From Kotoku Correspondence
We do not believe in treasuring every word that a man writes, even though he enjoy and merit the repute of being a thinker. Consequently we do not propose to publish, in full, the letters sent by our Japanese comrade to Albert Johnson, the veteran Anarchist of California. The following excerpts tell the simple story of Kotoku's scholarship and earnestness in the cause of truth, even whilst jailed and under the doom of his coming execution.
Tokio, November 25, 1904: "I feel very happy to inform you that this picture (Peter Kropotkin) was reproduced from that which you sent me, and is published from Heimin Shimbun office, a Socialist weekly. I have been prosecuted on the charge of publishing a treasonable article and sentenced to five months' imprisonment. When this card is in your hands I will be in Sugano Prison of Tokio."
Tokio, December 30, 1904: "Both as a source of argument and reference, Mr. Ladd's work, 'Commentaries on Hebrew,' should be of great value for me, because I am an atheist or agnostic, and always fighting against the dogma of Christian and all other religions...
"As already informed, I was prosecuted by a barbarous government on the charge of inciting to the alteration of the Dynastic Institution, and sentenced to five months' imprisonment, but I soon appealed and second trial was postponed until January 6.
"Beside this I was sentenced on 20th inst. to a fine 80 yen, on the charge of translating and publishing Marx's 'Communist Manifesto.' What beautiful Japanese Government is! Is it not quite same to Russian despotism?"
Odawara, Japan, August 10, 1905: "Five months' imprisonment not a little injured my health, but it gave me many lessons of the social questions. I have seen and studied great many of so called 'criminals' and became convinced that the governmental institutions--court, law, prison--are only responsible for them--poverty and crime.
"Among the many books which I have read in the prison were Draper's 'Conflict Between Religion and Science,' Haeckel's 'The Riddle of the Universe,' Renan's 'Life of Jesus,' and so forth. Besides I repeated again two interesting books which you sent me--Mr. Ladd's 'Hebrew and Christian Mythology' and Mr. Kropotkin's 'Fields, Factories, and Workshops.' (By the way, Mr.s Ladd often mentions Buddha as a Chinese philosopher. It is true that the greater part of Chinese population is not Buddhist, but Buddha or Gautama is not Chinese. He was born in India. He is Hindu. Several centuries after the death of Buddha his religion was introduced into China.)