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     Top: A portrait of radical Japanese feminist 管野 須賀子 also known as Kanno Sugako, or Kanno Suga. (sourceBottom: A newspaper artist’s sketch of Kanno Sugako standing trial with other defendants. (source)

    Kanno Sugako was a Japanese radical feminist who lived from 1881 to 1911, and was executed around the age of 30 for alleged involvement in a plot to kill the emperor. Her first contact with radical activism was in reading an essay about survivors of sexual assault, in which the author counselled survivors of rape not to feel guilty or ashamed for what they had gone through. In her lifetime she worked as a journalist, and an activist against prostitution, brothels, and imperialism. During the Russo-Japanese war Kanno allied with the Christian-Socialist peace movement. In 1906, she became the head of a newspaper in the province of Wakayama. In 1908, she was imprisoned for two months on the grounds that she was involved with the Red Flag Incident, an anarcho-communist political rally that took place in Tokyo and marked the start of the imperial government’s fight against the socialist movement. After her release, she co-authored a newspaper with anarchist Shūsui Kōtoku which was subsequently banned by authorities, leading to her second arrest. In 1911 she was implicated in a plot to assassinate the emperor, along with twenty three other individuals, and hanged.

     ”Reflections on The Way to the Gallows” by Kanno Sugako can be read, as translated to English, here.


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