The Principal Japanese Communist Leaders in the View of US Officials, 1944–46
The best-known of all Japanese communist leaders has been in the news in the last few years. Nosaka Sanzo, often said to have been one of the founders of the Japanese Communist Party in 1922, was expelled from the party and stripped of the title of honorary chairman in 1992. A letter from him had been found in the Soviet Communist Party archives in which he falsely accused anotherJapanese communist,Yamamoto Kenzo, ofbeing a spy who had stayed in the Soviet Union and had subsequently been executed. Nosaka died in November 1993 at the age of 101. US officials· had been aware of Nosaka during the Second World War, and when it ended and the occupation began they also placed other Japanese communist leaders, particularly Tokuda Kyiiichi and Shiga Yoshio, under closer surveillance. By the end of the first year of occupation a certain view existed regarding these communist leaders. US officials reckoned that the main communist leaders were largely pursuing their own interests, but what kind ofpersonalities were they? What type of ideological line did they support within the communist movement? Was it possible to cooperate with them? Were they able to seize power in Japan?