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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 24 - 30  > 90 years of daily Akahata, 'It teaches me about the world'
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2018 January 24 - 30 TOP3 [JCP]

90 years of daily Akahata, 'It teaches me about the world'

January 28, 2018
February 1 is the day that Akahata was first started publication 90 years ago. Sugihara Sachiko, 77, who lives in Ogaki City in Gifu, recalls, "I read it feverishly." She said she still remembers how excited she was on her first reading of Akahata.

Sugihara lost her father in the Pacific War. With her mother and a younger brother, the family of three had to live on public welfare assistance in Kashiwazaki City in Niigata. The family economic situation did not enable her to go to high school. She wept for ten days after learning of the impossibility of her continuing formal education. Soon after graduating from junior high school, she started to work for a spinning factory in Ogaki City, about 400km away from her hometown.

Recalling back in the days when she was 15, Sugihara said, "I knew nothing about the world." It was when she turned 18 that an organized worker gave her a copy of Akahata, the organ paper of the Japanese Communist Party.

"I didn't know there was a newspaper like that." She said she read it under the bed covers with a flashlight in the company dormitory after everyone was asleep. She learned why some workers cannot afford to return home even during the New Year holidays despite their hard work, and decided to join the JCP at the age of 20.

The decision, however, was just the beginning of a fight against the company. Anti-communist attempts by the spinning company were very fierce. One day, Sugihara received a telegram from her hometown informing her that her mother was in critical condition. The company told her to go home immediately to see her mother while she was still alive and even paid her travel costs. On getting home, she found that her mother was fine and in good health. It was the company scheme to take advantage of her family members to press her to leave the JCP. Her mother persuaded her to cut her ties with the JCP.

However, her brother who managed to complete high school thanks to remittances his sister had kept sending, defended her. He said, "I believe my sister." Because of his words of support, Sugihara said, "I was able to continue with the JCP."

At the age of 42, she ran in the Ogagi City Assembly election on the JCP ticket, and she successfully became the city's first assemblywoman. She served as an assemblyperson for 20 years.

As soon as she opted for JCP membership, she started to deliver the Akahata newspaper. Fifty-seven years have passed since then and she still delivers Akahata on her bicycle. Sugihara said, "What makes me happy is to know there are still many people waiting to learn the truth of things in Akahata."

Past related article:
> Firm printing daily Akahata celebrates 70th anniversary [March 11, 2017]
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