Sakai Toshihiko

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Sakai Toshihiko

Sakai Toshihiko ( Japanese 堺 利 彦 ; born January 15, 1871 in Miyako , Fukuoka ; died January 23, 1933 ) was a Japanese journalist, politician, thinker, and writer during the Meiji , Taishō, and early Shōwa periods .

life and work

Sakai Toshihiko, born in Fukuoka Prefecture, worked as a teacher and journalist for various newspapers. In 1899 he joined the "Yorozu Chōhō" (萬 朝 報). This was a daily newspaper founded by the journalist Kuroiwa Ruikō (黒 岩 涙 香; 1862-1920), which brought many articles on socialism. As a great admirer of Kōtoku Shūsui , he joined socialism, left the Yorozu Chōhō in 1903 and worked as the editor of the Heimin Shimbun, as a passionate pacifist, which he remained until the end of his life.

In the years 1906, 1907 Sakai belonged to the leaders of the first Socialist Party of Japan ( 日本 社会 党 , Nihon shakai-tō), which he had co-founded. He remained closely connected to Kōtoku and therefore also took part in direct actions. After the Akahata incident, he served a prison term from 1908 to 1909. Then he founded the publishing house Baibunsha (売 文 社), which published the journal for social theories “Shinshakai” (新 社会) - “New Society”. The publishing house then also brought out other magazines in order to promote cooperation among the socialists during the period of oppression that followed the high treason proceedings.

From 1917 Sakai turned to revolutionary Marxism, founded in 1922 with Yamakawa Hitoshi and Arahata Kanson (荒 畑 寒 村; 1887–1981) the Communist Party of Japan . He was arrested in 1923 and spent a short time in prison in 1926. - Sakai's approach was criticized by the Comintern , and he did not participate in the founding of the Japanese Communist Party. Rather, he became a leading member of the Rōnō faction within the new "capitalism debate".

Sakai works together with the legal left-wing socialist parties, from 1928 to 1929 with the Musan Taishūtō ( 無 産 大衆 党 , ~ "Proletarian mass party") and the Tōkyō Musantō ( 東京 無 産 党 ), for which he ran unsuccessfully for the Reichstag in 1930 . He acted as an advisor to other parties and was also a member of the city council (shikai) of Tokyo . - In 1931 he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, but was able to continue working. Until his death he tried to bring the various socialist groups and opponents of the war together.

Sakai left an extensive body of work on questions of socialism.


  1. The Akahata incident (赤 旗 事件, Akahata jiken) occurred when all groups of the socialist wing in Kanda celebrated the release of the activist Yamaguchi Kōken on June 22, 1908 and right-wing groups disrupted this by burning red flags (= Akahata). There were riots, the police stepped in and arrested 14 people from the left scene. Arahata Kanson, Ōsugi Sakae (1885-1923), Sakai, Yamakawa Hitoshi, and others were sentenced to prison terms.
  2. The treason trial concerned several hundred socialists and anarchists who were accused of plotting to assassinate the emperor. It ended with 24 death sentences, 12 of which were carried out. See Taigyaku Jiken .
  3. The capitalism debate (日本 資本主義 論争, Nihon shihonshugi ronsō) in the 1920s concerned the approach towards socialism: should one abolish capitalism over several stages or in one big step.


  • S. Noma (Ed.): Sakai Toshihiko . In: Japan. An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Kodansha, 1993, ISBN 4-06-205938-X
  • Hunter, Janet: Sakai Toshihiko . In: Concise Dictionary of Modern Japanese History. Kodansha International, 1984. ISBN 4-7700-1193-8 .

Web links

Commons : Sakai Toshihiko  - collection of images, videos and audio files