Oi Kentaro

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Ôi Kentarô was a leader in the Freedom and People's Rights Movement (Jiyû minken undô), known for his abortive efforts to organize a private expedition to Korea, to stir up activism there, potentially leading to wide-ranging reforms and boosting the Movement's progress in Japan. One of his associates, Tarui Tôkichi, worked with activists in both Korea and Hong Kong, to similar ends.

Ôi also advocated, in the 1880s, a union between Japan and Korea, in a publication called Nikkan gappô ron ("Argument on the Unification of Korea and Japan"), arguing that such a union would allow a unified Japan-Korea to better defend itself against European predations just as the United Kingdom and United States were able to be stronger than their component parts. This volume was confiscated from him when he was imprisoned for his involvement with the Tôyô shakaitô ("Oriental Socialist Party"), but after his release, he wrote it up again and saw it published.


  • Marius Jansen, China in the Tokugawa World, Harvard University Press (1992), 103.