Communist Party of Japan

Also found in: Acronyms.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Communist Party of Japan


(CPJ; Nihon Kyosanto), a party founded on July 15, 1922, at the Constituent Congress in Tokyo, at the time of an upswing of the labor and democratic movement in Japan, which was intensified under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. S. Katayama, S. Ichikawa, K. Tokuda, M. Watanabe, and G. Kokuryo were prominent in founding and consolidating the CPJ. The Constituent Congress of the CPJ adopted temporary rules for the party, set up a program of current tasks, and decided to join the Comintern.

The CPJ was forced to go underground and was persecuted and harassed by the police. It fought for a bourgeois democratic revolution through the overthrow of the absolutist imperial power and the destruction of the semifeudal landholders’ system, and it defended the democratic rights and vital interests of the working masses. Guided by the principles of proletarian internationalism, the Japanese Communists opposed the intervention of Japanese imperialism in the Soviet Far East. In the 1920’s the CPJ had to fight against right-liquidator and left-opportunist deviations in its ranks. The liquidators (Yamakawa and others) brought about the dissolution of the party in 1924, but the CPJ was soon reconstituted through the efforts of the majority of its members. After these events the leadership of the CPJ found itself in the hands of Fukumuto’s ultraleft grouping, which threatened to turn the party into a small sect isolated from the toiling masses.

The Comintern was of great help to the CPJ in overcoming the right and “left” deviations. In July 1927 the Executive Committee of the Comintern published the “Resolution on the Japanese Question,” which came to be known as the 1927 Theses. Drawn up jointly with representatives of the CPJ, the resolution helped define a clear program of action for the CPJ and helped increase the party’s influence among the masses. In 1932 the Comintern and representatives of the CPJ worked out the “Theses on the Situation in Japan and the Tasks of the Communist Party of Japan” (the 1932 Theses).

When the Japanese imperialists seized Manchuria in 1931, the CPJ sharply condemned the aggression and called for a more vigorous struggle against unleashing the imperialist war. This was followed by still fiercer police repressions. By the middle of the 1930’s almost all the leaders of the CPJ and most of its members were either in prison or dead. Not having a directing center, the CPJ virtually ceased to exist as a national organization; only isolated individual groups of Communists went on with their activities in the deep underground.

After the defeat of Japanese militarism in World War II, the CPJ emerged as a legal party. The Communists took an active part in reconstituting the trade unions and democratic mass organizations. In December 1945 the Fourth Congress of the CPJ adopted party rules and confirmed a program of action. The CPJ advocated the formation of a united democratic front to carry out democratic transformations in Japan. The influence of the party among the working masses rose quickly. In the elections to the House of Representatives in January 1949, the CPJ polled about 3 million votes and elected 35 deputies. The party membership at that time was almost 200,000.

However, the right-opportunist theory about the “possibility of a peaceful revolution under the American occupation” was widespread among the leadership of the CPJ. Events on the eve of the war in Korea made it evident that this “theory” was completely baseless: in June 1950 the American occupation authorities launched a policy of persecution against the CPJ, banned the political activity of all the members of the Central Committee, and ordered that the publication of the party’s central organ, the newspaper Akahata, be discontinued. The CPJ was suddenly pushed into a semilegal status; earlier disagreements among the party leadership on party strategy and tactics were greatly exacerbated, which led to splits in the party leadership and many party organizations. Some CPJ leaders swung to the other extreme and embarked on a left-sectarian adventurist policy; they raised the concept of armed struggle to an absolute maxim, a policy that greatly damaged the CPJ and sharply weakened its influence among the masses. By the middle of the 1950’s the membership of the CPJ dropped to a little over 30,000.

The Sixth National Conference of the CPJ (July 1955) and the Seventh Congress of the CPJ (July 1958) contributed to restoring party unity and overcoming the left-sectarian deviation. The Seventh Congress adopted new party rules and approved a policy of expanding the influence of the CPJ among the masses and transforming it into a “mass vanguard party.”

In 1959–60 the CPJ was prominent in the fight against the conclusion of a new Japanese-American “security treaty”; this role increased the party’s prestige among the masses. The CPJ membership rose to 100,000.

The Eighth Congress of the CPJ (1961) adopted a new party program. Defining party strategy, the program emphasized that “the impending revolution in Japan will be a neodemocratic revolution of the people against two enemies—American imperialism and Japanese monopoly capital.” In the 1960’s the CPJ mounted a campaign for the annulment of Japan’s military alliance with the USA, the liquidation of American military bases, a neutralist Japanese policy, and the defense of democracy.

The program document-resolution “Prospects for the 1970’s and Tasks of the Communist Party of Japan,” adopted at the Eleventh Congress of the CPJ (1970), set the goal of forming a united front of democratic forces based on a platform of peace, neutralism, democracy, improvement in living standards, and formation of a democratic coalition government in the 1970’s. Clarifying this platform, the Twelfth Congress of the CPJ (1973) approved the party’s proposals concerning the program of a democratic coalition government. The membership of the CPJ and its influence in the country are growing. By the beginning of 1975, the party had some 350,000 members. In the elections to the House of Representatives in December 1972, the party polled almost 5.5 million votes (10.5 p’ercent) and elected 39 deputies. The CPJ has 20 deputies in the House of Councillors (1974).

The CPJ attended the international Conferences of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in 1957 and 1960 and approved the documents adopted at the conferences. The CPJ did not attend the 1969 conference in Moscow.

According to its rules, the CPJ is organized along the principles of democratic centralism. The highest body of the CPJ is the Congress. Between congresses the work of the party is directed by the Central Committee; the Presidium is elected from among the members of the Central Committee and the Permanent Bureau within the Presidium. S. Nosaka is chairman of the Central Committee, K. Miyamoto chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee, and T. Fuwa chairman of the Secretariat of the Central Committee. The central organ is the newspaper Akahata. (See Table 1 for a list of the congresses of the CPJ.)

Table 1. Congresses of the Communist Party of Japan
First ...............TokyoJuly 15, 1922
Second ...............IchikawaFeb. 4, 1923
Extraordinary ...............TokyoMar. 15, 1923
Third ...............GoshikiApr. 12, 1926
Fourth ...............TokyoDec. 2–3, 1945
Fifth ...............TokyoFeb. 24–26, 1946
Sixth ...............TokyoDec. 21–24, 1947
Seventh ...............TokyoJuly 23-Aug. 1, 1958
Eighth ...............TokyoJuly 25–31, 1961
Ninth ...............TokyoNov. 25–30, 1964
Tenth ...............TokyoOct. 24–30, 1966
Eleventh ...............TokyoJuly 1–7, 1970
Twelfth ...............TokyoNov. 14–21, 1973


VII s”ezd Kommunisticheskoi partii Iaponii. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from Japanese.)
VIII s”ezd Kommunisticheskoi partii Iaponii. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from Japanese.)
Tamginskii, I. I. “V avangarde progressivnykh sil Iaponii.” Voprosy istorii KPSS, no. 8, 1972.
Antonov, K. D. “Polveka bor’by.” Problemy Dal’nego Vostoka, no. 2, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Full browser ?