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(en) France, UCL AL #313 - Culture, Read: Kobayashi, "March 15, 1928" (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 7 Mar 2021 08:27:37 +0200


Amsterdam editions have reissued Kobayashi's first novel this year. March 15, 1928 is a short novel with fictional characters but which looks like a documentary so much the author is concerned to bear witness to the events he attends. ---- Perhaps you have already read Takiji Kobayashi'sFactory Ship ? Written in 1929 and reissued in 2008, it has since become a true bestseller to the point of giving rise to the expression kanikôsen (making a factory boat) to describe precarious work in Japan! ---- The Amsterdam editions reissued this year Kobayashi's first novel, March 15, 1928 . And this one is just as essential. Like Le Bateau-Factory, March 15, 1928 is a short novel with fictional characters but which looks like a documentary as the author is keen to bear witness to the events he attends.

This famous March 15, 1928, the communist and socialist militants know an unprecedented wave of arrests. The influence of the Communist Party, then underground, is growing, especially in the unions. The Japanese Interior Minister Giichi Tanaka fearing an attempted insurrection, takes the lead by launching a "preventive" police operation leading to the arrest of more than 1,600 Communist and Socialist activists or sympathizers. Around 500 will then be tried and sentenced to heavy sentences.

In the small town of Otaru in Hokkaïdo (the large northern island of Japan) where Kobayashi lived at the time, the roundup was particularly important. The author presents us, in all simplicity, a handful of activists with varied profiles and characters. Male activists, because there are only men. The relationship with their companions, in the background, shows the sexism of the workers' movement of the time.

An unprecedented wave of arrests
These activists have their quirks, their difficulties and their doubts, but they have an impressive force. A force nourished by solid ideas, an unshakeable hope for the future, and an impressive conception of the collective. Beyond the harshness of living conditions and police barbarism, yet told without pathos or lyricism, it is the mental strength of these activists that gives us a slap in the face.

Like many stories from revolutionaries of the past century, this little novel by Kobayashi invites us to put into perspective our current difficulties, as real as they are. A hard but powerful text, which infuses strength and will. By closing this book, we want to take a deep breath and return to our activist tasks stronger. Almost a century later, uniting workers in all countries remains a hot topic.

Five years after the writing of March 15, 1928 , Takiji Kobayashi himself will be arrested. He will eventually succumb to torture, under the beatings of the police.

Benjamin (UCL Nantes)

https://www.unioncommunistelibertaire.org/?Lire-Kobayashi-Le-15-mars-1928
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