7 1 4 D O C U M E N T 4 2 6 J A N U A R Y 1 9 2 3
426. To Nippon Puroretaria Domei[1]
[On board SS Haruna Maru, 22 January
1923][2]
Dear friends,
I was unable to answer your
letter[3]
earlier because I had lost both it and the
address. Mr.
Yamamoto[4]
has again furnished me with the address, so I would like
to reply to your questions, but am unable to recall them in detail.
Firstly I must point out that my observations about Japanese social and political
conditions are so very limited that even I cannot rely on my own judgment. Con-
cerning the first point I observed two matters which at a glance seem to be incom-
patible. There is neither conspicuous poverty nor a lack of money, but nevertheless
piecework caried out at home is dreadfully ill-paid for the most part. As far as my
observations showed, I believe that this riddle can be interpreted as the result of the
fact that the people have few desires, their way of life is suitable, and in addition
they are particularly moderate in their consumption of alcohol. Be that as it may, in
any case I believe that this country will become increasingly industrialized, and
owing to the political situation it will become necessary to organize the working
classes. If this organization is to be of value to the whole nation, it must not turn
into a malicious movement which is carrying out opposition merely for the sake of
opposition, such as happened with us in Europe for a long time. You must realize
in particular that the main factor behind the lowering in wages for home work lies
in the overpopulation of this country, and therefore it cannot be done away with by
purely political methods. On the other hand, the struggle against militarism seems
to me to be a purely political issue. In my opinion this constitutes a real danger to
this nation. This is because, owing to its geographical position, Japan is fortunate
enough to require little military protection. The Washington Conference created the
first opportunity enabling us to hold out some hope on this
matter.[5]
I am convin-
ced that in the future efforts by the people will be linked to international coopera-
tion as well as organization, and will never combine with military planning. I hope
that Japan will draw a conclusion from this for its own sake and for the sake of all
the countries in the world.
Special regards,
A. Einstein
PLS. Kaizo, February 1923, pp. 195–196, and Kaneko 1987, p. 377. The German original is unavai-
lable.
[1]The Japanese Proletarian Alliance.
[2]Dated by the original in Kaizo.
[3]For the questions sent by the Alliance, see Abs. 471.
[4]Sanehiko Yamamoto.
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