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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