Portal site for Russellian in Japan


Bertrand Russell at Keio University, July 1921(13)
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Eccentric and precocious from youth, she had married her high school English teacher at Ueno Girls' School, then became the common-law wife of Osugi, a believer in free love. Ostracized by the other leading socialists after the attempted murder of Osugi by his former mistress, they worked with union organizations in the industrial district of Kameido in Tokyo, and gained a circle of supporters among workers and students until their deaths. An advocate of abortion and contraception (Ito was the mother of seven children), she wrote some eighty articles on feminism and anarchism and two autobiographical novels. And then there was her physical appearance, which Russell noted. Ide Fumiko, author of The Women of Bluestockings ["Seito" no onna-tachi] (Tokyo: 1975), has described her as "a 'southern beauty' (meaning "tropical, almost overripe"), with the sort of looks that were not in style at the time, but which men found attractive even if women did not."*32
 The Japan Chronicle again records that on the 27th Russell gave a press interview at the Imperial Hotel in which he made some prophetic remarks on the Pacific Conference, predicting war with the United States. On July 30th Russell and Dora set sail for North America on their return journey to England. "We sailed from Yokohama by the Canadian Pacific "Empress of Asia", and were seen off by the anarchist, Ozuki [sic.], and Miss Ito," Russell notes in his Autobiography.*33

 Russell may have been informed of the deaths of Osugi and Ito (what became known as the "Amakasu Incident") by Robert Young, with whom he corresponded after his return to England. He gives an account of their arrest and murder by strangulation which ends, somewhat bitterly, with the observation that "The police in question became national heroes, and school children were set to write essays in their praise."*34 This is borne out by the account given in A. Morgan Young's book that "the Mainichi, with the greatest circulation in Japan, said that Amakasu was regarded as a national hero."*35
*32 Quoted by Stanley, p. 93.
*33 "This sailing from Yokohama was my first experience of the drama of the departure of a great liner: friends on the quay, flowers, farewells, music, and from the ship's deck to shore innumerable paper streamers which drew apart in brightly coloured festoons as the ship got under way." Dora Russell, The Tamarisk Tree. p. 145.
*34 Autobiography, p. 1
*35 A. Morgan Young. Japan Under Taisho Tenno: 1912-1226 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1928) p. 301. The work is dedicated "to the memory of Robert Young-founder and for thirty-one years editor of the 'Japan Chronicle' A. Morgan Young was the managing editor and publisher of the Kobe based Japan Chronicle.