Portal site for Russellian in Japan


Bertrand Russell at Keio University, July 1921(7)
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The Japain Chronicle goes on to quote sections from the subsequent conversation with Fukuda. Russell taking the role of questioner, in which he wanted to know what kind of books were being used as economic texts by students (Marx's Das Kapital, Alfred Marshall's Principles of Economics), and about the suppression of Socialist and Anarchist works.
 Osugi Sakae was evidently disappointed by the meeting, later stating that Russell made no real impression on him during what was only a five-minute face-to-face talk. In a short essay on the event entitled "Russell with a Cynical Smile" he recalls their encounter, describing how pinched the philosopher's face looked the most unpleasant feature of his appearance and how uncomfortable he felt amongst people he did not know in a hotel he had never entered before. Osugi was introduced to Russell as "Mr. Osugi, a Japanese Bakunin", which left the anarchist rather nonplussed. After sitting down next to each other Russell did nothing to conceal his irritation with the "more than ten photographers" present and the popping of the flash-bulbs, cynically smiling and joking that even though they were both anarchists they found the explosions "intollerable!"
Osugi's version of the brief exchange that followed was:

Russell: "Do you know Emma Goldman?"*20
Osugi: "Yes. From her books."
Russell: "How about Bergman?"
Osugi: "Yes, also from his works. But only 'An Anarchists's Life in Prison'."
Russell: "Ah, yes. But it's a very interesting book, isn't it?"

*20 Emma Goldman (1869-1940) Lithuanian-born American anarchist and writer deported to USSR to which she was ideologically opposed. She returned to the USA in 1924. Osugi was an outspoken critic of the Soviet government's suppression of anarchists. One of his children was named Emma. although she later changed it to Shoko. Goldman's writings were translated into Japanese by Ito.