Sugako Kanno
Japanese Sugako Kanno, called Suga by her friends
was born in 1881. At the age of fourteen she was
raped. For Suga the incident resultet in strong
feelings of shame and guilt - like she was supposed
to according to the traditional moral standards in
She gained a strong relief by reading an anarchist
writer who counseled rape wictims not to feel
guilty. This essay arosed Suga's interest in
socialism, and gradually radical ideas became
strongly related to Suga's personal pride and the
meaning of her life.
Suga and 3 others made a plot to produce a bomb
to assassinate the emperor. She was enthuastic
about carrying out the plan, hoping to emulate
Sofiya Perovskaya. However their plan was blown
before any bomb was produced. During the trial
the case became known as "The Great Treason".
Suga was condemned to death by hanging along
with her comrades. Suga hoped for herself that she
would be brave on the scaffold.
During the days before her execution Suga made entries in her diary.
She had a conversation with the director of instruction:
"I described the kind of coffin I wanted made for me and how I wanted to be dressed after
death. I was afraid that the supporters of the emperor and champions of patriotism might
dig up my corpse and hack it to bits. I did not want to look too shabby when this happened."
Two days before her execution she added this in her diary:
"After my last insigficant breath and when I have become a mere lump og flesh, I suppose it
doesn't really matter what happens to my remains. But I hate the thought of being squeezed
into a coffin i an awkward position with my legs bent under. I want a coffin which my body
can be laid out flat. I had also wanted to be in my good clothes. If by chance someone were
to dig up my coffin and expose my body, I didn't want to look too unseemly. Now, however,
I've decided it would be more natural for me to be dressed in my ordinary clothes. It doesn't
matter if my dress is torn or soiled."
Suga went to the gallows on January 25, 1911, she was 29 years old. Her execution was
reported like this in a Japanese paper:
"She mounted the scaffold escorted by guards on both sides. Her face was covered quickly
by a white cloth. She was then ordered to sit upright on the floor. Two thin cords were
placed around her neck. The floor-board was removed. In twelve minutes she was dead."