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Japanese People's Emancipation League

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Subject: Japanese dissidence during the Shōwa period, Denazification
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Japanese People's Emancipation League

A former Japanese POW now a JPEL member in an Eighth Route Army uniform. (Photo taken by Harrison Forman)
Illustration of Allied countries strangling Hideki Tojo. Flags representing Great Britain, Republic of China, the Japanese People's Emancipation League, and the United States are pictured on the sleeves of each hand.

The Japanese People's Emancipation League (JPEL) or Emancipation League, was a Japanese resistance organization that operated in communist China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and World War II.[1]


In 1944, the Japanese People's Emancipation League was established in Yanan at the suggestion of Sanzo Nosaka. It was made up of converted Japanese prisoners of war.[1] Mao Zedong, Zhu De, Nosaka (under the name Susumu Okano), and other CCP leaders participated in the inaugural assembly of the JPEL. Zhu De called the foundation of the JPEL the starting point of a new Chinese-Japanese relationship, predicting that when the JPEL's struggle resulted in the establishment of a "people's government" in Japan, China and Japan would then become "genuinely cordial and reciprocal friends".[2]

Japanese prisoners are given a choice of remaining in the border region or returning to their lines. Those who chose to return to their own lines were given farewell parties and were provided with traveling expenses and guides. If they remain they are invited to the join the JPEL. Of the 3000-odd deserters or prisoners taken by the Chinese Communists from the outset of the war until the middle of 1944, only about 325 had decided to remain with the Eight Route Army. The Emancipation League had a three-point program: "opposition to the war, the overthrow of the militarists, and the establishment of a democratic, people's government in postwar Japan". The Emancipation League was designed primarily to influence the character of Japan's postwar development. The JPEL does not aspire to become the future Government, but merely aims to be the organ of those Japanese who oppose the ambitions of the military caste. The Emancipation League was open to communists, non-communists, and anti-communists. What was required for membership was "agreement with the basic program advocating the end of the war, the overthrow of the militarists and the establishment of a democratic Japan with improved conditions for peasants, industrial laborers and small business men".[1] [3] [4]

[5] [6]

A Life magazine article in December 18, 1944, titled "Inside Red China From remote, inaccessible Yenan comes an account of Communist resistance against merciless Japanese by Teddy White" reported that the Japanese People's Emancipation League had numbered more than 300 active members.[7] John K. Emmerson reported in November 7, 1944 that the JPEL had an estimated membership of 450 Japanese prisoners in north and central China.[8]

The Japanese army sent half a dozen assassins into the Yenan area to poison Okano and disrupt the activities of the JPEL. Six spies were commissioned by the Japanese secret service to "surrender" to the Eight Route Army in order to destroy the JPEL from within.[9] [1]

List of Members

See also

Further Reading


  1. ^ a b c d Roth, Andrew (1945). Dilemma in Japan. Little, Brown. pp. 162-188
  2. ^ A Partnership for Disorder: China, the United States, and Their Policies for the Postwar Disposition of the Japanese Empire, 1941-1945 By Xiaoyuan Liu Page 170-173
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ December 18, 1944Life
  8. ^
  9. ^
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