Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-xii

Something extraordinary happened in Japan several years ago when I first began writing this book. A proletarian novel written by a young Japanese communist in 1929 captured the attention of an entire nation. A story about collective struggle on a fishing boat sailing off the coast of Soviet Russia, Kobayashi Takiji’s Kani kōsen (Crab cannery boat) sent bookstores stocking their shelves with more than half a...

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Chapter 1: Introduction: Recasting Red Culture in Proletarian Japan

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pp. 1-11

Let us begin with that unforgettable image: Yanase Masamu’s red hand, adorning the frontispiece of this book, which stretches out from a page of the Musansha shinbun (Proletarian news) in a gesture of solidarity, strength, and reassurance. Yanase’s artistry is impeccable if self-consciously crude, different shades of red and black ink brought together with such meticulous craftsmanship that...

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Chapter 2: Fairy Tales on the Front Line: Reading Childhood, Class, and Culture

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pp. 12-69

Published in the march 1932 edition of the magazine Hataraku fujin (Working women), Arai Mitsuko’s story “Shōkichi’s Tears” is a tale about a group of urban children whose game of cops and robbers slowly evolves into something all too real. A carefully crafted work of realist fiction, Arai’s story asks the reader to identify with a working-class fifth-grade boy named Shōkichi, who is captured by...

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Chapter 3: Writing on the Wall: Kabe shōsetsu and the Proletarian Avant-garde

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pp. 70-123

In February 1931, the Japanese proletarian arts journal Senki (Battle flag) published a two-page short story titled “Food in the Cafeteria” (see Figure 6), written and illustrated by two women, Sata Ineko and Arai Mitsuko.1 This was the first incarnation in East Asia of what would become a distinctive, though short-lived, genre of the proletarian literary movement: kabe shōsetsu. These works of “wall fiction...

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Chapter 4: Comrades-in-Arms: Zainichi Communists, Revolutionary Local Color, and the Antinomies of Colonial Representation

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pp. 124-170

on december 8, 1932, 638 people squeezed into the Tsukiji Theater in Tokyo, filling it well beyond its 450-person capacity. Another 300 late arrivals were left standing on the street waiting to get inside.1 On the stage that night was to be a festival of Korean-language skits, music performances, film screenings, dances, and poetry recitations. It was the most highly attended event ever organized...

Notes

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pp. 171-200

Bibliography

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pp. 201-216

Index

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pp. 217-228

Back Cover

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