by Fumiko Kaneko
Fumiko Kaneko (1903-1926) wrote this memoir while in prison after being convicted of plotting to assassinate the Japanese emperor. Despite an early life of misery, deprivation, and hardship, she grew up to be a strong and independent young woman. When she moved to Tokyo in 1920, she gravitated to left-wing groups and eventually joined with the Korean nihilist Pak Yeol to form a two-person nihilist organization. Two days after the Great Tokyo Earthquake, in a general wave of anti-leftist and anti-Korean hysteria, the authorities arrested the pair and charged them with high treason. Defiant to the end (she hanged herself in prison on July 23, 1926), Fumiko Kaneko wrote this memoir as an indictment of the society that oppressed her, the family that abused and neglected her, and the imperial system that drove her to her death.
About the Author:
Fumiko Kaneko was a Japanese anarchist and nihilist. She was convicted of plotting to assassinate members of the Japanese Imperial family.
She was twenty-three when she died. She had a limited education and had grown up in an atmosphere in which patriotism and loyalty to the emperor were viewed as the moral core of Japanese life. She formulated a heretical social and political philosophy, and refused to grovel before the authorities is an extraordinary example of determination. She refused to cower before the prosecutors and judges, and she expressed her views candidly, courageously, and decisively.