Hatta Shūzō: Christian Pastor to Anarchist Militant

  • John Crump


After Ōsugi Sakae’s murder, it was Hatta Shūzō who became the most influential anarchist theoretician in Japan. Most accounts treat anarchism as though it was supplanted by bolshevism after 1923 but, in fact, this was far from the case. As the next chapter will show, in terms of being an active social movement, anarchism was still very much alive and kicking throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. Intellectually, it also entered its richest and most productive phase after Ōsugi’s murder, and the theoretical fertility of this period was primarily due to Hatta’s writings and the intense debates which these provoked. Ōta Ryū has been one of the few postwar commentators who has adequately appreciated Hatta’s significance as a thinker. As he once put it, in an essay on anarchist theory:

Hatta Shūzō (born 1886; died 1934) was an important anarchist after the murder of Ōsugi Sakae (in 1923). Basing himself on Kropotkinism, he developed the theory of anarchist communism one step further. After Kropotkin’s death, world anarchism rapidly regressed from the level to which Kropotkin had brought it. It seems to me that, as far as I know, in the midst of these degenerate circumstances (the era of Marxism-Leninism’s complete domination) there was nobody other than Hatta (not only in Japan but in the entire world) who took a step forward in this way.1


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  1. 5.
    Kōtoku Shūsui Zenshū vol. 4 (1968), pp. 390–1.Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    Kagawa Toyohiko Zenshū vol. 19 (1963), p. 331. Kagawa claims in this novel that Yagi (i.e., Hatta) was a drug addict, but I have been able to find no independent confirmation of this.Google Scholar
  3. 42.
    Mihara Yōko, ‘1930 Nendai no Anakizumu Rōdō Undō’ part 1, Rōdōshi Kenkyū no. 3, 1986, p. 91.Google Scholar

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© John Crump 1993

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  • John Crump

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