11 Facts About Sen Katayama


Sen Katayama, born Yabuki Sugataro, was an early Japanese Marxist political activist and journalist, one of the original members of the American Communist Party and co-founder, in 1922, of the Japanese Communist Party.


Sen Katayama was adopted by the Katayama family at nineteen and took the name Sen Katayama, becoming the Katayamas' "first son" after his birth mother was deserted by her husband.


In 1878, Sen Katayama travelled to Tokyo to apprentice as a printer while studying at a small preparatory school, the Oka-Juku, where he formed a friendship with Iwasaki Kiyoshichi, nephew of one of the founders of Mitsubishi.


Sen Katayama returned to Japan in 1896 and from 1897 to 1901 edited Labour World, the organ of the Iron Workers' Union and Trade Unions' Federation and Japan's first socialist party.


Sen Katayama returned to America in 1903 at the urging of Iwasaki to look into rice-farming opportunities.


Sen Katayama settled in Texas and his main business became rice farming.


In late 1905, the two borrowed $100,000 from Iwasaki to fund the rice harvest, together forming a "Nippon Kono Kabushiki-gaisha" to develop the project, with Sen Katayama as managing director.


Sen Katayama was arrested and jailed for his participation in the Tokyo Streetcar Strike of 1912, and after his release he left for California.


Sen Katayama travelled to Mexico and later to Moscow, where he was hailed as a leader of the Japanese communist movement.


Sen Katayama remained in the Soviet Union until his death on November 5,1933, and his ashes buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis in Red Square.


Sen Katayama had two children by his first wife, Fude, who died in 1903, and another daughter by his second wife, Hari Tama, whom he married in 1907.