And we thought Karl Marx was popular among the United Sates college campuses?
On college campuses, in particular, Karl Marx is popular again.
“I have never voted before, but I intend to vote communist in the next elections,” said Suguru Yagi, a Tokyo college student.
Yagi, 22, said he had considered joining the party because he agrees with many of its policies and sees it as the defender of the working class. As a student about to graduate, he is concerned about the shrinking work force, and the difficulties he may find in getting a good job.
Leading Japan’s communist renaissance is Kazuo Shii, the round-faced party chief, who has become one of Japan’s most recognizable politicians and something of a media star, grilling the country’s conservative leaders from his perch in parliament and unfailingly appearing before the cameras with what boils down to: “I told you so.”
Financial meltdowns worldwide. Banks and manufacturers going belly up, or begging for bailouts. Unemployment and unrest on the rise.
Capitalism, Shii concludes, is doomed. “It is inevitable,” he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “When the persimmon is ripe, it will fall from the tree.”
Shii, and the party, believe that time is fast approaching. And, in Asia’s most dedicated bastion of capitalism, more people are beginning to agree.
According to the party, about 1,000 new members are joining its ranks every month—a sharp contrast to the massive exodus that has plagued the ruling Liberal Democrats, who have dropped from about 5 million members in their heyday to about 1 million members now.
The Japan Communist Party was founded as an illegal movement in 1922, but legalized after Japan’s World War II defeat in 1945. It then struggled through polarizing splits with the Soviets and Communist Chinese in an effort to maintain its independence. It also has distanced itself from the radical left, which gained popularity in the 1960s and ‘70s, but has since died down.