"The "Bank Gang Incident," which occurred at Omori on the 6th, has been used by the ruling classes an excuse for deliberate and systematic adverse propaganda against the central committee of the Japanese Communist Party.... Through every medium, the ruling classes are trying to convince the masses that this incident had some relationship to the political and organizational principles of the Japanese Communist Party.... We have no need to rob a bank to get money. Such an action has nothing to do with the political life of the party nor with the tasks of the immediate struggles. Instead of worrying about such plans, we have devoted ourselves to developing the class struggle further by transforming sporadic and defensive struggles into revolutionary, united mass action, thereby revolutionizing all working elements."[8]

When Hakamada Satomi became the sole central committee member in April 1934, his small group continued to publish and distribute the Red Flag. The last regular issue of the Red Flag was published on June 20, 1936. Eight mimeographed issues were published through August 1, 1936.[9]

In the first issue of Akahata published after World war II, Communist prisoners issued an "Appeal to the People" on October 10, 1945.[10] On June 7, 1950, General Douglas MacArthur ordered the government to purge 17 editors responsible for policies of Akahata, which MacArthur called "the mouthpiece for the most violent of lawless elements within the Communist Party."[11] MacArthur warned that Akahata might be closed or subjected to censorship if "it does not change its tune". The Akahata did not comply. The Akahata declared it would carry on "against oppression" on June 12, 1950; however, it announced that it had financial troubles and pleaded for "payment of bills and outstanding accounts". On June 26, 1951 MacArthur ordered a 30 day suspension of the Akahata.[12][13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ George M. Beckmann, Genji Okubo (1969). The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford University Press. pp. 139–140. 
  2. ^ George M. Beckmann, Genji Okubo (1969). The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford University Press. p. 50. 
  3. ^ George M. Beckmann, Genji Okubo (1969). The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford University Press. p. 395. 
  4. ^ George M. Beckmann, Genji Okubo (1969). The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford University Press. p. 188. 
  5. ^ Tim, Rees, and Thorpe, Andrew. International Communism and the Communist International, 1919-43 Manchester University Press, 1998. pp 292
  6. ^ George M. Beckmann, Genji Okubo (1969). The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford University Press. p. 176. 
  7. ^ George M. Beckmann, Genji Okubo (1969). The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford University Press. p. 220. 
  8. ^ George M. Beckmann, Genji Okubo (1969). The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford University Press. p. 237. 
  9. ^ George M. Beckmann, Genji Okubo (1969). The Japanese Communist Party 1922-1945. Stanford University Press. p. 253. 
  10. ^ Robert A. Scalapino (1967). The Japanese Communist movement, 1920-1966. University of California Press. pp. 40–48. 
  11. ^ "Japan's Eight Top Communists Still Missing Without Clue". Reading Eagle. Jun 3, 1951. 
  12. ^ "Tokyo College Raided Sunday". Herald-Journal. Jun 12, 1950. 
  13. ^ "Japan's Eight Top Communists Still Missing Without Clue". Reading Eagle. Jun 3, 1951. 

External links[edit]