Socialism From The Land Of The Rising Sun With A Feminist TwistI consider myself a Feminist Socialist. I came to Socialism through a rather unique path. I was researching Japanese Feminist movements. One of the essential readings on this topic is titled Flowers in Salt: the Beginnings of Feminist Consciousness in Modern Japan. This fabulous book was all I had hoped for and more. It turns out that many of the leaders in Japanese Feminist movements were also Socialists and/or Anarchists. In many ways the movements were linked. I learned of the brilliant women who lead Feminist and Socialist marches alike:
Kishida Toshiko (1863-1901): Pioneer of Japanese women’s movement who began lecturing at age 20. Most well known for her speech titled “Daughters Confined in Boxes” which discussed the problems with strictly confining women to the home like prisoners. This speech compared women confined to the home as flowers in salt; doomed to wilt and die.
“If it is true that men are better than women because they are stronger, why aren’t our sumo wrestlers in the government?”
“Cosmetic changes demonstrating that men were capable of putting women on a pedestal, should not be taken as meaningful change.”
Fukuda Hideko (1865–1927): A leader in Japanese women’s and socialist movements inspired by Kishida. She spoke fervently of the double burden of women as being oppressed both by the wealthy and by men. Many of the male socialists she worked tirelessly beside to further the movement refused to acknowledge women’s issues as important to the struggle.
Kanno Suga (1881–1911): Socialist, feminist, and anarchist to her death. Her life was a turbulent struggle right up to her execution by the ruling government for a plot to assassinate emperor. Her hope was to inspire revolution and take back institutional structures used to oppress. She was the first woman to be officially executed by the Japanese government.
“I think the Emperor as an individual may be deserving of sympathy, but he heads the system that oppresses us and…is politically responsible.”
“We die for our principles. Bonzai!” Shouted from the gallows moments before her execution.
These women are the Socialist leaders I know most about. Something I would like to learn more about is Frida Kahlo's involvement and views on Socialism. My attempts to find information on her political views in the past have turned up very little. I know that her husband Diego Rivera was also very involved in Socialist movements in Mexico. I imagine it would be helpful to learn more about other socialist concepts as my knowledge is rather specialized, and somewhat limited.