Sexual Equality and its Law-ful and Out-law (Anarchist) Advocates in Imperial Japan 
Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context
Issue 7, March 2002
Hélène Bowen Raddeker
The 'Law' on Sexual Difference and 'Equal' Rights
Resistance to Difference; and Out-law Equalities
This was one of Fumiko's prison tanka, traditional short poems of 31 syllables. The 'glorious, pure self-sacrifice of woman' indeed!
In Fumiko's writings the inverted, or distorted, or warped nature of modern society was a common theme. This may have derived from a Marxian-style assumption of the social alienation suffered under capitalism, or perhaps from an anarchist tendency to counterpose this to a true, original way of Nature in which people could be fully human and free. Similarly, a couple of years earlier, Noe had noted in a journalistic article entitled 'A Couple's Life of Love,' that the same society that saw her and Ôsugi's anarchist life together as abnormal accepted the sort of family in which people were raised 'cowering and warped' as if in a prison.
September 1 was the day of the earthquake in 1923 and it was shortly after it that Noe and Ôsugi were murdered and Fumiko herself arrested. Whether the reference was to them or to murdered Korean friends, one wonders what sort of 'vow' she might have made on this day of commemoration. It is impossible to know for certain. It would be consistent with her declarations elsewhere if it were a pledge to avenge those murdered, or to ensure that her destiny/death would be of her own choosing. Alternatively, it could have been a vow to die, one way or another, like Suga and Kôtoku or Noe and Ôsugi, together with her equal partner in 'crime' or, rather, in out-law passions and (identity) politics.
 This essay is similar, in part, to a recent paper on Itô Noe entitled 'Anarcho-Feminist Discourse in Prewar Japan: Itô Noe's Autobiographical Social Criticism' which I contributed to Anarchist Studies (U.K.) 9, 2 (October 2001): 97-125. This was focussed upon her egoistic resistance in her late writings and her 'autobiographical' style as itself egoistic resistance. A full-length work on the other two women discussed here, Kanno Suga and Kaneko Fumiko is: Hélène Bowen Raddeker, Treacherous Women of Imperial Japan: Patriarchal Fictions, Patricidal Fantasies, London and New York: Routledge, 1997.
 Kanno Suga's prison diary, 'Shide no michikusa' (A Pause on the Way to Death) has been translated in Hane Mikiso, ed., Reflections on the Way to the Gallows: Rebel Women in Prewar Japan, New York: Pantheon, 1988, pp. 58-74. Cf. Bowen Raddeker, 'Death as Life: Political Metaphor in the Testimonial Prison Literature of Kanno Suga,' Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 29, 4 (1997): 3-12.
 Kaneko Fumiko, Nani ga watashi o kôsaseta ka [What made me like this?], Tokyo: Chikuma Shobô, 1984, p. 53. This prison autobiography is available in English translation: Jean Inglis, trans., Kaneko Fumiko: The Prison Memoirs of a Japanese Woman, New York and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1991. Cf. Bowen Raddeker, 'The Past Through Telescopic Sights—Reading the Prison-Life-Story of Kaneko Fumiko,' Japan Forum 7, 2 (Autumn 1995): 155-69.
 Cited in Setouchi Harumi, Yohaku no haru [Blank Spring], Tokyo: Chûkô Bunko, 1975, pp. 335-36.
 On the Bluestockings see Sharon Sievers, Flowers in Salt: The Beginnings of Feminist Consciousness in Modern Japan, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1983.
 This was according to Kanno's police interrogations and trial testimonies, for example: Kanno's Sixth Preliminary Court Interrogation, 13 June 1910, reproduced in Kanno Sugako Zenshû [The Collected Works of Kanno Sugako], III, Shimizu Unosuke, ed., Tokyo: Kôryûsha, 1984, pp. 248-50.
 Fumiko, certainly, and possibly also Pak tended to exaggerate their guilt, so it is difficult to separate bravado from reality. However, their and the group's testimonies (the authenticity of which were not questioned by defence lawyers then or later) show that there were such plans afoot. See, for example, Kaneko Fumiko, 'Tokyo District Court Preliminary Interrogation,' no. 3 (22 January 1924), in Pak Yeol, Kaneko Fumiko Saiban Kiroku [Records from the trial of...], Tokyo: Kokushoku Sensensha, 1977, pp. 15-19.
 Sharon H. Nolte & Sally Ann Hastings, 'The Meiji State's Policy Toward Women, 1890-1910,' in Recreating Japanese Women, 1600-1945,ed. Gail Lee Bernstein, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1991, pp. 151-74.
 This sort of point was made in Nolte and Hastings, 'The Meiji State's Policy Toward Women, 1890-1910.'
 Hane Mikiso (Reflections on the Way to the Gallows) has taken a psychobiographical approach to Fumiko's character, suggesting that she had a 'death wish' and was somewhat unbalanced. However, this ignores her determination to resist and to be accorded the same treatment as her male, Korean partner.
 Different feminisms (liberal, socialist, radical, and also the 'poststructuralist'/psychoanalytic feminism of Kristeva, Irigaray and Cixous) are discussed in: Chris Weedon, Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory, Cambridge MA and Oxford UK: Blackwell, 1987. See, especially, pp. 14-19, 63-73.
 Morwenna Griffiths, Feminisms and the Self: The Web of Identity, London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
 Griffiths, Feminisms and the Self , p. 77.
 Griffiths' model of two broad types of feminism, modernist and postmodernist, is based upon different conceptions of the Self as either an essentialised, 'core' or centred Self inspired by liberal-humanist individualism or an acentric/decentred Self (or multiple/dispersed Selves) inspired by theorists associated with poststructuralism such as Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida. Her liberal vs 'post-liberal' approach leads her to overlook socialist feminism, as noted. Even more problematic is where a brand of 'socialist' feminism such as individualistic anarchism/egoism might fit into her schema. This is alluded to below, and I have discussed it in more detail in connection with Itô Noe in Bowen Raddeker, 'Anarcho-Feminist Discourse in Prewar Japan,' pp. 115-20.
 Cf. Robert J. Smith, 'Making Village Women into "Good Wives and Wise Mothers" in Prewar Japan,' in Journal of Family History 8, 1 (Spring 1983): 70-84; Mariko Asano Tamanoi, 'Songs as Weapons: The Culture and History of Komori [Nursemaids] in Modern Japan,' Journal of Asian Studies 50, 4 (November 1991): 793-817.
 Jean-Pierre Lehmann, The Roots of Modern Japan, Houndmills and London: Macmillan, 1982, pp. 97-8.
 Such trends notwithstanding, ethnographic studies of village life much later in the 1930s still revealed more independence for peasant women in the area of sexual and marital practices: see Ella Lury Wiswell and Robert J. Smith, The Women of Suye Mura, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983; and Smith, 'Making Village Women into "Good Wives and Wise Mothers" in Prewar Japan.'
 Sheldon Garon, 'Women's Groups and the Japanese State: Contending Approaches to Political Integration, 1890-1945,' in Journal of Japanese Studies 19, 1 (Winter 1993): 5-41.
 As Christian opponents of concubinage and prostitution, these moral reformers had sometimes moved in the same circles as early Christian socialists, inviting state suspicion. On the Kyôfûkai, see Sievers, Flowers in Salt: Beginnings of Feminist Consciousness (especially Chapter Five, 'The Women's Reform Society'), pp. 87-113.
 Winston L. King, Zen and the Way of the Sword: Arming the Samurai Psyche, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, pp. 144-48.
 Nolte and Hastings, 'Meiji State's Policy toward Women.'
 Itô Noe, 'Jiko o Ikasu koto no Kôfuku,' reprinted in Itô Noe Zenshû II [Collected Works, in 2 vols], Tokyo: Gakugei Shorin, 1986, pp. 495-505.
 Bowen Raddeker, 'Anarcho-Feminist Discourse in Prewar Japan,' pp. 114-15.
 Vera Mackie, Creating Socialist Women in Japan, 1900-1937, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 52.
 A copy of this statement made on 26 February 1926 in the Supreme Court in Fumiko's handwriting is included in Trial Records, pp. 739-48.
 Yamada Waka, one of the more conservative of the 'Bluestockings,' cited in Mackie, Creating Socialist Women, p. 190.
 Kaneko, Preliminary Court Interrogation, no. 4 (23 January 1924), in Trial Records, p. 20.
 Defence lawyer, Hiraide Shû, cited in Itoya Toshio, Kanno Suga: Heiminsha no Fujin Kakumeika Zô [Kanno Suga: Portrait of a Woman Revolutionary of the Commoners' Society], Tokyo: Iwanami Shinsho, 1970, p. 197.
 Kanno's Sixth Preliminary Court Interrogation (13 June 1910), in Collected Works, III, pp. 248-50.
 Earlier sources were often over-influenced by the dismissive and judgmental treatment of Suga by a jilted lover, Arahata Kanson. An exception to this rule, fortunately, is the editor of the above-cited edition of her collected works, Shimizu Unosuke.
 Kanno Suga, 'Hiji Deppô' ['Rebuff,' published 15 April 1906], reproduced in Kanno's Collected Works, II, pp. 111-14.
 Sources in Japanese on Suga, Noe or Fumiko have often sported titles such as 'Hangyaku to Ai to' (Treason and Love), in Shisô no Kai e (Kaihô to Kakumei), 21, Josei—Hangyaku to Kakumei to Teiko to, ed. Suzuki Yûko, Tokyo: Shakai Hyôronsha, 1990, pp. 30-52.
 Fuse Tatsuji, Unmei no Shôrisha, Pak Yeol [Victor over Destiny, Pak Yeol], Tokyo: Seiki Shobô, 1956, pp. 25-27.
 Max Stirner, The Ego and His Own, London: Jonathan Cape, 1971.
 Akai Tsutsuji no Hana: Kaneko Fumiko no Omoide to Kashû [Red Azaleas: Reminiscences of Kaneko Fumiko and her Collected Poetry], Tokyo: Kokushoku Sensensha, 1984, p. 39
 Akai Tsutsuji no Hana: Kaneko Fumiko no Omoide to Kashû, p. 29.
 Kaneko, Nani ga Watashi o kôsaseta ka? [Prison autobiography], pp. 91-95.
 Itô Noe, 'Ai no Fûfu Seikatsu—Watashitomo o musubitsukeru mono' ['A Couple's Life of Love—What Binds us Together,' first published in Josei Kaizô, April 1923], in Collected Works, II, pp. 475-80.
 Even before her arrest Fumiko had criticised Japanese pretensions to paternalistic benevolence toward Koreans. She wrote in one of the group's newspapers that those assimilationists who were so 'showy' in parading their 'love of humanity' needed first to transform Japanese colonists and the colonial authorites in Korea (where she had lived for some years as a child) into humans with whom Koreans could assimilate. Later during the trial she emphasised that under the supposedly 'godly' imperial rule by the loving 'father of the nation', children in Japan were crying with hunger, suffocating in the coal mines, being crushed to death by factory machines. 'Fumiko,' 'Omotta koto, Futatsu-Mittsu' [A Few Things on My Mind'], in Kokutô, 2 (10 August 1922): (full page numbers of article please, p. 1 reprinted in Trial Records, p. 810; and her 12th testimony (14 May 1924), in Trial Records, pp. 57-62.
 Kaneko, Red Azaleas, p. 33.
 Re 'proper names', it should be noted that Fumiko had even before her arrest signed her name as 'Pak Fumiko', doubtless as a political statement against discrimination against Koreans and probably also against the father who had disowned her for living with a 'base' Korean. She also legally married Pak while in prison and wore Korean national dress into the Supreme Court, as he did, to show their contempt for the legal proceedings of Japan's imperialist state. I doubt that nationality, per se, would have been important to her, however, since she had distanced her more radical 'nihilism' from the movement merely for Korean independence.
 Bowen Raddeker, 'Anarcho-feminist Discourse in Prewar Japan,' pp. 114-15.
 Fuse Tatsuji, Unmei no Shôrisha, Pak Yeol (readers are reminded that the title of Fuse's biography of Pak was 'Victor over Destiny').