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Press translations [Japan]. Social Series 0137, 1945-12-30.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: social-0571

call-number: DS801 .S84

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No. 571 Date: 30 Dec 1945


ITEM 1 Vagrants- Yomiuri Hochi 27, 28 December 1945. Translator: Akabane, Y.
I am a former professor at KYUSHU University and am now a social and economic critic. I [illegible]anced to descend into the underground subway at UENO Station and found a fellow wearing a filthy, national suit, lying with his head in a ditch. I called to him several times and received no reply, so thinking he was dead I nudjed him. He wearily brought up his head, muddy water dripping from his broken cap. He was alive! In reply to my questions, he stated, "I am 22 years old and was once a chauffeur, but am now unemployed. I returned home to the country but I could not stay there as my parents are poor, so I came to TOKYO again and am now engaged in transporting food of the Occupation Forces for 25 yen a day. Having no ration, I am living on food tickets bought at black market prices, paying at least 2 yen 50 sen per ticket, Two tickets are required for one meal plus 7 yen 40 sen for rice, amounting to about 24 yen for 3 meals. This leaves not even one sen each day. I can not return to my country home and I have no relatives or friends in TOKYO, so I spend the nights here".
I went to the waiting room above, which is leterally packed with vagrants and passengers with large rucksacks. I tried to ask them questions at random. Some of them were rather pleased to relate their stories of the misery of living and appealed for relief through the press. Vagrants gathering about the UENO Section since the end of the war have been increasing daily, and number at present over 800.
Generally speaking, vagrants are a part of the "relative over-population", a product of a capitalist society, so they will exist as long as the capitalistic economy continues. In JAPAN where the state of apparent unbalance between agriculture and industry during the development of capitalism was particularly outstanding, the question of relative overpopulation has been a special social complication since the MEIJI Era. The proletariat is the chief component of this over-population. If the proletariat is not favored with opportunities for employment and is forced to be idle in cities and at the doors of industrial enterprises, they gradually form into groups of vagrants. Such groups new seen at UENO Station are the poor population arriving in the metropolis from far villages in the KANTO and TOHOKU Districts. All the vagrants I spoke to are no exception to this rule of vagrant production, which is made more conspicuous by the additional misery of war devastation, unemployment, demobilization and pending industrial rehabilitation.
In this connection, we cannot overlook the fact that this is an aspect of militaristic and semi-feudalistic Japanese capitalism which perpetrated this war of aggression. The war ended in utter defeat as the natural consequence arising, out of this contradiction, causing many war-victims, and unemployed, in addition to industrial destruction. The origin of over-population and

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SOCIAL SERIES: 137 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
rapid increases in vagrancy is found in the recent war. In this sense vagrants at UENO can be classified as follows:
Vagrants, beggars, habitual criminals, street-walkers, and others who habitually gather at UENO. Most of them are unskilled laborers or at least have lost their desire to work. Accordingly they are not qualified as laborers. I will put them aside for the present.
War victims, unemployed, the demobilized, and those temporarily out of jobs. Vagrants belonging to this category, constitute an overwhelmingly high proportion the 800 vagrants. They were factory workers until yesterday, having sufficient working initiative and ability. They gather there for sleep and rest as they have no work and lodging. They are fully able to work if jobs lodging, and adquate training, is given them. Nevertheless, if they are left uncared for, they will grow desperate and become true vagrants by and by. They said to me: "Give us food, work and lodging, We will do anything for you. We will destroy all TOKYO in one night." There I saw already a danger signal at their impromptu talk in the face of acute starvation.
Groups of street-side stall keepers. Both the owners and followers have become vagrants because of air raids, but now they have restored their organization. This group is almost similar to the second category but differs in that its followers in the new organization are engaged in black marketing by paying a kind of brokers fee to their bosses. It must be pointed out that the third category alone has organization. Bosses have a strong influence over their followers, who are forced to assist the bosses in black marketing, and female followers are made waitresses in ODEM-YA (TN: Type restaurant where-as vagrants of the second category were faithful workers before, and even now are hoping to work, waiting for tile reestablishment of industries.

At present, vagrants belonging, to the third category have an organization called SAKURA KAI (Cherry Society), and take upon themselves the work of daily arranging the station premises. Although vagrants of the second category are sincere, and naturally dislike the control by the third Category bosses and their followers, they are obliged to obey as they have no organization of their own. The SAKURA-KAI is an off shoot of the JAPAN Democratic League (NIPPON MINSHU DOMEI), a political body, and is influenced by rightest reactionary political bodies.
Then I went to HONGANJI Temple, where there is in the basement a reception room for UENO Vagrants. Mr. NAKAI former stockbroker, first brought about 400 vagrants here from UENO with his own money, organizing "SAWPOKAI" at the request of the city welfare department. Contrary to his expectations, his attempt only served to ruin the second category vagrants and paralyzed their power of self-regeneration, and failed to restor them to fields of labor. Three meals are supplied there to more than 350 vagrants daily, but the quantity it not enough, being less than 1,000 Calories a day. They serve rice, wheat, potatoes, rape, salt etc. Aside from the lice and the squalor, those who have aspirations for working can not satisfy themselves with such poor food, so they leave sooner or later.
At present the actual power of control has fallen into the hands of Mr. HOSHINO of SAKURA-KAI, who intends to keep vagrants busy. But his methods are negative and inadequate to make them return to work in the field of industrial reconstruction and production.
The question of vagrants can not remain a matter of charity, its subject not being vagrants but the unemployed due to war. The question of war sufferers and the unemployed typified by the vagrants in UENO is becoming a serious social question of all the proletarian masses under the conditions of wide-
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spread unemployment, starvation, wholesale delay in industrial reconstruction and the overflow of population through cities and villages. The proletariat and the UENO vagrants are not very different. The former must push its way, in co-operation with war-sufferers and the unemployed, to connect directly with labor unions and strengthen the front of the laboring class. Groups of Vagrants who have any working ability, ambitions and are awaiting employment, should not be delivered to the corrupt black market merchants, but must be trained for a certain period and sent to employment agencies.
For this purpose, they should be given food, work, and lodging on a large scale by confiscating war-profiteers properties or collecting high property taxes apart from small sale charity efforts by private individuals. The unemployment commissions, with the co-operation of city and farmers commissions, should practice priority distribution of food to the working masses including war-sufferers and the unemployed, through people's joint control of food and joint control of labor for industrial enterprises.
ITEM 2 Tn[illegible]atre and [illegible]Mainishi Shimbun-28 December 1945. Translator; Ogawa, Tonoye.
Mr. MURAYA[illegible] [illegible]yoshi, one of our leading leftist artists who has been in KOREA helping he cultural movement in the peninsula returned home on 21 December. The young artist has suspended his open activity since the Japanese Government has adopted an antagonistic policy toward the new theatrical movement.
In an interview, Mr. MURAYAMA spoke of the cultural activity in KOREA before, during, and after the war. The artist also expressed his views on the future of the new [illegible]trical movement. He said, "We anticipate the establishment of an arts Ministry if the independence of KOREA is realized. Having been stimulated by this anticipation, they hastened to form artistic groups, AS a result, the Central Conference for Construction of KOREAN Culture (CHOSEN BUKKA KENSETSO CHUO KYOGI KAI) was inaugurated. All artists known to be pro-Japanese including CHO, Taku-Gen and SAI, Sho-Ki, were denied membership in the Conference. The cultural circles have organized the Proletarian Arts Union.
"Taking the new theatrical movement alone, many new theaters, headed by the ''Revolutionary theater" (KAKUMEI GEKIJO) have been established, and their number has reached between 20 and 30. At these so the theaters such plays as Gorki's "Mother" and GOGOE's "The Inspector General" were frequently presented. Among the novelists, LI, Ki-[illegible]i, LI, Tai-Shun and KIN, Shi-Ryo are active while among the musicians, KIN, Sei-Tai, a composer and KIN, Sun-Dan are active.
"In musical circles, an extreme leftist tendency has become more apparent. KOREA has been divided politically into two factions at present. All political parties which were organized at random now adhere to a united front, aiming to promote the independence of the new republic. Accordingly, all the cultural movements are uniting in harmony with the political parties.
"The theatrical movement in JAPAN has been stagnant because many of our theater people were mobilized as soldiers or industry workers. Some became movie actors. We must begin a restoration now. Persons formerly prominent in the theater are already 50 or 60 years Old. Therefore we must train younger people. Re-education of the audience is also essential. I was planning to consolidate the farmer SHIN STUKIJI and SHIN KYO, but that is difficult due to the absence of Mrs. SENDA, Koreya; OZAWA, Ditaro, UNO, Jakichi; NOBU, Kinzo, and others. Consequently for the resent I want to join the TOGEI group established by Mrs. SUSSUKIDA, Kenji and TAKIZAWA, Osamu and others.
"In reference to the general new theatrical movement, I want to organize a
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theatrical personnel association of JAPAN to include the progressive artists in existing troupe such INOOE, Masao's Troupe, Zouchin-Za, ENN-OSUKE's Troupe, and others. For this purpose I am now working with Mr. HIJIKATA, Yoshi. I am also planning to farm the Theatrical Consideration Association (GEKIDAN SHINGI KAI) to lower the absurd admission tax which is up to 20 per sent of the admission fee. Mr. HIJIKATA, as advisor, and Mr. NAKUMAR, Eiji, as councillor, have already joined the Japan Travelling Theater League. I, myself, am a member of the Consideration Association. I hope to operate the League mere briskly in the future as an organ to raise the cultural level of laborers and farmers.
"One of the difficulties we meet with in the new theatrical movement is the lack of theaters. In this connection Mr. HIJIKATA is planning to reconstruct the former TSUKIJI manor Theater at its former site. It is expected that our new theatrical movement will show remarkable daily progress."
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Social Series 0137, 1945-12-30.
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