Sen Katayama

The Japanese Manifesto

Source: International Socialist Journal, Vol. XV, No. 3, September 1914, pp. 174-176.
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: M. Schauerte
Proofread: Andy Carloff, 2010
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2010). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Katayama writes that the present Japanese ministry, formed by Premier Count Okuma, received the enthusiastic support of the entire people, because the Count had promised a free press, free speech and the right of assembly.

Heretofore all political and union propaganda has been prohibited. Under the new ministry the Socialists formed a Japanese Labor Party and issued the following Manifesto, which was promptly suppressed by Count Okuma, who had been so full of kind promises before the election of his own party. We think this document is one that can be read with profit by our own readers.

“To The Working Classes? ”

“Mr. Workingman! You work all through the year and, in the sweat of your brow, produce everything in the world.

“Mr. Workingman! You build houses and yet, do you not live in a filthy, shabby, small, crumbling shed containing only one room about 9 by 12 feet, which affords only a bare protection. From rain and dew?

“You have spun, woven and made the clothes for all. And yet are you not always wearing dirty and torn clothes which hardly cover your body?

“Mr. Workingman! You have produced and prepared all the good food. And yet are you not yourself living or the coarsest and most distasteful food that barely gives you enough nourishment?

“Yes, you have made everything in the world. You have built all the railway carriages, steamers and automobiles that are the very pride of the human civilization today, and yet you have never ridden in them comfortably yourself.

“You have made everything in the world and provided for all. And yet have you a house, even 9 by 12 feet, that you could call your own? There are in this country the so-called nobility and the rich who eat and drink freely and enjoy themselves luxuriously all through life and still their wealth ever increases.

“Why is this, anyway? In a well organized society, one who gets his living at somebody’s house gratis is called ‘Isoro,’ a dependent. Such a person, a good-for-nothing parasite, is looked down on as a low and mean weight. And yet those nobles and millionaires, doing no work, but playing and enjoying themselves in their easy and sumptuous life continue to get ever more money and wealth. Call you not the lower class mean people and coolies, and put on your own head all the disrespectable titles and epithets; you who are diligently toiling and laboring and making every good thing in the world?

“You ought to think the matter over well and seriously for yourself, somewhat in the following manner: Why am I, the master of this world, the head of the industry and the very pillar of society, compelled to lead such a life?

“Mr. Workingman! Do you never in your miserable life think of it? Have you never thought of your present fate as a sad one that is even lower than that of some animals?

“Have you never thought of getting rid of such an awful life as soon as possible? And do you not wish to live a life that is worthy of a man, the last and the greatest of all creations, an image of God?

“Mr. Workingman! If you think of the matter as we do, then you ought to organize with other workers; the sooner the better for you and for all, and thus you should get rid of those who live by exploiting you. You might think thus: ‘We, who have nothing but a waistcoat, could do nothing, even if we should have organized ourselves.’ But, my friends, think of it! Once you, who have nothing but a single waistcoat, should mutually shake hands with your comrades and quietly quit your work together. The gas and electricity that turns night into day shall not give them light and the city will become dark. If you should not work! Think! Would not the train, electric car and automobile stand still? Surely there will be no rice, potatoes, fish, wood or coal brought into the city. Then, though they be haughty and arrogant, how much would they think themselves above the working class? Yet shall they not after all starve, freeze and die of hunger and cold?

“Mr. Workingman! If you realize yourself the very power and influence you could command, you must organize yourselves into a union with your fellow workers. And then, and only then, you shall get rid of your present miserable life, perhaps worse than that of a horse or dog, and then there may come a time when you can call your fellow workers truly my ‘Comrades’ in the most beautiful society.

“Ah! Mr. Workingman. The fact that you organize or not shall decide the very destiny of the world in either way -- prosperity and happiness, or decadence and misery!

“Unite the Workers of the Whole Nation!

“Unite the Workers of the Whole World!!”