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  • Asahi on arrest of Zaitokukai participant in anti-Korean demo; J-Cast on anti-Korean stuff being sold at Dietmember kaikan; Osaka sign saying “Stop Scrawling Discriminatory Graffiti”

    Posted by arudou debito on May 21st, 2013

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    Hi Blog.  We have some positive movements regarding the treatment of hate speech in Japan, particularly regarding that “Kill all Koreans” hate demo that took place last February (god bless the ensuing gaiatsu of international attention for making the GOJ finally take some action to deal with this deservedly embarrassing incident).  First, the Asahi reports that one of the participants in the Zaitokukai hate demo named Akai Hiroshi was arrested by the police, for violent bodily contact with a person protesting Zaitokukai activities.

    ==============================

    新大久保の反韓デモ、初の逮捕 対立グループに暴行容疑
    朝日新聞 2013年5月20日, courtesy of MS
    http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0520/TKY201305200108.html

    在日韓国・朝鮮人を非難する東京・新大久保でのデモで対立するグループの男性に体当たりしたとして、警視庁は、自称・埼玉県熊谷市拾六間、無職赤井洋容疑者(47)を暴行の疑いで逮捕し、20日発表した。「つまずいて相手にぶつかっただけだ」と容疑を否認しているという。新大久保でのデモで逮捕者が出たのは初めて。

    新宿署によると、赤井容疑者は19日午後6時40分ごろ、東京都新宿区の路上で、会社員男性(51)の胸などに体当たりした疑いがある。

    赤井容疑者は「在日特権を許さない市民の会」のメンバーらとともにデモに参加。被害男性は、デモをやめるよう抗議する集団に加わっていた。両集団はそれぞれ約200人規模で、警視庁機動隊を挟み、緊迫した状況だったという。

    ==============================

    Japan Times reports from Kyodo:

    ==============================
    NATIONAL
    Man held during anti-Korean rally
    KYODO MAY 22, 2013

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/22/national/man-held-during-anti-korean-rally

    Police have arrested a 47-year-old man who took part in a regularly held anti-Korean demonstration in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, for allegedly assaulting another man protesting the rally.

    The man arrested Monday identified himself as Hiroshi Akai, an unemployed former Self-Defense Force member from Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. Akai said he had “accidentally bumped into” the other man, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

    Police allege Akai hurled himself at the 51-year-old company employee Sunday evening after the protest in Shinjuku. He was held by riot police who were guarding the demonstration.

    Rightwing groups, including one claiming to be “citizens who do not condone privileges given to Koreans in Japan,” have been staging demonstrations several times a month in Shinjuku and nearby Shin-Okubo, home to a large ethnic Korean population.
    ==============================

    Okay, good start, and glad that there are protests regarding the hateful, xenophobic protesters (usually their activities get ignored even if they involve violence against counter-demonstrators).  Except for the fact that this sort of hate speech has by now reached the highest and lowest levels of society, as in anti-Korean stickers being sold in Diet buildings, and anti-Korean graffiti being scrawled on public transportation:

    ==============================

    韓国人差別ステッカーを議員会館で販売 自民議員側は関係否定して困惑顔
    2013/5/14 J-Cast News, courtesy of MS
    http://www.j-cast.com/2013/05/14175063.html

    「チョンキール」と書かれた韓国人差別のステッカーが衆院議員会館で売られていた――。朝日新聞記者がこうツイートし、ネット上でステッカー販売に批判が相次いでいる。市民団体の会議室利用に協力した自民党議員側は、販売との関係を否定しており、困惑している様子だ。
    ステッカーには、ゴキブリのような絵とともに、「ヨクキク 強力除鮮液」「チョンキール」と字が入っていた。朝日新聞社会部の石橋英昭記者が、2013年5月13日のツイートで、会議室でこんなものなどが売られていたと写真付きで紹介している。「日韓断交」というステッカーなども写っている。
    朝日新聞記者のツイートがきっかけ
    jcast051413
    ツイートが物議
    この日の会議室は、沖縄復帰をめぐる学習会に使われており、石橋記者は、自民党の西銘(にしめ)恒三郎衆院議員が主催者で、日本維新の会の西村眞悟衆院議員が講演していたと書いた。ただ、続くツイートでは、「国会議員が窓口になって議員会館で学習会を開いた民間団体の関係者が、販売していたということです。議員は直接には関わってないと思います」と補足している。
    しかし、ツイートは波紋を呼び、ネット上では、「主催議員は責任をとらなければならない」「知らなかったでは済まされないぞ」などと批判が相次いだ。小説家の深町秋生さんも、「首相のヘイトスピーチ批判とはなんだったんだろう」とツイッターで疑問を呈すほどだった。
    これに対し、学習会実行委員会の中心メンバーで市民団体の沖縄対策本部では、「この写真は昨日の学習会とも主催者とも関係ありません」とツイッターなどで弁明を始めた。石橋記者もこのことをツイッターで紹介し、「主催者と無関係な人が会議室に入り、台を設け販売していたとのことのようです」と前言を変えた。
    沖縄対策本部代表の仲村覚さんは、フェイスブックでさらに事情を説明している。それによると、ボランティアを依頼した人の友人が、一緒に参加して勝手に展示したものだという。西銘・西村両議員側には、報告とお詫びをしたとしている。
    「記者は事実関係確認してほしかった」
    とはいえ、西銘恒三郎議員が、差別ステッカーなどの展示・販売について知っていたことはないのか。
    沖縄対策本部代表の仲村覚さんは、取材に対し、そのことを否定し、展示の経緯について説明した。それによると、ボランティアをしていた人の友人は、前日の別の集会にも来ており、そこでステッカーなどを販売していた。友人は、学習会でボランティアをするので、そこでも販売させてほしいと仲村さんに申し出たが、仲村さんは、会議室での物品販売はできないと説明を受けているとして申し出を拒否した。
    ところが、この友人は当日、会議室のテーブルでステッカーなどを勝手に展示し始めた。これを仲村さんの仲間が見つけ、展示を止めさせたそうだ。ステッカーの販売までしたとは、聞いていないという。
    ステッカーなどは、日韓断交共闘委員会という市民団体がサイト上で売っていたが、仲村さんは、この団体のことは知らないとした。販売の意図もナゾのままで、「今後は身元チェックを厳しくするなど、注意していきます」と言っている。
    学習会の主催は、形式的に西銘議員になっているが、実際は実行委がしていたという。西銘議員は、企画・運営にはタッチしておらず、学習会にも来ていないとした。
    西銘議員の事務所では、取材に対し、スタッフがこう説明した。
    「同じ沖縄の人が祖国復帰の勉強会をしたいので会議室利用の窓口になってほしいと依頼があり、こちらで借りられるようにお手伝いはしました。しかし、実行委員会からステッカーのことについて報告などがあり、どういうことなのかとびっくりしています。差別的な思想自体が困りますし、とても残念なことだと思っています。朝日新聞の方も、ツイッターで発言する前に、事実関係を確認してほしかったですね」
    ENDS
    ==============================

    The good news, however, is that we’re hearing about these events at all (discrimination often goes ignored in the J-media if its against NJ). Also good news is that the authorities are taking measures against them, as seen in this sign sent to me yesterday by AP:

    antirakugakisignmay2013

    (Taken in Sekime-Seiiku Station in the Osaka area, May 20, 2013.)

    The sign reads: A bright society where people respect each others’ human rights.  Let’s stop scrawling discriminatory GRAFFITI that will hurt people’s hearts.  If you notice any discriminatory graffiti, let us know (addendum:  let a station attendant know).  Signed, Osaka City Citizens’ Bureau.  

    Submitter AP writes:  “I talked to the 駅長 as well. I said I don’t know what lead to posting that message, but as a foreigner in Japan I sometimes face 差別 and understand why this kind of thing is important to address, and thanked him. He seemed appreciative as well.”

    Good.  Then maybe people are realizing that this sort of thing affects everyone in society, not just some guest foreigners whose lives and feelings have no connection with ours.  These are positive developments.  Arudou Debito

    24 Responses to “Asahi on arrest of Zaitokukai participant in anti-Korean demo; J-Cast on anti-Korean stuff being sold at Dietmember kaikan; Osaka sign saying “Stop Scrawling Discriminatory Graffiti””

    1. Kirk Masden Says:

      I find it interesting that, while the Asahi calls the demonstration an “anti-Korean” demonstration (反韓デモ) the following Sankei article calls it a “disliking-Korea” (嫌韓デモ) demonstration:

      http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/news/130520/crm13052015070009-n1.htm

      “Kenkan” (嫌韓) might be translated as “hating Korea” but my impression is that “kenkan” is actually a softer expression (one that sounds less repugnant and uncivilized) than “hankan” (反韓). I say this because I remember the talk in the 1990s about the rise in “kenbei” (嫌米) sentiment — disaffection with the United States.

      I might be wrong about this and will be interested to hear what others think — particularly native speakers. One thing, however, that I am more confident about is that expressions like “kenkan” (disliking Korea) and “kenbei” (disliking the U.S.) don’t seem to have equivalents for foreign protests that are directed at Japan. I have never heard, for example, of “kennichi” (嫌日) demonstrations in China. I just searched for 嫌日 on Google and all of the hits that I found were actually 反日.

      At any rate, I wonder what is behind the Sankei’s choice of characters and what connection that choice may have to their right-wing sympathies.

    2. Justin Says:

      I love seeing good news on debito.org, it’s my favorite kind of post.

    3. Joe Says:

      @Kirk

      You need to be more persistent with your googling. I found 270,000 hits for “嫌日” and 20,500 for “嫌日デモ” specifically.
      While I claim no expertise in Japanese, I believe I know enough to say that, for example, “反韓”implies opposition to the Korean state (the government, its policies, the military) whereas “嫌韓” expresses a hatred of the Korean people themselves.
      It’s less a case of degree of dislike than it is of the target of that dislike.
      But I’m no native speaker. I’d be interested to hear what others think.

    4. debito Says:

      Also from the WSJ:

      Anti-Korean Voices Grow in Japan
      Small but Venomous Rallies Become More Frequent, Prompt Soul-Searching
      Over Hate Speech
      By YUKA HAYASHI
      Wall Street Journal Updated May 16, 2013, 2:09 a.m. ET
      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324031404578482570250163826.html

      PHOTO: Demonstrators in Tokyo wave national and Rising Sun flags during an April
      21 protest against ethnic Koreans living in Japan. Such protests have
      increased in size and frequency, alarming some political leaders.

      TOKYO—As Japanese nationalism is fueled by friction with neighbors over
      territories and World War II legacy issues, hostile demonstrations against
      the country’s Korean residents are gathering steam, raising concerns among
      political leaders and setting off soul-searching among Japan’s largely
      homogeneous population.

      While attendance at the rallies is small and such extreme actions are far
      from entering the mainstream of Japanese politics, the demonstrations of
      nationalist activists using hate speech and intimidation have grown in
      size and frequency in recent months. One target has been the central Tokyo
      neighborhood of Shin-Okubo, known for Korean restaurants and shops selling
      South Korean pop-culture goods. Starting in February, groups of 200 or so
      demonstrators have descended on its busy weekend streets, waving Japanese
      flags and carrying signs that read “Roaches” and “Go Back to Korea.” They
      shouted in unison: “Let’s Kill Koreans,” language that passersby told
      local television they found shocking.

      Similar, though smaller, rallies have been held every weekend across
      Japan. While the demonstrations have raised tensions, there have been no
      reports of violence, beyond a handful of minor scuffles.

      Alarmed, some lawmakers have started calling for new regulation to ban
      hate speech, a term unfamiliar to most in Japan where immigration is
      tightly controlled and racial and ethnic minorities—mostly descendants of
      Koreans brought to Japan before and during World War II—account for less
      than 1% of the population.

      “When they started shouting ‘Kill Koreans’ on the streets early this year,
      I knew they had crossed the line,” said Yoshifu Arita, an opposition
      lawmaker leading a debate in parliament along with a dozen colleagues.
      “This is something we can’t overlook,” he added in an interview.

      Animosities this week have been further fueled by comments from Osaka
      Mayor Toru Hashimoto that sex slaves who served Japanese soldiers before
      and during World War II were a “necessary” part of war. The remarks drew
      protests from both South Korea and China.

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose nationalistic policies are praised by
      conservative voters while alarming Japan’s neighbors, described the
      phenomenon as “extremely regrettable” in parliamentary testimony this
      month. Last week, his own wife, Akie, became a victim of anti-Korea
      harassment. After Mrs. Abe posted on Facebook on May 9 that she
      had enjoyed watching the South Korean musical “Caffeine,” her page was
      inundated with critical comments.

      The emergence of openly racist sentiments come as Japan finds itself mired
      in thorny disagreements with China and South Korea over territories and
      Japan’s role in World War II. Combined with the erosion of the nation’s
      economic prowess, they have fueled bitterness and insecurity among many of
      its people. A poll jointly released this month by Japan’s Genron NPO and
      South Korea’s East Asia Institute showed that 40% of Japanese and 47% of
      South Korean respondents said bilateral ties had deteriorated over the
      past year. Overall, 37% of respondents in Japan and 77% in South Korea
      said they had negative images of the other nation.

      Last week, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye delivered stinging
      criticism of Japanese leaders while she was in Washington, saying “those
      who are blind to the past cannot see the future.”

      To be sure, rallies in Japan touting extreme racism are small and free of
      physical violence. By comparison, antinuclear rallies seen in Japan after
      the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima drew tens of thousands of
      protesters. In China, as tensions heightened over disputed islands last
      year, anti-Japan sentiment led to the burning of Japanese-owned businesses
      and the harassing of Japanese tourists. In South Korea, anti-Japan
      protesters recently burned Japanese flags and an effigy of Mr. Abe.

      While Japan’s constitution protects foreigners’ human rights and police
      can arrest demonstrators using verbal intimidation, Japan has few
      effective tools and regulations to control hate speech and extreme forms
      of racial discrimination, experts say. Their small size has left members
      of the minority population with little political clout and much of the
      rest of the population seemingly indifferent, analysts say.

      “As a result, human-rights violations against foreigners have been
      tolerated in some ways,” said Akira Maeda, a law professor at Tokyo Zokei
      University specializing in issues around hate speech.

      In 2010, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial
      Discrimination urged Japan to adopt a law to ban hate speech, citing
      “continued incidence of explicit and crude statements and actions” against
      children attending Korean schools and other groups. Tokyo responded by
      citing a possible conflict with the freedom of expression guaranteed by
      its constitution. (The U.S. takes a similar position on rallies targeting
      specific groups.) It added, “The government of Japan does not believe that
      in present-day Japan racist thoughts are disseminated, and racial
      discrimination are fanned to the extent that would warrant” such a new
      law.

      At a recent parliamentary session, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said
      Tokyo would closely monitor whether the rallies were inciting racist
      actions, but didn’t pledge new legal protections.

      Many of the virulent rallies are organized by a conservative group called
      Zaitokukai and organizations that are sympathetic to it. The group was
      formed in 2006 to protest against “special privileges,” such as welfare
      payments, that it says are abused by ethnic Koreans, who make up 45% of
      foreign permanent residents in Japan. Its membership has grown to 13,000
      from 10,000 two years ago, according to its website. Unlike Japan’s
      traditional right-wing organizations that have gathered members through
      grass-root groups, Zaitokukai relies on the Internet to attract members.
      Videos of its rallies and speeches are made available on YouTube and used
      as a recruitment tool.

      “They used to contain their toxic language to a corner of cyberspace. But
      recently, they’ve brought it out in the open by calling it active
      conservatism. They are now showering those hurtful words on us,” Seo
      Sa-Hwang, president of the Korean Youth Association in Japan, a group
      representing 2,000 permanent residents of South Korean descent.
      “Increasingly, we are worried that our lives may be in danger,” said the
      33-year-old Mr. Seo, who has lived in Japan all his life.

      Zaitokukai officials say the group’s rallies are aimed at “getting Japan
      back in the hands of the Japanese” from foreigners who are harming them.
      “Many Japanese are losing their lives because of crimes committed by
      Korean residents. Murder. Robbery. Arson. Serious crimes as they please,”
      Said Makoto Sakurai, Zaitokukai’s leader, at a rally held Sunday in
      Kawasaki, a town near Tokyo known for a large ethnic Korean population:
      “We are just saying that people who don’t like Japan should go back to
      their own country. What part of that is hate speech?”

      Fearful that they may get snared into violent fight, Korean residents’
      groups have so far kept their distance from the rallies. After extensive
      discussions among members and experts, Mr. Seo’s group recently put out a
      statement protesting against what they termed xenophobia and “words and
      action that incite racism.”

      Some 50 protesters—largely men who appeared to be in their 30s and
      40s—were at the Sunday rally in front of a shopping mall by a busy
      suburban train station. One young man held a sign warning of a “murder
      date” for ethnic Korean city employees. A middle-aged woman, with a stem
      of a Mother’s Day carnation sticking out from her purse, carried a sign:
      “Sever diplomatic ties with South Korea.”

      Separated from them by double walls of 100 or so police officers were a
      group of “counteraction” protesters, shouting “Racists” and “Shame on
      you.” One man in his 20s, carrying a tote bag with a “No Nukes” logo, held
      high a photo of Prime Minister Abe with a finger pointing toward the
      anti-Korea group. “Extremely Regrettable,” it read.

      A few hundred passersby—young couples pushing strollers, seniors with
      shopping bags—looked on from a safe distance.

      Write to Yuka Hayashi at yuka.hayashi@wsj.com

      Correction
      Ethnic Koreans make up 45% of Japan’s foreign permanent residents. An
      earlier version of this article incorrectly said they make up 99%.

    5. Kirk Masden Says:

      Thanks Joe! My impression about 嫌韓 and 反韓 may have been off the mark. After rechecking Google I came to the conclusion that 嫌日 is slightly more that 1% as often on the web as 反日. My impression from TV would be less than 1%. I was taken aback by the expression 嫌韓 but it probably isn’t significant after all.

      Thanks, Debito, for the Wall Street Journal article. Interesting reading! However, the “To be sure, rallies in Japan touting extreme racism are small and free of physical violence” is not correct, as is obvious from your arrest you are reporting in this post and from some videos available on YouTube.

    6. Ast Says:

      Unfortunately, the guy was released the following day… but it’s a start…

      According to this article, 2000 people showed up as counter protestors… but I think that’s waaaay too much of an overestimate. Probably about 400 people showed up at most. You can watch the 5/19 新大久保デモ on YouTube. What’s sure is that there are more and more growing number of counter protestors, while the number of Zaitokukai protestors are shrinking:

      http://hochi.yomiuri.co.jp/topics/news/20130520-OHT1T00220.htm

      The GOOD thing about this “anti-Korea” protests is that it has sparked a small but vibrant anti-racism movement on Twitter. You can only look around on Twitter. I think that it has the potential to become a genuine grassroots movement akin to the Civil Rights movement in the US.

    7. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Debito,

      You say;
      ‘We have some positive movements regarding the treatment of hate speech in Japan, particularly regarding that “Kill all Koreans” hate demo that took place last February (god bless the ensuing gaiatsu of international attention for making the GOJ finally take some action to deal with this deservedly embarrassing incident).’

      I honestly hope that this is true, however, I fear that the real cause of Abe’s anti-hate-speech anouncement was this;

      ==
      Japan’s first lady takes flak for attending South Korean musical
      May 11, 2013 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/AJ201305110051

      The wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a flood of criticism on her Facebook page after posting a message about attending a South Korean musical.

      One of the comments reads, “There are Japanese people who are bitter about your activities related to South Korea,” while another says, “You are careless.”

      On May 9, Akie Abe posted a message saying she had seen the musical “Caffeine,” which is now being performed in a theater in Tokyo’s Roppongi district.

      Critical comments began pouring in, apparently due to South Korea’s tougher stance toward Japan over sovereignty of the Takeshima islets in the Sea of Japan and the prime minister’s position on issues of history.

      On May 10, Akie posted another message, which read, “Even if I am criticized as too optimistic, my thought is that I want to be friendly with every person and country.”

      The post had received about 1,900 “likes” as of 7 p.m. that day.
      =

      Abe’s wife drew a lot of nasty right-wing anti-Korea comments on FB and twitter, and 2ch. after she said that she had enjoyed going to see a S. Korean musical.

      I am sure that Abe knows just how dangerous some ultra-nationalists are in real life, and realizing that he has let the djinni out of the bag (and being unable or unwilling to stuff it back in) is afraid that he who lives by the sword of nationalism, may die from it. Maybe he realizes that his nationalism could affect him and his too, and just wants to protect what’s his (after all, ‘How dare they post rude things about my wife!’).

    8. Baudrillard Says:

      “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his own wife, Akie, became a victim of anti-Korea
      harassment. After Mrs. Abe posted on Facebook on May 9 that she
      had enjoyed watching the South Korean musical “Caffeine,” her page was
      inundated with critical comments.”

      Oh, I like this. So he is only bothered when it affects him and his own. He has indeed reaped what he has sowed.

      But when people are even criticizing you for watching a musical from a certain country, then that is when “rightist” is really just an indirect way of saying totalitarian thought control. Reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in China and mob rule/Red Guards.

      Of course, it would be too “rude” to our Japanese “hosts” (as we are “guests”) to actually come and out and call a fascist a fascist. And that would contradict postwar branding of Japan as a “pro American democracy”.

      But perhaps if we continue to believe that Japan is a western democracy, and keep calling it so, we can at least keep anti democratic trends in check.E.g. You cannot intrude in my home to see a gaijin card, that is not democratic.

      That is, of course, until our hosts cross the line and start to repudiate “democracy/human rights” as “alien to Japan”. Which they recently have.

    9. Loverilakkuma Says:

      I know there’s a long way to crackdown on hate-speech, and it’s a graving challenge for most democratic society to do so since it’s the matter of fine line between physical conduct and speech. The news show that Japan has got off a good start, as the general public became aware of the problem.
      Now, a thorny issue is what if the demonstrator(s) happened to be NJ? Would the police authority treat the incident similarly to Japanese, if h/she got physically bumped or mugged by opposing demonstrators? This remains to be enormous challenge to NJ because 1) the alleged incident has to be visible by everyone at the scene and 2) NJ is susceptible to false information (i.e., ‘stranger-danger’ fallacy) and police scrutiny. This remains to be out of radar by most public media unless until some progressive-minded journalists and/or activists bring up the issue in the public.

    10. Ast Says:

      @Jim Di Griz, @Baudrillard

      She made that comment AFTER Abe had made that speech. I think that unlike Abe, his wife may have genuinely good intentions.

    11. j_jobseeker Says:

      I figure all this talk regarding hate speech will blow over after the Olympics are decided…whether or not in favor of Tokyo. Right now, it’s about putting forth the right image, especially after Inose’s remarks which have put a negative light on Tokyo’s bid. Because evidently, there was another anti-Korean rally in Shin Okubo last Sunday:

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/23/national/nationalism-rearing-ugly-head-with-greater-frequency/#.UZ1ZjejntGE

      And with Abe at the reigns, I don’t think these people believe there will be any significant actions taken to curb their activities. In fact, the opposite may be true if and when the LDP win the Upper House in this summer’s elections…

    12. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Japanese academics believe that Japan should have laws against hate speech!
      But……they also believe that such laws should carry no penalty if broken.

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/23/national/nationalism-rearing-ugly-head-with-greater-frequency/#.UZ1anBwSGkM

      I’m sure that will make a right winger think twice before shouting ‘holocaust the Koreans cockroaches’, right? Typical Japan, it’s all just for the sake of showing the outside world something.

    13. Piglet Says:

      There might not be hate speech laws in Japan, however threats and slurs are punishable offenses. I would suggest any person threatened by these ultra-nationalist groups to identify the culprits (photos, videos) and sue them for threat. Some of the wordings are very explicit and if a Korean person happens to be in direct view of such posters (“good or bad, kill all Koreans”), it is a clear case.
      Of course, the best would be to have the support of Japan lawyers association and some civic groups.

    14. Inflames Says:

      The sign from Osaka has been around for years (at least since 2009). Those signs are posted in the toilets at subway stations.

    15. Loverilakkuma Says:

      @Jim Di Griz, #12

      >Typical Japan, it’s all just for the sake of showing the outside world something.

      I’m gonna have to disagree with you on this. This is not the matter of Japan’s hesitance. Regulating hate speech is not easy, as many countries have legal challenges in implementing hate speech code due to its constitutionality. (i.e., legal history of US in which SCOUTUS struck down many cases involving hate speech at both academic campus and public place.)

      In her book “Words that Wound”, a critical legal scholar Mari Matsuda (for reference, she’s teaching at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Campus) suggests that free speech primarily works in favor of powerful corporations and for-profit organizations in democratic society, by historically ignoring victim’s story for its protection. People rarely get punished for incitement unless their speech instigates confrontation or violent threat that will lead to physical injury or damages. They won’t even get arrested unless the police see them getting physical contact with their opponents in confrontation.

      It’s pretty hard to define hate speech as criminal offense. However, democratic society could establish the referendum or set the injunction on offensive speeches that will lead to violent conduct, depending on political climate and the degree of tolerance for judicial activism. This seems to be a remote possibility for Japan, though.

    16. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ J_jobseeker #11

      I think that you are right, it will all be forgotten as a domestic issue when the olympics are decided. As a result, should Tokyo lose (as it rightfully deserves to), will the Japanese engage in some soul searching as to how their actions are perceived by the outside world, and the effect that this has on Japan? I doubt it. They Japanese were unable to connect the anti-Japanese riots in China with Ishihara’s stirring, and preferred to play the victim whilst at the same time claiming that Chinese riots were proof of Japanese superiority as a culture.
      I suspect that if Tokyo doesn’t get the olympics, it will just fuel a fresh round of ‘the world hates us-it takes all of them to keep us down because we are so special’ narrative.
      If Tokyo does get the olympics, then we will have 7 years of ‘ganbarre nippon!’, and ‘poor disaster Japan rising from the ashes’ self-indulgent substanceless arrogance to endure, until there is another low medal count for team Japan.

      – We’re getting a bit off track from this blog entry…

    17. john k Says:

      #15Loverlakkuma

      It is not so much hate speech per se, but racism. Racism trumpets the “hate” part. And since Japan is a member state of the UN* is should:

      “9. Reaffirms the responsibility of Governments for safeguarding and protecting the rights of individuals within their jurisdiction against crimes perpetrated by racist or xenophobic individuals or groups or agents of the State; 10. Condemns legislation, policies and practices based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which are incompatible with democracy, and transparent and accountable governance;11. Reaffirms that democracy and transparent, responsible, accountable and participatory governance at the national, regional and international levels, responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people, are essential to effectively prevent, combat and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;”

      Japan doesn’t seem to be holding up this part of their obligation too well…what about the rest:

      “99. Calls upon States, in accordance with their human rights obligations, to declare illegal and to prohibit all organizations based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote national, racial and religious hatred and discrimination in any form, and to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination;”

      “102. Also calls upon States not to resort to profiling founded on grounds of discrimination prohibited by international law, including on racial, ethnic or religious grounds, and to prohibit it by law; ”

      So their report card would be 0/10, try better!

      *[http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/OutcomeDocumentDurban_en.pdf]

    18. Markus Says:

      @John K, all well and good, but there is little evidence that Japan has ever strived to become more than a democracy “on paper” that would be obliged to actually follow through on their international obligations as a UN member. The voices that disrespect Western democracies for allegedly taking the concept of personal liberties too far and should be a warning example for Japan are numerous. Yet I have to even once hear critical thought about the state of Japanese democracy in the media.

      It is hard for those Japanese who understand the actual state of Japanese democracy to find an audience when it seems that the majority (secretly, because this is Japan) fears or condescends it as a reaction to the bizarre image of Western countries painted in the J-Media.

    19. Loverilakkuma Says:

      @John K, #15

      Quite. Racism is part of the reason why free speech is not absolutely perfect in any world. It is an act of defamation, no matter how defenders make an excuse for its rationalization like Osaka mayor Hashimoto. Matsuda defines hate speech as: 1) “message communicating racial inferiority”; 2)”message directed against a historically oppressed group”; and 3) “message that is persecutory, hateful, and degrading.” So, yes, racism undermines the principle of free speech by affecting the legal entitlements of those who are vulnerable to the eyes of Japanese society (i.e., women, NJ, people with disabilities). Recent move to revise national constitution driven from the idea that individual liberties and human rights will undermine Japanese society is a clear example of trickery. It gives authorities, elitists, corporations, haters more power to ostracize cultures of others for total control of ideas in the marketplace— without taking responsibility for the consequence of speech they make.

    20. Jim Di Griz Says:

      I was just watching this youtube vid of the zaitikukai marching last weekend (where it appears that an anti-zaitokukai direct action group was also present-leading to some violence- not in the video), and I noticed that the marchers appear to be carrying a couple of German and Turkish flags along with all their usual Japanese ones.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6vX1YlOacM&feature=youtu.be

      Any idea why, anyone? Does zaitokukai allow German and Turkish members?

      As for the anti-zaitokukai protest group;

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/8-arrested-in-tokyo-after-two-groups-clash-over-hate-speech-against-koreans#comments

    21. Bayfield Says:

      #20 JDG says:
      “Any idea why, anyone? Does zaitokukai allow German and Turkish members?”

      Japanese ultra-nationalists carrying German/Turkish flags and German/Turkish ultra-nationalists carrying are by product of another political scheme:

      http://www.rozanehmagazine.com/NoveDec05/aazariINDEX.HTML
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-Turanism

      These guys carrying multiple flags are believers of both Japanese nationalism and “Pan-Turanism”.

      This whole Turania thing is more of the rare types of far-right nationalism and more extreme than “regular-zaitokukai” types. The “Turan nationalists” are not Japanese and are mainly made up of a small central Asian and middle eastern people. More extreme than the the current state of J-nationalists in that some Turanists like the Grey Wolves, have been carrying out terrorist attacks in the not so distant past.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_Wolves

      The idea of Pan-Turanism is the belief that the Japanese have linguistic and cultural similarities with those of central asia and parts of the middle east. Some are true while others are made up for propaganda purposes. In a sense some middle-east extremists and some J-nationalists feel a common bond between each other for that reason. But only some J-nationalists though, I doubt the run of the mill J-nationalist would feel any sense of “brotherhood” with an NJ though.

      The only problem with the Pan-Turanism ideology is that it conflicts with the more popular view of “no NJ relations” amongst J-nationalists though. Since many Japanese believe they are so unique that they have no relations to NJ. Not sure where the Japanese and Turanian brotherhood idea fits in though since Japan is all about “we are unique”.

      In my opinion, after reading through Pan-Turanian ideologies and the people involved, I would think that if Pan-Turanists and J-Nationalists joining together and form a new party to run Japan than it would probably make Hashimoto’s party look moderate. This is mainly due to Pan-Turanists history of violence and terrorism.

      The run of the mill J-nationalists are still mainly just squeamish types hiding behind the computer screen. While the Turanian folks takes a step further.

    22. Markus Says:

      @Jim (#20) I wouldn’t be surprised if they sympathize with Nazi theory but are too shallow to understand that the current German flag was not the Nazi Germany one.
      I mentioned before that as a German in Japan, I’m apparently seen as some sort of “premium Gaijin” – whenever people ask me what my nationality is (the Kuroneko courier, the taxi driver, or people I meet out, and I tell them I’m from Germany, there is a very obvious reaction of relief – followed by creepy comments such as “we are friends because the Germans and Japanese fought together!”
      And that’s just the regular people, if I count in the taxi drivers (I know better than to count taxi Drivers as a representational demographic for public opinion, but still) who told me that they love “General Rommel” and say that Hitler did a lot of good things, and Japan also had a great leader, namely Tanaka Kakuei, but unfortunately nowadays all the politicians are weaklings, I could get the impression that many Japanese have a very skewed view not only on their own, but on world history as well.
      I guess I shouldn’t tell them that if Hitler got his way, the chances of the Japanese (or Asians in general) to become anything else than slaves for his “Arian race” would have been very slim. There is not exactly a lot of 6ft blonde, blue eyed Japanese around. Oh the dangerous ignorance of history.

    23. Jim di Griz Says:

      @ Bayfield#21

      Thanks for the information. Very informative. Are individual zatokukai members carrying the wrong flag due to ignorance, or is this indeed a sign of much darker developments within the Japanese extreme right?

      @ Markus #22

      Thank you for your reply. Since Japan’s flag hasn’t changed from the wartime version, many may well mistakenly believe that the current German flag is likewise, the same as Germanies wartime flags.
      It must surely be grating to be subjected to endless the micro-aggressive assumption that by being German, you must implicitly respect Nazi generals, and by extension, still regard yourself as an ‘ally’ from a war that finished almost 70 years ago. Simply insane attitude, which demonstrates so well why Germanies neighbors feel no fear, and Japan only has disputes with its.

    24. Markus Says:

      @Jim – it is grating and hard to keep polite when being patronised like this. In German schools, most of history education is spent on discussing the Weimar republic, the Nazi government, and the meaning of shared guilt of the latter generations, in order to educate people about the beginnings and possible warning signs of totalitarian and fascist systems. I think that this education makes it impossible for me to live in Japan, because to me the level of ignorance of the regular people of sinister things ( the government, the uyoku, the lack of critical thought, the absence of democratic ideals, etc. ) constantly reminds me of what I learned about dangerous developments that led up to WWII and the Holocaust. I guess this stuff is easier to ignore for people with a lack of education in 20th century history.

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