The Anarchist Encyclopedia:
Vasily Eroshenko, (1890-1952)
Note: When I first came across Vasily Eroshenko's name in 2000, there was little reference to him on the internet; since that time a bit more has become available, particularly a four part / page series on his involvement in the Esperanto movement. See the following by David Poulson (Page down from the advertising top of the pages):
Eroshenko in China.
Part One Eroshenko in Shanghai
Further travels and adventures of Eroshenko
Eroshenko Part two
The life and work of Vasily Eroshenko
The Life of Vasilij Eroshenko
For a broader history of the Esperanto movement in Asia, see other articles by Poulson at http://www.suite101.com/articles.cfm/esperanto
On this page I also include the materials I have found, rough & incomplete as they are, plus a chronology someone found in Russian & kindly took the time to translate & send to me.
Love's Scar. Vasily Eroshenko. Compiled by Mine Yositaka. Translated from Chinese by Shi Chengtai and Guozhu. Toyonaka: Japanese Esperanto Book Cooperative, 1996. 113p. ISBN 4-930785-44-8. 1 8cm.
Four tales written in 1922-23 in Japanese. The source text is a translation into Chinese by LU XŁn, who probably consulted the author about interpretations.
Cikatro de amo. Vasilij Erosxenko (1890-1952). Komp. Mine Yositaka. El la cxina trad. Shi Chengtai kaj Guozhu. Toyonaka: Japana E-Librokooperativo, 1996. 113p. ISBN 4-930785-44-8. 1 8cm. Kvar fabeloj verkitaj en 1922-23 en la japana. La fonto-teksto estas traduko de Lusin al la cxina, kiu supozeble konsultis la auxtoron pri interpretoj.
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 From: "Dave, Recollection Books"
To: "@ prop" (anarchist subscription list, now defunct):
While looking up information on Karl Yoneda, I have come across reference to Vasily Eroshenko (1890-1952), a blind Russian anarchist & participant in the Esperanto Movement.
Anyone provide any information, for inclusion in the Daily Bleed calendar & The Daily Bleed's Encyclopedia regards Eroshenko? any specific dates (birth, death, events, etc) or biographical details?
[Karl Yoneda studied with Eroshenko for a few months in China, & later became a militant Communist Party labor organizer in the United States; see Karl G. Yoneda, Ganbatte: Sixty-Year Struggle of a Kibei Worker. Also, archived is a short biography, "Karl Yoneda, working class hero" by Tom Price which is no longer online at the ILWU site (was at http://www.ilwu.org/0599/people_0599.htm)
I found some info about Eroshenko on Russian language and translate part of it. I hope you'll find what you are interested in.
D.G. aka V.
12 January, 1890 (after new style) Was born in country Obukhovka of Belgoroskaya oblast. His father - Jacob, mother - Eudoxia.
1894 Became blind because of measles.
1899-1907 Studied at the educational institution for blind (now Moscow boarding school ‚ĄĖ1 for blind children).
1907-1914 Worked as a violininst in Moscow orchestra of blind. Studied English and Esperanto languges. Due to the Esperantists of Great Britain he received the possibility to continue studies there.
1912, Febr.-Sept. Lived in Great Britain, studied at the Royal institute for blind. After two monthes of study he left the Institute and began self-education. Met Kropotkin there. Then via Paris he came back to Moscow, continued work in the orchestra. Studied Japanese language.
April, 27, 1914 Due to the contacts with Japanese Esperantists left for Japen.
1914-1916 Studied at Tokyo school for blind, first publications of novels (in Japanese).
1916 –≥., July - 1919 –≥., June Left for Siam (now Thailand). There he tried to organise school for blind children, but owing to the local bureaucrats he didn‚§ôt succeed. Then he came to Burma. There he became a founder of the school for blind children in the town called Moulmein.
1917, Nov. Eroshenko learned about Russian revolution and went to India - he hoped to come to Russia from it. In Calcutta he turned to be under house arrest.
1918, spring. He came back to Burma and continued work in the school of Moulmein.
1918, Sept. Went to India with hope to came back to Russia. But English authorities forbidded him to exit from country and put him under house arrest. In Desember he escaped from arrest and got to Bombay, but there he was arrested again and sent him back to Calcutta. He provoked his departure from India. On a warship and under arrest he was departed to Japan. In Shanghai he escaped from warship. But he still isn‚§ôt able to come to Russia.
1919 -1921 –≥., June Lived in Japen. Became a member of the Japen Socialist League.
1921, May Take part in the second convention of The Japen Socialist League. As it‚§ôs delegate he was arrested, beated by police and deported from country.
1921, June Was deported from Japen.
1921, June Came to the Vladivostok (Russia).
1921, July-Oct. Lived in Harbin.
1921, Okt.- 1922 –≥., Febr. Worked in the Institute of Languages of Shanghai.
1922 Lived in Peking, tought Esperanto in Peking University and Women‚§ôs teacher's training college.
1922 Take part in XIV International Congress of Esperantists in Helsinki.
16 April, 1923 Came back to Russia.
1923 Take pert in XV International Congress of Esperantists in Nuernberg.
1924 Take pert in XVI International Congress of Esperantists in Paris and Congress of blind Esperantists in Vienna.
1924, Des.- 1927 –≥., June Worked as a translator in Communist University of working-people of the East. Translated into Japanese books of Marx, Engels and Lenin.
1929-1930 Lived in Chukotsk, where he tried to organise school for blind children. Because of few quantity of blind children he didn‚§ôt succeed.
1930-1931 Tought mathematic, Russian language, Braille system in proffesional school for blind brush-makers in Ponetaev (Niznegorodskaya oblast).
1932 -1934 Worked as a proof-reader in 19-th printing-house of the relief type (Moscow).
1935, Apr.-1942, July Principal of the Blind children‚§ôs home in Kushka (Turkmenistan)
1942, July - 1945, July Teacher of the Blind children‚§ôs home in Kushka (Turkmenistan)
1946-1948 Tought English language in Moscow boarding school for blind children ‚ĄĖ1
1949-1951 Tought braille in the Evening school for blind (Tashkent)
1952, Aug. Came back to Obukhovka (place of his birth).
23 December, 1952 Vasiliy J. Eroshenko died. Was burried on the country‚§ôs cemetery.
From the internet I have collected the following:
As a student Yoneda read the works of Marx & the Russian anarchist Vasily Eroshenko, who was kicked out of Japan in 1921 for his politics and lived in China. Yoneda found passage to China and hitchhiked to Beijing, meeting the blind Russian in 1922. Along the way in the port of Shimonoseki he worked his first job as a longshoreman unloading coal. He studied with the Eroshenko for two months and took dictation, earning his way back to Japan.
Instead of returning to school he joined the labor movement, working on the printersí and rubber workersí strikes. He was arrested ...
Tokujiro Torii (1894-1970)
Mr. Torii, who was blind, first heard of the Faith in 1916 from Miss Alexander. At that time he was a student at the Government School for the Blind in Tokyo. An acquaintance of his, Mr. Vasily Eroshenko, a blind Russian Esperantist, introduced him to Miss Alexander. Mr. Torii graduated that year, got married and became a teacher in a school for the blind in Ejiri. One time Miss Alexander visited Mr. Torii at his residence and for several days read many BahŠ'Ū books to him. He said he found a new light, and as Miss Alexander said, the Faith shone in his heart as Truth. He became the second believer in Japan.
While I remained in Geneva I visit the rooms of the Universal Esperanto Association which I had joined. There I met a Russian lady Esperantist. When she heard that I was going to Japan, she told me of a blind Russian young man, Vasily Eroshensko an Esperantist who was there and asked me to look him up. This was the opening which brought great blessings into my life through friendship with the blind. The Russian lady took me to her home where I gave the Message. She said she would tell of it in city and town. She translated part of the Honolulu Unity Calendar into Esperanto and gave it to me to take to her blind friend in Tokyo.
"One of my most ardent friends here is a blind Russian boy, (Vasily Eroshenko). He is the first fruits of my joining the Universal Esperanto Association. At the rooms in Geneva, I met a Russian lady Esperantist, who asked me to look this boy up in Tokyo. One evening I attended the Esperanto meeting here and got his address.
Through the meeting in the Esperanto rooms in Geneva in September, 1914, of Miss Anna Sharapov, a friend of Vasily Eroshenko, a new world of joyous service came into my life. It was Mr. Eroshenko who assisted me to translate the Baha'i teaching into Esperanto. It was he who helped me to learn English and Esperanto Braille, bringing me in close touch with the blind of Japan. It was through his effort that I had the joy of sharing the Baha'i Message with Tokujiro Torii and through him with the blind of Japan. It was he who introduced me to the writer, U. Akita, who was sympathetic to the Cause, and wrote magazine articles through which the first Japanese young woman accepted the Baha'i Message.
Mr. Eroshenko was also the door by which a new world was opened to the Japanese blind through the Esperanto language. He said that if Esperanto had done nothing else in the world, it had already united the blind. They had an International Association which published a year book giving the addresses of blind Esperantists throughout the world, thus enabling them to correspond and exchange ideas with the blind in other countries.
In the summer of 1916, Mr. Eroshenko left Tokyo to go to Siam. I had read him the book Some Answered Questions and he was very enthusiastic about it and asked to take the book with him on his travels. As he sailed from Japan many prayers were said for this brave young man. 11 of Boston wrote me: "At the net meeting of the friends here and at Green Acre we will have special prayers for Mr. Eroshenko, blind brother on his way to Siam. You say he goes alone but he goes with God, and one is a majority in the service of God."
From Bangkok, Siam, I received a letter from Mr. Eroshenko who had passed through some trying experiences on his way, but was assisted by the Unseen Hand. He wrote: "Among the Russians are many Hebrews. I often visit one of these families. Two girls are interested in religion. I told them of the Baha'i. They listened with great interest excitedly and wholly unexpectedly asked me, "Tell me is Christ on this earth?" I replied, 'Baha'is say that he is.' 'But you personally, do you believed?' I felt that she wished Christ might be here, but I replied, 'I study the question.' Now she is reading Some Answered Questions."
Through Mr. Eroshenko this girl wrote to me: "I am a Jewish by creed, and have tried my utmost to get into a more deep investigation of the creeds of the world but how I regret that I cannot succeed as there are so many. I have studied with careful scrutiny the Buddhist religion, but was not satisfied until Mr. Eroshenko lent me a book called Some Answered Questions, which has made an impression by its simple and true creed. I shall not go farther, but would ask you to forward me ant periodicals and an edition of Some Answered Questions, and I shall try to help you in teaching in this part of the sphere . . . I am only 17 years and one month . . . I regret to be unable to help Mr. Eroshenko in his efforts, for I do not hold any power. But I admire his noble effort to educate the blind here . . . I am sure his efforts would be greatly cherished by the One Above as his would be success . . ."
I wrote this dear young sister and sent her a prayer from 'Abdu'l-Baha. In reply I received a beautiful letter from her. She had experienced great help through the prayer, but her mother opposed the Cause and destroyed il her Baha'i literature.
In Rangoon, Burma, some of the dear Baha'is welcomed Mr. Eroshenko. There he told students in the school for the blind of the Baha'i teachings, and shared with them the book Some Answered Questions which they greatly appreciated. They were delighted with the teachings, especially because the Baha'i Faith did not condemn the Buddhist religion, which was the faith of their forefathers, and into which they were born.
Eroshenko had many significant dreams in which 'Abdu'l-Baha appeared to instruct him. Although he had love for the Baha'i teachings, he did not experience the great joy which comes through acknowledging and turning to the Center of the Manifest Light. In later years he joined the Communists and lost the inspiration he received through the Baha'i teachings
Mr. Ujaku Akita, the kind friend of Mr. Eroshenko, came in July to ask me to write an article on the Baha'i teachings in regard to the woman question, for a Japanese woman's magazine which had over 15,000 subscribers, and was read by the Empress. With great joy I wrote, addressing the article "To my dear sisters of Japan." Mr. Akita translated it into Japanese, the first part, though, he left in the English, as he said it was so beautiful. When it was published, I received many kind letters from Japanese women, expressing their appreciation and heartfelt thanks. At that time in Japan, most of 9 work I had been able to do was among the young women students. As I wrote to the Children of the Kingdom magazine, almost all were young people, for the older people had not awakened from the winter sleep. The young, though, were wide awake.
Because Mr. Akita had written many magazine articles about the Cause, one of the Japanese papers published a cartoon of him in which the word "Baha" was coming out of his mouth. The Cause of God was thus given wide publicity in Japan.
I went to Matsushima that summer, remaining there for nineteen days. A happy incident of the visit was the following: One morning the lady who occupied the room net to mine in the hotel was ill. Suddenly the guidance came to me to take my photograph of 'Abdu'l-Baha and show it to her. When I entered her room with the photograph, to my great surprise she said, "It is 'Abdu'l-Baha." Then she told me that her father and also her husband were Persian. Her husband, she said, was a Muhammadan, and as her mother was French, she had attended a convent, and in religion she and her husband could not agree. She had come from her home in Shanghai for a visit to Japan. We had a happy visit and I had the privilege of explaining to her that through the Baha'i Revelation all could unite. Soon after I left her she wrote her husband telling him what had happened.
While in Matsushima I received a letter from a young man who lived in another city, enquiring about the Baha'i Cause. He had read something about it in a newspaper and found my address. I wrote and sent him a few booklets. He replied: "I offer you a thousand thanks for the letter and booklets you sent me. I read them immediately and was very much pleased. I think as though I am standing before the gate of the Kingdom of Truth with the key in my hand . . ."
In the far west of Japan, an Englishman, who was a teacher, heard of the Baha'i Cause through reading the weekly publication Far East, which had published several articles about the Baha'i Faith. He wrote to me and asked some questions which I was happy to answer. In his home on Sunday mornings he held a service. One day, in July, 1916, a letter came to me from the first Japanese to whom I had earnestly talked of the Baha'i Cause when I nas a young Baha'i in Green Acre, Maine, in the summer of 1901. He was then studying at a Theological school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Afterwards I corresponded with him for a while, until it became clear his mind was closed to the Light of the New Day. He wrote: "I wonder if you ever remember a little Japanese whom you met at Green Acre, Maine, about a dozen years ago. After the service this morning, Mr.... my colleague, mentioned how interesting were the teachings of Baha and this at once reminded me of you, so I told him I used to hear the teaching of that great prophet through a lady in America, whose name is Miss Agnes Alexander. Then he produced your letter to my surprise and my delight. I am very glad to hear you are non in Japan . . ." A few years later we met in Tokyo. The Call of the Divine Message had come to his attention for the second time, through the bounty of God, but he did not awaken to the Voice.
In Tokyo I had met Tokujiro Torii, who was a student at the Government School for the Blind. There he came to know Mr. Eroshenko and was the first of the blind in Japan to learn Esperanto. In the spring of 1916, he graduated from the school, and was married to a young woman from his home village. Then he became a teacher of a small school for the blind in Ejiri, a town in Shizuoka province. When I first met this blind brother, I felt his spirit was reaching for Light.
Before Mr. Eroshenko left Japan in the summer of 1916 to go to Siam he asked me if I would go to Ejiri to help Mr. Torii with Esperanto and, he added, "the Baha'i Cause." As I had learned to read and write Esperanto Braille, I was corresponding with Mr. Torii in Esperanto. He was editing a journal for the blind, and asked me to collaborate with him and write for it an article about the Baha'i Revelation, which I was delighted to do. He had written Mr. Eroshenko that he felt a new spirit had come to Japan and he wrote me he felt the Baha'i Cause would give light to the spirit of the blind people and added, "please guide me."
Mr. Torii had asked me if I would come to Ejiri the last week in August, as Mr. Nakamura, a blind teacher who had spent two years in a school in England, was going to be there then and would interpret for us. On August 22, while in Matsushima, I wrote: "In a few days I will be with some blind friends who have asked me to visit them. The friend of Mr. Eroshenko's (Mr. Torii) writes me that he is sorry he is only a poor young man and cannot give me the right reception, but, he says, 'I will receive the eternal riches from 'Abdu'l-Baha and await you with spiritual joy.' At his request I have written about the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, which will be printed in Braille in the Journal for the Blind."
In order to go to Ejiri, I returned to Tokyo. It was exceedingly hot and I became ill. It seemed as though I could not be of help to anyone and even dear Mrs. Augur said she thought 'Abdu'l-Baha would n. Perhaps it was God's purpose to empty me of everything that He might use me. When the morning came to go, putting some Baha'i literature in my suitcase, I went to the train.
After a ride of five hours, Mr. and Mrs. kamura met me at Ejiri and guided me to a , Japanese Inn. As Ejiri was a town where no foreigners lived, it was the only place for me to stay. We had a visit and then they left me. Throughout that night there was geisha music and noise in the Inn and I spent a sleepless night. In the morning when the dear friends came I read them from the book Ten Days in the Light of Akka and other Baha'i writings. Mr. Nakamura was then teaching in a Christian school for the blind in Tokyo, and was the editor of the only religious journal for the blind in Japan. He asked me if I would write about the Baha'i Revelation for the blind women of Japan. He said I might be unlimited in the length of my article as nothing had yet been done for the blind women, whom he said had double darkness, that is, of spirit and body. He was devoting his time to try and better the condition of the blind in his land.
When I left Ejiri after a few days spent in reading and explaining the Baha'i teachings, Mr. Torii told me that he wished to write to 'Abdu'l-Baha, but he waited for the inspiration to come. On September 7, in the quiet hours of the night the inspiration came. What joy was mine when I received from him a beautiful letter addressed to the Beloved Master, written in Esperanto Braille! He wrote me that after I left, he walked with his Japanese wife in the fields and a great light and happiness came to him. His letter, which was the second letter to be sent!
--- from Japan to the Master from a Japanese follows: Ejiri, Shizuoka, Japan September 7, 1916.
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