Sen Katayama

The Communist International & the Far East

Source: The Communist International, Organ of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, “The New Series,&A#8221; Jubilee Number, Published at 16 King St., Covent Garden, London, W.C.2..
First Published: Moscow, February 19th, 1924 Transcription: Ted Crawford
Proofread: Andy Carloff, 2010
HTML Markup: Michael Schauerte
Translation: E. Bouvier
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). 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.

1. The Communist International and China

It is due to the direct and indirect influence of the Communist International that there is an active Communist Party in China. Although the Chinese Communist Party is as yet weak as a political factor it plays nevertheless a definite role in the political life of China. Everywhere there are signs of the indirect influence of the Communist International on Chinese students, who are gradually becoming a revolutionary force. The Communist Youth movement was rapidly growing last year and the youth was already able to organise mass demonstrations for demands of a national, as well as international nature. The most striking example of such activities is the movement against the secret treaty between China and Japan, which compelled the government to give in to the students’ demands after an impressive demonstration organised by the latter on May 4th. Another very successful function was the recent anti-religious demonstration of the Young Communist League at the time of the eleventh annual congress of the Young Men’s Christian Association held in Peking. This anti-religious movement was carried on very successfully on a national scale and made a deep impression on the youth of the country, as well as on the entire population.

The national movement has taken deep root among the Chinese students. The entire students’ movement is more or less under the leadership of students who are under Communist influence. The latter have already initiated propaganda work within working class organisations. The recent demonstrations of working class organisations, especially of the railwaymen’s, textile and metal workers’ organisations, as well as the strikes on the Peking-Hankow railway were to a great extent due to the agitation and leadership of the students.

The Chinese Communist Party collaborated with the Kuomintang Party with the object of revolutionising it and converting it (as far as this is possible) into a workers’ and peasants’ party. In spite of its weakness and its comparatively small membership, the Chinese Communist Party can do a great deal in the matter of influencing the Kuomintang and of revolutionising its principles and tactics. For the Chinese Communist Party is a section of the Communist International and has therefore the backing of the entire international proletarian movement.

As to the future relations between the Communist International and the Chinese Communist Party, they are bound to become closer and more stable with the growth and stabilisation of the Chinese proletarian movement.

2. The Communist International and Japan

It was only after the congress of the People’s of the Far East, which was attended by delegates of the Japanese Party, that a direct connection was established between the Communist International and the Japanese Communist movement. The Japanese Communist Party had to work under great difficulties because of government persecution. It is due to the influence of the Communist International that in Japan not a single union and not even a single trade union leader agitated for the adherence of the Japanese trade union movement to the Amsterdam International, although the Amsterdamers carried on an energetic propaganda in Japan. It is a well-known fact that the Japanese workers’ movement could have (if it so wished) joined the Amsterdam organisation without any opposition or interference on the part of the government, but that, on the other hand, the latter would have put every obstacle in the way of the adherence of the Japanese trade unions to the Red International of Labour Unions. The general tendency of the workers’ movement is certainly in favour of the Red Profintern. The Japanese General Federation of Labour, formerly a yellow organisation, is becoming decidedly revolutionary. It demands the centralisation of the Federation and opposes the federative tendency of the syndicalist federations. Only recently the Federation joined the political movement for universal suffrage, and its leaders are at present working towards the establishment of a political party on the principles of the Communist International. The Federation pointed out more than once in its resolutions that the ultimate aim of the workers’ movement is - the establishment of a workers’ government and of a new social order under the dictatorship of the proletariat. But under the present imperialist government it is impossible to formulate the aims of the organisation in such a form.

The peasant unions, which are amalgamated into a national federation, are also growing and becoming more influential. Not so long ago they resolved to establish a workers’ and peasants’ political party, which is now being organised. All these facts point to the direct and indirect influence of the Communist International.

The Eta[1] movement is at present the strongest militant movement in Japan. It has over a million members and agitates for full economic social and political equality. Several of the Eta leaders are members of the Communist Party, while the general political line and tactics of the movement are based on the theses of the Communist International which deal with the national and colonial questions. Consciously or unconsciously the movement is tending towards Communism.

The Japanese trade unions and federations rejected the proposal to appoint a delegate to the Labour Bureau of the League of Nations and sabotaged the elections in which only a few trade unions took part.

The influence of the Communist International is also apparent in the attitude of the Japanese working class movement to the working class movement of the Japanese colonies. There are at present in Japan, 2,000 Korean workers and coolies, and their number is growing every month because Korean labour is cheaper. But, nevertheless, there is no antagonism between Korean and Japanese workers.

The influence of the Communist International is bound to spread as the peasant movement develops and assumes more definite forms by becoming a close union between the town proletariat and the peasantry, who are joining forces for the struggle against their oppressors. On the political field, these joint forces struggle against the bourgeois government and capitalism through the establishment of a workers’ and peasants’ party.

3. The Communist International and Korea

The relations between the Communist International and the Korean movement are hitherto in an unsatisfactory state. The negotiations of the Communist International with the emigre Korean nationalists and so-called revolutionary leaders turned out subsequently to have been a mistake. But the situation in Korea is not at all discouraging. On the contrary, it is gradually assuming a definite revolutionary character owing to the fact that new young elements are growing up and are drawn into the nationalist movement (which compels the nationalist organisations to adopt more active methods of struggle instead of limiting themselves, as hitherto, to purely nationalist tasks, and to pay more attention to social and class questions), and that there is a tendency to look upon the Japanese revolutionary movement as the only movement capable of contributing to the success of the Korean nationalist movement. It may, perhaps, seem rather presumptuous to say so, but every time I had an opportunity to speak with Korean nationalists, I became convinced that they are doing their utmost to come into contact with the Japanese workers’ movement and with the revolutionary organisations of Japan. This, of course, augurs well for the revolutionary united front of the industrial proletariat and peasantry of both countries. It is an established fact that several important revolutionary organisations are aiming at the establishment of a close contact with the Communist International. This shows that the influence of the Communist International is gradually permeating the ranks of the Korean revolutionary leaders.

If, under these circumstances, the Communist International will adopt a well-considered policy towards Korea, it will be able to exercise considerable influence on the growing Korean nationalist movement. Then we shall be able to join the revolutionary organisations of Korean emigrants scattered throughout China and Manchuria into a united front with the revolutionary movement in Korea itself.

The orientation of the Mongolian Communist Party is towards the Russian Communist Party. But as the Congress of the Peoples of the East has shown us that in the coming revolutionary struggle in the Far East Mongolia will have to take its place among the other Far Eastern countries, the Communist International must guide the Mongolian Communist movement in the direction of fusion with the liberation movement of the Far Eastern countries.


The Communist International is destined to play a very important role in the coming revolutionary movement and revolutionary struggle throughout the world. The awakening of the East is rapid, much more rapid than the awakening of the West, and the masses are progressing to the Left much more rapidly than the revolutionary leaders. The workers and peasants of Japan are becoming class conscious and are everywhere to the fore, as evidenced by the sailors’ strike in Kobe in October, 1923. This victorious strike was in fact conducted by rank and file members of the sailors’ union. The trade union bureaucracy simply obeyed the strikers. Every vessel which came into port joined the strike, and several Osaka unions voted for material support of the strike until victory be achieved. The sailors’ union was considered to be a conservative organisation. Its leaders are intellectuals, but nevertheless it proved to be an excellent fighting organisation.

These facts show how important it is that the Communist International should play a leading role in the Far East. It can exercise a great influence on the workers’ movement in Japan and other Asiatic countries. The Philippines are emphatic in their demand for independence, and in pursuance of this aim, they are sending delegation after delegation to Washington. They deserve support, for they have realised that the independence of small nationalities and countries can only be attained by joining the Communist movement, which is international and is at the same time the only true champion of national independence.

The Communist International must take a prominent part in the coming revolutionary struggle of the East. Therefore, it must pay special attention to the movement in these countries. The Communist movement, as well as the workers’ movement in the Far Eastern countries is young and inexperienced, and the Communist International as the leader of the proletariat, must come to their assistance.

Long live the Communist International !

Long live the Communist Parties of the Far East !

Moscow, February 19th, 1924


1.A derogatory term used to refer to the outcast class in Japan that engaged in occupations with some stigma attached, such as undertakers or leather workers.