Portal Site for Russellian in Japan


Bertrand Russell at Keio University, July 1921(12)
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Sakai Toshihiko made it plain that he was disappointed with Russell's criticism of New Russia, For various reasons it is unlikely that Osugi and Russell would ever have formed any real affinity, but perhaps to be regretted that two such kindred spirits, did not accord with each other. Both were radicals, outspoken and prickly characters; both had embraced and then become disillusioned with Bolshevism; both were lapsed Christians, having abandoned Christianity for Socialism. Both Russell and Osugi were pacifists and they shared ideas on sexuality and the nature of marriage; both were if not sexually promiscuous then certainly concupiscent. Both had been imprisoned at some time for their beliefs, Russell during the First World War as a conscientious objector, Osugi for three years between 1906 and 1911. Perhaps it was a clash of personality or an unwillingness to compromise; even an arrogance of sorts. They undoubtedly shared a self-centered individualism. But probably the greatest barrier between them was Osugi's fervent and essential distrust of intellectuals as leaders of the workers.
The catalyst that might have bound them together, however, was Ito Noe. She seems to have made the greater impression on Russell than Osugi, as the former makes clear in his Autobiography:

We met only one Japanese whom we really liked, a Miss Ito. She was young and beautiful, and lived with a well-known anarchist, by whom she had a son. Dora said to her: 'Are you not afraid that the authorities will do something to you?' She drew her hand across her throat, and said: 'I know they will sooner or later.'*29

Ito's command of English would have been an asset in forming this impression, as she was fluent in the language; Osugi on the other hand, although a speaker of English and French, had a stutter which he inherited from his father.*30 She was independent-minded, individualistic, and iconoclastic, and 'deeply impressed by Emma Goldman's views on male-female relationships and her ideas on the importance of self-fulfillment.*31 Ito translated articles by Goldman for the Seito, a magazine published by the feminist group Seitosha [Bluestocking] which she was editor of.


*29 Autobiograpky, p. 134.
*30 Stanley, p. 168.
*31 Mikiso Hane, trans. and ed. Reflections on the Way to the Gallows(Univ. California Press, 1988) introduction, p. 22.