Communism Now Big in Japan; Still Little in Virtue

By:  Selwyn Duke
Communism Now Big in Japan; Still Little in Virtue

Japan's economic malaise is perhaps providing communism with its most fertile modern ground, as young workers there are increasingly embracing the Japanese Communist Party.

Will the grinding poverty and initiative killing of collectivism soon wear the label “Made in Japan”? Such a prospect is likely a ways off, but it could become a reality if Yoshiko Kira has her way. Kira is one of a slew of Japanese Communist Party (JCP) candidates who won office in her nation’s July elections, which saw the JCP increase its presence in the House of Councilors from 6 to 11 seats — enough representation to propose legislation.

In point of fact, the JCP won more votes in the major metropolises of Tokyo and Osaka than all but Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and the JCP has been on the rise for some time. As the Telegraph’s Danielle Demetriou wrote in 2008, “New [JCP] recruits are signing up at the rate of 1,000 a month, swelling its ranks to more than 415,000. Meanwhile a classic proletarian novel is at the top of the best-seller lists, and communist-themed ‘manga’ comics are enjoying soaring success.”

It isn’t just the Land of the Rising Sickle, either. Sales of The Communist Manifesto (the best-selling book in history next to the Bible) and Das Kapital have soared since the 2008 financial crisis. Karl Marx was voted “favorite philosopher” by BBC radio listeners, beating out contenders such as Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Thomas Aquinas. And in an irony akin to having Marx’s picture on a Bible tract, his image is the one most often chosen by customers of Germany’s Sparkasse Chemnitz Bank — for their credit cards.    

But it is in Japan where economic malaise is perhaps providing communism with its most fertile modern ground. Why? As Demetriou also wrote: “A wave of discontent among its younger workers is fuelling a change in the nation's political landscape: communism is suddenly back in fashion. What many young Japanese view as an erosion of their economic security and employment rights, combined with years of political stagnation, are propelling droves of them into the arms of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP).”

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Photo of Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii giving a speech in Japan

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