Rice Riot 1918
A protest movement spread across Japan in 1918 in response to inflated costs of rice. On top of existing inflation, the government was buying up all the rice they could to feed its troops who were invading Siberia. The price skyrocketed so that ordinary people could no longer afford to buy this staple food. The first protest was a peaceful petition by a group of women dockworkers in Toyama, Japan who had it even worse because they only made 60% what their male counterparts did. Then it escalated to 417 separate incidents involving 66,000 workers and included riots, strikes, looting, bombings of government offices, and armed combat. The Japanese government at the time did not tolerate leftist protests, and in the end, 25,000 people were arrested and 8200 were convicted, some receiving the death penalty. When the Prime Minister resigned, the movement led to regime change. And it was a turning point for the labor movement and the left in Japan.
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