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12 May 1946: The Japanese Anarchist Federation was founded in Tokyo.
The Anarchist Federation of Japan (Nihon Anakisuto Renmei) was formed amid great enthusiasm in May 1946 and care was taken at that stage not to allow the old antagonism between anarchist communists and anarchist syndicalists to re-emerge and jeopardise the effectiveness of the new organisation. Older men and women who had belonged to one wing of the anarchist movement or the other now readily cooperated and were joined by younger comrades to whom the prewar divisions meant little. For a time, anything seemed possible. The hated militarist state lay shattered, such police forces as survived lacked confidence and were unsure of themselves in the new “democratic” climate, and overseeing everything was an apparently benign Occupation force which initially encouraged all expressions of opposition to the old regime. The Anarchist Federation launched its journal in June 1946 and emphasised its links with the struggles of the past by resurrecting Kôtoku’s old masthead, the Common People’s Newspaper (Heimin Shinbun). Enormous effort was poured into distributing the journal nationwide, with novel sales methods (such as anarchists travelling back and forth on the rail network to sell it on long-distance trains) being used to boost sales. Yet the fact that such methods had to be employed illustrated the extent to which anarchism had lost what had hitherto appeared to be its “natural constituencies” on the farms and in the factories.
As frustration mounted due to the lack of headway achieved so the old tensions between anarchists of different persuasions started to resurface. In May 1950 the Anarchist Federation held its fifth conference in Kyôto and this proved to be the occasion when antagonism between anarchist syndicalists and anarchist communists boiled over once more. In the same month a distinct Anarcho-Syndicalist Group (Anaruko Sanjikarisuto Gurûpu) was formed. By October 1950 the Anarchist Federation had split and, in effect, had ceased to funtion. It is true that the Anarchist Federation was reconstituted in June 1951, but the organisation which continued under this name was largely composed of those sympathetic to syndicalism. In the same month the anarchist communists set up the Japan Anarchist Club (Nihon Anakisuto Kurabu), with the result that the Japanese anarchist movement was once more back to the divided condition it had been in between 1928 and 1934.
The Anarchist Federation limped on until 1968, but recognised the inevitable in November of that year when it decided “creatively to dissolve” itself.
From: THE ANARCHIST MOVEMENT IN JAPAN by John Crump Published by the Anarchist Federation www.afed.org.uk