The Konminto (Poor People’s Party) and its Political Consciousness Essay Sample

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In the 1860 peasant uprising and in Taka’s second rebellion both of them were fighting against the upper class of their society at their respective time periods. The interesting factor that we notice is that the purpose of their mission was the same and to some extent the way they go about achieving the end goal. Taka and Hong Xiuquan – the two characters in the novel, the founder of the 1860 movement, both lived in an imaginary world.

They both wanted insurrection by their people to fulfill their own need. They both decided to fight for their rights, while this could have been done in a civilized manner, they choose to go to war. We cannot even say that it was their fault because according to Yasumaru Yoshio, “Even in cases when there were laws stipulating payment periods and interest rates, they were often bent depending on the situation,” (p.11)

In the book Silent Cry by Oe and in the 1860 peasant uprising, the people were crying out for help and Taka thought he could help them. On the other hand, the two are different because of changing times and because people did not believe in the same things they did in 1860. In the peasant uprising they were fighting for their freedom of the social norms which were only convenient for the landlords. While, Taka was fighting for his heritage.

We cannot change the world because it is not realistically possible. To change the world we need to change the social and ethical norms of all people living within the planet Earth. These people are all different and do not share the same culture, thus what is right for one may be wrong for the other person. Also, the norms that the society holds are beneficial for the upper class and they have more of a hold over these norms than the common man, they will not let anybody make it difficult for them.

Oe says that even if we do try and change the world it is not possible without the help of arms and ammunition because people do not respond kindly to requests. Oe thinks that these movements have not been explained properly because nobody looks beneath the surface and just takes it as solid evidence. I quote from page 1 “Yet when I, a novice student of the history of popular movements who always felt at odds with trends in postwar historiography, examine this field of inquiry, I notice that some well-known yet utterly puzzling facts have yet to be adequately explained.” (p.1)

When we read about such movements we need to understand what those people went through, the explanations presented to us should not be satisfying and we should probe further into the surface to reach the depth of the matter. This will help us studying such movements later and will also help us in not repeating our mistakes.

In this article, by Yoshio Y. The Konminto (Poor People’s Party) and its Political Consciousness, (p. 44-45) “ The frugality laws functioned to place blame on individual peasants and their lack of effort for their poverty and debt, which was in fact created by the government and society. These laws were therefore with odds with [the ideas espoused by] the Konminto.” (p.44-45)

Thus, in the end it all came down to self-attribution and the people’s willingness, or should I say their having no choice but to abide by this principle.


Oe. K. The Silent Cry

Yoshio Y. The Konminto (Poor People’s Party) and its Political Consciousness

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