Saturday, August 23, 2008

'The Crab Ship' - Japanese hungry for change

"We’re going to hell!," shouts a Japanese fisherman as he boards a factory ship bound for freezing waters off Russia.

The sailor and his comrades – a mix of sea-hardened veterans, university students and poor farm boys – are beaten and exploited by sadistic foremen and greedy bosses. When they form a union and strike, the army stomps aboard and brutally puts it down.

Such is the bare-bones plot of the proletarian classic The Crab Ship, a novel that earned its author Takiji Kobayashi the attentions of Japan’s infamous special police, who tortured him to death four years after it was published. But that was 1933, and to the astonishment of many, except perhaps Japan’s growing army of working poor, Kobayashi’s book is back in fashion, outselling most other titles on the shelves. ...

Read the rest of this fascinating article (in the UK Independent), where you also find out that the Japan Communist Party

is reportedly recruiting 1,000 new members a month, after the party leader Kazuo Shii harangued Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in February. "Day temp staff workers are being discarded like disposable articles," said Mr Shii in a TV clip endlessly circulated on the internet. The party sells 1.5 million copies of its daily Akahata (Red Flag) newspaper, though this is well down on its 3.5 million peak.

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