Heiminsha (Commoners company) (平民社)

Heiminsha is a newspaper company established by newspaper reporters of "Yorozu-choho" newspaper company, Shusui KOTOKU and Toshihiko SAKAI (KOSEN), to promote and spread socialist thoughts, who retired from the Choho press company in order to insist their claim of pacifism, when the company, which had been claiming pacifism against the move to the Russo-Japanese War, shifted its policy from pacifism to the theory of making war. Ryutaro KOJIMA, Tokijiro KATO and Kakuya IWASAKI helped financially. Although it was a newspaper company in its appearance, it was in reality the central organization of socialistic movements playing the role of the center for socialism and socialism supporters together with the Socialist Association (in 1900).

The Heiminsha published the weekly "Heimin-shinbun" (Commoners' newspaper) and it was published from the 1st issue on November 15, 1903 to the 64th issue on January 29, 1905.

In the 1st issue of the weekly "Heimin-shinbun" (November 15), there are "Declaration" signed by the "Heiminsha Dojin (literary group (coterie))" and "Introduction of publication" signed by SAKAI and KOTOKU. It is described in "Declaration" that Heiminsha will recite "commoner principle, socialism, and pacifism" from now on. These two documents succeeded the spirit of the "Declaration of the Social Democratic Party of Japan" of the Social Democratic Party of Japan, which was established by KOTOKU and others in 1901, but was prohibited right away (in Japan in 1901), giving great influences on the subsequent socialistic movements in Japan.

In the 53rd issue of the weekly "Heimin-shinbun" (November 13,1904) the "Communist Party Declaration" was translated and published by SAKAI and KOTOKU as the first anniversary after the first issue. The English version made by Samuel MOORE was translated into Japanese. It was the first translation of "Communist Party Declaration" in Japan.

The weekly "Heimin-shinbun", having an English column on the first page, provided information to socialists in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and even Russia, which was a hostile country to Japan, and appealed to them for solidarity. One of the results was that Sen KATAYAMA and the Russian representative, Georgii PLEKHANOV, were elected as vice-chairmen and shook their hands in the 6th convention of the Second International held in Amsterdam during the war in August, 1904 and then they confirmed socialist's solidarity and cooperation across the border. This handshake was reported in the bulletins of the socialist camp of each country, needless to say in the weekly "Heimin-shinbun", as a success of international solidarity.

[Original Japanese]