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Hi Blog. It was only a matter of time. Debito.org has reported on anti-NJ demonstrations in the past (start here). And after the Takeshima/Dokdo Islands dispute, public displays of xenophobic hatred by Japan’s strengthening Right Wing has been increasingly directed towards Zainichi Koreans in their Tokyo neighborhoods (see here, last September).
Now comes the next step: Public demonstrations advocating violence and death, marching through an ethnic Korean neighborhood in Tokyo for maximum effect and impact. They are happening. Check out these photos of demonstrator signs, taken February 9, 2013, courtesy of a human rights lawyer and used with permission:
Here is a video of that demonstration, taken in Shin-Ohkubo along Meiji Doori and Ohkubo-Doori on February 9, 2013:
This information has come to me as part of a campaign to inform the International Olympic Committee about Japan’s discriminatory practices towards its ethnic minorities, in violation of the IOC Charter. I will have that report up tomorrow.
COMMENT: “KOREANS: HANG YOURSELVES, DRINK POISON, LEAP TO YOUR DEATHS.” “GOOD OR BAD, KILL ALL KOREANS.” At this rate, it is only a matter of time before these threats of violence become real. Still holding out hope that “Japan is a peaceful, nonviolent society” and is therefore somehow exceptional? Heed this warning: People are people anywhere you go, and when encouraged in this way to resort to violence, eventually there will be blood. Time to wake up and recognize what is happening in Japan before it is too late. Arudou Debito
UPDATE: This incident is causing debate in the lower-brow domestic press. Nikkan Sports, April 15, 2013, courtesy of MS (click on image to expand in browser).
31 comments on “Feb 9 2013 Tokyo Shin-Ohkubo Anti-Korean demonstrator slogans: “Good or Bad, Kill All Koreans” etc.”
Those Tokyo police officers sure look relaxed.
Still, it’s easy to see why they’re upset; Korea is eating Japan for lunch.
In case anyone didn’t know: Samsung is currently worth about 4x Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sharp and NEC *combined*.
Very disturbing, but had to burst out laughing when I saw the placards about 700 tons of Korean Kimchi infected with Noro Virus going missing. ‘Whatever you do, don’t put it in your mouth’! Japan really is obsessed with food, to the point that even their racists can’t leave it alone 🙂
@simonsays above. What about all the Spinach, mushrooms, etc infected with radioactive cesium?
Whatever you do, don’t put Japanese food in your mouth! Typical denial that they would focus on Kimchi instead.
Is it allowed to put on masks and conceal your face during demonstrations in Japan? Huh.
This is disgusting, but what does it have to do with how the country treats minorities? I’m not sure I see the connection. These are, ostensibly, private citizens (albeit the lowest of the low) exercising freedom of speech. It’s disgusting and I wish things like this wouldn’t happen, but I don’t see how this in particular is showing how ‘Japan’ treats its minorities. Wouldn’t showing videos of these types of people attacking counter protesters while police watch be better at making a case that the country has a problem? There are plenty of those on youtube.
Or is this just part of a compilation of things for that report that shows Japan’s xenophobia?
Judging from those slogans, things in Japan sure seems to be going back to the Showa era days with ultra-nationalists running about shouting anti-NJ slogans. Except the only difference today is that the nationalists are made up of average “salaryman” folks dressed in normal clothing.
Also, as much as the apologists would like to believe that far-right groups are made up of “a few old men”, many people in these pictures certainly don’t fit that “a few old men” stereotype. I am seeing alot more generation Y’ers and X’ers taking part in ultra-nationalist activities nowadays.
Perhaps it is due to the consequence of another epidemic?
Rather than thinking of ways to help the unemployed as well as the overworked as Japan should do, the GOJ is instead exploiting the desperate folks into hating NJ for all of their problems. Of course, not all nationalists are depressed shut-ins, but the emotional fragility of the NEET/Hikikomori category are more easily lured in by far right ideologies.
For Abe’s “beautiful Japan” agenda to sell well and to continue to sell well, a fractured society and a desperate economy is almost essential. Add in a territorial dispute here and there along with bogus statistics of NJ crime, you will end up with a population fully ready to revert back to its militant past.
“In case anyone didn’t know: Samsung is currently worth about 4x Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sharp and NEC *combined*.”
No doubt, the Japanese are very frustrated with their stressful lives. Unfortunately, the Japanese are venting their anger at the wrong targets. Thanks to Abe and his cronies, the naive public genuinely believes that they are 100% faultless for economically falling behind everyone else. Instead of learning from their loss, they turn their loss into an unhealthy and unproductive hobby of hating those who can climb or run ahead of them, making things all more worse.
Miki Dezaki should include photos and video from this sickingly racist demonstration in his next video. It would do wonders to silence criticism. No racism in Japan??
And interviews of some of the marchers would help put a face on racism in Japan. Never underestimate the power of images! The marchers may be small in number, but I would not be surprised if their sentiments are shared by many not just the net-uyoku.
Amazing that here we have the equivalent of the KKK marching through NYC, but no coverage, let alone outrage, in the media.
Exactly the sort of thing that needs to go to the IOC.
This is absolutely disgusting.
It’s funny how these demonstrations are not shown on Japanese news shows and all we get are “demos” in Korea consisting of 7 old blokes throwing eggs at maps of Japan and failing to hand out fliers to uninterested passers by.
I wonder what version of events the Koreans are being shown on their news shows….?
Not surprised to say the least. I am all in favor of full freedom of speech for everybody (even for racists, bigots, ….). But with freedom comes responsibility. Under existing Japanese laws, several of these signs could be considered as a threat and might justify criminal prosecution if a Korean resident of Shin-Ohkubo feels threatened by it… but he would have to find a comprehensive prosecutor (knowing that the prosecutors are in general more conservative than the average, chances are slim).
Now, the irony is, if one would organize a demonstration with signs calling for the killing of Japanese citizens, you can be sure it wouldn’t take time for the demonstrators to be charged and sentenced (with ample amounts of TV coverage, especially if some of the demonstrators were of Korean descent).
This is akin to the Orange men parading thru Catholic areas of Ulster. The Korean residents association is showing remarkable restraint.
But this is a deep shame on Japan and its international reputation as a G7 country. Hope it goes viral.
I couldn’t have said it better.
What was on the evening news the day this happened? Maybe some scare-mongering about air pollution from China (while market gardeners in Saitama burn plastics with impunity), or some territorial dispute (in between the food & fashion and sports reports)
No wonder it’s so easy to live in denial.
Of course. Can’t have people being accountable for their speech or anything like that.
It’s basically the real life version of anonymous right wing internet posters.
No J-media attention; because it’s not the image of Japan the Japanese tell themselves others hold, or because the J-media is scared of being targeted by nationalists? Maybe the J-media is not covering this story as a form of passive endorsement.
It doesn’t matter. Maybe they just don’t want to have to think about unpleasant and difficult issues so they can enjoy uninterrupted consumerism.
This is what happens when you elect nationalists for PM; it sends a message to the wider society that racism is ok.
-“they just don’t want to have to think about unpleasant and difficult issues so they can enjoy uninterrupted consumerism.”
I think for the daily life of the masses, this is the most important thing, al they enjoy and all they can do.
The politics on the TV is just entertainment, the show, the Spectacle.
some territorial dispute (in between the food & fashion and sports reports)
No wonder it’s so easy to live in denial.”
Another excellent comment; that is life in Japan. TV is just entertainment, not to stimulate any serious discussion leading to change (except as a topic to talk to your friends about. Although I should say this means a topic to agree on, to bond over. Not to particularly inform or start a debate on).
“Banker Kaoru Itoh says “the British like arguments, the Japanese don’t. They dislike raising the opposite opinion. In Japan everyone respects the opinion of the majority” (Quoted in “First Insights into Business”, Longman English textbook).
Now what does the “majority” mean? LDP?
Debito, a point on word choice. I’ve noticed a creeping trend on this site over the last few weeks for people to discuss other groups in absolutes. For example, in the posts above – “they just don’t want to have to…”. All Japanese people? All J-media? I don’t think so. We need to be careful how we phrase comments so that we don’t generalize about other groups in a way we wouldn’t wish ourselves to be characterized. I’m not just talking about this thread. What has separated this site from many others has been the tone of reasoned debate – which I hope continues.
— I thought about that too. Agreed. I am probably going to have to set it as a Posting Guideline. Wilco.
I don’t see any sense of pride or virtue in these people whatsoever. They are degrading the civility of people, rottening it to the core through these natsy demonstrations. They’re definitely the ones claiming themselves as the 3rd class citizen in Japan.
I have been thinking about the nature of postwar/postmodern Japanese democracy and what “freedom” means. I think for many it means freedom to buy a variety of goods to maintain an ostensibly middle-class, “American dream” lifestyle. This arrangement of course suits America, firstly for security arrangements and then after the 80s with a few open market sops thrown their way.
The rightist demonstrations are exactly the same as the tacitly Communist Party sanctioned ones in China. Their agenda suits the ruling party or police/yakuza/shady elements, so they allow it.Post communist Russia under Putin is perhaps the most similar to Japan, especially with the recent oppression and outright harrassment of non press club journalists.
Ditto Japan, as an ex(?) police state allowing demonstrations that play out a right wing agenda. But we have seen this tactic since the 90s in Yugoslavia, governments denying any control over more extremist factions,claiming these are rogue groups or private individuals, wringing their hands to their western allies or to the UN, and saying “what can we do?” when in fact they are indirectly supporting them or privately agreeing with them.
Liberal elements/demonstrations in both China and Japan are of course oppressed by the police.
I have not had the oppportunity to have this conversation recently-perhaps as my Japanese friends are not idiots and potential idiots I do encounter are purely in a professional capacity, but I am looking for the chance next time a Japanese person complains about anti Japanese demos in China to reply with; “Oh yeah I saw ones like that in Japan too. Kill all Koreans, even children etc”.
Hmm, shades of Nanjing. Are they SURE it didnt happen now? Scratch the surface and it seems a potential army of genocidal murderers seems to still lurk, waiting to be recruited when they bring back conscription?
These fascists do Japan’s image or whitewashing of atrocities no good at all.I suppose that is the only positive aspect.
I was stopped at a light when they marched by in front of me. Who is the intended audience if the signs are in English? Koreans better at English, too? But what really caught my attention was a large portion of the column marching by was moms with their kids and strollers.
In “The Nature of Prejudice” (1979 Perseus Books Publishing, New York, Ch.1) Gordon W. Allport catalogs the degrees of negative action people take when acting out prejudice:
“1. Antilocution. Most people who have prejudices talk about them. But many people never go beyond this mild degree of antipathetic action….
2. Avoidance. If the prejudice is more intense, it leads the individual to avoid members of the dislike group, even perhaps at the cost of considerable inconvenience…
3. Discrimination. Here the prejudiced person makes detrimental distinctions of an active sort. He undertakes to exclude all members of the group in question from certain types of employment, from residential housing, political rights, educational or recreational opportunities, churches, hospitals or from some other social privileges….
4. Physical attack. Under conditions of heightened emotion, prejudice may lead to acts of violence or semi-violence. An unwanted negro family may be forcible ejected from a neighbourhood or so severely threatened that it leaves in fear. Gravestones in Jewish cemeteries may be desecrated….
5. Extermination. Lynchings, pogroms, massacres and the Hitlerian program of genocide mark the ultimate degree of violent expression of prejudice.”
He goes on to say that: “activity on one level makes transition to a more intense level easier. It was HItler’s antilocution that let Germans to avoid their Jewish neighbours…This preparation made it easier to enact the Nurnberg laws of discrimination which, in turn, made the subsequent burning of synagogues and street attacks upon Jews seem natural. The final step in the macabre progression was the ovens at Auschwitz…”
It is quite a shock then, to realise how far Japan has already gone down this scale. Failure by the State or society to put the brakes on at each level is leading to worse and worse abuses.
*Antilocution – check- many Japanese feel it is perfectly fine (and not even discriminatory!) to say that they “don’t like gaijin”, and “hate Koreans and Chinese”, let alone the more extreme statements we see in this demonstration.
*Avoidance – check – try sitting in a crowded train while white or coloured, and time how long it takes for that seat beside you to be filled.
* Discrimination – check – NJ are actively discriminated against in housing, employment, political rights, recreation (bars, clubs and bathhouses) education, and medical treatment.
* Physical Attack – check – attacks on Korean property in Shin Okubo, threats to Korean school students, public demonstrations calling for all Koreans to be killed…
If things continue in this vein, and if Allport’s theory is correct, it will not be long before we see even more and even worse incidents of physical attack. The question is whether the State and society will put a stop to things there, or will Japan ultimately descend to the level of extermination?
— Probably not. There is no state of war to cover that up. And I doubt things will go that far. But violence towards people leading to death at the individual level, entirely possible.
“– Probably not. There is no state of war to cover that up. And I doubt things will go that far. But violence towards people leading to death at the individual level, entirely possible.”
I guess it really depends on the situation in the following months/years. Sure there is no state of war right now but Japan is really pushing the limits in terms of territorial disputes and is worrying. It is difficult to declare war on an “enemy” that you do not hate or fear.
I guess giantpanda does have a point that in case the Senkakus/Dokdo/Hokkaido disputes somehow go really wrong for whatever reason, then it is easier to convince the people (who by now who have nothing short of absolute searing hatred of their neighbors) that a war and militarization is necessary.
Also I guess what Allport is pointing out is that once all the “prejudice criteria” is met, the gullible public will less likely sit down and rethink their actions.
Atrocities are more likely to be committed in the event of a war due to the public being brainwashed to think that their “enemy” is less than human.
Judging from what those protestors are saying, the youtube comments, as well as what happened to the teacher in the previous
article, it doesn’t take much for Japan’s hatred to spill over and turn into something really messy should territorial disputes really go out of hand. Extremism is easier to achieve in steps.
Because of Japan’s non-repentance of past crimes, many people in neighboring countries do fear that there is a possibility of history repeating because Japan is not learning from its past, not to mention Japan wants to rebuild its past.
Well, maybe a bit of good news (someone showing common sense and recognising hate speech)
English version of the above seems to up on the Mainichi site:
Hate speech alive, well and entirely unchecked in Japan
Mainichi Shimbun, March 24, 2013
At certain demonstrations, you can hear the threats and insults fly: “Kill ’em, kill ’em,” “Cockroaches,” or “Kick ’em all out of Japan!”
We are beginning to see more of this hateful bravado in Japan, and those on the receiving end say they feel they are “in danger.” Such is the reality of hate speech in this country today, and while nations such as the United Kingdom and Germany have legal penalties for hate speech, in Japan “it is left unchecked,” as one expert told the Mainichi.
In early February this year, protestors marching through a commercial district in Tokyo with a high foreign population chanted the very slogans quoted above. The demonstration was organized over the Internet and targeted at a particular nationality, and drew over 100 men and women.
The people in the march were not members of an established right-wing group, but were rather “regular people.”
“The slogans are more radical than they were a few years ago,” says Koichi Yasuda, a freelance journalist who covered the xenophobic protest. “I think the phrase ‘Kill ’em’ qualifies as hate speech.”
However, one of the groups that organized the march told the Mainichi, “The protesters began chanting (‘Kill ’em’) on their own, and we don’t endorse that message. On the other hand, there’s no exact definition of hate speech, and I think that phrase is all right as a protest slogan.”
One 25-year-old foreign resident who saw the protest said he “was scared. It felt dangerous.” Twitter was awash in comments like, “That demonstration was really pushing it,” and “I don’t want to get too close.”
A multiparty group of Diet members called for a counter-protest, and on March 14 more than 200 people turned out. At another anti-foreigner demonstration on March 17, the marchers were met along their route by a group hoisting placards reading “Let’s all get along” and other positive messages.
“I couldn’t just stand by and watch anymore,” the 30-year-old man who put together the counter-rally said.
Many countries put legal curbs on hate speech, citing the threat it poses to social harmony and human dignity. In Germany, for instance, anyone who attacks a particular group in Internet postings or by organizing demonstrations or gatherings can be slapped with a prison term of up to five years for the crime of “demagoguery.” It’s also illegal for organizations to call for “the expulsion or extermination” of any foreign populations living in the country.
In the U.K., the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act prescribes a prison sentence of seven years for similar offences, while in France and in tiny Montenegro — the latter once a part of Yugoslavia, which tore itself apart in a storm of ethnic bloodletting in the 1990s — have fines in place.
In Japan, however, hate speech is entirely unregulated. There are laws against defamation, insults and criminal intimidation against individuals or specific organizations, but they do not apply to such broad groups as nationalities or ethnicities.
According to Tokyo Zokei University professor Akira Maeda, an expert in the criminal justice system and human rights, anti-hate speech regulations can’t get any traction in Japan because they risk violating the constitutional right to freedom of expression.
However, “If insulting a group is treated as a crime in the same way as insults against individuals, freedom of speech wouldn’t be violated,” Maeda said. “Only Japan is behind on this issue, a legal Galapagos Islands.”
Meanwhile, Takachiho University associate professor Ikuo Gonoi told the Mainichi, “It’s certainly possible Japan could lose the world’s trust if we let hate speech flourish at the same time as we’re asking for the Summer Olympic Games to come to Tokyo.” Furthermore, the citizens’ protest against the xenophobic demonstration on March 17 “is well worth noting and praising, especially before we turn to government regulation, which could put the squeeze on freedom of expression. I’d like to see it used to educate our citizens, so that we no longer forgive discrimination,” Gonoi said.
March 24, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
毎日新聞 2013年03月18日 15時00分
In Osaka too;
I just want to demonstrate the twisted logic of the right-wingers in the video;
1. We are angry because Koreans/Chinese tell nasty lies, alleging Japanese wartime atrocities (leading to….)
2. We aren’t going to be made to feel bad about things we didn’t do anymore! (concluding in…)
3. If you don’t apologize, we’ll massacre you again like we did at Nanking! (eh? I thought that the Nanking massacre was an evil anti-Japanese lie, right?).
“…According to Tokyo Zokei University professor Akira Maeda, an expert in the criminal justice system and human rights, anti-hate speech regulations can’t get any traction in Japan because they risk violating the constitutional right to freedom of expression…”
Of course, there is no freedom of expression in countries cited like the UK or Germany..or hell, even the good old US of A and their rock solid constitution!!!
Hahahaha….i want what this guy is smoking!
@ John K #27
‘Of course, there is no freedom of expression in countries cited like the UK or Germany..or hell, even the good old US of A and their rock solid constitution!!!’
Your comment got me thinking about the Osaka video I linked to in #25.
So I asked a friend of mine who is a UK police officer to watch it.
He believes that if the situation were to take place in the UK, the girls speech would break laws to protect against inciting violence given that this is a predominantly Korean part of town. There would also be a case to charge her with ‘breach of the peace’ at the very least in order to stop her from whipping up the crowd. However, since she is a minor, he would prefer to charge the parents with not exercising their ‘duty of care’ to prevent their daughter from breaking on the law by allowing her to participate in the demo, and call Social Services.
Whatever the outcome (the parents would be likely to get a slap on the wrist and a fine), he is astonished that the J-police appear to take no action. As he says;
‘What if after she psyches all the nutters up, one of them goes and hurts someone? Police should nip it in the bud to save on leg work later. ‘Freedom of Speech’ is not carte blanche to incite murder’.
UPDATE: This incident is causing debate in the lower-brow domestic press. Nikkan Sports, April 15, 2013, courtesy of MS (click on image to expand in browser).
It’s encouraging to see some form of legitimatized debate taking place.
What will follow? Will the debate spread? Or will right-wingers harass the paper into silence? Let’s see…
“What will follow? Will the debate spread? Or will right-wingers harass the paper into silence? Let’s see…”
It is hopeful though. However I find it hard to believe that a debate on NJ discrimination is unlikely as of current. Anyone standing up for debate will be labeled as “traitors” and “spies” by J-nationalists. The outcome won’t be any different than what happened with Hatoyama, who was labeled a “traitor” by the LDP and the American teacher, Miki Dezaki, who was harassed by nationalist trolls.
Unless a miracle happens, I doubt the fate of anyone standing up against Japan’s saber-rattling attitude will differ from the fate Hatoyama or Dezaki. The consequences of stepping outside the norms in Japan will also discourage any positive dialogue.