In 1904, serious persecution of Socialist b egan in Japan. Comrades Kotoku and Sen Katayama came to the United States and initiated the first socialist group among the Japanese working-class, a Japanese socialist association in San Francisco. A labor union of Japanese workers was established in Fresno, California in 1908 and an English-language weekly, The Labor, published in an effort to fight the rampant anti-Asian bigotry that was endemic throughout the region. The union and its newspaper lasted only a short time.

There was very little socialist activity among Japanese immigrants during the decade of the 1910s, a small monthly paper called Heimin, published by Sen Katayama, being the notable exception.

[fn: Sen Katayama, " Japanese Socialists in America" in The American Labor Year-Book, 1916. (NY: Rand School Press, 1916), pp. 137-138.]


In the Fall of 1919, a small group calling itself "The Japanese Socialist Group in America" was established in New York City. The group, which included prominent socialists Unzo Taguchi and Sen Katayama, sent a report to Moscow in January 1921 detailing the progress of the socialist movement in Japan. The orientation of the group was very much "Japanese" rather than "American" -- revolutionary socialist exiles from Japan interested in furthering the Japanese movement, as opposed to building a Japanese-American movement in the United States.

In April 1921, now having changed its name to "The Japanese Communist Group in Ameica," Unzo Taguchi was credentialled to attend the 3rd Congress of the Communist International "with a view of being instrumental in organizing a Japanese section of the CI in Japan, and in establishing an efficient cooperation between the CP of Japan and our Group."

[fn: Comintern Archive, f. 515, op. 1, d. 88, l. 1-6.]

The Japanese Communist Group in America was formally a branch of the United Communist Party of America in 1921. The group stated there were 100,000 Japanese people living in California and another 110,000 in the American protectorate of Hawaii and the Japanese Communist Group hoped to establish a periodical which could not only be smuggled into Japan, but also be circulated among the Japanese workers in America. Nevertheless, the Japanes Communist Group in America saw its primary function as "aiding and guiding the Japanese movement until it stands on its own feet."

[fn: Comintern Archive, f. 515, op. 1, d. 88, l. 7-9.]